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Global Hindu Temple Network

Newsletter











Connecting Global Threads of Faith


In a world characterized by cultural diversity and interconnectedness, the Hindu perspective on global events is shaped by a deep-rooted commitment to preserving heritage and fostering inclusivity worldwide. The Connecting Global Threads of Faith newsletter serves as a beacon, illuminating both the triumphs and tribulations faced by Hindus across different continents, and providing a platform to amplify their voices and concerns.
At the heart of the Hindu worldview lies a profound reverence for diversity, encapsulated in the ancient Sanskrit aphorism, "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam," which translates to "the world is one family." This ethos underpins our interactions with the broader global community, emphasizing the importance of mutual respect, harmony, and understanding among people of diverse backgrounds.
From significant legal rulings to religious celebrations and communal gatherings, the last 15 days have been a testament to the resilience and vibrancy of Hindu culture in an ever-changing world.
In the United States, Hindu American groups have hailed the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as a long-awaited victory for persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the rights of religious refugees. The recent protests in Nepal have sparked renewed conversations regarding the significance of Hinduism in shaping the nation's governance. These discussions suggest that certain segments of the population are driven by a profound aspiration to uphold traditional values and cultural identity, potentially inspired by Hinduism's emphasis on righteousness and ethical conduct.
Amidst these geopolitical developments, the celebration of Mahashivratri has served as a unifying force, bringing together Hindus from diverse backgrounds to honor Lord Shiva and partake in rituals that symbolize spiritual renewal and cosmic harmony. The festivities in Nepal and India exemplify the enduring relevance of ancient traditions in modern society, fostering a sense of collective belonging and reverence for divine forces.
In India, the persisting legal battles surrounding revered sites like the Bhojshala Temple evoke poignant sentiments among Hindus, echoing the historical injustices suffered by Hindu religious places. These conflicts underscore the intricate interplay between history, religion, and the enduring values cherished by the Hindu community. They serve as poignant reminders of the imperative to uphold the rule of law while addressing the deep-seated wounds inflicted on Hindu heritage over time. Similarly, the legal summons issued to Udhayanidhi Stalin for his comments on 'Sanatana Dharma' exemplify the intricate interplay between freedom of expression and the delicate religious sentiments prevailing in diverse societies, such as Tamil Nadu where Hindus constitute the majority. Moreover, leaders frequently criticize Hinduism and call for its elimination, disregarding the feelings of Hindus, despite their overwhelming presence in society.
The inauguration of Ayodhya's Ram Mandir has become a symbolic pilgrimage site, drawing Hindus from across India and transcending geographical and political barriers. Despite supposed north-south political divisions, devotees from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and beyond flock to Ayodhya, united in their reverence for Lord Ram and the significance of the temple. For many, including R Unnithan, the temple represents a reclaiming of Hindu identity and heritage. The temple's impact resonates even among NRIs and families from Bihar and Maharashtra, who see it as a moment of national pride and a testament to Hindu resurgence. As devotees converge in Ayodhya, the temple serves as a unifying symbol, reaffirming the cultural and spiritual unity of Hinduism.
On the cultural front, the inauguration of the BAPS Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi marks a significant milestone for the global Hindu community, signifying the increasing acknowledgment of Hinduism on the world stage. The temple's architectural magnificence and spiritual importance not only highlight the richness of Hindu traditions but also promote interfaith dialogue and understanding, thereby fostering greater cooperation and mutual respect among diverse religious communities.
Beyond the confines of geopolitical boundaries, Hindus in Indonesia have celebrated Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, with solemnity and introspection. Despite being a minority in a predominantly Muslim country, Balinese Hindus continue to uphold their traditions and rituals, embodying the resilience and adaptability of Hindu culture in diverse cultural contexts.
As Hindus reflect on the events of the past 15 days, they are reminded of the timeless principles that guide their faith – compassion, resilience, and devotion. In a world fraught with uncertainty and turmoil, these values serve as a source of solace and inspiration, guiding individuals and communities towards a future of peace, harmony, and spiritual fulfilment.
In conclusion, the last 15 days have been a testament to the enduring spirit of Hinduism, as manifested in the celebration of sacred festivals, the pursuit of justice, and the resilience of cultural heritage. As Hindus navigate the complexities of the modern world, they draw strength from their rich spiritual legacy, uniting them in their quest for truth, righteousness, and universal brotherhood.

