Category Archives: World

yoga

Atlanta International Airport will create Yoga/Meditation space

Hindus have welcomed proposal of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to create Yoga/Meditation space, and hope that it will be available free-of-charge to users like some other US and international airports.

ATL is seeking proposals to develop “Traveler’s Oasis” on its T & B Concourses totaling 4,334 square feet, which includes Yoga/Meditation space with yoga mats, with the optional provision of “instructional yoga exercise technique videos”.

Calling it a step in the positive direction for ATL, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, urged all top world airports to provide yoga facilities for the passengers if they wanted to help reduce their stress levels and be “world-class” airports. Zed urged ATL authorities to keep the Yoga Space open round-the-clock and invite the local yoga studios/teachers to hold occasional free yoga classes there for the passengers, employees, vendors and visitors.

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, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.

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.

Awards-winning ATL with history going back to 1925, owned by the City of Atlanta and operated by its Department of Aviation and spread in 4,700 acres; claims to be “the busiest and most efficient airport in the world”. It reportedly offers nonstop service to over 150 domestic and 75 international destinations and serves nearly 104 million passengers annually. Keisha Lance-Bottoms and Roosevelt Council Jr. are Atlanta Mayor and Airport General Manager respectively.

diwali

Diwali holiday at New Jersey’s Bernards School

Hindus, who have been pushing for Diwali holiday at Bernards Township School District (BTSD) in New Jersey, have welcomed the announcement of holiday on Diwali, the most popular of Hindu festivals, starting 2021.

Nick Markarian, BTSD Superintendent, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, wrote: The Board directed that the district’s calendar policy be revised to close school for students on Diwali when Diwali falls on a weekday starting with the 2021-2022 school year.​

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, called closing schools on Diwali by BTSD “a step in the positive direction”. He urged all public school districts and private-charter-independent schools in New Jersey to close on Diwali in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students in New Jersey; as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these pupils.

Rajan Zed indicated that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children; closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and would also display how respectful and accommodating New Jersey schools were to their faith.

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.

In New Jersey for 2017, when Diwali fell on October 19; Glen Rock Public Schools announced closure of schools and offices on Diwali; in West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, schools were closed on October 19; and in Piscataway Township Schools, there was “No School for Students” on Diwali. And in the recent past, Millburn Township Public Schools announced Diwali day off for students for the next three years, Edison Township Public Schools declared “no school for students” for upcoming Diwali and Chesterfield Township School District declared school closure on November seven for Diwali; reports suggest.

Zed urged New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy, New Jersey Acting Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet and New Jersey State Board of Education President Arcelio Aponte; to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in all the state’s public schools, and persuading the private-charter-independent schools to follow. Zed also thanked BTSD Board and its President Robin McKeon and Superintendent Markarian for understanding the concerns of Hindu community.

Rajan Zed states 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.

“The List of Religious Holidays Permitting Student Absence from School” of the New Jersey State Board of Education contains 19 Hindu holidays, which include Chandramana Yugadi, Diwali,  Duserra,  Ganesha Chaturthi,  Goverdhan Puja,  Guru Purnima, Hanuman Jayanti,  Holi,  Krishna Janmashtami,  Maha Shivaratri, Makar Sankranti,  Naga Panchami,  Navaratri,  Onam, Pongal,  Raksha Bandhan,  Ramnavami,  Souramana Yugadi, Vasant Panchami. Navaratri is listed for nine days.

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.

Mission of awards-winning BTSD, headquartered in Basking Ridge, includes:  to provide a superior education which…fosters social-emotional development. 

Hindu Temple breaking ground in Chatham Illinois April 21

Preparations are reportedly on for Bhoomi Puja (ground breaking) for the new about 8,500 square-feet Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield (HTGS) in the village of Chatham (Illinois).

Bhoomi Puja is performed to attract the positive energies and to appease the natural elements of the new site while seeking the blessings of Vastu Purush and mother Earth to ensure the safety and well-being of all involved in the endeavor, an HTGS announcement says. New temple showcasing the traditional Hindu architecture and including a raja-gopuram, is expected to be complete in two years, reports suggest.

The interim Hindu Temple in Chatham, a former Baptist Church, which opens daily, reportedly conducts worship services everyday with customary rituals, celebrates Hindu festivals, organizes cultural events, runs language and religious education classes, holds study circles and discourses, undertakes religious activities and community service projects, etc.

Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, commended efforts of temple leaders and area community towards realizing this Hindu temple complex.

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 this temple 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.

Mission of HTGS, a non-profit organization established 2007, includes “to preserve and promote the Hindu Religion, culture and philosophy”. Gopal Reddy and Kamal Chopra are Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively of the Governing Board of Trustees; while Raghu Raghuraman and Suchitra Puthanpurayil are President and Secretary respectively of the Executive Committee.

Puja (worship) services at the temple for 60th/80th birthday costs $251, child-naming ceremony costs $51, mundan (tonsure) ceremony costs $31 and for vehicle it costs $25. 

Youth from India participate and raise their voice in Jordan

AMMAN, March 26, 2018— Under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II, and co-hosted by HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the second Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit 2018 takes place in Jordan on March 26, 2018 at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre in the Dead Sea. Inspired and founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, Laureates and Leaders for Children is a growing movement bringing together Nobel Laureates, global leaders, and youth from around the world to inspire, collaborate and act to protect the most vulnerable children. Youth from India namely Amarlal,MananAnsari,Shubham and Khusboo were present at the conference. They have been rescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan and are former Child Laborers except Khushboo.

