Category: Asia


Lascaux2

 

By Sharon St Joan

 

In the book Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory, which is a sequel to his book “Forbidden Archaeology” (which I read about ten years ago) Michael Cremo presents the thesis that humans have walked on the earth for millions of years – even hundreds of millions.  As evidence, in the second chapter, he provides a large number accounts taken from nineteenth century newspapers, often with credible witnesses present.

 

This theory about humans being around for millions of years can be a little hard to swallow, and it may be best not to worry for the moment about what is real or not real, true or not true –  just suspend judgment; consider it all a fantasy, if you wish.

 

Here is just one of Michael Cremo’s examples: In California in the nineteenth century, as well as panning for gold in rivers, gold miners often dug in deep mines to extract gold. In Table Mountain, in Tuolumne County, miners digging in deposits dating back to the early Eocene age, around 50 million years ago, found the bones of modern humans embedded in the layers of rock. The Chief Government archaeologist of California, at the time, Dr. J. D. Whitney, documented these in a book published by Harvard University in 1880.

 

There isn’t much point here in giving a list of further examples, because citing a few brief examples won’t make this seem any less incredible, but Michael Cremo does give a great many examples in his book – cases where human remains or artifacts were found inside undisturbed layers of earth.  In one case, for example, a metal ball with artwork inscribed on it, was found inside a piece of coal that was formed millions of years ago.

 

As one reads case after case after case, reported in newspapers, it seems less and less plausible that these could all have been fraudulent.

 

My first reaction to this idea that we humans had been around for millions of years was to think, “How could the earth have survived with humans living on it for millions of years? It is barely surviving now – after just a few thousand years of the intense destruction that we have inflicted on the poor earth.”

 

Some of these accounts tell of modern human footprints embedded in ancient layers – others are about the presence rough stone tools or artwork, in one case a gold string, embedded inside layers that are many millions of years old. Maybe there could be a simple explanation, and we are just missing it.

 

Surely humans simply could not have existed for many millions of years, could they? After all, we all have firmly implanted in our heads that there is a clear line of evolution, and all the evidence supports it – until one begins to ask oneself whether perhaps this clear evolutionary picture only seems clear because all the evidence that contradicts it has been unceremoniously brushed aside and discounted by scientific authorities, who belittle it and absolutely refuse even to consider it. This “scientific” position of “putting one’s head in the sand” like the ostrich has become more and more entrenched as time goes along.

 

One possible thought is that perhaps all the dating systems are terribly wrong and need to be recalibrated.

411px-Ravana

 

On the other hand, many people do have the sense that there were indeed extremely ancient civilizations before this one. Civilizations created by giants, extraterrestrials, or very advanced early humans.  Maybe even previously existing intelligent species that we have absolutely no knowledge of.  What if all the legends and all the mythologies in the world were based on fact?  What if there really were giants, wizards, elves, fairies, goblins, dwarves, bigfoot, leprechauns?  Or all the magical beings spoken of the ancient books of India – yakshas, rakshasas, gandharvas, apsaras, and kinnaras. The seers or rishis of ancient India were also a kind of divine human being.  Every tradition has its own list of magical beings, events, countries, and lands.  The ancient books of India for example are filled with accounts of aerial ships, which take off and land, and are considered a very commonplace way to travel.

 

What if the current, prosaic view of human development is just not the only way to look at things – the idea that apes descended from the trees, learned to walk upright, made stone tools, discovered fire, and developed into us?  Mind you, this doesn’t mean that I would mind being descended from apes – who are in many ways a great deal nicer and much kinder than a lot of us humans.

 

But there is still the sense that in these vast epochs of millions upon millions of years, there may have arisen advanced civilizations, that rose and fell, and that we now know nothing of – and just perhaps, they may not have been possessed by the tendencies to use up and demolish the natural world that our own civilization is plagued with.

 

horseDSC02154 2 Puthupet

 

Does one view have to be true and the other false?  What if there are multiple histories?  What if they are all true?  There might be a purely physical view of time – as a slow evolution from one-celled animals through trilobites, reptiles, dinosaurs, mice, apes, and early humans?  And at the same time there can be other levels of reality – magical, mystical, enchanting – long lost civilizations, intergalactic empires,  worlds of angels or elves?  Why not?

 

Our standard view of logic – which is a rather pedestrian view – requires that either something “is” or it “isn’t”; but that kind of “logic” may not correspond to reality.  Maybe reality is the dreams of God – or the dreams of the Gods?  Even our own dreams have a certain reality – though not absolute reality.  Surely, the dreams of God must have a vastly greater degree of reality than our own. Yet, there can still be one dream one day and another completely different dream another day. Only the ultimate reality – the divine reality – lies beyond the dreams which come and go. That is the only real, eternal reality – and is the essence of all that is.

