Music has a profound influence and plays an important part in our lives – makes us dance, dream, loved, laugh, and cry. Mostly, I love listening to the invigorating beats of the drums and other indigenous instruments of the Indian sub-continent, Sri Lanka, Africa, and the Caribbean.
To make a scene come alive, any music won’t do. For example a year back, T-Mobile made a spoof video of the Royal Wedding and most of us have watched it on YouTube. Last year, it was rated second most watched video in the UK on YouTube.
I saw the T-mobile spoof video of the Royal Wedding, in April 2011. It was a spoof alright, and it made me laugh, but I felt something was missing.
A few weeks later I saw the same video but titled “Some Royal Wedding Punjabi Style” uploaded by salik6823 on May 5, 2011. And then two days later I watched “The Royal Wedding Sri Lankan Style” uploaded by MonkeyArtCreations on May 7, 2011 with the comment “This is what the Royal family would have done if Sri Lankan Papare music was played!!! :D”
After watching the versions with Punjabi and the Sri Lankan music I figured out what I was missing in the original version – the actors of the T-mobile spoof were lively but the original music score was not.
Anti-nuclear activist Uday Kumar on Friday criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the his statement that the NGOs based in the United States are fuelling the Kudankulam nuclear plant protests, and asked the Prime Minister either to prove the charge or step down.
This is the report that appeared in IBN Live India.
“The Prime Minister should take back his statement. If the Prime Minister can’t prove his charge then he should step down. The Prime Minister is not an elected PM but a nominated one, that’s why he is insulting the people of India,” said Kumar.
“It is nonsense to say that NGO’s from the US and Scandinavian countries are funding the Kudankulam protest,” he said.
“The Prime Minister, who is the head of the country, can’t make such remarks. He has no sympathy. Lakhs of people are struggling and instead of acknowledging, he is accusing us of receiving money. We are not receiving money from any NGO,” said Kumar.
“His ministerial colleague Narayansamy said the same thing. Why can’t he produce some evidence to prove his charge? The Prime Minister insults the people of the country,” said the activist.
Hiting out at anti-nuclear activists for the first time and questioning the source of their funding, Manmohan Singh, in an interview in the journal ‘Science’, said, “The atomic energy program has got into difficulties because these NGOS, mostly, I think, based in the US, don’t appreciate the need for our country to increase energy. The local NGO-led protests have stalled the commissioning of two 1000 MW nuclear reactors.”
However, supporting Manmohan Singh’s claim, Iowa State University scientist Dr Sivramiah Shantharam said, “The Prime Minister is right on the dot. It is a very well known fact that international NGOs, both from US and Europe, who in alliance with local NGOs whip up trouble. All the frenzy was whipped up by them after receiving funding to create anxiety and suspicion about bio-tech advancements.”
Above the lovely valley of Emmitsburg, Frederick County, Maryland, just 12 miles south of Gettysburg, situated high on the mountainside, where nature displays itself in all its picturesque and wild glory sits the wondrous National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes – a shrine which traces its lineage to the very beginnings of the spread of Catholicism in America.
Incredibly linked with Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native-born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church, the Shrine is one of the oldest known American replica of the revered French shrine, dating to about 1875, two decades after the apparitions at Lourdes (1858), although the site had already been in use since 1805, when Father John Dubois founded it as a place of prayer and devotion.
This holy mountain sanctuary of historic importance to the Catholics of America has been devoutly tended throughout the years and attracts thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the world for prayer and meditation.
My wife Assuntha and I along with my son Subas, daughter-in-law Maria Ligia, grandson Rohan and my grandson’s godfather Joe Napoleon visited this holy shrine on Saturday 11 February 2012. It was snowing that day, nevertheless, we thank the Almighty for leading us to Emmitsburg, where Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint had trod a long time ago on the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The Story of Our Lady’s Grotto
In the year 1728, a group of Catholics left St. Mary’s City on the St. Mary’s River, in Maryland, and travelled westward seeking peace and religious freedom. These Catholics were children and grandchildren of the early colonists of Maryland.
