Below is our movie about the greatest human gathering in history — Kumbh Mela 2013, at holy Triveni Sangam, Allahabad, India, where more than 100 million people gathered to take part in the greatest festival ever. This event is interesting not only for a triumph of religious consciousness in the XXIth century, but for the spirit of tolerance and non-violence, all the Hindu denominations had shown during the 55-day event. The Kumbh Mela pilgrimage and event takes place every 12 years at a holy site near Allahabad (Prayag) for at least 15 hundred years (documented), maybe many-many years more. Ukrainian practical religious studies expedition had spent a month in a Mahatiagi camp, living with SitaRam saddhus, trying to follow them in all the saddhu ways, practices, and observances, exploring the wonders of Kumbh Mela. This documentary explores the complexities of Hindu saddhus life and the meaning of Kumbh Mela — the most sacred event for hundreds of millions Hindus Living at Kumbh Mela-2013, part 1: (more…)
All the travelers to India in their first days in the country are horrified, of an awful, in terms of Western culture, custom — why do Indians litter that much? Why the streets of India are so dirty? Not even the uneducated, but even members of higher castes, who don’t tolerate a single spot of dust in their homes, can throw garbage on the streets, just near the high walls of their estates.
For a couple of weeks travelers, if not fleeing home, get used to trash around, but the question remains. Typical situation: talking with a Hindu about terrible pollution, drinking chai with seagulls around, your Hindu friend shakes his head “yes, yes,” and agrees — that we do so poor job with our ecology, we need to be more conscious about environmental conservation (it’s better not raise at all the questions of esthetic side of garbage piles), and then, after another “yes, sure, you’re right,” your Hindu friend will throw the plastic cup from his tea down to street, and go on.
Why? – Such an ancient culture, developed religious, emotional, social, scientific “spheres”, etc… But why there’s so much garbage on the streets of India? (more…)
So, how many words are there in Ukrainian language, how can we compare this language’s development with others, and does it have any perspectives at all?
The exact number of words in the language is difficult to calculate – codification is always one step behind the living language – it changes all the time, borrows something new, enriches itself with neologisms, gets rid of outdated and unnecessary forms. In addition, there are dialects, used only in limited areas and professional jargons of narrow areas. Therefore, all figures cited for the quantitative description of language’s vocabulary are very approximate.
Even the number of words in the dictionary of modern developed nations can not be an absolute indicator of their lexical scope. In the largest compendium to date, the Ukrainian Language Dictionary in 11 volumes there are around 134 thousand words, (more…)
Kumbhamela (Kumbh Mela) is the greatest religious festival in the world. It takes place every 12 years at the banks of the sacred Triveni Sangam, near Allahabad for at least fifteen hundred years (perhaps much longer). Year 2013 celebration was attended by more than one hundred million people. That is, every seventieth inhabitant of the planet. The festival has become the largest documented gathering of homo religiosa in one place in the history of humanity.
The myth of Kumbh Mela
Once the gods have decided to churn the Primordial ocean to extract the elixir of immortality from it. But the gods had become weak and unable to complete this feat themselves and they asked help from Asuras (demons). For a thousand years they churned the Ocean, using the serpent king Vasuki as a rope wrapped around the axis of the world, a gigantic mountain Mandara. The first to appear from the foam was a terrible poison that threatened to destroy all the worlds. Then Lord Shiva drank the poison to save the universe.
After that there appeared various miraculous creatures and treasures, and finally the bowl (Kumbh) with the nectar of immortality, Amrita. For possession of Amrita a terrible war crashed out (more…)
With this gallery we begin to publish a series of text, photo, and video materials from Ahamot.org’s expedition to Kumbh Mela 2013 – the greatest event in the history of humanity.
Every now and then people ask us: “what did you do at Kumbh Mela”, “so, how was it at Kumbh Mela”, “did you take bath in dirty Ganga?”, “what made you live there for a month in cold, wet, and Indian antisanitaria?”
In fact everything was just great. Our expedition collected lots of ethnographic and religious studies materials, on which we do work and which we will publish soon.
At this time we put here a small photo-teaser of what used to happen at Kumbh Mela 2013. This gallery includes photos from our old compact camera, and we are waiting for good quality shots gallery from Sagita.net
Jesus Loves you and Psalms in traditional Tibetan script. By Binod
Walking along the Pokhara Lakeside in a small shop we’ve noticed an unusual picture: a strong-looking Nepali man was painting thankas. What’s unusual about it – there’s plenty people creating thankas in Pokhara. These thankas were different: they depicted the Biblical story of Jesus Christ.
First of all I asked Binod what bothered me the most: why Christianity? In this beautiful country with rich Hinduism and Buddhism traditions why did you choose this religion? What brought you to Christ?
How many ISKCON vaishnavas are there worldwide? (Photo credit astrolila.ru)
So, how many people actually follow Krishna consciousness via ISCKON? A researcher who decides to go beyond usual ISKCON’s answer of “hundreds of millions people follow Krishna” has first to face the problem of whom to count – those who follow “4 regulative principles”? How strictly? Those who are initiated? Those who repeat mahamantra? Those, who repeat 16 rounds of japa daily? Or those who have pranama?
Or should we use common method used in religious studies and try to count “active believers” – those who visit ISKCON temples at least once a week (as researchers of religion usually count believers in most Christian countries) and repeat mahamantra from time to time.
English-language Internet keeps silence on the membership stats. One of the numbers easily available in the Internet is (more…)
Lets consider now the common concept, according to which “karma” is “destiny.” In fact, the relations of fate and karma is a question to large extent, not for the scholars of religion, but for the psychologists. Someone of them has formulated it as follows: “sow an act — reap a habit, sow a habit — reap character, saw character – get your destiny” — a good illustration of the law of karma in application to human life.
All the creature’s actions, even the smallest and the simplest, automatic and unconscious (on the levels “of each chakra”, or, simpler, at the level of the body, emotions, and mind) affect its fate, but do not determine (more…)
In light of previous definition of karma we conclude that randomness does not exist; when we allow ourselves to mark some thing in the perception of the universe as “random”, we just sign the testimony of our minds’ cognitive impotence to grasp the wholeness of cause-effect connections that have led to the result, or the testimony of laziness or lack of resources to continue research.
Practical scientists, recognizing the limitations of our ability to calculate and thus foresee all the interactions, (more…)
At school, explaining the Indian concept of karma, tutorials used to focus on karma’s work in “next incarnations”, on its role as determinant of “next life” and avoided analysis of the concept of karma in application to this, “present” life. I’m sure, this image was incorporated into the Soviet school program to show how silly hindus with their religion and philosophy are in the light of communist-atheist perception of reality.
Effects of karma, especially of that aspect, which deals with return/bringing back into our lives “unpleasant” things and actions, that some people call “karmic retribution” is of much more interest for us than some hypothetical consequences in hypothetical “next life”.
Many Hindus, whom I boldly questioned about it, told that they do not believe in the “next life” (more…)