Sincerely 
Dr Vinay Nalwa
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March Newsletter # 1 (Mar 01 – Mar 15)

United States of America 
The Hindu American Foundation has welcomed the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the Coalition of Hindus of North America called it a victory for the persecuted minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Supporters see CAA as a win for persecuted religious minorities. In contrast, IAMC said CAA targets and disenfranchises Indian Muslims. The CAA applies to refugees who entered India before December 31, 2014
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has been rolled out with the notification of rules on Monday. The CAA fast-tracks the path to citizenship for non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who faced religious persecution and entered India on or before December 31, 2014. Indian-Americans have praised the Indian government for implementing the CAA.
Hindu American groups like the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) have welcomed the CAA, calling it "long overdue". They said India's CAA mirrors the Lautenberg Amendment for religious refugees in the United States, news agency PTI reported.

Nepal
Sixteen years ago, mass protests in Nepal forced then-King Gyanendra Shah to give up the throne and clear the way for a republic. Now, a new wave of protest is trying to bring him back.
The capital of the Himalayan country is again teeming with demonstrators, this time demanding that Shah be reinstated as king and Hinduism brought back as a state religion. Royalist groups accuse the country’s major political parties of corruption and failed governance and say people are frustrated with politicians.

Thousands of Hindu devotees on Friday thronged the Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal's capital Kathmandu on the occasion of Mahashivratri. The devotees started gathering in nearby rivers, ponds and temples in the early morning to worship Lord Shiva in Nepal. Shivaratri is one of the widely celebrated festivals in neighbouring India and Nepal.
Mahashivratri is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of the 'Magha' month, as per the Hindu lunar calendar. Maha Shivaratri marks the convergence of 'Shiva' and 'Shakti' and also celebrates the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandav'- the cosmic dance. It is believed that on this day, the stars in the Northern Hemisphere are in the most optimum positions to help raise a person's spiritual energy.
This occasion marks the anniversary of the divine marriage between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, representing the celestial merger of cosmic forces, and the balance between masculine and feminine energies. 

India
It’s early Holi for Pakistani refugees in India as govt notifies CAA; say 'will finally be called Indian citizens'
With the CAA rules being notified, the government will now start granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from the said countries. 
Pakistani refugees residing in around the country expressed a sense of hope and relief on the implementation of the 2019 Citizenship (Amendment) Act on Monday, saying they are elated they "will finally be called Indian citizens".
Celebrations erupted in the Majnu ka Tilla area where they mostly live. They were singing and cheering the center's move to announce the rules that come into force with immediate effect.

The next hearing in the ‘Sanatana Dharma’ case is scheduled for April 1
On Sept. 2, 2023, DMK youth wing secretary and Tamil Nadu Youth Welfare Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin addressed an event where he called for the eradication of Sanatana Dharma. 
A court in Ara in Bihar took cognisance of a complaint and issued summons against Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and Tamil Nadu Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, for his remarks on ‘Sanatana Dharma’.
A complaint was filed by an advocate, Dharnidhar Pandey, who claimed that Mr. Udhayanidhi Stalin remarks had hurt the religious sentiments of crores of Hindus.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday permitted the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to ‘scientific survey’ the Bhojshala Temple cum Kamal-Maula Mosque complex in Dhar within six weeks.
The order came after the Hindu side had moved the court, seeking a survey to determine the true character of the place which Muslims treat as a mosque.
“This court has drawn only one conclusion that Constitutional as well as statutory obligations of the ASI to have a scientific survey, study convened at the earliest of Bhojshala Temple and Kamal Maula Mosque,” observed a division bench of the HC at Indore comprising Justices SA Dharmadhikari and Devnarayan Mishra.

The holy town of Ayodhya has become a confluence of people from across the country, especially Southern India, as over two lakh people continue to pour in daily to visit the Ram Temple. The devotional atmosphere at Ayodhya does not seem to have any such geographical divide.
A 44-member group from Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu is equally excited to be at the Ram Temple; they come from the Sri Ayyappa Sangam. The praised the good arrangements and said they were proud of being in Ayodhya.
A young girl from Telangana, Revanthi, described the experience of coming to Ayodhya as magical, adding that her family had come from the land of Bhadrachalam (an important religious site which has a temple of Lord Ram) to his birthplace in Ayodhya.  News18 also met an NRI family that took a trip from the USA to come to Ayodhya. “I feel I got lucky to get this opportunity, I never felt this proud to be a Hindu. We are here for Lord Ram. It is a big thing…a bunch of my friends thought we would never see this day. It is a great moment that Lord Ram is out of a tent,” the NRI said. A family from Jharkhand said they belonged to Mithila and had a close connection with Lord Ram. 
In Ayodhya, the feeling of pride and glory of being a Hindu transcends geographical boundaries of states and castes.

