1. FESTIVALS: Keralites celebrate Onam with fervour and gaiety: Keralites across the state celebrated Onam on August 28 with traditional fervour and gaiety. People offered prayers in temples early in the morning while the day was marked by feast and festivities, including cultural programmes organised by various institutions. Heavy rush was witnessed at major temples, including the famous hill shrine of Lord Ayappa at Sabarimala, Sree Krishna Temple at Guruvayur and Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram. here. Onam is celebrated to honour King Mahabali, who according to legend ruled the state once, under whom the people were equal, prosperous and happy. People believe that it was on this particular day of Thiruvonam in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam when Lord Mahavishnu took his fifth avatar as Vaamana, appeared in the kingdom of King Mahabali and sent him to the netherworld. According to legend, on Thiruvonam day the spirit of King Mahabali visits the people of Kerala. Flower mats (Pookalam) were laid in houses and family members enjoyed the grand feast (Onasadya). -goTop
2. Homegrown cryogenic engine lifts space programme to a new height: On 27th August, Bharat's space agency, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), launched a 2,117-kg advanced communications satellite, GSAT-6, on its new-generation launch vehicle that is powered by an engine that has been developed entirely indigenously. The successful flight of the satellite aboard the GSLV-D6 vehicle marked several achievements for ISRO.
The flight was ISRO's second success with the CUS (Cryogenic Upper Stage). The success establishes ISRO's capabilities to launch satellites that are up to 2,500 kg in weight, and gives a boost to the development of the GSLV-Mk3 which is supposed to have much higher payload capacities, up to about 5,000 kg.
The satellite will facilitate digital multimedia broadcasting services to special mobile devices across the country. Law enforcement and national security agencies can use it for accessing satellite telephony services that work seamlessly, and reliably, across a vast area. GSAT-6 is the 25th geostationary communications satellite built by Bharat, and the 12th in the GSAT series. Five of the earlier GSATs have been launched by GSLVs. -goTop
3. Gita teaches not to run away from challenges: DR Mohan Bhagwat: "About 70 per cent of the problems we face in our lives will vanish if we follow the path shown by our saints and scriptures. The rest 30 per cent will get automatically resolved by the Almighty as the divine power is itself silently protecting us. Therefore, it is time to follow the teachings of the saints and scriptures in daily conduct," said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat while addressing a function organized in Surat on August 17. The function was organized by Subhmangal Foundation in the presence of Jainacharya Abhay Devsurishwar Maharaj and many other saints. On this occasion Shri Bhagwat was gifted with a copy of the Bhagwad Gita written in a special ink made from gold by a Muslim artisan, Yunus Shaikh. Herbs and 346 grams of 24-carat gold was used in writing the 168-page Gita. Yunus Shaikh, a resident of Surendranagar town said. "I have also written many holy books of Jainism and Hinduism. I firmly believe that these religions give us a message of humanity." -goTop
4. Thousands take holy dip during first 'shahi snan' in Kumbh Mela: The first 'shahi snan' of the ongoing Kumbh Mela began in Nasik on August 29, with thousands of devotees, including 'mahants' of various akhadas, thronging the ghats of River Godavari to take the holy dip.
The first akhada to take the holy dip was the Nirvani akhada, led by its mahant Gyandas Maharaj, who is also the president of the All India Akhada Parishad, who performed the ritual along with other 'sadhus' and 'mahants' at 7.15 AM.
It was followed by the sadhus and mahants of the Digambar akhada, led by its mahant Krishnadas Maharaj, who took the dip in Ram kund and Ram ghat from 8.00 AM onwards. The third and last akhada to take the dip was the Nirmohi akhada, who reached the ghats at 9.30 AM. The sadhus of the Chatu Sampraday akhada also took the royal bath.
