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Is seeking votes on religious grounds a corrupt practice?

Later this month, a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will pass a ruling on the interpretation of Section 123 (3) of the Representation of the People Act, deciding on whether an appeal for vote in the name of religion will come within the ambit of ‘corrupt practice’. A five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Justices R.M. Lodha, A.K. Patnaik, S.J. Mukhopadhaya, Dipak Misra and Ibrahim Kalilfulla, posted the issue for consideration by a seven-judge Bench, along with a reference of seven-judges of an appeal already made as early as in August 2002, pending adjudication.
The Hindu

Rajoana urges Akal Takht to issue edict for boycott of Congress
As the controversy around 1984 anti-Sikh riots is brewing again, death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana has said that the Akal Takht should issue a “hukmnama” (edict) directing the entire Sikh community to severe ties with Congress, alleging that the party was responsible for the carnage. Stating that Akal Takht had issued an edict asking Sikhs to snap social ties with followers of a popular dera when its head had allegedly imitated 10th master of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, around seven years ago, Rajoana questioned why a similar decree was not be made regarding Congress party, which “conspired” to kill Sikhs in Delhi in 1984.
The Times of India

Yoga, imported from India, attracts 20 million Americans
The origin of Yoga is blurred, but may go back before recorded history, even prior to the emergence of Hinduism. An early text is attributed to a scholar known as Patanjali, who gave step-by-step instructions. From his writings Ashtanga Yoga emerged, also referred to as Classical Yoga. Most adherents in this country practice some variation of Patanjali. Thousands of classes are held across the co untry at yoga studios, Ys, colleges, churches, and elsewhere. A major 300-acre Yoga center known as Kripalu is located in Stockbridge, Mass. Yoga has its critics in America, mainly because of its historic ties to Hinduism. Various evangelical clergy have spoken out sharply against it. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has said that Yoga is “at odds with the Christian understanding….Believers are called to meditate on the Word of God.” The televangelist Pat Robertson has charged that Yoga “gets real spooky.” (Actually, Robertson can get real spooky.)
My Record Journal

First Purusha, Then Prakriti Manifested: Sadhguru
Shiva is referred to as the ultimate man, he is the symbolism of ultimate masculinity, and even he is half a woman. I think that is compliment enough. You don’t have to say Shiva came and became half of Parvati because that is not how nature happened. First was Purusha, and then Prakriti manifested. First there was the source of creation, then creation happened. If you were to say, “I delivered my mother,” that would be inappropriate. If you say, “Ardhanari means Shiva became a part of Parvati,” that is what you are saying.
The New Indian Express

Dalai Lama for promotion of secular ethics among youths
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama today urged spiritual leaders of all religions to remind the younger generation the importance of India’s tradition of secular ethics. “Modern India has become a little bit materialistic and the younger generation talks more about money than spirituality, but spiritual leaders must remind them material development provides only physical comfort and not mental comfort,” he said while addressing an Interfaith Conclave on Peace and Religious Harmony here.
Business Standard

The Islamic Republic at 35: A matter of interests
As Iran celebrates the 35th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution, British Prime Minister Palmerston’s apt phrase rings truer than ever: Iran has no permanent friends, only permanent interests.The main question facing the leadership is how, at three and a half decades, can its revolution remain relevant? As always with Iran, its international relations and domestic politics intricately overlap, and its interests impact each other. Towering above the others, its primary interest is to reduce the draconian weight of international sanctions, which are squeezing its economy and threatening the legitimacy of its clerical regime. Second, Iran needs to patch up relations with Saudi Arabia to stem the dangerous politics of sectarianism that is ratcheting up conflict within the Islamic world. Third, Iran’s support of Syria needs to lead it to the international negotiating table, since its aim, much like Russia’s, is to ease Assad out so conflict declines, while retaining a dominant position inside a post-Assad Syria.
—  Aljazeera

 

 

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If You Have Faith, You’ll Stop Arguing Why It’s Important in the Marketplace

Freedom of speech means that you have full permission and a right to say what you want, write what you want and speak what you want. Sadly, some groups believe this means you should be silenced if your beliefs are different than mine, or even given special rights if your faith is threatening mine.
Reuters

