First-hand relief report from flooded India

Namarupa has provided another update on the relief efforts ongoing in northern India, where flooding earlier this summer killed thousands and left tens of thousands homeless — well greater than 100,000.

Also, Namarupa’s own fundraising effort has topped $13,000. You still can donate.

From the relief report by Yoginder Rana:

18 June2013- The fury of the weather Gods abated and we were able to fly to Kedarnath at 6am and started rescue operations from Garudchatti as the regular helipads had been washed away. We flew back to Kedarnath Temple and were dropped there as thousands of survivors were stuck there. There were wide rivers on both sides of temple converting it into a virtually inaccessible island. The connecting bridges had been swept away due to the immense water flow. We set up the first wooden bridge there with the help of wooden logs as they were unable to cross the torrential river Mandakini. The current was very fast and scary and we had to bolster the confidence of the people repeatedly to give them the courage to find a way across. We then made a makeshift helipad for the helicopters to land and in the process rescued more than 150 people.


28 June to 27July– Looking after Operations in Gupatkashi with district admits ration of Rudrapryag to evacuate serious people and pregnant women from villages to nearby hospitals by helicopters. Rest of the time we dropped dry rations to affected villages and working to restore Kedarnathji area.

I feel blessed that God gave me a chance to make my life worthwhile and feel proud and contented by saving lives of thousands of people who were feeling terrorized and helpless in that devastation. I can’t express my joy in words which I felt when I saw the smiles of people whom I saved out of the vast devastation.

Also, we’re hearing that next summer’s Yatra is nearly full, so you may not want to delay any longer and sign up! Only $108 to reserve a spot.

Posted by Steve


Namarupa flooding aid effort near $9,000 raised

Over the weekend, Namarupa sent out an update on its effort to aid Rawada Village, one of many communities devastated by the June floods in northern India.

Fundraising is near $9,000. Here’s more:

Please remember this is a long term aid project. We are working towards 3 main aims.


RECONSTRUCTION: Immediate relief for hungry villagers unable to reach traditional routes for food supplies. Food packets have been distributed. Sustainable housing is being investigated – particularly straw bale structures.

EDUCATION: The village children walk a round trip of 16 Km a day and are undernourished. $200 (Rs10,000) will support one child per year. This is 50% of the cost. The other 50% will be born by the parents so that they feel they have contributed as well. 10 children have been enrolled in school already. More children are being identified.

AGRICULTURE: Immediate reconstruction of terraced fields is needed. Long term planning is needed to increase yields with less effort.

You still can donate at the PayPal link on this page. And remember that next summer’s yatra will go through this area and include seva.

Posted by Steve


Some real pain: The aftermath of the Indian flooding

I’m not quite sure this counts as a counter pose (post?) to our terrific discussion of pain and Ashtanga, but it at least is a reminder of the pain that happens off the mat.

The flooding last month in northern Indian, now getting the moniker the “Himalayan tsunami,” caused by early monsoon rains, continues to subside.

And, yes, we keep coming back to it — in part to make sure you’ve heard of Namarupa’s effort to help one village that was caught in the devastation.

Here’s a latest dispatch:

During the months of May and June pilgrim-tourists in the millions make their way up into the mountains of the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. Their destinations include the divine sources of the Yamuna and Ganga rivers, the abode of the god Shiva in Kedarnath, the famous residence of the god Vishnu in Badrinath, and the Sikh site of Hemkund Sahib, associated with Tenth Guru of the Sikh tradition, Guru Gobind Singh.

This year in mid-June the monsoon rains came early and poured down upon the Land of the Gods with the sort of unexpected intensity that comes once in centuries. Flash flooding, landslides, and rising waters stranded tens of thousands of visitors and destroyed roads, buildings, livelihoods, and bridges. It is too early to know how many people have died but the number will probably be in the thousands.


