Friday, April 17, 2009


We took a group of managers from the arts, education and heritage sectors for a tour of the Jain Temple in London to help them experience an ancient Ayambil festival. Festivals are a handbrake on life - they are great opportunities to recharge and reflect. Where we have an ancient festival based on a timeless philosophy of 'respect for all life' (Ahimsa), the meaning behind the festival is very special and timely given the modern age of disrespect and mass animal cruelty.
The experience was truly uplifting for everyone who came - it enabled them to see an ancient culture from the inside, and admire its integrity and genuine spirit of hospitality and welcome. When we learn and celebrate these ancient wisdoms, we inspire and enrich modern life by really seeing how much we have to learn from difference. Prejudice or ignorance gets reduced by such experiences. Creativity is sparked from within by simply being in beautiful surroundings. Possibilities and positive thoughts emerge spontaenously.
We recommend that when we have an opportunity, we should use different cultures as a way or stretching our minds and expanding our horizons, without necessarily losing our personal identity. Culture tours are one way, but there are so many other ways. Media should not be the only source of such information - we should actively seek it out ourselves. And children should be exposed at a very early age in their life.
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