The destruction in India through Western eyes; Saraswati arrives in DC

We’ve highlighted the terrible destruction happening in northern India as well as Namarupa’s effort to respond. Now, here’s some first-hand accounts from Westerners caught up in the flooding, via the BBC:

A group of about 40 foreigners, mostly Westerners, were in the Uttarkashi region of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand when floods struck 13 days ago and a furious torrent of water, mud and rubble hurtled down the Himalayas, destroying everything in its path. The group was practising a form of yoga in a religious retreat and its members were extremely fortunate to have survived. The BBC Hindi’s Vineet Khare met them in Haridwar.

That sounds pretty close to the types of trips/retreats many of us, I suspect, take to India. Here’s one quote from the piece: “It’s hard to understand how we survived. Only when you believe in God, you know that is possible. It’s been a blessing.”

Take a look.

And then take a peek at this story from NPR today:

Embassy Row — otherwise known as Massachusetts Avenue — in Washington is decorated with flags of every nation, flying in front of impressive embassy buildings.

And in front of the embassies there are often statues of national heroes. Winston Churchill graces the grounds of the British Embassy. Outside the Indian Embassy, Mahatma Gandhi looks as though he’s in full stride, clad in loincloth and sandals.

And now, there’s a Hindu goddess. Saraswati just arrived. She stands in a garden in front of Indonesia’s embassy, glowing white and gold, with her four arms upraised.

If you know a little about Indonesia you might be saying, “Saraswati?” Because Indonesia happens to be the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. The country’s ambassador explains it this way:

“One of the most famous, if not the most famous, islands in Indonesia is Bali. And Bali is a Hindu enclave in Muslim-majority Indonesia. And I think it says a lot about our respect for religious freedom that the statue in front of the country with the largest Muslim population is a Hindo statue.”

That’s a polite way to explain it, certainly.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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