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Lead Stor.y: Everything' You Ever Wanted
to Know About the Indian Sari 20
Apparel: She Knows 80 Sari Styles! 23
Mauritius: Surprise Island Holiday 27
Trinidad: Dipavali: a Devilish Festival? 37
Archeology: Ajanta's Art Rescue Caper 46
Insight: French Scholar Saves a Dying Art:
Sari Draping Like 'y(;m've Never Seen 28
Books: The Best of the Breed for Kids 32
law: Oprah Stomps Her Feet: "No Meat!" .36
WpqI,en of.Vision: Of Food and Breath
Youth: "What Do You Stand For?" 41
Desk: Pornography: Always
Enticing, Never FUlfilling
My Turn: Why I Love to Wear Saris
Editorial: A Tribute'to the Sari and the
Hindu Women Who Keep it Stylish 16
Healing: Think Yourself to Health 44
Astrology: Don't Fret, ItS Just an Eclipse 45
Minister's Message: Sanskrit
the Original Language 50
f.: Dlaspora ' 7 News In Brief
17 Digital Dharma
56 ':" Quotes & Q.ulps
" Evolutions ,
. COVER: from left) A woman in an Indian sari outshines the hybrid roses
in a Singapore ga.,.,:l.en; matching saris in village Rajasthan; a woman skillfully works
the loom at an Indj· n sari weaving center. Inside, our salute to the sari. Page 20 . '
. , ,'
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Basrnati Saved
challenge a US patent on
'i\merican Basmati" rice grant-
ed to the RiceTec company of
Texas. RiceTec president Robin
Andrews-expressed surprise at
the challenge, claiming Basmati
is "a generic name of a class of
rice," and not a protected re--
gional product s.uch as Scotch
or Champagne. But RiceTec
has fought before with
mixed success to claim
an American form 'of the
gourmet aromatic rice
from India and Pakistan.
In 1996 they were pres-
sured to take "Kasmati"
off the UK market. In
1997 the International
Trademark and Tariff
Commission denied
them approval for "Tex-
mati," "KasmatC or "Jas-
I ndonesia
On Ganesha
descent 40 to the US
dollar has you worried, be
grateful you don't live in In-
donesia. Its rupiah sank from
2,500 to the dollar early last
year t o a low of 12,000 and now
sits near 9,000. Most Indone-
sian companies are 'technically
bankrupt and unable to import
raw materials. Manufacturing
activities have largely ceased.
The country has the largest
Muslim population in the
world-but also many Hindus-
and saw fit to in lude our Lord
Ganesha on its new 20,000 ru-
piah note ($2.20). Help from
the Lord of Obstacles is desper-
ately needed as the economic
woes extend beyond Indonesia
and could spark regional insta-
bility in Southeast Asia.
mati" brand names. The rupiah needs divine intervention I
M'a's Legacy
KInet Anandamayi in 1954 in
Varanasi,. India. A young and
idealistic photographer, he re-
solved to capture on film the
profollnd spiritual presence of
this great Hindu saint, perhaps
the most respectetl of this cen-
tury. In a self-effacing after-
word to. his superb photograph-
ic essay, Anandamayi, Her Life
and Wisdom, Lannoy confesses
how publisher after publisher
Three-dimensioruil radar image reveals hidden features
Radar Reveals Angkor Wat
jungles of Cambodia and helped reveal long-lost ruins of
Hindu and Buddhist temples at Angkor, which in its 12th centu-
ry heyday was a city of one million people. The vast complex of
more than one thousand temples covering 100 square miles in
northern Cambodia is virtually uninhabited today. It is also in-
accessible due to poor roads, land mines and political instability.
Looting of the ancient site is rampant. The most famous temple,
Angkor Wat, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, dates to 1150 CEo It is
surrounded by a moat and approached via a massive causeway.
The city's vast hydrological system includes a reservoir five
miles long. In 1996, a NASA DC-8 jet overflew the area to gath-
er radar data then subjected to analysis at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in California. The resulting, just released, false-col-
or, three-dimensional image is "more accurate than most maps
of the USA," said a JPL scientist. John Stubbs, vice president for
programs at the World Monuments FUnd, a nonprofit organiza-
tion, called the new findings and the joint effort of JPL and ar-
chaeologists "extremely promising." "The real story here," he
said, "is a collaboration between archaeologists and rocket sci-
entists who actually know very little about each other's trade
working serendipitously to break new ground in archaeology."
More images can be retrieved at jpl.nasa.gov/newl
scorned his proposed book op
the unknown holy woman. But
by the 1990s, wrote an older
and wiser Lannoy, "Times have
changed: Interest in Anan-
damayi, both.jn India and
abroad, has greatly increased,
' along with the emergence of a .
whole new spiritual mood and
awakened sensitivity to the
mystical life." ,
The elegant result of Lannoy,'s
persistent is a
160-page, large format book
with dozens of classic black and
white photos, most taken by
Lannoy, and many pages of c9m-
mentary on her life and teach-
ings. An example: "Man is a
human being," said Anandamayi,
"only inasmuch as he aspires to
Self-realization. This is what
human birth is meant for. If man
pursues anything but that, he
wastes his time and energy, he
lives his life in vain. To realize
the One is the supreme duty of
every human being."
Anandamayi in the 19308
Seshagiri &0, Catherine Fry (seated, left and center) with team
Encyclopedia Deal Signed

leap forward on March S with the long-awaited signing of a
contract with the Uillversity of South' Caro 'na Press, USA, to
publish the 18-volume work. "The encyclopedia will present Hin-
duism as a living religion and not as a museum piece," said Dr.
K.L. Seshagiri Rao, Chief Editor, at the signing. More than 1,200
international scholars are presently at work on ten thousand
grouped in twelve subject ·areas. An enormous amount of work re-
mains to be done on.the project, and Hindus worldwide should of-
fer their support and assistance to complete this lanelmark project.
God's Word,
The man who sees, who
breathes, who hears words
spoken, obtains his nourish-
ment through me alone.
Unrecognizing me, he yet
dwells in me. Listen, you
who know! What I say is
worthy of belief
Not within the field of vi-
sion stands this form. No one soever sees Him with the eye.
By heart, by thought, by mind apprehended, they who
know Him become immortal.
As priests with fingers produce fire from two sticks by the
motion of their hands, in the same way, with the coordinat-
ed efforts of their deep thinking and noble actions, wise
men manifest and extend the glory of the effulgent Lord,
a cil in Canada upheld in
March Prakash Mody's com-
plaint against the Toronto Star
newspaper for its incorrect de-
piction of the Nazi swastika.
F.or Mody, a Jain, has
urged the media to print the
Nazi version of the swastika
tilted at a 4s-degree angle and
labeled "Nazi swastika." The
swastika, a,mark of good for-
tune to several faiths including
Hinduism, Buddhism and Jain-
ism, is most often used by those
faiths upright, with the arms
horizontal or vertical. "Even
graffiti artists know the Nazis
made their swastika at an an-
'gle," Mody told the council.
Surely, he said, journalists who
could remember to type "Jeep"
with a capital T' because it is a
trademark, could make a dis-
tinction between the two forms
of the swastika symbol. The
council agreed, and it will now
be so in Ontario.
Dr. Yogi .'
advocates meditation, a
vegetarian diet and caring in-
terpersonal relationships in re-
versing' heart disease, prostate
cancer and other health prob-
lems, made the cover of the
March 16th Newsweek. The
devotee of Swami Satchidanan-
da of Integral Yoga Institute,
USA, is helping change the face
of Western medicine.
who is excellent, and to be realized at depth with subtle
eyes, the ever vigilant sovereign Lord of creation.
RIG VEDA 7.1.1
By consciousness is spread out sacrifice; it also spreads out
the worlds. All the Gods meditate on Brahman as the fore-
most wisdom. He who knows Brahman as wisdom and is
not neglectful, who has destroyed sin in his body-that
man attains all his desires.
This is the Lord of all, the Knower of all, the inner con-
troller. This is the source of all, the beginning and end of
all beings.
I have known, beyond all darkness, that great Person of
golden effulgence. Only by knowing him does one conquer
death. There is no other way of escaping the wheel of
birth, death and rebirth.
The Vedas are the divinely revealed and most revered scriptures,
sruti, of Hinduism, likened to the Torah (2 ,000 BCE ) , Bible New Tes-
tament (zoo CE), Koran (600 CE ) ot Zend Avesta (600 BCE) . Four in
number, Rig, Yajur, Sarna and Atharua, the Vedas include over
100,000 verses. The oldest portions date back as far as 6 ,000 BeE.
Learln Kriya Yoga from a Realized Master
The Kriya Yoga Institute wel-
comes sincere seekers to learn
the authentic Kriya Yoga med-
itation technique. The God-
realized living master of the
original Kriya lineage, Parama-
hamsa Hariharananda teaches
at the Institute. Paramahamsaji
attained the supreme pulseless
and breathless state of nirvi-
kalpa samadhi in 1948.
Kriya Yoga is a direct gift
from God, and was taught by
Krishna to Arjuna (Gita 4:1-2).
The modern revival of Kriya
Yoga began in 1861 when Babaji initiated Lahiri Mahasaya.
Swami Shriyukteshwar, a realized disciple of Lahiri Baba,
initiated Paramahamsa Hariharananda into original Kriya
Yoga. Hariharanandaji also received direct teachings from
Paramahamsa Yogananda.
Initiation is available at the Institute on Saturdays at 9 am.
Monthly ten-day intensives are offered. Direct initiation is
also available at more than 25 centers countrywide by monks
and yogacharyas of this lineage.
Kriya Yoga Institute . 24757 SW 167th Ave
Homestead, FL 33031-1364, USA. Tel.: 305-247-1960
Fax: 305-248-1951. www. kriya.org • institute@kriya.org
Vision Software
P.O.Box 2152, Fairfield, IA 52556
(515 472-0855
1998 Celebrations at Barsana Dham
• Holi-March 14
• Ram Navmi-April5
• MelaJOpen House-May 9
• Janmashtmi- August 15
• Radha Ashtmi-August 30
• Rath Yatra- October 3
• Divali-October 17
We invite you to visit Shree
Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple at Barsana Dham and
receive the Divine blessings of Radha Krishn.
Barsana Dham, 400 Barsana Rd, Austin, TX 78737-9075
USA • Tel: 512-288-7180 • Fax: 512-288-0447 • www.isdl.org
L-___ An nshmm in the raganuga tradition which is a main aspect of Hindu religion _ _ _
Kunda/ini Yoga for the West
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texts/yogas module: $99. Demo:
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PornQgraphy on the net:
www .. sex@home.com.
Selling sex on the Internet is big, big business.' Logging
on is nei,ther good nor bad, but an obstacle in many ways.
learn something every day, and it is not
always what we want to learn. Sometimes it
is good for us to know, and other times
not so good. It is difficult for us to speak
of certain subjects. They are too sensitive, taboo,
delicate and private, and so we avoid them. But
it is also necessary to understand and eope with
certain things, and if father and grandmother
are not speaking about them, then others must.
Pornography is one. Not that it is bad, in the
sinful sense. Hinduism is too tolerant of sexuality
to make such pronouncements. We can say it is
neither good nor bad, but can say it does place
big obstacles in relationships, including unex-
plainable misunderstandings leading to argu-
ments. And it certainly can and does interfere
w4th serious spiritual effort and progress. Those
on the path of sadhana are admonished to "give
it up," just "give it up." The porno path is of itself a downhill path
to be avoided. It is ever enticing but never fulfilling. I recently was
told that pornography is addictive. I always understood that alco-
hol, tobacco and cer'tain drugs are addictive. But to find out that
pornography is addictive, that was a new one for me.
Looking at the results in a porno addict's life, we can see that
sex the Internet is all consuming. They say it is more fun. more
stimwating, more exciting and more satisfying than the wife wait-
ing in the other room. Well, that may be true, giving a little fori
untruth on both sides. But the real problem is with sons and
daughters who become addicted to this kind of stimulation long
before their time. Most parents in the modern Hindu community
work and get two paychecks every payday. They have little or no
time at all to give to their children. This duty is often left to a baby
sitter for the young, and the older children baby-sit when they are
aSle. What goes on behind those closed doors, when the shades
are down and the computer is nobody knows and nobody is
telling. "Don't ask, don't tell" seems to be the basis in most homes.
Pornography is a secret thing, but all that is seen is carried forward
in the mind as visual images and then recreated in dreams long
after the computer has been turned off. Being an "in thing," it is
often the joke at men's
During this past year, I have been delving into the lives of those
among my congregation who are addicted to blue movies, Internet
sex sites and all the modern means of stimulation. To say the least,
interesting discoveries were made. The most hurtful of them all is .
a sexually matured man, accustomed to pornography, marrxing an
innocent virgin girl who
absolutely cannot perform
the way he expects and
who is then beaten or
burned, divorced or traded
in fur another. This crisis is
often blamed on dowry. Or
it's claimed she really was-
n't a virgin, so he had to
send her back to her family.
One would only know the
truth from an unabated
and totally honest confes-
sion by the young man.
There is much to be said
for early marriage, before
the boy is exposed to t:p.e
sexual-fantasy world and all
its tempfations, before he
develops habit patterns that absolutely
cannot be broken by seven steps around
the sacred fire. Parents should question
their children's personal life before ar-
. , .
rangIng a marnage.
Psycholog!cally, pornography is closely
linked to adu tery. Maybe the other
woman is not warm ·flesh and bones, but
she is an unforgettable, reoccurring im-
age within his mind, taking up the men-
tal real estate. She appears quite alive in
his dreams- more beautiful, more ac-
complished, more seductive, more en-
chanting, more alluring than the slightly
overweight wife laying by his side who
has given birth to three children. '
Dad nel(er shares his pornographic
books, magazines or worldwide web
addresses with his teenager, and neither
does Mom. But the children are allowed to become addicted on
their own, with free, unchaperoned time at the keyboard. Does
this make any sense to you? It certainly doesn't to me. Shall I con-
tinue? Look at the picture on this page. It all starts with the first
peek. And this kind of pe8king is not a city in China. I was told,
and I didn't want to hear it, that pornography is all-encompassing
on the Internet. It helps boys and girls establish their sexual identi-
ty even at a very young age. Men and women, men and men,
women with women, trois, quatre, cinq, how to kiss and how to do
many other things-it's all there. '
Question: Do you know what your children are doing at home
together when you are both at worI< or out receiving an award for
some social outreach beyond your family? Are they surfing porno
sites on the Web? Even in the highly ethical families of my inter-
national congregation, this is sometimes happening. I
In the "old days," pornography was available in the big cities •
Bringing up the lower natur.e: An elder is engrossed in a girlie
magazine at a porno shop, while a youth peeks around the comer,
drawn by the magnetism of this potent media '
9nly. Places with sex shops and prostitutes were called red light
• districts. During the first World War, soldiers were made to feel at
home with posters of pin-up girls. These were girls in bathing suits,
well covered up by today's stlilldards but he£thily endowed. In
Anlerica before the turn of the century, the skirts did not show the
ankles. Then they did. A big uproar! Moralists shOwing ankles
made women more sexually attractive to the men. Then up and up
went the skirts, to way above the knees. Have you ever looked at
knees? SOl'l\e say they are the ugliest part of the human body.
I could go on and on. My job as satguru of so many is to break
up addictions. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. The idea
of porno addiction was very new to me, and we "needed a pray ash-
chitta, penance. So, we asked Sri Sri Sri Pramukhswami's senior
sadhus the remedy to be used. His Swami Narayanan Fellowship is
one of the strictest orders in the world, if not the strictest. They
said to look at a girl and follow her movement for five seconds as
she walks would require a fast for 24 hours. This is a self-iIilposed
penance among their 600 sadhus. They know, as our wise scrip- •
tures say, that sex manifests in eight levels, one leading to the oth-
er: fantasy, glorification, flirtation, lustful glances, secret love talk,
amorous longing, rendezvous and intercourse. If the brothers see
someone not eating breakfast, lunch and dinner for one or two
days, everyone knows he is trying 'to get contr61 of the dragon,
striving to channel the force into tireless creativity.
Advice: when your husband seems "out of it," not at home even
when he is there, sits in his shrine room, won't eat his dinner,
breakfast or lunch for several days, while consl,lming fruit, yOgIITt
and a more sattvic diet, do not live under the illusion that he is
going to become a sadhu. He may just be trying to break the cycle
of his addiction to pornographic viewing, thinking and dreaming.
Know that he really loves you and never, ever question him about
his self-imposed sadhana. Rather, choqse the best of fruits (and
don't mix citrus fruits with alkaline fruits and yOgIITt; see my new
book, Lemurian Scrolls, for a,great recipe). And when you find all
those unspeakable pictures in the garbage can alqng with a couple
of x-rated videos and CDs, don't throw your fmdings up in his
face, even if you are perturbed and angry with him. 'This might be
his excuse to again pursue his addiction and perverse enjoyment,
possibly without you in his life.
Pornography is not only on the Internet. In hotels, we are told,
four- and five-star, there "are channels on cable TV that buy
to watch hard- and soft-core pornography. Is this fun for the whole
family? No, it is not. The cable channels on regular TV also bring
all this into every home. Itleven flows through the telephone.
Watch the bills. They might be telling a story of buying fantasy sex.,
It mqy be argued that anc!ent Hindus invented pornography,
considering some of the compromising images carved in temples.
But this is out in the open. The whole family can stand and see;-
the six-year old, the ten-year old, Mom and Dad. Recently the
Spice Gtrls, a famous band from the l1K known for their sassy,
sexy ways, p4!nned to perform in front of the Khajuraho Temple.
Hindu activists responded that this was unthinkable because
' ''eroticism without spirituality is nothing but pornography."
On the positive side, they say, pornography is disease free. There
is no danger ofNenereal disease. We might agree, but must say
that the consequences merltally are even more devastating, bring-
ing "dis-ease" that no doctor can cure, for which there are no
quick remedies, no .drugs. On the other hand, proclaims the
Tirukural, "Those who are free from arrogance, anger and lust will
prosper in great dignity." So, a word to the wise is sufficient, but a
thousand to the fool is not quite enough.
Well Put, Swami!
arJ:icle "Children Are Divine, Treat Them
Thus" [MINISTER'S MESSAGE, April, '98]. S'ija-
mi Tejomayananda has distilled the wisdom
of dozens of books into a one-page article on
child rearing. It is so true that parents often
put their own interest ahead of the interest
of the child. Most of the time they are more
interested in impressing their friends than
doing the right thing for the ch'ild. In the US,
for example, most Indians push their chil-
dren into medicine, as physicians make lots
of money, without giving any consideration
to the child's aptitude, talent, temperament '-
or ability. Also, they order the child to cut
down on TV watching, while they them-
selves watch six hours of TV every day.
Their motto seems to be: "Do as I say, not as
I do!"
Thanks for Appreciating US
PUBLISHER'S DESK column ["Women of Vi-
sion in a 'Man's World: " January, '98] has
kindly given a great honor to all women, in-
cluding, and especially, female journalists,
and I am sure each one of us whom he men-
tioned is grateful to him for his compassion-
ate, kind words as well as loving guidance.
He has set an example for the publishing in-
dustry and media of the US-a man's world-
to appreciate their women journalists.
Gratitude for 1997 Award .
tiful plaque which you have offered to me to
commemorate the 1997 Hindu of the Year
Renaissance Award, together with your
most generous check for $1,008 ["Hindu of
the ::lear:' TRIBUTE Dec., '97]. This award,
which you have so kindly and compassion-
ately bestowed upon me, has a ver;y pro-
found significance for me. You have blessed
my heart of aspiration and my life of dedi-
cation here in the West, and I shall eternal-
ly and eternally treasure this signal honor.
Harmless Ways
well as all the other religions< of the world.
Belief can be hard sometimes in a cruel
world such as the one we are a part of The
cruelty and unfairness comes not from the
world itself but the people that are' here.
There is no reason why a diverse group of
people should not be able to Jive in harmo-
ny. The resourees on this world are great
enough, despite our overuse and depletion
of them, to still support everyone with what
they need. There is a lot of discrimination,
hatred, bitterness and fighting, none for any
real reason. Tolerance is hard, but necessary
to show that if we can do it, they can, too.
Gandhi had the right idea. They can beat
me, spit on me, even kill me, but I will smile
and say, "have a nice day" every1:ime. This
may make the person stop and consider
hislher actions, or it may not. Nonetheless, it
is the only way to show the love; it is up to
them to accept the love.
" wchildress@ncwc.edu
lowed the Sanatana Dharma's path of ahim-
sa. I have been looking for a way to help
non-vegetarians give up meat eating. I have
finally found an organization which distrib-
utes 100% vegetarian, soy-based meat re-
placements. GVM has pledged that in 1998,
with the assistance of CARE, they will feed
100 million hungry people worldwide. This
is a ].lIlique opportunity for humanitarian-
minded people and for those souls who wish
to work together despite race
and religion in improving our .lives and plan-
et. If you are a true believer of ahimsa and
wish. to help others improve their health,
then contact me.
" linda@healthyandwealthy.com
test to deference for each other and respect
fof nature. Let us ardently strive to rekindle
the insight that is so blossoming and re'l"ela-
tional in the ancient Sanskrit and which at
one very precious time in Bharat permeated
each individual's daily sojourns and sadhana
in embracing and expressing nonduality and
eternal joy. Our responsibility as Hindus is
to perceive these issues clearly and to pre-
sent fo our dear generations to come as well
as to the world a more ennobling, enriched
and. united perception for the direction of
human civili:7;ation.
. Where Are the Relevant Answers?
Smart Young Souls" [PUBLISHER'S DESK, Oc-
tober, • '97] indicated that Hindu children
who grow up in America are confused in
the two cultures; .Hindu and American.
They feel they do not fit in to either' of them.
Peer pressure in the Western culture makes
them depressed. Most Hindu cannot
answer questions such as" Why do you wor-
ship cows and idols?" Does HINDUISM TODAY
have any plan of action or recommended
books which will answer this ty.pe of ques-
tioJ.l? I would like to preserve our heritage of
V Visit our Worldwide Web site. There you..
will find answers for the nine basic ques-
tions-including yours-about Hinduism.
http://www ... hinduismtoday.kauai.hi.us/ashr
am/H imalayanAcademy/PublicationlJnana
Danal9QuestionsAndAnswers. html
Different Aspects of Tolerance
My Religion Will Rule the World"] made me
aware of how, in my smugness about Hindu
tolerance, I too was guilty of triumphalism.
I wish to disagree with Shashi H. Dave of
New York [LETTERS March, '98]. I believe
that those who fmd it most difficult to apol-
ogize are those most in need of our pity and
forgiveness. But does that/not smack of arro-
gance? How does one walk the middle path?
As to Hindu icons being maligned in sitcoms
and other places, I do believe our Gods have
a sense of humor far surpassing ours. They
would certainly not feel hurt nor would they
require our protection. It is our feelings that
are hurt, and we who seek redress. We
should at least be honest about that. '
" SV@hitachi.com.m
Shasi H. Dave who said, "We should only
forgive those who to be .forgiven." We
should take a more proactive stand against
those whose only wish seems to be our de-
struction. For far too long we have lain in the
dust devoid of the vitality and strength of
the Mauryas, Guptas or Cholas. P1dia today
stands on a vast territory but seems to have
forgotten her Hindu soul. The time has
come for us to stand proud in defense of our
creed and people!
" dass@po.pacllc.net.sg

