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Fate of Indo-Caribbean Phagwah parade in New York to be announced today

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New York: The popular Indo-Caribbean Hindu parade, Phagwah, is seen bound in the shackles of a lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Hindu Parade and Festival Committee against the Federation of Hindu Mandirs last month.

As a result, the New York state Supreme Court has issued a restraining order. The Federation will no more advertise or hold the parade in Queens. Today, the judge will decide who the city should grant a parade permit to.

Phagwah is a good-natured, joyful, Hindu religious holiday observed in March which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Hindus are seen wearing white this day. A harmless, red dye liquid known as ‘abeer’ is thrown upon each other playfully. Family, friends and neighbors, whether Hindu or not, celebrate the day with lots of powder, perfume and water throwing.

Upset by the decision, the festival committee members feel they are the rightful organizing party to receive the permit. This is because they have been holding the parade since it started in 1988.

“We have to fight for it,” said Roy Singh, president of the Hindu Parade and Festival Committee. “For me, people say, ‘You are fighting the other people.’ No, this is not fighting. This is worth fighting for against the evil element. This is in my blood. We do this as community work, and we do it because we love it.”

Unhappy about the lawsuit, the general secretary of the Federation of Hindu Mandirs is eagerly waiting for the outcome of the court case, likely to occur today. (Imagesource: gtmosquito.com)

Watch one-minute video on the issue HERE

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Chhath Puja 2017: 5 Interesting and Lesser Known Facts about Hindu Festival Chhath Puja

Here are 5 interesting facts that you should know about the most ancient festival of Chhath Puja.

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Chhath Puja Ritual
Chhath Puja Ritual. Wikimedia commons
  • The festival of Chathh Puja is Celebrated for four days where women fast for 36 hours. 
  • On this festival, God Surya is worshipped for sustaining life on earth and granting Health, Prosperity & Abundance.

Chhath Puja 2017: This year Chhath Puja will be Celebrated from 26 October

Chhath is considered to be an ancient Hindu festival.On Chhath Puja various rituals are performed for Thanksgiving Sun God for sustaining life on earth and granting Health, Prosperity & Abundance.

The word “Chhath” symbolizes the number 6 in Hindi language and the festival begins on the sixth day of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik.The festival continues for four days during which people, especially women, follow diligent rituals including fasting for 36 hours.

Here are 5 interesting facts which you need to know about Chhath Puja:

Chhat Puja is the only Vedic Festival of India: Chhath Puja is considered to be one of the most ancient festivals of India surviving on earth.This puja first finds mention in the Rig Veda which contains hymns worshiping the Sun God and describes similar rituals.

The rituals performed during Chhath have scientific reasons: Rituals in Chhath Puja increases absorption and conduction of solar-bio-electricity in a human body. The processes and the rituals of the Chhath puja aim at preparing the body and the mind of the devotee for the process of cosmic solar energy infusion.

Also Read: Hindu Festival Chhath Puja gives great message to Society, says PM Narendra Modi

Four days rituals are designed in such a way that it benefits the health of the devotee: During the Puja, standing in the river Ganges allows the absorption of energy from the sun which moves along the spine and cleanses the body. This helps in better functioning of the body and calms down the mental state of the devotee. It reduces anger and negativity from the life of the devotee.

Worshipping Sun God on Chhath is prevalent in the ancient Egyptian and Babylonian civilizations of the world: Chhath puja has its international significance as it also celebrated in other countries like Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago etc. as a part of their own traditions & customs.

Chhath Puja hails back to the time of the Mahabharata: Draupati is also considered to be the devotee of Sun God apart from Karna. Due to her devotion toward Surya, she was gifted with the unique power to cure even the deadliest diseases. Through this power gifted by her, Pandavas survived and won the Kurukshetra Battle over Kauravas and regained their kingdom back.

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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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Navratri 5th Day, The Tales That Speaks About Mother-Son Relationship

Goddess Skandamata, the 5th form of Goddess Durga and also the mother of the commander in chief of the devatas, Lord Kartikeya.

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Goddess Skandamata
Goddess Skandamata Source: Wikimedia Common

New Delhi, September 25, 2017: Goddess Skandamata shows up during the 5th day of the Hindu festival Navratri. The 5th form of Goddess Durga and also the mother of the commander in chief of the devatas, Lord Kartikeya.

Devi Skandamata is portrayed as a Goddess holding her infant, Lord Kartikeya, with her right arm and a lotus in her above two hands. The left arm of Devi is in a posture to grant blessings to her devotees. She has four hands, 3 eyes with a beautiful bright complexion. Skandamata is also called as Padamasani since she is portrayed in her idol being seated on a lotus flower. She is also seen with a lion as her vehicle. Goddess Skandamata is worshipped in the form of Parvati, Maheshwari and Mata Gauri.

It is strongly believed that Devi Skandamata is a Goddess of salvation, prosperity, power, and treasures.

The legend says that Tarkasur, a great demon who used to torture and massacre the people on earth wanted the immortality power. To please Lord Brahma with his devotion he went through extremely tough forfeitures. In return for his devotion, he asked Lord Brahma his blessings to make him immortal. However, Brahma denied his request, but Tarkasur acted smart and asked Brahma to give him boons which say that only the son of Lord Shiva can bring him to death since he thought that Shiva would never get married to have any children.

Nevertheless, Lord Shiva got married to Parvati and with her 5th form, Goddess Skandamata, Lord Kartikeya was born. As he grew, he came to know about the boon given by Lord Brahma to Tarkasur and that only he can kill him and bring peace to the earth.

The Gods gave Kartikeya their blessings with special powers and weapons, and he killed demon Tarkasur on the battlefield.

Devi Skandamata is the symbol of mother-son relationship.

People worship her to get immense love and affection from her as a blessing.

Here is the mantra to worship Goddess Skandamata

 

सिंघासनगता नित्यम पद्माश्रितकरद्वया |

शुभदास्तु सदा देवी स्कन्द माता यशश्विनी ||

Siṅghāsanagatā nityama padmāśritakaradvayā |

śubhadāstu sadā dēvī skanda mātā yaśaśvinī ||

 

ALSO READ: Navratri Day Four Is Dedicated to ‘Maa Kushmanda’, Goddess who Governs the Sun

Navratri is the Hindu festival that holds immense importance in Hinduism. It is believed from the tales that during the festival, Goddess Durga descends on earth. She blesses her devotees with happiness and prosperity and brings an end to the evil.

Devotees believe in worshipping and fasting for all nine days which can bring a change to their lives and make their wishes come true.

– Prepared by Abhishek Biswas of NewsGram Twitter: @Writing_desire