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Phagwah (Holi) messages to Guyanese people

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Holi
Image source: wordpress.com
Today is the day that our Hindu brothers and sisters celebrate the triumph of good over evil. We at Kaieteur News fully embrace this noble celebration and pray that good will continue to prevail over our dear land. A Happy HOLI to all of Guyana!

Below are some messages in commemoration of 2016 observance of Phagwah Day.

DR. VINDHYA V. PERSAUD, PRESIDENT OF THE GUYANA HINDU DHARMIC SABHA
Holi or Phagwah is a unique and colourful Hindu festival.  It is possesses an unparalleled social dimension which is conducive to reunion, exchanges and togetherness in an atmosphere of absolute cordiality.

The social aspect of Holi does not in any way obscure its rich spiritual values and message of resistance to evil, which were demonstrated in the life of the devoted Prince Prahalad.

Phagwah is the loveliest of our festivals and is celebrated in an atmosphere of absolute equality.  Every barrier is removed and celebrants are virtually lost in the pomp and gaiety, which HOLI brings. Our celebration must match this beautiful season and all unhealthy practices which mar and pollute this unique and colourful festival must cease.  Drenching each other with water, dumping each other in trenches and dabbing noxious substances must be stamped out. Phagwah must only be played with persons who are desirous of doing so.  Celebrate and do so happily but do remember the significance of the festival which sends a clear signal of respect for human rights so bravely fought for and won by Prahalad.

Let us recapture the ancient feeling which permeates at HOLI time, and syringe it through our veins so that hate, greed, deceit and injustice which manifestly exist in today’s world can be consumed in the pyre, which is kindled and reduced to ashes on the eve of this meaningful festival, which is a harbinger of love, unity, equality, justice and peace.

May the significance of HOLI  influence and enrich your thoughts and inspire all to contribute to a fair and just system in which there exists not only equality but plenty and abundance for all.

GUYANA PANDITS’ COUNCIL – SPIRITUAL HEAD OF RADHA KRISHNA MANDIR
Phagwah or Holi is the festival of Spring. The Festival of Phagwah commemorates the regeneration of Nature from her slumber. This unique Festival found its way on these shores with the arrival of Hindus from India as Indentured Labours. Hindus after traversing thousands of miles from India brought to Guyana their many festivals among which Phagwah has a special place. The significance of Phagwah is manifold. It is a time of Gaiety, splendour and pomp when nature is converted into a beautiful garden full of colours.

The religious aspect of Phagwah gives to mankind the reassurance that evil doers, perpetrators of unholy acts, architects of injustices, and those associated with such actions are inevitably doomed to failure and extinction. In the story of Phagwah there is evidence that the dark forces of evil is eventually conquered by the forces of truth. The symbol of the burning of Holika serves to reinforce that no matter what, once our intentions and actions are malicious, the results will always remain destructive. Sowing evil will result in degeneracy and decay — wrong-doers will be punished in order to change.

Let us allow this festival to be a binding force among us Guyanese and stamp out differences and spread the message of peace and goodwill which Holi brings.

VIRAAT SABHAA GUYANA
Holi or Phagwah is a seasonal festival which predates the Vedic era. From remote antiquity, this festival was celebrated with great pomp and joy by all cross section of the Hindu community.

Phagwah symbolizes the freedom from confinement in every regard. It is a time when nature exhibits its beauty with the introduction of the spring season. With the advent of spring, Life blooms in every kingdom. The plants, animals, birds and human welcome and celebrate the freedom influenced Mother Nature’s hospitality.

The season offers many opportunities for human reflection. Every human being should aspire to be a product of Liberation. In simple, man should recognize he is more a product of divinity rather than sin. Liberation, the high point of the Hindu Life can only be achieved when the divine inherent potentialities in the individual is explored and exploited to its fullest extent. The capacity for such an exploration solely depends on the discriminate power of the aspirant i.e. to be loyal to our conscience rather than be a slave to our minds and senses.
Phagwah also sends the message of integration and cohesion. The multi colours associated with the festival is a clear testimony of varieties adding to nature’s beauty.

