Is there something mystical that impels us?
Do we have a moral debt both personally a as a society?
The boast of Spiritual India hopes to attract in tourists and here in Bhopal, I am reminded that Emperor Ashoka attempted to house the ashes of the Buddha at Sanchi only 40 kilometres east of my Bhopal home.
After all, spirituality is more than glossy brochures. Spirituality is an inner transformation that reaches out to light the world. So while economic rationalists suggest development must come first, perhaps if we cleanse our moral debts of the burden of guilt then money will come.
Thich Nhat Hanh retells the Sutra on a Sons Flesh this way:
The Buddha once told his monks this story: A couple and their young son were crossing a vast desert on their way to seek asylum in another land. But they hadn’t planned well and were only halfway across the desert when they ran out of food. Realizing that all three would die in the desert, the parents made a horrifying decision: they decided to kill and eat their child. Every morning they ate a morsel of his flesh, just enough for the energy to walk a little further, all the while crying, “Where is our little boy?” They carried the rest of the son’s flesh on their shoulders, so it could continue to dry in the sun. Every night the couple looked at each other and asked, “where is our beloved child now?” And they cried and pulled their hair, and beat their chests with grief…
And the Buddha said, “We have to practice eating in such a way that will retain compassion in our heart. We have to eat in mindfulness. Otherwise we will be eating the flesh of our own children.”
Are we consuming our world mindlessly? Recently I heard Jane Goodall argue we must reconnect head and heart if we are to reconnect to the web of life. We are but one thread in the web, and if the web is destroyed so is the threads within it.
We must embrace our humanity. Be enraged with injustice. From the age of ten, Jane Goodall wanted to live with Animals, when it seemed an almost absurd idea. Set your goal to change the world. Don’t let put downs put you off.
Young people will speak, the collective consciousness of repressed indigenous peoples will be heard. Do we push the rush to unsustainable development or develop smart ecofriendly solutions?
The question is how.
Do we invite collaboraton or will it be forced upon our unwilling hearts?
For me to reach that end I must know first two things: What is the heart of India? What is the heart of Australia?
The struggle for balance is nothing new to India.
Hinduism proclaims four goals in human life (purusarthas) dharma, artha, kama and moksha, of which the first three, or trivarga, are practiced in this world. If practiced successfully, liberation or moksha from the cycle of rebirths, is attained.
Dharma or right conduct is often considered the most important, artha, the pursuit of economic goods is second. However, the author of the Arthasastra suggests kama and dharma flow from success in this world and is therefore superior. However, the sage Bhima argued in the Mahabharata “Kama is better than Dharma and Artha. As nectar is extracted from flowers, so is Kama to be extracted from these two. Kama is the parent of Dharma and Artha. Kama is the soul of these two.”
I suggest if we follow our duty with integrity, life will be blessed with passion. Or as the Hebrew writer put it “A man skilled in his work will be stationed before Kings.”
The first two must be given priority for the kama to arise transcendent? Has the modern world got this backwards.
Theologians of different faiths can argue if we are haunted by the karma of past lives, or whether we simply drink the bitter wine pressed by past generations.
Rather than believe in the power of money alone, I would chose to hope that passion and reward come from integrity within my person. What if our society could wash its debt to the past?
Tara Brach suggested that Eco Denial is a response to the unbelievable grief to damage done to painful to face. Our Earth has become both a supply source and a sewer. Societies rush to deforest and pollute in the rush for fossil fuel, is like a diabetic rushing to consume more sugar, or the obese rushing for more McDonalds.
Ignoring traditional peoples scarred by similar denials.
But despair can also force us to be present with our eco social reality. The flip side of despair is love. Being present, if only we truly feel it, may motivate deep personal and social transformation.
To realise where we stand so we can decide what will be best for us. How we can do our duty (dharma), achieve success (artha) and enjoy the passion of life.
“The pain we feel for our world is a living testimony to our interconnectedness with it. “ said Joanna Macy “If we deny this pain, we become like blocked and atrophied neurons, deprived of life’s flow and weakening the larger body in which we take being. But if we let it move through us, we affirm our belonging; our collective awareness increases. We can open to the pain of the world in confidence that it can neither shatter nor isolate us, for we are not objects that can break. We are resilient patterns within a vaster web of knowing.”
