India’s New Rock Star Comes to America

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What’s a White House dinner without dinner? Modi and Obama will find out. (+video)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with President Obama for a private dinner tonight, but the prime minister is fasting for a Hindu religious festival. This is Modi’s first official visit.
By Syed Nazakat, Correspondent SEPTEMBER 29, 2014
Lucas Jackson/Reuters View Caption

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NEW DELHI — How do you serve dinner to a head of state who won’t eat? The White House will attempt to answer that tonight, as President Obama hosts the fasting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a private dinner.

Unlike most of his predecessors in India’s highest political office, Mr. Modi, who took office in May, is a devout Hindu. He is fasting for the Hindu religious festival of Navratri, a practice he’s maintained for the past 40 years.

The leader – who was banned from traveling to the United States for nearly a decade because of questions over his actions during deadly Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002 – is enjoying a so-far triumphal first official visit, including giving his first speech at the United Nations, and headlining a sold-out event at Madison Square Garden over the weekend.

 

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VIDEO Is PM Narendra Modi India’s New Rock Star?
Back home in India, Modi’s choice to observe his regular practice despite the major diplomatic engagement is making headlines, with the Times of India noting that “Modi’s fast … baffles Americans.” The paper praised Modi for “pulling off” the fast while holding 36 meetings and events in five days. “These are not one-way meetings during which he just listens and nods. He engages,” the paper wrote.

What is the Navratri festival?
Navratri is a nine-day festival, during which Indian Hindus worship the mother goddess Durga. Navratri, derived from the ancient Sanskrit words “nine nights,” is celebrated twice a year, once to mark the start of summer and again to announce the onset of winter. This year the festival falls from Sept. 25 to Oct. 3.

During the festival, Hindus fast, pray, and dance to please the mother goddess. The festival is considered auspicious and many people purchases cars, jewelry, and buy houses. The festival culminates on the 10th day, known as Dussehra, which marks the victory of good over evil and is often celebrated with fireworks and reenactments of ancient Hindu stories.

The festival is practiced differently depending on the region. Many devotees restrict their diet to fruit and vegetables and give up meat, onions, and garlic. Others, like Modi, who is a strict vegetarian, do not eat at all.

Modi has cultivated a formidable reputation for strict self-discipline. He reportedly sleeps for only five hours – sometimes even less. Journalists say that he wakes up at 5 a.m., meditates, prays, and logs on to the Internet to check what is written about him.

His icon is philosopher-monk Swami Vivekanand, who championed yoga and meditation to the Western world in the 19th century.

After he left home as a young man, Modi found inspiration from his writings and become a campaigner for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing Hindu organization that aims to make India a Hindu nation and functions as an ideological fountainhead to a host of right-wing Hindu groups.

Warming ties?
The White House visit is part of a warming of ties between official Washington and Modi, who had been denied a US visa since 2005 for his role in riots between Hindus and Muslims that killed over 1,000 under his watch as chief minister in Gujarat, India. A court cleared Modi of responsibility, though his critics maintain that he could have done more to stop the violence.

Officials at India’s foreign office say that the White House had been informed of Modi’s dietary requirements. When asked about Mr. Modi’s plans to fast, India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said it was “normal diplomatic practice to indicate the dietary preferences of the guests to the hosts” ahead of a foreign visit.

“They have taken note of it and have prepared everything accordingly,” Mr. Akbaruddin told the Indian news agency PTI.

 

Agree or disagree, Mr. Modi does not  lead  from behind, no mater where he is! 

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10 Mysterious Photos that cannot be Explained…

annetbell:

Shaun is my friend. Do I agree with him on everything? No, but I have learned much from him.  This is a fascinating post that I thought you might enjoy! Oh the mysteries of life!