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How J Came'To
'The "Lady in ,the' Sari"
My personal p.ath of fashion self-discovery
took me < back to our unbeatable Indian dress
a work related trip to the
Italian city of Vicenza.
There I was introduced to
an elderly gentleman. 'l\h," he
said, clasping my hand. "You
have been described to me as
the lady in the sari. Why are
you not wearing one?" In my
functional beige pantsuit, I
suddenly felt slightly ashamed. I
had gotten off a plane to come straight to
the meeting. I didn't think a sari would be
appropriate. This man's perception was not
misplaced .• Over the past few years, I have
made numerous trips to Europe and US in
my capacity as a fashion writei When I
was much younger, I thought the way to
shine was to wear a little black designer
dress, like all fashionable women. Then I
realized that I had adopted an urban uni-
form that wasn't really mine.
So I learned how to drape a sari. As a
Hindu Sindhi girl brought up in the bosom
of a semi-traditional trading family in •
Hong Kong, sari business should have
come naturally. But it didn't. I was cajoled
into wearing one dyring family weddings
after relatives insisted it would 'look nice."
But I would stand, frustrated and impa-
tient, while someone would tie and pleat
and fold the fabric on me. Then, I carried •
the sari like a burden.
Now, my sari-wearing has become a
burden no more. Instead, it is liP honor
and a privilege. Who needs a Chane,.l gown
or a Gucci evening suit-all essentially
redolent of you can be
swathed in a beautiful pink brocade sari,
shot with golden threads, its pallu reveal-
ing a parade of peacock motifs? What can
possibly rival the elegance of a Kanchipu-
ram sari, all handwoven silken threads and
flecks of gold?
So now, whenever I travel, I pack a tiny
bag filled with & few saris, some glass ban-
gles, bindis and a shimmering
kundan set. At formal dinners
in glamorous Western capitals,
where low-cut dresses and fan-
ciful frocks are the norm, the
effects of me and my sari are
fascinating. There is an imme-
diate sense ' of respect. I am
often greeted by a halting "Na-
maste" instead of a two-cheek
Euro-style kiss. People suddenly,
surprisingly, become tender.
At an outdoor cafe in Florence once, in a
chiffon sari with a colorful tie-dye pattern,
I walked past French fashion designer
Christian Lacroix. He stopped his conver-
sation to stare I!t every fold in the fabric
and thread. Wanda Ferragamo, owner of
ilie Italian fashion empire that bears her
name, made her way two gilded
salons to tell me that I was "the most ele-
gant woman in the room." At another party
in Paris, actress Tracy Ulman peered at my
bindi, cast her eyes over my rich ivory silk
and gold sari and asked, 'rue you sOJUeone
rich and famous I should know about?"
-And, most memorably, at a charity benefit
in Los Angeles last summer, where Holly-
wood celebrities competed with one anoth-
er in their sexy, revealing dresses, I stood •
apart in a pink and green silk brocade sari.
A young American man approached me,
looked at the bikini-clad dancers on higp.
platforms around him, pointed at my sari
and said, "Now that is how all women
should be dressed. I think the sari is God's
gift to womanhood."
So the next time I saw the man in Vicen-
za, I did not disappoint him and arrived in
a dark-hued cotton sari. The look of appre-
ciafion on his face was worth more than all
the designer dresses in the world.
KAVITA DASWANI is a fashion editor for the
South China Morning Post in Hong Kong
and a fashion distributor's consultant.
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, ,
And th§lt is good. But still, women in Japan
look like women in Australia, who look like
A Tribute to the Sari
women in China, who all look like women
in Europe. There are few kirrwnos left to
announce the passing of a Japanese lady
and few ao dai to tell us that the woman
shopping over there is a Vietnamese .
Its the only ancient dress to remain fashionable
in the 21st century. Jai BindiI women!
. So, we pay tril:)ute to India's women and
Hindu women abroad who have not relin- .
quished their elegant dress. They alone
have preserved traditional attire, for the
sari is the only major apparel to have sur-
vived the last 500 years and to remain ele-
wash-and-wear history. It tells tIs much about who we are
• and where we came from, and maybe not a little about
where we're going. Modern clothes tell a story Of simple prag-
matism. Throughout the world clothing has become more spartan,
more practically polyesterish, less elaborate. Men, especially,
made some dismally utilitarian decisions about their wardrobe.
Around 1666 the present-day suit was fIrst stitched in France and
England, and by 1872 it was widespread enough in India to be
fIercely satirized. Somewhere in that era men from all cultures
made the very bad decision to abandon other atqre in favor of the
egalitarian grey suit, white shirt and necktie. What could they
have been thinking?
Sadly, men around the world lost their national and personal
character when they adopted the Western business suit as
manhoods global garb. Japanese men, who once looked so very
Nipponese in their graceful robes, now look like Europeans. South
Americans, once so distinctive in their hand-woven·costumes, now
look like the Japanese who look.like the Europeans. Inr;lian men,
who 200 years ago had regional raiment that was earthy and full of
elaborated colors, now look like the Brazilians, who look like the
Japanese, who look like the Europeans. Grown
men everywhere look like that. Check out the
marriage photo to the right. She's elegant, he's-
theres a word in the world of fashion-boring!
I know of what I speak. Visitors to our Hawai-
ian editorial offices know our staff is not sitting
around their PowerMacs in jeans and T-shirts. We
are all swathed in saffron and ochre cotton-
hand:spun, hand-woven and unsewn-draped in
the old South Indian style.
I can never forget the fIrst time, three decades
ago, that a Jaffna elder helped me wrap a veshti,
and then took us to the bustling main market<
place. Every step was terrorizing, the unwieldy
garment threatening to fall, with me cinching up
the subversive sarong several times a minute, :
both hands never more than a, few swift inches
frbm my waist. How awkward I felt, and certainly
looked. As time passed and the was tamed,
I learned how refIned one feels in such attire. It @
was like floating, living In your spirit more than
in your body. To this day, I only feel comfortable and soulful in
these traditional robes. And t6 this day, Jaffna is one of the few
sanctuaries where Western pants and shirt are disdained, and all
mEm, including politicians, go around in their veshtis.
Indian women who wear saris know all this. They have watched
their sisters go the way of men, wearing dresses that look like the
dresses that every dressmaker dresses her customers in. 6kay, .
women at least have wide options in type and fabric and color.
16 HI J;l DUISM JUI¥, 1998
gant and voguish daily wear in the 21st
century. Thats quite an accomplishment.
No wonder the Western world. has been smiften by the sari, and
every woman with a sntidgen of sartorial savvy wants one.
Exploring the Worldwide Web on saris, I found this gem, writ-
ten by Shantipriya Kurada in 1994: "The beauty of the sari never
ceases to amaze me. There is something strikingly feminine about
it. Flowing like sheer poetry, graceful in every contour and fold, it's
a fascinating mixture of tradition and style. A single stretch of t ab-
ric that comes in a range of textures and patterns, the sari is
creativity at its best. A cotton sari, charmingly simple, starched
and perfectly in'place, has such a natural feel. Chiffons and crepes
add a glamorous touch. Fragile, utterly soft and delicate, they cre-
ate an aura of fme elegance. Weddings corrte alive with the grand-
eur of silk saris. Painstakingly handwoven to the last detail, the
brocade created to Pftrfection by skilled hands, each silk sari is a
work of art. A sari hqs such a special place in every girl's life. It all
starts with wrapping around mother's sari, playfully and clumsily
tripping on its edges. Then there is the fIrst sari you wear, perhaps
to a college function, looking self-conscious and achingly innocent.
And, of course, the precious wedding sari that's fondly .preserved
and cherished for a lifetime. In a world of changing fashions, the
sari has stood the test of time. is something almost magical
about it, for it continues to symbolize the
romantic image of the Indian woman-vulnera-
ble, elusive and tantalizingly beautiful."
Historians say the sari can be traced back
more than 3,500 years! Sansk;(it literature from
the Vedic period insists that pleats be part of
every woman's dress. The pleats, say the texts,
must be tucked in at the waist, the front or
back, so that the presiding deity, the God
of wind, can whisk away any evil influence that
may strike the woman. Colors, too, are ruled by
tradition. Yellow, and red are festive and
auspicious, standing for fer-tility. Red, evokirlg
passiqns, is a bridal color and part of rituals as-
sociated with pregnancy. Blue evokes the life- •
giving force of the monsoon. Pale cream j s
soothing and represents bridal purity. A
married Hindu' woman will not wear a
completely white sari, which is reserved for
brahmacharinis and widows. Life without a
husband, it is said, is a life without color.
The sari culturally links the women of India. Whether they are
wealthy or Floor, svelte or plump, the sari gives them a shared ex-
perience, a way in whic'h they are all sisters, forging a link that
binds them across all borders, even geographical ones. Women
wearing saris in Qurban, belhi or Detroit are part of a social one-
ness that is nearly eternal and which may, it seems, last yet another
thousand years. This month's feature article and Insight section ex-
plore the fascinating world of the sari. Jai Hindu women!
"1£ after retuniing from contemplation, you are capable
dfbehavihg as have not been transformed."
Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), God-intoxicated yogini and mystic Bengali saint
Frank and Ernest ©1990 TH;t,VES, REP"RINTED WITH SSION
Of HiAl> L.fTTVCe; G/..ACf<"
/' EyfJ> pfA'S, Jc:'PNey
Hes sort of like an Indian yogi. He has this
extraordinary inner calm, means
• ' that e an extraordinary
amount of pressure, without it ruffling J
either his external behavior, or his internal
ability to handle sltuatio s as they come
up. ShastRi Tharur, executive assistant to
United Nations .General Secretary Kofi
Anan, describing (on the TV show "Sixty
Minutes") the refined inner strength pos-
sessed by Mr. Anan as he recently negotiat-
. ed a.{Jeal with Iraqi leader
Hussein to permit U. N. weapons inspectors
access to royal palaces. Kofi A,{an is the
son of an African chieftain.
AN/) .
""- - A

