Category Archives: Spirituality

Lalon Festival In Kustia

One of the Lalon’s amazing songs. Listen for the one string Ektara 45 sec. into the music.

Twice a year Bauls (similar to Sufis) from Bangladesh and India visit Kustia to honor and celebrate the living legacy of the Lalon Shah (c.1774–1890). Lalon wrote hundreds of songs and texts that can’t really be translated from Bengal because of their subtle language and hidden meaning. His music is absolutely estatic. This yearly gathering (Mela) was like a Bangladeshi version of Woodstock. In addition to the  Shadu’s (holly men) there were plenty of intellectual and artistic types from Dhaka to join in the festivities. Lalon Shah also had an influence on the poet Rabindranath Tagore, whose home is only five miles from Lalon’s shrine in  Kustia. I’m very excited to see and edit the hi-defintion video from this gathering of saints.

Durga Puja


Smoke Dance

Listen to the tension of this audio clip from last nights Puja

Durga Puja (worship of Durga) is one of the important religious festivals for Bengali Hindus. It celebrates the return of the Goddess to her family. In other parts of India, Durga is also worshiped, but under different names. Durga does not belong to the Vedic pantheon, but is a later Goddess. She came to be known as Durga after killing a demon named Durgo. She is also called Durga because she brings an end to all forms of misery.

Durga Puja is a time when woman in Bangladesh return to their families home. On the last day of the  festival, the statue of Durga is carried and released into the river, symbolizing the return to her husbands home. It is a day of immense sadness. Last night at three in the morning I was shaken by thunder and lightening so loud and strong that it felt like an earthquake. They say it always rains on this day to symbolize the tears that the people feel.

Prayer


Zakir’s family praying after Iftar

Call it prayer, flow, or truth. All of the world’s religions that we were born into seek to attain It. Perhaps there is no name ? To all my friends, family and readers: Happy New Year and Eid Mubarak.

“One such time I left town and on my way back, at a point where the land was high and I could see the sea to my left and down the road a long ways, I suddenly felt I was in heaven. The spot was in fact no different from when I passed it not long ago before, but my way of seeing it had changed. The feeling, a paradoxical mix of pulsing energy and profound peace, was intense and blissful. Whereas before  the road, the sea, the trees, the air, the sun all spoke differently to me, now they spoke one language of unity. Tree took account of road, which was aware of air, which was mindful of sea, which shared things with the sun. I knelt a mortal; and rose an immortal. I felt like the center of a small circle coinciding with the center of a much larger one. Atman met Allah.”

—Yann Martel, Life of Pi