Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hindus to perform elaborate ancient fire ritual in South Africa for peace

Hindus will reportedly light 108 fires as a part of ancient Vedic ritual yajna in a sports ground in Port Shepstone town of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa on "Freedom Day" (South Africa's national day on April 27).
Yajna, an oblation made to a deity, is a Vedic ritual done in front of sacred fire with mantras; and is considered a conduit between universal and the individual and it activates that connection to maintain natural order for society/world.
This "Maha Yaj" in Marburg Sports Complex is hosted by Port Shepstone Hindu Cultural Federation together with other Hindu organizations. Various priests will participate in this yajna, which is planned to have 108 hawan kunds, reports suggest.
Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, commended efforts of leaders of the Federation, other Hindu organizations and the area community for realizing this ancient Vedic ritual for the well-being of all.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that Federation and other area Hindu organizations would help in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation), which was the goal of Hinduism.
This free event is reportedly open to all where lunch will be served and hawan samagri will be provided free.  Guests include Dr. Rabbilas. Saths Singh is the chairperson of the Federation founded in 1992 "for the advancement of the Hindu community".
Yajna is manifested in ancient Brahmanas and is based on the belief that all universal elements are interconnected.
Port Shepstone, founded in 1867, is located on the mouth of Mzimkulu River in Ugu District. Mondli Chiliza and D.D. Naidoo are the Mayor and Municipal Manager respectively of the District.
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Christian-Jew-Buddhist leaders support the idea of “Hindu Prayer Room” at Frankfurt Airport

In a remarkable interfaith gesture; Christian, Jew and Buddhist leaders have backed the idea of establishing a "Hindu Prayer Room" at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Germany; the idea which was recently floated by distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed.
FRA, which is one of the world's dozen largest airports; already has Christian, Jewish and Muslim prayer rooms—a total of nine chapels and prayer rooms in both terminals open around the clock—which it calls "Places for Prayer and Tranquility". A "Festival of Abrahamic Religions" also takes place every November at FRA, which is said to have opened its first chapel in the 1970s. Catholic mass is held every day and Protestant services and concerts are organized several times a week. It has two Catholic priests and two Protestant pastors who hold baptisms and memorial services, bless travelers, provide spiritual consolation; according to FRA website.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, recently requested that as lot of Hindu passengers daily used FRA, it would be nice if they had a quiet facility at the airport where they could pray/meditate/worship and perform religious services.
Stephen R. Karcher, a senior Greek Orthodox Christian priest; ElizaBeth Webb Beyer, a prominent Jewish Rabbi in Nevada-California; and Matthew T. Fisher, a well-known Buddhist leader; in a joint statement in Nevada; said that like other religions, prayer and worship was also very important to Hindus.
Karcher, Beyer and Fisher urged Minister-President Volker Bouffier of the German state of Hesse (which is largest shareholder of Fraport AG which operates FRA) and Frankfurt AG Executive Board Chairman Dr. Stefan Schulte to seriously look into having a "Hindu Prayer Room" at FRA so that Hindu passengers did not miss their prayer rituals while travelling through FRA.
Rajan Zed had also urged the authorities to work in this direction as an issue of fairness and equality in customer service. He or other Hindu scholars would be glad to help, if asked, regarding the structure of "Hindu Prayer Room", Zed added.
Hindus would appreciate FRA if this "Hindu Prayer Room" had murtis (statues) of popular deities, copies of sacred scriptures, a traditional bell and recorded devotional music; and once-a-week kirtan and daily arti session was held in it, Zed had noted.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
Opened in 1912, awards winner FRA served over 61 million passengers during 2015.
Details of the picture attached: From right to left—Stephen R. Karcher, Rajan Zed. ElizaBeth Webb Beyer and Matthew T. Fisher. 

