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Spiritual Master H.H. Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj attracts thousands to programs at Long Island Meditation Center and in Queens

Chicago, Kansas City and New York are not connected geographically but during the past few weeks, H.H. Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj connected them spiritually.

From April 10 to 12, he left his usual venue of Science of Spirituality Meditation Center in Naperville, Illinois to offer public programs in the surrounding Chicago area. The weekend of April 17, he traveled to Kansas City for a threeday visit and his most recent program brought him to New York. From May 1 to May 3 he gave a series of talks, meditations and initiations at the Science of Spirituality Meditation Center in Amityville on Long Island and at the Hindu Temple in Flushing.

New York saw the Amityville Center overflowing as, over his two-day there, 2000 people came to hear and see the spiritual Master, filling the huge sanctuary, spilling out into all the downstairs areas and covering the outside grounds. Video monitors carried the program into as many nooks and corners as possible.

On Friday night, his talk was Atmik Shanti Ki Khoj (Inner and Outer Peace through Meditation). At each stop, he delighted the Indian community by giving a talk in Hindi. Because of the multicultural nature of the audience, these talks were translated into English and Spanish. In fact, every talk was translated into Spanish to accommodate the large numbers of Hispanic seekers who attend all his events.

On Saturday afternoon his topic was, "Gain Spiritual Riches through Meditation." He talked about how we can find riches that last, stressing that the worldly things we accumulate are temporary. He said within us are spiritual riches, happiness, and joy like nothing we have never experienced before.

The spiritual Master's Sunday talk at the Hindu Temple Auditorium in Queens was especially timely: "Meditate and Find Joy In Troubled Times."

When Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj was in New York in 2007, he was honored with a proclamation from the NY State Assembly for his global efforts toward human unity. At that time he also received a New Jersey Joint Legislative Resolution for his outstanding record of devoted service to the people of the world community. ---  

 

STUDY SAYS POVERTY IS A SOURCE OF TENSION BETWEEN MUSLIMS AND THE WEST

A first major study of Muslims since the Sept. 11 terror attacks claimed last week that joblessness and poverty are a more potent source of tension between Muslims and wider European and US society than religious differences. Attacks by Islamic extremists on the United States and European capitals such as Madrid and London have sparked debate on whether a failure of Muslims to integrate into Western society has fueled extremism.

But a study of around 30,000 people in 27 countries by the Gallup polling company claims non-Muslims ?including the public and lawmakers ?have misunderstood the attitudes of most Muslims in the West, stifling attempts to promote understanding.

These Muslims are more patriotic, more tolerant and more likely to reject violence than the rest of Western society believes they are, the study claims. It suggests most European Muslims, for example, are as happy as other Europeans to live alongside people of other faiths and ethnic backgrounds and share broadly similar views with their neighbors.

The findings appear to contradict the impression created by angry protests across Europe following the 2005 publication in Denmark of 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and recent rallies in which small groups of British Muslims have disrupted homecoming parades for soldiers returning from Iraq.

But Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the London and New York-based Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and a faith adviser to US President Barack Obama, said the survey shows most Muslims welcome closer ties to the rest of society. The study focused chiefly on European Muslims and the mistaken perceptions about their attitudes in wider European society.

“Many of the assumptions about Muslims and integration couldn’t be more wide of the mark,”’ she said. “European Muslims want to be part of the wider community and contribute to society.”

The study did not produce detailed data on attitudes of American Muslims on this subject. But Mogahed said that in the United States Muslims enjoy relatively good relations with the rest of society, and suffer less from economic inequality.

Despite their desire to belong, only a small number of Muslims questioned in Britain, for example ? 10 per cent ? consider themselves integrated into British society. That compares to 46 per cent of Muslims in France and 35 per cent in Germany.

The global economic crisis could exacerbate such issues, with competition for jobs and resources adding stress to race relations, the study claimed.

