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Items in ‘Faith’

In Search of Yoga’s Shining Past

By • Jul 3rd, 2014 • Category: 24/7 Talk is Cheap - The Blog, Faith, The Buzz

“But isn’t yoga an English word?”

This was the plaintive response one American had when she was told that yoga’s original birthplace was India. Indeed, this ancient practice from India has traveled so far and been so cut off from its moorings that many current day practitioners in the west seem to think it was always a part of American life.

Now comes a comprehensive art exhibition in America, the first of its kind, which through the language of visuals – paintings, sculptures and photographs – traces yoga’s roots back to India, back to Gods and Goddesses, back to spiritual and philosophical aspirations. It can be seen at the Cleveland Museum of Art from June 22 to September 7, 2014.



Thomas Kelly and the Sadhu Universe

By • Dec 21st, 2013 • Category: Faith

“These sadhus are like a living question that people have forgotten to ask,” says noted photographer Thomas Kelly. “Their painted bodies confront us with essential questions at the heart of existence…provoking the questions, ‘Who am I?’ ‘What do I need?’ ‘What is really important?’”

So as we ponder this, we can take a stroll through the beautiful Rubin Museum of Art situated in frenzied Manhattan and see how the sadhus are trying to make sense of the world.

I’m always intrigued by the fact that this gorgeous museum devoted to the soul and to spirituality was once a highly materialistic shopping heaven – Barneys! Now to walk through it is like being in a temple of peace, and each of us is free to find our own path to salvation.



India – A Nurturing Sanctuary for Judaism

By • Nov 25th, 2013 • Category: 24/7 Talk is Cheap - The Blog, Faith, The Buzz

At Hanukkah, Indian-Jews remember the homeland which nurtured their faith. “India has been the only country in the world where Jews have never been oppressed or suppressed or discriminated against,” says Romiel Daniel, who is Jewish-Indian-American. Indeed, India has been nurturing home and haven for generations of Jews whose ancestors fled from persecution centuries ago. At its peak there were about 37,000 Jews living in India. “Discrimination is something that has never happened in India for 2000 years and that is something we are very proud of, and that is why we go back to India so often,” he says.



Diwali Firecrackers – Nostalgia for Indian-Americans

By • Nov 5th, 2013 • Category: 24/7 Talk is Cheap - The Blog, Faith, The Buzz

Here we share the wrappers of those lost, long-gone Diwalis when every kid with a handful of fire-crackers was king – yes, power was setting the match to that bichu or anar firecracker!

The art on these wrappers is engaging, amusing and tells so many stories. I wonder who designed these wrappers and where those nameless, unknown artists are today.

Of course, this is art-for-a-moment which is ripped to pieces immediately to get to the all important fireworks. The next morning, after the smoke and burning smell has cleared, these images lie on the floor with the remnants of firecrackers, amidst the ashes.



A Day of Light and Sweets

By • Nov 1st, 2013 • Category: 24/7 Talk is Cheap - The Blog, Faith, The Buzz

The fireworks still explode in the memory, and the taste of nuts and cream and sugar still linger on the tongue. For immigrants from India, the childhood memories of Diwali are strong, for it is a time when India transforms into one glittering celebration. Public buildings are illuminated with neon lights and every home, no matter how humble, is ablaze with earthen lamps. In fact, entire villages are turned into fairylands, dotted with millions of lamps, glowing in the dark of night.



2013 Janmashtami – The Birth of Krishna

By • Sep 1st, 2013 • Category: Faith, The Buzz

Lord Krishna is the Cosmic Cowherd, the mischievous deity that Hindus love the most for his pranks, for his butter-thievery, for his melodious flute, for his romantic interludes with Gopis, the milkmaids.
He fought demons, danced on the mighty serpent’s head and lifted Govardhana Hill with his little finger, using it as an umbrella to protect the people from torrential rains.
This year Janmashtami – the birth of Lord Krishna – falls on August 28, 2013.



