January 7th, 2014
12:37 PM ET
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
(CNN) Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, sits a magical place ripe for exploration. It’s called Rishikesh, and for the next two weeks it will be our spiritual playground.
I am going there thanks to a religion reporting fellowship, and I’d like to take you with me.
A holy spot for Hindus, Rishikesh is also a destination for Westerners hungering for a different and deeper kind of sustenance. Among the most renowned Rishikesh searchers: The Beatles, who came here in 1968 to study Transcendental Meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
It’s dotted with ashrams. Painted holy men roam the streets and sit in nearby caves. There are sunset ceremonies along the sacred Ganges River, and yoga classes flow as consistently as the hallowed waters. Pilgrims flock to temples. Visitors can surrender to ancient forms of medicine, find healing and be cleansed. Some are said to arrive in Rishikesh and never leave, losing themselves forever in the quest for enlightenment.
November 4th, 2013
02:54 PM ET
(CNN) - Fireworks boom, bulbs flash, and flames flicker as tens of millions of people across the globe celebrate the beginning of the Festival of Lights.
Diwali - from the word Deepavali, meaning "row of lights" - is observed by Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities, who celebrate for five days in autumn to mark the victory of light over darkness.
This year, the festival begins on November 3, with splashes of color, lighting displays and blaring parties set to greet Diwali's arrival.
Celebrated for centuries across much of the Indian subcontinent, Diwali is now exploding: spreading the promise of wealth, knowledge and happiness to new communities across the world.FULL STORY
March 26th, 2013
02:32 PM ET
(CNN)– Holi is an annual Hindu festival welcoming the arrival of spring. The official day of celebration this year is March 27, but regional celebrations have occurred over the past week. Here's a look at some of the best pictures from this year's celebration.
February 11th, 2013
04:51 AM ET
By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
A railroad station crush left 36 people dead Sunday among tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims flocking to the banks of the Ganges River for the world's largest religious gathering, authorities reported.
The stampede occurred on Sunday evening as floods of pilgrims entering the station in Allahabad, the scene of this year's Kumbh Mela festival, broke through temporary barriers and crowded onto already busy platforms, railway authorities said.FULL STORY
January 12th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
By Jordan Hultine, CNN
CNN–It’s about to get crowded in your hotel room nightstand. The newest addition could soon be a sacred Hindu text called the Bhagavad-Gita.
The Bhagavad-Gita is literally translated as “song of God” and is a discussion between Lord Krishna and his student, Arjuna, on revealing one’s spiritual identity and a relationship with God, says Vaisesika Dasa, founder and president of the Motel Gita project, the group behind the effort.
Motel Gita, with the help of a Hindu nonprofit, has distributed approximately 150,000 copies of the Bhagavad-Gita to 1,100 hotels and motels. Dasa said their goal is to place at least 1 million books to, “provide solace to traveling souls by giving them spiritual knowledge.”
January 10th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN)-– Just days after Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii was sworn in as the first Hindu member of Congress, Hindu American advocacy groups made it clear that they hope Gabbard will help represent the nation’s wider Hindu community, on top of her Hawaiian constituents.
Groups like the Hindu American Foundation and the Hare Krishna Society have lists of priorities they plan to present to Gabbard, making clear that expectations are high for the groundbreaking congresswoman.
While many of these groups priorities for Gabbard center on faith – “international religious liberty,” “religious diversity and freedom in America,” and “generating appreciation and respect for Hindu American contributions” – some focus on legislating in general, like being a “voice for moderation and ‘reaching across the aisle’ in Congress.”
December 18th, 2012
02:31 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
The study, which is a snapshot of world religions in 2010 and does not show trends, brings to light a unique religious landscape that's defined by a burgeoning Islam, a shifting Christianity and a large group of religiously unaffiliated. It took Pew three years to compile.
Five big takeaways from the study:
1.) Muslims and Hindus are noticeably young
The median age of Muslims (23) and Hindus (26) is significantly lower than the global median age of 28 years old.
November 22nd, 2012
06:35 AM ET
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN) - A few years ago, I came across a high school textbook on U.S. history that stumbled badly when it tried to describe the first Thanksgiving. Because of a serious misunderstanding of the First Amendment, the authors thought they couldn’t even refer to God in their textbook. So they ended up telling their readers that the Pilgrims were giving thanks to the Indians. (Huh?)
Personally, I think Thanksgiving is (and was) about giving thanks to God, but I am too eclectic nowadays to confine my giving of thanks to the capricious Calvinist God of the Pilgrims. So in the spirit of Pascal, who placed a wager on the Christian god, I'm putting a marker down, too. But why confine your wager to one divinity? Here is my own Thanksgiving litany to the gods.
November 14th, 2012
05:43 AM ET
By Stina Backer and Eoghan Macguire, for CNN
Diwali is one of the most important events in the Hindu spiritual calendar. It is known as the "Festival of Lights" and takes place between mid October and mid November each year.
This year we asked iReporters from around the world to submit their best images of the celebration.View the other Diwali photos and read the full story
November 13th, 2012
09:21 AM ET
Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, begins on November 13 and is celebrated for several days afterward by millions of Hindus across the world as one of the most important events on their spiritual calendar.
The word Diwali itself means 'festival of lamps', because houses and public spaces are decorated with scores of small oil lamps in honor of the goddess Lakshmi, to whom Hindus pray to for success and wealth. Throughout the festival, families purchase new clothes and buy sweets and snacks for themselves, relatives and friends.
To commemorate Diwali, we want to see your best images of the most beautiful festival lights. Send them to CNN iReport.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.