Governor Draupadi Murmu. A tribal woman, she is Governor of Jharkhand a state in north east where about 30% of the people are tribal:(that term sounds like something of a put down term to me but maybe it isn’t). Her parents, husband and two children all died within a short space of time. She was helped to recover from these traumatic events, by the sisters of the BKs. Indeed when she travels the sisters of wherever she may be bring her her food, and she has a strong commitment to BK.
Well friends the opening night last Friday 29 January was certainly an exuberant celebration of Indian religion: Shree 108 Jagadgur Mahaswamijee was at centre stage next to the
Dadi's, slightly above as per custom. Iman Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, Shri Vijay Tiwari, Shree Shree Shivanand Shivacharya, and Rev Michael Moran from Sacramento were all there too. They boomed and praised and seemed to just enjoy being there. I chatted to my
on stage neighbour, the orange robed Swami Sukhatmananda, a jovial Swami from Ahmedhabad whose inspirations to the gathering included a sing along. Previously, Albert from Russia had opened the night entertaining us with a voice of absolute class.
The next day, I got a bit lost, though I was very touched by the story of Governor Murmu (see pic). The industrialists and politicians were rather dominant, and a long and inelegant
'dance drama' came at us with music ramped to the limit: it was like sitting at a high school pageant in a room full of jackhammers. However, by the final evening cultural order was restored with some dance items from Bollywood, Nepal and Secunderabad ( check
out the slide show). Then the fireworks were over, and the Dadi's quietly departed, thoroughly garlanded...
Whether one thinks this kind of show
does anything to enhance the reputation of the BKs, and help share their core beliefs and experience, or not, it was a significant and well produced event.
of us were chatting about Shri Shri Ravi Shankar's recent classical music concert with 5,000 flautists and Hari Prasad Chaurasia, leading to a reported silent meditation with 3 million people around the world. I was feeling that the deep experience and
meditative inspiration that Indian Ragas, music played with heartfelt expression and love, and the depth that traditional Indian music can bring to the soul, were, as is the norm in BKWSU events, neither present nor appreciated, alas : I was left with
a longing for some artistic depth in BK life.