 

NASA, ESA, CFHT, CXO, M.J. Jee (University of California, Davis), and A. Mahdavi (San Francisco State University)

 

So perhaps there are many histories of the earth and the universe, on many levels. If we did not have to try to fit all of reality into the little narrow physical box that our education provides for us, that would make things so much easier. Look for example at the theories of quantum physics.  There is the entanglement theory, which briefly put, is this: If you take a sub-atomic particle and you pair it with another one — and if one spins in one direction and the other spins in the opposite direction, then if you take them far away from each other, say a few miles – and you reverse the spin of the first one, then the second one, will all by itself, at the same instant in time, reverse its own spin.  This has been actually demonstrated in real scientific experiments.  But how does it happen?  Do the two particles communicate telepathically with each other?  Or is there really no such thing as time and space?

 

This is a real, scientific demonstration, yet it must be filed in our heads as something that cannot possibly be true. It doesn’t fit into the ready-made box that we have inside our heads.

 

Think of all the miracles we have seen in our lives – and most of us have indeed seen miracles, though we may not talk about them – maybe not even to ourselves – but there are events that transcend the “laws” of physics.

 

Perhaps, as has been said before, what we call reality is the play of shadows cast upon the wall – and behind, hidden, there is the real, ultimate reality. The shadows are real too – just as real and solid as we are. But there is no longer any need to insist on just one history of the earth or the universe – there is much room for many levels, dimensions, mystical mountains and rivers, and undiscovered lands on far-away stars.  There is more than we know, and there are times, places, and beings greater, more innocent, and more magnificent than any we might imagine.

 

Seen, in this perspective, there is no need for us to judge what is “true” and what is not, and we can be more open to the wonders that lie before us – or those that arise in the most distant, ancient past.

 

© 2014, Sharon St Joan

 

Top photo: Wikimedia Commons / “This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.” / An image of a horse from the Lascaux caves.

 

Second photo: Wikimedia commons / “This work is in the public domain in India because its term of copyright has expired.” / Ravana, the demon king of Lanka.  Watercolor-painting by an unknown artist around 1920.

 

Third photo: Sharon St Joan / Guardian spirits with a horse at Puthupet sacred grove, in Tamil Nadu.

 

Fourth photo: NASA, ESA, CFHT, CXO, M.J. Jee (University of California, Davis), and A. Mahdavi (San Francisco State University) / A “merging galaxy cluster Abell 520, formed from a violent collision of massive galaxy clusters.”

 

To find Michael Cremo’s book, Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory, on Amazon, click here.

 

 

DSC02146

 

By Sharon St Joan

 

In the Introduction to his very fascinating book, Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization, published in 2002, Graham Hancock presents the theory that the worldwide myths of a Great Flood, which are told in every corner of the world, will soon be accepted as established scientific fact. He contends that between 17,000 and 8,000 years ago, the earth underwent a series of tremendous cataclysms, which transformed the planet. Modern humans who, according to science, had already existed for around 200,000 years, had been around long enough to have evolved a high civilization, which was destroyed during these cataclysms. The remains of their extremely ancient cities are now to be found submerged under the oceans.

 

At the end of the last Ice Age, the enormous glaciers which covered much of the land masses of the earth, melted, causing sea levels worldwide to rise many meters. Since then, as now, humans tended to concentrate their populations on the seashores, when the glaciers melted and the seas rose, these cites were submerged, and their existence forgotten, except in myth and legend.

 

In recent decades, many of these ancient ruins under the seas have come to light. As a diver, Graham Hancock has explored many of them himself – and these explorations form the topics of Underworld. They are controversial; in some cases, it is unclear whether they are natural rock formations or whether they are manmade.  When the ancient ruins are clearly manmade, not natural, often their dates are very much in dispute.

 

DSC02148

 

His first example is the ruins found in the Bay of Bengal, off the east coast of India, near Nagapattinam, which were investigated by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in the early 1990’s. The investigation was headed by well-known and widely-respected marine archaeologist T.C.S. Rao, who Graham Hancock interviewed several years later.

