RAMAYANA WEBCAST SERIES:
Live from Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in Taos!
A series of hour-long webcasts on the Ramayana tradition featuring beloved teachers K.K. Sah, Phillip Lutgendorf, Sujata Mohapatra, and Ram Dass and Hanuman Das. Attend the first 3 events in person at the ashram or
CLICK TO SIGN UP HERE and we will send a link to watch them via webcast on the day of the event. Please note, all times are Mountain Standard Time.
Click to Preview: “Essence of Ramayana
K.K. Sah: Tuesday, May 16 – 5pm MDT*
“Chanting the Ramayana”
K.K. Sah is a long-time devotee of Neem Karoli Baba, hailing from a family with many experiences meeting and serving the saints. K.K. recently wrote the book “Deva Bhumi” describing his experiences with the various saints of the Kumoan Hills and also sharing his unique relationship to Maharaj-ji.
K.K. says in “Deva Bhumi” that, “The only thing that you can offer to God or a siddha is the bhav of devotion and love… to actually sing to God you have to combine the words of the song with the beauty and bliss you feel from what those words are describing. You have to create that vision in your mind… Bhajan (songs) should come from the inner core of your heart, and then it will have a real effect on you… Your whole being can be changed while singing bhajan to God.” K.K. will speak on the tradition of singing the Ramayana and its importance to our practice of devotion to Maharaj-ji and Hanuman.
Professor Philip Lutgendorf: Sunday, June 18 – 5pm MDT*
“Diving Into the Lake: On the Necessity, Joy, and Anxiety of (Re)Translating Tulsidas’ Rāmcaritmānas”
The epic retelling of the Rāmāyaṇa composed in ca. 1574 AD by the poet Tulsidas, in the dialect of Hindi known as Avadhi, has long been considered one of the most sacred and beloved texts of the North Indian Hindu tradition. It has also, through nine complete English renderings, become one of the most translated works of pre-modern Indian vernacular literature. In this presentation, Professor Lutgendorf will first briefly introduce the epic and some of its notable features as a work in the larger “Ramayana tradition.” He will then reflect on some of the difficulties that it presents for the translator into English, discuss why he is offering a new translation at this time, and share some examples of his approach.
Philip Lutgendorf is Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies and has taught in the University of Iowa’s Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature since 1985. He regularly offers Hindi language classes as well as courses on written and oral narrative traditions of South Asia, including Indian film. His book on the performance of the Rāmcaritmānas, The Life of a Text (1991) won the A. K. Coomaraswamy Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002-03 for his research on Hanuman, which has appeared as Hanuman’s Tale, The Messages of a Divine Monkey (2007). He maintains a website devoted to popular Hindi cinema, a.k.a. “Bollywood” (http://www.uiowa.edu/indiancinema/) In 2010 he received a Fulbright-Hays fellowship for research on the cultural history of “chai” in India and also began work on a planned seven-volume, dual-language edition and translation of the Rāmcaritmānas for the Murty Classical Library of India/Harvard University Press. The first two volumes (comprising Bālkāṇḍ) have appeared as The Epic of Ram Vols. 1 & 2 (2016). He serves as President of the American Institute of Indian Studies (www.indiastudies.org/).
Sujata Mohapatra: Thursday, July 6 – 5pm MDT*
“Dancing the Ramayana”
World-renowned Odissi dancer Sujata Mohapatra is the disciple and daughter-in-law of the late Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, one of the premiere Indian classical dance gurus of the last century. Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra was one of the first dancers to be invited to perform at the famous Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple in Varanasi. As a featured artist at their prestigious yearly festival, Kelucharan Ji shared the stage with the cream of the classical music and dance world for several decades and choreographed countless dances based on the text of both Tulsidas’s Ramacharitmanas and the regional language Oriya Ramayana. Sujata Ji continues his legacy, regularly performing her guru’s choreography at the most prestigious festivals of Indian classical dance and music around the world. Because of being not only one of his senior disciples but also sharing the closeness of a family member, she was uniquely able to capture the essence of her guru’s style and express the nuances of his vision. She is the only soloist to have transformed his masterpiece group choreography of the Oriya Ramayana into a solo piece in which she plays all of the roles, perfectly embodying everything from the valor of Lord Ram and the noble heroism of Jatayu to the pathos of the abducted Sita.
Sujata Ji will perform excerpts from the Ramayana and speak about the devotional practice of embodying the sacred text as well as about her close experiences with her guru and the guru-disciple relationship.
Ram Dass & Hanuman Das: Sunday, July 16th – 5 pm MDT*
“Hanuman in the Ramayana”
Ram Dass, beloved mentor and spiritual teacher, devotee of Neem Karoli Baba and founding member of the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in Taos will be joined by Hanuman Das, long time devotee of Neem Karoli Baba, and devoted caretaker of the Taos Ashram for many years. The love that these two Guru brothers share for Hanuman-ji and Maharaj-ji is exemplified in the selfless service that they have offered over the last more-than forty years to the community of Neem Karoli Baba devotees.
From Ram Dass’s first return to the U.S. after meeting Neem Karoli Baba his has been a life devoted to seva, or selfless service. He went on to write “Be Here Now”, to introduce many devotees to Neem Karoli Baba and Indian spirituality, to teach and lecture-sharing his experiences and being a leader and elder on the spiritual path, and to commission the murti of Hanuman-ji which blesses the Taos Ashram.
Hanuman Das, an ardent devotee of Neem Karoli Baba for many years, has been involved with the ashram and our beloved Hanuman-ji from its inception, shepherding the ashram through all its growth and changes. Since Hanuman-ji first came to Taos, Hanuman Das has advocated for building a Hanuman mandir and is presently overseeing the construction of Hanuman-ji’s new home. Hanuman Das is a devotee of Hanuman, and has become very familiar with Hanuman’s part in the Ramayana and the significance of His crossing the ocean to America.
Ram Dass and Hanuman Das will speak on the ways in which Maharaj-ji’s teachings and the divine example of Hanuman-ji in the Ramayana have guided them and provided inspiration on their paths.
SEE RAM DASS VIDEO LINKS:
*All times are Mountain Daylight Time