Friday, 22 October 2010

Is the Moon our guardian?

I have New Scientist edition 25 September 2010 in front of me, talking about several interesting topics (including the importance of happiness and sexy daisies in Africa). However, what catches my attention right now is an article by Battersby et al titled ‘Cosmic Coincidences: Ten improbable events that paved the way for our existence’, which – as it goes – tells me how coincidence is a big factor that shapes the Earth into a living planet habitable for human (and rabbits, and dolphins, and also dinosaurs in the past). And then cometh the Moon, my favourite planetary object.

I’ve learned for quite some time that the Moon was actually not ‘captured’ by the Earth’s orbit, but rather was ‘made’ by the Earth because of a massive impact a long long time ago. But I didn’t realise how important is the role of the Moon until now. I will copy some paragraph from the article, written by David Shiga (p. 39).

Mars attacks

The solar system in which the infant Earth found itself was an unsettled environment, filled with lumps of rock whizzing around on irregular orbits. Some 4.5 billion years ago one of these, a Mars-sized body, clobbered our planet. The result was a comprehensive rearrangement. Some of the impacting material stuck, while the rest was blasted into orbit along with bits of Earth excavated by the collision, where it formed the moon.

It does not sound a particularly propitious event. But luckily, it resulted in a satellite that is anomalously big in comparison to its parent planet. There is nothing else like it in the solar system, where satellites are relatively small bodies that either accreted slowly from orbiting debris or were captured in passing. Elsewhere it seems a similar story. Giant collisions in other solar systems would produce abundant dust visible to the infrared Spitzer Space Telescope, but although a few such dusty systems have been found, collisions big enough to produce something like the moon seem to happen in only 5 to 10 per cent of solar systems – with the number of instances where this has actually happened considerably smaller even than that (The Astrophysical Journal, vol 670, 0516).

Why does this matter? Because the moon’s size provides a steadying gravitational hand that helps to stabilise the tilt, or “obliquity”, of Earth’s axis. That prevents wild changes in the pattern of solar heating on the planet’s surface that could lead to extreme climate swings, including frequent periods where the whole planet freezes over. That’s a big deal for us. “Conditions might be bad for complex land-based life if there were no moon and obliquity varied significantly,” says David Spiegel, a planetary scientist at Princeton University.

Earth might still have spawned life without its outside moon – even with a frozen surface, the water beneath could offer a decent habitat for sea creatures, Spiegel says. It’s just unlikely that we would be around to appreciate it. ~ David Shiga

Over the last few years, I’ve been always thinking and seeing the Moon as a source of guidance. I understand that my belief might be originated from the ancient civilisations around the world that referred to the Moon as a sacred object. Now I see that such notion might not be far off at all. Instead of just merely being ‘seized’ by Mother Earth as she strolled along the cosmic path, the Moon was actually sent by the Earth herself to guard her. And for billions of years, she has done the job well. She provides the force to stabilise life on Earth while she the Moon Maiden remains barren.

I start to really see the Moon as our major sentinel now.

Pic: Orange Moon

Friday, 27 August 2010

Hear My Prayer

Hear My Prayer
~ Moya Brennan

Hear my prayer
Bring me through the darkness, hear my heart
Draw me in
On this bright, new morning

Here I am, stay with me
Never too late to forgive
Here I am, set me free
Sing Hallelujah

Angels walk with me
Guide me to the water's edge
Wash away my doubts, my fears
Lord, strengthen me and bring me back to you

Change my heart
With a gentle touch you change my world
Hold me close
Fill my life with beauty

Hear my voice, stay with me
Bring cool water to my lips
Hear my prayer, set me free
Sing Hallelujah

Angels walk with me
Guide me to the water's edge
Wash away my doubts, my fears
Lord, strengthen me and bring me back to you

Pic: Lady Isis by Redheaded Step Child

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Second Chance - Miten

Second Chance
by Miten

I hung my hat on a wishing tree
I asked for one wish - I could've had three
But I only asked for what I needed
Could've asked for money riches and wealth
But all I really wanted was to find myself
Unaccustomed as I was to seeking