 

In the Bay of Bengal, five kilometers out to sea, at a depth of 23 meters, lies a horseshoe shaped manmade structure, surrounded by walls that are one meter thick and two meters high. There are at least three structures there, perhaps more. 23 meters is over 70 feet deep. According to oceanographers investigating underwater ruins on the other side of India, off the western coast, 10,000 BCE would have been the date for ruins found there at the Gulf of Kutch at 60 feet below the surface of the water. The water level would be the same on both coasts of India, so the Bay of Bengal structures must also extend back to around 10,000 BCE.  These structures off the coast of Nagapattinam are incredibly old – far older than any traditional dates for the beginning of civilization.

 

401px-Malta_Hal_Tarxien_BW_2011-10-04_12-42-32

 

Underworld is a lengthy and complex book, filled with many details. In it Graham Hancock also writes about his dives around the rock structures known as Yonaguni off the coast of Japan. It has not been definitely determined whether or not these are manmade. He also writes extensively about the ancient temples of Malta – and about a number of other sites around the world which, it seems, are “impossibly” old.

 

Since Graham Hancock wrote Underworld eleven years ago, the body of evidence that there were extremely ancient civilizations, far older than any we could have imagined just a couple of decades ago, has only grown and grown. The case for high civilizations which once existed, the ruins of which sank beneath the waves, is gaining strength as every year passes.

 

To find Graham Hancock’s Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization on Amazon, click here.

 

Photos:

 

Top photo: Sharon St Joan / the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram, on the Bay of Bengal.

 

Second photo: Sharon St Joan / Waters of the Bay of Bengal at Mahabalipuram.

 

Third photo: Berthold Werner /Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.” / Malta, Tarxien temples, altar. Believed to have been built between 3150 – 2500 BCE.

 

© 2013, Sharon St Joan

 

To find Sharon’s ebook, Glimpses of Kanchi, on Amazon, click here.

 

 

 

Flying on a magic carpet.

Flying on a magic carpet.

By Sharon St Joan

It’s not that there’s no such thing as progress. Indeed there is.

If I want to travel around the world, I’ll take a plane. I won’t set out walking, or take a sailing ship, or sit by the roadside waiting for a magic carpet to appear out of the clouds.

If I fall down the stairs and break a leg, I will go to the hospital because waiting for it to get better by itself is not going to work well.

If I want to go into town I will use a car, not a horse and buggy.

All this being said, there is a very large aspect of the way we think about progress in the modern world that is illusory. It is not true.

Really, there are two ways of viewing history — the cyclical view and the linear view.

In the cyclical view, there are several ages, following each other, until eventually, the whole complete world cycle ends and begins anew.

If we’ve grown up in the west or if we’ve been heavily influenced by western culture, then we are going to lean towards the linear view of world history. It’s imprinted inside our heads, and, without our being conscious of it, it colors most of our perceptions and expectations.

According to the western worldview, history is linear. First there is prehistory and then there is an ascending line on an upwards trajectory, which is called “progress.” It is a basic part of our thinking. If we look far enough back into the past, we see hunter/gatherers, the introduction of farming, the invention of the wheel, the beginnings of civilization. Pretty soon along come the Greeks and the Romans. Then there are the middle ages, the renaissance, the industrial revolution, then along come lots of inventions, like central heating, TV, computers, and sending a man to the moon. (As you can see, this is all very Eurocentric.) It all goes upward and ever upward, as we humans progress to higher levels of technology and “better” lives.

But this is not the only way to view the past and the present. For many cultures throughout the world, there has traditionally been another model of history. In India, and also among many other peoples, including Native Americans in both North and South America, history has been seen as cyclical. Even the Greeks and the Romans believed in a succession of ages, and there is a reference to this view also in the Bible, in the Book of Daniel.

The Greek poet, Homer.

The Greek poet, Homer.

One of the key differences between these two views is that, from the cyclical worldview, “progress” isn’t necessarily progress, and our “inevitable” evolution upwards to grander and grander heights is very much in doubt.

In other word, things may not inevitably be getting better and better, and our common sense tends to agree with this observation. It may be that, all this time, the human race has been de-volving instead of e-volving.

Let’s look at it this way for a moment. There is a good chance, since you are reading this, that you live a fairly comfortable existence. This is not necessarily true, and there can be exceptions, but most likely, you are not living in a hut made of old tires and rusty hubcaps, on the banks of what used to be a river, but is now a creek filled with garbage. Instead, you have a nice home. In your home there is most likely central heating, air conditioning, a TV, computers – it is a place with modern conveniences.

We enjoy our central heating because it keeps us warm, and we wouldn’t have been happy in the European middle ages, where even aristocrats lived in cold castles – and peasants lived in squalid huts. We may say to ourselves that whatever view of history may be true (and whatever personal problems we might currently have), things are far better now in the modern world than they used to be hundreds of years ago. If we say this, then what we are expressing is a western/modern perspective; and whatever country we may live in, this is a middle or upper class view.