Amassing great wealth is gradual, like the
gathering of a theater crowd. Its dispersal I
is sudden, like that same crowd departing.
Tirukural, Verse 332
I love India. I love everything about India.
I love the smells. I love the extremes. I have
never been anywhere I have felt so totally
overwhelmed. You can fall in love with
India for a'lllillion reasons. I have fallen in
love with the Asian elephant, and because
they are so deeply connected to the soul of
India, once you love the elephant, you have
to love India too. American actress Goldie
Hawn in a video about the Asian elephant.
She daily worships Lord Ganesha.
A day without sunshine is like-night.
Make your life very exciting, but always
think of it as fun. Adver ities as well as the
harmony should be enjoyable. Don't be-
come sober and morose and have a castor
oil face in the name of spirituality. Just be
happy. Even if you make a mistake, say,
"Hey, I did this? Great! What a
lesson I learned!" Renowned spiritual
teacher Swami Satchidananda (1914-),
head of the Light of Truth Universal Shrine
(LOTUS) iJl Yogaville"Virginia .
On the other hand, you have five fingers.
Early ethnographers were largely men,
who despite showing considerable interest
in nakedness, showed much less in clothes.
Researcher Emma Tarlo in her book Cloth-
ing Matters, and Identity in India
"As Old as the Hills"
water erosion eventually wears a
grand mountain down to a humble
hill. The Aravallis in northwestern In-
dia is the oldest mountain range in the
world Yet, over the 700 million years of
its existence it has been reduced almost
to sea level. The lofty Himalayas are
the youngest system in the world-only
about 50 million years old
For further information, or to join
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Instructions for the attain-
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Sar.i, -Always-in Vogue
. ,
. .
Traditional and modern, the garment of India tours the world in flying colors
hi, everyone was dressed in the lat-
est budget-busting designer out-
fits, yet all eyes were on a' young
girl dressed in a rich, bluish pink
Banaras sari with intricate floral
motifs. This one-of-a-kind sari had cost her
nothing, for it had been part of her mother's
trousseau thirty years ago. Instead of getting
stale and out of style with age, the sari was
the cynosure of all eyes, a treasure which
had grown more valuable with time.
Who would have thouglit that six yards of
could be a synonym for elegance,
beauty and style? The sari is the world's
longest-running fashion story, as relevant to-
day as it was liundreds of years ago. While
the sari shares space in a modern woman's
wardrobe with the very popular salwar
kameez (also known as the Punjabi suit, con-
sisting of trousers and a long top) and West-
ern pants, it is still very much around and
the garment of choice for many, be it a
wllsherwoman, an urban working woman or
a high society socialite.
While Western dress has made inroads
into almost every Asian culture, with tradi-
tional garments like the Japanese kimonos
and Chinese cheon"g-sams being reserved
for ceremonial wear, the sari is a gar-
ment, a part of the daily lives of women in
the Indian sub-continent, from Nepal to In-
dia, -Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Practical and always in style, it is a forgiving
garment which conceals a woman's imper-
fections and enhances her special qualities.
Even today for a young girl, draping a sari
for the first time is the ultimate coming-of-
age experience.
While the sari lives on in, villages and
ci'ties, young innovative designers in India
now give it fresh life and a new Wist for the
new generation. In India there are about 15
established labels such as Rohit Bal, n.
Valaya, Rina Dhaka, Suneet Varma, Tarun
Tahiliani, Sandip Khosla and Ritu Kumar.
These designers have revitalized the sciri,
adding heavily embroidered blouses to plain
saris, or re-styling the pallav (the portion of
the sari which covers the bodice and falls
over the shoulder) to give a new look to the
sari .. There's even been the zip-on sari for
girls who may have trouble handling all
those pleats! At fancy weddings
many women drape the sari in
Gujarati style or seeda (straight)
pallav (the pallav is taken from
the back to front instead of being
taken from front to back)-con-
sidered high style by the fashion-,
India's designers, adroit in
Western styles and fashion, still
take great pride in ethnic tradi-
tions and their offerings often
. echo embroideries and designs of
earlier craftsmen, celebrating In- g
dia's cultural heritage. There are
designer saris whiqh have scenes
from the Mahahharata or Ra-
mayana embroidered on the
pallav, 0][ the border of the sari,
or entire village 'scenes in kantha
work (nlnning stitch embroidery
used to make elaborately decorat-
ed quilts) from Bengal. There is a
kind of visual poetryAn these
Let's shop: US-sold saris are mostly synthetiC. Travel to stores like this in India to buy all-natural saris.
saris, often woven by Muslim artisans for
Hindu brides. Some of the best embroider-
ers in India are Muslim, who "an even re-
produce the intricate pieta dura work found
on tJ{e Taj Mahal. Saris tell stories-of the
Ramayana, offolk.lore and mythical heroes
and verses from the Vedas . Ganesha-the
auspicious one-is popular on sari pallavs.
America indicates the sari is thriving. In the
60S, many women were reluctant to wear
saris in the US, afraid they would stand out.
But in multicultural America in the 90S
there seems to be' a new pride in ones roots.
While women working in corporate Ameri-
ca may stiR prefer to wear Western dress to
fit in, others in less structured jobs-film ed-
itors, Wl'iters, travel agents-often wear sal-
war kameez or saris to work.
evening wear. While styles and lengths of
the salwar kameez fluctuate with alarming
regularity, a sari is always til style. Tradition-
al saris from different regions each have a
beauty all their own and are timeless.
Kavita Lund: a wife, mother and accoun-
tant who lives in New York, has a sizable col-
lection of saris and enjoys the grace it im-
parts. She, like most of her friends, wears
the more practical pants and salwar
kameezes during the day and saves the saris
for special occasions and evening events.
Her 19-year-old daughter, Monisha, born
As Indians have spread around the world,
they have taken the sarr with them. Saris are
a common sight in London, ·Johannesburg,
Trinidad, Toronto,., Hong Kong and Singa-
pore. In places as far apart as the Middle
East and, Lagos, saris are a part
Women in America especially wear saris
to evening events. After all, there is nothing
quite as graceful as the sari, especially for
of t4e landscape. In fact, saris
are big business in countries like
Hong Kong, Singapore
Japan which produce bolts of
synthetics like chiffon, satin and
nylon which are bought in six-
yard lengths by Indians as saris.
These are exported to many
countries and fmd their way to
the Little Indias in the US, UK
and Dubai. .
The American way: Sari/stores
thrive in many Indian enclaves
in America. Among the largest is
India Sari Palace in New York,
with a vast inventory from India
as well as Japan. . March was
their annual 50 percent sale-a
big event for US sari wearers-
and the harried salespe6' ple
could hardly answer this re- "
. porter s questions, so inundated
were they with shoppers. Many
communities, such as the Gu-
jarati, wear most)y saris, and so
there is a constant demand even
in America. Just looking at the.
stores in Little Indias across
Top Ten Selling Saris in India
This list was garnered by HINDUISM TODAY correspondent Ra-
jiv Malik from New Delhi's Mr. Vishnu Manglani, a leader in
India's national sari business. Prices given are in US dollars.
1 Gadwals: Cotton with separately woven and attached silk
borders and pallavs. Made in Andhra Pradesh. $25-130.
2 Tanchols: Pure silk with intricately woven pallavs and bor-
ders. Variety of designs used. Made in Varanasi. $130-400.
3 Bumkais: Silk yarn, made in Orissa. Yarn is dyed so that,
when woven, patterns appear in various colors. $20-125.
4 South Handlooms: Like Kanjivarams, but cost less. Banga-
lore made. Jari and silk borders and pallavs. $90-300.
5 Printed: Silk, hand printed on three materials: silk, crepe
and chiffon. Comfortable for party or home wear $65-130.
6 Tangalls: Flne cotton, hand-woven in Calcutta. Traditional
Bengali designs. It gets softer with each washing. $10-100.
7 Cotton Handlooms: Hand-woven in Coimbatore. Elegant for
summer wear. Rich and crisp. Need much care. $20-50.
8 Valkalams: Pure silk, woven in Varanasi to depict folk art
scenes. Special handlooms can weave 25 colors. $90-400.
9 Kanjivarams: Flnest handloom silk, specialty of Tanill Nadu.
Also called heirlooms. Pure jari-woven borders. $130-1500.
10 Chanderis: Made with silk and cotton yarn in Madhya
Pradesh. Saris are lightweight, ideal for summer. $20-125.
and brought up here, is just as
fascinated 9Y saris, although she
wears only the trendy designer
styles. These modern incarna-
tions of the sari would probably
make any great-grandmother
faint-the stomach is completelY
exposed and the sari pallav is
wrapped nonchalantly around
the neck, leaving the bodice
bare. Dr. Manjula Bansal, a
pathologist at the Hospital for .
Special and the q.ornell
University Medical Center in
New York, has a large collection
of saris from every part of India
and wears them with great
pride. Even when she was a
medical resident, she would
wear a hindi on her forehead
and saris. to her workplace, rid-
ing on the subway. Now she
wears salwar kameez to work,
since this outfit is more practical,
but always dresses in saris to so-
cial events, be it.. an Indian or a
mainstream gathering.
Bansal, who was involved with
funding of the India Chair at
Columbia University and with other main-
stream cultural organizations, fmds her sari
a great ice-breaker at internation!]l gather-
ings. Her authentic saris from many regions
of India are always great for conversation
and make her many frlends. She says, "Not
only is a sari beautiful, but iti is a story in
fabric, depicting religiom( and social beliefs
and shows good omens for a good life. Every
craftsmJIl puts his identity into it.
You don't have to be beautiful to
feel beautiful in a sari. It brings out
your inner beauty and grace."
So many styles: As in all coun-
tries, Indian dress usually indicates
religion, social position, ethnicity,
wealth and regional origin. Saris
are no exception. While this is still
mostly true in India, some urban
Indian women and those living
abroad do wear a cross-section of
saris from different regions, and
are certainly more Indian than re-
gional in their perspectives.
Women have a rich array of saris.
to choose from, including hand-
ldom saris from Andhra Pradesh,
Tamil. Nadu and Karnataka, silk
brocades from Varanasi and Kan-
chipuram,jamdani (fme, transpar-
ent cotton muslin) from West Ben-
gal, cotton saris from' Kota in
Rajasthan, (elaborate, five-
color design) and ikat (special c;l.ye
process) from Gujarat, Rajasthan
and Madhya Pradesh. For those liv-
ing abroad, a trip to India means a
new wardrobe, since the variety of
fabrics in Indian cities is so vast.
Interestingly enough, just as
there are fakes in ar,t and jewelry,
there are fakes in s'aris. Today it's
easy to be taken for a ride because I
te€hnology has improved so much
that saris with artificial gold look
identi cal to .those with real gold
threads, the difference in price be-
ing a hefty RS.lO,OOO at least.
Advances in India's technology '
have made saris more affordable
and easy to maintain for working
women. Synthetic saris made in powerful
industrial mills are attractively priced and
don't need heavy ironing or care. The flip
side is that this has endangerect the liveli-
hood of vi:llage craftspeople who can take
many months on a loom to produce a sari.
As one old weaver told Bansal when she vis-
ited him in his 'dilapidated: almost shut-
down workshop, "People are , impatient
nOwadays, and they can get ten machine-
made saris for the price of one hand-woven
sari. They dori't want to wait or spend the
Fads and experiments: Recently the New
York Fashion Institute of Technology
showed the saris of Princess Nilofer. Nilofer,
an Ottoman princess who married the son
of the Nizam of Hyderabad, made the tradi-
tional sari her own by giving it a Western
touch through decor;;ltion and the Rlacement
of motifs. Her saris were ornamerlted with
sequip.s, beads and metallic embroidery on
chiffop., crepe and net, with the floral de-
signs falling in the front or over the left
shoulder. These saris were designed by a
Frenchman, Fenande Cecire, and embroi-
dered in India. In fact, in \he days of the
British Raj the Indian princesses traveled to
Paris and often got their saris designed by
French couturiers: Recently some of these
saris came up for auction.
Saris, with their golden threads, intricate
embroidery and innate romance have always
attracted Westerners. Glimmerings of India
inspiration appeared in the 1920'S w.hen
Madame Gres, a renowned Paris designer,
showed sari-inspired styles in her collection.
Western pass-ion for Indian fashions can be
traced to the British Raj when socialites in
London New York and Paris were smitten
by Indian fabrics and embroidery. Famous
Western designers very influenced.
Those who've used saris and Indian fabrics
in their collections include Mary McFadden,
Oscar de la Renta, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Nor-
ma Kamali and Anna Sui.
.Recently, British designer Paul Smith did
an entire collection based on India,
ing men's shirts created out of saris.
When Indian designer Rohit Bal's
mother saw this collection, she
said plaintively to her son, "What's
all this nonsense about? I used to
make shirts like this for tOU when
you were young, and you never
wore them!" To which Bal retorted,
'Tm sorry, mom, but that was you.
This is Paul Smith!"
While some Westerners fashion
saris into everything from pillow
covers to tablecloths to evening
dresses, others actually wear them,
a momento of their Indian adven-
ture. Some designers use it to out-
rageous effect: John' Galliano was
once spotted at a society gala in
New York wearing a silk sari with
his short tuxedo jacket and dress
shoes. Supermodel Naomi Camp-
bell wore a sari at the MTV Music
Awards, Goldie Hawn, a great
fan of India, often wears sar-is to
social events. The Duchess of York
was presented with a green Benar-
si sari by Prince Andrew in
happier days. Legendary ceramist
Beatrice Wood, who recently died
at 105, wore nothing but saris and
Indian jewelry for the last several
decades of her life. And pop icon
Madonna is very much into Indian
saris, mehndi and meditation in
her latest CD, "Ray of
For mainstream Americans, the
sari is still an exotic garment, a cos-
tume to transport them to another
world. Ip fact, Magic Markers Cos-
tumes; a Halloween costume
ply house in Huntington, West VIr-
ginia, offers a sari for 'rental,
with blouse and petticoat, for US$40; Their
website: www.magicmakers.com. shows an
American woman draped in a sari.
Fads come and go, but the sari survives
them all. As Bansal points .out, "One wants
to be noticed, especially in a crowd, but why
ape the West? The sari creates an instant
identity for you, and I think that's what most
people are looking for, whether you are a
CEO or a physician or you're trying to make
a mark. The sari says a lot about you." --'
SOUTH EXTN., NEW DELffi 110049 INDIA, on 5154 AJMAL
as I make my way to die Goldstein
Gallery and the University of Min-
nesota's School of and Design.
Opening the auditorium door, I make
out: the silliouettes of roughly 20(}peO-
pIe f@cused on a slide of a Tamil woman
whose sari wraps around her knees and di-
vides in:the middle, a common style among
rural working women. The lights turn on,
and in the front of the auditorium a petite,
blond-haired woman dressed in a navy blue
silk sari deftly demonstrates that very style
from the slide on a volunteer while explain-
ing its method in a lilting French accent.
The audience stares in awe as ant:tu-opologist
Chantal Boulanger proceeds to unravel.,the
mysteries of sari draping.
The sari, a versatile female garment of an-
cient Indian origin, has enthralled and mys-
tified many in its variety of texture, design,
size and draping style. While mahy scholars
document the intricacies of the sari's myriad
fabrics and patterns, few, if any, have
closely examined draping styles. French an-
thropologist Chahtal Boulanger hopes to
change that. Boulanger is the author of
Saris: An Illustrated Guide to the Indian Art
of Draping. In her book, Boulanger docu-
ments and lucidly illustrates more than 100
sari drapes, divided loosely into families and
sub-families where possible, based on cer-
tain basic draping techniques. By doing so,
Boulanger .is the first scholar to define the
art of sari draping and give its study a legit-
imacy that goes beyond mere fashiort.
Boulanger's book came to life in an exhibi-
tion presented l;>y the University of Minne-
sota's Goldstein Gallery January 2S-March 1,
aptly called "The II;dian Sari: Draping Bod-
ies, Revealing Lives." It was the first sari ex-
hibition to accentuate draping techniques
rather than texture or design aspects. For
Boulanger, it all began six years ago when a"
unique sari drape at a wedding in South In-
dia sparked her interest. «I saw a drape with
pleats on the side'and its border. in the back.
I asked how to do it, but no one kne'e"
Boulanger, having studied Tamil temple
priests for the past fifteen years, encoun-
tered various sari drapes in her field work,
but never imagined they would one day be-
come the object of her study. A trip to a re-
search center in Pondicherry turned up lit-
tle information on the "wedding sari" drape,
and her inquiries to Tamil women followed
suit. Finally, 'an old woman identified the
wedding sari as a dying drape worn by pea-
sant women from the region of Tondaiman-
Job well done: The exhibition
team poses at the end of opening
day. Guest curat6r Chantal
Boulanger is in center. Student
curator Susheela Hoeffer stands
third from left, exhibit deSigner
Jean Ross second from left and
Hazel Lutz is second from right.
dalamam, ill'Tamil Nadu. Many
young women no longer wore
such styles because they didn't
vYant to be identified as a peasant
or a lower caste. Boulanger real-
ized that many of these drapes-
at times intric'ate, and
in most cases symbolic of religion
and social status-carried a cer-
tain part of Indian women's histo-
ry, and that it would vanish with-
out a trace if not recorded soon.
Zigzagging across the Indian
states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala,
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gu-
jarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa
and West Bengal from 1990-
1997, Boulahger visited big cities
and remote villages. Taking notes
and photos of diverse sari drapes
was a constant ritual, even if it
meant stopping women on the
street. But this wasn't enough to
cognize intricacies of the wrap-
ping art. '1 realized the.only way
to remember these saris was to
try • them again and again,"
Boulanger shared with HINDUISM TODAY.
She practiced until she got them right, and
wore saris under every ,Possible circum-
stance to personally experience how saris
work in daily life. "Whenever'Indian women
taught me how to wear a sari, they missed
essential steps I had to discover on my own."
Secrets such as knotting a sari instead of just
tucking it into a petticoat came with trial
.and error. Now a bonafide expert in more
than eighty drapes, Boulanger is an inspira-
tiOB to most of us H!ndu women who barely
know a handful. • I
Dis.section: As Boulanger organized her
information, she realized most sari drapes
could be categorized into families. On
grouping various drapes, Boulanger found
the necessity 6f a glossary to identify each
part of a sari. "Every sari starts with tying it
tightly, whether on the waist or chest. So I
decided to call it the cloSing." Boulanger en-
listed words from Sanskrit and Tamil be-
cause "I couldn't just write, 'tie this end to
that end.' " As a result, she terms the part of
the sru;i from which the drape begins, mun-
di, anCl. the part thrown over the shoulder,
pallav. The main part of the sari is the body.
The edges are the upper and lower borders.
While Boulanger created a working glos-
sary of the sari, she feels most successful in
arranging the sari into families. Studies pre-
ceding Boulanger's work grouped drapes ac-
cording to region or state, so she in!tially fol-
lowed suit. But as research' progressed, she
realized that draping styles crossed regions,
and by focusing on met,hod, found that most
sari drapes could fit into four .main families
[see pg. 29]. Many drape( overlapped fami-
lies, indicating migration of a grOlJP from
one region to another-and some saris were
too unique to fit within any family- but the
groUping of saris revealed manl things. "I
saw dhoti styles worn mainly by the Brah-
text, Boulanger applauds the modern Nivi
drape, with its pleats in front and pallav
over the left shoulder, calling it the egalitar-
ian sari because. as she enthuses, "It crosses
mins," shares Bou-,
langer, "while
style , drapes ap-
on other
classes." In this con-
Her Hindu Ties
Chantal'BoUlanger: my magical life
Mystical visions: I was Hindu
in my past life. I had memo-
ries when I was very young
of being British, joining the
Ramakrishna Mission, visit-
ing Calcutta and meeting
Swami Vivekananda. I could
almost recall his words.-As a
young 'child, ,I also saw Gane-
sha.but couldn't explain it. I
called Him "the transparent
elephant" because I realized
nobody else saw Him. Grow-
ing up in a culture of fairies
and goblins, everyone thought
it was my imagination. But .
later, as a teenager, I recog-
nized the "transparent ele- .
\llhant" as Ganesha because
He was standing and had a
human body.
Like a puzzle, I pieced to-
gether bits of my past life and
connected it to Hinduism.
One day, in my early twen-
ties, I went to the Paris Ra-
makrishna Ashram for the
celebration of his birthday,
not knowing it was also
Sivaratri. I had not eaten that
day and reached the ashram
to fmd everyone fasting be-
cause of Sivaratri. That night
as I did puja, I heard in my
head, "Siva Siva Siva." I
very tired and had a cold, so I
asked Siva to forgive me for •
not staying up. Suddenly a
voice interrupted my sleep,
calling me by my Hindu
name, Susheela. I looked •
around and switched the light
off, when suddenly the room
starting filling with light, and
I saw Lord Siva. The next
morning my cold was gone. I
was filled with so much ener-
gy I cleaned the whole
ashram! I have many stories
like these, things that hap-
pened to me. Little by little, I
started concentrating on Siva
and this led me to India.
Kanchipuram's lure: Some-
how I knew I had to go to
Kanchipuram. Thats where I
met my guru, Rajappa Gur-
rukal, one of the head priests
of the main Siva temple in
Kanchipuram. He answered
questions and explained my
vision of Siva as my diksha. I
returned from India, looking
for something to tio, when my
friend suggested anthropolo-
gy as a way to bring my.inter-
ests in travel.l.i.ng and other
civilizations together.
So, I went to school to join a
research project which just
happened to be on Hindu
, temples. Since none of the
members of the team were
Hindu or vegetarian, n.one of
the priests would talk to
them. When they found Ilwas
vegetarian and close to a
, priest, they were happy to
have me on their team. I
spent six months of the year,
for seven years, in Kanchipu-
ram, studying the sub-caste of
these priests. I would stay in
temples to see how they
worked, then go to my guru's
house where he answered my
questions, including personal
ones such as how his mar-
riage was arranged, which
helped me in writing my nov-
el, The Goddess' Justice.
Controlling sexuality:
Women in India started cov-
ering their chests in the nine-
Two of a kind: Chantal next to a "Hospet" sari at