Thousands of sadhus and mahants, including Naga sadhus of the 10 akhadas of Shaiva sect, took the royal bath at the Kushvarta Teerth in Trimbakeshwar town which received light showers. In Trimbakeshwar, the mahants of the Shri Pancha Dashanam Juna akhada, led by mahant Harigiri Maharaj, who is also general secretary of the All India Shaddarshan akhada, took the first royal bath at 4.15 AM. -goTop
5. Maha Kumbh 2013 better organized than Fifa WC, says Harvard: Maha Kumbh 2013 was far better organized than FIFA World Cup in Brazil and Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, says a book produced by scholars and students of Harvard University. The 449-page book 'Kumbh Mela - Mapping the Ephemeral Megacity', goes on to add: "For a country notorious for its 'lethargic' bureaucracy, the success of Maha Kumbh is truly noteworthy." The way a tent township -- much larger than the size of Manhattan in terms of population - pops up in a very short time-frame is an example and a project for planners, urban bodies and policy researchers. How more than 100 million come to a small place, stay there for 55 days, apart from a daily cycle of a crowd of nearly five million bathing at the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, meet each other, pray, join their gurus, camp with sadhus and ascetics and safely return to their native places are the things worth studying.
This is how the researchers of the South Asia Institute of the Harvard University, US, have viewed the successful management of Maha Kumbh 2013 in their book which was launched by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on August 17. Talking of the sheer magnitude of the Mela, the book says that over 50 days, there were 146 million (145,736,764) text messages exchanged and 245 million (245,252,102) calls made. "So is Bharat, which has high ambition to provide everyone everything from farmers to migrants to factory worker. Its ambitions are very high but capability very low, and then it generates disappointment. But the Maha Kumbh management and success belies this notion." -goTop
6. PM pays glowing tributes to Naga legend Rani Gaidinliu: Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi, emphasized that Bharat must remember the glorious heritage of the freedom struggle, and ensure that the legacy of the struggles and achievements of our freedom fighters is passed on to succeeding generations. Speaking at the launch of a commemorative coin to mark the inauguration of the birth centenary celebrations of Rani Gaidinliu, the legendary Naga freedom fighter and social reformer from Nagaland on 25th August the Pradhan Mantri said it is our misfortune that people such as Rani Gaidinliu have either not been remembered adequately, or have been deliberately forgotten.
Chief Minister of Nagaland T R Zeliang in his brief address expressed hope that this would not remain a mere symbolism but would help remove the ignorance and misconception about the people of northeast Bharat. -goTop
7. Hindu Temples of Angkor top world's "Ultimate Travelist": Temples of Angkor in Cambodia have topped the Ultimate Travelist compiled by Lonely Planet (LP), which it described as "Hindu heaven on earth". According to an LP release, "this complex of more than 1,000 temples, shrines and tombs that form a virtual city of spires in the jungles of northern Cambodia, takes the crown" and it "was the undisputed champion by quite some margin… it was a complete landslide".