Holi is also a time for sharing. It is a time when farmers and peasant celebrate the harvesting of their crops and at the same time, indulge in Yagnas and Pujas, thanking God for his benedictions and also securing blessings for their future crops. Basant, therefore, sends a universal message, which has the potentialities to remove hopelessness and reinstate confidence.

May all be blessed through the significance of the festival.
The Viraat Sabhaa Guyana extends Holi greetings to all Guyanese.

INDIAN ARRIVAL COMMITTEE (IAC)
The Indian Action Committee (IAC) extends Phagwah (Holi) greetings to all the citizens
Of Guyana, especially those who are guided by the philosophical teachings of Sanatan Dharma.

Phagwah or Holi is a festival of Bharat (India) that has its roots in antiquity and celebrate the coming of a new spring season, the drawing of a new year and the Triumph of good over evil exuberance of this festival reflects the collective hope of people for progress, prosperity and the concomitant betterment of their lives.

This festival of renewal most likely pre-dated the Sarasvati Valley Civilisation, the
World’s first significant civilization which flourish between 5000 BCE and 2600 BCE
And sir Krishna of Mahabharat frame.

Even though the culture landscape in Bharat had change from time to time from the
Introduction of the Negroids followed by the Proto- Australoids,  Dravidians, Mongoloids,
Caucasians, Persians, Greeks, Shakas, Kushanas, Huns, Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Mughals
and Europeans, the festival of Holi emerged, survived and flourished in Bharat, the world’s
first melting pots.

Holi was brought to British Guiana by Hindus who arrived here as indentured labourers to work on sugar plantations 177years ago and was sustained by the majority of approximately 239,000 Bharatiyas who arrived on these shores between 1838 and 1917.

Phagwah was transplanted from a large sub-continent, characterize by the four season of spring, summer, autumn and winter, to Guyana a small South American land of dry and rainy
seasons and even though global warming is creating climatic havoc, the symbolism of Holi
must not be lost.

IAC, therefore, calls upon all the citizen of this multi-cultural land of Guyana to regard the great festival of Phagwah or Holi, which celebrate life and hopes regardless of demography or geography, always as a focus for national unity.

PEOPLE’S NATIONAL CONGRESS REFORM (PNCR)
The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) expresses Holi Greetings to the Hindu Community in Guyana in particular, and Guyanese in general, on the auspicious occasion of the celebration of the Festival of Phagwah in Guyana.

Guyana is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country. Our diversity is an asset not a liability. We are proud to belong to a country of many faiths. We are proud of the mosaic of ethnicities within our country.

As we celebrate this beautiful festival we pray for greater trust and cooperation between our communities. We pray for happy families and households. We pray for better interpersonal relationships. We pray, in other words, for social cohesion at all levels of society.

As the celebrated Indian National Kulapati Vani wrote many years ago, ”festivals are gathering for refreshing spirit and enjoying life.” We urge all Guyanese to use this occasion of Phagwah to refresh their spirit and enjoy life, and to participate fully in this colourful festival and enjoy the rich elements of our religious and cultural diversity.

PEOPLE’S PROGRESSIVE PARTY (PPP)
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) extends warm greetings to our Hindu brothers and sisters on the occasion of Phagwah which is being observed today.

Phagwah, also known as the Festival of Colours, provides that unique opportunity for people from all walks of life to reach out to each other through worship and exchange of water and powder.

This is indeed an auspicious moment in the Hindu calendar as it serves to highlight the universal lessons of the triumph of good over evil and justice over injustice.

Phagwah is today a national festival which is embraced and celebrated not only by the Hindu community but by people from all across the ethnic and cultural spectrum of Guyana. This is testimony of our maturity as a people and our capacity to appreciate and tolerate religious and cultural diversity.

