India, home to all the world’s major religions and a world centre of spiritualism, draws tens of thousands each year hoping to nourish their souls in ashrams and other retreats dotted around the country.
Hundreds gathered earlier this month in the small town of Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganges for an international yoga festival set against the backdrop of the Himalayas.
The town, made famous by British rock group The Beatles who visited for meditation classes in 1968, teemed with Westerners along with long-haired yogis and gurus who led classes and gave advice on the importance of self-reflection.
“I came here to be near the source of spirituality,” Christel Pierron, a French yoga … Read more »
Was it possible to survive 10 days of meditating in an Indian retreat without speaking, reading or making eye-contact with fellow guests?
I am sitting cross-legged on the floor in a large hall, surrounded by strangers. Sweat is running down my face, and my thighs are bleating in agony. I’m trying to meditate but my mind keeps calculating how long I’ve been here (about five hours) and how long there is to go (about another 100).
It is the first day of my silent retreat in Gujarat, India. I am not allowed to talk throughout the 10 days. In fact, I am not allowed to do much at all: I can’t make eye contact with … Read more »
On 4 April 2011, Dr. Trungram Gyaltrul Rinpoche will preside over the opening of the Lumbini Udyana Mahachaitya, World Centre for Peace and Unity, the latest and largest Buddhist temple and meditation hall complex to be built at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in Lumbini, Nepal. (Lumbini is the birthplace of the Buddha in Nepal; Udyana is a Sanskrit word that means garden or orchard; and Mahachaitya is the Sanskrit word for Great Stupa.)
Mahachaitya is the latest addition to a master-planned monastic community that envisions more than 40 Buddhist temples in different national styles to be built near where Prince Siddhartha Guatama, the Buddha, was born … Read more »
Mataji Nirmala Devi, founder of Sahaja Yoga movement and sister of former union minister NKP Salve, passed away in Genoa, Italy, on Wednesday, her family sources here said. The spiritual leader was 88. Her body will be brought to Delhi on Sunday and funeral will be held there on Monday.
Nirmala Devi, who was born in Chhindwara in 1923, started Sahaja Yoga propagating it as a method of meditation and claiming it to be a breakthrough in evolution of human awareness. It was started in 1970 and attracted followers in thousands across the world. The movement now has centres in about 120 countries.
In her younger days, Nirmala Devi had stayed with her parents in … Read more »
No one denies that Hinduism’s most sacred and ancient texts, including the Bhagvad Gita, describe different kinds of yogic practices. But what does this ancient and sacred tradition of yoga have to do with what people all around the world do in yoga classes in gyms and fitness centres today?
To most Indians, such questions are nothing less than sacrilegious. Yoga is for them what apple pie and motherhood are for Americans: a living symbol of their way of life.
Indians tend to affirm their claims on yoga by trotting out the familiar icons of the ‘5,000-year-old Vedic tradition,’ which supposedly stretches from the Pashupati seal of the (actually very unVedic) Indus Valley civilisation to … Read more »
His daring escape from Tibet seemed out of a movie. Then only 14, Ogyen Trinley Dorje was one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most revered incarnate lamas, and his journey through the icy passes of the Himalayas was viewed as a major embarrassment for China. The youth arrived in India in early 2000 to a euphoric greeting from Tibetan exiles.
India, though, was less certain about what to do with him. Intelligence agencies, suspicious of his loyalties and skeptical of his miraculous escape, interrogated him and tightly restricted his travel. He remains mostly confined to the mountainside monastery of a Tibetan sect different from his own. And that spurred an idea: He wanted his own monastery. Eventually, … Read more »
‘Is the Karmapa a Chinese spy?’ ‘Is the possible successor to the Dalai Lama a Chinese mole?’ ‘Is this another clever ploy of China to take control of the border regions?’ The media have gone berserk with speculations about the Karmapa Lama. Sadly, the coverage has failed to do any groundwork research. This episode not only exposes the way the Indian media works but also jolts the Tibetan faith in Indian democracy and harms India’s long-term interests in Tibet.
The police raid found a few crore (100,000) rupees worth of cash. At most, this may be a case of financial irregularity or non-transparent dealings by the managers of the Karmapa’s monastery for which they should … Read more »
Dharamsala, India: Police say authorities are investigating the source of a large amount of money found in a northern Indian Buddhist monastery, the headquarters of Tibetan Buddhism’s third most important leader.
D.S. Minhas, director general of police in Himachal Pradesh state, says police and revenue officials are tracking the source of about $777,000 that was found in the Gyuto monastery where the Karmapa lives.
Minhas said Saturday that much of the money was in Chinese yuan. Police have questioned Ugyen Thinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, about the source of the money.
Indian media have been carrying reports that the Karmapa could be a Chinese agent sent to India to become a leader of Tibetan Buddhists … Read more »
Against the backdrop of a tumultuous sea, the Vivekananda Memorial is an oasis of tranquility, says Ranjeni A Singh
The last few rocks of the Indian peninsula are special. It is where the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet and merge, as though proclaiming India’s unity in diversity. Sanctified by Goddess Parvati’s footprints, the rocks now also symbolise the spirit of Swami Vivekananda, who, against all odds, ventured to create awareness of Hindu philosophy and ancient Indian culture wherever he went.
My trip to the southernmost tip of India was an unscheduled one but it turned out to be truly enriching. I was on a bus, travelling from Nagarcoil to Thiruvananthapuram, … Read more »
Yoga seems to have been “reincarnated” in America and some other parts of the world.
Various organizations are promoting “Christian Yoga”, claiming to provide a Christian approach to yoga. There are DVDs like “Christoga: Yoga Filled Body – Christ Filled Soul” (60 minutes of Yoga with bible scriptures recited by Janine. Yoga with Christ as the meditation focus!). There is a “Christian Yoga Magazine”. There are books like “Yoga for Christians: A Christ-Centered Approach to Physical and Spiritual Health through Yoga”,” Holy Yoga: Exercise for the Christian Body and Soul”, etc.
Welcoming the widespread interest in yoga, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that although introduced and nourished by … Read more »