Pious Maha Shivaratri from Mauritius

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Origin of the the Maha Shivaratri Festival.

According to the sacred texts, the ‘devas’ (minor gods) and the demons agreed to join forces and churn the oceans for the elixir of immortality (‘Amnita’). Using mountain Mandara as a churning stick and the enormous serpent Vasuki as a rope, they set about their task in earnest. But something went wrong. From out of the swirling waters, there erupted a lethal poison which burnt down to ashes everything in its way and was soon threatening to destroy the entire Universe. The ‘devas’ sought out Shiva and beseeched him to come to the rescue. Shiva swallowed the deadly poison, thus saving the Universe from total destruction. But in the process the poison caused his throat to turn blue. This is how he came to be known as ‘Nilkanth’ — the blue-throated god. The ‘devas’ poured water on his neck hoping to cool it and soothe his pain. Since then devotees of Shiva have continued to pour water on the ‘Shiva Liiiga’. Every year, twelve nights are dedicated to the Great Lord, Maha Shivaratni being one of them.

Maha Shivaratri and it’s beauty.

The Maha Shivaratri festival is among the most popular festivals in Mauritius and provides an occasion for mass participation where all religions come together, through the annual pilgrimage to the lake of Grand Bassin also called as ‘Ganga Talao’. Maha Shivaratri is being observed in the month of February— March ( Phaguna ) in honour of Shiva, one of the most celebrated Gods of the Hindu pantheon.

Ganga Talao ( The River Ganges recreated in Mauritius )

Among his manifold attributes, Shiva is also known as ‘Gangadhar’, the upholder of the Ganges. Ganga river or Mother Ganga, is the sacred river and is believed to be of divine origin. The world over the Ganges is the embodiment of purity and divinity and her water, venerated and stored in pots and bottles in many homes , is highly valued for its use in sacrifices and ceremonies. Since the Hindus who came to Mauritius could not go to the Ganges, they brought the Ganges to Mauritius.
Grand Bassin is a lake situated in a secluded mountain area in the district of Savanne, deep in the heart of Mauritius. It is about 1800 feet above sea level and is surrounded by natural scenery of breathtaking beauty. In 1897 Shri jhummon Gin Gosagne, a ‘pujari’ (priest) of Terre Rouge saw in a dream the water of the lake of Grand Bassin springing from the ‘Jahnvi’, thus forming part of Ganga. The news of the dream spread rapidly and created quite a stir in the Hindu community. The following year, pilgrims trekked to Grand Bassin to collect its water to offer to Lord Shiva on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri. The lake was then known as the ‘Pan Talao’, the lake of the water fairies, because people believed that fairies came to bathe in it every night. In 1972 sacred water from the Ganges was poured into the lake which from then on came to be called the ‘Ganga Talao’, the lake of the Ganges.

The Festival itself is preceded by weeks of preparation and discipline, during at least one week of which no meat and alcohol are consumed. Three days before the festival proper, devotees start on a pilgrimage to the ‘Ganga Talao’. Men, women, children of all religions, all dressed in white, in their thousands, from every nook and corner of the island, travel to the lake on foot, in a slow and never-ending procession. On their way, a journey of twenty or thirty miles, they carry on their shoulders, sometimes by twos or fours, structures made of bamboo and decorated with paper streamers and small multi-coloured tinkling bells. Some of these ‘kanwars’ as they are known, are minor artistic masterpieces built mostly like domed temples, rippling with colours and flashing with the reflected lights of countless mirrors.

The pilgrims gladly carry these ‘kanwars’ or ‘yokes’ on their necks and shoulders symbolising their loving surrender and obedience to the Divine will. When they reach the Ganga Talao, and after a short rest, they offer prayers to Lord Shiva and to their favourite deities at the various shrines around the lake. It is estimated that about 250,000 people go on pilgrimage to Grand Bassin every year. To the visitor who comes by car or coach, the experience may be rather unnerving, what with the slow-moving traffic, the jams, and the thousands of men and women, crowding the stone steps which reach like roots into the lake. But then the whole scene is an unforgettable sight. The lake itself is like an emerald jewel in a breathtakingly serene woodland setting, vaulted by the sky, flanked on one side by a ‘Shiva Linga’ in the form of a temple-shaped hillock. One hundred and eight steps, like beads in a ‘japa mala’ (rosary), climb to the top of the hill which is crowned with a life-size marble statue of Hanuman, the monkey-god and peerless devotee of Lord Rama.

