Archive for ॐ

“Being Kind”

Posted in Buddhism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2017 by designldg

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“Be kind to all creatures; this is the true religion.”
(Siddhārtha Gautama, known as the Buddha – c. 563 BCE/480 BCE – c. 483 BCE/400 BCE)

This is a close-up of one of the statues of the Buddha inside the Tibetan temple in Sarnath which is located at 13 km away from Varanasi (Benaras).

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Many Ways to Worship

Posted in Buddhism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by designldg

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“I’ve learned much from the land of many gods and many ways to worship. 
From Buddhism the power to begin to manage my mind, from Jainism the desire to make peace in all aspects of life, while Islam has taught me to desire goodness and to let go of that which cannot be controlled. 
I thank Judaism for teaching me the power of transcendence in rituals and the Sufis for affirming my ability to find answers within and reconnecting me with the power of music. 
Here’s to the Parsis for teaching me that nature must be touched lightly, and the Sikhs for the importance of spiritual strength….
And most of all, I thank Hinduism for showing me that there are millions of paths to the divine.” 
(From “Holy Cow” by Sarah Macdonald)

This is a close-up of a part of the Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath located at 13 km away from Varanasi (Benaras).
The Dhamek Stupa is said to mark the spot of a deer park (Rishipattana) where the Buddha gave the first sermon to his five disciples after attaining enlightenment, “revealing his Eightfold Path leading to nirvana”.
In its current shape, the stupa is an impressive cylinder of bricks and stone reaching a height of 43.6 meters and having a diameter of 28 meters (128 feet high and 93 feet in diameter).
The basement seems to have survived from Ashoka’s structure: the stone facing is chiseled and displays delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin. 
The wall is covered with exquisitely carved figures of humans and birds, as well as inscriptions in the Brāhmī script.
This picture was shot at the time of a visit of his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

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© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved. 
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“A Guit Your” – “Shana Tova”

Posted in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by designldg

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
(From “A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches” by Martin Luther King Jr.)

Amazing symbols gathered all together on a huge bowl in the gardens of the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum in New Delhi.
With “Om” everything begins, it is a mantra and mystical Sanskrit sound of Hindu origin sacred and important in various Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
Like Ganesha who is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, he is the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom, the god of beginnings and therefore he is honoured at the start of rituals and ceremonies.
Then the hexagram which has deep significance in most of the Dharmic and Abrahamic religions.
In Christianity it is often called the star of creation, while it is known as Najmat Dāwūd (Star of David) or Khātem Sulaymān (Seal of Solomon) in Islam and becomes the Magen David when it is recognized as the symbol of Judaism.

In many ways this picture unites us all and allows me to wish everyone, whatever your faith is, “A Guit Your”, “Shana Tova” or, in other words, a Happy New Year.
It is easier to love than to hate, and as we are at the edge of a new conflict I truly want peace to prevail.
May this year be peaceful for all of us…

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A New Lease of Life

Posted in Studies & Sketches through the lens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2013 by designldg

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“He was my own son.
Now you give him a new lease of life”,
said Mother Parvati to Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva then ordered his Ganas to go out and bring the head of any creature they saw first.
It was an elephant that the Ganas found first.
So they cut its head and brought it to Lord Shiva.
Putting the elephant head at the boy’s torso, Lord Shiva infused a new lease of life in him.

Of all the multitudes of deities and gods that constitute the Hindu religion, Lord Ganesha is probably one of the most loved and revered of all, regardless of individual beliefs and customs.
Considered the God of good beginnings and wisdom, it is in his name that new ventures are undertaken and important life decisions made.

This illustration of Lord Ganesha was printed on a tile and fixed on the wall of a house in the oldest part of Varanasi (Benaras).
Since a while several walls of the holy city are covered with paintings or tiles showing any image or symbol of the main religions and most often they are displayed all together.
This is a simple trick in order to keep the walls clean as no-one there would dare making a “lack of respect” to any represention of God…

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Deep In His Eyes

Posted in Banarsi (Portraits) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by designldg

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“That man has reached immortality who is disturbed by nothing material.”
(Swami Vivekananda – Indian Spiritual leader of the Hindu religion (Vedanta), 1863-1902)

