Our feature story this issue is a tour de force taking you to and through the seldom seen culture and countryside of Assam. We call it "Awesome Assam," and the awesomeness is in full view through the creative lens of photographer Thomas Kelly and in-depth interviews of correspondent Rajiv Malik. Experience the diverse religious, linguistic and cultural milieu of the state's native tribal peoples and the later migrants from elsewhere in India.
Our 16-page Insight section is Acharya Vamadeva Shastri's lucid unraveling of the four states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, deep sleep and samadhi. He particularly explores the subtle worlds of sleep, dreams and their importance in life and relationship to the higher states of mind. There are also excerpts from the writings of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami on the astral world, and selected quotes from the Upanishads on the four states.
In his Publisher's Desk editorial, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami addresses the power of our words, specifically the importance of kindly speech. He parses four kinds of unkind speechâ€”gossip, backbiting, joking and teasingâ€”then shows us how to avoid these habits through focusing on courtesy, tact and sensitivity.
Science and mind studies are big in this issue. Is there a new science of consciousness evolving today? We think so, and since it has such deep resonance with Hindu mystical thought, we bring you the past, present and future of the unfolding revelations about consciousness, human perception, non-local being and more. Varun Khanna begins the journey for us in a lengthy discussion of Hinduism's contribution to the new "Science of Consciousness." Then Deepak Chopra, Rudy Tanzi and others guide the way. This field may have a tectonic impact on our future, on understanding what it is to be human, to be aware, to be evolving. A summary review of the three-day "Sages and Scientists Symposium" held in Los Angeles last September is provided by members of our editorial staff who attended.
We visit Bali for a festival of gratitude that features huge chariot-like structures called Dangssil pulled through the village. Then we explore Delhi for a survey of that city's plethora of veggie food options, Mumbai to see how the world's grandest Ganesha festival is run, and Durban to learn about an amazing TV series called "Sadhanaâ€”the Inward Path." This half-hour weekly show, the country's only Hindu series, is produced with world-class reporting and visual content.
There's more inside the magazine, including our fun Quotes & Quips with cartoon, an excerpt from recently translated Agama verses, Anant Rambachan's take on the future of Hinduism in America, and the amazing documentary film work of Benoy Behl on India's religion and traditions.