And my heart whispered inside
And the moon rose and the angels sighed
And they said

Here comes your second chance
You'd better believe it
Open up and receive it
Here comes your second chance
Take a deep breath
This is your second chance

Make peace with your mother
And your father, too
Make peace with the stranger inside of you
And forgive yourself for the things you tried and failed to do
Embrace your anger, your lust and your greed
That's how we drop the things that we don't need
Pick up a musical instrument
Or plant a seed

That was my heart whispering inside
"Welcome" it said, "you're home and dry"

Here comes your second chance
You'd better believe it
Open up and receive it
Here comes your second chance
Take a deep breath
This is your second chance

Well the years went by and my wish came true
And i find myself here with you
I had to climb that mountain
There was no was around it
And we all come and go like waves in the sea
Each with our own responsibility
To leave this world more beautiful than we found it

That's your heart whispering inside
And you know your heart, it never lied

Here comes your second chance
You'd better believe it
Open up and receive it
Here comes your second chance
Take a deep breath
This is your second chance

Lyrics from Miten and Deva Premal's 'Songs for Inner Lovers'
Pic: Living Tantra Bliss

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

I cannot believe Agora is not in Australia yet!

I mean, come on! Agora was nominated for 13 Goya Award, and won 7 of them. It was screened out of competition for the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and it talked about the 4th CE Egypt without the usual swords and gladiator-style debacles. Well, okay, it eventually ended up with a riot that killed my new fave heroine mathematician-astronomer-librarian Hypatia (played by Rachel Weisz, excellently I believe), but still, it is favoured by many and it's not screened in Australia yet?!?!

Okay, okay, it was screened in several cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra) during the Spanish Film Festival last May, but not yet in Townsville, the city of Powerpuff Girls! And not in big chain cinemas like Event Cinemas and Reading Cinemas. What an insult.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Lovely Very Valentine

Adriana Trigiani is officially my favourite authoress now, on par with Sophie Kinsella on my book (or book shelf?). I admit that I had been eyeing ‘Very Valentine’ since before Christmas last year, but was put off by its expensive price. I was also reluctant to start reading a story from an author I haven’t read before. Then I spotted the smaller TPB version of VV last May at the airport (most of my fave books I encountered in airports!), really browsed the first few pages, and… well, I can’t resist a novel that talks about shoes (particularly bespoke wedding shoes), can’t I?

But Adriana delivers much more than a quench for my thirst for good shoes and a good story about how bespoke shoes are made. She delivers Life itself that speaks through the heroine Valentine Roncalli, an Italian American living in Greenwich Village New York (I swear, if I ever go to NYC, I shall visit Greenwich Village. As Colin Firth’s Darcy said: “I shall!”). In many ways, I can relate to Valentine. Single woman of mid 30s, has big family that more often than not are noisy about her personal life, has to prove to herself that she can save and live her dream life… and has a good taste of well-made and comfortable shoes. Okay, I don’t have a nice tomato garden at the rooftop, but I am contemplating about it now.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Tips for international shoe size conversion

I’ve recently made some purchases from US, so I thought I’d just pour myself some more tips on converting your shoe size when you do online purchase. For reference, I usually wear size EU 38 or 39 for heels; I’m happy with insole length 9.5-9.75” (24.5-25cm) and width of ball of foot 3” (7.5cm), but for heels, if it gets larger than that, it won’t do me good. I go up to EU 40 for boots. My right foot is half a number smaller than my left foot, but that’s common for many people, so I’m not an alien here. I might have to say that these sizing tips apply only for women shoes. Sorry, guys…

Is AU size = US size?The thing is, whenever I go to Novo, one of my favourite shoe stores in Australia, I usually go with “8 = 39” and it fits me well. So naturally, I thought that my size is AU 8 or EU 39 (which is the size I use in Indonesia). Several time I shopped in Ebay UK and I always asked for UK 6, and they fit me well.