Yoga is the best way to enforce prohibition, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says
Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Tuesday termed people who do not practise yoga as ayogiyan (a term in Sanskrit and Tamil which means unethical person). “If you don’t practise yoga, you are good for nothing. This has been the belief since ancient times,” he said while speaking at the valedictory function of the 20th international yoga festival organized by the tourism department.
The Times of India

Harassed 300 Dalits Embrace Buddhism
The Dalits were banned from entering the temple and were also not allowed to use the local crematorium. They alleged that the district administration had failed to respond to as many as 28 petitions filed by them in the last two years. Around 79 Dalit families live in a colony in the hamlet which houses over 3,000 Caste Hindus. “As we are in the minority, Caste Hindus banned our entry inside their temples,” a Dalit said.
The New Indian Express

What 21st century Buddhists need to do is study: His Holiness
He said that among the three turnings of the wheel of Dharma, the Perfection of Wisdom teachings, the second turning of the wheel is supreme. The Heart Sutra describes both the Buddha and Avalokiteshara as absorbed in concentration. Initially the Buddha taught how we are propelled into cyclic existence, but not who is propelled. The Heart Sutra teaches not only that the person is empty, but that the five aggregates that are its basis are also empty. This indicates that phenomena as well as persons are empty of inherent existence. The Perfection of Wisdom Sutras teach that there is no essence in anything, everything is empty of inherent existence and is merely designated, nominally existent.
The Tibet Post

This is your brain on religion: Uncovering the science of belief
As far as I’m concerned, the most interesting question about religion isn’t whether God exists but why so many people are religious. There are around 10,000 different religions, each of which is convinced that there’s only one Truth and that they alone possess it. Hating people with a different faith seems to be part of belief. Around the year 1500, the church reformer Martin Luther described Jews as a “brood of vipers.” Over the centuries the Christian hatred of the Jews led to pogroms and ultimately made the Holocaust possible. In 1947, over a million people were slaughtered when British India was partitioned into India for the Hindus and Pakistan for the Muslims. Nor has interfaith hatred diminished since then. Since the year 2000, 43 percent of civil wars have been of a religious nature.
Salon

Religious NGOs, Civil Society and the United Nations
A new study by the University of Kent’s Department of Religious Studies in the United Kingdom has revealed that more than 70% of the United Nation’s religious non-governmental organisations are Christian. The report, religious NGOs and the United Nations, calls for better clarity in how religious NGOs are represented at the UN and for more emphasis to be placed on religious tolerance.
Global Research

The shadow government’s secret religion
The expansion of Washington’s national security state — let’s call it the NSS — to gargantuan proportions has historically met little opposition.  In the wake of the Edward Snowdenrevelations, however, some resistance has arisen, especially when it comes to the “right” of one part of the NSS to turn the world into a listening post and gather, in particular, American communications of every sort.  The debate about this — invariably framed within the boundaries of whether or not we should have more security or more privacy and how exactly to balance the two — has been reasonably vigorous.  The problem is: it doesn’t begin to get at the real nature of the NSS or the problems it poses.
Salon

Religious Homophobia Is Still Homophobia
I’m a bisexual Seventh-day Adventist evangelical Christian. I’ve only ever gone to Seventh-day Adventist educational school systems. I grew up in pathfinders, singing for church special music since I was three, and going to Bible camps during my summers. I still go to a Seventh-day Adventist university where I work on creating safe spaces (unofficial GSA’s) nationally within the Seventh-day Adventist church. I get the Gay Christian world — I live in it. Around the entire LGBT conversation, whether it’s marriage or politics, the main contention point is religion. It’s the root of the opposition and it is where homophobia was birthed.
Huffington Post

Spirituality in a secular world — a conversation
Something essential is missing from modern life. Many who’ve turned away from religious institutions — and others who have lived wholly without religion — hunger for more than what contemporary secular life has to offer but are reluctant to follow organized religion’s strict and often inflexible path to spirituality. In A Religion of One’s Own, bestselling author and former monk Thomas Moore explores the myriad possibilities of creating a personal spiritual style, either inside or outside formal religion.
Fosters.com

Philosophy and Religion Intermarried in Groundbreaking New Book
Gleason’s book journeys through the depths of passion and prudence, of belief and rationality, of theology and philosophy. Loosely interlinked ordinary people represent moral allegories that attempt to explain whether free will or determinism exists, or whether humanity simply exists in a random set of events. The book’s overall theme is the merging of religious credos with philosophical underpinnings, the thematic crux of this fictional novel.
Digital Journal