Suppose for a moment that instead of being you or me, living in our comfortable surroundings, we are a poor child in a developing country who lives on a giant mound of garbage which she picks through from morning to night to make a few cents a day. Suppose we are one of the billions of people who have no clean water to drink. Or one of the billions who live in horrible slums. Suppose we live in a war-torn region of central Africa, where there is hardly even a memory of any security or safety?

You and I are exceptions, and though we all do have our own problems and difficulties, (which may from time to time seem insurmountable), generally speaking, we are blessed to live in fairly decent or even very comfortable circumstances.

This means that, unless we stop to think and look around us, we may not notice that most people in the world live in conditions far worse than they would have lived in hundreds or thousands of years ago. Is it really true that the average person in the world is better off now? No, it really isn’t.

The great bath at Mohenjo Daro.

The great bath at Mohenjo Daro.

If we had lived around the year 2300 BCE in the city of Mohenjo Daro, part of the ancient Indian Indus Valley civilization, now in modern Pakistan, we might well have lived in a two story house, with a plumbing system, a furnace, and an inner courtyard lined with trees. We would have lived in clean, comfortable surroundings in a well-designed, beautiful city.

If we had lived around 1500 BCE in the Minoan city Knossos on the island of Crete, we would have lived in a city that delivered clean water through pipes into the homes of around 100,000 people and had an advanced plumbing and sewage system. We would have been surrounded by a vibrant culture that produced beautiful art, which can still be seen in murals on the walls of Knossos.

The Throne Room at Knossos.

The Throne Room at Knossos.

I can hear a voice saying, but wait – these two examples are not typical! Okay, that may be true; if these two advanced societies might be considered exceptions on the world stage, then what about life in a tribal society?

To be continued in part two…

To read part two, click here.

 

Photos:

Top photo: Author (artist): Viktor M. Vasnetsov (1848–1926) / Wikimedia Commons /”This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. Such reproductions are in the public domain in the United States.”

Second photo: “This work has been released into the public domain by its author, JW1805 at the wikipedia project. This applies worldwide.” / Wikimedia Commons / A bust of Homer in the British Museum, London.

Third photo: Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 1.0 License.” / Original uploader was M.Imran at en.wikipedia / The great bath at Mohenjo Daro.

Fourth photo: “This Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons image is from the user Chris 73 and is freely available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Throne_Hall_Knossos.jpg under the creative commons cc-by-sa 3.0 license.”

 

 © Sharon St Joan, 2013

To find Sharon’s ebook, Glimpses of Kanchi, on Amazon, click here.

 

 

 

The Sun

550px-Suryatanjore

 

To the Japanese who followed, and for those who still follow, the Shinto religion, the Goddess of the sun is Amaterasu, who is also Goddess of the universe.  Her name means “shining in heaven.”  The Emperor of Japan was believed to be a direct descendant of Amaterasu.

 

Amaterasu was the sister of Susanoo, the God of oceans and storms, and of the moon God Tsukuyomi. She shared the reign of the heavens with Tuskuyomi.

 

After a quarrel with her brother Susanoo, during which he destroyed her rice fields, she hid for a while inside a rock cave, and during this time the sun did not shine. Eventually she was persuaded to come out of the cave and the sun shone again.

 

In Honshu, Japan, at the Ise Shrine, a ceremony is held every twenty years to honor Amaterasu.  At this time the buildings of the shrine are torn down and built anew at a nearby location.

 

The hidden sun is a common theme in mythology. In ancient Egypt, the sun God Ra traveled through the underworld every night, where he did battle with Apep, the dragon of chaos.  When he had defeated Apep, the sun rose and began a new day.

 

For the Norsemen, the enemy of the sun was the wolf Skoll who chased the horses which pulled the chariot of the sun Goddess Sol through the sky every day.

 

For the Chinese, an eclipse was caused when the magical dog of heaven bit off a piece of the sun.  This is said to have happened around 2,160BCE.

 

Ancient Egypt had many sun Gods and Goddesses over the centuries. The God Amun rose to a place of national significance and became identified with the God Ra, the earlier sun God of the Old Kingdom.

 

In Hinduism, in the time of the Vedas, the solar deities were the Adityas. The Rig Veda describes the Adityas as bright and as pure as streams of water, free from all deceit and falsehood. They protect the world of spirits and the earth.

 

Vishnu is mentioned in the Rig Veda as one of the Adityas, who created the solar year.  When Vishnu’s head was cut off, due to a trick, his head became the sun.

