Here’s one way you can help the Nepal earthquake victims

If you haven’t yet sent money or other assistance to the victims of Saturday’s horrific earthquake in Nepal, here’s you chance. (It’s even you chance if you have.) It comes via our friends at Namarupa and the Broome St. Temple:

We have received an urgent request from our friends at

www.wavesforwater.org/project/nepalreliefinitiative for help.

Waves for Water works on the front-line of disaster areas around the globe to provide clean water to communities in need. Broome Street Temple has a close association with Wavers For Water and worked together on relief efforts following Super Storm Sandy.

Some time back many of you responded to our plea for help when floods struck at the western end of the Himalayas. At that time our primary purpose was to create an education fund, Namarupa Bhandava, for children of the effected villages. Through your help we raised $16,2008.00. We have been releasing these funds on an annual timetable per the instructions of Swami Janardanandaji who is managing the fund distribution to the village children.

We have asked and received permission from Swamiji to send $1000.00 to WavesforWater to purchase desperately needed water filters in support of its Nepali relief efforts. They have a great deal of experience in disaster areas at distributing filters which help prevent many health problems that occur for some time after earthquakes have struck.

[snip]

If you are inclined you can help replenish the Namarupa Bhandava fund by sending any small amount here.

You can also donate directly to Waves For Water here.

Thank you

Best wishes

Robert Moses and Eddie Stern

Namarupa Bhandava

As a reminder, the Bhandava effort was set up in the summer of 2013 to help the victims of the floods in northern India. But hardship and hope know no borders.

Posted by Steve

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Namarupa number 20 is now available

Ready to dive into some Vedic and Indic topic matter?

Well, the latest issue of Namarupa — co-published by Robert Moses and Eddie Stern — is now available.

Here’s what’s in store:

Cover Surya Bhagavan by Satya Moses

Jason Birch THE YOGATĀRĀVALĪ And the Hidden History of Yoga

Dr. Robert E. Svoboda EXCERPT FROM AGHORA II: KUNDALINI KUNDALINI: Interview with Dr. Robert E. Svoboda Conducted by Rick Archer of Buddha at The Gas Pump

Roxanne Gupta Ph.D. BEHIND THE OCHRE ROBE The extraordinary life and death of AgehanandaBharati

Robert Schneider & Benjamin Phelan ENCOUNTER WITH THE INFINITE The story of the mathematical genius Srinivasan Ramanujan

Naomi Worth DREAMING IN EARLY ADVAITA VEDĀNTA A main component of Śańkaracarya’s view of Reality

Jaidev Dasgupta IN SEARCH OF IMMORTALITY An Introduction into Indic Worldviews

Robert Moses & Satya Moses DEVOTION AT LORD JAGANNATH RATH YATRA Photo essay of the annual Chariot Festival  of Lord Jagannath in Puri, Odisha, July 2104

Make sure you enjoy the back cover.

Posted by Steve

Ready to be a pilgrim in South India?

You all know that this fall Namarupa is running a full month’s Yatra through the north part of India, with a week that includes an Ashtanga program with Sharath.

It’s full, and has been for a while. But all is not lost. This week, Robert Moses — co-founder of Namarupa along with Eddie Stern — announced the next Yatra:

Your yatra guides will be Robert Moses, co-publisher of Namarupa and Radha-kunda das of Sacred Journeys India. Christine Hoar of Ashtanga Yoga Montauk will teach daily Ashtanga Yoga classes.

The magnificently constructed temples of South India, planned according to strict rules of vastu (laws governing spatial awareness), are often dominated by huge towering gateways called gopurams. Daily, vast numbers of Hindu yatris (pilgrims) pass through the gopurams to have darshan of their favorite gods or goddesses, enshrined in the murtis (images) in the temples’ inner sanctums. Darshan is both seeing and being seen by the deity. The intention of the Tamil Temple Yatra will be to go as much as possible as pilgrims to the sacred temples and, where permitted, to have darshan of the gods and goddesses. This will not be tourism. We will travel simply, lodge in very comfortable Indian-style accommodations, eat vegetarian meals and dress and behave appropriately according to local custom. At some places we will have ample time for the usual sightseeing, shopping and exploring that travellers enjoy. The pace will be relaxed, but this being India, one can expect the unexpected.

