"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 16, 2013 -
Over a thousand monks and laymen are revered in Tibetan Buddhism as the incarnations of past teachers who convey enlightenment to their followers from one lifetime to the next. Some of the most respected are known by the honorific "rinpoche." For eight centuries, rinpoches were traditionally identified by other monks and then locked inside monasteries ringed by mountains, far from worldly distractions. Their reincarnation lineages were easily tracked across successive lives. Then the Chinese Red Army invaded Tibet in 1950 and drove the religion's adherents into exile. Now, the younger rinpoches of the Tibetan diaspora are being exposed to all of the twenty-first century’s dazzling temptations. So, even as Tibetan Buddhism is gaining more followers around the world, an increasing number of rinpoches are abandoning their monastic vows. Reincarnation in Exile. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Feb 5, 2013 -
"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."
On Sunday morning
, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away.
He leaves behind a massive empire
, several million mourning devotees worldwide,
an extensive religious philosophy
, a great deal of controversy
and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities
, a free university and schools,
and other efforts which included supplying clean water
to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 25, 2011 -
"IN THE COURTYARD OF THE BELOVED
is a visual and aural portrait of Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah
, a Sufi shrine in New Delhi, India. Made from over 18,000 still images and ambient sounds recorded on-site, rapid-fire bursts of kaleidoscopic imagery assemble into fractured collages where a moment expands outwards and then converges back into itself, fleshing out a three-dimensional rendering of place."
posted by gman
on Oct 7, 2010 -
The Big Picture: Recent Hindu festivals and rituals.
"Many Hindus throughout India recently celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi
, a 10-day festival celebrating the birth of Ganesh
, their supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Hinduism, the predominant religion in India, is rich with traditional festivals and rituals, celebrated in many ways and locations around the world. Collected here are a few photographs from recent Hindu festivals and of Hindu devotees worshipping and practicing ritual ceremonies in India, England, Nepal and Indonesia."
posted by homunculus
on Sep 9, 2009 -
An American Sadhu
- A seeking of holiness, resulting in disillusionment and abandonment. A very good read about one man's experience meeting a guru and his disciple, and ultimately coming full circle to "you get the guru you deserve".
posted by Kickstart70
on Jul 26, 2009 -
India’s New Face.
"Meet Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat and the brightest star in the Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party. Under Modi, Gujarat has become an economic dynamo. But he also presided over India’s worst communal riots in decades, a 2002 slaughter that left almost 2,000 Muslims dead. Exploiting the insecurities and tensions stoked by India’s opening to the world, Modi has turned his state into a stronghold of Hindu extremism, shredding Gandhi’s vision of secular coexistence in the process. One day, he could be governing the world’s largest democracy." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Mar 11, 2009 -
The real secret to producing superheroes (bollywood or otherwise) is to start them young, really YOUNG
. (Link to single video)
posted by sk381
on Apr 27, 2008 -
against MF Husain
have been stayed
in India's Supreme Court. A painting
by the celebrated Muslim artist, apparently depicting Mother India as a nude, led Hindus to bring an obscenity case and proceedings to seize his Mumbai property were initiated. However his lawyers moved swiftly to frustrate
the action, transferring the property into his son's name and then seeking the High Court ruling. Hindus have taken offense
at previous paintings
by Husain, depicting Hindu deities in allegedly obscene ways. Others disagree.
posted by Phanx
on May 8, 2007 -
Dear Leo, Dear Mohandas
"The longer I live -- especially now when I clearly feel the approach of death -- the more I feel moved to express what I feel more strongly than anything else... the doctrine of the law of love unperverted by sophistries. Love... the highest and indeed the only law of life".
The Kingdom of God Is Within You
(full text available) is Leo Tolstoy
's tractatus of "Christianity
Not as a Mystic Religion but as a New Theory of Life", a primer of (among other things) the doctrine of non-violence
. Among the many fans
of the 1894 book was an imprisoned
Hindu barrister, a "half-naked fakir"
if you want, a certain Mohandas
who was fascinated by "the independent thinking, profound morality, and the truthfulness"
of the book
. So he ended up writing fan letters to the great Russian man: who warmly wrote back to his young Indian "friend and brother". The old wise Christian anarchist
and the shy, insecure young man
who sparked a revolution: to paraphrase another wise, badly-dressed , pacifist old man
, "Generations to come, it may be, will scarcely believe that such men ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."
posted by matteo
on Jun 17, 2004 -
105 unconscious children temporarily buried alive in the name of religion.
In a horrible ritual witnessed by an Indian government official, who quit his position shortly afterward
, children were worked until exhausted, wrapped in cloth, and then buried for one entire minute. Sometimes it feels like that we will never shake off the need for ancient tradition, myth, and groundless faith, but there is a bright side. There are more non-religious people now than ever
. As the information age expands, education becomes more accessible and may be the most important factor in determining how religious one is.
Unsurprisingly, a follow-up article
on the mass-burial quotes, "Inquiries also revealed that no educational programme had been introduced anywhere near Perayur in the last six years."
posted by skallas
on Sep 6, 2002 -
Time to wash up
for Hindus. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for religion and such. But if you wash your sins away in this
river, you might wind up with something that won't
posted by CRS
on Jan 9, 2001 -