Blessings of Seed
Devotees visiting Siva temples in Pune, India, are in for a special treat. Once a week, devotees get plant seeds as their prasad (blessed items) instead of the usual delicious food. The message is that God is omnipresent in trees, flowers and leaves. The seeds are of plants for both food and decoration, such as drumsticks, tulsi, coriander, aster, zennia, dahlia, calendula and more. It is organized by the temple authorities and a city-based organization, Research and Action in Natural Wealth Administration (www.ranwa.org [http://www.ranwa.org]). School children and eco-sensitive people (most of them elderly) are volunteering to distribute the seeds while Ellora Medicals Four Eyes Foundation is extending their support to the rapidly expanding project.
Whether you are an advanced Carnatic singer in search of lyrics or simply a "Carnatic Dummy" with regard to this sophisticated Indian music system, you will find many of the answers you seek at www.karnatik.com [http://www.karnatik.com]. Start with the button "New Visitors: Click Here" at the top right of the page for a tour that has understandable, well written descriptions of the nuances of Carnatic music, supplemented with audio clips. To complete your musical experience, venture to Bhajana Sampradaya, www.bhajanasampradaya.com [http://www.bhajanasampradaya.com], and immerse yourself in the realms of the Bhagavathas, the composers of these religious songs. The site is filled with over a thousand lyrics and translations to add to your musical repertoire.
For the Kids
As a parent, you have probably been challenged with finding a how-to guide to instill good values in your children, but been unsuccessful. The website, www.balagokulam.org [http://www.balagokulam.org], has taken on this task, presenting a magical learning plan that is designed to ignite the spark of divinity and bring forth the God-like qualities within each child. Balagokulam was developed by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) as a source for parents and kids to learn about their cultural roots, Hindu values and to establish a sense of service to humankind. Highlights of the site are Hindu-oriented stories, games, arts and crafts, a children's e-zine, Day Camp plans, and an excellent parents' resource section.