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Jain Humanitarian Organization ‘Veerayatan’ in USA takes Unique Projects to Spread Message of Peace

Jain humanitarian organization- Veerayatan spreads the message in U.S. about Palitana Project and Nepal Project

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Feet prayer by Jains
A Jain Humanitarian Organization in US takes Unique Projects to Spread Message of Peace. Wikimedia
  • The organization, Veerayatan is made up of two words, ‘Veer’ for Lord Mahavir and ‘aayatan’ which means holy place
  • Palitana will be a university with a four-year program of studies, will include a study of Jainism and also science education, a modern curriculum with a spiritual base

New Jersey (U.S.A), July 28, 2017: There is an Indian humanitarian organization by the name Veerayatan, it draws inspiration from the Jain faith and is implementing some unique projects like a university for women aspiring into monkhood, with four years of study and a concerted effort to help Nepal to build a better life for its citizens.

The organization, Veerayatan is made up of two words, ‘Veer’ for Lord Mahavir and ‘aayatan’ which means a holy place. According to its website, it was founded in 1973, by Acharya Shri Chandana ji, and was inspired by the teachings of Tirthankar Mahavir and Rashtrasant Amar Muniji Maharaj. It describes itself as “a non-profit, non-governmental, socio-religious organization,” on its Facebook page.

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According to a TOI  report, Acharya Shri Chandanaji said, “the projects had been well received by the approximately 5,000 attendees,” at the JAINA Convention held in Edison, New Jersey, United States, from June 30 to July 4. Veerayatan was recognized as the Best Institution of the Year, by JAINA. It may be noted that Chandana was the first ever female Jain sadhvi  to have received the title of Acharya.

Acharya Shri Chandana Ji’s message at the Convention was that actions should replace talk about compassion and non-violence. “For thousands of years we have spoken on non-violence and compassion, but what is necessary is that- where we live and are surrounded by people who need food, whose eyes are filled with tears.  We should do something about that,” she said.

She added that one does not have to search for God. God will come to those who will do these acts. “Our organization is just a drop in the ocean in what should be a worldwide effort,” she said, noting, “JAINA Convention very patiently listened and our message was well received.”

On the ‘Nepal Project,’ Acharya Chandanaji said that They had been working in that country for the last 2 years and wants people from surrounding countries in the South Asian Subcontinent, the U.S., and around the world, to step forward and the Nepalese will achieve a better life and good governance. She found the people of Nepal, hardworking and gentle, who need and deserve help from people skilled in various areas of endeavor, and shared this message at the JAINA Convention.

“Our vision is that surrounding nations (and others) can help Nepal in the effort for development – both spiritually and to establish a good government,” Acharya Chandanaji said.

A Sadhvi being carried in Jain culture
A Sadhvi being carried in Jain culture. Wikimedia

The organization’s ‘Palitana Project ‘ named after the place where Veerayatan was first formed, seeks to create a center for Jain studies for sadhvis and those wanting to become one. This Project is led by Jainesh Mehta, a Texas-based longstanding IT software professional in the oil industry, and philanthropist whose Mehta Family Foundation is known for its charitable efforts. Mehta said that the vision is for Palitana to be a university with a four-year program of studies, will include a study of Jainism and also science education, a modern curriculum with a spiritual base. It is a place where education and worship go together. The campus would also offer- one day, one week, one month or other duration of courses to those needing them, he added.

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Last year alone, around 1,000 girls and women took Deeksha in Palitana, a vow by which worldly life is given up for an ascetic life. For this transformation, they have to give up their households to live in poverty but they don’t get an opportunity to have an education. “This project helps them live their life but also get this education. It is a one-of-a-kind campus being built,” to help fill the gap, Mehta indicated.

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According to its website, Veerayatan stands on the three pillars-  Seva (service to humanity), Shiksha (education for all), and Sadhana (self-development) to inspire and empower lives.

