Moon mission of Sathya Sai Baba: Only for the faithful!

Natteri Adigal, 29 November 2007,

Sathya Sai Baba is not a Nobel laureate like Dalai Lama. But, he counts Dr Michael Nobel, son of Alfred Nobel, among his staunch devotees. Former Chief Justice of India PN Bhagwati was the chief guest as Baba cut the cake on his 82nd birthday in November. Continue reading

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Thieves cut off Hindu sadhu’s ‘holy leg’

By Omer Farooq
BBC News, Hyderabad

Police in southern India are hunting for two men who attacked a Hindu holy man, cut off his right leg and then made off with it.

The 80-year-old holy man, Yanadi Kondaiah, claimed to have healing powers in the leg.

He is now recovering from his ordeal in hospital in the city of Tirupati in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Local people believed they could be healed of spiritual and physical problems if they touched his leg.

They also believed in Mr Kondaiah’s predictions of the future.

Police say the incident happened 550 km north of the state capital, Hyderabad.

‘Brutal manner’

Police say that the self-styled ‘Godman’ – who lives in a village near the city of Tirupati – was approached a few days ago by two strangers who came to seek his advice over a medical problem.

They say that the pair returned to the old man on Tuesday ostensibly to thank him for his help.

“As the old man had the weakness of drinking, he accepted their invitation to have drinks with them,” said local police Sub-Inspector Pendakanti Dastgiri.

“They took him to a deserted spot in the outskirts of the village.

“After the old man had passed out under the influence of liquor, they cut off his right leg from the knee,” he said.

Mr Dastgiri said that the amputation was carried out in a very “brutal manner” and that police are still looking for the leg and the men who so cruelly took it.

He said that the assailants used a sharp hunting knife, and left the old man alone and bleeding slowly to death.

Local people who found him unconscious alerted the police, who rushed him to hospital in Tirupati.

After regaining consciousness Mr Kondaiah said that he had no idea why he was targeted in such a manner, and did not understand the motive of the miscreants in taking away his leg.

“I have always been good to others and helped who ever came to me. Then why has this been done to me?” he asked amid his tears.

Police say the reason for the attack could be because Mr Kondaiah told too many people of the alleged magical powers of his right leg.

“This might have motivated some people to take away his leg hoping to benefit from it,” a police spokesman said.

“But it is difficult to say that this was the only motive. It could also be a case of a revenge attack.”

Story from BBC NEWS:

Hindu gods get summons from court

By Amarnath Tewary,Patna

A judge in India has summoned two Hindu gods, Ram and Hanuman, to help resolve a property dispute.

Judge Sunil Kumar Singh in the eastern state of Jharkhand has issued adverts in newspapers asking the gods to “appear before the court personally”.

The gods have been asked to appear before the court on Tuesday, after the judge said that letters addressed to them had gone unanswered.

Ram and Hanuman are among the most popular Indian Hindu gods.

Judge Singh presides in a “fast track” court – designed to resolve disputes quickly – in the city of Dhanbad.

The dispute is now 20 years old and revolves around the ownership of a 1.4 acre plot of land housing two temples.

You failed to appear in the court despite notices sent by a peon and post

Judge Sunil Kumar Singh in letter to Lord Ram and Hanuman

The deities of Ram and Hanuman, the monkey god, are worshipped at the two temples on the land.

Temple priest Manmohan Pathak claims the land belongs to him. Locals say it belongs to the two deities.

The two sides first went to court in 1987.

A few years ago, the dispute was settled in favour of the locals. Then Mr Pathak challenged the verdict in a fast track court.

Gift

Judge Singh sent out two notices to the deities, but they were returned as the addresses were found to be “incomplete”.

This prompted him to put out adverts in local newspapers summoning the gods.

“You failed to appear in court despite notices sent by a peon and later through registered post. You are herby directed to appear before the court personally”, Judge Singh’s notice said.

The two Hindu gods have been summoned as the defence claimed that they were owners of the disputed land.

“Since the land has been donated to the gods, it is necessary to make them a party to the case,” local lawyer Bijan Rawani said.

Mr Pathak said the land was given to his grandfather by a former local king.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/12/07 09:08:32 GMT

Tamil Indian man attempts to break curse by marrying dog

14 November 2007,  CHENNAI, India (AFP) — An Indian farmer has married his dog in a bid to overcome what he believes is a curse caused by him having stoned to death two mating dogs in his rice field, press reports said.

The 34-year-old farmer, identified as Selvakumar from Sivaganga district in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, fell on bad fortune 15 years ago after killing the dogs and hanging their carcasses from a tree.

A few days later, his hearing and speech were impaired and he was unable to walk.

Doctors were clueless, but an astrologer finally told him he was cursed by the spirits of the dogs he had killed. He could undo the curse only if he married a dog and live with it, the soothsayer said.

After a long search for a ‘suitable bride’, Selvakumar managed to get a four-year-old mongrel bitch from a friend and had a fully-fledged Hindu wedding in front of villagers and elders on Sunday, eyewitnesses said.

