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Oprah Winfrey’s television series ‘Belief’ set to explore Hinduism

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New Delhi: Oprah Winfrey’s upcoming TV series Belief to showcase Reshma Thakkar, a young Indian-American Hindu woman from Chicago, who in search of answers, purpose, and self-discovery, quits her cushy healthcare IT job and embarks on a pilgrimage to India hoping to connect with others of her faith at the Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest spiritual congregation.

Thakkar’s story is among the many stories about faith and spiritual practices around the world that will be featured on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s television series titled, “Belief.”

The seven-part series, which premiered Feb 1 on Discovery Channel, will air every Monday.

The series will also bring to light the story of Anju, a young woman in central India who has committed to forgo all of life’s conveniences and permanently sever ties with her family in order to be initiated as a Jain nun. Anju must first pass three tests designed to challenge her commitment, according to the network.

This groundbreaking original series invites viewers to witness some of the world’s most fascinating spiritual journeys through the eyes of the believers. Traveling to the far reaches of world, and to places where cameras have rarely been, “Belief” searches the origins of diverse faiths and the heart of what really matters, added the network.

The series also touches upon India and one of the world’s largest religions, Hinduism, along with showcasing the Indian festival of Holi.

(The story was first published at India West. Picture Courtesy: xonecole.com)

 

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Hinduism is Not an Official or Preferred Religion in Any Country of The World, Says a New Report

Though Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world, it is not the official state religion of any country according to a Pew Research Center Report

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Hinduism
Hinduism is not an official religion of any country in the world. Instagram.
  • No country has declared Hinduism as its official state religion – despite India being an influential Hindu political party
  • Hinduism is not an official or preferred religion in any country of the world, according to a Pew Research Center report.
  • 53% of 199 nations considered in the study don’t have an official religion
  • 80 countries are assigned either an “official religion” or “preferred religion”

Nevada, USA, October 16: Hinduism is the primeval and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion followers of moksh (liberation) being its utmost desire of life. India is among the category of nations where the government do not have an official or preferred religion.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank headquartered in Washington DC that aims to inform the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

The report states that a country’s official religion is regarded as a legacy of its past and present privileges granted by the state. And a few other countries fall on the other side of the gamut, and propagate their religion as the ‘official religion’, making it a compulsion for all citizens.

It adds up on the context of allocation that more than eight-in-ten countries (86%) provide financial support or resources for religious education programs and religious schools that tend to benefit the official religion.

Hinduism
Islam is the most practiced official religion of the world. Instagram.

Commenting on Hinduism, the report states:

In 2015, Nepal came close to enshrining Hinduism, but got rejected of a constitutional amendment due to a conflict between pro-Hindu protesters and state police.

Although India has no official or preferred religion as mentioned in the Constitution,it was found by PEW that in India the intensity of government constraints and social antagonism involving religion was at a peak. “Nigeria, India, Russia, Pakistan and Egypt had the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion among the 25 most populous countries in 2015. All fell into the “very high” hostilities category,” the report added.

As per the 2011 census, it was found that 79.8% of the Indian population idealizes Hinduism and 14.2% practices to Islam, while the rest 6% pursuit other religions.

While Hinduism stands up with the majority, Article 25 of the Constitution of India contributes secularism allowing for religious freedom and allows every Indian to practice his/her religion, without any intervention by the community or the government.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, applauded the Hindu community for their benefaction to the society and advised Hindus to concentrate on inner purity, attract spirituality towards youth and children, stay far from the greed, and always keep God in the life.

According to Pew, these are “places where government officials seek to control worship practices, public expressions of religion and political activity by religious groups”.

-by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana

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Paintings Which Beautifully Depict Scenes From Ramayana

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Ram lifting the bow during Sita Swayambar. Wikimedia Commons.

Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic which describes the narrative of Ayodhya Prince lord Rama’s struggles. The struggles include- exile of 14 years, abduction of his wife Sita, reaching Lanka, destruction of the evil. It is strongly ingrained in the Indian culture, especially, the Hindu culture since a long time. Hindus celebrate Diwali based on the narratives of Ramayana.

The story of Ramayana gives out the beautiful message that humanity and service to the mankind is way more important than kingdom and wealth. Below are five paintings describing the scenes from Ramayana:

1. Agni Pariksha in Ramayana

Ramayana
Agni Pariksha. Wikimedia.