LP points out about Angkor: As the world's greatest temple to the Hindu god Vishnu…this magnificent monument is the greatest treasure of a Hindu kingdom that once stretched as far as Burma, Laos and southern China… Angkor is something out of the ordinary - a literal representation of heaven on earth, hewn from thousands of sandstone blocks and carved floor-to-ceiling with legends from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. Angkor Wat itself is the undisputed highlight, a massive representation of Mt Meru, the mountain home of the gods of Hinduism, executed in stone blocks adorned with bas-reliefs of such delicacy and grace that they could almost have been carved in the presence of the divine… Angkor isn't just an interesting ruin - it's a spiritual epiphany in stone. -goTop
8. PM RELEASES DIGITAL VERSION OF RAMCHARITMANAS MUSICAL: Describing 'Ramcharitmanas' as a great work which imbibes the "essence of Bharat", Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the digital version of a musical production on the epic recorded by All India Radio on 30th August. Praising efforts of the artistes, the Prime Minister said they had performed not just 'sangeet sadhna, but also sanskriti sadhna and sanskaar sadhna' (devotion not just to music, but also to culture and tradition). The Prime Minister described Goswami Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas as a great epic which contained the "essence of Bharat." He mentioned how the Bharatiyas who had travelled to various parts of the world, such as Mauritius, kept alive their link with Bharat over successive generations through the Ramcharitmanas. Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley and Chairman Prasar Bharati Board A Suryaprakash were present on the occasion. -goTop
9. Canadian PM hails Bharatiya diaspora: Bharatiya-Canadians are the largest and most successful Bharatiya diaspora anywhere on this earth, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said. On a visit to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto on August 17, Harper said: "In this uncertain and dangerous world, it is most comforting to know that Canada has certain friends like Bharat." "Canada's relationship with Bharat is special because despite the enormous differences between our two countries, we have a growing economic relationship," said the prime minister. -goTop
10. Pak SC asks provincial govt to rebuild Hindu temple: Expressing dissatisfaction over the restoration work of a Hindu temple in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan's Supreme Court has ordered the provincial government to hire a renowned architect for rebuilding the shrine destroyed by fanatics in 1997. A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja on August 25 asked the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa authorities to come up with a plan to rebuild the Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj's Samadhi in Teri village of Karak district. -goTop
11. UAE decides to allot land for temple in Abu Dhabi: On the occasion of Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi's visit the government announced its decision to allot land for building a temple in Abu Dhabi. Modi thanked the UAE leadership for this landmark decision. The UAE is home to 2.6 million Bharatiya workers, of whom around 20 percent are white-collar professionals. Bharatiya expatriates comprise 30 per cent of the UAE's population and are the largest nationality group. -goTop
12. Three Bharatiya firms among world's most innovative companies: Three Bharatiya companies figure in Forbes' annual list of The World's Most Innovative Companies topped by Tesla Motors, leading maker of fully electric vehicles. Ranked 41st, Hindustan Unilever, Bharat-based fast moving consumer goods company, tops the list of Bharatiya Innovative Companies. It operates in seven business segments ranging from soaps and detergents to tea and coffee and packaged foods.
It's followed by Tata Consultancy Services in the 64th spot. Bharat's largest IT company appears on the list for the eighth time. It took a major step toward bolstering its digital services with a training programme in digital technologies for a third of its workforce.
Ranked 71st, Sun Pharma Industries, Bharat's largest drugs company, with 45 manufacturing sites across the globe, appears on the list for the fourth straight time. -goTop
13. Bharatiya American judge among 11 Obama appointees: US President Barack Obama has appointed Bharatiya-American federal judge Vince Chhabria along with 10 others as full-time judges. The appointment filled 11 of the 14 vacancies in the court for the northern district of California and is the most dramatic makeover of such bench during his administration. The 11 Obama appointees sailed through Senate confirmation hearings. Obama nominated Chhabria, 46, to serve as a US district judge for the northern district of California on July 25, 2013.
His nomination was confirmed on March 5, 2014 by a vote of 58-41 and received his judicial commission on March 7, 2014. Born in 1969 in San Francisco, California, Chhabria completed his Bachelors' in Arts in 1991 from the University of California-Santa Cruz. He received a Juris Doctorate -- a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law -- in 1998 from the University of California-Berkeley. -goTop
14. Bharatiya-Origin Doctor Grows New Ears for 8-Year-Old Boy: A Bharatiya-origin doctor Dr Ananth Murthy, director of plastic surgery at One Perkins Square, Akron, Ohio in the US has successfully grown outer ears from rib cartilage in an 8-year-old boy after a series of 'miraculous' surgeries. Elijah Bell, a second-grade student at Frazer Elementary in Canton, Ohio, was born with bilateral atresia microtia, a rare birth defect where the outer ears are undeveloped, and, in Elijah's case, had no openings to the middle and inner ear.
