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Muskegon Museum of Art (MMA) in Michigan to Display Hindu Puranas Manuscript in “Expressions of Faith” Exhibition

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Bhagavatha Purana (representative image), Wikimedia
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Michigan, Dec 7, 2016: An 18th century manuscript in Sanskrit, which is an extract from the sacred Hindu text Puranas, will be exhibited at the Muskegon Museum of Art (MMA) from December 8, 2016 to February 12, 2016- in the “Expressions of Faith” exhibition.

According to merinews.com, a museum announcement said, “Expressions of Faith combines the written and printed word with the visual arts to examine the impact that religious faith has made on artists.” It also mentioned, “in giving visual form to religious figures and stories, artists shaped how believers perceived their faith, and in doing so influenced the evolution of the religion itself.”

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US based Hindu religious leader Rajan Zed said that art has had a long rich tradition in Hinduism and archaic Sanskrit texts also talked about paintings of deities on wood or cloth. Zed, the President of the Universal SocMichigan museum for displaying the Hindu Puranas, encouraged major art museums around the world like Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Los Angeles Getty Center, Art Institute of Chicago, Prado Museum of Madrid, Tate Modern of London, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc., to organize Hindu art exhibitions often to share the art heritage of Hinduism with the world.

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Established in 1912, MMA, which has won many accolades claims to have a “world-class collection of visual art” is “committed to fostering the lifelong study and appreciation of the visual arts”.

The Puranas are exceptionally important and popular in Hinduism which is the oldest and third largest religion in the world with around one billion followers with “moksh” or liberation as their ultimate goal and around three million residing in the United States of America.

-prepared by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker

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Puja for The Spiritualism, Not for Vulgar Entertainment

The westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures" and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those "holy books" only in the drawers of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods' idols !!!

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Hinduism
he westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures"

By Salil Gewali

Any auspicious days in Hinduism are expected to be observed with a complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratifications, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of the brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences.

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Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.

 But, what a huge irony, rather a blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose the auspicious days of Gods to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with the friends, and what not, and stagger back home, lol! Such bizarre practices are fast catching now than ever.  Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such godless deviations.

What is quite unpleasant is that such a kind of unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain “Hindu intuitions” as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6 PM to 7:53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that span of time for meditation. But hell broke loose. Apart from fireworks around, the Bollywood songs in high decibel burst forth from a certain Hindu institution quite frustrated the mission.

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Sadhu Sanga Retreat, 2016

 One senior citizen laments – “Nothing could be irreligious than the fact that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for the wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan, and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties and disturb others.”

Another college student adds “Having been much disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence to elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to see such institutions with the eyes of suspicion these says.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result, they fail to differentiate between right and wrong?  One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.

Hinduism
Hinduism is expected to be observed with a complete purity of action

Needless to say, our roar for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are only just sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid, the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration, such negative notions against the “wrong practices” are all what we often read these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus?  I believe it calls for a serious soul-searching.

Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.  It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should absolutely be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratifications. Or else, our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of a religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.

However, on the other hand, the westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our “scriptures” and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those “holy books” only in a drawer of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods’ idols !!!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.

Twitter:@SGewali.