Among the refugees of 1728, were the members of the William Elder family, forebears of Archbishop Elder of Cincinnati. They travelled to the west almost one hundred miles to the Blue Ridge Mountains, located in the eastern United States, starting at its southern-most portion in Georgia, then ending northward in Pennsylvania. They stopped at the first range of the Blue Ridge Mountains, giving the loved name, “St. Mary’s Mount” to its eastern prominence.
Finding rest in a peaceful valley of “surpassing beauty,” which they called “St. Joseph’s Valley,” they took the land and built their homes. Here they were cared for spiritually through the years by missionary priests forced to travel in disguise because of the penal laws against Catholics prevailing during that time.
The Elder farmhouse became known as “Elder’s Station.” Here Mass was celebrated and the dead were buried in the adjoining cemetery.
Father John Dubois and the Grotto
In 1805, after the Revolution and the constitutional grant of religious freedom, Father John Dubois, a refugee priest from France, came to this area and settled. This priest, who later became Bishop of New York, was, in the year 1794, appointed pastor of Frederick by Bishop Carroll. His pastorate included all of western Maryland and western Virginia. Of all the lovely places he visited in this wild and mountainous country, he came to love most the Mountain of Mary and the Valley of St. Joseph.
In 1805, on St. Mary’s Mount, Father John Dubois built St. Mary’s Church at the site of the present Grotto parking lot.
For over a century, this church was a beacon calling the faithful to Mass from the Valley and a reminder to them to keep the Faith. Numerous paths, traceable up to this day and all converging on the church, show with what fidelity the Catholics practised their faith.
To this very day the people of the Valley, now members of St. Anthony’s parish, exhibit a strong, living and very simple faith. Families have lived here for many generations. Very few move away. They are a happy people with a proud awareness of their ancient Catholic heritage. After all, very few parishes in these United States can claim that they have had uninterrupted priestly service for 235 years. Very few Americans can say that their forebears were taught by holy people. They are the spiritual children of Saint Mother Seton.
On the lower terraces, Father Dubois began the first building of Mount Saint Mary’s College and Seminary in 1808.
Father Simon Gabriel Bruté
One of the holy founders of the Grotto, Father Simon Gabriel Bruté came to the Mountain in 1812. This remarkable priest, later first Bishop of Vincennes, Indiana, combined in his person the talents and attainments of a scholar, theologian, master of the spiritual life, teacher, and pastor of souls.
This spiritual enthusiast reveled in the beauty of the Mountain of Mary and the Valley of St. Joseph. Father Bruté brought to the Mountain and the Valley a program of holy activity.
Remembering the orderly, cultivated hills of his native France, Father Bruté strove to “smooth the frown from nature’s erring face.” Springs were cleaned out, covered and named for saints; terraces and paths found their way up the rugged Mountainside to the. church and Grotto. They were constructed so well that we walk along them today and the stone walls remain. He attached crosses to the trees on the path between the church and the Grotto so that one might make the Stations of the Cross along this beautiful woodland avenue.
On the left side of the Grotto parking lot. several hundred yards back in the mountains, behind the site of Father John Dubois’ church, is the famous Grotto, the most ancient shrine consecrated to Mary, the mother of God, in continuous existence in the original thirteen colonies, on which was begun in 1875 the first Lourdes Grotto in America.
“Aisle of the Corpus Christi Procession.”
A memorable devotion centered about the old Grotto was the annual Corpus Christi procession.
It was during Father John Baptist Purcell’s (later Archbishop of Cincinnati, Ohio) term as president of the college (1829-1833) that these annual processions at the Grotto over Father Bruté’s paths began, or at least began to be chronicled, and another charm was added to the Mountain.
The lovely road lying between the site of the old church and the Grotto is still called the “Aisle of the Corpus Christi Procession.”
Corpus Christi Chapel
This stone chapel was built in 1906 on the site of the original Grotto discovered by Father John DuBois in 1805.
There is a legend that Father John Dubois, on one of his pastoral journeys, was attracted by a light on the mountain and found this spot, one of the loveliest in the world.