Shubham, who was a former Child Labourer,and is currently an engineer said, “I have struggled throughout my life, as a child I struggled when I fought for my daily bread, for my survival. Today, I struggle against the exploitation of children and fight for their rights. Yes the flight to Jordan, my first ever time on a plane, was very comfortable and peaceful. But as soon as the thoughts of children struggling around the world came to mind, even the comfort of Emirates could not bring me relief. I have not found peace yet”.

KailashSatyarthi Children’s Foundation has brought together 200 Youth from different parts of the world mainly Pakistan,Palestine,Sweden etc. The event will also witness Mohammed Al Junde who is the International Peace Prize winner (2017 ),a Syrian refugee and is now in Sweden and Khibaet Salazar who is the National Youth Coordinator of the 100 Million Campaign in Peru . Khibaet Salazar says, “Children are being abused by family members and facing violence at schools. They are migrating to other countries unprotected and facing child labour, sexual exploitation and other forms of violence along the way.I am happy to be part of the summit which values the young generation”

“Today, conflict, violence, climate change and poverty are forcing millions of children on the move” HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein commented. “Millions are losing their homes and families, being trafficked and enslaved, missing out on formal education, and being subjected to routine physical and emotional abuse. This summit is a sincere and concerted effort to bring people together to openly discuss these challenges and formulate long-term and realistic strategies to address them.”

“As a Head of State and leader, I feel especially committed to guaranteeing every child in my country has access to fair opportunities and an environment which is free of any exploitation, abuse, violence and discrimination, “ adds the President of Panama H.E Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez.

Laureates and Leaders for Children aims to harness the intellectual, moral and political will of the world’s leaders to protect and educate every child, especially the more than 263 million children and youth who are not in school, the 152 million children toiling in labour, and 12 million children who make up half of the world’s refugees and asylum seekers. These are not mere numbers but, rather, each figure represents a childhood lost, another child traumatised, and another child more vulnerable to exploitation making it the greatest crisis humanity will ever face.

“I dream of a world where no child needs a passport or a visa. If technology, knowledge and wealth can flow freely across borders without seeking refuge, why can’t our children? I dream of a world where every border, treasury and heart is open for every child. I dream of a world where childhood does not remain a matter of charity, but the essence of childhood – simplicity purity and forgiveness – become driving forces of everyday life”, said Nobel Laureate KailashSatyarthi.

The first Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit, held in 2016, was hosted by the President of India, Honourable Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. Twenty one Nobel Laureates and world leaders joined 400 distinguished thinkers and influencers from academia, business, entertainment, government and civil society, all committed to work together to prioritize the world’s children in their spheres of influence.

After participating in the first summit in India, Secretary General Angel Gurria shared that OECD is incorporating the well-being of children into its measures and indicators of inclusive growth and at the G20 Summit 2017 called for the world’s governments to support Laureates and Leaders for Children, reiterating the need for urgent action to end slavery and ensure all children are educated.

Laureates and Leaders for Children is convened by His Excellency Jose Ramos Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate and Former President of Timor Leste and led by a steering committee including HRH Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan; Her Excellency the First Lady of Panama, Mrs. Lorena Castillo de Varela; Nobel Peace Laureate, Mr. KailashSatyarthi; Human Rights Activist and President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Ms. Kerry Kennedy; and renowned economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Illinois Senate & House opened with Hindu prayers

On February 27 and 28 respectively, Illinois State Senate and House of Representatives in Springfield started their sessions with Hindu prayers, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocations from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the Senate and House. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English interpretation of the prayers. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages.

Zed, who is the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, recited from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use; besides lines from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu scriptures. He started and ended the prayers with “Om”, the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.

Wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead; Rajan Zed sprinkled few drops of water from river Ganga of India, considered holy by Hindus, before the prayers.

Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, Zed said “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”, which he then interpreted as “Lead us from the unreal to the real, Lead us from darkness to light, and Lead us from death to immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged Senators and Representatives to keep the welfare of others always in mind.

A reception was hosted for Rajan Zed by the Greater Springfield Interfaith Association, a “community of individuals engaged in ministry from many different faith traditions”. Zed also met Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and presented him a copy of Bhagavad-Gita.

Zed is a global Hindu and interfaith leader, who besides taking up the cause of religion worldwide, has also raised huge voice against the apartheid faced by about 15-million Roma (Gypsies) in Europe. Bestowed with World Interfaith Leader Award; Zed is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, Spiritual Advisor to National Association of Interchurch & Interfaith Families, on the Advisory Board of The Interfaith Peace Project, etc. He has been panelist for “On Faith”, a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced by The Washington Post; and leads a weekly interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for over seven years.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

John J. Cullerton is President of 59-member Illinois Senate, while Michael J. Madigan is Speaker of 118-member Illinois House of Representatives. The name “Illinois” reportedly comes from a Native American word meaning “tribe of superior men”. Known as “Land of Lincoln”, Abraham Lincoln and three other U.S. Presidents have called Illinois home, including Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Popcorn is the official snack food of Illinois, while Square Dance is its official dance.

Dhyan

Vatican Library carries 15 books on Yoga

Vatican Library carries 15 printed books on the topic of yoga, including an 1897 edition.

Catalogue search reveals titles like “How to know God. The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali” (1953), yoga as a healing path, the yoga of faith, spirituality of yoga, etc.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, termed it as a step in the positive direction and a remarkable gesture to make knowledge about multi-beneficial yoga available through the prestigious Vatican Library.

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, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.

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 a “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.

Collections of Vatican Library (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana) in Vatican City, library of the Holy See, whose traces go back to fourth century; include manuscripts, printed books, coins and medals, archives, graphic materials and art objects. His Excellence Most Reverend Msgr Jean-Louis Bruguès is the librarian of the Holy Roman Church while Msgr Cesare Pasini is the Prefect. It is said to hold about 1.6 million printed books.