Follow your star, ignore all your detractors . Let it shine to make the world a better place.
The power of science has both helped and hindered us. In particular, the mechanistic model of the earth -body machine. Roger Bacon wished to conquer nature and Descarte’s mind body split is , perhaps unfairly, is used to justify seeing the world as something “other”, a Newtonian machine.
Thw problem is best majestically described by Charles Eisenstein:
Not only is the desacralization of the body and physicality a poison to the world, it is a profound untruth as well. For the body is not the house of the spirit, it is the spirit taken physical form. And the world, too, is not the creation of divinity, it is divinity as presented to our senses. At least, that is an essential premise of this book. Issues of nurturance, self-trust, and mindfulness, even in the “basely physical” realm of food, reverberate with spiritual significance. That is because life in the world is a sacred journey, and matters of the flesh are potential vehicles for spiritual transformation.
According to this premise, the health crisis engulfing the modern world is a spiritual crisis, and a precious opportunity as well. Pain and illness in the body can illuminate what is important in life, and help us perceive the preciousness of life itself. Pain and illness bring us back to ourselves. Poor health can also be a message on many levels that something is not right. From the perspective of mechanistic science, the body is a faulty machine that needs an expert to repair it, an attitude analogous to the technological fix that ecologists criticize as a response to environmental problems. But if body and soul are not separate, then to heal the body at the deepest level is a work of the soul, and to listen to and learn from the body is to become closer to one’s Self.
– Charles Eisenstein The Yoga of Eating
Not specifically India, I found John Thackars recomendations – tourusm as a sharing experience, rather than as a destination – a useful way to see how tourists could be drawn to expeeirence and participate in Tribal Madhya Pradesh.
See on designonline.org.au
Madhya Pradesh is verdant green, with large wildlife reserves that is shared by MP’s Tribal people. An eco-tourists dream, Tribals represent 20% of the states population.
So it is no surprise to find the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya Museum of Mankind in the capital city Bhopal. A beautiful laid back 200 acre open air anthropology exhibit over looking Bhopals Upper Lake. It is the largest museum of its type in India. It includes life size huts life reconstruct tribal life from all of India scattered over a wide area and. the indoor Museum of Mankind, exhibiting human evolution, culture and India’s Tribal people.
A small cafeteria offers you chai to seep into tranquillity.
Themed ‘Diversities of India’s cultural patterns and the underlying unity’, the museum celebrates the ‘simultaneous validity’ of various valuable cultural patterns evolved over thousands of years. A gallery of tribal history from the four corners of India, it is appropriately located in Bhopal, as twenty percent of Madhya Pradesh population is Tribal.
The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya is not only a living working model of tribal life, but hosts cultural performance and dance, exhibitions, artist workshops and educational programs. It is ideal for families, and students. More like a park than a museum it’s a beautiful spot for a picnic.
In my frequent to Bhopal I have enjoyed spectacular performances of Tribal and Kathak dance. In 2012 hosted Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya a workshop for traditional and herbal therapies used by Tribal people, a three day Tribal dance Festival and a Festival of traditional Indian dance.
Sadly this beautiful centre is missed by most tourists .The regular cultural evenings are poorly advertised meaning that tourists do realise that Bhopal is a cultural centre. Close to the State Museum of Madhya Pradesh, off Science Centre Road, in Shymala Hills, TT Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Also annoying spelling errors mar the indoormuseum – common even in Government buildings and document. It has the feel of a work in progress. Still, on the whole, it is beautiful and engaging.
Hours are from March to August 11.00 to 18.30 and September to Feb 10.00 to 17.30. Open every day except Mondays and National Holidays.
10 rupee for adults
5 rupee for children to 12 years or students with an identity card.
Foreigners pay 100 rupees.
Group discounts may apply for recognised educational organisations.
Festivals and cultural evenings are usually free.
Close to the Museum of Madhya Pradesh, off Science Centre Road, in Shymala Hills, TT Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.o the Sta
Slightly out of the way, in this very rural of cities, a car or auto-rickshaw is probably a best choice from the Bittan Market, or 12 Number, from Main Road, cross TT Nagar Road, and continue into Science Centre Road.
