Source INDIA, March 22, 2017 (Press Information Bureau): Aastha Circuit trains covering various religious places commenced operation on March 17, 2017. They offer all-inclusive tour packages with different itineraries of varying duration, decided by ...
Link to Hindu Press International

Hindu Press International

A daily news summary for news media, educators, researchers, writers and religious leaders worldwide, courtesy of Hinduism Today magazine's editorial staff


INDIA, March 22, 2017 (Press Information Bureau): Aastha Circuit trains covering various religious places commenced operation on March 17, 2017. They offer all-inclusive tour packages with different itineraries of varying duration, decided by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. Tours are announced and booked through IRCTC tourism portal The first 6 nights/7 days itinerary started from Guwahati on February 17, 2017 covered Kolkata, Puri and Bhubaneswar and the second 10 nights/11 days itinerary, which started from Darbhanga on March 20, 2017, plans to cover Bhubaneswar, Tirupati, Kanyakumari, Trivandrum, Rameshwaram and Madurai, with several boarding/de-boarding points enroute.

The Astha Special Tourist Train "West India - Jyotirlinga Special Tour" includes an 8 night/9 day itinerary for a cost of US$127 in a second class sleeper coach with stops in Dwarka, Mahakaleshwar, Nageshwar, Omkareshwar and Somnath.

The package includes:
Hall accommodation at places of night stay/morning freshening up.
Pure vegetarian meals.
Non AC Tourist buses for visiting sightseeing spots.
Tour escorts for announcements and information.
Security arrangements for each coach.
An IRCTC Official on train as train Superintendent.

For more detailed information and a list of scheduled tours, see: ... nationCity=&packageCity=0

HPI Note: Hinduism Today is planning a story on these train pilgrimages, and if you've been on one, we'd like to hear from you. Contact



It is not a matter of becoming the Self, but of realizing that you never were not the Self.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001)



UTTARAKHAND, INDIA, March 21, 2017 (THe Tribune):Exercising extraordinary jurisdiction vested in the court, a division bench of Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh of the High Court said, "Holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna have been declared to be treated as living human entities." Agreeing with advocate MC Pant, the court cited the example of river Whanganui in New Zealand which has been given such status.

Giving the "legal status" of living humans to the holy rivers, the court ordered that the Director, Namami Gange project for cleaning and rejuvenating the river, the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Uttarakhand will act as the "legal parents" of the holy rivers and work as the human face to protect, conserve and preserve them and their tributaries. These officers will be bound to "uphold the status" of the two rivers and also promote their "health and well being", the court said. On the court ruling, Union minister for water resources Uma Bharti said, "We have always considered Ganga as mother and a mother is a living person. The court has endorsed our point of view."

HPI note: It is also the case in Indian law that the Deity of a temple is a legal "person," with the temple properties being held in the Deity's name.



NEW YORK, NEW YORK, March 22, 2017: HPI Note: "Jews and Hindus in Indology" is in continuation of the lengthy critique of German Indology presented in The Nay Science by Vishwa Adluir (professor of religion as Hunter College) and Joydeep Bagchee Freie Universitat Berline). In this paper available on (source above), they explore the particular situation of Jewish scholars in an academic field dominated by German Protestants. Their conclusion of the 69-page paper reads:

"The analysis presented here lets us now appreciate the full scope of The Nay Science's project. Our aim in this work was to ask four questions about Indology as it is currently practiced.

"The first was epistemological: how was German Indology a science? How did it generate certain, universally valid propositions? Here we showed that Indology did not correspond to any acceptable definition of science. Even though the Indologists claimed that their work was objective and scientific as compared with the allegedly arbitrary interpretations of native commentators, their work was not any more scientific. Rather, it was based on racial, anti-Semitic, and anti-Brahmanic principles.

"The second question we asked was ethical: how did the German Indologists address these problematic aspects of their history? Were they cognizant of them? Had they engaged in a self-critique? Had they corrected for the historical-critical method's anti-Judaic bias? Once again, we found that, far from addressing these problems, the Indologists were obsessed with defending an institutional hegemony. They failed to acknowledge either their discipline's involvement in Nazism or their share of responsibility in legitimating Aryanism.

"The third question we asked was pedagogic: how did German Indology contribute to pedagogy? What was its value to students? Here we showed that the discipline did not actually aim to make texts accessible and transparent. Indeed, it rejected philosophical interpretation as incommensurable with the "scientific" task. Although German Indologists claimed to be part of the humanities, their work favored an arcane, technical style, that restricted these texts to other disciplinary "initiates." Their work set aside both ethics and pedagogy as beyond Indology's ambit, and posited a fantastic objectivity instead.

"The fourth question we asked concerned German Indology's public value: if the discipline contributed neither to science nor to ethics nor to pedagogy, what function did it serve? Why was it funded? Here we found that Indology's main function consisted of oversight over the Brahmanic (read: priestly) tradition.German Indologists had failed to evolve a single positive justification for their discipline, other than offering a counterpoint to the tradition. Yet, although they claimed to be historically self-aware, they could not answer a simple question: in what way was their scholarship "critical"? Parasitic on the Indian tradition, using their corporate status to compel respect from the Indians, and yet incapable of dialoguing with them, the Indologists thus represent a failed chapter in German intellectual history. They survive merely on the strength of their institutional arrangements, that is, what Ringer terms "legality."

"The present paper brought these points together and showed how, on the back of a supersessionist narrative of liberation from Brahmanism, the German Indologists actually constituted themselves as a new priesthood. Their example is instructive for anyone concerned with the university's future direction."



Men who can brave death on the battlefield are common; but rare are they who can face an audience without fear.
-- Tirukural 723


NOTICE: Some source URLs cited in HPI articles are only valid on the date the article was issued. Most are invalid a week to a few months later. When a URL fails to work, go to the top level of the source's website and search for the article.

Opportunities and Submissions

Individuals and organizations are invited to submit Hindu-related news and announcements for distribution by HPI.

News is our major thrust--the more current and global, the better. When sending news to HPI, please provide the source and text of the original item, either by e-mail to or by fax to +1-808-822-4351. News should clearly relate to the Hindu religion.

For announcements, please prepare a short summary of the subject and provide a URL to a web page with details. For example, 'Swamiji will be visiting San Francisco, California, November 14-19, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, November 21-23, 2008. For further information visit' Alternatively, one could provide an e-mail address. Acceptable subjects for announcements include significant world tours of religious leaders, major events of organizations, major cultural exhibitions and outstanding artistic performances.

Click for details on Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami's upcoming travels

Click here to safely unsubscribe from "Hinduism Today Magazine."
Click here to view mailing archives, here to change your preferences, or here to subscribePrivacy