 

The sacred prayer, the Gayatri Mantra, recited daily by millions of Hindus, invokes the sun God by the name Savitar.

 

In the Ramayana, Rama, the avatar of Vishnu, belongs to a dynasty of kings descended from Surya, the sun God. Surya is traditionally worshipped at dawn. Surya is also known as Mitra, which means friend, and by a great many other names.

 

Vishnu, the God of light, is identified with the sun as the source of life, blessings, nourishment, sustenance, and all good things.

 

It made sense to ancient people, and still does to millions of people today, to worship the sun.

 

The sun gives light and life to the earth and to all the plants and animals who thrive on the earth. To each of us the sun rising in the morning brings a sense of joy, peace, and positivity – a sense of renewal and optimism.

 

We as humans are conscious beings and does it not make sense that the spirit of consciousness and intelligence which manifests in us, must also pervade the entire universe – the oceans, the wind, the trees, the animals, the planets, the stars, and especially the sun, who gives us life?

 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / “This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired….You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States.” / “Surya receives worship from the multitudes; Tanjore School miniature painting, 1800’s “A Painting of Surya. India, Tanjore School, 19th Century.”

 

 

 

mules in Uttarakhand resized 1017586_534151963313888_155430785_n

Monsoon rains in Uttarakhand have been heavier than at any time in the past 60 years, and floods have killed over 500 people. 5,000 are still missing, and the death toll is expected to rise.  Buildings have been toppled and swept away, as well as entire villages and settlements.

 

The flooding has also devastated parts of Nepal and the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, as wells as Delhi.  These areas are in the far north of India, near the foothills of the Himalayas—a spectacularly beautiful area of forests and snow-covered mountains, where there are major Hindu sacred sites and temples.  Many thousands of visiting pilgrims have been caught in the floods, which have swept away bridges and roads.

 

Sadly, a great many animals have also died or been hurt in the rushing water. 5,000 mules, horses, and donkeys who transport pilgrims up and down the steep, rocky slopes, are now stranded on the far side of the Alaknanda River, one of the headstreams of the Ganges. Most are mules, and, as well as needing feed and clean drinking water, some are injured, and in urgent need of veterinary treatment.

 

Another 100-200 mules on this side of the river will soon be taken to the small town Josimath.

 

Help Animals India is working with their two partner organizations to bring help to both people and animals stranded by the floods.

 

Help Animals India’s partners, PFA Dehra Doon and AAGAAS Federation, have reported that a temporary bridge has been constructed and that authorities are now evacuating all the stranded pilgrims across the river.  As soon as this has been completed, if all goes well, PFA Dehra Doon and AAGAAS Foundation will be able to start transporting the injured mules to safety, and giving them urgently-needed veterinary care, medicine, feed and water.

 

Help Animals India, for the past several years, has worked with many Indian animal welfare groups, benefiting thousands of animals.

 

Eileen Weintraub, Founder and Director of Help Animals India writes, “We are doing our best to help the “Himalayan Tsunami” with many hundreds of people dead and thousands still stranded. We are buying medical supplies as well as ropes, tents, sleeping bags, rucksacks and tarpaulin to go in and access the situation to rescue and treat as many as possible of the hundreds of abandoned equines – horses/donkeys/mules. We will have to get through this next round of rain and the full moon, and this coming week will start the relief efforts for the survivors …On the ground are our trusted partners PFA Dehra Doon and AAGAAS Federation and volunteers coming up from Mumbai… Every penny will go towards the relief effort. Thank you for your compassion during these difficult times.”

 

Donations to Help Animals India are U.S. tax-deductible.

 

To donate through the website of Help Animals India, click here.

 

To visit Help Animals India’s Facebook page, click here.

 

To visit the website of  PFA Dehra Doon, click here.

 

To visit the website of AAGAAS Federation, click here.

 

Photo: Courtesy of AAGAAS Federation / This was taken before the current floods.

 

 

ancient trees, river walk, Chagford,resized

By Elizabeth Doyle

 

Dhevdhas Nair is a musician you really have to hear to believe. (You can sample or buy an album here:  https://www.dhevdhasnair.com/audio 

 

This is Part Four of a four-part interview.

 

To start at the beginning with Part One, click here

 

Me: I know that there’s an interesting inspiration behind your album, “Inbetween and passing” related to a small community in South America. I read the album cover, so I’ve cheated. But for everyone else, can you tell us about that and how the tracks on the album relate to it?