The canine bride, named Selvi, was adorned in a sari and flowers and brought to the temple by village women. A Hindu priest conducted the ceremony.

The reports, however, said Selvi the dog attempted to make a run for it — apparently due to the large crowds — but was eventually tracked down and returned to her new ‘husband’.

“The dog is only for lifting the curse and after that, he plans to get a real bride,” a friend of the groom said.

Indian teachers ‘purify’ low caste students with cow urine

Mumbai, April 22, 2007 ,

Indian teachers have been sprinkling cow urine on low-caste students to purify them and drive away evil.

In India, millions of people formerly known as “untouchables” remain oppressed at the bottom of the ancient Hindu caste system.

The Times of India reported yesterday that upper-caste headteacher Sharad Kaithade ordered the ritual after taking over from a lower-caste predecessor at a school in a remote village in the western state of Maharashtra earlier this month.

He told an upper-caste colleague to spray cow urine in a cleansing ceremony as the students were taking an examination, wetting their faces and their answer sheets, the newspaper said.

“She said you’ll study well after getting purified,” student Rajat Washnik was quoted as saying by the CNN-IBN news channel. Students said they felt humiliated.

Hinduism reveres the cow, and its dung is used in the countryside as both a disinfectant and as fuel.

In 2001, Hindu nationalists promoted cow’s urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer.

The newspaper said the two teachers were arrested after angry parents complained to police. They have been released on bail.

India’s secular constitution bans caste discrimination, but Dalits – those at the bottom of the caste system – are still commonly beaten or killed for using a well or worshipping at a temple reserved for upper castes, especially in rural areas.

Dalits, once known as untouchables, make up around 160 million of India’s billion-plus population.

In February, the New York-based Human Rights Watch group said India was failing to protect its lower-caste citizens, who were condemned to a lifetime of abuse because of their social status.

Reuters

46 per cent Indians believe ghosts exists, 24 percent consult a palmist

93 per cent Indians believe in God

New Delhi, January 24, 2007

Here are some common beliefs about religion — Indians used to be very religious but no longer are, religion is the domain of women and the elderly, and educated and urbane India has no time for religion.

If you also thought so, it is time you took a look at the findings of the HT-CNN IBN State of the Nation Survey conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). Every alternate respondent in this survey — 7,670 to be precise — was asked a series of questions about their religious beliefs, attitudes and practices. The findings are bound to surprise you.

The survey found that urban, educated Indians are more religious than their rural and illiterate counterparts. Yes, women are more religious, but metropolitan women are far more religious than rural women. Predictably, the youth are a little less enthusiastic about religion. But the point is: religion in the country is on the rise.

If there is one social group that is least enthusiastic about religious practices, it is the adivasis. And if there is one group that is more religious than any other, it is upper caste Hindus who have been exposed to modern life more than others.

Consider these facts:

1) 93 per cent believe in god; education makes no difference
2) 64 per cent visit a temple, mosque or gurudwara regularly
3) 53 per cent pray daily; the educated pray more regularly
4) 46 per cent believe ghosts exist
5)  24 per cent consult a palmist
6)  68 per cent participate or take interest in religious functions of other religions

Do you think these figures reflect the rise of the BJP? Not quite. The party gets a little more than average support from among the very religious, but so does the Congress.

So what drives people to religion? Sociologists tell us that the stress of urban living pushes people to search for anchors in their lives. Since they cannot go back to their villages, they recreate a community through religion. That explains the religiosity among those who live in big cities.

In the process, religion changes from a personal experience to something that is more public and congregational. Hence, the proliferation of jalsas, satsangs and ratjagas. Market and the media play a greater role in defining religion.

Religious programmes on television are the latest vehicle for religious communication.

(Kumar and Yadav are social scientists working with the CSDS, Delhi)

Sanjay Kumar and Yogendra Yadav, Hindustan Times

80 percent of Indians questioned “God had a human form”

India sees God as creator, not controller – report

Sun Nov 26, 2006

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Most Indians perceive God as a macro-manager responsible for controlling things like the earth’s rotation, rather than being in charge of the actions of humans on a day-to-day basis, a survey said on Saturday.

According to a poll conducted for the Times of India newspaper across 10 cities with 1,007 respondents — which included people of Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh faiths — Indians were not convinced that God controlled our daily lives.

“(God) is seen as the Creator — 91 percent feel God controls macro-affairs like the rotation of the earth or the cycle of life and death,” the newspaper reported.

“A significant 46 percent said (God) was an observer, not a controller.”

Predominately Hindu India is seen as being a deeply religious country where idol worship and superstitious beliefs are widely adhered to, but the poll found that only one third of Indians sensed the presence of God in idols.

While 80 percent of Indians questioned thought God had a human form, 23 percent felt God was male and 11 percent believed God was female. Forty-nine percent thought God took both a female and male form.

The poll, conducted by market research firm TNS for the daily newspaper, also found 54 percent of Indians believed God answered their prayers and 56 percent thought God was never unjust.

The newspaper said that while India is often perceived as a land of God-fearing people, God is seen by many as more a source of energy than someone to be feared.