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Digitizing Tradition: This Mahashivratri, Temples deliver ‘prasad’ to devotees via mail

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Shiv Temple Kanchar City Jabalpur, India

Santa Clara, Calif. (Diya TV) ‘Mahashivratri’, a term derived from three words Maha, Shiva and Ratri which literally means “The Great night of Shiva”, is one the most important festivals celebrated on the new moon day in the month of ‘Phalgun’ according to Hindu Calendars.

Shiv Temple Kanchar City Jabalpur, India

Shiv Temple Kanchar City Jabalpur, India

 

Lord Shiva is one among the three deities (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) of Hinduism that form the holy trinity. Brahma represents creation, Vishu preservation & Shiva the destruction, and the trinity symbolizes the cycle of life. According to Hindu mythology, there are many reasons of celebrating this day but mostly symbolised for the famous ‘Shiva Tandava Nritya’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction on this propitious night. The night also represents the anniversary of day Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvathi.

Mahashivratri is celebrated in different ways all over India, but people most often perform their rituals by observing a strict fast throughout the day. They start their day taking a holy bath, visiting the temple where the holy prayers are performed by giving ‘Shiv Linga’ a bath with water, honey, milk, curd signifying in purification of the soul. Following this, The Linga is decorated with flowers, fruits and ends with offering prayers dedicated in the name of Shiva.

It is believed that the people who fast on this night and offer prayers to Lord Shiva bring good luck into their life. On the hand women tend to celebrate this day for the well-being of their husband and sons. Two of the most popular, Shiva temples are the Kashi Vishwanath Temple & the Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain, believed to be the place of residence of Lord Shiva. Large processions are carried out throughout the city, with people thronging the streets to catch a glimpse of the revered idol of Lord Shiva.

Most festivals in are celebrated with enthusiastic fervor and when the entire nation is celebrating in a zeal- why would the celebrity clan be quiet about this?  From Politicians, cricketers to Bollywood celebrities took to Twitter to send their wishes for the great night of Shiva. Let’s see what they have to say…

But with all these celebrations, if one cannot make their way to any of the ultra auspicious Shiva temples, The India Postal service is here to the rescue.

The Indian postal department has entered into two separate agreements with two temples of Lord Shiva, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust of Varanasi and Shri Mahakaleshwar Jyotirling Mandir, Ujjain, so that ‘prasada’ (offering) from these temples can reach the devotees’ doorsteps.

The devotees will have to make a payment of a determined amount in the form of the postal orders to the temple(s) in order to avail the ‘holy’ scheme of the postal department.

While the devotees will get ‘bhabhuti’ (ash) from the temple, a rudraksha bead, laminated photo of Lord Shiva and Shiva Chalisa in the first case. In the second case, they will get prasada comprising 200 gm of dry fruits and 200 gm sweets, ‘bhabhuti’ (ash) and a photo of Lord Shri Mahakaleshwar through speed post.

“We have special envelopes for this delivery, which are water-proof and temper-proof, so that the sacrament retain its purity and sacredness, since this has direct bearing on the reverence and religious feelings of the devotees”, said Yadav.

Deepti Dawar contributed to this report.

Portions of this article first appeared in The Times of India.

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Indian American Illustrator Nidhi Chanani Premieres Pashmina

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Nidhi Chanani
Nidhi Chanani

Indian American illustrator Nidhi Chanani has released her first graphic novel Pashmina.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Indian American illustrator Nidhi Chanani has released her first graphic novel Pashmina.

Pashmina was partially inspired by Chanani’s childhood. Both she and her main character Priyanka “love samosas and drawing comics.”

In the graphic novel, Priyanka’s family and friends encourage her artistic pursuits. Chanani says “I can only speak from my own experience but I wasn’t encouraged towards art. Most

often I heard about engineering, accounting, law and medicine as viable career tracks. In Pashmina I chose to show a community we can strive towards rather than one steeped in old values and ideals. And yes I hope that Pashmina will inspire young artists to pursue different tracks. I also hope that parents will see the book as an example of how being an artist is also a viable career,” she said in a ComicsBeat.com article.

