Japanese town of Kichijoi is named after Hindu Goddess Lakshmi

Recalling the influence of India on Japanese culture and society, Kitagawa, Consul General of Japan, said many think Japan and India were different, though they are not, as is evident from the many temples in Japan being dedicated to Hindu gods.

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Hindu History of Afghanistan

Hinduism today is only followed in India and small percentage of people in few other countries. But the Hindu
kingdom until 900 CE was spread to a vast area including Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Yes, Afghanistan was a Hindu kingdom which was dominated by Hindus and Buddhists. The Muslim invasion of the Hindu region began as early as 980 CE when Raja Jaya Pal was attacked by Sabuktagin. During the rule of Jaya Pal, Shiva
worship was dominant in all places of Afghanistan. The places had hundreds of Shiva temples with prayers, chants on
Shiva a common site.

[Click here to read more….]

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Hindu peace philosophy explained at Ahamadiya Peace Conference

By:Tara Sharma.

I attended Ahmadiyya Muslim community a Peace Symposium on behalf of Hindu Council of Australia. We were also represented a few weeks back, on their function on Eid festival.

It was a good experience.

There were people from other faiths too like Budhists, Sikhs, Christians from two faiths. There were political leaders too and some social / community leaders.

The topic of Symposium was : Decency, Tolerance and Respect for lasting peace.

There were 13 speakers.
I was one of the speakers and I spoke on Hindu philosophy/ teachings / thinking on Peace. It was well received.

There were around 400-500 attendees.

I was much impressed with the organisation.
The program was well organised, professional, well attended. The venue was well laid out, technologically well done, timing was on spot, guests were well received. Dinner was well serviced.
Plenty of volunteers, well managed volunteer force, clock precision work, no chaos, very humble behaviour.

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Vedic woman – Where is She?

The Vedic Woman: Who Was She and Will She Return? After scouring the internet for hours, what I found left me seriously F R U S T R A T E D.

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Gerald Barr – Interviews with non-Indian Hindus

I think Hinduism is an alive tradition that is not frozen in ancient times. It adjusts to the time and place. However, the source must always be preserved. 

I became immensely inspired by Indian Classical Music, and began learning from Ustad Zakir Hussain in 1995. He teaches not just tabla, but also how the music is connected to Hinduism. For example, he traces Indian percussion to Lord Ganesha. He once taught a tabla composition that ‘narrates’ a story of Radha and Krishna. Thus, the music and Hindu spirituality are directly linked.

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Jalaram Bapa a saint from Virpur

A once mighty civilization that India was, it continues to produce men and women of exceptional abilities from time to time and from place to place. The land of Punjab is Vir Bhumi, land of Kerala is Punuruthana Bhumi, land of UP and Utrakhand is Dev Bhumi, land of Bengal is Reform Bhumi, land of Bihar Jharkhand is Shanti Sandesh Bhumi, land of Tamilnadu is Kalaa Bhumi and so on. The land of Gujarat is famous as Sant Bhumi. Each Bhumi or land or state has produced many stars in its category.

Jalaram Bapa idol at a temple in Vadodara, dressed in colorful attire on occasion of Jalaram Jayanti holding a danda and wearing a turban.
Jethwarp – Own work

Gujarat has produced many saints. One such saint of Gujarat who lived mostly in 19th century affectionately known as Bapa (meaning great Dad) started a tradition of feeding the poor, the needy and everyone else who came to him. I had gone to Virpur where Bapa was born and witnessed his open kitchen, open to all, his earthen vessel that quenches the thirst of all and a place that does not accept donations. Even after 200 years, Bapa continues to shower his blessings and money has never been a problem to serve. 

The main shrine of Jalaram Bapa is located at Virpur. The shrine is actually the house complex where Jalaram lived during his lifetime. The shrine houses the belongings of Jalaram and the deities of Rama, Sita, Lakshamana and Hanuman worshipped by him. It also has on display the Jholi and Danda said to be given by God.[5] But the main attraction is the portrait of Jalaram Bapa. There is also an actual black and white photo of Jalaram Bapa, taken one year before his death.[7]

The temple is one of a kind in the world in a way that it has not been accepting any offerings since 9 February 2000.