Then came the time when I found Modcloth and got confused because they said AU 8 = US 9.5, or EU 41. Which is impossible! So, what is my US size? Is it possible that I actually had been shopping with US 8, and thought that it was AU 8?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

I carry your heart with me

I carry your heart with me
by E.E. Cumming

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it
(anywhere i go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Pic: personal collection

Monday, 1 March 2010


Selenite by Rurutia

~Translated by Amy Hikari

Ah, a light flickers in the ruined city
And an invisible tune, full of wishes, echoes around

Now, the burned-down sky sinks to the bottom of the water
And is filled with moonlight

Dyed in the blue burning night
Your shoulders are so slender they’re almost not there
I hang on tight to them but still you fade away

Ah, at the end of the universe I found countless little stars
When we met, I learned what dizziness felt like

Now, swallowed up in endless waves of gold and silver
We move towards the sacred river
My heart begins to tremble as you pull me close so sweetly
Forever, always and forever, I want to hold you
So that you won't disappear

Now, swallowed up in endless waves of gold and silver
We move towards the sacred river

Dyed in the blue burning night
Your shoulders are so slender they’re almost not there
I hang on tight to them but still you fade away

My heart begins to tremble as you pull me close so sweetly
Forever, always and forever, I want to hold you
So that you won't disappear

Original lyrics by Rurutia

Aa, yurameku tomoshibi, gareki no machi ni
Narihibiku toumei na shirabe wa negai wo tatae

Ima, yake ochita sora wa mizu no soko e to shizunde yuku
Michite yuku tsuki akari

Aoku moeru yoru ga kimi wo someru, hakanai hodo
Hosoi kata wo kitsuku daite itemo
Kimi wa kiete shimaisou de

Aa, musuu no hoshitsubu, uchuu no hate de
Mitsuketa yo, hajimete no deai wa memai sae oboe

Ima, furisosogu kin to gin no hikari no nami ni nomare
Futari seinaru kawa e

Amaku oshiyosete wa boku no mune wo furuwaseru yo
Zutto kono mama zutto daite itai
Kimi ga kiete shimawanai you ni

Ima, furisosogu kin to gin no hikari no nami ni nomare
Futari seinaru kawa e

Aoku moeru yoru ga kimi wo someru, hakanai hodo
Hosoi kata wo kitsuku daite itemo
Kimi wa kiete shimaisou de

Amaku oshiyosete wa boku no mune wo furuwaseru yo
Zutto kono mama zutto daite itai
Kimi ga kiete shimawanai you ni

Pic: One-winged embrace by Saimain DeviantArt

Friday, 19 February 2010

Thank you Obama for meeting His Holiness!

Okay, the meeting was done in a very private, low profile setting yesterday (Thursday, 18 Feb 2010), but it's still a good sign that Tibetan voice is being heard.

Complete story can be found in Dalai Lama's official page. I can only say... thank you Obama for meeting His Holiness Dalai Lama, and also the Universe for making this happen!

Picture from Dalai

Red Bird Explains Herself

Red Bird Explains Herself

By Mary Oliver

If I was the song that entered your heart
then I was the music of your heart, that you wanted and needed
and thus the wilderness bloomed, with all its
followers; gardeners, lovers, people who weep
for the death of rivers

And this was my true task, to be the
music of the body.
Do you understand?
For truly the body needs
a song, a spirit, a soul. And no less, to make this work,
the soul has need of a body,
and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable
beauty of heaven
where I fly so easily, so welcome, yes,
and this is why I have been sent, to teach this to your heart.

Pic: Heart Bird by Ann Whim Tseng
Special thanks to Hafiz for sending me this poem...

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Research is a detective work, Batman!

Two images I bastardised to boost up my thesis writing. Batman the Greatest Detective, and Lois Lane, the Kick Ass Reporter! Might be useful for some comic-geek students out there who struggles with assignments/thesis...

Okay, I need to get back to work. Where are those evidential, papers...

PS, if you want to see how awesome Lois Lane is, click here.

Pic 1: Batman, from Detective Comics #405. Original file stolen from here
Pic 2: Lois Lane, from this site

Monday, 15 February 2010


I owe my dearest friend 'Cabe' for introducing me a new term today. Something that I've been experiencing and I am very aware of, but never knew the term until now. Metanoia.

