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Hinduism in Ancient Arabia

Source: Hinduism in Ancient Arabia

Originally posted on Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin:

Ho-Chunk nation made a positive step forward in order to protect their lands read the full story.

‘Rights Of Nature’ Provision Designed To Strengthen Legal StandingMonday, September 28, 2015, 9:45am

By Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin Public Radio
The Ho-Chunk Nation has added a “rights of nature” declaration to its constitution in an effort to protect ceremonial grounds and other lands.
Tribal member William Greendeer said he’s been concerned about frac sand mines, cranberry growers and other companies cutting down large numbers of trees and causing other environmental damage near native sites.
“I believe these trees have a right to live, just as much as everybody else,” he said. “t’s the corporations that have been pushing destruction on the Earth and there had to be a wake up call of some sort.”
Greendeer said the Ho-Chunk believe other parts of nature including air, water, and wildlife also have rights, and he expressed…

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Originally posted on Raxa Collective:

Few books have been narrated, written, re-written, translated and adapted as much as Panchatantra, the collection of tales of wisdom. PHOTO: Scroll Few books have been narrated, written, re-written, translated and adapted as much as Panchatantra, the collection of tales of wisdom. PHOTO: Scroll

For more than two and a half millennia, the Panchatantra tales have regaled children and adults alike with a moral at the end of every story. Some believe that they are as old as the Rig Veda. There is also another story about these fables. According to it, these are stories Shiva told his consort Parvati. The present series is based on the Sanskrit original.

A king, worried that his three sons are without the wisdom to live in a world of wile and guile, asks a learned man called Vishnu Sharman to teach them the ways of the world. Since his wards are dimwits, Vishnu Sharman decides to pass on wisdom to them in the form of stories. In these stories, he makes animals speak like…

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To read part one first, click here.


These days the Ashram Sri Ramanasramam Ashram Sri Ramanasramam is crowded with many visitors, mostly westerners.  The visitors are not boisterous or even conversational; instead they are quiet, respectful, and contemplative.


During Ramana Maharshi’s life, he had welcomed all people who came to him for guidance, speaking with great compassion and clarity with women as well as men, which was unusual at the time, and with people who came from the west as well as from India.


He is buried in a sarcophagus in the main hall, where there is an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

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In a smaller hall, people sit in a lotus position, in prayer or meditation.  Visitors are encouraged to go and spend time there, since remaining a few minutes in calm and silence may bring about more understanding than many words.


In the dining hall people have a dinner of rice and vegetables, served on a palm leaf.


Outside there are the tombs of several of Ramana’s animals. His beloved cow, Lachshmi, who was with him for many years, is there; also a dog, a monkey, and a crow that he had rescued.  He had always insisted that the animals must be treated with the same courtesy extended to humans. They were to be spoken with gently and allowed to wander wherever they wished.

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The way to enlightenment taught by Ramana Maharshi is called Self-Inquiry.  It is not in essence any different from traditional Hinduism, but is presented in a particular way. Ramana taught that a person seeking enlightenment must look within him or herself, asking the question, “Who am I?”   The purpose in asking the question is not to discover what kind of person one is: wise or foolish, good or bad, or what one’s human personality may be like.  Instead it is to come, eventually, to a realization that the true Self within each of us is not the human personality at all.


It is not our name, our profession, our identity, our life history, where we are from or what we look like, whether we are kind or cruel, truthful or deceitful, charming or impolite, world-famous or insignificant, confident or timid, rich or poor – none of these things is us.


The human personality, the “ego-sense,” is a construct, it is not the fundamental essence of an individual.


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There is a Hindu chant, Shivoham, which means “I am Shiva”  or “I am God.”  This and similar expressions of identity with God are often grossly distorted and made fun of, especially in the west by people who do not understand what is meant.  “I am Shiva” is not really a good translation.  A better way to put this would be, “I do not exist.  Only Shiva exists.” Or “I do not exist. Only God exists;” that is closer to the true meaning.


This perception that only God exists isn’t a linear, rational sort of truth.  It is a mystical awareness, which can be grasped to a small extent intellectually, but which can only become a genuinely perceived reality through a direct experience, which comes about by the grace of God, and one puts oneself within reach of this divine grace only through diligently following a path.


Advaita Vedanta, one of the primary philosophies of Hinduism, teaches that the essence, or the soul, the Self or the “Atman,” of all beings is “Brahman,” the ultimate divine reality.


On an ultimate level, the soul of you or me, of a criminal or a saint, of a tree, a cloud, a flower, or a mountain, a monkey, a bumblebee, or a river, is the same soul.  There is only one soul, which is Brahman.


Seeing this intellectually is a small step.  Seeing this as the only real truth occurs as a mystical experience, and cannot be reached by the wandering thoughts of the mind.


It was Ramana’s mission, and that of so many other Hindu saints over the millennia, to open the gates that will allow enlightenment, like the sun shining through the darkness.


After around fifty years of living a tranquil, inspiring life on the slopes of Arunachala, in November of 1948, he developed a malignant tumor on his left arm,  which was operated on four times by surgeons.  When they wanted to amputate his arm, he declined, feeling that his time on earth was meant to come to a close.


