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By Pragya Jha
Swami Narayan’s faith is followed in India and some other parts of world. Swami Narayan Sampraday which began as Uddhav Sampraday initially is a Hindu sect which was led by Ramanand Swami. The Sampraday is based on the Vedic Hinduism.
Guru Ramanand Swami handed over Uddhav Sampraday to Swami Narayan in 1802 to propagate the teachings and philosophy of Vishishtadvaida. After the death of Guru Ramanand Swami, it was renamed as Swaminarayan Sampraday. The movement gained popularity under the leadership of Swaminarayan. At the time of his death, it had 1.8 million followers worldwide. Apart from Hindu scriptures the sect has more than 3,000 works written by its member. The most important are
Shikshapatri: Written on February 11, 1826 in Vadtal, this dharma text strictly prohibits the devastation of animal life; consumption of animal food, liquors or drugs; suicide, theft, and robbery or other activities which may antagonize the effect of founder’s teachings. It has been translated into various languages like Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Urdu, Vraj, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian,Portuguese, Russian .One of its copy is put up at Bodleian Library at Oxford University.
Vachnamrut: It is a compilation of 273 spiritual preaching, divided into 10 sections. The book consists of the dialogues between the master and his adherent. The preaching was delivered by Swaminarayan which answers philosophical and religious questions and explains doctrines.
Followers of this religion are called Satsangis. They are expected to follow certain rules and regulations laid down by Swaminarayan. According to Swaminarayan Sampraday, there are certain vows (niyams) which have to be followed by the Sadhus, satsangis and the followers of this religion.
Five vows (niyams) for sadhus of Swaminarayan Sampraday:
Niyams for the householders-
- Not to consume wine, liquor or any drug even in a form of medicine.
- Not to consume meat in any form.
- To refrain from adultery.
- Not to steal anything, even a flower without owner’s consent.
- Not to accept any food and drinks from improper persons or source.
The above niyams are for the householders are also called as Panch Vartman.
Niyams for Satsangis
- One should be non-violent.
- He should not have any relationship with other women except his wife.
- He should not consume meat like seafood,egg, and poultry.
- Should not consume alcohol or any drug which consist of alcohol
- Not to commit suicide in any circumstance.
- Never steal anything which belongs to others.
- Not to blame others.
- Never utter wrong about any God, Goddess or any religion.
- Never listen holy story from a person who is an atheist.
A glimpse into the life of Swaminarayan
India is a country which follows different culture, religions, and traditions. Swaminarayan was born on 2nd April 1781 in Chapaiya, a village 20kms away from the north of Ajodhya (Ayodhya) in Uttar Pradesh. He was born in a family of Brahmins and was named Ghanshyam. At the age of 5 years he started taking oral lessons from his father Hariprasad Pande and at the age of 10 he was mastered in all four Vedas including their branches. From his childhood he was fond towards a life of tyag (self sacrifice),tap(austerities) and Atmasanyam (self-control). When he was 10 years and 7 months old his mother Bhaktdevi left the world and 7 months later his father Hariprasad too.
Ghanshyam left his home in the year 1792 at the age of 11. He adopted the name Nilkanth Varni on his journey. He travelled across India and Nepal in search of Ashram. Nilkanth visited several temples like Jagannath Temple in Puri, Badrinath, Dwarka, Rameshwaram, Nashik and Pandharpur. Nilkanth travelled as a yogi, resided in Loj and met Muktanand Swami , a senior disciple of Ramanand Swami. While on his journey Nilkanth wanted the answers of five questions which he got from Muktanand Swami. He was satisfied with answers and thus decided to stay there. After a few months, he met Ramanand Swami, who gave him the name Sahajanand Swami. At the age of 21 he was appointed as the leader of Uddhav Sampraday by Ramanand Swami. On June 1,
On June 1, 1930, Swami Narayan took his last breath and was cremated in Gadhada , Gujarat according to Hindu rituals. Before his death he split his Sampraday’s administration into two parts for his two adopted sons: Laxmi Narayan Dev Gadi in Vadtal and Nar Narayan Dev Gadi in Ahmedabad.