When Lord Rama questions Sita’s chastity, she undergoes Agni Pariksha, wherein, she enters a burning pyre, declaring that if she has been faithful to her husband then the fire would harm her. She gets through the test without any injuries or pain. The fire God, Agni, was the proof of her purity. Lord Rama accepts Sita and they return to Ayodhya. 

2. Scene From The Panchavati Forest

Ramayana
scene from the panchavati forest. wikimedia.

The picture describes a scene from the Panchavati forest. It is believed that Lord Rama built his forest by residing in the woods of Panchavati, near the sources of the river Godavari, a few miles from the modern city of Mumbai. He lived in peace with his wife and brother in the forest.

3. Hanuman Visits Sita

Ramayana
Hanuman meets Sita. Wikimedia.

Hanuman reaches Lanka in search of Sita. At first, he was unable to find Sita. He later saw a woman sitting in Ashok Vatika, drowned in her sorrows, looked extremely pale. He recognized her. After seeing the evil king, Ravana making her regular visit to Sita, he hid somewhere in the Vatika. After Ravana left, Hanuman proved Sita that he is Rama’s messenger by showing her his ring. He assured her that Rama would soon come to rescue her. Before leaving Lanka, he heckled Ravana. Agitated by Hanuman’s actions, Ravana ordered to set Hanuman’s tail on fire. With the burning tail, Hanuman set the entire city on fire.

 

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Ten Tips On How To Boost Self-Confidence | Life Skills

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How to boost your self confidence. Pixabay

One of the major things which pull back a person before he/she thinks of doing something big is low self-confidence. Despite having the skills and talent in them to achieve heights, they are unsuccessful due to their confidence issues. The fear of becoming a joke in front of 20 people stops us from doing a lot of things in life, and this fear leads to the lack in self-confidence. For a person to grow in life, one needs to win the battle with “self”. We need to have belief in us, which we can achieve a certain thing. But as we say, easier said than done. People around you may advise on how to boost self-confidence but for the person who has experienced knows the best.

However, there is always a scope of improvement in life. One should try their best in boosting their confidence level. Let’s talk about some tips on “how to boost self-confidence”.

10 tips on how to boost self-confidence:

1. Grooming

This is one of the best tips to give someone on being asked the question- how to boost self-confidence. Being presentable and courteous in front of someone makes a great impression. If our impression is good, then we are not scared of being judged by people. And hence, we confidently conduct ourselves and our actions.

2. Always think positive

Success never comes on a plate. While working on something, a lot of negative thoughts may clutter your brain and restrict you from going further. Therefore, the biggest things which can be done to boost self-confidence is not to let failure affect your mind. If you have a positive approach to life and do not fear much about outcomes, your self-confidence will automatically be boosted.

3. Get to know more of you

When you are stepping out to fight your enemy, you need to know every thing about your enemy. In this case, your thoughts are your enemy. Your low self-confidence is your enemy. So, to win the battle, start listening to your thoughts. Introspect your mind. A clear mind has more room for positive thoughts.

Also Read: Why Do We Gossip? Psychology Behind Gossip And More! 

4. Be generous

Being nice to others not just helps in improving your self-image in a big way.

5. Change bad habits

Habits which are unhealthy and negative should not be existing in your lifestyle and should be changed. For example- quitting smoking. Sometimes we don’t realize that how the presence of some habits in our life, act negatively for us. This destroys our self-image and reduces our self-confidence.

6. Smile

A small smile on the face makes you happy and the people surrounding you happier. A little thing can have a chain reaction. Besides, you don’t have to spend money for smiling. So why shy away from being happy. Also, happiness brings positive thoughts which leads to a boost in your self-confidence.

7. Follow your principles

Standing for righteousness and sticking by your principles always makes you a better person in life. This way, you already have a clear goal in life. You already know what should be done and what should not be done. This clears your mind’s clutter and allows you in being confident in whatever you do.

8. Always be prepared

It’s difficult to be confident about something for which you have not prepared yourself. For example, think about an exam. If you haven’t studied well, you won’t have the confidence of doing well in it. Therefore, it is important to be well prepared. This is the most followed tip in learning how to boost self-confidence.

9. Speak slowly

A person some power or authority always speaks slowly and clearly. This shows the mark of being self-confident. A person who just hurries with talks appears to be someone who wants to avoid things or just get away with them. Practicing your talk helps increase your confidence.

10. Be more competitive

If you are more competitive in life, you work harder to achieve certain goals. This competition automatically boosts your self-confidence and leads to a brighter life.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.