teenth century. I can even
pinpoint the year in South In-
dia- around 1830. I know
many will be upset with my
findings, but clothing, like in
Islam or in Christianity, is
meant to control sexuality.
There are two ways of doing
this. One way is to hide the
woman as much as possible,
the other is to control the
man.' If yQ.'u read any Hindu
text, you see there is a lot of
emphasis on self-control. So
before the British came, most
Indian women revealed their
bodies quite freely or covered
themselves with jewels.
Nowadays, because of West-
ern influence, we associate
nudity with being out of con-
trol, but that wasn't the case
in ancient India. In the Hin-
du texts of that time, the nee-
dle was considered a weapon,
so stitched clothing was
banned and there was more
OD the ornamental,
until the Muslim invasion,
and afterward British rule.
Hazards on the job: In In-
dia when I wanted to
the Brahmin sari, Brahmin
Tamil women were reluctant
to teach me, because they
didn't want any non-Brah-
mins to wear that drape. One
day I wore a Lingayat sari,
which is similar to the Tamil
Brahmin sari, and I had a
person follow me around say-
ing, "She is not wearing a
Brahmin sari," otherwise I
may have been attacked!
boundaries of class and caste, making
all women equal in the eyes of others."
With their visual appeal and social
context, Boulanger dreamed of a sari
But as she pitched this idea
to friends and colleagues,. they urged
her to write a book to supplement it.
Boulanger lahored five year&: and fin-
ished in 1997, her biggest challenge be-
ing the 1 00 illustrations redrawn
painstakingly until accurate. The exhi-
bition of Boulanger's work, though not
as extensive as her book, would marry
the aesthetic importance of drapes
with its cultural implications.
Drape dlisplay: The Goldstein exhibit
rendered sari draping with an authen-
ticity pI;ovoking visitors to feel trans-
ported to India. Call it coincidence or
kismet that student curators Hazel Lutz
·and Susheela Hoeffer both sojourned
in India, and Jean Ross, responsible for
exhibit design, visited India and Pakistan.
Lutz and Hoeffer primarily focused on
drape families and technique, but also in-
cluded saris in various contexts, such as pho-
tographs, a wall of artwork (including a
sketch by world-renowned artist Jamini
Roy), a display of blouse styles, Indian dolls
dressed in saris, and hanging saris as well,
Song of the Sari
Excerpts from a poem by Shikha Malaviya, de-
picting India as a motherly sari:
Six yards of cloth, a sari, cotton, chiffon, silk,
woven with threads of history, wedding-red,fes-
tival-yellow, widow-white, sensual drape of hu-
mility, India wears epitome of Sita and Sati and
every woman in-between. Clothes do make the
woman beautiful, beholding the eye washed with
holy water from the Ganges
Old is not an issue for you who holds the 1TUjs-
tery of renewal. You plait us in yourriverlocks and
pleat us in the folds of the ancient Sari hugging
your body century after century. Even when we
wash against foreign shores, still a thread ofhome-
spun cloth clings doggedly to our bodies, tying
wandering children to your ever--pregnant belly.
sari, and tradition is fashionable as well
as practical." Ross added a rural touch
to the exhibition by painting the walls
saffron and the top with a red, sten-
ciled border, reminiscent of villages in
India and Pakistan. Placement of
drapes was important, too, and Ross
.drew inspiration from the small, wind-
ing streets of Indian villages. With
Boulanger's work 'as their focus, and
their individual experiences in India to
draw from, Lutz, Hoeffer and Ross
turned an intimate gallery into a color-
ful Indian oasis of art and savoir-faire.
The exhibition drew over 200 on
opening day, some o'Ut of curiosity, oth-
ers to learn. Regardless of motives, vis-
itors left the exhibit with fresh knowl-
edge. As Mani Subramaniam, native of
India and business professor at the
University of Minnesota's Carlson
School of Management states, "On my
because as Hoeffer observed, "It's hard to vi-
sualize the mass of a sari as a flat piece of
cloth when it is draped on the body." J
Lutz, who is co-writing a book on dress
and culture, saw the exhibition as a way to
"fully appreciate the complexity of drapes,
and drop stereotypes. We're showing that
there is innovation within the confmes of a
next visit to India, I'll definitely be looking
at saris more carefully, even though I have
seen them all my life." A fitting compliment
for Chantal Boulanger and her work, and for
women worldwide who make the sari an in-
tegral part of their lives. .;
Demystifying the Sar.i
A illustrated coffee-table book tells it all
fessional writer, b'ecame
curious about saris
when, on marrying
Sanjay. Singh, a native of
India, his extended fami-
ly welcomed her by giv-
ing her saris. "I heard
stories about local saris
and hoped to fmCl. more
stories about saris from
other regions of India, so
I looked for books, but
didn't find many," recalls
Lynton. Lack of infor-
mation on saris spurred
five years of research
and an expansive tome-
The Sari: Styles, Pat-
terns, History, Tech- II:
niques. By concentrating
Richness: Cotton hand-
woven cloths. Inset: a
comple'X Brahmin sari

on region, Lynton captures
the sari's beauty and com-
plexity in vivid detail through
etlrni.c art, historical facts,
motifs and patterns, all which
integrate and represent their
geographical surroundings.
"Most of the world uses tai-
lored clothing, and
here is a culture that
doesn't," explains
Lynton. "The whole
emphasis is on the'
cloth itself, how it's
woven, how it's deco.-
rated, how its colored,
and that alone makes
it interesting." Partic-
vlarly notable in the
book...are textiles from
groups such as Gu-
jarati indigo-dyed
saris that heretofore
were never illustrated
and documented. •
While Chantal
Boulangers. book is a
practical manual on
draping techniques,
Lynton surveys the'
sari as a prized fabric, focus-
ing on its design. From this
perspective, Lynton docu-
ments forty types of saris
with photographs and dia-
grams to illustrate complexity
in patterns, weaves and col-
ors. She also includes a com-
prehensive glossary of textile
terms as well as Indian ones.
YORK, NY 10011-69°3. WEBSI TE:
mountains of the Himalayas to the beaches of the
Indian Ocean, you'll discover an extraordinary world
of culture and diversity. There's no adventure
quite like India and no time like the present
to it. India, a country that is
truly many worlds in one. As Mark Twain
once said: "Nothing seems to have been
forgotten, nothing overlooked." © 1996
Everything you'd never expect Th1
Call 1·800-GO INDIA for your compli mentary India Travel Guide.
or write to: MSI . 25- 15 50th Street . Dept cPo Woodside. NY 11377
Grand Bassin: Shrines and pilgrims sur-
round the lake, located in an extinct vol-
cano at 1800-foot elevation. (inset) Kan-
wars approaching Grand Bassin, 1998.
Special holiday called to accommodate pilgrims
try is that when there is a problem,
you can do something about it. So
when the Prime Minister of Mauritius,
Dr. Navonchandra Ramgoolam, and his fam-
' ily got stuck in \:lle 50,000-car, five-hour
traffic jam of pilgrims heading for Grand
Bassin lake as part of the yearly Maha
Sivaratri festival, he took action. Because
many pilgrims were unable to complete
their trek to the lake, Dr. Ramgoolam de-
clared the following day, Monday, February
Devotees collect sacred water to take home
23rd, a holiday-he also cashiered the police
inspector in charge of traffic. Hindus were
delighted with the added holiday, but the
country's leading newspapers-operated by
non-Hindus-blasted the decision. One
business manager complained that up to
80% of workers were absent the next day,
and estimated the resulting, loss at US$5.8
million. Hindu leaders came to the PMs de-
. fense/ saying the unusual' conditions justi-
fied the special holiday.
Sivaratri in Mauritius is a multi-day affair,
because the main form of observance is' to
either drive or wah: to Grand Bassin, a large
lake in the middle of the island. There devo-
tees worship at the>many shrines around the
, .
lake, then return home with a pot of sancti-
fied water. It can take two days to walk
there, and two back. Those with sore feet
can, wit,hout censure, take a bus home.
Vimalen Rengapen, 21, of Riviere-du-
Rempart, made the pilgrimage 9n foot'fa 12-
hour, 50-Ian trek. He arrived at Grand Bas-
sin at one in the morning, soaking wet from
the rain. and shivering with cold. "It was re-
ally very hard to walk such a long distance.
But on reaching, I could not believe how
beautiful it was. We worshiped Lord Siva,
sang His hymns and kept awake throughout
the whole nig,ht to earn His grace."
This year's festival was special, for it was
one Hundred years ago that Jhummun Giri
Gossagne Napal, a temple priest, saw in a
dream devas (angels) dancing around the
lake singing praises to Lord Siva. He and
other religious leaders declared the lake a
tirtha, place of pilgrimage, unique to Mauri-
tius, and as sacred as the Ganges. In 1998,
300,000 Hindus-50% of all Hindus on the
the pilgrimage, despite dreary
and the traffic jam.
Some pulled or carried kanwars, a chariot
or arch decoratep. with colored paper. Kan-
wars range from simple affairs to recreated
temples, Deities, even houses and dne year's
7-meter by 10-meter Boeing 747. Elaborate
creations cost up to US $2,000, and are coop-
erative efforts by family and friends.
This tradition of carrying kanwars (as
. more mod.est decorated arches) is followed in
North lridia [see March, 1998] in June and
July. There devotees walk from their villages
hundreds of kilometers to Haridwar arid re-
turn with Ganges water. In Mauritius the
North.fudian community adapted this prac-
tice to' Sivaratri and now, as with Thai
Pusam, most Hindus participate. .",/
Report by SUNIL P. GOPAL, Mauritius

