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INDIA, April 10, 2011: Temples in Himachal Pradesh will now be able to sell half their gold reserves in the form of gold biscuits and coins at the current market rate. The state assembly has amended the HP Hindu Public Religious & Chairitable Endowments Act 1984 to accomodate the suggestions by temple committees.

The yellow metal lying in temple coffers was causing a heavy expense to temple trusts due to the huge cost of providing security to the gold reserves.

With 70 percent gold kept aside as reserves, the new amendment will allow the sale of half of what is kept by the shrines. The new law will also allow temples to make use of huge reserves of silver.

Himachal Pradesh has at least 13 temples that have large treasure troves, including Chintpurni temple in Una, Naina Devi ,Jwalamukhi, Chamunda Devi, Brajeshwari Devi, Baba Balak Nath, Bhimakali and Hateshwari. These temples have large gold and silver reserves in government tresauries. Two years ago ten temples had over 900 lbs. of gold in government treasuries.

 
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, KERALA, INDIA, April 4, 2011: The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the hill shrine of Sabarimala, has begun the process of distributing solatium of US$5,668 each to the families of the 102 devotees who died in the stampede at Pullumedu on January 14.

Most of the devotees who died in the tragedy, mainly from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, were returning home after the 'Makaravilakku' darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

 
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[HPI note: With the Hindu diaspora, this is becoming more common: temples and ashrams receiving donations from many places around the world.]

PANCHKULA, INDIA, April 10, 2011: The faith of devotees coming to pay obeisance at Mata Mansa Devi temple in Panchkula can not only be witnessed in numbers but also in the form of foreign currency donations.

Like previous navaratras, this year as well, the temple shrine board has received donations in dollars and pounds. At the end of sixth Navaratra on Saturday, shrine board had received foreign currency from America, New Zealand, UK, Singapore and Canada.

Besides foreign currency, a total of around US$164,000 has been received thru the sixth day of Navaratra, on Saturday, by the temple. Other than money, gold and silver articles donated by the visitors have also been received.

 
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INDIA, April 2011: The state Cabinet on Friday accorded sanction for preparing and introducing the controversial Black Magic Bill in the state legislature. The Bill aims at curbing the exploitation of people at the hands of tantriks and fake sadhus. The state government has been struggling with pioneering the legislation against such faith since 2005. The previous bill, the Maharashtra Eradication of Black Magic, Evil and Aghori Practices Bill had been passed by the Assembly but got stuck in the council as Shiv Sena members termed it as being anti-Hindu.

[HPI note: The danger lies in leaving it up to the government to decide who are the charlatans and who are the real practicioners of ancient tantric and aghoric arts, most of them traditional and many benign. Who is qualified to judge? This can be an unsettling precedent.]

Sources said the bill might either be introduced in the ongoing session of the legislature or an ordinance would be issued after the session concludes. After the ordinance, the bill would then be introduced in the monsoon session of the legislature.

 
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Wealth and happiness are not related to each other as cause and effect. An attempt to secure happiness by securing wealth is as futile as it is absurd.
-- Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal(1912-1954), 34th pontiff of the Sarada Peetham

 
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