"The changes we've seen in Elijah are really remarkable," Elijah's Mom Ms Colleen Bell said, adding that her son has a new outlook on life. -goTop
15. Teach bharat! Program Draws DC Metro Teachers: Teachers from around the Washington, DC region took part in the three-day Teach Bharat! teacher training workshop organized by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), California State-University Long Beach, and the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple (SSVT), the first ever program featuring a partnership of this kind. The workshop, held from Aug. 20-22 was led by CSU-Long Beach faculty members - and renowned history educators - Tim Keirn and Dave Neumann, and HAF’s education director Murali Balaji. Keirn is also the chief reader for AP world history, while Neumann is director of the History Project. Teachers who participated said their perspectives had been transformed by the combination of professional development training and cultural immersion.
While Teach Bharat has run in California over the past few years, it was the workshop's inaugural launch on the East Coast and the first time that the workshop's host - and chief sponsor - is a temple. -goTop
16. Raksha Bandhan with State Rep and Shrewsbury Selectmen: The festival of Rakshabandhan is celebrated at all the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh shakhas of US. All the volunteers and group members of HSS Abhimanyu Shakha at Shrewsbury - Massachusetts went to the Town Hall to celebrate Raksha Bandhan, which signifies universal brotherhood and protection between the communities. In the program, about 40 people participated and children tied Rakhis to everyone symbolizing their well wishes for everyone. First, the State Representative of Shrewsbury and Westborough, Hannah Kane gave a warm welcome speech where she introduced all 5 of the Board Members of Shrewsbury and their families. Then we introduced ourselves to everyone.
A small speech about the significance of Raksha Bandhan was also given. With this program , Abhimanyu Shaka of HSS was able to successfully create a sense of community that value and spread the message of universal peace. -goTop
17. British soldiers tug at heart strings on Raksha Bandhan: Several members of Britain's armed forces attended 'raksha bandhan' events in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Bradford in the week (24th-29thAugust), where the contribution of past and present members of the Hindu community in UK's military history was recalled. There are currently 950 members of the armed forces in UK whose religious affiliation is declared as Hindu. The events were attended by the minister for Armed Forces, Penny Mordaunt, and senior officials. The events also lauded the contribution of Hindu serving personnel throughout the history of the UK Armed Forces: World War I, when "750,000 Hindus where deployed overseas in the British Bharatiya Army (earning 8 Victoria Crosses); World War II where 1.25 million Hindus fought in the British Bharatiya Army (earning 18 Victoria Crosses); and the 950 current serving personnel". -goTop
18. Bharatiya Scientist Awarded First Sunhak Peace Prize: Noted Bharatiya agriculture scientist Dr Modadugu Vijay Gupta, who has done pioneering work in aquaculture in Bharat, Bangladesh and several Southeast Asian countries, was on August 28 awarded the first Sunhak Peace Prize which he shared with the President of Kiribati Islands. Gupta, 76, shared the USD 1 million prize with President of Kiribati Islands Anote Tong in Seoul at a glittering function which was attended by invitees from all over the world. Billed as an alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize, the awards were presented by South Korean religious leader Dr Hak Ja Han Moon, the wife of late Rev Sun Myung Moon, who instituted the awards to recognize and highlight the work of individuals making big efforts for the betterment of the people.
Hailing from Bapatla in Andhra Pradesh, Gupta, a biologist, was also the recipient of the World Food Prize in 2005 for development and dissemination of low-cost techniques for freshwater fish farming. -goTop
19. Guruvayurappan Hindu Temple gets permit: Guruvayurappan Temple of Brampton in Canada has received the building permit from the City of Brampton in Ontario, which it calls "a long and difficult process". According to Temple President Dr. P. Karunakaran Kutty, the "construction is to begin in early October". Temple has reportedly raised about $1.8 million and is seeking more donations. This Temple is proposed to be built in accordance with ancient Hindu Shilpa and Agama Shastras; plans to accommodate Sree Kovils for Guruvayurappan, Ganapathy, Sastha, and Devi; and hopes to be "a pillar of social cohesion, aside from being the spiritual epicenter for the Hindus of North America". -goTop
20. Census 2011: Hindus dip to below 80 per cent, Muslim share up: The percentage of Muslims in the country's population increased 0.8 percentage points between 2001 and 2011 to 14.23% or 17.22 crore. In the previous decade, i.e. between 1991 and 2001, their share in the total population had increased by a bigger measure or 1.73 percentage points to 13.43%. They were, however, the only community to register a growth in terms of their share in the total population.