Originally posted on Ace News Desk 2014 :

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The Solway Firth Spaceman Mystery

By Shaun Gibson -@ShaunyNews

As a lad who has always been drawn to the unnatural and unreal in life I am always on the lookout for things to spark my imagination and get me thinking. Many ask me “Shaun, how can you sleep at night doing all this” The answer is simple, I am open minded and I don’t scare easy. I never understand where %s for canvassing comes from but one I seen today told us this

People who believe in God are 73% less likely to politically and socially confront injustice in this life.

Basically people who believe in the good book and God are less likely to ask questions others do. I am a believer in “Live and let live” a moral God and Bible lovers alike should also try and be, not all, but the majority. I added ‘John Lennon…

View original 1,897 more words

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Navaratri Begins !!!

This gallery contains 23 photos.

Originally posted on keep picturing:
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Gallery | 3 Comments

Music Monday Widor Toccata from Newark Cathedral

Charles-Marie Widor was a French composer, organist and teacher who lived from 1844-1937.  This is his most famous work, simply known as the Widor Toccata, though it actually is the final  piece in the 5th movement of his Symphony for Organ #5.

I remember the first time I heard it played and the wonder of it all. As you listen you will hear the technical difficulty and stamina of the organist playing this amazing six minute piece.  It is jubilant  and joyous and often played as a recessional piece after a wedding ceremony or  at the end of midnight mass on Christmas Eve.  I had it played as the recessional for  both my parent’s funerals as the last celebration gift of their lives.

Interested in comments and thoughts. . . . .

 

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“Travel” by Anthony Bourdain

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This weekend, I am traveling to Virginia again, but this time  for a family wedding. I loved this quote and have been saving it .  Yes, I know that the travel or journey metaphor is over used. . . . life is a journey, spiritual journey, family journey. . . .just about any journey you want to describe. And of course, a trip or travel  either in your country or abroad. But all those are  journeys we travel as we pass through this world.

Travels often tucked into lovely warm experiences are not  always  pretty and often uncomfortable as you face new challenges. Sometimes there is pain as you are changed with uncomfortable new things and or people.  Some people we love, go and some others we wish would go , stay.  Every experience, each new person or location leaves marks somewhere . . . . .on your memory, your conscience , on your heart, or on your physical body.  During all these experiences you take something with you.   Hopefully you leave something good behind  through a word, smile, kindness  or example. Don’t we all hope  to leave something good and positive behind  that makes a difference in someone’s life  when  we have passed through this world?

Can you share about your travels or journey?  Are they synonyms ? 

 

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Indian Spacecraft, “Mom” First to Orbit Mars !

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“Mom”, the affectionate  name given to the Indian spacecraft, reached Mars orbit on Wednesday, beating  China, the Americans, the Soviets, and Europe and all on a shoestring budget. $74 million  to be exact which was less than the budget to make the film “Gravity!”

Grade school children all over India were told to arrive at school at 6:45 AM to be inspired as they observed this historic occasion in the life of India and the world!

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Mr. Modi ,the new Prime Minister , was understandably excited at this affirmation as he sets out for  New York City and his historic United Nations speech.  You can count on hearing about that right here  on another day !

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/world/asia/on-a-shoestring-india-sends-orbiter-to-mars.html?_r=0

Are you surprised at this news? 

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25 True Mind-Blowing Things!

These 25 Things Might Sound Crazy But They’re Mind-Blowingly True. #9 Is AWESOME.

June 18, 2014 Other Stuff

 It’s a strange place, this world we live in. Cars park on driveways and drive on parkways, hot dogs come in packs of ten and hot dog buns come in packs of eight, inflammable means flammable. Weird, right? And these things weren’t even crazy enough to make the list!

Check out these incredible facts.

(H/T list25)

If a strawberry isn’t a straw or a berry, then what is it? That’s easy: delicious. Seriously though, how are these things true? I feel like my life has been flipped upside down–or is it downside up? I really don’t know what to believe anymore.

Where you surprised at any of these?  Which was your favorite?  

 

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