Garba, Dandiya Raas and Navratri

By • Oct 5th, 2012 • Category: Faith

With the upcoming holiday season begins the Indian community’s tryst with tradition in America. Both Garba and Dandiya Raas, folk dances, have found their way to America and everyone from heart surgeons to hip-hop kids are taking to the large dandiya raas arenas during the festival of Navrati which heralds a season of upcoming festivals from Dusshera to Diwali. How has the interaction with America changed Garba and Dandiya Raas?



Holi – Festival of Colors in New York

By • Mar 10th, 2012 • Category: Faith

Some things never change. Lord Krishna played holi with Radha and her sakhis in the lush groves of Brindaban in timeless time – and now we are still playing it in the 21st century, not only in India but across the diaspora – even on board a ship anchored off New York city, no less!
Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, is here heralding spring, joy and togetherness. In India, the streets are turned multicolored with every hue imaginable. At private parties there are pichkari-fights as revelers get splashed with color, dunked in pools full of colored water, and splurge on sweets and gets intoxicated on thandai, often laced with bhang. We share a wonderful video of the late great showman Raj Kapoor whose Holi parties were legendary. Enjoy!



Hinduism 101: The Power of Seva in America

By • May 18th, 2011 • Category: Faith

As we, the New Americans, mature and root ourselves further in the sacred and secular landscape of America, we see a need to build national and local organizations focusing on serving — with Seva Bhava — contemporary needs of our growing community and the community at large.
Seva or service is an integral part of our culture and traditions, an inside-out approach to life. Many individuals and organizations volunteer and serve in soup kitchens, shelters, health camps, and disaster relief. But few Dharmic – Hindu, Jain,Sikh, Buddhist – institutions have the capacity to provide sustained social services and do seva as is prevalent in other faith based institutions in America. GUEST BLOG



Devi Durga, Mahishasura & Cosmic Evil

By • Apr 15th, 2011 • Category: Faith

(Photo: Amal Biswas)

Ever wondered why Hindu Gods and Goddesses have multiple heads, limbs and eyes?

Word as a vehicle of expression of thought is a powerful instrument – but its adequacy is limited to the phenomenal world. That is why an individual’s personal spiritual realization is inexpressible in its totality.

Mythology is an offshoot of this inefficacy of word while dealing with celestial events. The saintly scholar in Hinduism is seized with the problem of adequately narrating a superhuman extraordinary event, and tends to exaggerate. He needs to respond to his inner clamor to bestow the highest glory to the Lord with love, respect and adoration.

This has inevitably resulted in the Hindu pantheon having Gods and Goddesses with multiple heads and hands, but then so do cosmic evil forces too. There is a deep philosophical significance in this.
– Guest blogger Tapas Mukherjee



Spirituality 101 – The Journey of a Skeptic

By • Apr 6th, 2011 • Category: Faith

“My blogs usually are about trips to exciting and exotic international destinations, and these trips typically last about two weeks or so. Today I’m writing about a very different journey – my journey on the path of meditation that I have been on for about three years. When I set off on that trip, I didn’t even know that I was embarking on a journey.

I started learning meditation out of exasperation. My sister had been insisting that I attend a course with Art of Living (AOL) because it would help me. I was quite sure I didn’t need help. My experience growing up in India and then living in the US for several years was that this stuff was either for the ultra-religious Indians or new age Americans. I was neither. But I took the course anyway – so I could turn around and let my sister know that it was no good and a waste of money!” Guest Blogger Jinny Uppal



I Meditate NY, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar & Social Media

By • Apr 5th, 2011 • Category: Faith

I-Phone, I-Pad, I-Meditate?

It was bound to happen! The practice of meditation may be thousands of years old but it is perfectly suited to our very stressful modern times, when in order to go fast, you have to learn to slow down. And the buzz of the moment is that the power of social media is being harnessed by a group of high achieving young professionals to get the word out about the value of meditation, and the upcoming I Meditate NY event, one of the largest meditation gatherings ever to be held in the Big Apple.

Over 2700 New Yorkers, from all walks of life and all religions, will come together to listen to and meditate with the renowned spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who heads the Art of Living Foundation, with music by Grammy nominated Chandrika Tandon and world music band Bhakti. This unique event will be held at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on April 10, and leading up to it are free meditation classes at the Art of Living Center in Manhattan, a chance to get a first-hand taste of meditation.



Karma 101

By • Mar 10th, 2011 • Category: Faith

“If you punch a concrete wall with your fist, the wall hits you back with the same amount of force you had engaged in hitting it.

Your bad actions in this world will inevitably hit you back too; just as your good actions will ensure good consequences reflected either in ensuring unburdened living, or in ameliorating accumulated bad karma.” New guest blog on spirituality.



Heaven on Earth, Guruvayur Temple

By • Aug 4th, 2010 • Category: Faith

“It is the devotees who humanize Guruvayurappan, investing Him with characteristics and traits that bring Him into their lives at a level where He ceases to be a distantly enshrined divinity. They display an intimacy with Him that in no way diminishes their reverence, expressing emotions that speak volumes about their sense of His accessibility and understanding.” – Pepita Seth



Hinduism’s Mythbusters

By • Apr 26th, 2010 • Category: Faith

Do Hindus eat monkey brains? You would think so if you saw the film ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’. Of the western viewers who might have taken this with a pinch of salt as Hollywood excess, many still have the most vexing perceptions about Hinduism from the horrors of caste to the burning of widows. Yes, and don’t forget rat worship, arranged child marriages, female infanticide, dowry and the killing of young brides.So who will set the record straight in the West?
Enter the Interpreters of Dharma, the Myth-Busters.



Hindu Hospitality: The Gods Amongst Us

By • Sep 27th, 2009 • Category: Faith, The Buzz

In this festive season, as Diwali approaches, are you the perfect host?

Well, here’s a story that will make you re-evaluate your hospitality skills, for the host in this tale is none other than Lord Krishna. When his boyhood friend, Sudama – hungry, impoverished and in rags – arrived at the palace, the guards almost did not allow him in. But Lord Krishna, overjoyed to see his old friend, received him with open arms and joyfully led him to his throne. He personally washed his feet and fed him with his own hands.



A New Voice for an Old Religion

By • Sep 23rd, 2009 • Category: Faith, The Buzz

Whether it’s the California text books decision or the passage of the Congressional Diwali Resolution, these are not free gifts which have been dropped into the palms of Indian-Americans but rather hard-won victories by advocates, including a band of young second-generation Indian Americans of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF).



A Journey to the East

By • Sep 20th, 2009 • Category: 24/7 Talk is Cheap - The Blog, Art, Faith

In the heart of Chelsea in New York stands a bountiful bulwark and anchor of Eastern spirituality, a treasure trove of hundreds of Himalayan artifacts, as peaceful and inspiring as a Buddhist temple. This is the Rubin Museum of Art, started just four years ago by the noted philanthropists and collectors, Donald and Shelley Rubin.



The Power of Gayatri Mantra

By • Sep 4th, 2009 • Category: Faith

The chanting of the Gayatri Mantra, it is said, has the effect of liberating one from the fruits of Karma, and its Maha mantra status is universally recognized.



Encountering Ganesha

By • Aug 22nd, 2009 • Category: 24/7 Talk is Cheap - The Blog, Faith

Lord Ganesha enters people’s lives in mysterious ways – sometimes it can even be just a chance encounter on a busy New York street! When photographer Shana Dressler passed a bookstore in Manhattan, she stopped in her tracks. In the window was a photography book which had on its cover a striking 20-foot high plaster of Paris statue of the elephant-headed God in the water, being splashed by a small army of men.