When one takes in the whole scene — mysticized by the veils of mist that rise and subside, and by the clouds that come and go, when one looks at the rapt faces of the thousands of men, women and children who reach out to the Divine, one cannot help feeling that here on the banks of the sacred Ganga Talao, one is vouchsafed a vision of transcendence and liberation. On such occasions and on the occasion of other Hindu, Christian and Muslim festivals, one experiences in Mauritius the sensation of crossing over the threshold of the sacred. We have reached the ‘tirtha’, the ford, the door through which the divine reaches down to the human, and the human reaches up to the Divine. For some transcendental moments, we have the impression that we are in Mauritius, but outside the world, outside time. Similarly, like many such hallowed places, Ganga Talao becomes a meeting-place of earth, heaven and the beyond. After prayers, it is time for the pilgrims to start on their long journey back carrying their ‘lotas’ (small pots) of brass or bottles filled with the sacred water from the lake. The sacred water is brought to the temple and poured on the ‘Shiva Linga’.

May Lord Shiva shower his benign blessings on you and your family. May happiness and peace surround you with his eternal love and strength. Pious Maha Shivaratri Mauritius..
Some photographs taken during 21th to 26th February 2014 pilgrimage .

Note: I own none of these pictures posted below.

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Long gone..but never forgotten !

Kaya Joseph Reginald Topize ; KAYA (10 August 1960 – 21 February 1999)

ImageKaya’s portrait by me

 

Kaya, a Mauritian musician and the creator of “seggae”, a fusion of sega and reggae, two of the most popular music genres in Mauritius. He was a man singing for Mauritian people to unite as one, regardless of ethnicity and religion, where he delivers powerful lyrics urging the Mauritians to look at Africa for inspiration as a cure against division amongst selves. This identity crisis seen as a cancer, which has and is still creating confusion and division amongst the Mauritian people land in Kaya’s eyes the only remedy is through a greater understanding of the African History and the Mauritian culture.

Kaya’s death

February 16, 1999, the republican movement is organizing a free concert for the decriminalization of ganja and appealed to Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam for those imprisoned for possession of “gandia” (about 2000 or 75% of the prison population, for sentences ranging from several months to two years) to be amnestied. Kaya and his band was amongst the five groups who performed that day.
On that day, the crowd gathered quickly reaching about 2000 participants. As per their request; depenalisation of cannabis , many would light up their joints, causing the agents of the Special Supporting to be in place but however they did not intervene.

Two days later the state police decided to question five people identified as having smoked or induced to smoke cannabis during the concert of the 16th of February 1999, the very day i turned 8 of age. They were all leaders of the music bands performing and among them, Kaya, who admits to having smoked that night and finds himself immediately imprisoned in Alcatraz, detention center for the traditional big drug dealer and criminal.
Kaya was found dead in his cell on the morning of Sunday, February 21, 1999.
The official version states that Kaya, suffering from lack of drug, would have broken his skull, throwing himself against the walls of his cell. Against a second opinion requested by the wife of Kaya, conducted by a coroner Reunion, Dr. Ramstein, will also contradict this theory and show that the victim had been beaten. An example of injustice !

Short documentary on Kaya in french:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL2WE1KMWjA

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My most favourite songs; Kaya way of Unity

Sime Lalimier;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIh7NeSOouM
Soley ek bondie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf0LxpHPl78 
Zistoir Revoltan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKaKoD3NGJA 
Frer ek Ser : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSF6t_b8GuY 
Lam sakrifis : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glo_–yEOGM

S.O.S Humanitaire !!

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Le ras de bol s’installe dans ce monde qui perd de son poids humain!

Y en a marre de voir et d’entendre toutes ces horreurs irrémédiables et injustifiable… Je commence a en perdre vraiment la tête ! J’ai la phobie des chiffres en voyant la hausse des statistiques recensées par le “probation office” d’année en année,

4 041 cas, desquels 263 cas redirigés vers la RYC, 1 817 cas répertoriés par le DPP, 983 cas en cours de district, 144 cas en cour intermédiaire et 489 cas en cour Suprême.

C’est a se demander si c’est ici le paradis, que nous vendent certains politocards ! L’intervention humanitaire ne se limite pas au fait de sauver des vies, elle sert aussi a assurer la pérennité de notre société.

Nous, Mauriciens, NOUS en avons bien besoin par ces temps qui courent. Eh oui qu’on le veuille ou non, nous sommes devenu une nation qui réclame de l’aide humanitaire !

