Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gods Go Hungry

Offerings of food and flowers to local devas (godlings)

Gods Go Hungry in Food Crisis
Washington Post (4/08)

108 vegetarian dishes spread out for deities, Krsna temple, Bangalore, India

Skyrocketing food prices have a new victim in India: Hindu deities. Supplicants offer milk and other food at temples where they pray, but with the cost of staples soaring, many are unable even to feed themselves, the Washington Post reports. "If poor people don't even have enough for bread, how will they donate milk to the gods?" asks a Brahmin priest. More >>
  • This has led the impoverished Indian state of Bihar to extremes as it recently issued a recommendation to its citizens to eat...

Sacrificial lamb as Brahmin priest calls out for worshippers to gather

Indian State Recommends Eating Rats
(Reuters 8/08) – Faced with high food prices and ebbing grain reserves, officials in the Indian state of Bihar have endorsed the consumption of rats, Reuters reports. The state government sees the strategy as a way to reduce the pest population as well as curb the demand for grain, and has even proposed that restaurants start offering the rodents. "Eating of rats will serve twin purposes—it will save grains from being eaten away by rats and will simultaneously increase our grain stock," said Vijay Prakash, an official from Bihar's welfare department. More >>

"We are very serious to implement this project since the food crisis is turning serious day by day" - Jitan Ram Manjhi, Bihar Caste and Tribe Welfare Minister
Sacred History Resonates in Kathmandu
(Vanity Fair) – Decades of restoration have kept up the medieval splendor of a region long hidden from the world: Kathmandu Valley. Started by Germany in the 1960s and later spearheaded by a Harvard professor, the repairs have maintained many of the area's stupas and pagodas, Lucinda Lambton writes for Vanity Fair — but one must visit to see how the architecture infuses the sacred in the everyday.

Buddha eyes top stupas (burial mounds and reliquaries, throughout Nepal

“And what a noise," Lambton writes. "With prayer bells ringing, carpenters chiseling, metalworkers hammering, horns tooting, loudspeakers blaring, people shrieking and chattering, food sizzling. What other great historic urban space is there in the world that has flung itself so wholeheartedly into modern life while retaining its spiritual soul and stately beauty?” More>>
"All the scholarship in the world could not match the living heritage of people who know how to carve in this way—people, furthermore, who actually care which god goes where" - Lucinda Lambton, Vanity Fair

The world famous "Buddha Eyes," in Boudanath Stupa in Katmandu Nepal, must be repainted, gold applied, and the entire dome whitewashed regularly.

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