Sunday, February 06, 2005
Collaborating Across Religions
Refueling candles - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2005
So this is my first entry into my first blog and it is part of my effort to get back to capturing thoughts and notions as I once did in many journals, but now with the power that the Web brings.
The effort should help include photos that have provoked ideas for me and enable any who actually look at them or my writings to provide their opinions and reactions as they see fit.
To kick things off I will begin with a few entries about a recent trip to India, specifically to Kerala. My wife Molly and I have two young boys (17 months and 33 months as of now) - - part of the game plan was to enable family to see them, and for them to start taking in the bedlam that makes up a different society as bone crushingly rich in detail as India at an early age.
I think I will generally try to recount thoughts in a manner that is chronoligically ordered, but some exceptions will occur.
Following is one.
On Jan. 16th, we were in Chertala, Kerala, at Molly's Uncle Immanuel's place (we call him Mamachen Uncle). That evening, we went down the block to a small shrine for a festival that is called something like Perinala (though there is a great chance I have botched this term). What was remarkable to me was the attendance at a Christian function by people of Hindu and Muslim faiths. At this shrine to St. Michael, people had set up numerous candles in a range of shapes. The image above shows one of those candle arrangements - - notice it includes not only the Christian cross, but also the Hindu sign Om (read at http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?dym=1&cid=2095678592&method=6 fora definition of this), and the Muslim Crescent.
It was inspiring - - all too often all one hears are of the many clashes between religions and not of how they can collaborate. When you visit India, you cannot help but notice how religion is so immersed into everyday life. It is everywhere and people practice it with less formality but greater frequency than I seem to find in the U.S. I will close here to keep the first entry from droning on too long, but I hope to revisit this point later.