Festival Fervor
A time for penance
and I would lose consciousness when I
saw the kavadi procession, even thou g,h
I was only eleven," recalls Mrs. Maliga '
Naga1ingurn, of Port Louis, Mauritius. Now
52, she has carried. kavadf in honor of Lord
Murugan each of the' last twenty years. Thou-
sands of other Hindus of Tamil origin have
done the same every February since the
community's arrival on the island 150 years
ago. Many Hindus join in, now mak'ing it a
major festival of the year for Mauritius.
A kavadi is a hig,hly decorated pole or arch
carried by a devotee from a cresignated start-
ing point to a temple. "To carry kavadi en-
tails a lot of preparation, ' especially at the
spiritual level," explains Rama Armoogurn,
21, a student in at the University of Mauri-
tius. "You have fo sleep on a mat and eat only
veggie food." The whole family will join in
making the kavadi, which can become quite
an elaborate affair, towering ten feet or more
over the devotee. Many have their bodies
pierced with small spears. Women usually
carry pal kavadi, a big brass pot of milk, on
their head, and pierce their cheeks and
tongue. What is it like? Rama says, "Words
are too feeble a medium to explain the in-
tense feelings when yoti carry kavadi." .",/
Report by SUNIL P. GOPAL; Mauritius
Penance: This kavadi by the man in
orange is shaped like Murugan's Vel. He
will carry it many miles to a temple.
Fabric Begets Fashian
The Indian sari remains the pinnacle of weaving skill and designer dressing
ties, Indians have for tens of centuries fashioned impecca-
ble apparel from unstitched lengths of cloth. Ranging from
simple body coverings to masterfully embroidered works of
weaving and wearing, the sari is without question the reigning
queen of the world's traditional dresses. No attire elicits images of
India more strongly than the sari, and no other nation's costume has
remained in vogue longer-over 3,500 years. While the sari soars in
social circles, the time-worn garbs of other world cultures, such as
Japanese Kimonos, have largely faded from public view-usurped
by Western suits and scuttled to museum displays or restricted to
ceremonial occasions. In striking contrast, the sari is now the rave
in big-city clothing cliques found around the globe. It commands
the respect and admiration of chic designers who revere the silken
swath-of-cloth as a fashion stalwart, an icon of an attire which has
transcended time's trendiness.
Author and folk-art historian Jasleen Dhamija describes in her
book, Handwoven Fabrics of India, how "The most intimate element
in a person's external being is the cloth with which one wraps one-
self or ones loved ones. It is also closely associated with inner life and
the stages through which a person passes. Though the rituals are
similar, their enactment and the fabrics used in them are quite dis-
tinctive. Saris were bought during the Deepavali festival, and the
whole family participated in the year1y visit of the family weaver to
the house, for saris traditionally were never bought off a shelf
Weavers came from the weaving centers of Thanjavur, Kumbha-
konam, Kanchipuram and Dharamavaram, bringing samples of new
designs, colors and different qualities of silk. Families of weavers
worked over generations with large joint families. Every village or
center had a distinct style which a connoisseur could distinguish."
The sanctity of the sari begins with its weaving. Sanskrit Vedic
texts, including the Yajur Veda, contain detailed descriptions of meth- .
ods of weaving, yarn spinning and even shepherding. A well-known -<
verse from the Rig Veda Samhita, lO. 130.1, correlates weaving with
the performance of the havana ritual. It proclaims, "Sacrifice re-
sembles a loom with threads extended this way and that, composed
of innumerable rituals. Behold now the fathers weaving the fabric;
seated on the outstretched loom. 'Lengthwise! Crosswise! They cry."
Androgynous attire: (clockwise from top left)
Three distinctive women's sari styles: the "Tamil
Telegu Brahmin" sari, the rare Kappulu and the
most famous sari in the kaccha style, the Mar-
wari. Men have a variety of draping styles as
well, including the unique short Koli drape, the
Toda tribe's veshti and the Chettiyar dhoti
Dhamija stresses that "Textile terminology is closely linked with
philosophical thought. It is not by chance that technical terms play
a basic role in early philosophy. For example, grantha, sutra, tantra
and nibandha originate from textile techniques. The whole of an-
cient Indian scholarship is reflected in the simple but skilled ma-
nipulation of the warp and weft of a loom."
What has saved the sari from extinction is its exceptional quality
of being ever open to the creative inspiration of its wearer. Where-
as tailored clothes are strictly one-way-forward, up or down, either
casual or formal, the sari stretches far beyond such limitations. A
single unstitched weave can become an entire wardrobe, all de-
pending upon the chosen method of draping. No other garb has such
a range of possibilities. Remarkably, however, the sophisticated
styles and techniques for wrapping saris that have been developed
by India's ethnic groups over the centuries have been virtually ig-
nored by scholars. While there are many detailed studies of India's
textile and sari making industries, some of which delve into the re-
ligious usage of the fabrics, only one recent study has focused pri-
marily upon the diverse ways saris are worn. In 1997, French an-
thropologist Chantal Boulanger [see page 23] published her land-
mark work, Saris: An Illustrated Guide to the Indian Art of Draping.
She describes the subject as a "totally unexplored world whose
meaning had never been considered." Her efforts are a significant
step towards categorizing and preserving sari draping styles, which
are known only by a few elderly ladies in each region. The follow-
ing overview is drawn from her work.
those of the Harappa civilization, is a dhoti [see page 30 for
definitions]' Buddha's lay followers, such as Ashoka and the
men and women represented on the stupa of Bharhut (Madhya
Pradesh, 2nd century BCE), wore elaborately pleated dhotis.
Nowadays, dhotis are still worn by men all over India. They require
a piece of cloth which seems longer and larger than what was worn
in the past, but their pleating is often simpler, and they are no longer
adorned with belts. There are several styles which reflect personal
taste and/or occupation, such as the classic, priest, Andhra, Marwari
and the Chettiyar dhotis.
In the past, women wore dhotis just as men did. But from the 14th
century onwards, women's clothes started to develop in a very dif-
ferent way from those of men. The number of yards required in-
creased and the shawl that sometimes covered the shoulders was
transformed into the upper part of the sari-the mundanai. By the
19th century, the colonial attitudes imported from Victorian Britain
considered dhotis to be indecent for women, and women in some
castes modified the drape so that it covered their chest.
Dravidian saris, which are the basis of the modern sari, are basi-
cally draped in two parts. The veshti (from the Sanskrit verb vesh,
meaning "to cover, to wrap around, to roll") covers the lower part of
the body. It is supplemented by a separate mundanai or mundt/.. The
draping of the veshti is simple and virtually universal. Most people
all over the world use this drape to wrap a bath towel around them-
selves. Various forms of veshtis were worn in India, and are repre-
sented on many sculptures and paintings from numerous places as
early as the 2nd century BCE. Veshtis are commonly worn by men in
the two southernmost states of India, and also by women in Kerala.
It is a common drape in many countries of South-East Asia.
It was probably not earlier than the 19th century when women
joined both pieces of cloth, thus creating many elaborate new
drapes. The draping of Tamil saris did not change much from that of
the veshti-mundanai, except that this new fashion had one big in-
convenience. When walking, the sari was pulled upwards by the
mundanai, revealing the legs. Women in each region of Tamil Nadu
found their own solutions, and adapted their draping in order to re-
main "decent," thus spawning a great variety of styles.
Most saris fit into "families," which means that they follow certain
basic ways of being draped. There are four main families, with sub-
families and a few smaller families. The dhoti family includes men's
dhotis, women's dhotis, South Indian Brahmin saris; Dravidian saris
include veshtis, Tamil saris, Eastern saris and Santal saris. The nivi
saris are modern saris, kaccha saris and upper kaccha saris (the
Sanskrit word kaccha means "pleats" or "pleats tucked between the
legs"). The tribal family consists of high veshti tribal saris and right-
shoulder tribal saris. The smaller families are the Gond-related saris;
Lodhi saris; drapes with nivi and Dravidian influences and unique
saris. Some drapes could fit within two families, such as the Gauda
sari which is at the same time tribal and kaccha. On the other hand,
several drapes do not fit anywhere.
The drape which is now considered to be the Indian sari, called
nivi, has never been represented on any ancient painting or sculp-
ture. Whereas dhotis and veshtis were commonplace in the past,
nivi saris seem to have been nonexistent.
The nivi family is by far the most widespread. These saris are now
worn allover India, as well as in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pak-
istan, not to speak of the Indian communi-
ties living abroad. In Rajasthan, Punjab and
Uttar Pradesh, where stitched clothes are
traditionally worn, nivis are becoming in-
creasingly popular. In Sri Lanka, it has be-
come the compulsory sari of government
employees, rather than the more typical Cey-
lonese sari. It has influenced Western stylists
and evokes for most European women a vi-
sion of flowing beauty and elegance.
Every drape requires a piece of cloth of a
specific length and width. For instance, it is
impossible to make a Marwari sari with six
yards, since nine yards are needed. Each re-
gion of India has developed textiles woven
in the dimensions fitting the local drapes.
But apart from the size of the cloth, almost
all saris can be tied with any kind of textile.
When at home or working, women wear
cotton or synthetic fabrics. When going to a
function or an event, they often dress up
with a silk sari. Most of the time, the drap-
ing is the same whatever the textile. While
there are festive and daily drapes, a festive
drape can be worn with a beautiful silk,
polyester or cotton sari, and one might wear
an old silk sari with a daily drape.
Both textile and drape are independently
influenced by fashion. Stylists are mostly
concerned with the fabric and the form of
the choU, but sometimes they try to intro-
duce new drapes, too. Saris are always best
draped with cotton. Once folded and
tucked, cotton stays in place, and doesn't re-
quire anything to hold. For weighty or slick
cloths, such as silk, a pin or a clip might be
used to hold the pleats and to keep from
having to readjust the drape all the time.
Saris are fun to wear. They can be tried
by anyone, and more styles can be created.
They are the expression of women's creativ-
ity, and there is for each woman one drape
that fits her perfectly. Often it is not the
modern sari. Just as in painting or playing a
musical instrument, it takes training and
practice to wear a sari perfectly.
Recommended Resources: Saris: An Illustrated Guide
To The Indian Art of Draping, by Chantal Boulanger, Shakti Press in-
ternational, Post Office Box 267, New York, NY 10276-0267 USA:
The Sari: Styles, Patterns History, Technique., By Linda Lynton,
Harry Abrams Publishers, 100 flfth A""nue, New York, NY 10011-
6903: Ikat Textne. of India, By Cbelna Desai, Chronicle Books, 275
flfth Avenue, San Francisco, California 94118-2307 USA: Clothing
Matter.: Ore•• And Identity In India, By Emma Tarlo, University Of
Chicago Press, 5801 South Ellis Chicago, Illinois 60637 USA
Draping devotees: (left to right) Youth at a Rajasthan fair rejoice; a Vama fabrics fashion
model displays the opulent refinement of their elegant weaves; Kodava wO'l'lWn of Coorg
district wear a distinctive and unique drape; a Delhi newlywed wears red
Choli: a usually tight-fitting blouse
Dhotl: usually white, a five-yard long,
four-foot high weave, normally
made of light cotton, having little
or no borders and pallavs. These
are worn by men all over India, ex-
cept in Tamil Nadu and Kerala
where only Brahmins drape them.
Lower border: the edge touching the
feet when the sari is first tied.
Mundanal: the part of the sari, start-
ing from the pallav but Significant-
ly longer, which is thrown over the
upper body. Mundanai is a Tamil
word designating a separate piece
of cloth used as an upper-body
drape. By extension, Tamil women
often use this word for the part of
the sari which is draped over the
upper body, including the pallav.
Mundi: a Tamil word meaning pallav,
or border; another pallav at the
other end of the sari, less elabo-
rate, where the colors of the body
and the borders usually mix. Drap-
ing often begins with this pallav.
Mundu: a smaller piece of cloth often
used to cover the head or thrown
over the shoulder. This South Indi-
an word usually translates as towel
Pallav: the most decorated end-part
which is thrown over the shoulder.
Upper border: the highest border
when the sari is first tied, generally
used for the knot in closings.
A sari's two dimensions are length,
which may vary from 2 to 9 yards,
and height, varying from 2 to 4 feet.
11118 Bond-family Sari
Of the more than eighty styles of sari drapes doc-
umented by Chantal Boulanger, the Gond sari
was chosen to present here due to its sim-
plicity, its relative uniqueness in not re-
quiring a choli, and to offer a drape
which is perhaps unknown to most
of our readers.
Usually a family of saris coin-
cides with a definable group of
ethnic or local communities. For
instance, Tamil saris are worn by
non-Brahmin Tamil castes. With
tribal drapes, however, it is hard
to relate the styles of a family to a
fII.l!61 • •• specific set of tribes. The Coorgs,
the Pullaiyars and the Hallaki Gaudas wear
similar saris, but they differ in culture, physical appear-
ance and social status and dwell in climates ranging from
a hot seacoast to a cold mountain top, although they all
live in Southwestern India.
This disparity is also true of the Gond family of
saris. The Gonds are a tribe living mostly in
Eastern Maharashtra and Southern Madhya
Pradesh. Their women wear a sari of coarse,
thick cotton with sometimes heavily embroi-
dered pallavs. Its length is about five yards. It
is usually worn without choU or petticoat.
Some communities wearing these saris are
very far apart from each other. They do not
speak the same language or share anything
in common. One of them is not even Indi-
an. Yet their drapes are clearly related to the
Gond sari, of which many variations are found
on women of all castes living in what was the
Gond kingdom.
Gond saris are also distinct because they re-
quire two elaborate pallavs, or, as with the Koli
sari, no marked pallav at all. Since one pallav is
draped over the left shoulder and the other makes the
closing on top of the sari, both ends of the cloth have an
equal importance.
The guide to draping a Gond sari: The cloth of these
styles is first arranged on the left shoulder, falling
across the front upper part of the body. It is then
draped clockwise from the shoulder to around
the hips. The closing in most of these saris
is typical of this family-a knot is simply
tucked in the upper border as it passes
under the right arm, coming from the
left shoulder and going around the
waistline. For this style, you can easily
manage with a four-yard sari.
1) Throw the pallav and the long mun-
danai to the back, over the left shoulder.
Leave just enough cloth in front to make the 3
closing: pass the upper border (towards the mundi)
across the chest from the left shoulder to under the
right arm. Pass it around the waistline clockwise (in
the back, under the left arm, across the abdomen).
2) Make a knot with the upper corner of the mundi
and tuck it in the upper border that already passes under the
right arm (coming from the shoulder and going to the
back). Pull the lower border so that it falls in front
from the left shoulder to the right foot (under the
mundi). The mundi should be in front of the legs,
its edge falling vertically along the right leg.
Most of the sari is gathered and drops in the
back from the left shoulder.
3) Gather the sari on the left shoulder,
making informal pleats. Pass the sari
across the back from the left shoulder to
under the right arm. Notice that the mun-
di is draped clockwise, while the pallav
goes counter-clockwise.
4) Bring the upper border of the mun-
danai under the right arm and draw it across
the chest. 5) Pass the remaining cloth under
the left arm and across the back, bringing the
end-corner up and over the right shoulder.
6) Make a knot with the upper corner of the
pallav and the part of the upper border pulled
in front of the right shoulder. Since the cloth is
coarse, it makes a big knot. 7) Look beautiful!
Visionary publishers
vend books for boys and
girls-full of fabulqus
fables and visual pearls
scoured bookstores for quality
Hindu storybooks, only to come
away weary, wishing that some-
one would get serious about writ-
ing for today's Hindu yout}l?
Newsweek recently stated that" 'Need' is
never an issue with kids' books," due to the
approximately 5,000 new children's titles
published every year in the US. But it seems
they never a.?ked a Hindu mom. In response
to this latent need, a diverse group of artists
and authors have recently produced stun-
ningly beautiful for childreIJ and
young adults. These are US productions
that soar above similar tomes, and
many of the creative talents are Westerners.
Their rich and powerful stories, with strik-
ing illustrations and deftly prose,
will capture your child's imagination, teach
a moral (not haughty) lesson, and provide
them with fanciful friends and role models.
I Want to become an armchair traveler to
India? Read and enj0y Sacred River h6
Clarion Books, US$14.95) written
and illustrated by Ted Lewin. Lewin's
erful and majestic watercolor paintings
coupled with his unadorned prose will
transport fau to the ancient holy city Qf Ba-
naras. From the boatman to the bathers
seeking religious purification in the holy
waters, the religious solitaires meditating on'
its banks, to the cremation grounds and to
the final journey of the ashes of the depart-
ed, Hinduisms most sacred river is lovingly
der icted in Lewin's sumptuous work. The
Art and education: (clockwise from left)
Morning puja at the banyan tree-where
monkeys play and little girls swing. Ravi re-
lates his experiences in Initiation Customs.
Gift (28 pages, Wisdom Publications,
us$l4.95) written and illustrated by Isia
Osuchowska, is a magical story of a modest
gift of cloth and its far-reaching effects. An
lesson in the use of resources in-
terpreting the ethic of "waste riot; want ,
not," The mft serves up a potent declaration
of how we can use what we have'
for the benefit of many, now
and into the. future. In the
Heart of the Village: The World
of the Inlllian Banyan Tree (28
.. Sierra Club Books for •
Children, US$16.95) written and
illustrated by Barbara Bash, pre-
sents a visually rich window into the
complex world thai: grows around the
magnificent banyan trees of India.
Through vividly sensual and lush
paintings,. Bash ·takes us into
the swirl of life surround--
ing a .giant banyan, the village centerpiece.
From dawn worship in the modest shrine at
its base to the mid-mOI;ning market; from a
playgrounds shady rest>ite from mid-day
heat to the evening's cool meeting-ground
for village elders; and with the plethora of
animals living in its far-f.lung branches, the
worM of the Indian banyan is lovingly pro-
. trayed for us all to .enjoy
DepartiI;lg the breathtaking banyan, we
delight in the savory sweet Cherry'Tree (32
pages, First Boyds Mills Press, US$7-95).
Written by Ruskin Bond and illustrated by
Allan Eitzen, we are delivet:ed to the Hi-
malayas to follow a village girl, •. Rakhi, as
. she plants a cherry seed: nurtures it and
marvels as it grows to bear its delicious
fruits. All the while, Rakhi gr.ows and ma-
tures into womanhood. Her sweet and
sometimes sour1 essons of life follow the
simple planting of a cherry pit. a suspense-
ful tree tale of another sort (notice a trend
here?) is Aani and the
Tree Huggers (30 pages,
Lee & Low Books Inc. ,
US$14.95). Written by Jeannine Atkins and
by Venantius J. Pinto, this tale is
based on actual .events in India from the
1970s. A young girl, Aani, ipspire;; the
women 0 her village to hug the trees to
prevent them from being cut. Pinto's vi-
brant, attractive illustrations, from the col-
orful clothes and jewelry of the women to
"I was really surprised at all
the./people who turned up at
my upanayana ceremony.
I had no idea that we had so
many relations. My parents
had set up a huge tent .. ' . and
all m)r aunts made a big fuss.
After they'd finished with
me: I really did feel like
a new person."
Ravi's tale as told ih COM:PARING
. the rangoli decorations on the village hous-
es, will wisk you into the world of the tree
huggers as they offer their lives to preserve
what they value. --:
Values of another sort abound in Victor,
the Vegetarian: Saving the Little Lambs (52
pages, 'Aviva Press, US$6.95). Written by
Radha Vignola and illustrated by Julia
Bauer, this book sends a forceful message
to non-vegetarian parents. While Bauer's
illustrations are not as cOlorful as others,
done in a simple one-color format ,
they lend themselves agreeably to Vignola's
powerful story. 'They also serve well for col-
oring. After hearing his father's plans to
have the family lambs for dinner (not as
guests), Victor sets out to liberate them. All
ends well when Victor, the lambs and his
family reunite. "Eat vegetables instead of
our animal friends" is Victor's message!
Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Ta-
gore [1861-1941] gave the world many
messages through his literature, and now
he gives two fme Amal and the Let-
ter from the King (32 pages, Boyds Mills
Press, us$l4.95) retold by Chitra Gajadin
and illustrated by Helen Ong and Paper
Boats (28 pages, Boyds Mill Press,
us$l4.95) illustrated by Grayce Bophak. In
Amal we are introduced to a small boy con-
fmed to his house by illness. His world
comes to him as he peers outside his win-
do.w and dreams of traveling with time to .
an imknown land. TagoI.;. e's lyrical language
makes this a perfect book to read aloud. In
Paper Boats Tagore's simple poetry leads us
into the imaginative mind of a child
dreaming of what lies beyond his small
world. Paper boats, drifting down a stream
with "blooms of will evoke memo-
ries of your own childhood and its simple
pleasures. The unpretentious, yet expres-
sive torn-paper style illustrations are the
perfect vehicle for Tagore's elegant poetry
Jump from the ethereal to the analytical
and land in the world of learning and cul-
tural exchange. Interested in how people live
and celebrate lifes importatit milestones, or
just what went into those tasty curries you
ate last night at your neighborhood restau-
rant? We have a few delect able treats to sat-
i;ry your appetite. A Taste of India (48
pages; Thomson Learning, US$14.9S) by
Roz Denny from a series, Food Around the
World, takes you from marketplace to
kitchen with the creation of several stan-
dard Indian,recipes (unfortunately not all
vegetarian). From fIfty color photos, maps,
illustrations, to cultural cues on eating with
your fmgers, this is a nifty book for class-
room use, grades 3-S. Your filth to sixth
gx;ader may also fmd elucidation in The
Ganges Delta and its People (48 pages,
Thomson Learning) by David Cumming.
Topics range from early history, floods,
droughts, to geograppy, lifestyles and social
concerns of the populations. This is
a sure way to give young readers useful in-
formation about this region of the world.
Haye you ever wondered what cere-
monies Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Hindus
and Jews perform at life's important junc-
tures, what foods are considered sacred or
profane, how youths (like Ravi on page 33)
are initiated ini:o adulthood and what sa-
cred journeys are ritually undertaken? You
can fmd answers to these and more from
the Thomson Learning series pn Comparing
Religions (30+ pages each, Thomson Learn-
ing): Marriage Customs by Ani,fa Comp-
ton, Initiation Customs by Katherine
Prior, Food and Fasting by Deirdre
Burke, Birth Customs by Lucy
Rushton and Pilgrimages '
and Journeys by Katherine
pnor. Each gives simple yet
fairly complete descriptions of
the rituals and beliefs which en-
rich and empower the lives of
each adherent. Photographs .
presenting ceremonial cus-