There were six temples built in lifetime of Lord Swaminarayan namely Nar Narayan Dev mandir at Sheerpur Dham (Ahmedabad),Shree Nar Narayan Dev Mandir ath Bhuj Dham,Shree Laxmi Narayan Dev Mandir at Vadtal Dham,Shree Madan Mohanji Maharaj Mandir at Dholera Dham,Shri Radha Raman Dev Mandir at Junagadh Dham and Shree Gopinathji Maharaj Mandir at Gadhpur Dham. Swaminarayan had good relations with British Raj and had followers from Islam and Zooastrians religion too.
Organisations emerged from Swaminarayan Sampraday
Bochanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS): Bochanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Sanstha was formed by the formers of Swaminarayan Sampraday who left the Sampraday because of differences in philosophy.
Narnarayan Dev Yuvak Mandal (NNDYM): It is a youth organization founded by Acharya Shree Koshalendraprasadji Maharaj to help young people to face challenges of life. It was founded in 1994 and is headquartered at Swaminarayan Temple in Ahmedabad.
Shree Swaminarayan Aygna Upasana Satsang Mandal (SSAUSM) :Formed on the command of Acharya Maharajshree Ajendraprasadji Pande to perform Satsang in the area of New Jersey, Chicago, Scranton and Virginia.
International Swaminarayan Satsang Mandal (ISSM): The organization is based in the United States under Laxminarayan Dev Gadi.
International Swaminarayanan Satsang Organisation (ISSO0: It is a charitable oraganisation that looks after the satsang held abroad. Its objective is to follow the teachings and priciples of Swami Narayan Sampraday founded by Sahajanand Swami. Its motto to the youth is “One God, One Leader, One Vision” to boost its objective.
Activities led by ISSO:
Gurukul: Every Friday, evening classes are held in London where the principles of Swaminarayan are taught.
Religious Camps: These are religious camps that take place annually in UK and U.S.A in the presence of hundreds of youth.
Religious Publications: Audio and video cassettes are available in temples.
List of Swaminarayan Temples across the Globe
Neasden Temple: Built in Neasden, North America and is considered as masterpiece in craftsmanship and stonework
Swaminarayan Mandir Complex in Bartlett, Chicago: The masterpiece was put up within 16 months of workmanship.
Swaminarayan Mandir in Houston: It is the first Hindu traditional temple of its kind built in North America. Its architecture includes 136 marble pillars, 12 domes and, 5 towering white pinnacles.
Swaminarayan Temple in Atlanta, U.S: It was inaugurated in August 2007 and took 17 months in construction. The temple consists of 3 types of stones namely Indian pink sandstone .Turkish Limestone and Italian marble.
Swaminarayan Complex, Toronto: Constructed in 18 months it is marpeice of Indian art, philosophy and, tradition.
Swaminarayan Mandir, Nairobi: First Hindu temple to be constructed in Africa. The material used in the construction of the temple was transported from Rajasthan.
These above temples and many more were built to teach and worship the proceedings of Lord Swaminarayan. According to a report, there were 20 million followers of this sect worldwide in 2007. In general, Swaminarayan’s followers believe that he was the avatar (incarnation) of Lord Krishna.
Pragya Jha is a student of Journalism in New Delhi. Twittter: @pragya1527
SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook critics pounced Wednesday on a report that the social network plans to rename itself, arguing it may be seeking to distract from recent scandals and controversy.
The report from tech news website The Verge, which Facebook refused to confirm, said the embattled company was aiming to show its ambition to be more than a social media site.
But an activist group calling itself The Real Facebook Oversight Board warned that major industries like oil and tobacco had rebranded to "deflect attention" from their problems.
"Facebook thinks that a rebrand can help them change the subject," said the group's statement, adding the real issue was the need for oversight and regulation.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told AFP: "We don't have any comment and aren't confirming The Verge's report."
The Verge cited an unnamed source noting the name would reflect Facebook's efforts to build the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet that the tech giant sees as the future.
Facebook on Monday announced plans to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to build the metaverse, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg emerging as a leading promoter of the concept.
The announcement comes as Facebook grapples with the fallout of a damaging scandal, major outages of its services and rising calls for regulation to curb its vast influence.