This is a picture of Lal Baba who is a Saivite (follower of Shiva) sādhu.
He was born in the Indian state of Bihar but he stays most of the time in Varanasi (Benaras).
People call him Lal Baba because he mostly wears garments in red shades, in Hindi “lal” means red.
His huge turban keeps a few meters of dreadlocks and gives him an impressive presence.
Sometimes people think that he can’t see much because of cataract but in fact his eyes have an amazing deep blue colour.
He is a well-known figure along the Ganges however nowadays he only accepts to pose for people he knows.
Whenever I meet him we share a few words and he gives me his blessings while putting his hands on my head…
(Deep in his eyes there is my reflection taking this picture)

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Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Posted in Hinduism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2011 by designldg

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All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“Vakratunda Mahaakaaya Suryakotee Sama Prabhaa.
Nirvighnam kuru mey deva
Sarva kaaryeshu Sarvadaa..”
(O Lord with twisted trunk and massive appearance whose splendor is aqual to a million suns…
Please bless me such that I do not face any obstacles in any of my endeavors, anytime. )

Lord Ganesha is addressed through this mantra, popularly known as the vakratunda mantra.
Ganesha can be viewed as a symbol of that energy which can help us overcome the obstacles in our path to spiritual growth and enlightenment.
The chanting of mantras is believed to invoke a connection to the particular energy associated with the deity that is being addressed by the mantra.
Ganesha is the ruler of the mooladhara chakra, located at the base of the spine, and is also known as the root chakra.
Hence, “Ganesha is invoked as the starting point of the ascent to awareness, as the one who causes that energy to rise up, which leads the seeker to a union with the divine”.

Ganesha Chaturthi, the great Ganesha festival starts today, it is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.
This is a picture of a clay Ganesha murti worshipped during this festival and which normaly goes to the holy waters of the Ganges, however this one never leaves me since a few years…

May Lord Ganesha bestow success, happiness and prosperity upon you all.
Happy Ganesh Chaturthi 2011…!!!

Splendour & Beauty

Posted in Pehlwans & Gurus with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by designldg

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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“Because God created it the human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve its splendour and its beauty.”
(Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojtyła, 1920-2005)

When I reached the little akhara (gymnasia) which is lost in the fields near Sakalhida, a village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, I first saw this pelhwan (Indian wrestler) who was outside with a gada.

A gada is a large round rock fixed to the end of a meter-long bamboo staff which is lifted and swung for exercise.
It may weigh as little as five or as much as fifty to sixty kilograms.
In the Ramayana and Mahabharata the gada is often mentioned as a weapon.
In popular religious art and iconography Hanuman is almost never depicted without one. It is not only the symbol of his strength but also of his countenance. The gada he carries is highly decorated and made of gold. At championship bouts wrestlers are awarded gadas made of silver. The gada is, then, clearly the mark of a wrestler’s prowess. Given the preponderance of phallic symbols in the akhara and the gada’s general shape it is evident that swinging a gada has clear symbolic overtones of sexual potency and virility.Each time the gada is swung it is brought to a balanced position, erect from the wrestler’s waist.The phallic aspect of the gada is also evidenced by its association with snakes. In the Harivamsa Akrura dives into the serpent world where he sees Ananta asleep on top of a mace…
In shape a gada resembles the churning stick used to make butter and buttermilk. A parallel between churning and sexual energy has been drawn above. By swinging the gada one might say that a wrestler is churning his body to increase his store of semen.
(“The Wrestler’s Body: Identity and Ideology in North India” by Joseph S. Alter)

“Vanity is so secure in the heart of man that everyone wants to be admired: even I who write this, and you who read this.”
(Blaise Pascal – French Mathematician, Philosopher and Physicist, 1623-1662)

This image was shot at Scindia Ghat along river Ganga in Varanasi (Benaras).
This young man was striking several poses in order to catch my attention so I could take a few snaps of him but I was pretending not to see him as I am mostly working on natural poses.
It was a Sunday afternoon before sunset and he came there to wash his laundry, his attitude was amazing, full of narcissism, each of his gesture was carrying vanity and pride…
After a while I couldn’t help laughing and I took a few pictures, in fact he knew that I was leaving the akhara nearby where I often take pictures of the pehlwani (wrestlers).

The pillar on the left belongs to the remains of a massive palace which used to stand on Scindhia ghat.
The entire structure has sunk several feet into the earth since its erection and is still gradually and slowly sinking.
Sometimes in the winter when the holy waters of the Ganges come very low it is possible to see it otherwise most of the time it stays underwater.

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