The PPP takes this opportunity to call on all Hindus to guard against those with hidden agendas who seek to divide the Hindu community out of selfish and partisan interests. Such attempts which belonged to a bygone era must be rejected   since it has the potential to undermine the very fundamentals of Hinduism.

The PPP joins with the rest of the Guyanese people especially the Hindu community in celebration of this joyous festival of Phagwah.

GUYANA AGRICULTURAL AND GENERAL WORKERS UNION (GAWU)
The festival of Holi – popularly known as Phagwah – is once again upon us. In Guyana, this festival is now a fixture in the country’s calendar of holidays.  While this festival is of Hindu origin and celebrated by the Hindus primarily, today’s Holi festivities attract, increasingly, non-Hindus in Guyana and elsewhere in the world.

We are drawn to Holi’s colourful expressions and the exuberance and joy that electrify the celebrations everywhere. But, Holi’s significance lies also in the embrace of life’s many positive values which provides sustenance to the human existence. Over the years, Holi has come to be seen as an enduring reminder of the triumph of good over evil.

This inspiring message where ‘good’ is promoted and embraced is as relevant as ever today. Around us, these days, are many evil-doers of various stripes and many injustices which seem to be growing rather than diminishing. As life’s burdens grow heavier for the masses, and new threats hang over their heads, the message of Holi gives us hope, strengthens our faith that wrongs can be overcome, and imbue us with the courage to go on in the face of adversities and triumph.

At this time, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) takes pleasure in wishing all Hindus, indeed all Guyanese a Happy Holi 2016. That fact that this Holi festival appeals to a cross sector of our diverse religious and cultural makeup is significant. Any event that can promote togetherness and tolerance should be encouraged. In the circumstances of today, our unity to overcome injustices and so on to a joyful and bright future is essential.

MAYOR AND COUNCILLORS OF THE CITY OF GEORGETOWN
Joyous Phagwah greetings to all our Hindu brothers and sisters, and more so to all Guyanese. Phagwah is a very special occasion in the Hindu calendar of events.

Indeed, the significance of Phagwah is dichotomous; it secular significance lies in the advent of spring and its religious significance is premised on the importance of good prevailing over evil.

Phagwah alludes to important life principles such as; love, purity of heart and spirit and the attitude of giving.

It is our sincere hope that as we celebrate this occasion, that we would indeed reflect on the importance of our local communities and together we would work to restore the beauty and glory of the aesthetics of our communities.

Also, that every boy, girl, man and woman would embrace the wider vision of making our communities more environmentally friendly so that our children, and the elderly would able to live in communities that would enhance their social, physical, mental and environmental well-being.

May we all embrace the spiritual significance of this occasion and may we resolve that at this juncture that we will strive to renew the bonds of friendship, co-operation and trust that would enable Georgetown to realize that great potential of becoming modern City.

This was first published at www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/

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Are We Hindus If We Live in India? The Answer to Contentious Question is Here

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Hinduism. Pixabay

Oct 06, 2017: Have you ever wondered what being a Hindu means? Or who is actually fit to be called a Hindu? Over centuries, Hindus and Indians alike have asked this question to themselves or their elders at least once in their lifetime.

In the 1995 ruling of the case, “Bramchari Sidheswar Shai and others Versus State of West Bengal” the court identified seven defining characteristics of Hinduism but people are still confused to what exactly defines being a Hindu in the 21st century. It’s staggering how uninformed individuals can be about their own religion; according to a speech by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya there are various common notions we carry about who a Hindu is:

  • Anyone born in India is automatically a Hindu
  • If your parents are Hindu, you’re are also inevitably a Hindu
  • If you believe in reincarnation, you’re a Hindu
  • If you follow any religion practiced in India, you’re a Hindu
  • And lastly, if you are born in a certain caste, you’re a Hindu

After answering these statements some fail to remove their doubts on who a Hindu is. The question arises when someone is unsure on how to portray themselves in the society, many people follow a set of notions which might/might not be the essence of Hinduism and upon asked why they perform a particular ritual they are clueless. The problem is that the teachings are passed on for generations and the source has been long forgotten, for the source is exactly where the answer lies.

