International Day of Yoga 2016

Kirtan Yoga at The Sacred India Gallery

On Tuesday June 21, an evening of Kirtan Yoga was held at the gallery to celebrate International Day of Yoga. 

Everyone who attended participated enthusiastically in the kirtan.... and there was equal enthusiasm when a delicious supper was served at the end of the evening. 

Thank you to the Consul General of India, Mr Amit Mishra, for his encouragement and support for this event, which was conducted in conjunction with other yoga events organised at more than a dozen venues in and around Perth.  

Jay Weinstein In The Himalayas

Some of you may have attended the programs we held when Jay and Kadambari visited Perth last July/August. Jay is based in Mumbai, India. He's an intrepid traveller, a keen photographer, and a travel experience designer. Lately he's been travelling in Northern India.

Jay Weinstein during his recent travels.

Jay Weinstein during his recent travels.

Here are some shots from Jay's recent visit to the Himalayan Mountain Ranges. 

 The Sacred India Gallery is proud to be affiliated with Jay, and we look forward to his next visit to Perth in 2019.  

Watch this space!... Jay will soon be sharing more images from another recent tour to Rajasthan... 

An Unidentified Gift

I'm in India, and this is the view from my room in the apartment where I reside in Vrindavan.

My bedroom looks out onto a delightful green garden. Through this window I can see various trees, shrubs and a large patch of grass. The entire garden is encircled by a raised stone walkway.

I regularly hear the laughter of playing children, or catch sight of someone out on an early morning stroll. I can see and hear all this activity sitting at my desk by the window.

This view has special significance for me. Twice, in 2008 and then again in 2014, I was confined to this bedroom in a state of physical incapacitation. In 2008 I broke my knee, and then six years later I found myself here again with a broken ankle. Each time I was confined to bed for around 2 weeks. During these difficult periods, I sat looking wistfully out this window for hours. Monkeys roam freely in this garden, and I would hear them being chased by the guards who run along banging their sticks on the ground while making loud noises to move them on. And while children played I watched older people casually stroll along the raised pathway, and thought, "Don't they know that legs and mobility are a gift? A blessing that can be taken from us in a moment! Don't they see how fortunate they are to be able to walk and run or jump and play?"

I reflected soberly on how it felt to have temporarily lost this gifted ability, and in that state of internal reflection, I somehow felt grateful for my injury. And I felt a wave of immense appreciation for my instructive window view.

As my walking ability gradually returned, I retained a deep sense of gratitude for the gifted wisdom of the entire experience.

And to this day, I still reflect on another gift... the unique gift of mobility.

Madhava in Vrindavan

Kirtan is a form of meditative mantra music performed in many of the temples throughout Vrindavan. Some of you may know Madhava, a talented kirtan artist who travels the globe sharing his deeply devotional mantra melodies. 

Madhava in deep meditation during kirtan

Madhava in deep meditation during kirtan

Madhava always spends the sacred month of Kartik in Vrindavan. Every evening just before sunset, Madhava sits down under a tree beside a rajasthani gazebo and places his specially designed harmonium on his knee. Here in this tranquil setting, he chooses not to use a microphone. Accompanied only by a drum and one pair of brass cymbals, he closes his eyes and begins to chant.

Within moments many people join him. 

The sun slowly sets. The gazebo lights up. Madhava keeps chanting.

Sunset kirtan with Madhava in Vrindavan

Sunset kirtan with Madhava in Vrindavan

"Chant a little louder!", he says as he himself deepens his focus on the mantra.

The group steadily swells. The kirtan builds and everyone present temporarily transcends life as we know it. 

Friends gather together spontaneously for an hour of the finest kirtan with Madhava

Friends gather together spontaneously for an hour of the finest kirtan with Madhava

Kirtan with Madhava in Vrindavan. A special experience in a most remarkable place.   

Kirtan with Madhava 2016. Coming to Perth - March 11-13!!