Gallup conducted multiple surveys in 27 countries in 2008. Polls of the general public typically questioned around 1,000 people, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The company said the polls of Muslims involved samples of 500 people, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Raga Unveiled: The First Film on the history and evolution of North Indian Classical music

An art form as enduring as the most revered spiritual traditions in the world, Indian Classical music has transformed both artists and listeners in a profound manner over the course of several millennia. Undoubtedly, to experience this art form is to also be blessed with a spiritual awakening. In spite of the unparalleled sophistication and beauty of Indian music, no film has endeavored to provide a comprehensive overview of its philosophy, history and essence. At last, we have Raga Unveiled, a film by Gita Desai that documents for the first time the magic of Indian music by harnessing the commentaries of the legendary masters themselves. Here, in one film, the great musicians and scholars transport us on a journey through the tides of time from its very distant beginnings to the present day.

India, unlike any other country in the world, boasts of cradling an art music that has been sifted and refined over 4000 years. With the even flow of evolution and unshakeable support of theory, Raga music is at once vibrant, mesmeric and sublime to this day.

Raga Unveiled is a most inspiring and sweeping look at the entire architectural brilliance of a musical system that gave birth to this most wonderful and profound art form. For the first time on film, eloquent commentaries by musicians, Vedic scholars, and musicologists join hands with spectacular cinematography, intoxicating spectrums of sound, and rare archival footage resulting in a grand synthesis to honor this music in its entirety. Raga Unveiled beautifully describes the philosophy and structure of the ancient Vedic tradition that is the basis not only of Raga but of life in general. Divine and transporting, this film is a spiritual engagement second to none!

Some of the musicians featured are: Gangubai Hangal, Ali Akbar Khan, Bismillah Khan, Ravi Shankar, Shubha Mudgal, Zakir Hussain, Shiv Kumar Sharma, Kishan Maharaj, Amjad Ali Khan, Padma Talwalkar, Ashwini Bhide, Swapan Chaudhuri, and many more.

Alumni of Washington Leadership Program raise
$20,000 for new political internship


Jay Goyal, the Majority Whip of the Ohio State Legislature

The alumni of the Washington Leadership Program (WLP) held a successful fundraiser for their new internship program on May 12. Over 130 people attended the function at White Tiger restaurant in Washington, D.C., and the group netted close to $20,000 dollars for the internship program. “We are so pleased with the turn out at the event. It is testament to how important this program is to the South Asian community,” said program organizer and WLP alum (’02) Harin Contractor.

The event’s theme was “Honoring South Asians in Public Service” and was emceed by Sam Arora, a former communications aide to Hillary Clinton. Arora presented certificates honoring the public servants Korok Ray, who served on the Bush administration’s Council of Economic Advisers, policy scholar Neena Shenai, and Jay Goyal, the Majority Whip of the Ohio State Legislature.

Goyal, the event’s keynote speaker, talked extensively about how much he values the WLP program and its mission of providing a pipeline for South Asian talent to enter public service. “This is an important program,” Goyal said, repeatedly encouraging attendees to donate and support the effort.

Goyal recalled that he applied for the original WLP program several years ago but was rejected. “It is testament to the strength of the students in WLP that the Majority Whip of the Ohio House wasn’t accepted,” Goyal noted.

Also speaking was Dr. Suresh Gupta of Maryland, who was so moved by the program that he donated $1,500 at the event. Georgetown University’s Ralph Nurnberger – an original WLP board member – spoke at the event and also contributed.

The funds raised at the event will go entirely to funding this year’s five interns and expanding the program next year. Each intern will receive a $1500 dollar stipend at the end of his or her eight-week internship.

Next year, the organizers of the WLP internship aim to double the number of interns, and eventually, they plan to host 15 interns. “The extraordinary generosity from the South Asian community sets us up well for the future success of this program,” Contractor said.

The WLP program is a revival of the internship created by India Abroad founder Gopal Raju in 1995. Since then, 170 alumni have graduated from WLP, from the 15 years of the program. The program, however, expired in 2007 after Raju’s death.

The original program built a strong reputation on both the Hill and in the community. Former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO) called the WLP “the best program of its kind on the Hill.”