Those of a more practical mind may surmise that Father John Dubois was seeking the source of the stream which flowed out of the ravine into the valley below. Just what did the priest find on his day of discovery?
He climbed a steep ascent through a rocky ravine along a tumbling torrent, which was much broader and more unruly than at present, for its volume has lessened since the trees were cut down on the mountain. He came upon a lovely clearing, a masterpiece of natural beauty. Sharply sloping hills from almost every side formed a natural amphitheater where nature “displayed itself in all its wild and picturesque beauty.” In the center of this clearing, where now the stone chapel stands, he saw a mound, shaded by the branches of an ancient oak. Such huge oak trees are seen even to this day on the mountain, survivors of the woodsmen’s devastation.
In any event, Father John Dubois found the Grotto-site, a dell of breath-taking beauty, and there erected a rude cross.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Grotto
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first Superior of the Sisters of Charity, dedicated to serving the poor, was the next holy person to love the Grotto. She came in the year 1809 to the Mountain where, before moving to the Valley, she and her little band of pioneer sisters lived for six weeks near the Church and the Grotto. Here her sister-in-law Harriet received the gift of Faith. And, after Mother Seton moved to the Valley, the Grotto was to her the most loved spot on the mountain. It is possible that Mother Seton first called it the Grotto, for we find this reference in one of her letters, dated May 27, 1810:
“If you could breathe our mountain air and taste the repose of the deep woods and streams. Yesterday we all, about twenty children and sisters, dined in our grotto on the mountain, where we go Sundays for the divine office.”
Rosetta Landry White, called Mother Rose, who succeeded Mother Seton gives further details of this holy association with the Grotto:
“About this time we walked to the Mountain Church every Sunday to sing at High Mass and assist at the sermon; there was no bridge over the creek in our way, therefore, when the water was high, we had to cross one by one on horseback; and when low, we passed over on the stones; as there was no clear road to the Mountain we often lost our way in the woods. We carried our dinner in a basket and frequently cooked our meat at the mountain; taking it from the frying-pan to place it on a piece of bread without a knife or fork, and ate it standing, as the Israelites of old ate the Pascal Lamb. We would then quench our thirst at a neighboring spring and ramble for a time around the Grotto, a wild and picturesque spot some distance from the Church, furnished with seats, covered with vines, wild flowers in luxuriance around it and a gentle rivulet flowing from the rock above. We thus amused ourselves until time for Vespers and Benediction after which we returned to our Home in the Valley. This was all pleasant enough in summer, although we had no umbrellas to protect us from the heat of the sun or the showers that sometimes surprised us. On coming to the creek in the rain, we would find there a horse sent from the Mountain by Father Du Bois, to take us across; the eldest Sister would remain standing in the rain by the old oak tree until we all has safely passed over; then taking her turn, she would sometimes continue her ride to the farm-house door. Our shoes would be heavy with mud and our clothes so wet that we would be obliged to change. We continue this Sunday journey to the Mountain.” – Mother Rose White’s Journal 1809.
The eldest Sister, mentioned by Mother Rose must definitely be Mother Seton.
The first statue of Our Lady was placed in the Grotto in Mother Seton’s time. Truly Mother Seton loved this Grotto. It entered into her daily thoughts, conversations, and writings. In a letter to Father Brute, she prayed for “one only heart, clear for my thoughts as the stream of your Grotto.”
Fascinated by the Navels of Adam and Eve, I Googled for paintings of Adam and Eve done by modern day painters. I came across seven paintings of Adam and Eve with navels.
Adam and Eve by the Dutch painter Kees van Dongen (1877-1968) who gained a reputation for his sensuous, at times garish, portraits.
This painting of Adam and Eve by Karoly Patkó (1895 – 1941) is an example of 1920s neoclassicism.
Karoly Patkó was a twentieth-century Hungarian painter and copper engraver, noted for his nude paintings in a plastic presentation.
This is a lithograph done by Robert Lohman (1919-2001), an American artist from Indiana.