Watch this space for further information.

Kartik in Vrindavan

Jagattarini reporting from the sacred land of Vrindavan.

You may recall a recent post on festivities taking place at the gallery during the month of Kartik. I left Perth half way through this festive month and journeyed to Vrindavan. Suddenly I found myself within the throng of happy, noisy people celebrating Kartik in this sacred land. 

Decorations adorn a temple in Vrindavan to celebrate Kartik

Decorations adorn a temple in Vrindavan to celebrate Kartik

Pilgrims packed the temple each evening seeking blessings by offering lamps with deep devotion. I was amazed to see so many people all together singing and carrying these little clay lamps. 

Thousands of people offering lamps in a temple in Vrindavan

Thousands of people offering lamps in a temple in Vrindavan

Amazingly, even with such crowds, there has never been an accident caused by fire... although one friend of mine jokingly pointed out that her hair had been slightly singed one evening. 

After I'd been there for a couple of weeks, the festive month of Kartik came to an end. Gone were the masses of pilgrims packing the temple each evening. Gone too were all the international visitors who flock to Vrindavan during this season. 

After the end of Kartik month, the temples in Vrindavan are quiet again

After the end of Kartik month, the temples in Vrindavan are quiet again

Thousands of people leave Vrindavan and return to their day-to-day life. Every one of them, without exception, making their plans to return again next year!

A Night In Sacred India

Here's a brief report on a recent gathering at The Sacred India Gallery. 

"A Night In Sacred India" is our regular monthly evening offered as a follow-up opportunity for gallery visitors who are keen for another taste of the mood and atmosphere of spiritual India. 

The evening was hosted by Shree Radha Raman

The evening was hosted by Shree Radha Raman

Shree commenced the evening with some breathing exercises and mantra meditation. Next we delved into some profound knowledge of ancient India in a segment entitled "Gita Wisdom". 

We rounded out the evening with some kirtan (devotional song) led by Marita, our good friend with a beautiful voice, from Indonesia. 

Marita (left) leading kirtan at 'A Night In Sacred India'

Marita (left) leading kirtan at 'A Night In Sacred India'

And let's not forget to mention the meal! Wow! Another delicious effort from our dedicated volunteers! 

Celebrating Kartik at The Sacred India Gallery

It's Kartik time of the year again.  Kartik is considered a particularly auspicious month in the traditional Indian lunar calendar. The entire month is a very festive time in the sacred land of Vrindavan.

Jagattarini lived in Vrindavan for 13 years and Kartik was her favorite time of year. She recalls how thousands of pilgrims would visit Vrindavan at this time of year. Some even set out on a month-long walk around the entire Vrindavan region. The temples are full of life and festivity.

Here at The Sacred India Gallery, we celebrated this auspicious month with two weeks of evening programs that captured the Kartik atmosphere. Jagattarini read fascinating stories from ancient Indian texts, and lovingly shared her memories of Kartik in Vrindavan.  The evenings also featured recitation of beautiful prayers, and the refreshments were absolutely delicious!

Visitors From The Housing Authority of Western Australia

The other day, an enthusiastic group from the Housing Authority of WA made a visit to the gallery. One of our volunteers -  Saloni Sharma, works at the Housing Authority and had shared several stories with her colleagues about The Sacred India Gallery. This had them all quite excited to make a "trip" to spiritual India, and they decided to spend a Sunday afternoon with us. 

Shree welcomed the group at the gallery as they started their sacred journey. 

As we passed through Mayapur and Jagannath Puri, our visitors were amazed seeing the colorful displays depicting local culture and lifestyle.  

Upon reaching Vrindavan, the magical miniature work of Jagattarini left the group mesmerized as they moved from one diorama to another. 

To conclude the visit, we all enjoyed a delicious vegetarian lunch arranged by Saloni as we sat in the serene environment of the gallery gardens. 

The guests thoroughly enjoyed their trip and promised to visit again with other friends and family members.