 

Hindus, Sikhs compelled to bury dead in Pakistan as cremation grounds vanish

Death is the great leveller. But the tragedy following it in the case of grieving Hindus and Sikhs families, certainly, is not experienced by all in Muslim-dominated Pakistan. “In Lahore alone, there were about 12 cremation grounds before Independence. But not even a single facility exists at present. After Independence, there were 1,200 Hindu families living in Lahore which now has come down to six families,” Amritsar-based Sikh historian Surinder Kochhar said.
India Today

Pope Francis announces plan to visit Holy Land to boost relations with Orthodox Christians
Pope Francis says his upcoming trip to the Holy Land aims to boost relations with Orthodox Christians. But the three-day visit in May also underscores Francis’ close ties to the Jewish community, his outreach to Muslims and the Vatican’s longstanding call for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
National Post

Could Buddhism Help Your Business?
It’s not a connection that many people automatically consider — profit-making and spiritual practice, but introducing Buddhist precepts into your business can have positive effects on your employees and on your bottom line.
Huffington Post

Ramdev hits out at Congress, calls Nehru ‘maut ka maha saudagar’
Yoga guru Ramdev on Sunday hit out at the Congress for targeting BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and calling him ‘maut ka saudagar’. Ramdev said if Modi is branded ‘maut ka saudagar’, then Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was a bigger mass murderer.
IBN Live

Freedom of Religion vs. Freedom of Worship
The phrase ‘freedom of worship’ was first brandished about by Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton  in prominent speeches, replacing the constitutional guaranteed ‘freedom of religion’  but what are the implications in this seeming change in terminology.
News 24

Are We Hard-Wired for Religion?
When we look at how the brain works it looks like the brain is able to very easily engage in religious and spiritual practices, ideas and experiences.  All the brain scan studies that we’ve done show that there are multiple parts of the brain that seem to get involved.
Big Think

Educate, but don’t convert: Dalai Lama
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday lauded the work of Christian missionaries in the area of education and health in the remotest corners of the world, but advised them to desist from conversion.
The Hindu

Christians Fear Libya’s Islamic Laws
Minority Christians in Libya have begun the New Year with concern after parliament voted to make sharia, or Islamic law, the source of all legislation. Apostasy, or abandoning Islam, potentially carries the death penalty in several countries, though it was not immediately clear if and when this would be imposed in Libya. Sharia law is among several key issues facing Libya. The status of women and minorities, such as Christians, will have to be addressed in Libya’s future constitution, analysts say.
BosNewsLife

Don’t ditch the devil, he’s done great service to Christianity
The devil has been with us for millennia, serving a vital purpose. Whether you see him (I still think of the anti-Christ as a “him”) as a horned fellow with a pitchfork and goatee, or, Minotaur-like, as half-man half-beast, the devil personifies the intangible and unmentionable wickedness in the world. It may be childish to hanker for a solid figure of fear and loathing, but I suspect it is a good thing for human beings to share a basic, even primitive, sense of evil.
The Telegraph

Is Islam compatible with democracy?

One thing Osama bin Laden succeeded in doing was destroying whatever small progress various Muslim polities had made toward modern popular government. It may have been that all he had to do was stick one in the eye of the dominating western paradigm to give new heart to the suppressed feelings we call salafist, but whatever the mechanism was, the status of Muslim governments has deteriorated steadily in the past dozen years. At the beginning of that period, perhaps 5% of Muslim-majority societies were failed or failing states. Now the proportion is much, much higher.
The Maui News

Buddhist metal band Chock Ma augment their sound with ancient instruments
That’s evident in tracks like No Escape, which has poetic lines like “When the rivers and lakes are  barren and dry/ when the tallest mountains seem lifeless and bare/ when the sky is filled with dust and terror” lines that sound like they are preaching environmentalism. But to the band, it’s actually all about karma. “We have done so much harm to the earth. I am not teaching the audience to do anything. Rather, I hope they realise that whatever we do today will make us suffer in the future,” says the vocalist, who penned the lyrics.
South China Morning Post

Music is my religion: What do One Direction and Jesus Christ have in common?
Religion is characterized as an organized system of beliefs from which the faithful derive moral guidance and self-purpose by adhering to the doctrine of sacred texts and deities. By this definition, I’m going to propose something blasphemous: Music is a religion. Let me tell you why.
The Varsity

 

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