Picture by: George A. Anastassatos

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Three New Jersey school districts to close for students on Hindu festival Diwali

Hindus have welcomed the inclusion of Diwali, most popular of their festival, by declaring holiday for students on October 19 by three school districts in New Jersey State on their school calendars for 2017-2018.
Glen Rock Public Schools has announced closure of schools and offices on Diwali; in West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, schools will be closed on October 19; and in Piscataway Township Schools, there is "No School for Students" on Diwali; reports suggest.
In neighboring New York, six school districts have declared holiday for students on October 19, which include: East Meadow School District, East Williston Union Free School District, Half Hollow Hills Central School District, Herricks Union Free School District, Hicksville Union Free School District and Syosset Central School District. Another Mineola Union Free School District announced that no home work or examinations would be given on Diwali, reports add.
In Pennsylvania, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District headquartered in Kennett Square approved closure of schools on Diwali; while Harvard Public Schools in Massachusetts has declared October 19 as "early release day", reports indicate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, describing it as a step in the right direction, urged all other public school districts and private-charter-independent schools in New Jersey to do the same.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that it would be a positive thing to do in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at schools around the state, as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these pupils.
Rajan Zed said that schools should make efforts to accommodate the religious requirements of Hindu students and show respect to their faith by not conducting regular business and scheduling classes on Diwali. We did not want our students to be put at an unnecessary disadvantage for missing tests/examinations/papers, assignments, class work, etc., by taking a day-off to observe Diwali.
If schools had declared other religious holidays, why not Diwali, Zed asked. Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion, Zed added
Rajan Zed suggested that all New Jersey schools, public-private-charter-independent, to seriously look into declaring Diwali as an official holiday, thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education. Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make New Jersey students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.
Zed urged New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey State Board of Education President Mark W. Bierdon and New Jersey Department of Education Acting Commissioner Kimberley Harrington; to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in all the public school districts in the state, and persuading the private-charter-independent schools to follow.
Rajan Zed further says that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Besides Hindus; Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali.
Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Duke University students adopt yoga as a protest form

Some graduate students of prestigious Duke University (DU) reportedly used yoga as a protest form to bring back free gym access for fourth and fifth-year students and exhibit how strongly they felt about the issue.
Protesting the revocation of access, these students held yoga classes on Abele Quad, named in honor of architect Julian Abele, on Thursday and spread around a petition seeking support signatures urging DU to cover their gym charges, reports suggest.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, calling it a crucial health issue for the graduate students, in a statement in Nevada today, urged DU President Richard H. Brodhead and Trustees Chair David M. Rubenstein to take care of the health and wellbeing of graduate students by allowing free gym access to all of them immediately, as the recreation center fee might be unaffordable for many.
Moreover, complimentary access to gym would be quite consistent with DU's mission of promoting "human happiness" and "health", Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Rajan Zed commended the graduate students for this novel-healthy-thoughtful-peaceful-authentic medium of yoga as a civil rights and social action in an effort to change the minds of university administration. This community yoga gave the protest a deeper-wholesome dimension and brought it to a higher level.
Zed also urged all North Carolina university/college students to incorporate multi-beneficial yoga in their lives.
Yoga, referred as "a living fossil", was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Rajan Zed pointed out.
Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
DU, prominent research university in Durham (North Carolina) which traces its origins to 1838, "consistently ranks among the very best". The Abele Quad is at the center of West Campus' academic and student life.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Graduates Today , World Class Global Professionals tomorrow

The early impressionable and formative years of your life spent in the right school really set the tone and tenor of your career . And if it happens to be an International school in the true sense of term , you are well and truly on your way  to being amongst the best global professionals 

"D Y Patil International School Worli recently felicitated its 7th batch of IB Diploma graduates at a glittering ceremony held at the Imperial Ballroom, St. Regis Hotel, Lower Parel.  Speaking on the occasion , Dr. Ajeenkya D . Y . Patil stated , " I am extremely proud of every single student of this batch . D. Y. Patil International School is not about filling the mind , but about forming the mind . Every single student of this batch amply reflects that . I wish them success in all their future endeavours." 

Students from this batch have secured excellent placements in universities such as NYU Stern School of Business, University of Michigan, Babson College, University of Toronto, Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, University of Warwick to name a few.
Further, several students have also received scholarships at some of the above universities due to their excellent academic scores."

