What You See Is What You Get. This is a journal blog, an explore-blog, a bit of this and that blog. Sharing where the mood takes me. Perhaps it will take you too.

Menoculayshunal; Jai Jai Ram

I will close this little section focusing on the festivals, reminiscing about celebrating Sri Rama. The whole concept of "god" at all, never mind multiples, is a thorny one. I have been asked on several occasions in various ways that, being a logical and scientifically-minded person, how can I profess spiritual belief at all? I have covered that to some degree in earlier posts (under MacHistory) - but in the briefest possible way here, I reiterate, all the logic and science in the world has failed to explain some of the direct experiences undergone which have kept me to this path. Until that is, I came upon Advaita Vedanta (or it found me...) This will be expanded upon in next week's post.
Suffice here to say that the Hindu pantheon is cited as having 'thirty-three supreme beings.' Oftentimes you will read about the "33 crores" (or 33 million, or sometimes, 330 million)... all misinterpretations. According to Vedas, there are 33 Gods. These Gods have been separated in the following pattern: 12 + 11 + 8 + 2.  Here, 12 is the number of Adityas (sun), 11 is the number of Rudras (wind), 8 is the number of Vasus (water), then there are Prajapati (progenitor) and Indra (elemental nature). Essentially, all these manifestations are about the elements and how they come together to create weather, beings, the whole universe. These Vedic creatures are all about honouring this whole, amazing creation. All these 'faces of God' are but facets in the diamond of All That Is - the Brahman.

Rama is an avatar of Vishnu and represents the protection of dharma - an exemplar of living life lovingly. But also accepting that life is not a smooth run and things sometimes have to be dealt with more robustly.

While there are many to choose from, most Hindus have a personal devata, one 'favourite' if you will. For me, this is Sri Ram.

During the 2012 celebration (which always takes place March-April, one side or the other of Easter), we didn't just have the usual pujas and feasting, but several of the students got together and presented an evening play of the Ramayana. This is such a tradition! All over India (but particularly in the north), there are such plays and when it was televised... whole streets went quiet as folk gathered to watch. They did a wonderful job of it, and it was not difficult to become immersed in the magical, mythical quality of the play. Sadly my images are poor, but here are a few.

(Should anyone wish to read this epic poem - for it is written as such - here is a link to an English translation.)  We were all deep in dissertation mode the following year, so simple pujas and feasting had to do. No dress-ups or stage prancing! That said, it was equally fulfilling. Think of those moments you may have had where there was a total sense of peace, tranquillity of heart and mind, suspension of the ego...

My own Ghar-mandir (home temple) is set up for Rama, and I have other images of him in other places. This is equivalent to Christians having a cross displayed (or crucifix or sacred heart). There was a time when I would never have believed that I would want such as this ornamenting my home. Now, I would be lost without them. I even have a mini-mandir, a tiny hand-carved depiction for travel (all the more dear to me for having been a gift from my acharya).

There were many times when I sat and watched all the goings-on and wondered at myself for being where I was. I had to keep checking that I wasn't dreaming it all, that I really was now part of this incredible, ancient, colourful, all-absorbing culture that is Sanatana Dharma and I felt entirely at ease.


  1. We all have a life journey. To be fortunate enough to find a place where we are at home is a true blessing. namaste, janice xx

  2. Interesting to learn more about the background to your cosy home temple.
    Hope Mac1's vista is going (went?) well.
    Cheers, Gail.
    PS Bertie has some things to say about my 'religion' in his post today!

  3. that was interesting... and I love to read about a land I never saw with my own eyes... it's like being there a little via your blog...

  4. for me, I like to see the photos that are so brilliant with colors and a view of other cultures.

  5. What a beautiful post in memory of your time spent in this cultural.
    I love all the vibrant colors
    Happy Monday
    Hugs Cecilia

  6. I've been trying to find the time and focus to draft a sensible (and sensitive) comment about the substance and forms of faith. Too often, i suspect, people with less depth than you have applied to examining your faith, mistake minute and detailed observation of the forms for an expression of faith itself when in fact they are living in no more than a state of deep superstition (and possibly cultural conformity).

  7. Faith does not need to distract from science, nor the other way around. In fact, it may enhance either or both.



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