Lohman was an Art Educator, Teacher, and Lecturer well-known for his sculptures, medals, and oil paintings.
“The Beginning of Life” created in 1996 by the artist Prof. V.O.M. Petrillo (1932-2001).
Collectors of his artwork have deeply admired his artistic genius and his expressive uniqueness.
This painting of Adam and Eve by the Russian painter Vladimi Zunuzin, a prolific painter. He was born in 1950 and participated in many Russian, regional and international exhibitions.
Works of Vladimi Zunuzin are being kept by the Regional Arts museum in Ulyanovsk, and private collections in USA, France, Italy, Germany, Canada and other countries. Vladimir Zunuzin is a member of Russia Painters Union. He has more than 1000 works to his credit.
Adam and Eve by Maia Ramishvili, born in 1969 in Tbilisi, capital of Republic of Georgia.
Maia’s talent for art was discovered at an early age. She went to two very prestigious art school. She studied at Nikoladze School of Art from 1984 and graduated in 1988.
Adam and Eve by Nataly Kuzmina of Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Natalywas educated in a variety of artistic styles including Old Russian Icon painting, Realism, Impressionism and the Avant-Garde.
Recently I came to know about Swami Beyondananda, the cosmic comic alter ego writer, humorist, performer and uncommontator Steve Bhaerman.
This Swami, whose favourite yoga pose is ‘tongue-in-cheek‘, is the spokesperson for a new non-religion, FUNdamentalism (accent on “fun”). Says the Swami, “We are strictly non-dominational.”
By the way, do you know who or what the word ‘uncommontator‘ or the word ‘non-dominational‘ mean? Well, I don’t know, neither does Google.
One day in 1979, while Steve was pursuing a career as a teacher and writer, the name “Swami Beyondananda” flew into his head. As Steve tells it, “I got struck by enlightening during a brainstorm.”
Now, let us tune into the wisdom of Swami Beyondananda:
Whew, my head is spinning with all that hate! Well, here is a joke to lighten up everyone!
An atheist and an agnostic after dying to arrive in what they realize is paradise. When they arrive in Paradise, they are met by this benign, radiant beautiful woman who claims to be God ( or rather Goddess!) who shows the agnostic and atheist around.
They see all these beautiful trees, orchards, meadows, waterfalls and meet with many beautiful people of many different ethnicities with happy-faced children all hugging and loving each other with flowers in their hair singing
“If you’re going to San Francisco,
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…”
“Who are they?” ask the atheist and the agnostic
“They are the Children of earth, atheists and agnostics like yourself,” says the beautiful Goddess. They have come to paradise and obtained what they sought – eternal happiness, peace and harmony among all people,” says the beaming Goddess.
Finally, they arrive at the edge of paradise, a vista point where they see this deep, bottom-less huge pit, a cavern the size of the milky way with roaring flames! They see all kinds of people throwing bombs at each other, blowing each other up, hating each other, cursing each other, fighting each other, in other words, one big hate fest!
The atheist and the agnostic ask, “Who are they and what is that cavern with flames?”
“Oh, that is Hell,” says the Goddess. “Those people down there are hateful, intolerant, violent religious extremists, the believers, all the haters from planet earth, extremist Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Jains, Sikhs, Nazis and yes even republicans!!”
“Why are they so angry and hateful?” ask the atheist and the agnostic.
The bemused Goddess says, “Oh, they are just angry because they were lied to by their Gods as to who would be in heaven and hell!!”
First of all, let me tell you that I am not a connoisseur of art nor do I pretend to be one. Do you see anything wrong in this drawing of Adam and Eve?
A few days ago I saw this same drawing posted in Facebook with annotations. I thank the person who posted this picture for opening my eyes to the world of art.
A few days ago I saw this same drawing posted in Facebook with annotations. I thank the person who posted this picture for opening my eyes to the world of art.
I couldn’t but exclaim “The artist was a dumb idiot.”
But the artist who drew the above picture was an educated person named Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Lucas Cranach the Elder was a German Renaissance painter and graphic artist who excelled in portraits and in female nudes. He was the foremost member of the family of artists by that name active in Saxony during the 16th century.