Ho-oh, Robert! Don’t get me started on the unexpected. But that’s a good part of the fun.

It runs from January 6 to 21, 2016. It might make a nice holiday present to yourself.

For our posts about our south India Yatra with Namarupa a few years ago, click here. (I think that captures them all; you might need to scroll back a page past our more recent Yatra posts.) We loved the south. The people were warm and inviting, the darshan was incredible, the temples stunning. If you want to really experience India, this is the way to go. We often were the only Westerners in crowds of hundreds, even thousands.

Posted by Steve

Yatra news: Study with Sharath in the Himalayas

Big news from Namarupa. Sharath will be involved with a section of next year’s Yatra — appropriately enough the Ashtanga Yoga Sadhana part.

All the details are at Namarupa’s site. You really need to check it out. This time, Robert Moses — co-founder of Namarupa with Eddie Stern and twice our Yatra leader — has arranged a variety of possible yatras to fit, I suppose, both time and budget.

Here’s a little description, but the real bounty is at the online brochure:

Yatra, Tirtha and Darshan The ancient Puranas of India are huge volumes containing stories of the makings of the universe as well as thrilling tales of innumerable gods and goddesses. The geography of the Puranas coincides with that of the entire Indian sub-continent. Countless places mentioned in these ancient texts are alive today and are important places of yatra (pilgrimage). Within their sanctums, worship of the resident gods and goddesses is performed daily in a tradition that reaches back to antiquity and beyond. These places where the sacred stories unfolded are sometimes called tirthas. A tirtha is a place of crossing over and most literally refers to fords of rivers. It also refers to a spiritual crossing place, where the divine is more easily intuited, recognized or experienced. Daily, vast numbers of yatris (pilgrims) visit the sacred places to have darshan of their favorite gods or goddesses. Darshan is both seeing and being seen by the deity. It is a source of spiritual renewal. Namarupa Yatras are centered around the experience of darshan.

As Robert would expect of me, I have to note that Radha-kunda Das will be among the leaders. He’s my favorite thing in and about India.

According to the brochure, Sharath will be teaching two Led Primary classes each day as well as leading discussions. This part of the Yatra — the full one runs Oct. 1 to 30 — runs from the 12th to 17th. But, as I noted, there are multiple — seven in all — variations you can consider.

Posted by Steve

Undo your shackles this January with a weekend of yoga and Vedanta

For the second time, Eddie Stern and Robert Moses — co-founders of Namarupa — will be holding a weekend workshop over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. It will focus on yoga and Vedanta.

It’s easiest to quote from the flyer for the weekend:

Yoga and Vedanta are practical philosophies born from the age-old burning desire to understand our essential inner nature and our place in the world. We take our perceptions for granted, and believe them to be real. The ancient Rishis of India questioned this belief in perception and created several philosophical systems based on three basic questions: What are the objects of the world which we see made of? What is the nature of the process of observing the world that occurs through our senses? Who it is that perceives? The answers they gave led to practices that we do even this day.

In this weekend retreat, Robert Moses will give talks on Yoga and Vedanta, Eddie Stern will lead morning and afternoon Ashtanga Yoga classes, and Jocelyne Stern will lead meditation. There will be question and answer periods, group discussions, and breaks for chai.

Pastor NaRon Tillman, who will be hosting us in his church gymnasium, will join us to give talks on Martin Luther King Jr. and the imperative need of our day to undo the shackles of bias that bind us to our prejudices and perceptions and hold us back from freedom and truth.