The creator of Every Day Love, a “whimsical” look into the life of immigrant children, the digital illustrator was given the Champion of Change award by the White House in 2012.

She uses digital media applications, such as Flash and Photoshop, as well as wood burning and watercolor in creating her art.

According to her website bio, she “creates because it makes her happy – with the hope that it can make others happy, too.”

Here is a brief animated preview of the release: https://everydayloveart.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/pashmina_promo_fullvideo.mp4?_=1

Pashmina was released by First Second Publishing on Oct. 3 and premieres at the New York Comic Con this week. A number of tour stops are scheduled for Chanani.

Chanani is a freelance illustrator, cartoonist and writer. She recently illustrated Misty – The Proud Cloud, a children’s book by Hugh Howey and is an instructor in the Master of Fine Arts, Comics program at the California College of Arts.

Chanani has appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and BBC Radio. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, the Women’s March, My Modern Met, Bored Panda and India Times.She has worked with Disney, ABC, Airbnb, Sony, Microsoft, State Farm Insurance and a variety of other clients. Her non-fiction comics have appeared in the Nib. Everyday Love Art products are sold across the country, including the San Francisco International Airport, Books Inc., and Therapy stores.

She was born in Calcutta, India and raised in southern California. She holds a degree in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Pixar Partners with Khan Academy to launch online storytelling course

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Pixar Animation Studios is partnering with Khan Academy to launch the first of six free online lessons covering the art of storytelling, the course is taught by Pete Docter, Mark Andrews, and other filmmakers from the renowned Disney-owned studio.

The new series includes Pete Docter, director of “Inside Out,” “Up” and “Monsters, Inc.”; Mark Andrews, director and screenwriter of “Brave” and story supervisor on “The Incredibles”; Sanjay Patel, director of “Sanjay’s Super Team” and animator on “Ratatouille,” “Cars” and “Monsters, Inc.”; and Domee Shi, story artist on “Inside Out.”

The rest of the “Art of Storytelling” lessons will roll out through the rest of the year. The internet classes include videos, exercises and hands-on activities to guide them from an initial idea to a final storyboard.

The first of the storytelling lessons is available now at PixarInABox.org.

It’s the third season of “Pixar in a Box” on Khan Academy, which first launched on the site in 2015. Past lessons from the studio have covered simulation, color science, virtual cameras, character modeling and rendering. Disney funds the Pixar collaboration with Khan Academy.

Information from Variety contributed to this report. 

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Anish Kapoor Awarded Prestigious $1M Genesis Prize

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The Genesis Prize Foundation announced this week that Anish Kapoor, the Turner Prize-winning artist, has been named its laureate for 2017. The annual prize recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to Jewish politics and culture, it comes with a $1 million cash prize.

Kapoor, whose mother is Jewish, has produced several major public works, the most recognizable of them being the bean-shaped Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. He also designed the Holocaust Memorial at London’s Liberal Jewish Synagogue. In 2015, for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, he designed a series of Holocaust remembrance candles.

Occasionally, Kapoor’s passions have spewed over into the world of politics. Kapoor said he will put the money from the Genesis Prize towards helping the Syrian refugee crisis, which has displaced an estimated 12.5 million people. No specific details have been announced, but Kapoor said he will make a much more elaborate presentation in June.

“The profound impact of Anish’s work continues a long history of Jewish contribution to the arts, while his social activism reaffirms the commitment of the Jewish people to humanitarian causes,” the Genesis Prize Foundation’s chairman and cofounder, Stan Polovets, said in a statement. “We particularly admire how, in an age frequently characterized by cynicism and indifference, Anish continually advocates for the world’s disadvantaged—challenging all of us to do more to help wherever and whenever we can.”

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