In thinking ‘This is I’ and ‘That is mine’ one binds himself with himself, as does a bird with a snare.
– Krishna Yajur Veda, Maitreya Upanishad 3.2
WASHINGTON D.C., September 26, 2014 (Washington Post):
Epic narrative. Exquisite music. Spirited humor. And puppets. The performing-art form wayang golek has it all, says Kathy Foley, a scholar and master puppeteer who is deeply versed in this brand of theater, traditional to the Sundanese culture of West Java, Indonesia.
Wayang golek could be likened to “a combination of what we would think of as opera, Shakespeare and popular stand-up comedy,” with dance (by puppets) and some “high philosophical wisdom” thrown in, says Foley, a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She was speaking by phone in the lead-up to “The Miraculous Birth of Hanuman, the Monkey King,” the wayang golek production in which she’s scheduled to perform at the Freer Gallery of Art on Oct. 4.
The show, which dramatizes an episode from Hindu mythology, also will feature gamelan musicians from the Indonesian College of the Arts in the city of Bandung. It’s all part of “Performing Indonesia: Music, Dance and Theater From West Java,” a two-day festival being presented by the Smithsonian’s Freer/Arthur M. Sackler galleries and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia.
INDIA, September 26, 2014 (Indian Express):
Less than a month after the Himachal Pradesh High Court banned animal sacrifice at religious places during fairs and festivals, the caretakers of the Deities, at their rare congregation, decided to continue with the age-old tradition.
The development has created a piquant situation for law enforcing agencies, which had earlier told the caretakers’ body that High Court orders would be enforced strictly to stop animal sacrifice of any sort. Its immediate effect will be in Kullu Dussehra on October 3 wherein animal sacrifice is part of the rituals.
The Dharam Sansad witnessed an overwhelming presence of representatives of the local Deities. “Just in one voice every caretaker of the 260 Deities spoke of upholding of the tradition and appealed the High Court to reconsider the order on ban as it goes against the accepted traditions and customs approved by supreme deities”, said Maheshwar Singh, an erstwhile raja of Kullu, who is chief kardar (caretaker) of Lord Raghunath.
Dot Ram Thakur, president of Dev Samaj, made it clear at the Dharam Sansad that animal sacrifice is an important part of the religious beliefs in the area since ages. He said, “There cannot be changes in the tradition as it is the order of the Gods and people have to follow. No religious festival will be completed if animal sacrifice is not carried out.” [The sacrificed animals are taken home and eaten by the devotees.]
Hindu society has been the meeting point as well as the melting pot of as many spiritual visions as the human psyche is capable of springing up spontaneously. It has been a willing and welcoming platform for as many seers, sages, saints and mystics as have responded to the deeper stirrings in the human soul. It has been a repository of as many metaphysical points of view as human reason can render in human language.
– Sita Ram Goel (1921-2003), Hindu renaissance thinker and writer, founder of Voice of India
INDIA, September 20, 2014 (Hindustan Times):
The Dalai Lama says the enduring harmony between India’s many religions is proof to the world that different communities can live peacefully and solve problems together.
The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader has lived for decades in exile in India’s Himalayan foothill city of Dharamsala, after fleeing China after a failed 1959 uprising. He said Saturday that “India is the only country where all major world religions live together, not only in modern time, but over 1,000 years.”
The Dalai Lama was speaking to leaders from nine religious groups invited for two days of meetings to mull some of India’s biggest problems, including poverty, attacks on women, environmental degradation and communal violence. He stressed that there was no justification for fighting in the name of faith, calling it “unthinkable.”
UNITED KINGDOM, September 26, 2014 (National Council of Hindu Temples UK):
Hindu spiritual philosophy suggests that the Universe and everything therein that we can see and feel, is Feminine (creative and dynamic) in nature. Further we humans can “connect” with this aspect of the Universe by connecting with its highest expression i.e. Energy (called Shakti), its next largest local form (the Earth) followed by its next highest form, the human form i.e. especially the female form. Energetic expression is a feature of the Navratri festival which involves energetic dance, cooking, rituals, light and color – all very exuberant and dynamic.
At the Festival of Navratri, Hindus celebrate the Divine feminine in 9 different forms, navdurga individually and on consecutive nights. There are two elements which are critical to all of the activities in the festival – Energetic dynamic expressions throughout the day and deep contemplation and meditation throughout the night – exuberantly connecting with the outer world during the day and tranquilly connecting with the inner world during the night are core features of the festival.
MUMBAI, INDIA, September 26, 2014 (Hindustan Times):
Every festive season, cultural events take the city by storm. Now, to ensure that the buzz and excitement spreads on social media as well, mandals across the city are providing Wi-Fi connections in their venues this year. This new trend can be attributed to the fact that young visitors to the mandals are fond of clicking selfies against a festive backdrop, and Wi-Fi connections allow them to promptly upload the photos on to social networking sites. This, in turn, translates into publicity for the mandals, say organizers.
While the recently concluded 10-day Ganeshotsav saw several decorative pandals equipped with high-speed Internet for the first time, even sprawling garba grounds are now offering the facility. “Mandals these days have a website, social media pages and mobile apps, but these are not enough. There is tremendous marketing opportunity in people liking and sharing photos or status updates about us on social media. That happens when visitors upload photos such as selfies on sites, or share them on messaging groups. Free Wi-Fi comes in handy then,” said Ganesh Naidu, president of Naidu Club, which is celebrating the nine-day Navratri festival at Kora Kendra, Borivli (West).
“Think twice before you talk. Think thrice before you act.”
– Sri Sri Sri Sivaratnapuri, Tiruchi Mahaswamigal, spiritual head of Kailasa Ashrama, Bangalore
U.S., September 18, 2014 (National Geographic):
In a paper published Thursday in Science, demographers from several universities and the United Nations Population Division conclude that instead of leveling off in the second half of the 21st century, as the UN predicted less than a decade ago, the world’s population will continue to grow beyond 2100.
And for the first time, through the use of a “probabilistic” statistical method, the Science paper establishes a range of uncertainty around its central estimate – 9.6 billion Earthlings in 2050, 10.9 billion by 2100. There’s an 80 percent chance, the authors conclude, that the actual number of people in 2100 will be somewhere between 9.6 and 12.3 billion.
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, Austria uses a different method to calculate probable population, however, both groups foresee India becoming the world’s most populous country, with its numbers peaking around 2070 and declining to around 1.5 or 1.6 billion by 2100.