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The Great Confluence

 Revisiting the Maha Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, 2013 — A Nag Baba who has taken a vow to stand one leg for 9 years Last year from January 14th to March 10th the Kumbh Mela, thought to be the largest religious gathering on earth (estimated at over 100 million attendees in 2013), was held on the banks of the Holy 'Sangam'-the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and where the mythical Saraswati River is believed to run deeply beneath. A holy dip into the waters is understood to cleanse the soul and free the adherent from their past sins (karma), and thus becoming eligible for liberation from the cycle of birth and death. As such the Mela is attended by millions of devotees and Sahdus, who leave their haunts, caves, temples, and … [Read more...]

Back to Back at REDCAT – Saturday, Night 2

Swapan Chaudhuri, Aashish Khan and the CalArts Tabla Ensemble, REDCAT April 3, 2010 – My first exposure to classical Indian music was an unforgettable Ravi Shankar concert. The meditative focus of the musicians to which the presence of the audience contributed required throughout the mostly improvisational intricacies of raga struck me as spiritually uplifting and physically revitalizing. I found myself soon thereafter in India hunting for a set of tablas. It is said that each note on the Indian scale corresponds to the human subtle anatomy (chakras and nadis that govern the flow of prana or energy in the body). With roots in ancient vedic religion, Indian classical raga music is viewed by many as a spiritual discipline that can lead … [Read more...]

Terminal Hospitality

Changi Airpoirt, Singapore For a California girl any trip to India is accompanied by an egregious amount of travel. If you put your finger on the globe it becomes immediately clear that there is no short cut to getting half way around the world. Upon landing into the unwelcoming arms of LAX, after a trip that ushered me through seven airports, I am reminded of being carried through my journey in the gentler and far more public minded transit station of the Singapore airport. " template="/homepages/38/d268432783/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/products/photocrati_nextgen/modules/ngglegacy/view/gallery.php" order_by="sortorder" order_direction="ASC" returns="included" maximum_entity_count="500"]The vast Changi terminal, … [Read more...]

Dispatch from India

Holi, Festival of Colors Hi Friends, Only on the drive back to Rishikesh this afternoon from Haridwar did I recall that my horoscope in the newspaper yesterday (which I read before departing on my-cross country journey to Rishikesh from Pune via taxi, plane, train, and jeep) advised that I should be careful of long distance travel and take special precautions when traveling by car. The International Yoga Festival at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram on the banks of the Ganges river in Rishikesh began this morning in true Indian form, with a change of schedule. As festival participants from around the globe arrived at the ashram, the infamous television yogi, Ramdev invited Swami Chidanand Saraswati (the spritual head of the ashram) to … [Read more...]

The 1008 Names of Vishnu

2009 was a year for auspicious beginnings and none more impressive than the installation and blessing of the new Patanjali murti at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles. It was an honor to be apart of this ceremony and particularly fun to see the community come together, re-up on some old friendships and eat some very tasy cake. — NC This post is in honor of Sri BKS Iyengar's 91st birthday, December 14, 1918. Patanjali Puja at IYILA The date, Sunday July 12, 2009 and hour, 5:30am had been chosen according to Indian astrology as most auspicious for the sanctification of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles and installation of its new Patanjali statue. Indeed, the stars did align for IYILA on that morning. Not only was … [Read more...]