The company has faced a storm of criticism over the past month after former employee Frances Haugen leaked internal studies showing Facebook knew its sites could be harmful to young people's mental health.
The Washington Post last month suggested that Facebook's interest in the metaverse is "part of a broader push to rehabilitate the company's reputation with policymakers and reposition Facebook to shape the regulation of next-wave internet technologies."
Silicon Valley analyst Benedict Evans argued a rebranding would ignore fundamental problems with the platform.
"If you give a broken product a new name, people will quite quickly work out that this new brand has the same problems," he tweeted.
"A better 'rebrand' approach is generally to fix the problem first and then create a new brand reflecting the new experience," he added.
Google rebranded itself as Alphabet in a corporate reconfiguration in 2015, but the online search and ad powerhouse remains its defining unit despite other operations such as Waymo self-driving cars and Verily life sciences. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Facebook, Renaming, Fallout, Verge
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Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.
Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.
Surgeons attached the pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days. The kidney did what it was supposed to do — filter waste and produce urine — and didn't trigger rejection.
"It had absolutely normal function," said Dr. Robert Montgomery, who led the surgical team last month at NYU Langone Health in New York. "It didn't have this immediate rejection that we have worried about."
This research is "a significant step," said Dr. Andrew Adams of the University of Minnesota Medical School, who was not part of the work. It will reassure patients, researchers and regulators "that we're moving in the right direction."
The dream of animal-to-human transplants, or xenotransplantation, dates to the 17th century with stumbling attempts to use animal blood for transfusions. By the 20th century, surgeons were attempting transplants of organs from baboons into humans, notably Baby Fae, a dying infant, who lived 21 days with a baboon heart.
With no lasting success and much public uproar, scientists turned from primates to pigs, tinkering with their genes to bridge the species gap.
Pigs have advantages over monkeys and apes. They are produced for food, so using them for organs raises fewer ethical concerns. Pigs have large litters, short gestation periods and organs comparable to those of humans.
Pig heart valves also have been used successfully for decades in humans. The blood thinner heparin is derived from pig intestines. Pig skin grafts are used on burns, and Chinese surgeons have used pig corneas to restore sight.
Kidney ready for transplantation from a live donor Image credit: wikimedia commons
In the NYU case, researchers kept a deceased woman's body on a ventilator after her family agreed to the experiment. The woman had wished to donate her organs, but they weren't suitable for traditional donation.
'Good could come from this'
The family felt "there was a possibility that some good could come from this gift," Montgomery said.
Montgomery himself received a transplant three years ago, a human heart from a donor with hepatitis C because he was willing to take any organ.
"I was one of those people lying in an ICU waiting and not knowing whether an organ was going to come in time," he said.
Several biotech companies are in the running to develop suitable pig organs for transplant to help ease the human organ shortage. More than 90,000 people in the U.S. are in line for kidney transplants. Every day, 12 die while waiting.
The advance is a win for Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, the company that engineered the pig and its cousins, a herd of 100 raised in tightly controlled conditions at a facility in Iowa.
The pigs lack a gene that produces alpha-gal, the sugar that provokes an immediate attack from the human immune system.
In December, the Food and Drug Administration approved the gene alteration in the Revivicor pigs as safe for human food consumption and medicine.
But the FDA said developers would need to submit more paperwork before pig organs could be transplanted into living humans.
"This is an important step forward in realizing the promise of xenotransplantation, which will save thousands of lives each year in the not-too-distant future," said United Therapeutics CEO Martine Rothblatt in a statement.
Experts say tests on nonhuman primates and last month's experiment with a human body pave the way for the first experimental pig kidney or heart transplants in living people in the next several years.
Raising pigs to be organ donors feels wrong to some people, but it may grow more acceptable if concerns about animal welfare can be addressed, said Karen Maschke, a research scholar at the Hastings Center, who will help develop ethics and policy recommendations for the first clinical trials under a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
"The other issue is going to be: Should we be doing this just because we can?" Maschke said. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Transplant, Pig, Human, Kidney, FDA
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Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.
The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.
These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.
The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.
Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.
Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."
The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.
"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences