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Items in ‘Faith’

Rakhi, the Brother-Sister Festival

By • Aug 28th, 2015 • Category: Faith, The Buzz

One of the most anticipated festivals in the Hindu calendar is Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan, the Festival of Threads. This is the day when brothers and sisters renew their bonds and sisters receive money and gifts from their brothers. Now which little girl can argue with that? Lucky are the sisters who have several brothers!

Indeed, if you are Hindu and have a brother, no matter where you are, you will try to meet up with him on Raksha Bandhan which falls this year on August 29. This is an ancient Hindu festival which occurs in the month of shravan on the full moon. Sisters pray for their brothers health and well-being, tying the sacred Rakhi thread on their wrists, and brothers pledge to protect their sisters.

In Search of Yoga’s Shining Past

By • Nov 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.

Christmas is an Indian Festival Too

By • Dec 9th, 2013 • Category: Faith

While Christmas is important to Indian Christians as a celebration of faith, many non-Christians enjoy it as a secular holiday in ways small and big. Indeed, Christmas is such a huge, high voltage commercialized event in America that few can escape its allure, be they Christians or not.
Some stories are evergreen and resonate year after year. I remember spending a lot of time researching these stories and talking to the families profiled here. For me, these stories are almost like Christmas ornaments that I take out every holiday season to share and add sparkle to the holiday!

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.

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.

Carved in Gold: An Intense Devotion

By • Jun 5th, 2009 • Category: Art, Faith

In the collection there is a pair of tiny sandals for a deity, made of sheet gold with rubies, diamonds and pearls. There are also gold accoutrements for a Krishna shrine – umbrella, rattles, peacock and parrots as playthings for Baby Krishna.


Dada Vaswani, Dharma and Karma

By • May 3rd, 2009 • Category: Faith

His eyes are smiling as he hands the little girl a chocolate bar and sees her eyes light up; his photographic memory can recall the first names and faces of hundreds of devotees he hasn’t seen for many years; he delivers soaring ex tempo speeches which younger intellectuals would stumble on. He can quote from […]

Deepak Chopra on Life

By • Mar 13th, 2009 • Category: Faith

“I have never flown, spoken, moved from hotel to hotel or country to country. Those are activities I long ago delegated to my body. I am always at home and have never left.”