Jalaram Bapa popularly known as Bapa was a Hindu saint from Gujarat, India. Bapa is revered by many people around the world for his saintly qualities and his ability to work miracles but most of all he is remembered for his selfless acts of charity.

Bapa was born on 14 November 1799 in the town of Virpur near Rajkot in India. He got married to Virbai at the age of sixteen. Virbai Maa, as she is popularly known, supported Bapa wholeheartedly in his saintly duties. Bapa’s feats of kindness, his devotion to God and his miracles are well documented.

At the age of 20, after obtaining his Guru’s blessings, Bapa started his Sadavrat (‘an oath forever’), providing free food to every person, at first to sadhus (monks) but later extended to anyone who dropped in. Inspired by his insatiable desire to feed the poor and needy, many became his devotees. True to Bapa’s desire and nearly 200 years later this tradition of feeding people continues to this day in Virpur.

For his devotees this meal is now a Prasad. Virpur has become an important Pilgrimage centre in India and attracts thousands of visitors daily.

Although Bapa origins were from the Lohana community his work and influence extended to all as he considered all castes and religions equally worthy of help and respect.

Bapa died in 1881 whilst praying. He was a divine soul who worked selflessly for humanity. His deeds are inspiring millions of people to follow the path of humanity and service. His birthday (Jayanti) each year is celebrated by many thousands of people across the world. His mandirs everywhere still serve the same Prasad of “Rotla, Khichdi, Kadhi and Shaak” and preach about the completely unselfish and kind deeds of Bapa.

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Shakti initiative of Hindu American Foundation

Hindu American Foundation. www.hafsite.org. HAF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Namaste

WELCOME TO THE SHAKTI INITIATIVE!


Many years ago, I was invited to speak on a panel about women and religion. Armed with my senior thesis from undergrad — The Vedic Woman: Who Was She and Will She Return? — I was able to quickly pull together a long list of stories and scriptural quotes to bolster my own experience of finding strength and inspiration in Hindu teachings as a Hindu woman.

After the panel, a number of intrigued audience members approached me for online sources that they could read to learn more.  

I promised I’d get back to them. The truth is, I never did.

After scouring the internet for hours, what I found left me seriously F R U S T R A T E D.

There were the websites that were politically or religiously motivated — brimming with stereotypes and outright lies. They took scriptural quotes out of context and juxtaposed them with social evils afflicting women of all backgrounds in India to paint the ugly picture they sought to promote.  

Others were academic in nature, plagued with the same exoticizing and eroticizing with which we’re sadly all too familiar.

And then there were the well meaning, but confused ones where social customs and even wives’ tales were being passed off as religious mandates.

Frustration, however, can be a pathway to one of two things — anger or innovation.  

At HAF we’re fans of the latter.

And so —  on these auspicious first days of Gupt Navaratri — we welcome you to the Shakti Initiative: An accessible, online exploration of Hindu teachings about and by women the contributions of Hindu women throughout history; and the role both women and men play in bringing to fruition solutions that are grounded in Hindu teachings to address critical contemporary issues.  

My deepest hope for the Shakti Initiative when it was only a seed of an idea was that the life stories and contributions of some of the most remarkable women history has ever seen would inspire both women and men to get reacquainted with and reassert, in many facets of life where we have fallen short, the balance and harmony our traditions advocate for between the feminine and masculine.  

In turn, women and men will renew their commitment to work together to alleviate the suffering that has uniquely and disproportionately affected women in our society, and support one another so that all have access to their highest potential.  

In a small way, my hope is already manifesting.  

When I first proposed the idea at our National Team meet several years ago, nearly every hand shot up, either in support of the project or to join the Shakti writing team. Not only that, we’ve gotten new volunteers — young and not as young — who upon hearing about the project, have contributed articles, and are working on new ones as I write this.  

We hope you enjoy the Shakti Initiative as much as we have been inspired by it.    

We’ve got a lot up already, and a lot more planned, so visitwww.shaktiinitiative.org often.

Jai Mata Di and Happy Navaratri!

Best,

Suhag Shukla

HAF Executive Director

P.S. Would you like us to write about a Hindu woman of note? Interview a swamini known to you? Uncover the reason behind a tradition centered around women? Send us your suggestions at shakti@hafsite.org.  

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Hindus have more at stake on Climate change than many others

By:Surinder Jain.

Most other religions than Hinduism believe in one life and a judgement day thereafter. Hindus believe that we will be born again and again to inhabit the earth until we perfect ourselves. We Hindus therefore have a lot more at stake in keeping the earth from calamities like Global warming and Climate Catastrophe. While others may be doing it out of their goodness and for their children’s sake, we Hindus have to save the earth, out of necessity and for our own sake, in addition to goodness and for children.

According to ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change)[1], the three areas where religious leaders and people of faith can take steps to save the environment of the earth are:

  1. reduced use of transportation based on fossil fuels, ie, air and road transport
  2. shifting towards plant-based diets, away from meat-based protein
  3. energy efficiency and sourcing energy from renewables

Doesn’t it sound so Hindu a way of life that our ancient Rishis used to live. Using Bulls for energy & transport and eating vegetarian food cooked on cow dung fuel. Of the three Hindu ways of life that ARRCC has reaffirmed are essential to save the earth in which we are going to come back to live again and again, we can all easily implement the second, i.e stay vegetarian if you are and shift to less meat and away from meat based food. Hindu Council supports ARRCCs efforts for reducing meat-based protein diet.

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Maharishi Sushruta, a surgeon famous in Melbourne

By:Surinder Jain.

The Royal Australia College of Surgeons (RACS), trains surgeons and is responsible for maintaining surgical standards in Australia and New Zealand.  It aims to foster and promote the pursuit of excellence in surgical education and actively supports innovative surgical research, aid projects in underprivileged communities, skills transfer and education programs.

A statue of Surgeon Sushruta in the Royal Australia College of Surgeons, Melbourne

In its building, among some of the most prominent ancient physicians, one may come across a statue of Sushrata with the plaque mentioning him as Father of Surgery.

When contacted, the RACS were very proud of having the now famous statue in their building. The statue is displayed at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Melbourne and has been on display since early June 2018. It is made of marble with a granite base, is 1.2 m high and weighs a massive 550Kg. It is installed in the Skills lab area, East wing level 1 of the building and according to the RACS college, is a true work of art.

The college also has a collection of many rare and significant books in the field of medicine in its Cowlishaw Collection. A 1907 English translation of the works of Sushruta known as Sushruta Samhita by Kunjalal Bishnagratan is a part of that prestigious collection. According to the college, Sushruta is a foundation figure in Indian medicine and surgery and is hailed as the Indian counterpart of Hippocrates . 

College museum which holds the translation of Sushruta Samhita is open to the public twice a week Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12noon (check with the college here for latest details). The college curator can arrange private tours for groups or if people are interested in viewing a particular item. That can be arranged by contacting the college curator at Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, 250-290 Spring Street, East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia, Telephone: +61 3 9276 7447, Fax: +61 3 9249 1219
Email: college.curator@surgeons.org

 

Dr K M Cherian

The statue was donated to the college by one its Alumni, Dr K M Cherian. Dr Cherian performed India’s first successful Coronary Artery bypass surgery in 1975. He also performed the country’s first heart transplant after legalization of brain death. The first Heart- Lung Transplant, the first Paediatric Transplant and the first TMR (Laser Heart Surgery) were also performed by him[1].

He started his career in Christian Medical College Hospital, in Vellore as lecturer in Surgery. He did his FRACS in Cardiothoracic Surgery in 1973 from RACS, while being a migrant in Australia. He also worked in New Zealand and  the United States. He worked as a Special Fellow in Paediatric Cardiac Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama under Dr. John W. Kirklin and in the University of Oregon under Dr. Albert Starr. He is an honourable Prof at the Yangzhou University, China. He was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1991. 

Dr Cherian is very fond of and inspired by Sushruta.

Sushruta statue at RACP East wing 1, Melbourne

The Indian epic Mahābhārata lists Suśruta amongst the sons of Viśvāmitra, the legendary sage.[8] [9] The Bower Manuscript, an early birch bark document, dated to the Gupta era (between the 4th and the 6th century), is an Indian text and is one of the oldest manuscripts known to have survived into the modern era.[3] It mentions the ancient Indian tradition of “garlic festival”, as well as a mention of sage Sushruta in Benares (Varanasi).[6]

The Suśruta-saṃhitā (works of Sushruta) is one of the most important surviving ancient treatises on medicine and is considered a foundational text of Medicine. The treatise addresses all aspects of general medicine, and the translator G. D. Singhal dubbed Suśruta “the father of surgery” on account of the extraordinarily accurate and detailed accounts of surgery to be found in the work.[5] 

A statue dedicated to Sushruta at the Patanjali Yogpeeth institute in Haridwar. In the sign next to the statue, Patanjali Yogpeeth attributes the title of Maharishi to Sushruta, claims a floruit of 1500 BC for him, and dubs him the “founding father of surgery”, and identifies the Sushrut Samhita as “the best and outstanding commentary on Medical Science of Surgery”.

The Suśruta-saṃhitā was known to the scholar Dṛḍhabala (fl. 300–500 CE)[7] and some concepts from it can be found in the Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa, that is dated to the sixth century BCE,[6] 

The Suśruta-saṃhitā, in its 184 chapters contains descriptions of

The text discusses surgical techniques of

It enumerates six types of dislocations, twelve varieties of fractures, and classification of the bones and their reaction to the injuries, and gives a classification of eye diseases including cataract surgery.

 

Nepal, Text- 12th-13th century; Images- 18th-19th century Books Ink and opaque watercolor on palm leaf Gift of Emeritus Professor and Mrs. Thomas O. Ballinger (M.87.271a-g) South and Southeast Asian Art

Sushruta says that in his works, he has presented the teaching of his guru, Divodāsa[16] a physician who taught in a school in Kashi (Varanasi, India) in parallel to another medical school in Taxila (on Jhelum river, ancient India),[17][18] sometime between 1200 BC and 600 BC.[19][20]  The text uses terminology of Samkhya and other schools of Hindu philosophy.[32][33][34]

The text was translated to Arabic as Kitab Shah Shun al-Hindi’ in Arabic, also known as Kitab i-Susurud, in Baghdad during the early 8th century at the instructions of a member of the Barmakid family of Baghdad.[138][10] Yahya ibn Barmak facilitated a major effort at collecting and translating Sanskrit texts such as Vagbhata’s Astangahrdaya Samhita, Ravigupta’s Siddhasara and Sushruta Samhita.[139] The Arabic translation reached Europe by the end of the medieval period.  In Italy, the Branca family[11] of Sicily and Gaspare Tagliacozzi (Bologna) became familiar with the techniques of Sushruta.[10]

The text was known to the Khmer king Yaśovarman I (fl. 889-900) of Cambodia. Suśruta was also known as a medical authority in Tibetan literature.[138]

Ancient indian text Sushruta samhita shastra and kartarika, surgical instruments 1 of 4

A cataract surgery was found by Sushruta and was subsequently introduced to other countries. Sushruta Samhita mentions the operation in which a curved needle was used to push the opaque phlegmatic matter (kapha in Sanskrit) in the eye out of the way of vision. 

“vv. 57-61ab: In moderate season, after unction and sudation, the patient should be positioned and held firmly while gazing at his nose steadily. Now the wise surgeon leaving two parts of white circle from the black one towards the outer canthus should open his eyes properly free from vascular network and then with a barley-tipped rod-like instrument held firmly in hand with middle, index and thumb fingers should puncture the natural hole-like point with effort and confidence not below, above or in sides. The left eye should be punctured with right hand and vice-versa. When punctured properly a drop of fluid comes out and alsoe there is some typical sound.”

