Friday, February 25, 2011

A Zen story

A student went to his meditation teacher and said, "My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I'm constantly falling asleep. It's just horrible!"
"It will pass," the teacher said matter-of-factly.

A week later, the student came back to his teacher. "My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It's just wonderful!'

"It will pass," the teacher replied matter-of-factly.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

On the Mahabharata

"The Mahabharata is the creation and expression not of a single individual mind, but of the mind of a nation; it is the poem of itself written by a whole people. It would be vain to apply to it the canons of a poetical art applicable to an epic poem with a smaller and more restricted purpose, but still a great and quite conscious art has been expended both on its detail and its total structure. The whole poem has been built like a vast national temple unrolling slowly its immense and complex idea from chamber to chamber, crowded with significant groups and sculptures and inscriptions, the grouped figures carved in divine or semi-divine proportions, a humanity aggrandized and half uplifted to super-humanity and yet always true to the human motive and idea and feeling, the strain of the real constantly raised by the tones of the ideal, the life of this world amply portrayed but subjected to the conscious influence and presence of the powers of the worlds behind it, and the whole unified by the long embodied procession of a consistent idea worked out in the wide steps of the poetic story." - Sri Aurobindo

Monday, February 14, 2011

Swedish delegation at Kathalaya

The Swedish delegation comprising of Annelie Stark, President,
Lars Nordstrom, Vice President, Cultural affairs Committee, Region Vastra Gotaland, visited Kathalaya on 9th of February 2011. Ylva Gustafsson also came with them. Ola Henricssson, teacher and story teller at Bergsjon,Goteborg along with Geeta Ramanujam and Ambica did a workshop for two days. Three Swedish students of storytelling Maon Jasim, Sabina Krasniqi, Emma Murselovic were the part of the workshop. All the four story tellers along with P.Nagalakshmi and Usha Kolluru (Kathalaya resource people) enthralled the children of 1st and 2nd Standard of Shishugriha school in Tippasandra on 10th. On the same evening, a story space was organized were 25 people exchanged and enjoyed stories. Peter af Wetterstedt, Secretary of International affairs, Region Vastra Gotaland, also joined this Story Space. Academy students Sarita, Lakshmi, Sahana, Arathi, Varalakshmi and Bhuvana, Usha Venkatranman came with their family and friends.
0n the 12th, Ola Henricsson and Geeta Ramanujam did a workshop for adults at the British Council for about 40 people. On the same evening both of them enthralled about 40 children at Easy Library, Koramangala. Both of them told chain stories, which children and accompanying parents enjoyed. Vanishree Mahesh of Easy Library hosted the show.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A vedic hymn

1. He is the first born, born of the golden womb – the Hiranyagarba. He is the lord of everything that was, is and will be. With his sole might the earth and heaven became stable. Unfathomable is this deity to whom all this belongs.
2. He is the lifebreath of the living, he is the might of the strong. His is the command which all the luminous gods revere; his stride is immortality, his shadow is death. Unfathomable is this deity to whom all this belongs.
3. Through his might alone he became the overlord of all these worlds, of all the men and beasts that live. Unfathomable is this deity to whom all this belongs.
4. He through his might wills these snowy mountains and this never ending sea into existence. Everything you see here are his two arms. Unfathomable is this deity to whom all this belongs.
5. He through whom the heaven and the earth were aligned, he through whom space came to be, and the firmament; he who measured the air in the sky. Unfathomable is this deity to whom all this belongs.
6. He to whom heaven and earth, standing firm by his will, look up, trembling in their mind; he over whom the risen sun shines forth. Unfathomable is this deity to whom all this belongs.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sanskrit, which has been aptly described as "the perfectly constructed speech dedicated to literary and religious purposes," is the language of song. These ancient peoples went deeply into the matter: while they sang their praise songs they wanted to understand exactly how the voice produced song, and they studied the breath in a way which had never before been attempted, and certainly has never since been excelled. They thought of it as "the breath of life," not merely as a supply of oxygen to the tissues, but as a direct means of real inspiration and the key to that deeper life which all so much long for. - Lylie Pragnell in The Philosophy of Speech

Originally printed in The Philosopher,Volume V, 1928

Sunday, February 6, 2011

'We have a bequest of stories, tales from the old storytellers, some of whose names we know, but some not. The storytellers go back and back, to a clearing in the forest where a great fire burns, and the old shamans dance and sing, for our heritage of stories began in fire, magic, the spirit world. And that is where it is held, today.
Ask any modern storyteller and they will say there is always a moment when they are touched with fire, with what we like to call inspiration, and this goes back and back to the beginning of our race, to the great winds that shaped us and our world.
The storyteller is deep inside every one of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is ravaged by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise. But the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us -for good and for ill. It is our stories that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed. It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix, that represents us at our best, and at our most creative.' - Doris Lessing

Source - "Doris Lessing - Nobel Lecture". 6 Feb 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I have always been fascinated to imagine the uncertain circumstance in which our ancestors – still barely different from animals, the language that allowed them to communicate with one another just recently born – in caves, around fires, on nights seething with the menace of lightning bolts, thunder claps, and growling beasts, began to invent and tell stories. That was the crucial moment in our destiny, because in those circles of primitive beings held by the voice and fantasy of the storyteller, civilization began, the long passage that gradually would humanize us and lead us to invent the autonomous individual, then disengage him from the tribe, devise science, the arts, law, freedom, and to scrutinize the innermost recesses of nature, the human body, space, and travel to the stars. - Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa - Nobel Lecture". 6 Feb 2011