 

He: The track “Gaviotas” on my album was written as a celebration of and in dedication to the people of the town of the same name in Colombia who have shown the world that it is possible to take a region and a people who have been ravaged by the violence and barbarism of the modern world, and turn them round to face the possibility of a humane, sustainable future, meeting the needs that all people everywhere have always had; bread, freedom, dignity, and social justice. They have planted millions of trees, farm organically and use wind and solar power. Every family enjoys free housing, community meals and schooling. There are no weapons, no police, no jail. There is no mayor. The United Nations named the village a model of sustainable development. All this in an area that had all but been destroyed by logging and mining, and where many of the inhabitants had come from drug and violent gang-related conflict situations. I learnt about the place through a friend of mine, the writer Terri Windling, who lives in my village on Dartmoor. She had a visitor from the U.S. one day, Alan Weisman, who had written a book about Gaviotas, and as he described what they had done, I knew that it was important to celebrate their achievements and pass the word on that another world is possible.

 

temple proc trivandrum boys,resized

 

Me: Now, these questions are a little more dull in some ways, but I think that everyone likes to know a little basic biographical information about artists they appreciate. So can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started playing music?

 

He: I started piano lessons at the age of 8 by accident! My mum was struggling to survive in London on her own with two children and took advantage of a government funded place for me and my brother at two different boarding schools. After my first term, I came home and said to her, “thanks for the piano lessons!” And she said “what piano lessons?” Apparently I had been given a terms lessons that were meant for someone else! Anyway I carried on. And when I got a Beatles songbook, I found that I could read the music and play just like on the records I knew so well. That was really exciting. By the age of 14 I was playing with bands in North London, rehearsing in a room above Susan’s Music Shop in Chapel Market, at the Angel, Islington. I knew even at that stage that I wanted to play music and I wasn’t really interested in being at school, since it was only slowing my career down. At 18, I left England with a Sudanese bass player friend of mine and lived in Khartoum for a year where my real apprenticeship took place, playing every night in the Blue Nile Club with a fantastic band, “The Heavy Ducks” (!!) We also played for many weddings and functions in the desert around Khartoum, in Omdurman, and Port Sudan on the Red Sea Coast.

 

Dartmoor mist,resized

 

I’ve been a full time player ever since. My career as a performer has divided roughly into three phases, African music, Indian music, and Jazz. These days I’m on the road a little less, doing more writing and recording and a bit of teaching piano. I taught on the jazz degree course at Exeter University for four years, and am currently visiting jazz piano teacher at Wells Cathedral School in Somerset, and at Hampton School in Twickenham. I toured with African bands all over Europe and in East and Southern Africa. For two years I lived and worked in Paris, where there was, and still is a thriving African music scene. After studying Indian music I toured with Indian musicians and dance and theatre companies in India and Europe. When I settled in the West Country, I began playing jazz and this took me all over the UK and Europe again, with several radio and TV appearances and participation on an album “Limbic System” with the amazing saxophone player Harry Fulcher, which reached the top ten jazz albums in the UK in 2004.

 

I have had the good fortune to have grown up with one foot in England, where my father was from, and where I was born, and the other hovering over India and South East Asia, where my mother comes from. I’ve been many times to India and love being there. I’m hoping to spend a lot more time there in the future. It means that I have always had a wider perspective on the world, a chance to see things from many angles, and not get stuck in a Western-centred viewpoint.

 

 

To order the album “Inbetween and Passing” by Dhevdhas Nair, if you live outside the UK, go to http://www.cdbaby.com/

 

In the UK, click here.

 

UPDATE (March 11, 2018): To listen to Dhevdhas Nair’s beautiful music, go to https://www.dhevdhasnair.com/audio

 

Photos: © Dhevdhas Nair

Top photo: Ancient trees, river walk, at Chagford, a little town on the edge of Dartmoor

Second photo: Boys in a temple procession, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

Third photo: View of Dartmoor, early morning

 

 

 

across the hill from the studio resized

By Elizabeth Doyle

Dhevdhas Nair is a musician you really have to hear to believe. (You can sample or buy an album here:  http://www.dhevdhasnair.com/id9.html

To read Part One first, click here


Me: Are you a spiritual person? Does religion or spirituality play any role in your compositions?

He: Not in a formal sense. Although I have been on several Buddhist retreats from various traditions and teachers, I don’t see myself as belonging to any particular religion. If anything, the Deer Park near my home on Dartmoor, with its magnificent trees is my cathedral. Having said that, when I create music, I feel such a sense of ……how do I describe it? Love, emotion, reverence. Every time I listen back to the compositions, I get the same supercharged feelings of the importance of creating beauty in the world and it moves me very strongly. And I feel that same charge while I am working on the music. I guess you could call it a spiritual state of mind.