The Census 2011 data on Population by Religious Communities, released by the Registrar General of Bharat on August 25, also showed that the percentage of Hindus dipped by 0.7 percentage points (PP) in the decade 2001 to 2011, pulling it for the first time below 80%. Hindus now constitute 79.8% of the country's total population. In the previous decade, the proportion of Hindus in the population showed a sharper fall by 1.94 percentage points.
According to the 2011 Census data, Bharat's population in the 2001-2011 grew 17.7% to 121.09 crore, with Hindus numbering 96.63 crore.
While there has been no significant change in the proportion of Christians and Jains, that of Sikhs has declined by 0.2 percentage points and of Buddhists by 0.1 percentage points during the decade. The growth rate of Christians over the decade stood at 15.5%, Sikhs at 8.4%, Buddhists at 6.1% and Jains 5.4%. -goTop
21. BABA SAHEB PURANDARE CONFERRED 'MAHARASHTRA BHUSHAN': At an impressive function held at the Raj Bhavan, Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao bestowed 'Maharashtra Bhushan' upon Shiv Shahir Purandare, in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Ministers Subhash Desai, Vinod Tawde, Prakash Mehta, Diwakar Raote Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar and several other prominent personalities on August 19. After accepting the award, a humble Purandare announced that in addition to a cash prize of Rs10 lakh he had received along with "Maharashtra Bhushan" from the State Government, he would add another Rs15 lakh and make a total contribution of Rs25 lakh for the cancer treatment cause. -goTop
22. 59-days Amarnath yatra concludes: Over 3.52 lakh pilgrims paid obeisance at the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas this year as the 59-day annual yatra concluded on August 29 coinciding with the festival of 'Raksha Bandhan'. 'Chhari Mubarak' being carried by a group of Sadhus led by its custodian Mahant Dipendra Giri, arrived at the 3,880 meter holy cave in the wee hours after tracking a distance of six kilometers from Sheshnag halting station, marking the conclusion of the yatra. Special prayers were held at the cave shrine, which houses the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, after the arrival of the 'Chhari Mubarak', the holy mace of Lord Shiva. -goTop
23. MAHAJAN BROTHERS RETURN TO A HERO'S WELCOME IN NASHIK: Doctor duo Mahendra and Hitendra Mahajan, who achieved a milestone by becoming the first Bharatiyas to finish the difficult Brevet cycling Race Against America (RAAM), measuring 4,800 km from the West to East coast of America in eight days and 14 hours, got a grand welcome at Cycle Circle in Nashik.
Mahendra (39), a dentist and Hitendra (44), an anesthesiologist, participated in the race that began on June 20 with 130 teams from across the world. The brothers participated in the 'team of two' category and completed it in eight days and 14 hours without a single penalty. The time allotted for completing the race was nine days. Three other teams in their category got disqualified in the first 1,000 km, making the brothers the first and only ones to complete the race. -goTop
24. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri V Bhagaiah ji sahsarkaryavaha RSS will tour USA. Dr. Manmohan Vaidya, All Bharat prachar pramukh returned from his tour to Australia & New Zealand. Shri Ravikumar, sahsamyojak Vishwa Vibhag returned from Hong Kong and Thailand. Visitors: Dr Nandini & Priya Tandon - USA, Saurabh Chaudhary - France, Ranbir Singh - Papua New Guinea
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny. - Brihadaranyaka Upanishhad -goTop
JAI SHREE RAM
ERAWAN AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Earlier this month, a bomb exploded close to a shrine in the centre of Thailand's capital, Bangkok, killing about 20 people and injuring scores of others. The target of the attack, the Erawan temple dedicated to Lord Brahma, the creator in the Hindu trinity, worshipped mostly by the Chinese, Thai and Bharatiya residents of the city, and tourists, represents the deep impact the ancient Bharatiya civilisation made in South East Asia. In fact, the word 'Erawan' is derived from 'Iraivan', which means, 'He who is worshiped'. It is one of the oldest words for God in the ancient Tamil language.