The interns selected for the new program this year are exceptional in their policy experience and passion, with four already having worked in state government. The inaugural class of WLP is as follows: Noorjahan Rahman - Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15) - AAHOA Scholar; Kartik Naram - Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY-9) - Landis Gyr Scholar; Urooj Raja - Rep. Mike McMahon (NY-13) - Gopal Raju Memorial Scholar; Sheila Gholkar - Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-7) - Suresh Gupta MD Scholar; Samiron Ray - Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-2) - AAHOA Scholar

 

STAR India PLUS, STAR India GOLD and STAR ONE now available on CableAmerica, Cincinnati Bell and OpenBand


HIF1:The Star Heritage India Festival is expected to attract 4,000-7,000.

STAR, a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corporation and Asia’s leading media and entertainment company announced the launch of STAR India PLUS, STAR India GOLD and STAR ONE on CableAmerica, Cincinnati Bell and OpenBand’s television platforms in the U.S.

CableAmerica customers in Maryland Heights, Missouri, along with Cincinnati Bell customers in Lebanon, Ohio, and OpenBand customers in Sterling, Virginia can now tune in to STAR India PLUS, STAR India GOLD and STAR ONE for toprated Indian soap operas, reality and game shows, lifestyle programs and Bollywood blockbusters.

“We are truly excited to see that STAR’s South Asian channels continue to build momentum throughout the U.S.,” said David Wisnia, STAR’s Senior Vice President for Distribution and Sales and head of STAR’s North American and European offices. “The fact that platforms across the country continue to launch STAR’s highly popular bouquet of channels is a testament to the connection our channels have built with U.S. audiences.”

STAR India PLUS, STAR India GOLD and STAR ONE are available a la carte on CableAmerica for $10.95/month, and as a 3-channel package on Cincinnati Bell and OpenBand for $15.99/month and $22/month respectively. For more information on availability and subscriptions, customers can contact local television operator directly.

Currently distributes five Indian channels in the U.S., including STAR India PLUS, STAR ONE, STAR India GOLD, STAR India NEWS and VIJAY.

 

Star Heritage India festival brings sights, sounds and
flavors of India to Chantilly, VA.

The vibrant sights, sounds and flavors of India will be on display for the seventh season as Rushhi Entertainment hosts the award-winning Star Heritage India Festival May 30-31, 2009, at the spacious Dulles Expo & Conference Center in Chantilly, Va. The festival, widely lauded for its cross-generational and crosscultural appeal, offers the best of India, all under one roof. This year’s festival promises to be the most activity-laden to date, with a schedule full of live entertainment appealing to children, parents and grandparents alike; mouth-watering cuisine by renowned local restaurant Minerva, and a vast array of South Asian items for sale.

“We are thrilled to once again bring the spring edition of our festival to Chantilly,” said Rushhi Entertainment president Shishir Misra. “We had a wonderful event last fall, and with all the entertainment, activities, shopping and attractions we have lined up for this spring, we are confident every attendee will have a fantastic time. This is the must-attend event of the spring – for both South Asians and Americans alike. And our partnership with Star TV – one of the world’s largest television networks – brings new life and vigor to our festival.”

Attractions at this year’s festival include: Shopping, including arts, handicrafts, apparel, jewelry, paintings and more; cuisine by Minerva Indian Cuisine; TeleBlend Dance Masti Competition; a live concert by the Washington Shruti band; airline tickets raffle by ATW Travel; a free Ayurvedic check-up and Baba Ramdev Ayurvedic medicines for sale; the Vibha Kids’ Festival, featuring face painting, animal mask decorating, quiz competitions, frame decorating, greeting card creation, and more; a minicarnival, featuring a moon bounce, balloon lagoon and water gun races; a free demo on South Asian Health and Fitness by Bollywood Abs; a music contest in five languages, coordinated by Art of Living; financial tips by Arun Sareen and Associates.

Attendance at previous festivals has averaged from 4,000 to 7,000 over a twoday period.

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