The cataract operation method described by Sushruta continued to be used throughout the Middle Ages and is still used in some parts of Africa and in Yemen.[20] For the most part, it has now been replaced by extracapsular cataract surgery. The first references to cataract and its treatment in Europe are found in 29 AD in De Medicinae, the work of the Latin encyclopedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus, who used Sushruta’s method and called it Couching.

Sushruta Samhita manuscript

 

The Sushruta Samhita states, per Hoernle translation, that “the professors of Ayurveda speak of three hundred and sixty bones, but books on Salya-Shastra(surgical science) know of only three hundred”.[125] The text then lists the total of 300 as follows: 120 in the extremities (e.g. hands, legs), 117 in pelvic area, sides, back, abdomen and breast, and 63 in neck and upwards.[125] The text then explains how these subtotals were empirically verified.[126] The discussion shows that the Indian tradition nurtured diversity of thought, with Sushruta school reaching its own conclusions and differing from the Atreya-Caraka tradition.[126]

Anatomy and empirical studies

The different parts or members of the body as mentioned before including the skin, cannot be correctly described by one who is not well versed in anatomy. Hence, any one desirous of acquiring a thorough knowledge of anatomy should prepare a dead body and carefully, observe, by dissecting it, and examine its different parts.

—Sushruta Samhita, Book 3, Chapter V
Translators: Loukas et al[8]

The Sushruta Samhita is best known for its approach and discussions of surgery.[44] It was one of the first in human history to suggest that a student of surgery should learn about human body and its organs by dissecting a dead body.[44] A student should practice, states the text, on objects resembling the diseased or body part.[130] Incision studies, for example, are recommended on Pushpaphala(squash, Cucurbita maxima), Alavu (bottle gourd, Lagenaria vulgaris), Trapusha (cucumber, Cucumis pubescens), leather bags filled with fluids and bladders of dead animals.[130]

Reconstructive surgery techniques were being carried out in India by 800 BC.[8] Sushruta made important contributions to the field of plastic and cataract surgery.[9] The medical works of both Sushruta and Charak, are originally in Sanskrit language.

British physicians traveled to India to see rhinoplasties being performed by Indian methods.[12] Reports on Indian rhinoplasty performed by a Kumhar vaidya were published in the Gentleman’s Magazine by 1794.[12] Joseph Constantine Carpue spent 20 years in India studying local plastic surgery methods.[12] and finally in 1814, he performed the first major surgery operative procedure on a British military officer who had lost his nose to the toxic effects of mercury treatments.[13] Instruments described in the Sushruta Samhita were further modified for use in the Western world.[13] 

Indian method of nose reconstruction, illustrated in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1794

Sushruta, states Tipton, asserts that a physician should invest effort to prevent diseases as much as curative remedial procedures.[124] An important means for prevention, states Sushruta, is physical exercise and hygienic practices.[124] The text adds that excessive strenuous exercise can be injurious and make one more susceptible to diseases, cautioning against such excess.[12] Regular moderate exercise, suggests Sushruta, improves resistance to disease and physical decay.[124] Shushruta has written Shlokas on prevention of diseases.

A number of Sushruta’s contributions have been discussed in modern literature. Some of these include Hritshoola (heart pain), circulation of vital body fluids (such as blood (rakta dhatu) and lymph (rasa dhatu), Madhumeha, obesity, and hypertension.[46] Kearns & Nash (2008) state that the first mention of leprosy is described in Sushruta Samhita.[135][136] The text discusses kidney stones and its surgical removal.[137]

With so much in his book (Sushruta Samhita), no wonder Maharishi Sushruta has been called Father of Surgery and it is no surprise that a prestigious and learned college like The Royal Australian College of Surgeons has given Sushruta such a place of honor in its temple of learning.

(Credit:Wikipedia)

 

 

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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 ….]

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