From Wikipedia:

Metanoia (from the Greek μετάνοια, metanoia, changing one's mind) in the psychological theory of Carl Jung denotes a process of reforming the psyche as a form of self healing, a proposed explanation for the phenomenon of psychotic breakdown. Here, metanoia is viewed as a potentially productive process, and therefore patients' psychotic episodes are not necessarily always to be thwarted, which may restabilize the patients but without resolving the underlying issues causing their psychopathology.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Valentine poem

So today is Valentine's Day, and also the New Year of the Tiger. Love and Courage. Just all that I need now... particularly because I'm a Tiger, and this tigress doth need to shower herself with Love more often. But somehow, as many days before today, I opened Tagore's poem book this morning, and came up with a lovely poem befits of my reincarnated loves in the past. So here's for Love. Courage I shall post later after I find something suitable.

I think I shall stop startled if ever we meet after our next birth,
walking in the light of a far-away world.
I shall know those dark eyes then as morning stars,
and yet feel that they have belonged to some unremembered evening sky
of a former life.

I shall know that the magic of your face is not all its own,
but has stolen the passionate light that was in my eyes at some immemorial meeting,
and then gathered from my love a mystery
that has now forgotten its origin

~ Rabindranath Tagore

Pic: Cropped painting of the beautiful "Milkmaid' by the famous Ravi Varma of Kerala, India

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Are You a Mere Picture?

Are you a mere picture, and not as true as those stars, true as
this dust? They throb with the pulse of things, but you are
immensely aloof in your stillness, painted form.

The day was when you walked with me, your breath warm, your
limbs singing of life. My world found its speech in your voice, and
touched my heart with your face. You suddenly stopped in your walk,
in the shadow-side of the Forever, and I went on alone.

Life, like a child, laughs, shaking its rattle of death as it
runs; it beckons me on, I follow the unseen; but you stand there,
where you stopped behind that dust and those stars; and you are a
mere picture.

No, it cannot be. Had the life-flood utterly stopped in you,
it would stop the river in its flow, and the foot-fall of dawn in
her cadence of colours. Had the glimmering dusk of your hair
vanished in the hopeless dark, the woodland shade of summer would
die with its dreams.

Can it be true that I forgot you? We haste on without heed,
forgetting the flowers on the roadside hedge. Yet they breathe
unaware into our forgetfulness, filling it with music. You have
moved from my world, to take seat at the root of my life, and
therefore is this forgetting-remembrance lost in its own depth.

You are no longer before my songs, but one with them. You came
to me with the first ray of dawn. I lost you with the last gold of
evening. Ever since I am always finding you through the dark.

No, you are no mere picture.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

Pic: 'Guiding Star' by Mahmoud Farshchian

Friday, 12 February 2010

HH Dalai Lama is scheduled to meet Mr. Obama


His Holiness Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet and inspiration/guru to many people including myself is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. sometimes this month, perhaps next week. This move unfortunately has made the Chinese government cranky, and I sincerely hope that Mr. Obama will stick to his plan of meeting His Holiness. As someone who's been in a very close proximity to His Holiness, I can only attest to the beautiful feeling inside of me that resulted from meeting him in person. I hope that Mr. Obama will also have that priviledge, regardless of what Beijing says!

May all beautiful thoughts flow from all directions... Shanti, peace...

News source: Times of India, 13 February 2010.
Pic: Private collection in Sarnath, India, 9 January 2009

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Peace, My Heart...

I dedicate these two Rabindranath Tagore poems for my friend 'Hafiz' who is currently into his 'little India' journey. May Allah ya Jamil be with you, dearest friend... Ishq Allah ya Jamil, Insya Allah we shall meet again...

There Is Room for You

There is room for you. You are alone with your few sheaves of rice.
My boat is crowded, it is heavily laden, but how can I turn you
away? Your young body is slim and swaying; there is a twinkling
smile in the edge of your eyes, and your robe is coloured like the
rain cloud.