Religion corresponds to scriptural texts

The world is home to many religions and each religion has its own uniqueness portrayed out of the scriptures and teachings which are universally accepted. So to simplify the dilemma one can say that determining whether someone belongs to a particular religion is directly related to whether he/she follows the religious scriptures of the particular religion, and also whether they abide to live by the authority of the scriptural texts.

Christianity emerges from the guidance of the Gospels and Islam from the Quran where Christians believe Jesus died for their sins and Muslims believe there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet. Similarly, Hinduism emerges from a set of scriptures known as the Vedas and a Hindu is one who lives according to Dharma which is implicated in the divine laws in the Vedic scriptures.By default, the person who follows these set of religious texts is a Hindu.

Also Read: Christianity and Islam don’t have room for a discourse. Hindus must Stop Pleasing their former Christian or Muslim masters, says Maria Wirth 

Vedas distinguishes Hindu from a Non-Hindu

Keeping this definition in mind, all the Hindu thinkers of the traditional schools of Hindu philosophy accept and also insist on accepting the Vedas as a scriptural authority for distinguishing Hindus from Non-Hindus. Further implying the acceptance of the following of Bhagwat Gita, Ramayana, Puranas etc as a determining factor by extension principle as well.

Bottom Line

So, concluding the debate on who is a Hindu we can say that a person who believes in the authority of the Vedas and lives by the Dharmic principles of the Vedas is a Hindu. Also implying that anyone regardless of their nationality i.e. American, French or even Indian can be called a Hindu if they accept the Vedas.

– Prepared by Tanya Kathuria of Newsgram                                                                

(the article was originally written by Shubhamoy Das and published by thoughtco)

One response to “Are We Hindus If We Live in India? The Answer to Contentious Question is Here”

  1. Hindu is a historical name for people living “behind the river Indus”. So, everyone living in India is a Hindu, eventhough he might have a different faith.

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5 traits of lord Rama which make him the Supreme Being

One of the main deities in Hinduism, He is believed to have lived in the Treta Yuga, 1.2 million years ago

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Hindu God Rama
The best qualities of lord Rama. Maa Durga wallpaper

New Delhi, September 22, 2017: Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of lord Vishnu, is the central character of Hindu epic Ramayana and is considered as the most important avatar of the deity. Rama is considered to be an enlightened man, with great regard for morals and values. He has also been given the title of Maryada Purushottama, which means the perfect man. One of the main deities in Hinduism, He is believed to have lived in the Treta Yuga, 1.2 million years ago. He has even been defined as, “the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband, and above all, the ideal king,” by Swami Vivekananda. For the perfection that he personifies, let’s take a look at the best of his qualities.

Traits of Lord Rama: 

1. Satisfaction: He was satisfied with whatever he had, even a little less couldn’t have bothered him.

Best qualities of lord Rama
Satisfaction.

2. Loyalty: He never thought of a woman other than Sita in his entire life.

Lord Rama
Loyalty.

Also read: Ramayana : 6 Timeless Management Lessons From the Ancient Hindu Text that You Must Imbibe

3. Kindness: He was a kind soul, who wished well for every creature on earth.

Hindu God Rama
Kindness.

4. Spirituality: The title of a king did not stop him from performing his spiritual practices.

Hindu God Rama
Spirituality.

5. Humility: He never talked about his goodness or greatness.

Hindu God Rama
Humility.

                              -prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. twitter @goel_samiksha
                                                                                                          

 

pic credit – maa durga wallpaper

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Angkor Wat: History behind Cambodian Hindu temple

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Angkor Wat: World’s Largest Hindu Temple


In this article, we will discuss about the “History behind Angkor Wat Hindu Temple“, which is the world’s largest Hindu temple located in “Cambodia” – southeast asian nation.


