as a weekly practice I listen to npr and do a little sketch on one of the stories. take a look, you can click on the illustration to make it bigger!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
long days and short nights for a hindu monk.
There's not much traffic on First Avenue in lower Manhattan at 5:15 a.m. But in the building between a darkened tattoo shop and electronic store, a light shines bright from the second floor.Inside is the New York City headquarters of the Interfaith League, a Hare Krishna group. A visitor is greeted with a blast of sights and sounds: Thirteen men and one woman are twirling and dancing, playing cymbals and drums and chanting Hindu tunes. Hare Krishna monks are in orange or white robes. Civilians are in business suits or jeans. They all face an altar adorned with flowers and statues of the supreme Hindu God, Krishna, and his female counterpart, Radha. A little over an hour later, a 35-year-old monk named Gadadhara Pandit Dasa blows into a conch shell and pours a water offering. This marks the half-way point in this three-hour morning worship service, a daily celebration.
Pandit grew up in an observant Hindu family. He was an only child. They moved from India to California when he was 7, and as his father's business fortunes ebbed and flowed, he began asking existential questions. In his early 20s, Pandit moved to Bulgaria to help his father with his import-export business. Unable to speak the language, he had few friends. He spent evenings alone and lonely, and one night, began reading the sacred Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita. "That's when it really took off for me," he recalls, "because for the first time in my spiritual life, I was being given answers."
"Some people may think that a monk is somewhat reclusive — kind of isolated, in a bubble, meditating all day. But it's quite the opposite. I'm on the computer, e-mailing. I'm driving, using cell phones and using Facebook. I have my own Web site." Facebook, he notes, is "great for connecting to college students."
-excerpt from NPR