TOKYO, ,JAPAN, May 22, 2017 (by Pallavi Aiyar, The Hindu ): Amidst the quintessentially Japanese plum blossom trees and antique shops, it is jolting therefore, to stumble upon Matsuchiyama Shoden, a Ganesha temple located on slightly elevated ground by the river. But given the Hindu roots of so many deities in the Japanese Buddhist pantheon, it is not entirely surprising. Early Buddhism was deeply intertwined with Hinduism. Consequently, many Japanese schools of Buddhism, especially those influenced by tantric thought, adopted Brahmanic and Hindu devas or Gods. The Hindu God Shiva (Daijizaiten), for example, was associated with Avalokitesvara or Kannon, while Brahma (Bonten) was linked to Manjusri. Hindu deities were most commonly incorporated as guardians. Some, such as Indra (Taishakuten) and Varuna (Raijin) are ubiquitous at temple entrances. Other common devas include Yama (Enmaten), Garuda (Karura), and Lakshmi (Kichijoten). Saraswati (Benzaiten) is particularly popular and has hundreds of temples dedicated to Her across the country.
However, the journey over mountains and oceans from India via China to the Japanese archipelago transformed these deities both in their physical representations and metaphysical meanings. Consequently, for the average Japanese, the Hindu underpinnings of the deities they so often genuflect before at temples have become more or less invisible. Neither the names nor the appearance of the deities betray their origins to the uninitiated. In the case of Ganesha this invisibility is literal, since statues of the elephant-headed deity are almost never displayed public. He is considered so powerful that beholding him can be dangerous and his icons are secreted away, sometimes not even seen by the priests themselves. The juushoku or head priest of Matsuchiyama Shoden, Hirata Shinjyun, confesses to never having looked at the temple's statue of Ganesha. In fact, the last time it was seen by human eyes was following World War II, when it was extracted from its underground wartime hiding place, and placed in an inner sanctum that has remained shut since. The priest says the secrecy surrounding the deity adds to the belief in the efficacy of its power.
INDIA, May 23, 2017 (Slideshare by Arindam Bandyopadhyay): One of the most extraordinary examples of whitewashing of history is the sustained, continuing deletion of two centuries of massive recurrent, man made famine in British India from British and world history. How did these famines occur? The main reason was not bad weather or natural causes but rather the breaking up of India's indigenous crop patterns. The British replaced food crops such as rice and wheat and instead forced Indian farmers to produce jute, cotton, tea and oil seeds, which they needed as raw materials for their home industries. The implication of this in times of shortages was catastrophic, as the famine figures show.
Slideshow and written text for Part 3 at "source" above as well as access to Parts 1 & 2.
ORLANDO, USA, May 17, 2017 (press release): The Mahatma Gandhi Center for Nonviolence, Human Rights and World Peace at the Hindu University of America is launching online Certificate, Masters and Doctoral program in Conflict, Peace and Hindu Philosophy (CPH) from July 2017. The program aims at enriching the discipline of Conflict and Peace Studies by providing a Hindu perspective. The dominant perspectives in conflict resolution prioritize rigid notions on peace and security, often at the cost of other perspectives from pluralistic cultures and traditions. The program aims to widen the discipline by drawing upon the finer principles of Hinduism. It brings into focus ideas and contributions of the philosophers, leaders and Yogis from Dharmic traditions.
For details of the program see "source" above.
Hinduism is not a definite dogmatic creed, but a vast, complex and subtly unified mass of spiritual thought and realization. Its tradition of the Godward endeavor of the human spirit has been continuously enlarging through the ages.
-- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975), philosopher, statesmen and second President of India
INDIA, May 20, 2017 (Daily Sabah): Some 1,800 people [other reports give a higher number], many of them pilgrims, were stranded after a landslide hit a highway near a Hindu temple site in India's northern mountainous state of Uttarakhand, officials said Saturday. The landslide triggered by pre-monsoon rains blocked the highway to the Badrinath temple, one of the main Hindu shrines in the region, leading to many vehicles being stuck on both sides.
"Around 1,800 people have been affected by the landslide. Authorities have made provisions for the lodging, food and drinking water of the people in the area," state official Ashish Joshi said. Another state official, Vinod Kumar Suman, said there were no reports of deaths or injuries. Tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit the temples in the Himalayan state every year. In 2013, heavy monsoon rains triggered devastating floods and landslides in the region, leaving more than 5,700 dead or missing and presumed dead.