Albury Wodonga Hindus produce “That Girl”

Albury Wodonga are two twin towns in Australia on the New South Wales-Victoria state border, separated by Murray river. It has a significant population of Hindus from Indian and from Bhutan. About 60 members of the local Bhutanese and Indian communities got together to produce a Bollywood-style dance and song titled That Girl. The song has a message about respecting women and includes a verse in Hindi. This is perhaps one of the first art production by an Indian/Bhutanese group from a country (rural) town in Australia.

The project is the brainchild of Melbourne-based songwriter and Community Music Victoria’s diversity coordinator Sarah Mandie. Ms Mandie said it about giving the community the confidence to talk about violence against women and girls. She said the aim was to give women and girls more confidence to stand up for themselves and call out disrespectful behaviour. It also encouraged people in the community to help each other, and connect with health and support services if in need.

 

Watch the video here.

[Click here to read more about it ….]

Yoga day at Gold Coast By ASMY

By: Samantha Doyle, ASMY, Gold Coast.

The Spirit of Yoga Shines at Yoga Day Festival YOGA DAY FESTIVAL | www.yogadayfestival.com.au | asmy.org.au

The sun was rising over the crystal clear Gold Coast ocean as enthusiastic volunteers began setting up the first of a relay of festivals taking place across the nation. There were tepees, brightly coloured flags, flowers, bohemian decorations, and sacred sounds resonating throughout the atmosphere.

With the yoga lifestyle becoming a rapidly growing trend, widely accepted and adopted across many cultures, it’s any wonder the world loves to celebrate United Nations World Yoga Day. Wanting to offer a celebration that truly embodied the spirit of yoga, the team at the Australian School of Meditation & Yoga (ASMY) put their passion into action and Yoga Day Festival was born. Now in its 4th year, Yoga Day Festival has become one of Australia’s brightest, fastest growing, icon yoga festivals.

Stunning locations, village like set-ups, generous pops of colour and a broad variety of yoga lifestyle experiences are the foundational assets that give people an immersive experience. Yoga Dance, Kirtan, Yoga Teacher Training workshops, Kids yoga areas, drumming workshops, educational seminars, and of course a variety of asana and meditation classes made up the bulk of the program.

The community collaboration of gifted local teachers, talented musicians and a variety of lifestyle coaches all coming together with the intention of sharing their gifts and talents made for a heart- warming example of why yoga is such an asset to our community. Participants were able to experience not only the benefits of each modality on offer, but also the spirit of yoga – the unconditional giving and receiving; joy; love; peace; and happiness that naturally grow in those who live the yoga lifestyle.

A special feature of the festivals, and a highlight for many, was the kirtan – a sacred music experience that allowed everyone to come together and share their voices, singing sacred mantras. The joy, happiness and pure fun was evident as everyone swayed, clapped, danced and sang.

Two of the featured chant artists were Pralad and the Chants (https://www.praladandthechants.com/) and Ashraya (http://ashraya.band/) Madya Lila, lead singer from Ashraya describes the impact that kirtan has, “If you have not experienced kirtan before it is a must. Kirtan transports you to a world of inspiration, peace and joy, far beyond the stress and worries of life. Kirtan nourishes the soul’s deepest needs by reawakening the spiritual love that exists within our hearts and enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.”

Radha Krishna Das explains the vision of the Yoga Day Festival team as follows, “The collective idea and ongoing mission of our Yoga Day Festival team is to be of service to humanity by offering the transforming and life enhancing gifts of the yoga lifestyle to the broader community. An increasing number of people want a lifestyle that supports them in achieving overall well-being physically, mentally and spiritually. And because this is exactly what yoga offers, we find that people are naturally attracted to it and are interested in its practice and applying its principles and techniques to their lives. Hence why an event like YDF is such a hit – it offers people an immersive experience of what it might feel like to really embrace yoga in its complete sense.”

For further information please contact Samantha Doyle samantha@yogadayfestival.com.au 0405 910 345 yogadayfestival.com.au

Darwin revels in music and Yoga for four days

B: Kalindi,ASMY
The popular kirtan band, Ashraya, were invited to Darwin to be part of the festivities to celebrate International Day of Yoga. Over 4 nights, they brought peace and joy to the Darwin yoga and Hindu communities through the power of kirtan. 
 
