Saturday, 14 March 2015

Shri Narendra Modji visits Keerimalai Naguleswaram Temple at Jaffna

Keerimalai Naguleswaram temple, historically known also as the Thirutambaleswaram Kovil of Keerimalai, is a famous Hindu temple in Keerimalai, located north of Jaffna, Northern Province, Sri Lanka near the ancient port of Kankesanthurai. One of the oldest shrines of the region, it is the northernmost shrine on the island of the five ancient Iswarams of Lord Siva, venerated by Hindus across the world from classical antiquity.

Its adjacent water tank, the Keerimalai Springs, is believed to have curative properties. Keerimalai is 50 feet above sea level, and situated west of Palaly. The fresh water comes from an underground spring source. Hindus flock in large numbers on “Aadi Amaavaasai” day which falls during the Tamil month of “Aadi”, to carry out rituals for their forefathers and take a divine dip in the natural springs.

Today Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji made a historic visit to Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, a region once ravaged by strife.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for equitable development and respect for all citizens in the island nation.

Shri Modiji visited the temple and has posted photos on his site.  Winding up his public engagements on his two-day trip to the island with a hugely-symbolic visit to Tamil-dominated Jaffna, the first by an Indian Prime Minister, he said he was glad that it "is one to wipe tears from the eyes of those who suffered".

The Prime Minister, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the region, handed over 27,000 new homes to Tamils who became homeless during the civil war. The houses were built with Indian assistance as part of India's efforts to help in the reconciliation process.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

religious intolerance - time US set its house in order - Idaho incident !!

Is USA a neutral or a religious Nation ?  - Over the years, numerous scholars, historians, lawyers, and judges have debunked the “Christian nation” myth. Yet it persists. Does it have any basis in American history? Why is the myth so powerful? What psychological need does it fill?  The Text of the Constitution does Not Say the United States Is a Christian Nation. 

George Washington is the author of one of the great classics of religious liberty—the letter to Touro Synagogue (1790). In this letter, Washington assures America’s Jews that they would enjoy complete religious liberty—not mere toleration—in the new nation. He outlines a vision not of a Christian nation but of a multi-faith society where all are free to practice as they will !

Immediately after returning from India, where President Barack Obama was the Chief guest in Republic Day parade,  said religious intolerance in India would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi. In his National Prayer Breakfast address in Washington, Mr. Obama said that India was “full of magnificent diversity – but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs.”

Before delivering sermons to India, it would appropriate to keep their house in order – there have been attacks in Hindu places of worship – now here is some more news from Idaho.   Here is a report that appeared in The Hindu today :  For the first time the opening prayer for the Idaho state senate was said on Tuesday by a Hindu cleric amid protests by some senators who claimed the United States was a Christian nation and denounced Hinduism, local media reported. Universal Society of Hinduism president Rajan Zed, who said the prayer in Sanskrit and English, made a call for the legislators to “act selflessly without any thought of personal profit” because “selfish action imprisons the world.”

He was invited by Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill to be a guest chaplain and deliver the invocation which is usually made by a Christian chaplain at the start of the day’s legislative session in Boise. According to The Idaho Statesman, when protests were made before the session, Mr. Hill said: “I reviewed the prayer. It did not seem offensive in any way.” He added: “It refers to ‘deity supreme’.” Senator Steve Vick, who walked out of the Senate chamber before Mr. Zed’s invocation said that Hindu prayers should not be allowed because the U.S. was “built on the Judeo-Christian, not only religion, but work ethic, and I don’t want to see that undermined”, the Statesman reported. Hindus “have a caste system,” he added. “They worship cows.”

He was one of the three Republican senators to boycott the prayer. Senator Sheryl Nuxoll said she boycotted Mr. Zed’s prayer because she believed the United States is a Christian nation and “Hindu is a false faith with false gods,” according to the newspaper. But Mr. Hill, who is also a Republican, told the Statesman, “In my mind, you either believe in religious freedom or you don’t... We have had Jewish prayers, many denominations of Christian prayers.”

The Statesman quoted Mr. Zed as saying of the protests: “We don’t mind. Hinduism is more embracing.” KTVB-TV said that Mr. Zed noted “that most of the legislators welcomed him warmly” and said, “We all have different viewpoints, and that is wonderful, that is what makes our country great.” He added: “We are all looking for the truth. If we can join our resources together, we can reach there faster.” Senators from both the Republican Party, which controls the Senate, and the Democratic Party shook the saffron-clad Mr. Zed’s hand and thanked him for coming, the Statesman said.

The U.S. does not have an official religion and the secular constitution prescribes strict separation of religion and state. However, federal and state legislatures open their sessions with prayers, even though prayers are prohibited in government schools because of the constitutional injunction. In 2000, Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala of Shiva Hindu Temple in Parma, Ohio, made the opening invocation in the House of Representatives in Washington. Mr. Zed said the opening prayers at the federal Senate in 2007 when it was disrupted by protesters from the public gallery.

Idaho borders Washington State, where two Hindu temples were vandalised last month. The second attack occurred the same week that an influential Christian fundamentalist preacher, Pat Robertson, said on his TV show that Hindu prayer “sounds like gibberish.” A former candidate for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, he had earlier called Hinduism “demonic.”