From about 1501 to 1504 Cranach lived in Vienna, and his earliest known works date from this period. They include a portrait of a humanist, Doctor Reuss (Germanisches Museum, Nuremberg) and a Crucifixion (1503, Alte Pinakothek, Munich).
In 1505 Cranach became court painter to the electors of Saxony at Wittenberg, a position he held until 1550. He was a prominent citizen in Wittenberg, received a title, and became mayor in 1537. In 1508 he visited the Netherlands, where he painted portraits of such royalty as Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and the young prince who succeeded him as Charles V. For his electoral patrons he painted biblical and mythological scenes with decorative sensual nudes that were new to German painting. These works include many versions of Adam and Eve, The Judgment of Paris (1528, Metropolitan Museum, New York), and Venus and Cupid.
Cranach was a friend of Martin Luther, and his art expresses much of the spirit and feeling of the German Reformation. Cranach ran a large workshop and worked with great speed, producing hundreds of works. He died in Weimar, on October 15, 1553. Cranach’s sons were both artists, but the only one to achieve distinction was Lucas Cranach the Younger, who was his father’s pupil and often his assistant. His oldest son Hans Cranach was a promising artist but died prematurely.
Here are some of his paintings of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Other artists who spent time drawing the navels
Out of curiosity, I searched Google for images of ‘Adam and Eve’ by other artists and I was shocked to find that almost all the painters of the renaissance period including Michelangelo drew gracefully and spent time in drawing meticulously the navels of Adam and Eve.
To prove my point I downloaded many pictures and have posted some of them here. Like most of you, I am just a layman who admires the beautiful forms drawn by them.
Three centuries after the fresco was painted, Cosimo III de’ Medici, in line with contemporary ideas of decorum, ordered that fig leaves be added to conceal the genitals of the figures. These were eventually removed in the 1980s when the painting was fully restored and cleaned.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.
Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then, he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time. A number of his works in painting, sculpture, and architecture rank among the most famous in existence. His output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, were sculpted before he turned thirty. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. As an architect, Michelangelo pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library. At 74 he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan, the western end being finished to Michelangelo’s design, the dome being completed after his death with some modification.
My former student Chandru Ganapathy has shared Amey Rane‘s post on Facebook. It is a transmutation of the nursery rhyme “Johnny, Johnny …” I hope novices and veterans in the IT field will chant it as their daily mantra. Here it is:
This what you would hear from a couple cooing and crooning behind the bushes. Obviously before marriage:
He: Yes. I have been waiting all these days for this only.
She: Will you think of leaving me?
He: No. Never. I will not even dream of it.
She: Do you love me?
He: Yes. Today and forever.
She: Will you cheat on me?
He: I would ratherI die.
She: Will you kiss me?
He: Surely. What a happy instance this would be!
She: Will you scold me?
He: Never. Don’t ever think of it?
She: Will you hold my hand and walk with me till the end?
This is the same conversation that we heard afore, But now it has metamorphosed into a conversation after marriage.
Yesterday, my son suggested that we go shopping at IKEA. Though it was sunny and cloudless, the temperature outside the car was 45° F (7° C) and freezing.
Before coming over to the United States, I thought that everyone here had enough monetary resources. But, on our way to College Park, the image in my mind of an affluent United States of America shattered.
Do you see the woman in the center of the above photo standing in the middle of the road holding a placard?
Since we were in the third lane. I could not read what was written. So, I zoomed in with my camera. What I read shocked me.
Family in Need Due Lay off Any help Appreciated Thank you God Bless.
– Elkridge, Maryland.
While in India, I thought the United States of America was a land flowing with milk and honey. But now I realize that this country is no different from any country in Asia. It too has its own quota of poor people!
In a lighter vein, my former student Keerthi Jeyaraj posted the above picture in Facebook. He says:
“Quite common here…I see a lot of such ppl with hoardings in Manhattan… the best part I saw was at Vegas… a beggar had a board in front of him that said: ‘My Ex-wife had a better lawyer’.