Being in Nature Archives - Page 18 of 18 - Madhu Bazaz Wangu
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Being in Nature

Summer Sabbatical

I started 2008 by writing short stories. By the end of May I was working on my sixth. In June, as always, I shift my attention to reading. For me, June, July and August are focused reading months with only a smattering of writing. During spring/summer months I read on the back deck, sip my morning tea and breathe in the scent of morning glories, marigolds and mums. I read on the plane, on the beach, in bookstores and only sometimes in my study, when it rains. I drink a cup of coffee. I read and think about what I have read. I highlight the lines that teach and inspire. This spring I started with Doris Lessing’s Stories followed by Isabel Allende’s...

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Eastern Scriptures: As I Understand Them

I have come to believe that there is so much practical wisdom in world scriptures (the ones I have studied) that they have answers for almost all of our present problems and dilemmas. There is, however, a deep-rooted male bias in these books (except Tao-te Ching which has almost none). The obvious example would be the Ultimate Reality or Supreme Being referred to as "He." Goddess is positioned either at a lower hierarchical level than God or is seemingly not significant. This hierarchy also reflects in traditional households where father is the authoritative figure and mother functions as a mediator between the father and children. I keep such biases in mind when I read the sacred books and glean the practical wisdom from them. I wish their points of view...

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Introducing Goddesses

Dear Readers, The last month's Goddess Lecture Series at the Northland Public Library was well received. Thanks to all the participants for insightful questions and lively comments. When I started the series I did not realize that the participants would not be familiar with Hindu goddesses. Their religious background is Judeo-Christian. The Christian trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit are understood (for example in visual arts, poetry and literature) as males. There is no concept of goddess. The absence of goddesses has left an empty space in this religious worldview. The pious do hold the Virgin Mary in a place of high esteem but she doesn't have the same level of holiness as the trinity. Theologians have left that space empty. There is a serious need to fill that gap...

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An Invitation to a Lecture Series

You are invited to attend a four-part series of my lectures “Awakening the Goddesses Within” sponsored by The Northland Public Library, North Hills, PA. The lectures will be held on Thursday evenings (3, 10, 17 & 24 April) from 7:00-9:00. The lectures are free. For registration call (412) 366-8100. We will discuss how major Hindu goddesses are outer reflections of the dormant powers within women, the powers Carl Jung called "archetypes." The knowledge of the behavior patterns and personality traits of these female divinities provide women tools to understand themselves and their relationship with other men and women. We will argue if women have such powerful inner forces why do they continue to follow stereotypes. We will attempt to take the goddesses out of their patriarchal...

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Learning Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, the Grand Old Master, wrote Tao Te Ching (The Book of the Way and Its Power), during the sixth century B.C.E. This slim volume of eighty-one chapters is an inexhaustible vessel of inspiration. Lao Tzu wrote it when, wise with years, he retired from his job as the archivist of his native western state. He was dismayed with the way his fellow human beings lived. In search of solitude, he rode on a water buffalo towards the mountains of Tibet. At the Hankao Pass, a gatekeeper implored him to write his views for future generations. Obligingly, Lao Tzu squatted down for three days and composed the volume of about five thousand Chinese characters now known as Tao Te-Ching. To this day, it is the basic text of Taoism. The...

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Spirituality

            I was born in a non-traditional Hindu family.             When I was nine I made my mother happy with a hand-made calendar with twelve illustrations.             For years I learnt Bharata Natyam and Kathak dances, and took painting lessons.             Once, a new girl in my class spoke to me in fluent English. She seemed to be saying something important. I looked into her eyes. I smiled when she smiled. I frowned when she frowned. At the end of the “conversation” she said, “Thank you;” the only words I understood.                       During our summer vacations in the Himalayas, I collected leaves and flowers. I pressed them between blotting papers and kept them to dry under my father’s dictionaries and thesaurus. In eleventh grade, I made an album of the dried collection and...

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