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Archive for December, 2014

We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blessed by everything,
Everything we look upon is blessed .
-W.B.Yeats

May the holidays and the New Year be full of Peace, Love, Grace, and Blessings. May everyone be happy. May everyone be well.

It is hard to feel this in times of darkness, but it is the only guiding Light that we can hold to guide us through.

Am sharing with our circle of readers, from over 125 countries, this holiday poem sent to me by dear Anahita.

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Giovanni Bellini: 'The Agony in the Garden'
 The Agony in the Garden, about 1465, Giovanni Bellini

It is dawn, and this gloomy, barren landscape is about to be flooded with warm rosy light. Throughout the long night, the central figure of Christ has been at prayer while his friends sleep. Knowing that he will be arrested and executed, Christ asks for strength to accept this fate. As an angel appears to greet him, the sun lights up the hilltop town in the distance, reminding Christians that Jesus will triumph over darkness and conquer death through his resurrection.

This is a painting about hope and the promise of a new day. In various traditions, people look to the light of the rising sun as a symbol of life-giving energy. For many Hindus, sunrise is a time for prayer and for making a gesture of thanksgiving to the sun. In early Christian times, Christ was associated with the pagan sun god; he is celebrated as the “light of the world”, sent to dispel the darkness and to rise again after his death.

“The wise see the Lord of Love in the sun, rising in all its golden radiance to give its warmth and light and life to all.” – Hindu: Prashna Upanishad.

The National Gallery, London, UK, brings together the symbol of light in various cultures through paintings. The link below is to the Festival of Lights trail which has the text in Hindi and Gujarati as well.

Source: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/content/ConMediaFile/11772

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With a record 175 countries as co-sponsors, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution for the observance of International of Yoga on June 21 each year. The UN does not incur any budgetary expense as the day would be observed by private sponsors and events. The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, had proposed holding an international yoga day in his September 27 speech to the UN General Assembly in New York. June 21st is the summer solstice (equal day and night) and has many significances. The day presents balance in yoga.

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Attributed to Giotto di Bondone: 'Pentecost'
Source: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/giotto-and-workshop-pentecost

Light is used as a symbol by cultures and religions all over the world, representing goodness, love, truth, knowledge, faith and life  itself. In Hinduism, it is particularly celebrated with lamps and fireworks during Diwali, the ‘Festival of Lights. It is also a  central feature in Christian rituals, and has become an expressive medium for many Western European artists. 

Pentecost represents the twelve apostles gathered together after Christ’s Ascension into Heaven. The Holy Spirit is shown descending  on them in the form of a dove and tongues of fire, granting them the power to speak in many languages (Acts 2: 3). In the foreground,  men from different nations marvel at hearing the apostles’ words in their own language.

These 12 men, the closest followers of Jesus Christ, are experiencing a momentous event: as Jesus had promised, the light of the Holy  Spirit is entering their bodies and giving them the power to speak in many different languages. The men see “tongues of fire” above  their heads, while rays of light stream down from a small white dove. People of different nationalities standing nearby are shocked to find that they can all understand what the men are saying–one man raises his fingers to his cheek in a gesture of surprise.

Source:  http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/content/ConMediaFile/11772

The National Gallery, London, UK, is a wonderful resource and this is part of the trail “Festival of Light”. The text is also printed in the link in Hindi and Gujarati. It draws parallels and unites the Hindu and Judeo-Christian symbol of light.

“Walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled.” Jewish and Christian: Book of Isaiah

The religious symbol of a burning flame is an ancient one. Agni, the god of fire, is one of the most important Vedic gods and is central to Hindu rites and rituals. In the sacred Upanishads, the soul (or ‘self’, atman) is described as a small flame. Similarly, in Christian scriptures, light is said to burn inside the believer, like a candle inside a temple.

Note: The word “ignite” comes from the Sanskrit agni. The small flame is used a symbol of akhanda jyoti (infinite light, eternal flame) and readers will find it used in the Yoga Nidras on www.mahasriyoga.com/meditation.

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