The Erawan shrine, formally the Thao Maha Phrom Shrine or 'Shrine of Lord Brahma the Great', is dedicated to the cult of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of Lord Brahma. Five other shrines dedicated to Hindu deities are also located in the area: Phra Laksami (Lakshmi), Phra Trimurati (Trimurti), Phra Khanet (Ganesh), Phra In (Indra), and Phra Narai Song Suban (Narayana on his Garuda). The Brahma statue was designed and built by the Department of Fine Arts of the Thai Government and enshrined on November 9, 1956, following an astrologer's advice to build the shrine to counter negative influences on the Government-owned Erawan hotel.
The Chinese refer to Brahma as the Simianshen or the Four-Faced God. The Erawan cult of Brahma, since its inception in Thailand, has spread, accompanied by faithful reproduction of the structure of the shrine and the image, among overseas Chinese in other countries of South east Asia including Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, as also in Taiwan, and in China, with shrines established in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Shrines dedicated to Hindu deities including Brahma, Vishnu and Ganesha are commonplace across Thailand, particularly in hotel, residential and commercial campuses. One of the most popular deities in Thailand is Lord Ganesha.
Though the Thais
are predominantly Buddhists, Ganesha is held in great reverence as he is
believed to be the harbinger of good fortune. The Thais usually refer to him as
Phra Phikanesuan or Phra Phikanet. There are many shrines devoted to him all
over Thailand wherein the devout make merit by laying flowers, sweets, or other
treats. This is a common practice for those who are looking for sEarlier this
month, a bomb exploded close to a shrine in the centre of Thailand's capital,
Bangkok, killing about 20 people and injuring scores of others. The target of
the attack, the Erawan temple dedicated to Lord Brahma, the creator in the Hindu
trinity, worshipped mostly by the Chinese, Thai and Bharatiya residents of the
city, and tourists, represents the deep impact the ancient Bharatiya
civilisation made in South East Asia. In fact, the word 'Erawan' is derived from
'Iraivan', which means, 'He who is worshiped'. It is one of the oldest words for
God in the ancient Tamil language.
The Erawan shrine, formally the Thao Maha Phrom Shrine or ‘Shrine of Lord Brahma the Great', is dedicated to the cult of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of Lord Brahma. Five other shrines dedicated to Hindu deities are also located in the area: Phra Laksami (Lakshmi), Phra Trimurati (Trimurti), Phra Khanet (Ganesh), Phra In (Indra), and Phra Narai Song Suban (Narayana on his Garuda). The Brahma statue was designed and built by the Department of Fine Arts of the Thai Government and enshrined on November 9, 1956, following an astrologer's advice to build the shrine to counter negative influences on the Government-owned Erawan hotel.
ome luck when starting a new venture or taking an examination. One of the more novel ways that his image is used is by businesses that are going through a tough period and hang his picture upside down to indicate their distress. In fact, many Buddhists in Thailand and elsewhere believe that Ganesh was a Bodhisattva, an enlightened being, who delays entering final Nirvana because he wishes to help those who are still suffering.