Ecotourism is a responsible way to travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people. It offers market-linked long-term solutions and provides effective economic incentives for conserving and enhancing bio-cultural diversity and helps protect the natural and cultural heritage of the local region. By increasing local capacity building and employment opportunities, ecotourism is an effective vehicle for empowering local communities around the world to fight against poverty and to achieve sustainable development. With an emphasis on enriching personal experiences and environmental awareness through interpretation, ecotourism promotes greater understanding and appreciation for nature, local society, and culture.
Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:
- Minimize impact.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.
The heart of Incredible India is Madhya Pradesh, the gateway to ancient civilizations, a dignified fusion of the old and the new. A palmiest of tribal culture and heritage, flourishing in verdant forests Madhya Pradesh offers you adventure and serenity. No other state in India, but Madhya Pradesh, enmeshes so many different flavors of tradition and culture.
The geographic heart of India, Madhya Pradesh is a vibrant cultural collage of faith and heritage. A cauldron of cultures beautifully retaining an amalgamated heritage with distinctive zeal.
Madhya Pradesh culture is a harmonious amalgamation of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and Sikhs. It is also home to some of India’s the most prominent tribal communities. Twenty percent of Madhya Pradesh population are Tribal, contributing to the rich cultural saga of Madhya Pradesh, blending their indigenous cultures to its large melting pot.
Madhya Pradesh is an expression of ‘diversity’.
‘Unity in Diversity’, is a foundation for India’s secular state, and here in Madhya Pradesh, people belonging to numerous religions, castes and creeds, no internecine feuds exist amongst them.
For good reason, Madhya Pradesh was the heart of Indian civilization: Skeletal remains suggest Homo-erectus roamed the Narmada Valley 500,000 years ago. Moreover, the tribal communities of the state comprises of different tribes like Bhils, Gonds, Oraons, Kols, Bhilals, Murias and Korkus, to name a few. These people belonging to numerous religions and ethnic backgrounds reflect the concept of Indian secularism and contribute to the animated cultural effervescence of the state. Go through this article and get a kaleidoscopic glimpse of the cultural heritage of Madhya Pradesh.
Madhya Pradesh emerged as an Indian state in the year 1956. During that period, the state also rose to prominence as the largest state in India. However, with the bifurcation of Chhattisgarh in 2000, the modern-day Madhya Pradesh came into being.
The Cultural Museum of India
The state of Madhya Pradesh can be termed as a cultural museum of India.
Its capital, Bhopal, is well-connected nationally by a, rail or road. It’s broad tree-lined roads, fashionable markets and cultural centers and museums, radiate from two medieval lakes and the old city’s bustling crowds, winding alleys and to Asia’s largest mosque, the Taj-ul-Masajid.
The old and new city of Bhopal are bipolar with their singular charms, yet confluence to impart the place its exemplary beauty. From the Gulmohar studded broad boulevards to its labyrinthine alleys, you cannot miss Bhopal’s pervasive celestial quaintness. The old bazaars are inexhaustible storehouses of traditional handicrafts. Beaded handiwork and high-quality fabrics are a popular tourist attraction.
Bhopal is in easy reach of two World Heritage sites. The serene calm of Sanchi, built by Mauryan Emperor Asoka to house the Buddha’s remains and the prehistoric rock shelters of Bhimbetka.
Palaces and temples reveal a rich history of great heroes. Cenotaphs and Chhatris poised on the Betwa river commemorate the 15th century rulers of Orccha. The ruined remains of Islampur, built by Pushtan conquer Dost Mohammad Khan lay 11 kilometers from Bhopal. Gwalior displays masterpieces of Indian architecture.
The state of Madhya Pradesh is nothing but a treasure for all those who love to experience jungle thrills and adventurous lookouts. The national parks and sanctuaries of the state teem with some of the most interesting wildlife species found in India. Apart from that, many endangered species also have seen revival within their precincts. Excitement lurks amidst the folds of these parks, in the form of tigers, leopards, bisons, gaurs, deer and a wide variety of reptiles and birds. In fact, the wildlife sanctuaries of Madhya Pradesh offer good opportunities to watch wildlife, amidst natural locales.
Easily accessible from major towns and cities of the state, these sanctuaries, and parks are prime draws as far as tourists visiting Madhya Pradesh are concerned. With India’s largest area of verdant forest Madhya Pradesh offers you a picturesque adventure of rappelling, rock climbing, nature walks, trekking, bird watching, and mountain biking.