Its various activities include Seva Mandirs, which include medical camps, eye surgeries, and post-surgery care for the most underserved populace; schools, colleges, hostels, and vocational training; rehabilitation and emergency relief programs in the wake of natural calamities; Brahmi Kala Mandir, an art gallery comprising inventive media to better understand life, culture, and religion; guest houses and libraries; and prayer halls, spiritual retreats, and inspirational programs for all age groups.

– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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4 Ships Banned From All Ports For Violating North Korea Sanctions

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South Korea's naval ships
South Korea's naval ships take part in a military drill for possible attack from North Korea in the water of the East Sea, South Korea. voa

The U.N. Security Council has banned all nations from allowing four ships that transported prohibited goods to and from North Korea to enter any port in their country.

Hugh Griffiths, head of the panel of experts investigating the implementation of U.N. sanctions against North Korea, announced the port bans at a briefing to U.N. member states on Monday. A North Korean diplomat attended the hour-long session.

Griffiths later told several reporters that “this is the first time in U.N. history” that the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Pyongyang has prohibited ships from entering all ports.

He identified the four cargo ships as the Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2 and Jie Shun.

According to MarineTraffic, a maritime database that monitors vessels and their moments, Petrel 8 is registered in Comoros, Hao Fan 6 in St. Kitts and Nevis, and Tong San 2 in North Korea. It does not list the flag of Tong San 2 but said that on Oct. 3 it was in the Bohai Sea off north China.

Griffiths said the four ships were officially listed on Oct. 5 “for transporting prohibited goods,” stressing that this was “swift action” by the sanctions committee following the Aug. 6 Security Council resolution that authorized port bans.

That resolution, which followed North Korea’s first successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, also banned the country from exporting coal, iron, lead and seafood products. Those goods are estimated to be worth over $1 billion – about one-third of the country’s estimated $3 billion in exports in 2016.

The Security Council unanimously approved more sanctions on Sept. 11, responding to North Korea’s sixth and strongest nuclear test explosion on Sept. 3.

These latest sanctions ban North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates, and cap its crude oil imports. They also prohibit all textile exports, ban all joint ventures and cooperative operations, and bars any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers-key sources of hard currency for the northeast Asian nation.

Both resolutions are aimed at increasing economic pressure on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – the country’s official name – to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs.

Griffiths told U.N. diplomats that the panel of experts is getting reports that the DPRK “is continuing its attempts to export coal” in violation of U.N. sanctions.

“We have as yet no evidence whatsoever of state complicity, but given the large quantities of money involved and the excess capacity of coal in the DPRK it probably comes as no surprise to you all that they’re seeking to make some money here,” he said.

Griffiths said the panel is “doing our very best to monitor the situation and to follow up with member states who maybe have been taken advantage of by the tactics deployed by DPRK coal export entities.”

As for joint ventures and cooperative arrangements, Griffiths said the resolution gives them 120 days from Sept. 11 to close down.

But “in a number of cases, the indications are that these joint ventures aren’t shutting down at all but are on the contrary expanding _ and therefore joint ventures is a major feature of the panel’s current investigations,” he said.

Griffiths also asked all countries to pay “special attention” to North Korea’s Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies, also known as the Mansudae Art Studio, which is on the sanctions blacklist and subject to an asset freeze and travel ban.

According to the sanctions listing, Mansudae exports North Korea workers to other countries “for construction-related activities including for statues and monuments to generate revenue for the government of the DPRK or the (ruling) Workers’ Party of Korea.”

Griffiths said Mansudae “has representatives, branches and affiliates in the Asia-Pacific region, all over Africa and all over Europe.” Without elaborating, he added that “they’re doing an awful lot more than producing statues in Africa.” (voa)

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Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner Used Private email Account for White House officials

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Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner is senior advisor at the White House .

Washington, Sep 25: US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner has occasionally used a private email account for correspondence with fellow administration officials, his lawyer confirmed.