During a recent visit to Thailand, one was overwhelmed to behold the 24 metre high Pink Ganesha statue at Wat Samanrattanaram temple at Chachoengsao, about 60kms from Bangkok, surrounded by many beautifully crafted rats. One saw youngsters including couples whispering into the ears of these rats for fulfilment of their wishes. Inside, senior citizens were lighting lamps as Thai elders chanted 'Om Ganeshaya Namaha' while Buddhist monks meditated in the complex, where stood huge statues of Brahma and Lakshmi as well. In the souvenir shops outside, young Thais and Chinese were buying statues of varying sizes of Lord Ganesha as also amulets and pendants, which are hugely popular in the country.
The Chief Priest of the Thai Royal family continues to be a Thai Brahmin, whose ancestors trace their origins to Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. They look and speak Thai, yet all the rituals of the royal family and other Thai families, from birth to death, are conducted according to Vedic rites. Interestingly, the Thais including the chief priest recite the Tiruppavai, a collection of 30 stanzas in Tamil written by Andal in praise of Lord Vishnu (Perumal). The Thais celebrate the event as Triyampavai-Trippavai, a festival during December-January, corresponding to the Tamil month Marghazi.
This deep Bharatiya imprint highlights the close civilisational bonds between Hinduism and Buddhism, which, if synergised, has the potential to lend a healing touch to a world torn apart by increasing conflict and hatred. It also provides a strategic counter-balance to the ever-growing scourge of religious extremism and terrorism spearheaded by the likes of the Islamic State. Non-violence is fundamental to Hinduism and Buddhism. Their philosophies are compatible with modern democratic values and institutions. Hinduism and Buddhism are centered on non-violence and compassion towards not only humans but also animals and plants - which makes them ecologically compatible philosophies.
It is in this context that the Global Hindu-Buddhist Initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness, organised by the New Delhi-based think tank Vivekananda International Foundation in collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation and Tokyo Foundation early next month, in the national capital assumes significance. To be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two-day conference will address the unprecedented threats and challenges related to peace and environment the world is facing today. Besides traditional, ideological and cultural rivalries, new challenges have emerged in the form of lawless forces backed up by violent ideologies that challenge de jure states, formed on the rule of law.
Today, the world is on a different tangent, as religious and ideological conflicts escalate and lead to terrorism and massive destruction. Terrorists, who were once described as 'non-state actors' are now controlling large parts of territories and also challenging the authority of de jure states that are responsible for the so-called world order. Massive violence has been unleashed against innocents who differ even a shade in their faith or thoughts from those of the extremists.
Such violent and destructive activities have pressured intellectuals, leaders and strategic thinkers the world over to develop alternative ways to tackle these situations. The current approach towards conflict resolution is largely based on Western and simplified perspectives of conflict between faiths and civilisations. It is important to recognise the importance of Asian traditions and values, especially the culture of understanding and acceptance of the alternative view, that go beyond the that go beyond the mercy-tolerance paradigm, in securing the future of world peace and harmony. Hindu-Buddhist values can be used as a tool to shift the paradigm to conflict avoidance and the path of ideology to philosophy.
The adaptation of a non-conflicting paradigm, inclusive of philosophic streams such as Buddhism and Hinduism whose adherents account for more than one-fifth of the world's population and cognates cultures such as Bharatiya and Japanese, alone can effectively promote democratic values, religious understanding and conflict avoidance in the larger interest of the world.
Close on the heels of the recent Bangkok blast, the VIF-hosted meet in New Delhi seeks to comprehensively address myriad challenges in Asia i.e spread of conflict, transnational terror networks and sectarian violence, climate change, environmental degradation and conservation issues, from an Asian perspective. It also suggests creative solutions and a sustainable social, economic and political framework for management of conflict, fostering of cooperation and the promotion of environmental consciousness and an inter-dependent universal responsibility. If 21st century is to be an Asian century, the continent will have to offer a new model and vision for a world order, based on its democratic tradition that espouses the spirit of human cooperation, ethical behaviour, universal responsibility and prosperity of all nations. (The author is a senior journalist based in New Delhi) (Daily Pioneer 24 August 2015) -goTop
Shri Vishwa Niketan