Nandi at the V&A
I previously wrote about the deities in the British museum. Since then I have been to the Victoria and Albert Museum, and they too have a collection of murtis. The fine Nandi to the left dates from the late 16th or early 17th century. He takes centre place in the gallery, but is placed so that he looks sideways, past a fine Shiva Nataraja.
blog: Writings from the Banks of Mother Ganga
A comment left a while ago told me about this bog, Writings from the Banks of Mother Ganga.
The blog is written by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, an American woman now living in Rishikesh. She is a devotee of Chidanand Saraswati, and spends most of her time in sewa and meditation. She writes comprehensively and informatively of her life in the ashram.
I enjoyed her greatly evocative account of how Mother Ganga rose and burst her banks, and the mixture of awe, devotion and fear that those present for this terrible but magnificent spectacle felt. I have added her blog to my list of blogs by other Western Hindus.
The Religions of Man
I received an email the other day from Peter Reynosa, sending me a picture of his painting. The painting comprises of a swastika made up of religious symbols.
I have previously written about the Swastika as a symbol of dharmic religions. This picture is a reminder that the swastika was used by many religions through the whole world. A form of Swastika even appeared in Jewish Kabbalistic texts.
The Left-Hand Swastika
Another interesting thing about this picture is that it is of a left-facing swastika. Continue reading
The Lakshya yoga blog
The Lakshya yoga blog is by Lakshya, a yoga instructor, follower of vedanta, and advocate of natural and organic living. Her guru is Pujya Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati, founder of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Coimbatore, India, where she is currently studying.
Se writes about Vedanta, well-being and natural living, and yoga and meditation practices. This is a fairly new blog but it has some interesting, clear, and straight to the point articles.
I have added this blog to my list of blogs by Western Hindus.
At this point you’re probably thinking “whoopy doo, the last of the big philanthropists!”; giving 76 pence doesn’t sound that impressive but please read on. The reason I want to tell you about this is that this particular 76 pence was given without any cost to me. All I dis was my normal online shopping, but I used a browser plugin from give as you live which uses merchant company’s affiliate programs to raise money for charities. They have plugins for IE, Firefox, and Chrome browsers and shopping online at Amazon, lastminute.com, B&Q, Debenhams, John Lewis, M&S, Tesco, and many more will earn money.
Click the red button to give while shopping online
You don’t even have to remember the stores; when you browse to a supported store a header saying “Click to turn on Give as you Live”. If you click this and continue shopping then the store will donate a small amount for every purchase.
Though I chose Sewa International, the registered charity behind Sewa UK, the program allows donations to any UK registered charity.
Now 76 pence may not seem much, but even that can do a lot in many parts of the world. And by the time Christmas is over that could be a couple of pounds. I hope that ten readers will also decide to give to charity – if so we are talking about £20 or so going to charity which would not have done so otherwise. If they pass this on to their friends and family too – then this could raise a serious amount of money.
If you are not in the UK
Does your country have any similar schemes to raise money from online purchases? If so please leave a comment and let me know – it may help other people to find ways to raise money.
Thanks to “curious” to alerting me to the Barefoot Justine blog, and to Shiva Setep-en Het-Heru for alerting me to The Los Perspective.
The barefoot Justine Blog
Barefoot Justine is a veteran illustrator and author of graphic novels whose work has appeared in DC Comics, Dungeons & Dragons products and numerous other publications. She describes herself as a Hindu, and writes:
For years I had been lost to agnosticism and had sought relief in Taoism, Buddhism, revisited Christianity, and had eventually given up on spirituality altogether. I was no longer seeking, then, quite unexpectedly I was called by Lord Shiva. Here is where I will tell that story and share those thoughts. Om Namah Shivaya!
Her blog includes many of her illustrations, including Hindu-related images. I have added this blog to my list of blogs by Western converts to Hinduism.
The los Perspective Blog
The Los perspective is a very professional looking blog by an Argentine-American follower of Wicca who is heavily influenced by Hinduism. It is worth browsing the Hinduism category and the Wicca/Pagan category to get a feeling of the diverse influences on the blogger, who describes himself as a “Shivaist Wiccan”.
I have added this blog to my list of blogs by Westerners influenced by Hinduism.
The Light Club blog
The commenter “curious” alerted me to the “Light Club” blog by Philip Miner.
Philip is an American who came to Hinduism through his encounter with Shre Shri Ravi Shankar at the Art of Living Foundation. He started meditation and yoga to help with depression, this proved to be the start of a spiritual journey. I can recommend the article “On (Not) Being a Beautiful and Unique Snowflake“, which explains the title of his blog and describes the start of his path to Hinduism.
I had incorrectly attributed the blog “Why I love Hinduism” to a guest author. I have now corrected this, the blog owner and author is Jura Nanuk.
The “Why I love Hinduism” blog
The Why I love Hinduism blog is by Jura Nanuk, an American with Eutopean and Native American ancestry. He writes of seeing a picture of MahaVishnu:
I saw a picture of Mahā-Viṣṇu reclining on the Causal Ocean emanating universes from his pores, and for me it was the moment when all the Western science I studied came together with all the complex imagery I had seen.
He appears to have a vedic philosophy with a vaishnava outlook. I have only just started reading his comprehensive blog.
Maria Wirth Blog
Thanks to Surya alerted me to the Maria Wirth blog.
This blog is by Maria Wirth, a German who learned about Hinduism on a holiday after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University. She continued to live in India and followed the Hindu tradition after meeting Sri Anandamayi Ma and Devaraha Baba.
She sees is concerned that the concerted efforts of missionaries to prevent the great spiritual and cultural traditions of Hinduism from being passed on to future generations.
I have added her to my page listing Western Hindu blogs. At the same time I have marked s few blogs inactive, those which have not had any posts this year.
The Indian Love Story blog
Lauren left a comment saying: “I am also a white British Hindu. I am married and living in India”.
Her blog “Indian love story” (now renamed “English Wife, Indian Life“) tells the story of personal journey of her and her husband.
This is a very romantic story. She writes
“India instantanously felt like home, probably because home is where the heart is…
True love has no boundaries
I have added this blog to my page “Westerners following Hinduism“.
Other Blog News
I have decided to make a separate page for blogs by Westerners influenced by Hinduism. I have moved two blogs from the “Westerners following Hinduism” page here. I think that both sets of blogs are worth listing but should be kept seperate.
The laketi blog
I received a message from Anna, who was the author of the Divya jñāna blog. She said that she is no longer practising Sanatana Dharma, though she is still a devotee of Shiva. She is now using the name Śivā Setep-en Het-Heru, which for convenience I will shorten to Shivheru (this seems etymologically correct, it is combining the name Shiva with Heru).
She did not know whether I would want to remove her blog now that she was following an eclectic path rather than a purely Hindu one. Her Divya jñāna blog now directs followers to her new blog, Laketi. I have not decided whether to remove her blog, but this raises the broader question, what is “following Sanatana Dharma”?
The Satsang Group
The followers of the Nandinatha Sampradaya’s master course are spread out over the UK. This means that we rarely see each other. Over the last few years there have been email discussions about the possibility of meeting, nothing actually happened until Ramai, a master-course student, arranged a group Satstang. She says that the event organised itself, but she was certainly the catalyst that made it happen.
One of the founders of the UK Venkateswara temple in Birmingham, Dr Rao is very respectful of the Nandinatha Sampradaya, and allowed us to use temple buildings on the Venkateswara temle site for our Satsang. This was the ideal location, as people from the North of England, South of England and Wales can all reach Birmingham and return in a day. Continue reading