The travelers will land for different roads and homes. You
will sit for a while on the prow of my boat, and at the journey's
end none will keep you back.

Where do you go, and to what home, to garner your sheaves? I
will not question you, but when I fold my sails and moor my boat
I shall sit and wonder in the evening, -Where do you go, and to
what home, to garner your sheaves?

~ Rabindranath Tagore, 'Lover's Gifts VIII'

Peace, My Heart

Peace, my heart, let the time for
the parting be sweet.

Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.

Let the flight through the sky end
in the folding of the wings over the nest.

Let the last touch of your hands be
gentle like the flower of the night.

Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a
moment, and say your last words in silence.

I bow to you and hold up my lamp
to light you on your way.

~ Rabindranath Tagore, 'The Gardener LXI'

Pic: 'Traveller' by Anastasiya Markovich, Wikipedia

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Too Beautiful for Words…

How do I start? How do I tell you how Blackest Night Wonder Woman # 3 wraps itself so beautifully that my heart is filled with the warm glow of love? Maybe by saying thank you (again) to Greg Rucka (story), Nicola Scott (art), Jonathan Glapion (ink) and Nei Ruffino (colour).

The first pages said it all: Wonder Woman’s love to all creation is her greatest asset. Star Sapphire Carol Ferris delivered the truth, that although Diana was the only hero possessed by a black ring when the violet ring searched for her, Diana could break through and reach out. “Enough of you remained that the violet could reach you, and that you could do what no one else could do… and reach back. That’s never happened before.”

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Spiritual Kiss

I still have the Kiss shared by Batman and Wonder Woman in Blackest Night Wonder Woman #2 (now officially a holy book for Batwondy fans!) lingering in my mind, despite it took place in a virtual reality created by Lady Aphrodite to contain a rampaging Black Lantern WW (see the previous post to make sense of it). Hence, this post.

And I promise you that this post will still be confusing for non DC comic readers or JL Animated cartoon watchers. Heck, it’s likely to confuse my fellow Batwondy fans, even! But I need to address this. I need to share with you why I see the kiss as beyond physical. Why I see it as reaching a spiritual level as well.

To do so, I need to make some disclaimers:

1. I don’t see anything wrong with seeing the kiss as very sexy. God, it IS very sexy. Alluring. Seducing. Nicola Scott really knows how to draw a sexy yet poetic kiss. I’m glad she’s with DC now.

2. Some references I shall make here will confuse many readers, particularly those unaccustomed with Vedic tradition, a very generic tradition I’m about to source. It’s not that these examples can only be found in Vedic books; I am certain that other traditions have some similar examples as well. I shall try my best to explain with my understanding that stems out of love.

3. As I will use these references in love, I shall disagree with fellow Vedic followers who might think of this post as a sacrilege or blasphemy, for trying to link human love with divine love. For… ah… where is the line, actually? Our true, pure, unconditional human love is basically a divine love as well, and a divine love can only be understood if we humans have experienced human love.

Enough of confusing you, now let’s start.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

In Darkness, Love must Triumph

Okay. My regular readers will not understand why I branch out to comic book this time, but if you read my first (and the only entry so far) about this topic here, you will begin to understand. Or so I hope. Anyway. Doesn’t matter. For I am ECSTATIC!!! Thank you so much, Greg Rucka! God bless you!

Okay. Ahem. Get back on trail. I’ve been on high like this since yesterday, since I picked up my Wonder Woman #39 and Blackest Night WW#2 from my local comic shop. I belatedly read WW#39 because I was away for a month, but still… I salute thee, Gail Simone, for wrapping the gigantic Warkiller arc magnificently. Thank you.