 
The first night (Thursday 21st June) of kirtan was at the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets down on the beach as the sun sets. Hundreds of people listened and even participated in the kirtan! The kirtan was also livestreamed on Facebook and people from around the world joined in and commented how beautiful it was.
 
 
Friday night was hosted by a local vegan cafe, Kings Wholefoods Artisan, and approximately 100 attended Ashraya’s Mystic Journey, a soundscape of pranayama, mantra, mindfulness and kirtan. A delicious pure vegetarian meal was provided by our hosts followed by ecstatic dancing and chanting of the sacred mantras.
 
There were two events on Saturday. The first was Yoga Day Festival where Ashraya concluded the asana practice with heartwarming, peaceful kirtan. Participants were mesmerized and expressed how wonderful it was to end a yoga practice with such a beautiful meditation. Ashraya then played at the Yoga Day Festival after party where approximately 50 people attended. Ashraya started with a gentle guided meditation which then built into an ecstatic dance. Everyone was so happy with big smiles all around. 
 
One of the band members, Radha Krishna das gave a talk on breaking bad habits and how the yoga system can break these by completely satisfying us within. The band also led more beautiful kirtan with approx 100 people in attendance. A delicious dinner was provided by the event volunteers. 
 
Darwin! we look forward to Ashraya again in the future!

A new Hindu Education Centre coming up in Sydney

As Hindu population is growing rapidly in Australia (mostly due to migration), existing temples are struggling to cope up with the demand for spiritual guidance of Hindus. To keep up with the demand, a new Hindu Education and Culture Centre is being planned in western Sydney suburb of Riverstone.

Havan signifying the hand over of land by a donor to the trust is being planned on the site on 8th July 2018. 

According to its President, Prof Nihal Singh Agar OAM, the HINDU EDUCATION CENTRE SYDNEY Incorporated has several objectives, the core being:

  • Establish resources and facilities and centres of learning and teaching Hindutvam, including worship, inculcate spiritual practices and cultural behaviours of followers of Hinduism
  • Build and manage library, resource and research centre on Hinduism
  • Provide centralised facility for Hindu community
  • Provide support and promote activities of Hindu organisation.

The Centre’s constitution stipulates that income, property, profits and financial surplus of HINDU EDUCATION CENTRE SYDNEY, whenever derived, must be applied solely towards the promotion of the objects of HINDU EDUCATION CENTRE SYDNEY as set out in this Constitution.  It also stipulates that the Centre shall not carry on business for the purpose of profit or gain to its individual Members and no portion of its income, property, profits and financial surplus may be paid, distributed to or transferred, directly, indirectly, by way of dividend, property, bonus or otherwise by way of profit, to the Members, or the Board of Directors, or their relatives, except as provided by this Constitution.

Ashraya Band celebrates International Day of Yoga with concerts in Darwin

To celebrate International Day of Yoga, the kirtan band Ashraya will be joining the festivities in Darwin. On their second tour to the Top End, they bring their world grooves and mellow sounds with beautiful ancient mantras that soothe the soul’s inner-most needs. 

Weaving together the mantras with amazing music, Ashraya brings a unique and creative approach to kirtan – from heart-warming, mellow harmonium chants to upbeat kirtan dance grooves. They will be performing at a number of events:

24th June | Habit Breaker ~ Freedom Maker

 
Ashraya is a Sanskrit word meaning shelter. In the beautiful, heartwarming mantras sung in kirtan, we find our shelter from the storms of life. They have performed at a number of locations including the MindBodySpirit festival recently in Sydney and with Hindu Balinese community in the north east region of Bali. 
 
 
The band members are all long term practitioners of Bhakti Yoga in the Vaisnava tradition. Their passion is share the joy that kirtan and the deeper spiritual aspect of yoga bring to others regardless of their backgrounds. They have been inspired to share the yoga wisdom and teachings so that others may apply these in their own lives to optimise their whole well being. You can also catch Ashraya performing regularly on the Gold Coast at the Mantra Room in Burleigh Heads. 