Me: I know that you borrow musical traditions from different parts of the globe. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what you feel some of the musical strengths of different corners of the world are?

Sstreet musician family ,Mumbaicropped and resized

He: My father had an amazing music collection, from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner (not so much my cup of tea!) and Indian classical music, to the Beatles. Early on, I discovered jazz, and fell completely in love with North Indian classical music, initially ragas and folk and light classical music played on the flute. Its hard to say what moves me about music from different parts of the world. I seem to go through different phases as I pass through my own different phases of life.

When I was about 14 I found a cassette in my local library of a field recording made in the 1930s of a group of Australian Aboriginal men singing. It had a profound effect on me. Here was music that spoke of a world so utterly different from my own, yet which had universal qualities of a delicate, achingly beautiful humanity that reached across the ages and opened my eyes and ears to a timeless, eternal song of life.

Mumbai NCPA in Mumbai, taken by Tao Issaroresized

As a teenager and young man, I got into African music, mostly West African hi-life. I found it expressed so well the sheer exuberance and joy of life, and was so danceable. I played with various African bands for many years, in Europe and Africa. I was in a band called Sankomota that had a number one album in the black music charts in South Africa before the end of Apartheid. We were actually banned in the country, but our album went to number one and eventually the ban was lifted and we went to play to 25,000 people in Jabulani Stadium in Soweto. I used to love it that people danced when we played. Then I spent time studying Indian music and turned to the more contemplative, poetic side of music – music that paints pictures of stillness, beauty in nature, and the delicacies and vulnerabilities of human emotions. Next I developed skills in the language of jazz which fortuitously had the capacity to absorb and contain all the previous musical strands of my life. Within the freedom of jazz I found I could draw upon those influences from India, Africa, Europe, and South East Asia.

In today’s super connected world, we can hear music from anywhere and everywhere, all clothed in the various colours of their respective cultures, but all pointing to the same truth, that music is as essential to human beings as food, water and shelter.

To be continued…

To go to part four, click here.

To order the album Inbetween and Passing by Dhevdhas Nair, if you live outside the UK, go to  http://www.cdbaby.com/

 

In the UK, click here.

 

Top photo: © Dhevdhas Nair / Across the hill from the studio

Second photo: © Dhevdhas Nair / Street musician family in Mumbai

Third photo: © Tao Issaro / 

Dhevdhas Nair at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai

Gobekli Tepe

Gobekli Tepe

 

 

Just a few years ago, an amazing complex of structures was discovered in eastern Turkey.  Known as Gobekli Tepe, these are about twenty stone circles – not formed of rough-hewn stone, like Stonehenge, but formed of straight, precisely cut and polished stone columns, with lintels across the top, decorated with animal sculptures.  These have been dated to around 12,000 years ago – thousands of years earlier than any previously known complex of carved structures.

 

They were apparently covered up by earth a couple of thousand years after they were created.  One can only suppose they were sacred sites and when the people were compelled to leave them, for whatever reason, they covered them up in order to preserve them to avoid having them deteriorate and fall apart over time.

 

The time that they were created, around 10,000 BC, coincides with the ending of the last Ice Age.

 

Gobekli Tepe is written about extensively in the book, Forgotten Civilization, by Robert Schoch, a geologist who gained international renown (and some measure of ridicule) for his work with John Anthony West, related to the Sphinx in Egypt, and the hypothesis that the Sphinx is much, much older, by thousands of years, than previously thought.

 

Dwarkadheesh Temple

Dwarkadheesh Temple

 

Graham Hancock, another well-known exponent of the concept that there was a high civilization, unknown to us, in the extremely remote past, examines this in his book Underworld, which looks at a number of sites, now underwater, which are evidence of very ancient, unknown civilizations.  His theory is that, because it is an accepted scientific fact that sea levels rose dramatically when the ice melted at the end of the last Ice Age, that the remains of ancient civilizations, which would have been located on what was then the coast, would now be entirely under the sea, often many meters below the surface.  Many of these sites have been found and Graham Hancock has dived some of them – at the island of Malta, Yonaguni which is off the southern coasts of Japan, Dwarka and other sunken cities off the coasts of India. At these and other underwater sites, there are very extensive remains of ancient megalithic structures.

