Makar Sankranti: A Union of Shakti and Bhakti

Makara Sankranti is the day when the the Sun transitions into Capricorn (Makara Rashi) on its celestial path in the zodiac. In India, this festival is celebrated by sharing Sesame and Jaggery.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has beautifully explained the significance of this ancient practice of sharing Sesame seeds and Jaggery and its relevance in society today. We are like sesame seeds with respect to this Universe. If you see, what is our significance in this universe; what is life? Next to nothing, like a sesame seed; a mere speck! We are minuscule. We need to remember this message. We are tiny and sweet; delightful like sesame seeds with jaggery. So stay small and sweet, and together with many others you will truly become big.

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Gurudev says four things are needed to be successful: Shakti (strength), Bhakti (devotion), Yukti (skill) and Mukti (freedom). If even one of these is lacking, life would not be successful. To succeed in society, strength and skill are needed, and if you want to experience success in personal or spiritual life, devotion and liberation are needed. We need to move along with all four. The union of Bhakti and Shakti is what is required. This will strengthen the spirit of the people in the world today.
carousel--1366x455-peaceLet us come together like Sesame seeds and Jaggery – the union of Shakti and Bhakti and give the world a message of universal love and peace. The World Culture Festival is a unique opportunity for us to strengthen our spirit – in a world that is increasingly torn by strife and violence. A beautiful chance to make the voice of peace to be heard loud and clear – and celebrate our cultural diversity and resolve to protect and care for the planet we all call home. Come join  us in New Delhi on March 11, 12 and 13th, 2016.

A very Happy Sankranti, Pongal, Bihu and Lohri to all!

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Where the Mind is without Fear!

The recent events in the Arab world have rekindled the hope for democratic rule in the Middle East. History shows that most of these transitions were marked by violence and chaos. What really stands out in the case of Egypt is the protestors’ commitment to nonviolence – and their ability to overcome the fear of reprisal. I heard one man on the radio who expressed that he was no longer afraid for himself or his own family. For his what mattered was that Egypt as a nation came out stronger and that a democracy would be established.

I think Rabindranath Tagore’s poem is particularly apt for this occasion. This poem inspired many freedom activists in India during the struggle for independence. In many ways, the people of Egypt are struggling for independence from oppression today. I believe that such inspiration is important for a society’s future. Though it is still unclear about what sort of a future awaits the people of Egypt, I pray that these events lead to a truly vibrant, secular, and democratic Egypt – despite all the odds!

Where The Mind is Without Fear

WHERE the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

– Rabindranath Tagore