On June 24, 2013, the Hanuman Fan Club on Facebook, a group devoted to the deity Hanuman, posted an old pre-flood image of the Kedarnath temple. Hindi text introduces the image, noting that of all the structures in Kedarnath only the temple survived because “It was connected to the faith of millions and therefore Mahadev [Shiva] did not allow it to tremble.”

It should be noted that cell phone towers also appear to have survived. The range of sentiment expressed in the comments this posting generated, of which at last count there were 2133 (along with 2917 “likes”), is striking. Some express the opinion that this destruction is the direct result of frank commercialism. Others take issue with Shiva’s seeming whimsy at choosing who lived and who died, or ask why the survival of the temple matters when family members are dead. But the majority of the comments are expressions of praise and reverence: “Long live the lord of Kedarnath” (“Jai Kedarnath baba ki”), “Long live Bolenath [sic] ( “Long live the lord [Shiva] who is innocent and simple”), or simply “O god of gods, destroyer, destroyer” (“har har mahadev”), an acknowledgement of human limits in the face of such power and tragedy.

It’s a good read (and hat tip to Namarupa for point toward it.) Guestimates are that 4,000 people are still missing. I guess I’ll add: A point is this could have been you on your pilgrimage.

Posted by Steve

First-hand report from flood-ravaged Uttarakhand

Namarupa has posted a first-hand account of the terrible flooding in northern India. Remember, you can help establish long-term relief for the thousands affected by clicking here.

Here’s a link to the full account, and a bit:

Situation in Kedarnathji was very drastic thousands of pilgrims and small shop owners pony riders lost their lives in massive flood.

Whole day we work to save people. People were sitting next to dead bodies of human lives and animals. All were looking same like a beggar. With out food water and shelter people have no choices.

It was very painful period for me too. As every day we fly at six having only a cup of tea and eat dinner while we come back at six in evening or some time at seven. Whole day it was hard to drink even a glass of water in that situation  where people were dying without food and medicine.

Again, you can help via Namarupa.

Posted by Steve


A way to help out in flood-ravaged India

Robert Moses and Eddie Stern at Namarupa have set up a fund to help all the thousands — tens of thousands, maybe more — people killed, injured and otherwise affected by the flooding in northern India. I’ll quote directly from the email they sent out and the updated they have at the Namarupa blog:

We have begun a fund for Namarupa Bandhava. It will be based in the Broome Street Temple (link) and thus fully tax exempt.

Donations by check can be sent to:
Namarupa Bandhava
℅ Broome Street Temple
430 Broome Street, New York City, NY 10013
Checks should be made out to Broome Street Temple with Namarupa Bhandava in the memo line.
Donations via Paypal can be sent to
Add a note that it is for Namarupa Bandhava
There is a lot more to read there, and we strongly encourage you to do so and to assist if you can. What’s perhaps different with Robert and Eddie’s effort is that this will focus on one specific village so help can be magnified: “Swamiji will locate a small village in the region that has suffered the impact of the combined forces of mother nature’s fury and people’s meddling. We will adopt the village (or villages) and begin the slow task of reconstruction.” The whole basis for the idea can be found at the full blog post.
And here’s a little more of what this aid will result in next summer:

We will go to Uttarkashi and to do seva in the village during the Yatra Divine 2014.

During the Yatra Divine in 2014 we had planned to visit Badrinath and Kedarnath. At this time it is doubtful whether those shrines will open to the public. If one or the other is open, we will still journey there. In any case, we will proceed to Uttarkashi to spend some days living in and helping reconstruct the village we have chosen to support.  This selfless service will help us understand the local people who have suffered much. It will bring some solace to them. For us it will be karma yoga, the best yoga of all for purifying blockages to higher attainment. And it will be a cultural exchange as well.
If thoughtless actions of diverse peoples around the world unknowingly led in some way to the catastrophe in Uttarakhand, then thoughtful actions of people focused on one small village can help relieve suffering and healing ripples can spread outward from there.

We’ll keep passing on more as we learn it.

Posted by Steve