Kedarnath Temple will open for pilgrims on May 10 at 7am this year, the Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee has announced on Friday. The announcement was made on the auspicious occasion of the Hindu festival Maha Shivaratri.
The pilgrimage will start with the departure of the Panchmukhi Doli on May 6. It will travel through various stops before reaching the holy site of Kedarnath Dham on the evening of May 9, reported news agency ANI. The decision was made during a religious ceremony conducted at the Pachkadar Gaddi Sthal Shri Omkareshwar Temple in Uttarakhand's Ukhimath, in the presence of Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee President Ajendra Ajay.
Due to heavy snowfall in the winter season, all routes to Kedarnath Dham get closed for six months. Every year, the doors of Kedarnath Dham are closed two days after Diwali, on the occasion of Bhai Dooj in the winter season. The temple then reopens in April or May
Kedarnath Temple is the eleventh Jyotirlinga in India and dedicated to Lord Shiva. Every year, thousands of devotees and pilgrims undertake pilgrimage to the sacred Hindu site.
The pilgrimage is also a part of the popular Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. During the yatra, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri - four holy Hindu sites nestled high up in the Himalayas are covered.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday defended restoration of Hindu places of worship saying they are being done in all fairness and backed by proof, and not an attempt to emotionalize anything.
The construction of the three-storied Ram temple in Ayodhya is underway after the Supreme Court verdict came in favour of the temple in 2019.
"We need the right kind of storytelling, highlighting it and wherever necessary... so that the civilizational attempt to restore (temples) is done with fairness...we are not trying to emotionalise anything...emotion we have inside, but proof with which we go to the court should stand out for itself," Sitharaman said at a book release event here.
Documentations continued till the 11th century and these were also mentioned by Chinese and Persian scholars who visited India in the past. However, later the tradition suffered, she said, adding, that documentation does suggest that there was repeated turbulence in Kashi for over 800 years.

United Arab Emirates
The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Hindu Temple in Saudi Arabia capital Abu Dhabi, which opened to the public today, issued a series of guidelines to visitors regarding preferred clothing, bans and photography rules.
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, commonly known as BAPS, is a Hindu religious and social organization. It was founded in 1907 by Shastriji Maharaj, a spiritual leader of the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism. 
As it opened for the general public, these guidelines were issued by the temple authorities: “Cover the area of the body between the neck, the elbow, and the ankles. Caps, t-shirts, and other clothing articles with offensive designs are not allowed. Do not wear translucent or tight-fitting clothing. Avoid clothing articles and accessories that make distracting noises or reflections”.
The website said pets are also not allowed inside the temple premises. No outside food and drinks are allowed. No drones are allowed within the temple premises.
The authorities said that these guidelines must be followed “to preserve the tranquil ambience and ensure the orderly management of our premises”.

Indonesia 
The Raksa Buana Great Temple in Medan is one of only two Balinese Hindu temples in the Indonesian city of 2.5 million people. Tucked away in a backstreet, it would be easy to miss the carved stone building, which was built in 1978.
While the temple is usually closed to the public, on March 10 its front gates – flanked by two fearsome temple guardians carved from stone – were thrown open for the eve of Nyepi, known as the Day of Silence, and mostly celebrated in Bali, the mainly Hindu island in mostly Muslim Indonesia.
Wayan Dirgayasa, a professor of English at the State University of Medan who leads the city’s Balinese Hindu community told, “Nyepi is the Hindu new year celebration, and we make offerings the night before as part of a ceremony called Bhuta Yajna. Bhuta are considered creatures lower than humans, but they live in our world with us and were created by God. They are negative beings, and we make offerings at the temple so that they become positive. In our world, it is all about balance.
“We believe that there are three worlds, upper, middle and lower, and we believe in a macro-cosmos and a micro-cosmos. If we study physics, it explains it all. The micro-cosmos is ourselves and the macro-cosmos is the world around us.”

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