places, food and people enhance this
series, making it a valuable tool for teachers
or parents interested in sharing the obser-
vances of other faiths with children, and to
foster tolerance thro.ugh understanding. '
Customs, clothes and food choices are
hot topics of conversation among adoles-
cent<NRls growing up outside India, with
the question being whether "to be In-
dian or-American?" Aruna's. Journey (134
pages, Smoothstone Press, us$6.9S) by
Jyotsna Sreerrivasan and illustrated by Mer-
ryl Winstein broaches the subject in the
tale of a Hindu youth experiencing life in
America. Aruna is an eleven-year-old
whose family is from Kamataka. Ashamed
of her Indian origin and trying to become
a "normal American," she journeYs to India
to visit her relatives. Culture shock! -Adapt-
ing to and eyentually accepting life in In-
dia, Aruna in turn accepts herself This is a
multicultural b90k with a message.
A message of another sort comes in
Binya's Blue Umbrella (68 pages, Boyds
Mills Press, uS$l2.9S), a little book about a
blue umbrella and the joy it brings. Written
by Ruskin Bond and illustrated by Vera
Rosenberry, this is a modern parable on
desire and the illusiveness. of happiness.
The tale of Binya, the humble mO.l;!lltain girl,
a blue silk umbrella and the people who
covet it unfolds into an adventure with
a surprising conclusion. Rosen-
berry's telling black-and-white
illustrations draw us into Binya's
mountain world and its people.
Last, but surely not the least, is
Count Your Way through India (20
pages, Carolrlioda Books, Inc.) by
Jim. Haskins, illustrated by Liz
Brenner Dodson. Numbers one
Life cycles: (clockwise from top
left) Six-year-old Rakhi TJlants a
cherry seed given to her by her
grandfather in Cherry Tree. We
grow with,her as she nurtures
the tree; TJ"rotects it from danger;
heals it when it's hurt by f,oats .
and ox-carts and then reflects
when it blooms on the wonder
that is life. (Below) An old boat-
man in Sacred River rows to the
ghats of Banaras ... "Oars creak-
ing in their locks; boats jamming
alOngSide. "
through ten in Hindi will be your guide on
a trip through Indi a. Colorful and charm-
ing modern illustrations highlight each
page. Hindi script is introduced along with
a pronunciation guide and a short story
about the illustration which relates to the
number being studied. A nice read-aloud
book with upbeat illustrations, Count Your
Way is a sure win for young readers (4-6).
So head back to your favorite bookstore,
you'll have !;letter luck this time. ..-
CO, CALIF0 '}NIA 9 4105 USA.
Teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda
The bliss of
God-awareness is
not an exclusive
possession of
saints and yogis,
but belongs to you
as well. "Self-real-
ization," explained
Yogananda, "is the
knowing-in body,
mind, :md soul-
FounDED In IS gO

pn R n m n H n n s n
that we are one with the omnipresence of God; that we do
not have to pray that it come to us, that we are not merely
near it at all times, but that God's omnipresence is our om-
nipresence; that we are just as much a part of HinI now as we
ever will be. All we have to do is improve our knowing."
Through a series of printed Lessons for home study, you
can receive Paramahansa Yogananda's complete and accurate
instruction in the Self-Realization techniques of meditation,
concentration, and pranayama. This in-depth program ex-
plains practical "how-to-live" principles for harmonizing
body, mind, and soul and is offered on a subscription basis
for a nOIninal fee to help cover printing and handling.
For a free catalog of books and recordings, or further
information, please contact our international headquarters at:
Realization Fellowship • 3880 San Rafael. Dept. 7HTG
Los Angeles, CA 90065-3298 USA
Tel: 213-225-2471 (9-5 PacifIc) • 24-hr fax: 213-225-5088
Visit us on the Web: http://www.yogananda-srforg
Enjoy the Saraswati Mantra on CD
Saraswati Devi,a musical tribute to
the Goddess of beauty, inspiration and
music. The powerful Sarawati Mantra
and other Sanskrit and Hindi songs.
CD US$ 15 • Cassette $10
Shipg: to USNCan, $4; other, $8.
Gayatri Mantra, Maha Mrityunjaya
also available! FREE CATAWG:
Galaxy Recordings • 351 Av. Victoria
Westmount, PQ H3Z 2Nl Canada
Tel: SI4-484-8090 • Fax: 514.488.3822
Custom Tours to India
KaIi Travel is uniquely qualifIed to
organize custom-made tours to satis-
fy the needs of any type of group,
organization or individual and to
structure an itinerary appropriate to
their specific needs and interests .
For more information, contact:
KaIi Travel Ltd.
169-12 Hillside Ave,
Jamaica, NY 11432-4498 USA
Tel: 1-718-291-9292

Murthi Prathistapana
Slk1!?!14"11 • Consecration of Deities .
May 23
, 24th & 25
, 1998
Sri Rajarajeswari Peetam, Rush, N.Y.
1"he Pun.ar Pr-athistapana of Sri
Rajar-cijeswari Dewi, Sivalinga
am;! Ganesha, at the n..ewly
:z: constructed temple, will be
'S perli.ormed on the 2.3rd, 24th
and 25th of May 1998,
performed by eXiperienced,
senior Sri Vidya Upasakas.
Various Homams and PLtia will
be performed thr.oughout the
I three-day event.
US $
for Entire event
for 2 days of event
for 1 day of event
Food Offering
Floral service
Valampuri Shanku
Ordinary Shanku
$ 501.00
$ 251 .00
$ 300.00
$ 101 .00
$ 101 .00
$ 21 .00
$ 51.00
f t EVeryOnediS
0 come an partIcIpate In this 6ri RajarajeslVari Devi
! great event. allhe Peelam
COlltributiolls to SVTS are tax
deductible ill the USA.
Prasadam will be mailed withill
two weeks of completioll of
Prathista. Please make checks Dr
mOlley orders payable to S. v.T.S.
t Sri Vidya Temple Society
! 6970 East River Road, Rush, NY 14543
i (716)272·8081, (716)533·1216, Fax (716)272·9515
No Ca-n·nable Cannibals!
Oprah escapes the jaws of the Texas beef industry
a little bit, learning that? It just stopped
me cold from eating another burger."
Oprah Winfrey's sudden statement
seemed innocent enough. It was, after all, a
shared reaction to a rather grisly report on
maq.,cow disease. But because she voiced
her vow on-the-air to millions of viewers of
her April 1996 titan TV talk-show, Texas
cattlemen, led by Amarillo feedlot owner
Paul Engler, sued the talk show host, her
production company and cattle-rancher-
turned-vegetarian-activist, Howard Lyman,
for over $10 ,3 million. The riled ranchers ar-
raigned Oprah for allegedly causing beef
prices to plummet roughly $16 a head, a de-
valuation of 10 percent, in what they termed
the "Oprah crash." ":
Oprah's exclamation came -after hearing
Lyman describe how sE!gments of the indus-
try had been feeding ground up dead
bovines and other animals back to cows, and
how that common practice could Be spread-
ing mad-cow Cllsease to humans. (That feed-
ing custom was voluntarily banned in the US
shortly before the show vyas taped and was
outlawed in the summer of 1997.) Lyman
said the disease could "make AIDS look like
the common cold" and that the US was ''fol-
lowing exactly the same path that they fol-
lowed in England." He then painted the pic-
ture that gave Oprah indigestion. "One-
hundred thousand cows are fine at night,
dead-in the morning. The majority of those
cows are rounded up, ground up, fed back to
other cows. If only one of them has mad-
cow disease, it has the potential to effect
thousands. Tod.ay, in the US, 14 percent of
all cows are ground up, turned mto feed and
fed back to other animals."
Oprah couldn't swallow those facts. "But
cows ate herbivores," she posed. "They
shouldn't be eating other cows." "That's ex-
actly Tight," countered Lyman. "We should
have 'them eating grass, not other cows.
We've not only turned them into carnivores,
we've turned them into cannibals. '. The au-
dience gasped, and Oprah made her vow.
''I'm stopped," she swore. And beef prices
plwiged, argued Engler.
One month into the trial, on February 18,
without explanation, US District Judge
Mary Lou Robinson rejected the part
of the case filed under the states 1995
"veggie libel" law. This Texan law is
meant to protect' perishable food
products, usually fruits and vegeta-
bles, from attack with knowingly false
and defamatory statements-hence
the law's name. However, the judge
did not throw the case out completely"
Jurors continued to hear the case as a
common-law business disparagement
trial" giving the cattlemen a heavier
burden of proof than under "veggie
libel." They had to prove that Winfrey
and parties set out to hurt the beef m-
On FebruarY-26, the jury found' the
defendants not liable. Outside the
courthouse, Winfrey pumped her
fists at fans and hollered, "Free
speech not only lives, it rocks!" Mean-
while, cattleman Engler emphasized,
"We did accomplish the main objec-
tive: to convince the people that US
beef is safe." (The: brain-destroying
illness has never been found in US
cattle. ) He adde1:l, "I want to see re-
sponsible reporting and responsible
talk show hosts." Juror Pat Gowdy
helpeCl explain the decision, "We felt
that a lot of rights have eroded in this
country. Our freedom of speech may
be the only one we have left to regain
what we've lost."
Nature's response: Though out of
Oprahs court for the time being, con-
cern over the disease continues. A re-
cent Reuters report by Paul Tait details
chilling facts. It reads, "Creutzfeldt-
Jakob (CJD) the human
equivalent of mad-cow disease and, like its
bovine equivalent, it kills relentlessly and is
largely undetectable until after death. The
biggest known outbreak was among a tribe
practicing cannibalism in the l"l1mote high-
lands of Papua New Guinea in the 1950s.
"CJD and mad-cow disease are types of I
transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
All TSEs have three commcm
threads-the agent that activates them is un-
known, they all bor;'microscopi6. holes in
the brain of their victim and they are always
fatal. The agent is not only infectious but has
also been shown to be inheritable. It has no
cure and no treatment, resists heating, f!eez-
ing, burial, strong ,.chemicals and medical
sterilization. Most TSEs also involve either
direct cannibalispl or the re-use of body
parts in agriculture or medicine." The com-
ments made on Oprah's disputed show were
less ominous than Tait's. ...,;
With reports from Associated Press
Readers may care to ktlOW that pet foods,
even grain-based feeds, are likely to contain
animal parts that your pet would not natu-
rally consume_

Hindus fight holidays
coxnmercialization -

set up for two weeks on several acres of
land on the Caroni plains in central
Trinidad by the National Council for
Indian Culture (NCIC). Booths are rented
out to various businesses to sell crafts, food,
clothes, even hardware and cars. A few reli-
gious. lectures are given during the first
week, but thereafter dances, fashion shows
and music predominaj;e. The Village has
been popular with Trinidad's Hindus and is
the largest yearly Hindu event on the island.
The problem with Dipavali Village, com-
plains the influential Maha Sabha, is that it
has minirnized religious content. "The Vil-
' lage has evolved ipto a commercial enter-
prise as business discovered the power of the
Hindu waJlet," complains Maha Sabha exec-
utive member Devant Maharaj. "It has re-
duced Dipavali to a pre-Christmas shopping
season." The NCIC, they charge, is attempt-
ing to recast the festival as a "cultural obser-
vance," a kind of Hindu 'carnival, not a reli-
gious event. Devant describes the NCIC as a
mixed religious group comprised of Indian
Hindus, Christians and Muslims, and head-
ed by a Presbyterian, Hans Himoomansingh.
The Maha Sabha is not the only group in-
sisting Dipavali is a religious event. For dif-
ferent rea.sons, the Nur-E-Islam Education
Committee has distributed a flyer called
, "Beware of Shirk [polytheism]," which ad-
vises 11-uslims not to participate directly in
Dipavali because it is a festival in honor of
Goddess Lakshmi, hence a form of ').dol
worship." Hindus have taken offense at the
flyer, though it is an accurate (if conserva-
tive) explanation of Islamic principles and
does state, 'J\s Muslims, we must exhibit tol-
erance towards other world religions."
Like the Muslims, the "Thusians," a local
independent splinter group of the interna-
tional Seventh Day Adventist denomination
of Christianity, insist Dipavap. is a religious
festival, not a neutral cultural observance.
Indeed, it: is a brazen exa'mple of the wor-
ship of "graven images," according to a
eight-page fax sent to TODAY by
Thusian pastor Nyron Medirla. He ex-
pressed this same' opinion, embellished with
malicious remarks about Hinduism, last
March during his weekly program on a local
India style: At sunset ladies of the house set the Dipavali lamps upon a kolam diagram
, radio station. Complaints to the station from
the Maha Sabha and others got the program
permanently canceled for violating the sta-
tion's prohibition on bringing another reli-
gion into disrepute or offending any com-
In defense, Medina said in his fax, "It was
terribly ..... distasteful to see the Maha Sabha
and other Hindu organizations presenting to
the ru::tion that Dipavali was simply a 'festival
of lights,' or the 'triumph of light over dark-
ness,' when in fact this is not really the case
at all. These Caribbean Hindus in a Christ-
ian cultural environment use these accept-
able phrases to palliate the consciences of
people so tll'at it would not seem to be idola-
try to participate in Dipavali. We showed
. that Dipavali is not really about lights, it is
about the worship of the Goddess Lakshmi."
Dipavali, "Row of Lights," is celebrated by
all denominations of Hindus. It takes place in
October-November the day before the new
moon -in Libra. There are several explana-
tions ot its origin, the most common being
that it is the day Lord Rama returned to Ay-
odhya after spending 14 years in exile, but it
is likely that the festival in honor of Lakshmi
was already ancient in Rama's time. It is the
New Year's day in the Vikram calendar-
new clothes are donned, houses cleaned and
businesses close out their books. In the
evening thousands upon thousands 'of small
lamps are lit and fireworks are displayed.
How to deal with festivals in a multi-reli-
gicms environment has already been solved
in 'India. There, during.. Dipavali, Hindus
will greet their Muslim and Chfjstian
friends, and share with them the special Di-
pavali sweets. Similarly, on Eid-al-Fitr, the
major Muslim holiday marking the end of
the month-long Ramadan fast, Muslims will
greet their Hindu and 9hristian friends and
send to them the sweet vegetarian dish se-
wainn. Such sharing is done by Christians
with their non-Christian friends at Christ-
mas. This centuries-old solution in India
doesn't require anyone to go against his
faith. But it does allow each to share the joy
of their festivities with friends of other reli-
gions in an non-threatening way. ...,;
With reports from.ANIL MAHABrn, DEVANT
. J
.Food and Breath:
Breath: According to the Vedas, our
breath extends from the cosmos' prana and
controls both the quality ana length of our
life. Life is defmed not by the number of
years on Earth, but by the number of
breaths each soul is given for its journey.
When we expend our ration of breath, our
journey ends. Vedic 'l:;eers advised main-
taining slow and rhythmic breathing,
pranayama, by synchrbnizing our rhythms
with cosmic rhythms.
Spiritualizing meal preparation and controlling
our breath tunes us to Nature>s cosmic rhythms
The right nostril's breath controls solar
rhythms and the left lunar rhythms. Learn-
ing to activate or de-activate the right and
left breaths in accordance with daily ,
rhythms, we strengthen 'bur prana anCl
extend duration and quality of our life.
The following simple methods realign the
breath with day and night energies to cre-
ate balance. To monitor your breath, first
ascertain which nostril is exhaling more
. .
body. According to ancient Vedic
see:rs, all things grown on the Earth, the
human body and entire universe are all
food, annam. The principle of annam is
that all things physical are composed of the five
Aymyedic elements-earth, water, fire, air and
The elements of our food, our annam,
nurture and feed the same elements of our bod-
ies. When we become mindful of this divine
connection, every bite a food is a blessing from
Mother Nature. In this manner, we begin to
practice sadhanq., the art of-living in harmony
with nature's rhythms. Balanced physical, men-
tal and spiritual health grows into Qur lives like
the sprouting of a good seed.
The following experience illustr;ites instant
. and f.1rofound benefits. Recently, Joyce attended
a food sadhana workshop. Throughout, she was
uneasy and distracted in her seat. Afterwards, Joyce told me she
had a history of chronic migraines. Although she had tried several
different medicines and,therapies, nothing had worked. Moreover,
she continually experiehced an uncontrollable urge to binge on
junk foods,. The more she ate, the her migraines be-
came! I explained to Joyce the relationship between food and the
body, the effect of sadhana practice on our health. I gave qer
this simple food .sadhana regime:
Be mindful in your approach and attitude toward food. These I
simple steps will help you: 1. Make your kitcben a sacred, simpli-
fied space: 2. Know where your food comes from. Use fresh, sea-
sonal and organically grown foods. 3. Grind fresh spice seeds in a
mortar and pestle for everyday use. 4. At the same times everyday,
prepare arid eat two ample meals. 5. Practice gratitude before im-
bibing a healthful meal by offeriIlg food to Mother Nature. Tradi-
. tiomilly, a small portion of each cooked food is offered to the fire'
before tasted or served. The offering may be accompanied by any
prayer you choose. 6. Observe silence during meals. 7. Following
meals, whllle your food is being digested, take a brief stroll or sit on
your heels for 20 IIliI1utes.
Two months later, I received a 1etter from Joyce with a recent
photograph of She glowed with good health. She was still
on he1- sadhana program. Her migraines had disappeared. Joyce
had only one brief setback one week after she started the program.
Immediately after' a junk food binge, she experienced a migraine
again. This convinced Joyce to stick to her healthy regime. Two
months later she was free from migraines and had even lost weight.
air. Block your left nostril with a fmger and.
blowout your right, holding your hand
beneath the nose. Feel the force of air ex-
pelling. Then do the same on the opposite
side, blocking your right nostril and blow-
ing from tlie left. The 1trongest blown air is
the side at which you are currently domi-
nant. When the breath is strongest at the
right side, the solar breath is activated.
When the breath is strpngest at the left
side, lunar breath is activated. In Ayurve-
da, the motive is to harmonize the body
with the environment. We harmonize with
the day by activating our lumrr breath, and
the night by acpvating our solar breath.
Activating lunar breath in early morn-
ing: 1. Check the breath to see which side
is stronger. 2. If the lunar breath is stronger, you are in tune with
the day's cosmic rhythms. 3. If the right breath is stronger, make a
fist with your left hand and place your fist under the right armpit.
Using your right hand, alternate your breathing, from nostril to
nostril, for a few minutes, or until you feel the left breath gain
more volume than the right. 4. Release the fist from the armpit and
perform a breath check once more to gauge the volume of both
breaths. 5. Your cooling. lunar breath should now be more active.
6. Do not engage in this exercise for more than 15 minutes.
Activating solar breath in the early evening: 1. Check the
breaths to determine which is more active.' 2. If the solar breath is •
stronger, you are in tune witp. evening cosmic rhythms. 3. If the
left breath is stronger, make a fist with your right hand, placing it
under the left armpit. Using your left hand"alternate breathing
from nostril to nostril, for a few minutes, or until you feel the right
breath g,ain more volume than the left'breath. 4. Your heating solar
breath shoulq: now be more active. 5. Do not engage in this exer-
cise for more than 15 minutes. By practicing pranayama properly,
, ' we may quickly realize many changes in attitudes and feelings. We
may feel a deep inner calm and detachment to life's events.
MAYA TIWARI , founder of the Wise Earth School of Ayurveda, is
reviving and reintroducing Vedic Earth Sadhana teachings. An
established author, her columns for HINlDUISM TODAY are based on
her newest work, Migrant Spirit: Recovering Our Ancestral-Memo-
ries, to be published in the spring of 1999. Tiwari lives reclusively
as a brahmacharini in AsheVille, North Carolina, USA
Gurani Anjali (Guruvi)
Author, poet, songwriter and artist.
Hear her message for the body, mind
and spirit. Experience the Yogic per-
spective. Books: Ways of Yoga, Rtu
(meditational poems), and the soon-
to-be released: Think on This. Audio
cassettes: Someone is Calling, From
the Silent Depth Within Me and
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Shree Mna ;eaches about the Universality of Cod in the tradition of Shree Ramakrishna.
"Let's talk:" Kids learn communication skills to cultivate 'healthy relationships with others
Children, Think About This
.. A great book to help YOJ.l "be t he best you can be"
the feet of Vernon Tejas, a veteran
mountain¥er and guide, listening to
his stories of slippery slopes and the
tremendous rush when you reach the moun-
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. climb Alaska's Mt: McKinley (the highest
, Nortq Am.erican mountain) some day. She
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McKinley--the youngest person ever."
Educator Barbara A. Lewis' shrewd, writ- '
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Under the chapter "Responsibility," she of-
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stands a mile high in value 'for parents . ..
Unfitting Garb
Is the dhoti dying?