 

There is growing interest in this concept of lost civilizations – really of a lost history of the world – and an increasing number of writers who investigate this topic.  It is also covered in the TV series, Ancient Aliens. Ancient Aliens leaves itself open to a certain level of ridicule by proposing that really just about everything in the distant past must have been built by ancient aliens who sailed to the planet earth in UFO’s.  This can strain the credibility even of those who have no problem at all believing in either UFO’s or very ancient civilizations.

 

However, the series does an excellent job of covering a great many really fascinating archeological sites of extreme antiquity, and is very much worth watching solely for the footage of these sites – if one isn’t too much put off be the assumption that ET himself must have built every single pyramid and every ancient ruin.

 

 

The throne room of Knossus

The throne room of Knossus

 

 

A new series on the H2 Channel is America Unearthed, in which the forensic geologist, Scott Wolter, travels across the U.S. looking into ancient sites on the American continent which indicate that America was discovered, not just by Columbus, and not just by the Vikings around 1,000 AD, as nearly everyone now accepts, but by many peoples from all corners of the world over many thousands of years.  For example, on Great Isle, on Lake Superior, there have been dug around 5,000 pits, used for extracting copper – one of these was dated to 3,700 BC.  The dating was done of cut and shaped timbers that were in place in one of the pits, supporting a large piece of copper.  A stone containing carved letters was found, and these turned out to be the letters of the Minoan script – the Minoans lived on the island of Crete, where, around 3,000 BC and earlier, they had a great need to mine copper to provide metal for the Bronze Age.  Perhaps they sailed all the way to the Great Lakes, and mined the copper that they found there to fuel the Bronze Age.

 

It seems increasingly clear that history, as we have been taught it, is simply not true.  It is woefully incomplete, and there are vast chapters of the ancient past that are only just beginning to come to light.  Great civilizations, unknown to us, may have extended for millennia back into the mists of time, perhaps other great worldwide civilizations from tens of thousands of years ago – or hundreds of thousands – or who knows?  Perhaps galactic civilizations lasting over billions of years?  If that’s too far-fetched, don’t worry – it was just a fleeting thought.  Even the sites now found from only a few thousand years farther back into the past will be sufficient to radically alter our view of history.

 

The well-settled world which we thought we knew fifty or sixty years ago – with its carefully defined boundaries and its nicely stable limitations – is not true.  The walls are falling down – all the preconceived notions – of history, of assumptions about the nature of the physical universe, about “reality” – all these are being upended.

 

This, if you like, is “the end of the world.”  It is the end of our tidy, finite, limited conceptualization of the world.  Concerning physics, it is the end of the Newtonian world.  Concerning history and archaeology, it is the end of history as we have known it.  It is, simply, the end of our human-imposed boundaries.

 

With string theories and multiple universes, ancient unsuspected high civilizations, with aliens of all sorts, ancient and modern – with everything that we could not previously have imagined, the world we had grown accustomed to has come to a close, the walls have come tumbling down, and a vast multi-verse of unfathomable, mystic realms — of myth and magic — awaits us.

 

Top photo: Author: Teomancimit / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / One of the carved columns at Gobekli Tepe.

 

Second photo: Author: Scalebelow / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / The Dwarakadheesh temple (Dwarakadhish temple/Dwarkadhish temple) at Dwarka, Gujarat, India.  The temple is thought to have been constructed on top of Lord Krishna’s original residential palace, by his grandson, Vajranabha.

 

Third photo: Author: Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons /”This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / The throne room at the Minoan palace of Knossus on Crete.

 

To watch a video showing the ruins of Dwarka, off the west coast of India, click here.  (This is from the H2 program Ancient Aliens, but don’t let the ancient aliens distract you one way or the other; the relevant point here is to show you the ancient ruins.)

  

 

To watch the full episode of America Unearthed, “Great Lakes Copper Heist”, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand: Excerpts from Soi Dog’s New Year’s message.

A ninth century Buddhist temple complex in Indonesia…

What an Amazing World!

What would come first in your mind if you have to mention one of Southeast Asian ancient temples? Angkor? The temples of Bagan? Borobudur?

For those who have visited Indonesia or are planning to go must have heard about Borobudur and Prambanan temples – both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Buddhist Borobudur was built in the 9th century AD – about three centuries before the construction of Angkor Wat was started – and currently is the world’s largest Buddhist shrine. While Prambanan which was also built in the 9th century is a Hindu temples compound which consists of six elegantly towering main temples and other smaller temples.

However only a handful of travelers have ever heard of Plaosan Temples Compound which is actually only 1 km away from Prambanan – making it an ideal retreat after visiting the more touristy Prambanan. Going through traditional Javanese villages and ripening rice paddies…

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