Your Hindu gods and heroes are coming to the big screen

You may not know the name Sanjay Patel, but chances are you’ve seen some of his handiwork.

Patel is a Pixar artist who also is the man behind the great Ramayana graphic novel. Coming soon from him is an animated Pixar short called Sanjay’s Super Team, which will be released with the potentially huge hit The Good Dinosaur. You know the deal, how Pixar drops a short along with the feature.

Here’s how Variety describes it:

A directorial debut from Sanjay Patel, the short centers around a little Hindu boy who prefers Saturday morning cartoons of superheroes while his father wants him to join in morning prayers, until he sees Vishnu, Hanuman and Durga as the Avengers who save him. Patel, who grew up in San Bernardino, Calif., where his parents ran the Lido Motel, says the short is partly biographical.

The day the CalArts grad was to make his pitch for the short to John Lasseter, his son, Arjun, was born and the meeting had to be postponed a couple of weeks. “In hindsight, my family said it was my son’s karma,” said Patel.

Pixar has released a short clip, pretty much the opening of that scene:

As it you needed a reason to see the dinosaur movie.

Posted by Steve

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Getting a little juice into your practice

Summer, finally, has arrived — at least in Los Angeles.

And that means practices are getting hot. Even early morning ones are suddenly a lot sweatier.

What’s been strange is that the added heat and streams of sweat have made me notice the stiffness of my joints more than normal. Just when I’d think I’d be feeling, in Tim Miller’s words, “a little more juicy,” I’m feeling less so. Maybe I’m just quickly burning away the lubrication.

One way to cultivate that juiciness is by building up the bhav — pursuing a little extra bhakti.

So I’ve taken note that on Sunday, Ram Dass is having a webcast that focuses on his guru’s, Neem Karoli Baba, relationship to Hanuman. You can sign up (and submit questions) at this link. It takes place Sunday, 8 p.m. Eastern time in the U.S., 5 p.m. Pacific. A perfect way to wind down the weekend.

Posted by Steve

To start your month, a detailed look at the Hanuman Chalisa

We haven’t tossed a Hanuman Chalisa at you in a while, so it’s time to break that streak.

This isn’t new, but, as they say, it’s new to me. Judging by what I read, it dates back to 2006. But as with anything Hanuman-related, it’s timeless: A word-by-word breakdown/translation of the Chalisa:

1. Jaya – Hail Hanumana
gyaana – wisdom
guna – virtue
saagara – ocean
jaya -hail
Kapeesha – Lord of the Monkeys
tihun – three
loka – world
ujaagara – enlighten/awaken

1. Victory to Hanuman, ocean of wisdom and virtue,
Hail Monkey Lord, illuminator of the three worlds.

2. Raama
doota – messenger
atulita – incomparible
bala – strength
dhaamaa – abode
Anjani putra – Anjani’s son
Pavana –wind
suta -son (off spring)
naamaa – the name

2. Ram’s emissary, abode of matchless power,
Anjani’s son, named “Son of the Wind.”

Hat tip on this one to Gary Goldberg, via the Facebook.

Posted by Steve

The power of 5 in India and elsewhere

Did you ignore Cinco de Mayo? Of course you did, because you had to get up early this morning.

And maybe it feels like yet another mostly made-up holiday that just serves our consumer appetite.

But there is plenty of power in 5, as Tim Miller helpfully notes this week in his blog:

As it turns out, 5 is a pretty special number in many traditions, especially in India, where we find:  The Pancha Tanmatras— The Five Sensory Potentials or Subtle Elements—Shabda (sound), Sparsha (touch), Rupa (sight), Rasa (taste), and Gandha (smell); The Pancha Jnanendriyani—Five Sense Organs–Ear, Skin, Eye, Tongue, and Nose; The Pancha Karmendriyani—Five Motor Organs—Mouth (expression), Hand (grasping), Feet (motion), Urino-genital (emission), and Anus (elimination); The Pancha Mahabhutani—The Five Elements—Earth (stability), Water (fluidity), Fire (illumination), Air (movement), and Ether (communication and self-expression).

He goes on to note some 5s that pertain specifically to yoga. And I’d add one he doesn’t seem to have listed: The five Pandavas from the Mahabharata.

And of course there is Panchamukha Hanuman, who hangs above our front door.

Posted by Steve

Jai Hanuman

We of course have to share Tim Miller’s retelling of Hanuman’s birth:

Anjana’s pregnancy went smoothly, and, at sunrise on the full moon day of Chaitra (April), Hanuman was born. Anjana’s form immediately began to change. Realizing that she had only a few precious moments with her son, Anjana took Hanuman in her arms and said, “Little Anjaneya, you are an avatar of Shiva and have come to this world as a saviour. It breaks my heart to say that I can never be a true mother to you, but your father, Vayu, will attend to all your needs.” Hanuman looked at his mother’s vanishing form with tears in his eyes and asked, “Who will show me the ways of the world, who will be my mother?”

Yeah, I picked the poignant part. Tim will be celebrating Hanuman Jayanti on Friday, from 7 to 9 p.m. When will you be celebrating?

Somewhere I have a nice picture of a rare image — Hanuman and Anjana, from a temple in Varanasi. I’ll try to find it for Friday.

Posted by Steve