|Once a year in the holy town of Puri on the east coast of India, the Gods enter the fray of the common man to mingle with the mob.Attracting thousands of pilgrims, the annual Festival of Faith is an orchestrated riot of colour, spectacle and sweat. Steeped in folklore and mythology the origins date back centuries, but its significance as a festival ‘of the people’ reigns.
Massive crowds gather on the streets all vying for a chance to set eyes on their Gods. A motley crew linked by faith, devotion in their hearts and sweat on their brow, their anticipation and excitement is palpable.
The grand scale of the festival requires scrupulous coordination from the entire community, all prescribed to pitch in for the BIG event. Immense chariots are erected in the town square meticulously crafted and decorated by master carpenters and artisans. Children writhe in the hands of make-up artists, while dancers and performers drape themselves in rich costumes and musicians polish their instruments.
Leaving the lofty confines of the temple, the sacred deities are carried into the town square in a theatrical display of elaborate ritual. To the tune of percussion, chants and fervent devotion the Gods are seated in their respective chariots and physically hauled through the teeming streets.
The euphoric atmosphere verges on chaos at times, but the cacophony of colour and crowds is as overwhelming as it is enthralling. An assault to the senses, all in good Faith!
Bigger than Pushkar Fair and second only to the Kumbh Mela, nothing exemplifies the spirit of India more. Join Grass Routes celebrate the magic and mayhem of India’s most electrifying festival.
For more information: http://grassroutesjourneys.com/html/tour_festival of faith.htm
Here are quotes from some of the major Faith traditions concerning
our purpose and the meaning of our lives.
“The truth is that all mankind are the creatures and servants of one God, and in His estimate all are human. Man is a generic term applying to all humanity. The biblical statement “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” does not mean that woman was not created. The image and likeness of God apply to her as well. In Persian and Arabic there are two distinct words translated into English as man: one meaning man and woman collectively, the other distinguishing man as male from woman the female. The first word and its pronoun are generic, collective; the other is restricted to the male. This is the same in Hebrew.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 76
“Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him—a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation…. Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names, and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes. Upon the reality of man, however, He hath focused the radiance of all of His names and attributes, and made it a mirror of His own Self. Alone of all created things man hath been singled out for so great a favor, so enduring a bounty.
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 65
“There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, this Unoriginated, this Uncreated, this Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible.”
“But since there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, therefore is escape possible from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed.”
The Eightfold Path, Buddha, the Word
“…lo! my infancy died long since, and I live. But Thou, Lord, who for ever livest, and in whom nothing dies: for before the foundation of the worlds, and before all that can be called ‘before’, Thou art, and art God and Lord of all which Thou hast created: in Thee abide, fixed for ever, the first causes of all things unabiding; and of all things changeable, the springs abide in Thee unchangeable: and in Thee live the eternal reasons of all things unreasoning and temporal.”
Confessions of St Augustine, Book 1
“The Lord of creatures (Pragapati) created this whole (world to be) the sustenance of the vital spirit; both the immovable and the movable (creation is) the food of the vital spirit.”
Hindu, Laws of Manu
“I heard that an oppressor ruined the habitations of the subjects to fill the treasury of the sultan, unmindful of the maxim of philosophers, who have said: ‘Who offends God the most high to gain the heart of a created being, God will use that very being to bring on his destruction in the world.'”
“Fire burning with wild rue will not
Cause a smoke like that of afflicted hearts.”
Islamic Miscellaneous, Gulistan of Sa’di (Edwin Arnold tr)