Enters Blackest Night Wonder Woman #2. I started this arc, superbly written by Greg Rucka and beautifully penciled by Nicola Scott, with no intention to read the main Blackest Night stories, for it just gives me headache. Thank God for Wikipedia. But I was, still am, more than willing to read the WW tie-ins, for… hey, it’s Wonder Woman! Plus, Greg Rucka was a respected WW writer, clearly still in love with Diana, and he’s been communicating with Gail Simone as well, so the characterization fits in. Blackest Night WW#1 – where Diana fought against the resurrected Maxwell Lord whom she killed to save a mind-controlled Superman – was amazing. I don’t have the book with me, but it just reaffirms my belief in Wonder Woman. In Diana, in her faith in Love.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

I See You (A commentary of Avatar)

I’d been wanting to watch Avatar since the trailers hit cinemas in town, but in all honesty, I thought it was a violent movie about the natives versus the Almighty Americans (no offense my dearest American friends)… until I read Stephen Simon’s entry about Avatar in Holistic Asia, and realized that it was actually a spiritual movie.

Hence, I painted my eyes with glittering soft blue eye shadow, and onwards went to the local cinema here in Yogyakarta, making my way through the snaking queue of people in want of watching either Avatar, Sherlock Holmes (so not elementary, Watson!), and The Princess and the Frog (have to watch that one too!). I didn’t regret I spent almost half an hour in the queue.

James Cameron’s Avatar was a treat.

True, I sobbed a lot during the movie (guess which scenes?), ooh-ed and aah-ed during the beautiful panoramic views, shed silent tears when our hero and heroine made love under the sacred tree of love, and take my proverbial hat off at the fall of the Brave Trudy.

Avatar reminds me to see something as it is, instead of with my preconditions and perceptions. Paraphrasing Mo'at, Neytiri's mother and spiritual leader of the clan: “The Sky People do not want to learn from us. They came with the glass full.” Snicker. It reminds me of the old Zen tale whereby a disciple keep asking his Master about stuffs, and his master keeps pouring down the tea until it overflows and wet the disciple’s expensive robe.

“Master! Why keep pouring the tea? My cup is already full; it overflows!”

“Why keep asking me questions then?” replied the Master. “You already have your answers in your head.”

But more than that, Avatar made me realize that I was, am still, on the right path. The Path of Mother Earth. I’m one of her daughters, and it’s my duty and privilege to protect her, even from ourselves, her own children.

“You know where I came from,” Jake Sully said to the Soul Tree. “There’s nothing beautiful there. They killed their own mother.”

For the love of my life, Jake… I truly hope no Earthlings will ever need to say it. I truly hope we have not killed Mother Earth, Mother Gaia, Prativi Ma.

No, I am not blinded by all that happens in this planet. I am not blinded by the massive deforestations and ocean acidity, nor the rapid removal of many species. I am not deaf to the silent cry of Mother Earth. I weep with her. I weep and work for her.

But I still have hope that one day, if we are ever going to meet the Omaticaya of Pandora, we are going to greet them like this:

“Greetings, Brothers and Sisters. I See You. I come from another world, much like your own. And though we almost destroyed our own Mother, we managed to save her from ourselves. She is still alive and breathing joyfully, much like Eywa, much like your Great Mother. And I thank the Universe for that.”

I am not blinded by what happens in our planet; by what we have been doing to our Mother. But I still dare to hope for our chance.

Now, does Avatar still play in Sydney? I want to see it in 3D…

PS 15 February 2010:
See also Amy C's article for Top Five Spiritual Lessons from the Avatar movie.

Pic 1: Avatar movie poster, Wikipedia
Pic 2: Zen master and his tea, from here
Pic 3: Seeds of the Soul Tree, by Phantasy Star Deviantart

What is Fear?

Fear is like a big scary guy that stops you right there and… and forces you to choose something else.

“You cannot go in here,” he says with guttural voice. “Leave. Take another path, left or right. Or… back off.”

But there is another choice. You look at him squarely in the eye and say:

“No. I want to go on. I want to move on. Please kindly step aside. You’re in my way.”

Say it sincerely with confidence. And, after what feels like a millennia,…he the Mr. Fear smiles, bows a bit, and gives way.

“Go ahead,” he says. “Be my guest.”

And behind him… there’s previously an unseen door, or even open space you name it… which is your true goal. Your true happiness you always seek.

Fear, it turns out, is not an enemy.

He is a big scary friend, but he’s a true friend nonetheless. Because he makes us realize what is more important: His scary form… or something behind him, a beautiful thing, state, person…your own self even…hidden from him.