“Fewer than a hundred emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account,” counsel Abbe Lowell told CNN on Sunday night.

Politico news had first reported Kushner’s use of a private account and said it was set up in December and was used to sometimes trade emails with senior White House officials, outside advisers and some others about media coverage.

Lowell said that the emails on Kushner’s private account were “usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal, rather than his White House, address”.

Federal law requires that all White House records be preserved, including emails.

Regarding concerns that some of the emails might not have been preserved since Kushner was not using a White House account, Lowell told CNN: “All non-personal emails were forwarded to his official address, and all have been preserved, in any event.”

During his campaign, Trump repeatedly criticised Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server to send and receive an email during her tenure as Secretary of State.(IANS)

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Ancient Hindu Temple Changu Narayan in Nepal Possesses Historical Significance

Changu Narayan is a sacred Hindu temple in Nepal and was built in the memory of Lord Vishnu

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Changu Narayan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple in Nepal. Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Changu Narayan is considered to be the oldest temple in Nepal
  • It is based on a high hilltop know was Changu or Dolagiri
  • It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and has an interesting tale behind it

New Delhi, July 14, 2017: The ancient Hindu temple Changu Narayan is situated on the top of a high hill well known as Changu or Dolagiri. The temple had a neighboring forest of champak tree and a small village called Changu and is situated in Bhaktapur District, Nepal.

The hill is about 7 miles or 12 km east of Kathmandu and a few miles north of Bhaktapur. This holy place “changu narayan Temple” is devoted to Lord Vishnu and held in admiration by the people of Hindu religion. Changu Narayan is believed to be the oldest temple in Nepal’s history. Bhaktapur king established kingdoms in Kashmir and kept it as Hindu kingdom.

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“changu narayan Temple” has a very intriguing story behind its existence. In old times, a Gwala, a cow herder, was given a cow by a Brahmin whose name was Sudarshan. The cow was believed to produce milk in large quantities. The cow herder used to take the cow for grazing to Change, which was a Champak trees forest that time. The cow was always found under a particular tree’s shade while grazing. In the evening, when the Gwala started milking the cow at his house, he received only a negligible quantity of milk. This continued for a number of days. He was disappointed and told the Brahmin about the cow not giving enough quantity of milk. After seeing this incident with his eyes, Sudarshan agreed and they decided that they should examine the cow while her grazing activity was being undertaken.

Changu Narayan Temple, east side, with the griffin (stone sculpture) left at the entrance. Source: Wikimedia

Both of them hid behind the trees and observed the cow. They noticed that a small black boy who had come out of the tree started feeding himself with the milk. This infuriated the two men as they thought of the boy as a demon and the tree as its home.

So the champak tree was cut down by the Brahmin. While he was doing this, he saw human blood come out of the champak tree. Both Brahmin and Gwala presumed they had done a crime and started crying.

Lord Vishnu suddenly emerged and told the Gwala and Brahmin, the mistake was not theirs and began narrating the story of him committing a crime by unknowingly murdering Sudarshan’s father while forest hunting. Afterward, he was cursed and he wandered on his mouth, as ‘Garuda’ descending on the Changu hill where he survived on stolen milk. The cutting down of the tree by Brahmin beheaded Vishnu and freed him from his sins.

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Following this incident, Brahmin and Gwala started worshiping that place and built a small temple of Lord Vishnu. That place has been considered sacred ever since. Even today, Sudarshan’s descendant is one of the priest of that temple and the Gwala’s descendants as conservators.

People belonging to Newar community reside in and around the area of Changu Narayan. Due to tourism development in this area, we can locate many hotels, souvenir shops, restaurants etc.

However, this holy temple “changu narayan” faces a lot of challenges and threats. The Manohara stream has witnessed rampant mining of sand and stones. The local administration has failed to cut down the mining activities. Due to these mining activities, the temple area has become prone to landslides. Because of overgrazing in the nearby forest, the chances of soil erosion and landslide have become very high.

– prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur1025