On the evening of April 14, 1950, as he lay dying, he shed tears of joy on hearing his devotees chanting, “Arunachala Shiva.” At 8.47 that evening, his breathing slowed and came peacefully to a stop.


Henri Cartier-Bresson, the French photographer, who had been staying near the ashram for a couple of weeks, was standing in front of his house that evening with a few friends when he saw a brilliant shooting star pass across the sky, disappearing behind Arunachala.  He looked at his watch, seeing that it was 8:47. Guessing the import of the shooting star, they rushed over to the Ashram, to learn, as they had feared, that Raman had passed away.  He was 71 years old.


In the days leading up to his death, he had said calmly to re-assure his worried disciples, “Where can I go?  I am here.”


Photos: © Sharon St Joan, 2013

Top photo: A side path by the Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple.

Second photo: Sculpted cows rest peacefully on a pillared hall.

Third photo: Sivagangai Vinayagar Sannathi 

Fourth photo: One of the gopurams (temple gates)

4,000 Years of Shared History

Originally posted on Raxa Collective:

The African baobab, though, is most widely distributed both in its home continent and in the neo-tropics where enslaved Africans were brought to work. PHOTO: Gavin Evans The African baobab, though, is most widely distributed both in its home continent and in the neo-tropics where enslaved Africans were brought to work. PHOTO: Gavin Evans

The Baobab tree is a native African tree with numerous valuable advantages including food, shelter, clothing, medicines, hunting, fishing, water storage, etc. It is considered sacred and immortal and its species is as old as 5000 years.And some of this is heritage is shared with India as well.
In the French novella The Little Prince, the titular prince comes from a very small asteroid planet called B612 where soil is full of baobab seeds. He tells the author that if left to grow, the baobabs would become so numerous and huge that they could make the little planet explode.On Earth, though, baobabs are quite the opposite. Anyone living in Africa where baobabs grow to enormous sizes would be able to tell you…

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Originally posted on Tales from the Conspiratum:

Pope takes his case for action on the death penalty, climate change and immigration to US Congress in historic speech.

Source: Full text of Pope Francis’ speech to US Congress – Al Jazeera English

Sept 24, 2015

Pope takes his case for action on the death penalty, climate change and immigration to US Congress in historic speech.

Francis said the world should not be fearful of foreigners, because "most of us were once foreigners." [EPA]
Francis said the world should not be fearful of foreigners, because “most of us were once foreigners.” [EPA]

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ address to the Joint Session of the United States Congress:

Mr. Vice-President,

Mr. Speaker,

Honourable Members of Congress,

Dear Friends,

I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this…

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Originally posted on Bharata Bharati:

Swami Dayananda Saraswati

S. Gurumurthy“The great successes of this great sanyasi, moulded in the ancient traditions of India, is not, however, as well-known as he himself was. That also demonstrated the high point of his personality — humility. Maharishi Aurobindo said that the greatest achievements have been least noisy. This aptly applied to Swami Dayananda’s work and life. In his demise, the Hindu philosophy has lost its greatest exponent of recent times, Hindu religion one of its staunchest defenders, and the nation a great patriot saint.” – S. Gurumurthy

Swami Dayananda Saraswati—a master exponent of the inclusive Hindu philosophy who declared there was not ‘ONE GOD,’ but ‘ONLY GOD,’ a teacher of Vedanta who created hundreds of teachers to continue the ancient Indian tradition, a great organiser who founded the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha as the representative body of unorganised Hindu religious traditions, a philosopher who harmonised and validated, from the Hindu perspective of…

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Originally posted on Bharata Bharati:

Junípero Serra

Julian Brave NoiseCat“Historians estimate that 60,000 indigenous Californians had died in the missions by the time the Mexican government sold them to private landowners in the 1830s. Over the Spanish mission era, the system contributed to the direct and indirect deaths of half of the California Indian population, which is estimated at 300,000 to 1 million people before contact with the Catholic missionaries. … They were decimated by disease, war and the conditions in the missions, where Native people were worked and starved to death. By 1910, after a century and a half of missions, gold rushes and reservations, there were only 15,850 California Indians left. ” –  Julian Brave NoiseCat

Junipero SerraOn Wednesday, Junípero Serra, the architect of the California mission system that converted 81,000 Native Americans to Christianity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, will be canonized as a saint in Washington during Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States.

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Originally posted on Raxa Collective:

Black-hooded Oriole by Vijaykumar Thondamana - RAXA Collective

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Originally posted on Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin:

In case you were unaware, Wolf Patrol was founded by animal activist Rod Coronado, and is comprised and supported by concerned citizens who care about wildlife in the Great Lakes region, with a focus on gray wolves. They see the slaughter of wolves as an unnecessary evil, one that interferes with biodiversity on our public lands; with wolves being a keystone species that keeps prey species strong and viable.

They take it upon themselves to legally monitor hunters out in the field and document wildlife policy as they see it unfold. As a result, they depend on public outreach and cooperation with state wildlife agencies to enforce change and keep wolves protected, all the while, keeping dialogue open between hunters and themselves.


Rod Coronado, courtesy of Wolf Patrol, Rod Coronado, courtesy of Wolf Patrol,

While enjoying a beautiful campfire in the north woods I had the opportunity to ask Rod about the current…

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