17 October 2014

More Indian than you think

India's tradition,culture and heritage is so vast that it is like a jasmine's fragrance ,that spreads far and wide.India withstood test of time and many foreign invasions but nothing could stop the rich and cultural traditions to flourish and impact the entire world by leaps and bounds. Each and every festival we celebrate in India irrespective of types of religion,our faith,our belief,our celebration,our cuisine,our attire,our unity in diversity etc (to mention a few), always influenced nook and corner of the world.

These are, a few of my experiences in the United States of America that I came across ,that proves "As India gets increasingly globalized, the world is getting increasingly ‘Indianized’. 

1.Color 5k runs - It is an un-timed,stress free, fun filled and color filled five kilometer running race either "for profit" or mainly done "for charity purpose" that aims to encourage healthy activity with a burst of colors.Just like our Indian festival Holi,where people get together irrespective of any barriers ,bury their hatchets with warm hug,throw their worries to the wind , smear and toss different colors on each other and simply enjoy the colors of life,likewise ,this race promotes the most color-filled day spent with family and friends celebrating life, friendship, fitness, and fun.

Let go and leave everything at the starting line is the laid-back mantra here.Clad in a white dress mostly,start the race either by running slowly or like a marathon runner and at each kilometer,color run volunteers would throw different (safe & Eco-friendly) colors into the air and by the end of the race,one will experience a festival-on-run experience .It doesn't end there,just like Holi filled with dance and celebration,there will be a post run party as well with more color showers,crazy dancing  and fun one-of-a-kind.

Anyone can participate, no strict rules to adhere like whether you are an amateur runner or run-for-fun type or a marathon runner,all are welcome to let the inner child out,go crazy,go wild,get colored and run and turn into a rainbow.

This Holi based run has now spread across the world to encourage a running environment that is competition free and health and happiness more ,promoting various charitable cause and personally,enjoying one-of-a-kind colorful experience in lifetime.

2.ISKON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) known as as the Hare Krishna movement was founded in 1966 in New York City,USA by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada that encourages Bhakthi yoga,selfless devotion and dedication to the Hindu supreme God,Lord Krishna based purely on the Hindu Holy scriptures ,Bhgawad Gita and Srimad Bhagwatam ,is spread all around the world.

It started in 15th century in India,1900's in America and 1930's in England.Since then ISKON has devotees/followers all over the world ,equal if not more than the Indian origins.In US almost every state (atleast I've been) has an ISKON temple with more American followers than Indians.

Hare Krishna mantra even appeared in various pop songs abroad like former Beatle George Harrison's 1970–71 hit "My Sweet Lord" &  "Living in the Material World" and his most popular song that inspired a Hare Krishna influence all over Europe especially -"Hare Krishna Mantra". Similarly,another Hare Krishna mantra was penned and sung by The Fugs in their 1968 album "Tenderness Junction" (featuring poet Allen Ginsberg) and by Nina Hagen.John Lennon in his song to "Give Peace a Chance" included the phrase "Hare Krishna" in his lyrics likewise, the Beatles' 1967 track "I Am the Walrus", Ringo Starr in his 1971 hit "It Don't Come Easy", written with the help of Harrison. Later Paul McCartney produced a single with a picture of Lord Krishna riding on a swan on the cover though didn't mention any Krishna chants in his lyrics.(Credit:Wiki).

3.Soma Temple,NC,USA-“Contained within the Veda is the knowledge of how to construct an enlightened city that will radiate coherence and harmony to our entire world. Mount Soma is that place.” – Maharshi Maheshananda

Sri Somesvara or popularly known as Soma temple is a Vedic Shiva temple (Hindu temple) nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the state of North Carolina  and the visionary and the founder of this sacred temple is none other than an American ,Dr. Michael Mamas who is also known as Maharshi Maheshananda, who attained Vedic knowledge and wisdom at age 21 from India under his Guru, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, considered to be the epitome of Vedic wisdom in the eternal tradition of Vedic Masters. He is playing a significant role in accepting and spreading the ancient vedic knowledge around the world.

When we (Indians) are still questioning (different) religions,holy books and God,here is an American who learned the ancient Vedic lessons from India ,went ahead and built a Hindu temple.

Similarly,it is always interesting to see Gandhi ji's statue at the entrance of an IMAX theatre (Wells Fargo ,Raleigh,NC ) where I think ,they hardly show any Indian movies .

4. Yoga - The art of physical,mental & spiritual practice that aims to transform body and mind ,dates back to Pre Vedic Indian tradition, was introduced to the west by the Indian yoga gurus and since then yoga plays a vital role as one of the most sought after meditative and calm exercise option preferred to balance one physically and mentally ,all around the world.In US almost every gym provides yoga lessons.

5.Brahma Shrine-When I went for a vacation in Lasvegas, the entertainment capital of the world, known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining and nightlife situated in the state of Nevada,US,I was surprised to see a Gold plated Brahma Shrine at Caesars Palace Hotel Casino located on the strip ,installed, primarily to bring good fortune and prosperity not only to the hotel but also is believed to grant all the wishes especially related to money and good luck to anyone who offers a prayer there.

Lord Brahma may not be the most popular God worshipped in India but he sure is rocking in the entertainment capital of the world ;).

6.Trump TajMahal Casino - In New Jersey,USA,one of the most popular casino is built/owned by Donald Trump - "Trump Taj Mahal" which as the name says is by appearance a replica of the Taj Mahal in India.

7.Pop trend-I recently attended a state fair where a concert was going on and was taken aback when I saw the pop singer flaunting a sparkling Bindi on her forehead .When I see married (Hindu)Indian women in US least interested in wearing Bindi with western dress or otherwise ,I also see westerners who are more than happy to accept it at least as a part of fashion statement .

It was also interesting to see this Lufthansa's new ad Lufthansa TVC.

Though,these are just a few of my personal experiences, I won't be now surprised to find more, I bet the list is endless around the world.Well,that's the magic of India ! It's contagious !!

A few of my points that goes against India are mentioned above,as much as we love our country those points are so true .Let's face it and rectify it . It's not a NRI saying ,it's an Indian saying who wants her country's glory blossom without any blots or patches.When we say we are proud to be an Indian,let us mean it,show it not just say it.Let us always highlight our culture without any ifs and buts wherever we are.That will make me,an Indian, more proud undoubtedly.

Reminds me what the French scholar,Sylvia Levi said, "She (India) has left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race in the course of a long succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim ... her place amongst the great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of humanity. From Persia to the Chinese sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to Islands of Java and Borneo, India has propagated her beliefs, her tales, and her civilization!"

Aankhon ki chaabi se thoda betaabi se
chupke se kholein dilon ke taale
Jaan dete, usko jahaan dete ,apna imaan dete
jiski bhi baahein gale mein daalein
Aise hain chaahe waise hain
Are jo bhi hain jaise hain
khud pe humein naaz hai

Hum Indiawaale.....

Proud to be an Indian.

Vande Maatram,

P.S.This post is a part of "More Indian than you think" Indiblogger contest in collaboration with Lufthansa/Lufthansa TVC.