Both Saturday and Sunday will include morning and evening yoga classes (the later described as “yoga therapy,” the morning ones are Led Primary) and a couple of sessions on Vedanta.

Unlike last year, it won’t be at AYNY, but at the Brooklyn StuyDome at St. Philip’s Christian Church. Cost is $190 for the full weekend, $105 for one day and $55 for half a day. Out-of-towners also get a Monday morning yoga session at AYNY.

Last year’s was great — so you may wanna check your calendars. I suspect there will be more info soon at both AYNY and Namarupa’s websites.

Update: Here’s specifics from Namarupa’s Tumblr page.

Posted by Steve

An issue for Ashtanga practitioners: Namarupa remembers Jois and Iyengar

A new Namarupa magazine is out, and it looks like one that all Ashtanga Yoga practitioners will want to get.

It’s all about the lives and legacies of Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar. Click here to get to the page and how to download/order it. Here’s what is inside:

  • FRONT Sri B.K.S. Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
    ©Mike Hill.
  • Legends & Legacies Translation of conversation by Sunaad Rhaguram and photographs by Mike Hill
  • 3 Gurus 48 Questions Matching interviews with Sri T.K.V. Desikachar, Sri B.K.S. Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Interviews by R. Alexander Medin
  • Sketches Sri B.K.S. Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois by Keshav
  • Traditional Yoga An informal talk by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
  • Next Generation Interviews by R. Alexander Medin: Prashant Iyengar & R. Sharath Jois
  • Hoysala Brahmin Sri K. Pattabhi Jois by Eddie Stern
  • Sri B.K.S. Iyengar Photographs by Martin Brading
  • Surya Namaskar Sri K. Pattabhi Jois interviewed by Sunaad Raghuram assisted by John Campbell
  • Aditya Hridayam from the Srimad Valmiki Ramayana
  • The Yoga of Krishnamacarya Eddie Stern
  • Masters in Focus Sri B.K.S. Iyengar by Kofi Busia
  • BACK Sri B.K.S. Iyengar, R. Sharath Jois and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois ©Mike Hill.

Some of that sounds familiar (the three questions piece), so my guess is it is a mix of previously published material , but all bound up into one convenient package.

One convenient package that sure looks worth having.

Posted by Steve

The purpose of pilgrimage

Among the best books on our reading list for next month’s Namarupa Yatra is Diane L. Eck’s Banaras: City of Light. (Another of her works, Darshan, was probably the best of our first Yatra readings.

Probably the most succinct review is: It really has made us want to travel to Banaras / Varanasi — now.

Early on in the book, Eck describes seeing the city through Hindu eyes — what the city means and implies in their faith — and she delves, just for a few paragraphs, on pilgrimage and how they are not out for sight seeing but “sacred sight-seeing.” Darshan, in other words. And she writes the following, which has become one of my guide posts as I prep for our journey:

Those who travel as pilgrims follow the path of the “holy men” (sadhus) or “renouncers” (sannyasins), those perpetual seekers and pilgrims who have given up on the settled life of home to live out the spiritual truth that all people, finally, are travelers and pilgrims on earth. Very few people become sannyasins or sadhus, but in going on a pilgrimage, ordinary householders become, for a short time, renouncers of sorts. Leaving home, they take only those few things they can carry, and their life is the simple life of the road. Their destinations are spiritual ones, and they are often difficult to reach. Going on foot to a distant place becomes for these pilgrims a kind of asceticism in which the journey itself is as purifying as the sacred destinations.

It’s on pages 20-21 of the latest edition of the book.

On our trip this time, Robert Moses has emphasized we need to stick within a 33-pound limit, due to our internal air travel. So we can only a few things. Our lives will follow the simplicity of the road (and train, and bus, and airplane). All our destinations are spiritual ones, even spiritual ones within spiritual ones. We will hike in the Himalayas and walk along the Ganga in Banaras.

Our journey will be purifying.

Posted by Steve