20-25) hail the fact that most Hindu
women, to this day, maintain traditional
dress and are proud of it -an ancient
legacy standing tall above masses of world
fashions that have come and gone. Sadly, it is
not the same with men's a ppareL
Ananda Coomaraswami, the Anglo-Sri
Lankan art critic and philosopher, returned
from England to Sri Lanka at age 25. He w.as
horrified upon seeing mens' "vulgar imita-
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book Borrowed Plumes, describing adoption
of European dress as "destruction of nation-
al character, individuality and art." He set
aside his own pants and suits and adopted a
dhoti (waist-cloth) kurta (Indiari-style long
shirt) and turban-irohically imitating the
natives he had been urging not to imitate his
English brothers. His campaign failed, as
any subsequent visitor to Lanka can testify.
Similarly, during India's struggle for inde-
pendence from Britain, Mahatma Gandhi
changed from a lawyerly South African suit
to a dhoti, urging others to "follow.suit." He
generally failed too-today most Indian men
wear borrowed.plumes. But he was success-
ful in keeping the indigenous textiles indus-
try in India alive and competitive with
British fabrics. On an op!imistic note, the
dhoti recently appeared in a Paris fashion
show [see pg. 22]. It is a of hope for
renewed use among Hindus themselves . ..
Traditional dress: Local men wear dhotis
and kurtas at Rajasthan'S Pushkar Fair
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Free Products and Services
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"I Can., 'I Will, 1 Am
Able to
If you think medical drugs rule, take. notice of
your mind's influence in the effect"
. .
us that has not
himself, to only
experience a complete
and lasting healing by "mommy
kissing the booboo and making it
well?" This is a very common
e'Xpression of the placebo effect.
Placebo comes from Latin and
means "I shall please; Over the
years, the phrase has taken on
less admirable meanings and suggestion of
evil attributes. Today, however, it merely
names a substance that is known not to
contain pharmacologically active ingredi-
ents. In other words, it is a substance, usu-
ally a sugar such as lactose, that can have
no active effect on the sickness.
Studies show placesos ''heal'' various
illnesses. It is even said a placebo will heal
at least 50% of all ailments. One feels bet-
ter after a placebo, apd many symptoms
are abated. What is'1;he power of this inert
substance? The following are for
placebo therapy: The patient must seek
treatment for his condition. The doctor
musi show a.great deal of attention in tak-
ing a history, doing a physical examination,
perhaps adjunct laboratory and radiological
tests. Then he must make a diagnosis,
which is positive and unequivocal and re-
vealed to the patient in a positive manner.
If he sees that a placebo may successfully
be given for the condition, he,must be pre-
pared to give it rather than a potent clrug
or antibiotic. In our day and age..:of "man-
aged medrcine" this art is rapidly being
lost, so that medicine is no longer the beau-
tiful amalgam of science and art. This is to
the detriment of our health. •
There is a correlation between sugges-
tion and the placebo effect. Patients sensi-
tive to suggestion do best with placebos.
Experiments With both positive and nega-
tive suggestions affIrm suggestion is a po-
tent -force. It may at times reverse an
illness, or even cause one. I
suggest a theory as to how the
placebo effect operates. In our
subconscious mind is a naive,
childlike consciousness. This
"child's" natural desire is
in a healthy body. If there is
enough stress, anxiety or de-
pression in life, the child will
react, causing symptoms to
appear in the body. One can
communicate with and impress this child
that a cure will be successful, and instill
positive expectation. Then the placebo will
work aIld the subconscious child will bring
about his goal of a healthy body. Through
natural suggestibility, this self is able to
accept the suggestion without "thinking"
about it, and thus alter the body as needed.
AffIrmations, repetition, prayers, chant-
ing and ritual are all ways to convince the
"child.".All of this can also be attributed to
a placebo, as the doctor has assured it is
going to be successful, and instills great
expectancy in the patient. There is sasis in
fact for the ':red" or "green" medicines,
muddy and bitter tasting concoctions,
tablets (large and hard to swallow), and
even capsules of various colors-all effec-
, tive placebos. Each has an effect on the
subconscious self differently, according to
background and experience of the subject.
Some believe using a placebo is dishon-
est. But if the placebo effect works, why
use a harsher active All active
.ingredients should only be prescqbed
when there is a valid need. Also, a percent-
age of the effect of medicines with active
ingredients may also be a placebo. This is
really nature's fIrst gateway to healing.
DR. TANDAVAN, 78, retired nuclear physi-
cian and hospital staff preSident, lives in
Chicago, where he specializes in alternative
healing arts. Visit his World Wide Web
home page at: www.hindu.orgldrtl
POSTPONED: Official bestowal of the un-
precedented "Parvatacharya" title
(feminine equivalent of "Shankarachar-
ya") on Guru Maa Jyotlshanand Saras-
watl after sadhus, concerned with this
ordination of a woman, threatened to
parade naked and disturb a March 9
Harldwar, India, ceremony. The sadhus
also noted that Guru Maa, 60, is Jain,
not Hindu, and Shankaracharyas are
usually chosen at an early age.
ABSOLVED: US astronaut Kalpana
Chawla, 35, by the National Space and
Aeronautical Administration from hu-
man error during
a November,
1997, space mis-
sion in which a
physics satellite
she was assigned
to release from
the shuttle bay
spun out of con-
trol. '!\;vo months
later, NASA con-
cluded the
mishap was due to a series of small sys-
tems errors and called Chawla "a terrif-
ic astronaut." Chawla was the fIrst Indi-
an-born woman in space.
ATTACKED: Acharya Shankarananda
Avadhuta (a senior monk of Ananda
Marga) while valiantly saving a Chi-
nese senior citizen in downtown San
Francisco from being robbed The rob-
ber hit Shankarananda with the butt of
a gun, causing heavy bleeding, before
running away. Shankarananda is now
recovering, at the Ananda Marga center
in Los Altos Hills, California, after re-
ceiving stitches at the hospital.
RELIVING: Mark 'IWain's adventures in
India is actor-director Sir Peter
Ostinov. In Fol-
lowing the Egua-
torwith Sir Peter
Ustinov-a four-
part series being
made for Grana-
da TV -Ustinov,
76, retraces an
triproade by
Twain in the Sir Peter Ustinov
19th century. In
Part Three of the series he explores
Darjeeling, Rajasthan, Mumbai and
Varanasi, comparing his observations
in 1997 with Twain's 100 years ago.
A Gala
Upon the hopes,and hazards of attending an
astrological seminar during an inauspicious time
will advise you, are dicey
event s. Important works
should not be begun six
days before or after a total eclipse
(three days for a partial), because
eclipses tend to stir up karma,
catalyze confusions, bring unex-
pecte,li events,' cause mishaps, etc.
So when we were invited to the
Second Annual Symposium on
Vedic Astrology, February 27 to
March 2 in Kona, Hawili, just one
day after the total eclipse of the
26th, we were puzzled-and wor-
ried that lill object lesson in tim-
ing was about to befall us.
Kona is on the "Big Island" of
Hawaii, about 500 miles from our
Hindu on the "Gar-
den Island" of Kauai. We were
invited to conduct an opening
puja blessing and give one of the
workshops. And things did get
off to a rough start. We forgot to
take an important parcel and
nearly . missed our connecting
flight in Honolulu. Upon arrival
in "'Kona, our bag containing the
worship implements for- the
opening was missing.
"' ...
following three days were fairly smooth.
We were impressed by the amount of Hin-
du Dharma that was being taught along
with astrology. Most all of the astrologers
anCl participants were of Western back-
ground, but everyone was open and hungry
for the knowledge of Hinduism. It seems
the more Westerners learn and practice
Vedic Astrology, the more they learn about "
Hinduism and are drawn to adopt its prac-
tices and principles. Someone
commented that anyone drawn
t o Vedic Astrology was very
likely a Hindu in a recent past
Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David'
Frawley) gave a beautiful talk
on Lord Ganesha, Lord Muru-
ga and Lord Hanuman, includ-
ing some of his personal experi-
ences with these divine beings.
A workshop by Denn'is Flaher-
ty on knowing your purpose
and vocation according to your
chart was an: accurate, even
profound, lecture on the four
purusharth'lls, or goals of life
according to the Vedas-dhar-
ma, our purpose; artha, what
we choose to accumulate;
kama, pleasure; and moksha,
enlightenment ana freedom
from rebirth-and how these
are reflected in the horoscope.
The puja at the Keauhou
Beach Hotel was to begin at 7:00,
The dozen US-based astrologers
(most prominently Chakrapani
Ullal p f Los Angeles) had gath-
ered to conduct the presentations
Medieval meet: Fffteenth-century astrological conference in Europe
During the last day of work-
shop "intensives," which ran
from lOAM to 5PM, Chakrapani
unfolded the mysteries of rela-
tionship compatibility and cul-
tuJal c6ntext Examining the
chart of Liz Taylor, Chakrapani
explained that if she had been
born with the same horoscope
but raised in a traditional Hindu
family in India rather than in
the West, she would 'nave mar-
ried only once (instead of eight ,
times) because Hindu beliefs,
to the 80 people who paid $245 each tp par-
ticipate in a program of; lectures and work-
shops ranging from an "Introduction to Vedic
Astrology'" by Chakrapani to 'J\dvanced
Techniques in Gochara" by Christina Col-
lins-Hill. We delayed as long as possible and
then proceeded without the necessary puja
articles, improvising with a wine glass for a
bell and a candle as an arati lamp. Just know-
ing we were in an eclipse gave a cer- .
tain humorous detachment from it all.
The power of an eclipse was the main dis-
cussion topic the fIrst evening-and there
was plenty of testimony abo]lt how real the
impact was. Most of the teaching faculty,
comprising some of the best Vedic as-
trologers in US, gave their p.ersonal testi-
monies. Christina told how she left her home
a few days early to avoid the eclipse (but still
within the six-day period). She intended to
cast a chart for the best departure time, but
her husband her out of it. On the way
to the airport, their car caught on' frre.
James Kelleher, of Los Gatos, California, a
co-sponsor of the symposium, surprised
his "dare and test" approach
to traditional beliefs, explaining how he tried
doing things during "inauspicious" times as a
test. He doesn't recommend this to clients,
narrating how he narrowly escaped from a
serious skiing accident during an ""eclipse.
Personally, he felt there was no need to be
paranoid about eclipses, but at the 'same time
one should not brazenly tempt the planets.
Despite the initial startup diffIculties,
once things were flowing in a routine, the
oulture and society would override certain
tendencies of her nature. He stressed how
important it is to the fi'ill back-
ground of a person in order to give a correct
chart interpretation. He analyzed the charts
of Hugh Hefner, Madonna and Jack Nichol-
son-there wasn't time for Bill Clinton-as
examples of how an j,ndividual's nature and
tendencies are a key factor in matching two
charts for marriage, Some people, he said, are
just not suited for married life, no matter how
good a compatibility there is with a potential
The conference ended without incident.
Each returned home with new friends, new
knowledge and a appreciation of
eclipses, which most certainly strain the in-
ner and outer atmospheres. ..
Surrounding Ira ivan Temple is an
extraordinary botanical garden
paradise, providing an area of
contemplative, natural beauty.
Pilgrims enjoy groves of plumeria,
konrai, hibiscus, heliconia, native
Hawaiian plant species and more.
At the entrance to the 51-acre
sanctuary is Americas only forest of
healing rudraksha trees. Send US$ 1 2
to purchase a single-bead necklace
of a sacred rudraksha, and receive as
our gift another bead to plant at
home to grow your own tree.
E-mail: books@hindu.org
KAPAA. HI 96746-9304 USA
Ajanta caves: The 2,000-year-old cave temples are carved into the 70-foot granite cliffs of
the Wagurna River Valley in Maharashtra State, central India. (inset) Benoy K Behl.
to See Daylight
Japanese fund museum and cave replication
pleading to build replicas of the
Ajanta Caves," says' photographer
_ Benoy K. Eehl of the Ar-
chaeological Survey of India.
"Then people would not have
to go into the real caves where
the delicate ancient paintings
are being spoiled due to the
humidity of their breathing,
bacteria left behind and
change in teJnperature." The
same problem has occurred
in Europe with cave paintings
dating to the Stone Age, and
.... those caves are being closed
to human traffic. Behl's per-
sistence has paid off, and now
the Government of India,
with monetary aid from
gained precise information on the buildings,
dress, family life, common animals, musical
instruments, even hair styles of the time.
With the decline of Buddhism in India in
. the 7th century CE, the
caves, some still unfinished,
were abandoned. It
was only in 1819 that British
explorers rediscovered them
along the Wagurna River.
Japan, will build a hi-tech re:
production of the three major
Behl has developed a tech-
nique for taking
in very low light, an ideal
strategy for reproducing the
paintings, which can be
damaged further even by a
photo £lash. Behl's full-,size
photos will be installed in
the cement recreation of
three caves, which will also
include replicas of the vari-
ous rock carvings. The pho-
tos will be computer en-
hanced to restore their
original luster. '
caves as part of a museum ad- Fading: 7,000 visitors a
jacent to the site. . day are harming the art
Ajanta Caves was the first
historical site in India to be placed on the
United Nation's World Heritage List. The 29
caves were carved between the 2nd centu-
ry BCE and the 7th century CEo They C0n-
tain large frescos depicting numerous im-
ages of Buddha and provide a panorama of
life in India 2,000 years ago as informative
as it is artistIc. From the scenes has been
"I believe Ajanta embodies
compassion and human understanding more
fhan any body of art in the world," says
Behl. "It was done out of devotion by simple,
humble painters and not for any recognition.
If we understand this real essence of Ajanta,
our society will be a better, more caring one,
one that will live with sincerity, devotion
and sadhana." ..
Gay;atri Gyanyagya Samaroh, Chicago
Gayatri Yugnirman Chicago will cel-
on Gurupurnima, Jul. 12, '98. The
head of Gayatri Pariwar, Yugnirman
Yojana, Mathura, India- REV. SHRI
LILAPATJI SHARMA-will attend, mak-
ing it the most auspicious and grand
event of the year-a unique opportu-
nity to receive Saint Lilapatji's bless-
ings. Call: Gayatri Mandir, Chicago:
773-465-2533 or Gayatri Pariwar,
Chicago: 847-692-7712.
DHARMAWARE: Gallery of Sacred Arts
For years, providing the highest
quality Hindu and Buddhist puja
supplies to the growing Dharma
community. Deity statues, South
Indian bronzes, Shiva Lingams,
Arati lamps, incense and malas.
Send {)S$3 for 36-page color catalog
specializing in Tibetan Buddhist
items. 54E Tinker St. , Woodstock,
NY 12498-1200 USA. 914-679-4900
Orders from USA: 888-679-4900
Website: www.dharmaware.com
Mahari shi Internati onal Uni versity 1971- 1995
Academic Excellence
Consciousness and Creativity
IDgh Quality of Life
Graduate and undergraduate programs in a
broad range of disciplines. All-vegetarian
food. Drug-free, crime-free, alcohol-free
campus. Financial aid available.
FREE VIDEO: Office of Admissions,
Maharishi University of Management,
Fairfield, IA 52557-0001 (800) 369-6480
American Institute of Vedic Studies
Expand your horizons in
Vedic and Hindu Dharma.
Practical teachings of
Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David
Frawley). Authentic knowl-
edge in a clear modern idiom.
Books and courses, confer-
ences and seminars, research
information, from the Rig
Veda to India Today.
Dr. Frawley's latest books:
• Ayurveda and the Mind
• Oracle of Rama
• Awaken Bharata:
A Call for India's Rebirth
• Ayurvedic Correspondence Course:
six hundred pages of in-depth material.
• Vedic Astrology Correspondence Course:
six hundred pages of in-depth material.
• Vedic yoga and the new view of ancient India.
American Institute of Vedic Studies
PO Box 8357
Santa Fe, NM 87504-8357 USA
Tel: 505-983-9385 • Fax: 505-982-5807
Email: Vedicinst@aol.com. Web: www.vedanet.com
Subramanya/Ayyappa Temple, Canada
The Subramanya/ Ayyappa
Temple opened in July 1994,
as a manifestation of the life
works of Sri Swami Vishnu-
devananda (1927-1993)-
founder of the International
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Cen-
tres and Ashrams worldwide.
In addition to daily pujas, the
following festivals will be
celebrated during Summer '98.
• Mariamman Tiruvala Pujas
and Pongala (June 19-28),
marking the 2nd anniversary
of Mariamman Pratishta. The
tenth day will be the 8th annual Pongala celebrations.
·Chandika Homa (July 1-9), marking the 4th anniversary of
the temple, concluding on the Pratishta day, July 9th.
.Kaavadi Tiruvala Pujas and Kaavadi (July 12-26). After 14
days of Tiruvala pujas, the 15th day will be the Kaavadi with
over 100 Kaavadi-carriers dancing in procession with our
newly built 18-foot chariot.
·Sahasra Kalashabhishekam and Sankabhishekam (Aug. 15)
A rare puja of its kind celebrated in memory of Swami
Vishnu-devananda for world peace.
Sivananda Ashram & Subramanyal Ayyappa Temple
673 8th Ave., Val Morin JOT 2RO Canada
Tel: 1-819-322-1379 • Fax: 1-819-322-5876
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp
Established by
Swami Vishnu-
devananda in 1962
and located amidst
250 acres of peace-
ful forest in the
Laurentian moun-
tains, 1 hour north
of Montreal. Year-
round program
includes morning
and evening

