Friday, November 4, 2011

Beauty and Our Beasts

I don't know why this isn't showing up in normal print... but afraid to lose all the photos which take forever to download... so I am going to post and hope you can read this...

I was visiting the Lotus Temple of the Baha’i faith with a beautifully architected building and serene marble prayer room at its center and the equable basic principles inscribed throughout the grounds, such as the abandonment of prejudices, the elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty, and equality of men and women. And as I was walking in, an older man with well worn cloth for dress and clouded over eyes likely from cataracts, was on his knees, literally begging for mercy in the open walled security office at the front gate. The security officer was yelling and beating him with a long stick as thousands of us were being herded in past him in a single line to view this great temple. A white westerner and upper class Indian man were being escorted to sit down in seats outside to be questioned. For what crime this man committed to have this cruel treatment bestowed upon him I will not know, but my stomach churns, tears are in my eyes and my heart sinks to think of the harsh penalty of his current circumstance and the life events that have lead him to this moment. And if you think you can sit in the comfort of, “at least this kind of stuff doesn’t happen in the civilized society that I live in,” think again. I recently learned of someone I know, an African American man, who was isolated in his own house and beaten by the cops sustaining broken ribs and requiring hospitalization, after a call was placed about a family dispute. What thoughts do we create in our minds to assuage our own discomfort or our own inner beasts… “He probably deserved it, That’s karma, I hope he learns his lesson?” Instead, could we sit with the awareness of the stark inequalities and contradictions in our everyday lives and see what action, if any, it moves us to take? I'm not trying to be preachy, I myself am sitting here with my own discomfort often feeling paralyzed, sometimes feeling moved by what to do.

The kids of Delhi

Tee hee... I couldn't resist
The architecture

The chaos

Old friends/New friends

This is my friend Tobi who is hosting me when I am in Delhi with Avantica her 3 year old neighbor who comes up to have Tobi read to her.

Meena cooking with Avantica and Charlie monitoring the progress

Ibah, Avantica and Karon snuggling after a delicious meal I was invited to.

Ibah's mom and dad

Princess Charlie
Prince Gato


I am getting nervous, the computer is acting up, I better press post soon! Sorry for the long blog entry, could have probably broken this one up, but I will be leaving Delhi soon and will likely have less access, time, and patience to write and download photos from internet cafes.

Most of you know that part of my return stay in India is to visit with the youth at Sri Ram Ashram, which is an orphanage that offers a safe loving home for up to 100 children that come from very traumatic situations. As well they have built a school that provides education for over 500 village kids and they have a clinic that provides naturapathic and western medicine for many locals in this rural environment.

I am inviting you to look at their website and consider donating to their extensive needs if it so moves you to do so.

Several projects that need money are... "We have to buy a new school bus for the school for about $30,000. Any help there is great. We are building a basketball court for the school for about $15,000. We are preparing a hockey field for about $3000. In the ashram we need a new refrigerator in the kitchen for about $300. We can use money for the girl’s or Boys education funds for college about $9,000 per year. We always need money for clothing and shoes. So you see the list goes on from very large to smaller. It really depend on what your interests are."

Folks can check out their website and donate to There is a link to the donation page. There is a place for buyer instrcutions where people can make a note that their donation came through me so that we can keep track of the contribution we make as a group if you desire.

I will likely post this request/suggestion at a later time (perhaps closer to the holidays when people are often looking for causes/places to donate.) Feel free to contact me with any questions as well. I will also be doing some volunteer work at a leprosy colony and will have more information after I visit as to how your money may be spent if you were to donate there. I trust and know the folks that administer Sri Ram Orphanage and know that every penny you donate will go directly to the chilrdren for a good cause.
Much love to you all! My next move may be up to Leh... haven't secured the plan yet. Will let you know when I do. 




  1. Hi Jen,
    I like your Blog. We never did catch up but it seems like you lead an interesting life.

  2. Sweet pics Jen. I couldn't read the top half of the blog because the print was so light against a white back drop. The last part after the pics is very clear written in white against dark backdrop.

    Have fun at your next locale!

  3. Okay, now I saw your email thanks for sending. Yes, its extremely uncomfortable to really allow ourselves to feel the pain and unfairness of others and I'm sure much more difficult to witness in person than when I see it on our nightly news and more recently on facebook seeing pics of peaceful protestors being seriously wounded at the Occupy Wall Street protests around our country right now.

    Glad you're finding the beauty there as well.

  4. Jen!

    It is so wonderful to read your blog, and hear about all of your amazing journeys in India. The pictures are exquisite -- truly beautiful. I am so happy you're enjoying your time there, and I imagine it keeps you fully "in the moment" -- feeling "alive" on all levels! That is the magic of traveling, and esp in other cultures, where it reminds us of our own humanity.

    I loved spending time with you at Rockygrass this summer. What a great festival experience. :) All is well here, in Nashville. I'm in school now for Integrative Nutrition, becoming certified as a Health Coach. Doing my Spanish Healthcare Interpreting at the hospital. I look forward to reading all about your next blog entry. Keep sending those beautiful pics!

    Much love to you,