NSW Parliament to toughen Hate Laws

The hate speech laws in Australia give redress to someone who is the victim of discriminationvilification, or injury on grounds that differ from one jurisdiction to another.

Under the proposed amendments introduced to the Parliament, individuals who incite violence against a community or person based on their race could face up to three years in prison and an $11,000 fine.

The bill, if passed, will create a new offence in the Crimes Act of “publicly threatening or inciting violence” on the grounds of race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex or HIV/AIDS status.

Attorney-General Mark Speakman said current provisions in the Anti-Discrimination Act have been ineffective in prosecuting people accused of encouraging violence and have not led to a successful prosecution in 30 years.

[Click here to read more ….]

Source includes Wikipedia.

White Racist posters appear in a Queensland town

Ayr is located 88 kilometres (55 mi) south of Townsville on the Bruce Highway between Top end of Queensland and Brisbane to its south. produces the most sugar cane per square kilometre in Australia. The town has a total population of 8,281 according to the 2016 census of which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 7.7%. Unlike other cities, most of the people living in Ayr were born in Australia and 85.4% of people only spoke English at home. The most common responses for religion were Catholic 37.3%, Anglican 15.7% and No Religion 15.0%.[1]

If you visit this town on your way to beautiful beaches of northern Queensland, you would feel the same kind of welcome as you do in  most small towns of Australia. BUT not any more.

The town has become the center of controversy when a racist poster was placed up in one of the shops, telling foreigners and backpackers that they’re not welcomed. Although Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin condemned the people responsible for the poster,[10] the memories of a white only Australia policy that was abolished a long time ago, still seems to find favour among the shopkeepers. Little do they realize that they are driving the tourists away from their town and risk the town of Ayr disappear in an economic black hole like  many mining/agricultural towns in Queensland. 

The profanity-laden poster pasted on a shop window reads: “Unless you are of Northern European descent, speak English and you are not a thot (sic) or degenerate, f*** off, because you are not welcome here”. (Thot, is an Australian slang for “that ho over there”.)

Within hours of being notified, Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin issued a statement condemning the “vile” poster targeting backpackers. “I’m appalled … the person responsible should hang their head in shame,” Cr McLaughlin said. “We wholeheartedly welcome backpackers to our region, not only for the crucial work they do in our horticultural industries but for the cultural diversity they add to our community.”

[Click here to read more …]  

[And see the offensive poster here ….]

Source from Wikipedia also.

 

Australia’s first religious same sex marriage performed in a Synagogue

Australia has recently permitted same sex marriage. While many such marriages have been held in civil ceremonies, most religions have been reluctant to embrace the change and incorporate LGBT in their religious marriage ceremonies.

By Dolly442 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20285641 

Now, a first religious same sex marriage has been performed in a Synagogue.

[Click here to read more ….]

Ray Williams MP wants to stamp out racism in Australia

Some leaders have recently made racist and divisive statements affecting residents of NSW and Australia.

Upset by these developments, Hon. Ray Williams MP will host a round table with Community Leaders to explore ways to stamp out racism in Australian community.

He is holding a forum on the same 2:15pm, Saturday 26 May 2018

 

Tiny Australian towns are inclusive but lack diversity

While large Australian cities have seen a large influx of different ethnic and religious groups, tiny Australian towns although considered inclusive by some authors, lack diversity of ethnicity and religions. They seem to live in a time warp that existed in Australia before 1970’s. Most new immigrants avoid country towns for their lack of employment opportunities. Most Hindus who came to Australia after abolition of whites only policy, settled in cities though a handful of Hindu doctors  did settle in small towns. These doctors were respected and seen as as an important asset to medical services starved communities.

However most Hindus who came to Australia later, started settling in large cities as a rush of IT and then technicians came in. Later, students immigrating started drifting to medium towns for jobs and small businesses. It seems that tiny towns of Australia are still living in their old familiar ways. It is a matter of time, perhaps one full generation before these new migrants start affecting the way of life of tiny towns as they have done to large cities.

[Click here to read more …]