,'.',- .• "",,';.. "1- ) .

meditations and two yoga classes.
• June 27-July 25: Childrens' Summer Yoga Camp
• June 28-July 4: Vedic Architecture, with Dr. V. Ganapati
Sthapati, founder and research director of the Vastu Vedic
Research Foundation, Madras, India
• July 5-Aug. 2: Yoga Teacher's Training course
• Aug. 2-9: Bhagavata Saptaham wi Sant Venu Gopal
• August 17-23: Vandana Shiva, director of Research
Foundation for Science, Technology & Ecology, Dehradun,
India and Andrew Kimbrell, founder National Center for
Technological Assessment, Washington, DC
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp. 673 8th Avenue
Val Morin, PQ, JOT 2RO Canada. • Tel: 800-263-9642
(from Canada), 800-783-9642 (from USA), 819-322-3226
Fax 819-312-5876 • E-mail: HQ@sivananda.org
Nutritional Support for the
brain. The herbs in this
formula are known for their
nutritional support for the
brain and intellect. Helps
with fatigue and forget-
Antioxidant formula,
known in Ayurveda
for thousands of years
as the "jam of youth."
AMLA (the main
ingredient), known
to have one of the
highest concentrations
of vitamin C, 30 times
that of an orange.
Natariij Books-5,OOO Titles
The Major Distributor of
books from India.
A sampling from our catalog:
• Shiva: An Introduction.
Pattanaik. US$19.95
• Srimad Bhagavata Maha-
purana: With Sanskrit text
and English translation,
2 vols. set. $55.00
• Understanding Your Puja
Better. B. Dwarka. $4.95
• Devatma Shakti: Kundalini
Divine Power. Swami
Vishnu Tirtha. $8.95
• Mantrapushpam (in Sanskrit). Swami Dev Rupanand.
• Shri Rudram De-Coded: Mystery of Vedas Revealed,
Mantras and Medicines for Healing. Shubhakaran. $35.00
• Aadi Shankara's Bhajagovindam. Krishnamani. $18.00
• Handbook ofVastu. B. Niranjan Babu. $9.95
• Kundalini Tantra. Satyananda Saraswati. $16.95
• Rabindranath Tagore: A Biography. Kripalani. $25.00
Nataraj Books
7073 Brookfield Plaza • Springfield, VA 22150-2915 USA
Tel: 1-703-455-4996 • Fax: 1-703-912-9052
email: nataraj@mail.erols.com
Please ask for our free catalog • VisalMC accepted.
''Belt fIllDdustry" (product exceIlence),"21st Century"1IiJd
PrIde for 1997" (presented by the PresIdent of india)
lowing inmates to join a ten-day Vipassana ,
meditation program in an attemRt to help
petty criminals, alconolics and iliug addicts
to get a grip on their lives. Kiran Bedi
made the program famous during her
tenure as warden of Tihar Jail in Ne'{v Del-
hi, largest prison. She had both pris-
oners and guards participate, with a
marked impact upon morale. For ten days
and nights there are long sessions of mo-
tionless meditation, with no talking or oth-
er diversions. Results so far with Seattle in-
mates who were able to stick out the ten
days have been dramatic.
mals \PETA) is an in-your-face group of
vegetarians and animal-rights activists'
known for such tactics !lS throwing blood
upon the expensive fur coats of strolling
New York women in protest of the fur in-
dustry. Their latest move is to tell Chris-
tians that Jesus was a vegetarian and that
they-should all give up meat-eating. "It's a
. kooky idea," was tl;te response of one Jesuit,
and none seemed convinced by PETA's ar-
gument that Jesus belong to the Essene
Jewish sect, who were vegetarians. PETA
spokesman Bruce Friec;lrich scolded, "The
church was on the wrong side of the slavery
issue and women's rights, and if they con-
tinue to support die of animals,
they'll be. on the wrong side of this issue."
Contact: PE:rA, 501 Front Street, Norfolk,
• . Vrrgmia 23510 USA. www.peta-online.org
team in the Winter
Olympics at Nagano,
Japan? Mitch Albom,
sports commentator
of the Free
Press, didn't. He in-
terviewed 16-year-
old Shiva Keshavan,
the sole Indian repre-
sentative at the
games. Shi.va
placed a respect- A '1uge" snow sled
able 28th iin the
luge race--ahead of every other Asian com-
petitor except Japan. He doesn't get much
practice at his home in the Himalayas, as
he doesn't own the special sled used in the
• event/ but he was immensely proud to rep-
resent his country.
in promoting eacl1 other's indigenous medi-
cine in a program of fellowships and ex-
change of doctors. The Chinese are offer-
ing expertise in their traditional herbal
remedies and acupuncture, the Indians in
ayurveda and yoga.
recreate the joint family environmeIi(in
"co-housing communities," a concept in-
vented in Denmark in the 1970s. Ten to
fifty families pool their resources to buy a
plot of undeveloped land, then build on it
in a way to maximize human interaction.
For example, most houses are reachable
only on foot, cars being exiled to parking
lots. Community liVing rooms and kitchens
create a sense of family environment.
the kar sevaks accused in the 1990 razing
of Babri Masjid in •
Ayodhya, India.
Following the de-
molition of the
upon the birth-
place of Lord
Rama, thollsands
died in riofs across
India, alld thou-
sands of Hindu
temples were dam-
aged in Pakistan
and Bangladesh. Babri Masjid razing
Gerrrtany with the renaming of a Berlin
' high school as "Mahatma Gandhi Ober- ,
schule." The name was decided by a vote of
teachers and students. In America, the first
statue of the Mahatma on federal land was
unveiled in Atlanta, Georgia, in January at
the Martin Luther King Jr. Historical. Na-
tional Park. King patterned his civil rights
movem:nt after Gandhis satyagraha and
traveled to India in the early 1950S to meet
with prominent Gandhians.
to normal with the adoption· of a new, non-
racist constituti0n in Fiji and the subse-
quent lifting of the ten-year trade embargo
by India. rnplomatic ties were severed in
1990, three years after a coup deposed an
. Indian-led government. Indian Fijians
make up' 46 percent of the country's
750,000 population.
DAVID BARRET, EDITOR of the World Christ-
ian Efll?Yclopedia, has issued a revised set
of statist;ics on religious affiliation. The fig-
ures represent a recalculation of certain. es-
timates, rather than a shift in actual affilia-
tio:q. In 1997, for example, he numbered
"tribal religionists" as 100,000,000, but in
his new figures ups this to 244,000,000.
One major change is the collapse of com-
munism and the reemergence of traditional
faiths in various parts of the former Soviet
Union. His on Hindus are dropped
from 806,000,000 to 7670400,000, also ap-
parently due to the reassignment of groups
to "tribal religionists." Christians as a total
percentage of the world population were
reduced from to 3:f2%.
·ayurvedic college as a result of growing de-
mand. "A lot of white British people are
seeking ayurvedic treatment because they
are fed up with the side-effects of the med-
icines they take," said Dr. N. Satyamurthy,
general secretary of the Ayut:vedic Medical
Association of the United Kingdom. The
first group of 25 all
Apglo-English-has commenced study
of the three-year course.
SAHAJ MUNI, A JAIN SAINT, is patiently fast-
ing himself a world record, but it is not
likely to end up in the Guinness Book of '.
World Records. The record-keepers have
dropped the category, apparently because
of the difficulty in confrrming the fast, and
because one can die trying. Sahaj Muni has
consumed only glasses of hot water since
April, 1997, and was e pected to break his
fast May 1. His weight has dropped from
158 pounds to 70, but attending doctors
maintain his health is good. He is doing it,
he explained, to rid himself of the bad
deeds of previous births. According to the
Encyclopedia Britannica, an extreII).ely
obese person can go without food for a
year, but most fasters, such as ten jailed
Irish Republican Army members in 1981,
die:within a couple of months.
vegetarian, because the Cor-
nell University team design-
ing the menus for future
lunar or Mars colonies
aren't planning on
shipping Big Macs
along. Their goal is tQ
have astronauts grow 30
crops in hydroponic
space farms. Cattle
ranching on Mars, it ap-
pears they concluded, just
wasn't a reasonable
option. ' Vegi-astronaut
enough for people to communicate with
The Divine Mathe'l:
each other in the community. If you look to
the history of these ancie"nt languages of
the world, you will find in them varied,
slow developments. But the Sanskrit lan-
guage was perfect from the very beginning .
Is there not enough evidence to understand
that it is not man made, but a divine gift?

Of All Languages
Everyone who learns the Sanskrit gram- .
mar knows the intelligence of words that
formed from the root word called dhatu.
For one single verb there are go forms used
in its 10 tenses. Even a simple noun or pro-
noun has 21 forms of the same word.
Knowing all that, still, Sir William Jones
made a declaration at a 1786 meeting in his
Sanskrit is a Godly gift, complete anQ complex,
recognized as the parent of EUFopean dialects
S A R A S W A T I .own Calcutta society that because some .
words of Sanskrit, Latin and Greek are
. '
self They were first revealed to the people of Earth
by Brahma through the sages and recently by Bhag-
Ved Vyas. They are not the writings of a person,
as some assume. They remain in the same form in all
the ages. The Sanskrit language came with the scriptures,
along with all of its grammar. This fact is in many
places in the Upanishads. The VecitM, Upanishads and Pu-
ranas,· etc., were received by Brahma from the supreme per-
sonality of God, which Brahma conceived of and revealed to
the sages the very first day of His life, which is more than
155 trillion years ago. Then it was re-revealed by a decision
of God Himself whenever it was needed, or whenever there
was destruction of civilization. The latest and last revelation was
by Bhagwan Ved Vyas about 5,000 years ago when he rewrote all
the scriptures in their original form and taught it to his disciples.
In this way all these scriptures were revealed in the same se-
quence of time, in a continuous succession, of which the last one
was Bhagwatam, whiGh, according to our history, was related to
King Parikchit by Paramahahs Shukdeo just 30 years after the
beginning of the Kali Yuga in 3072 BCE. Variation of the style of
the language of Samhita, Upanishad and Purana is just their style.
It does not mean an"earlier or later date of writing. Our Sanskrit
grammar is perfect since it first landed on the planet Earth.
Ifhe names of rishis and saints that appear in the reference and
of our scriptures are all eternal saints; eternally they reside
in the Divine abodes. They do come on Earth. So, the names of
such saints that are mentioned in our scriptures are also eternaJ.
Such a story form of writing is easy to understand for a common
person. That's why the scriptures are eternalls made like that. One
should not think that if an event is described in a scripture, it
should have happened first and then be recorded by someone at a
later date. It is not like this.
As regards to divineness of the Sanskrit language, it is self-evi-
dent. You don't light up a torch to see the sun, just open your eyes
and see it. But if you close your Wes you can't see it. Since the first
time historians learned about the existence of Sanskrit, they have
seen it in the same perfect form up till now, without any "sound .
shift" or change in "inflection," as happens to other languages of
the world-and all the anthropological linguists know that. In the
last 3,000 years there was no genius born who could introduce a
perfect grammar like Sanskrit. Even the advanced English lan-
guage of today only had 3,000 words when its first dictionary was
published in 1604- Prior to that it had been through so many
transformations since its birth. The oldest prime languages, like
Latin and Greek, in their primitive stages had few words, just
similar, there must have been another par-
ent language from where they were bor-
rowed. On his speculation the plirases
"Indo-European Language" and "Indo-
European people" were introduced, which
never existed. Attention of linguists was
wrongly toward an unknown side, like look-
ing for water in a desert mirage. Unfortu-
nately, even our Indlan writers followed the
same gossip and hampered the reputation,
authenticity and divineness of our Sanskrit
language, and our scriptures as well.
In{act, Sanskrit is, the mother language
of all other world languages, and the specu-
lated "Indo-European Language" is Sanskrit. The speculated 0
"Indo-European people" are inhabitants of Bharatvarsh, or India,
which is also called Aryavat. Thus, it is self evident from the above
descriptions that Aryans of Aryavart or Bharatiya of Bharatvarsh
are the same.
What happened is fhat in ancient times, Indian people traveled
to neighboring Asian and European countries, settled there and
over time almost forgot India. But in local spoken tongues, they
held instincts of Sanskrit words of general communication. That's
how, in due course, when languages like Latin, Greek, Celtic and
Iranian were developed according to advancement of their own
civilizations, they still retained some original Sanskrit words which
are reflected'in their languages as a similarity of words between
Latin, Greek and Sanskrit.
Now we know that Sanskrit originated from India. There is no
such thing as a tribe coming to India with a language called San-
skrit, and there is no such thing as a pre- or pre-Aryan peri-
od, as our Vedic is the first to appear on Earth. Our
scriptures are diVine writings, so they cannot be understood by
learning Sanskrit grammar and interpreting the words to on!{'s own
style of thinking. They can only be understood with the help of a
divirte personality. I
SWAMI PRAKASHANAND, 69, heads International Society of Divine
Love and Barsana Dham in Texas-the largest US Hindu Temple
complex. Ayodhya-born, he teaches divine love of Radha-Krishna.
Moneesh Resources - Gifts and Books
For the past 18
years, we have
developed an ex-
tensive collection
of gifts, statues and
books to support
you in your spirit-
ual upliftment.
• A broad collec-
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texts of all tradi-
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• The finest rudraksha malas, custom made-gold-filled,
14k gold, with silver etc. • A wide collection of wrist or
necklace malas in various stones and styles • Statues of
deities: Ganesha, Krishna, Shiva Nataraj, etc. • Posters,
calendars and notecards of deities from the fillest artists-all
sizes .0 Puja and meditation items: Incense, prayer shawls,
wool meditation asanas, cushions and more
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A New Incarnation of the Gita's Truths
Paramahansa Yogananda penetrates to
the Bhagavad Gita's psychological
and metaphysical depths, revealing its
innermost essence. Many long-lost
truths come to life in his new transla-
tion and commentary, illuminating the
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KAPAA. HAWI1i 96746-9304
294 'flJIHFI SJ
, HI 96746-9352
PERI'IIT No, 275

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