Turns out…when you truly hug and embrace your fears, they do turn into beautiful flowers…

Meeting the Javanese Mother Mary

“Is Mother Mary a Catholic?” asked my 8 years old nephew innocently. I can’t help replying back with “God, what is your religion?” – something that he wouldn’t understand, in retrospective.

But that’s exactly the point. How do you explain to a child that it’s okay to visit a church, though you’re not officially a Christian? Or visiting a temple tho you’re not registered as a Buddhist or a Hindu? Or enjoying the coolness inside a mosque despite your chosen faith, for that matter?

Since when did it become a matter? Since when did I have to defend my rights to visit any sacred places, regardless of their religious/traditional affiliations? My mother was supremely elated when she found out that I visited the Temple Church of Ganjuran (Gereja Candi Ganjuran), a.k.a. Ganjuran Sacred Heart Church in Bantul, Yogyakarta. She and her second husband immediately related it to me becoming a Christian. How do I explain to her that one of my best friends in Bali often accompanies me to the local temple and she (happens to be a Christian) also prays in her own way?

I guess my mother has enough stuffs to ‘worry’ about. My sister is dating a Moslem Javanese man. A very decent man I’d say, and I’m happy for her. But she has enough problems in explaining to mum that his religion matters not for her.

I can understand my sister. Two Indonesian laws in need of annulment are 1) the 2008/9 porn bill (God, I can write a long article just about that!) and 2) the marriage law (don’t know which year), which states that two Indonesians of different faiths cannot be married. If I recall correctly, it requires that one of the lovers must sacrifice his/her own faith and convert to another’s. IMHO, it creates a false foundation for the marriage. Why can’t you just remain faithful to your own religion and respect your partner’s as well? More than that, not only respecting and tolerating, but appreciating. For the essence, the beauty within, is just the same.

I guess I’m a strong proponent for interfaith marriage in Indonesia; one that is not merely based on respect, but also on appreciation and understanding that each path is uniquely tailored for a person. The connection between a person and the Sacred, the Creator, God, whatever you name it, is a very personal one; it is even more personal than the bond between husband and wife. That’s why it is called a ‘path’. Because it is small and is only walked by one person at a time.

Coming back to the conversation with my nephew. Eventually my sister and I came up with an explanation like this:

“Religion is the way for a person to speak with God. It is up to him/her how to speak with the Almighty. You can speak in Indonesian language, in Javanese, in Balinese… in English, in Mandarin… etc…”

“God can understand?”

“Yes, God can understand. Even if you don’t speak at all, God can still understand. And wherever you pray, whatever your religion is, God still understands.”

That explanation seems to suffice my nephew. With the Javanese gamelan playing in the background, he sat next to my sister in front of the Javanese style Jesus Christ, while I walked to the corner of the compound, to Mother Mary and Baby Jesus. I need not to explain why I was more attracted to this Javanese Mother Mary, but I can try. Perhaps because she reminds me of Lady Isis and Baby Horus, Ma Parvati and Little Ganesh… mother and child. Perhaps I was, am, attracted to her Javanese style. Perhaps I just need to speak to a mother who listens.

“This is Mother Mary?” my nephew was confused with her Javanese garment and hair ornaments. He was used to the cloaked Mother Mary he always saw in churches.

“Yes, this is Mother Mary,” I told him. “This is the same Mother Mary you saw with the cloak inside the church.” I wanted to tell him that I can see the same Mother Mary inside the Vedic Goddesses and Celtic High Ladies… and even in the trees and the stars… but that would confuse him more. It would confuse him more if I say that the Vatican seemed to disagree with the representation of Mother Mary in Javanese Hindu style.

But…yes, this is still Mother Mary. Her Javanese statue, along with the temple church (gereja candi) compound was built in 1930s, the courtesy of the Dutch Schmutzer family for the Motherland of Indonesia.

Yes, she listens to me too. For I am her daughter and she is my Mother.

All pics are my own.
Pic 3 = 'Mother Mary of Ganjuran, I seek Thy Blessings'