Style Moguls And Spectacular Themes Sparkled INIFD VASHI’s IVANA 2017 Fashion Show

Navi Mumbai, 15th April 2017International Institute of Fashion Design(iNIFD), the world's largest Design Institute proudly celebrated their much awaited IVANA 2017, an annual fashion show by the graduating students on 15th April 2017 at Four Points by Sheraton, Vashi. INIFD Vashi has come a long way making its mark in Fashion Designing & Interior Designing creating distinct environment of excellence in fashion education.


This year, IVANA 2017, promised to be a creative extravaganza by the graduating students of INIFD Vashi who showcased collections based on innovative themes & concepts. These themes included transitions of Mother Nature like the seasons and transformation of a moth into a butterfly, laser cutting, bright and spunky colors of spring, a pinch of bohemian influence on garments like jumpsuits, influences from marine life, safari wear, royal silhouettes, asymmetrical shapes and inspirations from the paper folding art of origami. What's most interesting was that the students also created a line of maternity gowns with pastel colors and light fabrics like chiffon, georgette satin and net with embroidery embellishments.


Talking about the success of the show, Mr. Ashok Daryani, Managing Director, INIFD Vashi remarked, "We are glad that through IVANA 2017 we got to showcase an extraordinary collection by our students with full grandeur. The response from jury and , especially, Mrs. Amrita Fadnavis was amazing."


"Our students had worked very hard for the last 3 months on their process books, spec sheets, toiles & garments. The jury members were really impressed by the students work and had guided them further for the final touches before the Final Show. The guest list was surprisingly great. I'm confident that Navi Mumbai had not witnessed a show like this before", added Miss Ria Daryani, Centre Head, INIFD Vashi.


The show had a long list of Socialite, Entrepreneurs, top models & celebrity line ups from various fields which included the prestigious singer and wife of the CM of Maharashtra, Mrs. Amruta Fadnavis as the Chief Guest, Bigg Boss fame Imam Siddique, the fashion magnate Kanwaljeet Singh, Mrs. Earth India contestant Neelam Pawar, Mrs. India Globe 2015 winner Elakshi Gupta, Bhojpuri actress Pallavi Koli who was last seen in 'Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai!', fashion designer Nishank Sainani, Doodle Art Productions' creative head Smriti Chaturvedi, celebrity stylist Mitali Ambekar and Karmaveer Noble Laureate Vandana Bhardwaj. Top Models like Dipti Gujral as the showstopper, Khushboo Kankan, Shahnawaz & Nayan Chaudhary along with other female & male models scorched the ramp, under the choreography of Vishal Sawant.

Hindus laud City of San Antonio for sponsoring Om Festival, where “yogis unite to say om”

Hindus have commended America's seventh largest city San Antonio (Texas) for sponsoring Om Festival, a free and open to the public event on April 22, regarding which the City announcement says: "come spread your Om with us!"
"Om" is the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.
Explaining the Om Fest Yoga Festival, City announcement states: Yogis unite to say "om" in Travis Park for a post-Fiesta evening of yoga demonstrations, community yoga, live music, food and entertainment. The Om Yoga Festival will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed.
"Cultivate all the good vibes" during this "Om-azing morning in Travis Park", which also includes meditation, yoga lounge, henna, yoga classes, "Soulful Vinyasa with Live Gongs", Meditation Bowls; per Om Fest announcements.
Calling it a step in the positive direction, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, praised the City of San Antonio for promoting yoga through such a festival and making San Antonians aware about the Hinduism concept of Om. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged all cities of Texas to incorporate multi-beneficial yoga in the lives of their residents through such free festivals.
Yoga, referred as "a living fossil", was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed pointed out.
Rajan Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to "2016 Yoga in America Study", about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image.  Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.
San Antonio is home to UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Antonio Missions and hosts the huge annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. Ivy R. Taylor and Sheryl Sculley are Mayor and City Manager respectively.