 

Angkor Wat: Lost in the woods for over 400 years, the discovery of Angkor Wat, the largest Hindu monument literally shocked the world. Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s famous temple is a place full of still unexplored history, myth and legend.

Discovery & History of Angkor Wat – World’s Largest Hindu Temple

  • Angkor wat denotes Cambodia’s unwrapped mystery of civilization that for centuries looked like it never existed. The hidden temple was a stuff of legend until 1860 when a French naturalist, “Henri Mohout”  accidently came to that place during his expedition. He saw the ruins of Angkor Wat. But why did the civilization collapse? How did they make this sophisticated temple with no modern technologies? What must have happened?  It’s the high time to uncover these hidden secrets.
  • Angkor, the capital of last Cambodian empire was home to millions of people over 800 years ago. The powerful empire covered South East Asia including Vietnam, Bay of Bengal and North West China. Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is among the wonders of the world. Even today, this world’s largest hundu temple or religious monument has a huge complex stretched at about 200 hectares of land. While entering the main temple a vast gate gives an impression that you have reached the temple, however, you realize that the main temple still is 400 yards away. The expansive nature of temple is seen to be believed.
  • Angkor Wat is also known as the city temple as it was surrounded by urban areas (long back before disappearing). When built,  it was dedicated to representing Hindu god, “Lord Vishnu”. There is a 213 feet high central tower(temple) encircled by 4 small towers representing Mount Meru, a celestial home of god based on Hindu mythology. It took 50,000 workers to build this extraordinary temple, that was completed in the year 1145.
  • This huge temple can be compared to Egyptian pyramids in the context of the strength. Compared to the construction of modern European temples which require almost 300 to 400 years, Angkor Wat was completed in only 32 years. How did they do? The answer to this question lies inside the temple. There is a carving in the main temple which gives clues to the mystery of building this huge temple without any modern technology. The story carved in the stones speaks: a lever used to push big stone blocks one over another to assemble it perfectly. This shows Angkor Wat was planned, assembled and then carved.
  • The surface of this masterpiece is covered with carvings that display the Hindu mythological stories originated in India. But how did the stories from India arrive in Cambodia? The answer is “Indian Traders”. The Indian traders travelling towards south-east Asia passed their religion, art and architecture to the local people of Cambodia. This way the traders were an important part of spreading Hindu culture in Cambodian Empire.
  • Archaeologists have used sophisticated aerial imaging techniques to look into the past of Cambodia. In 1994, NASA took the first image which shows Angkor Wat was huge and another recent satellite image show collection of hundreds of temples in the area. The modern technology has also thrown light on the extensive water management system of the Cambodian empire which existed those times. This shows the engineering marvels of Cambodians. They constructed rectangular reservoirs and water systems in such a way that the water from Kulen Mountain irrigates the farms resulting in a good harvest. It could have been the work of only advanced and skilled people.

History behind Cambodian Hindu temple
Wikimedia

How did the civilization collapse? Hard evidence points towards the failure of Water management system. But the debate is still going on. Surprisingly the temple was never abandoned, a group of Buddhist monks stayed there and aggressively worked to save the religious place for over centuries. This also gradually resulted in the transformation of a Hindu Temple into a Buddhist temple.

In 1992, Angkor Wat was listed as World Heritage site in danger. Subsequently, it was removed from the endangered list, to be included as a World Heritage site. France, Japan and China have helped  in temple restoration project. India’s archaeological department had also chipped in the 1980s. Currently,  German Apsara Conservation project is in place to save the sculptures carved on the stones. Due to the continuous efforts of UNESCO and other nations Angkor Wat has become a major tourist spot with over 2 million people visiting this place every year. (Inputs from Aakash Sinha)(image-Unesco)

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  3. 13 Beautiful Ancient Temples in India showcase Architectural Brilliance.
  4. Ancient Hindu Temple Changu Narayan in Nepal Possesses Historical Significance.
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