Because Marley dared to make music of depth, it has had longevity as well. Long live Bob Marley

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   A spray of dreadlocks, a sinuous beat, a voice singing of revolution, revelation and romance. There was a man, born in that same locale of many names, that some called The Skipper, for his commanding nature and that others called the Tuff Gong, for his fortitude. He referred to himself, at various times and in various songs, as the Duppy Conquerer (for his power over the spirit world), the Small Axe (who can cut down the big tree) and a Soul Rebel. For a time, disillusioned by his struggles in the cut-throat Jamaican music scene, he lived in Wilmington, Delaware, worked in an auto plant, and went by the alias Donald. But he soon returned to Jamaica and embraced his destiny as a music superstar as well as the name that we now know him by: Bob Marley.

   Robert Nesta Marley, who was born in Jamaica in 1945 and died in Miami in 1981, would have turned 69 years old on February 6th. Like the island on which he was born, he was man of many names and many identities. When Bono, the lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, inducted Marley into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, he said this about the Tuff Gong: “He wanted everything at the same time and was everything at the same time: prophet, soul rebel, Rastaman, herbsman, wild man, a natural mystic man, ladies man, island man, family man, Rita’s man, soccer man, showman, shaman, human, Jamaican.”

   The groundswell for Marley and reggae began underground, with ordinary fans, which was entirely fitting since his music was inspired by ordinary people. When Marley recorded his albums, the studios in which he worked were often packed with friends and girlfriends, musicians and onlookers, folks who were playing on the record, and folks who were just playing around. “Marley would pull ideas from those around him—the jokes, the encouragement, the wisdom of those who spoke with the natural poetic authority that many Rastafarians are known for,” Kwame Dawes wrote in his study Bob Marley: Poetic Genius. Marley told a Jamaican magazine in 1978, “Well, is the people of Jamaica really make me what I am. Is them say ‘go Bob’….I sing, the people applaud. Them people down here is the greatest people in the world. Is them build I and I.”

   The rest of the world eventually caught up to what many Jamaicans, and fans of counter-cultural music, had known for years. Playboy wrote about Marley in 1976, “Let’s say this right up front and underline it twice: Bob Marley and the Wailers seem to have emerged as the finest rock-‘n’-roll band of the Seventies….And that includes the Beatles, Otis Redding, the Stones, all of them. That’s how good they are.”

   Marley worked primarily within one genre—reggae—but his songs investigated many moods and many modes. Marley was a musical genius for a multicultural age, a man for all seasons who died before his time, a shape-shifter who never fit into established musical formats. There are so many varied moments in his work: the stately guitar of “Redemption Song,” the spritely horns of “Is this Love”, the soothing, seductive bass of “Stir it Up.” “Babylon System” wakes you up like strong bitter coffee; “Turn Your Lights Down Low” goes down sweet, like mango juice. For every moment in life, there seems to be a Marley song that fits.

   Pop music success is often about hooks and image, radio play and squeezing into niches. Today, pop music often divides listeners more than it unites them, as fans take sides for and against gangsta rap or rap-rock or alt. country or teen pop. Shallow music sells because it can be understood readily within the 3-minute span of a pop song; great music endures because it can stand up to repeated listens, and, in fact, grows with each hearing.

   In much of today’s popular music, romance is dying, politics is fatal and God is dead. But Marley covered it all—the sexual, the political, the spiritual—and made all of these concerns seem like the most natural topics to be singing about. He took Jamaica’s complicated history—a jumble of such disparate concepts, places and things as Rasta philosophy, Garveyism, pirates, rebellion, guava jelly, and Trench Town — and refashioned it into focused, complex music that was concerned with reality but shot through with magic. He was a musical magic realist, a “Natural Mystic”, a man who had visions of Jah, but believed in looking “for yours on earth.”

   Because Marley dared to make music of depth, it has had longevity as well. Once shunned by many African-Americans and held at arm’s length by whites, Marley is now embraced by whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Americans, Africans, Jamaicans and more. A man of many names and many fans, the general public’s feelings towards Bob Marley are now best summarized by the title of what is among his most singular songs: One Love.

EDILSON: No cyclone warning in force and tropical disturbance insight

No cyclone warning is in force in Mauritius.
Current Wind Speed 50 knots / MPH
Max Predicted Wind Speed 60 knots / MPH

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Last SSMIS pass at 0324Z show a remaining slight tilde due to a moderate northerly to north-westerly constraint ( 12 knot accordingly to CIMMS analysis at 00Z ), with a quite close eye wall except in the south-eastern sector under the steering influence of a northerly to north-easterly flow, Edilson is now accelerating on a south south-westwards track and this motion is expected to continue during the next 48 hours. Available guidances remain in good agreement. The sheared conditions should maintain today but due to the speed and direction of its trajectory, unfavourable effect of the shear remain limited and the system should go on deepening. Edilson is expected to maintain an asymmetric circulation with strongest winds and heavy rains mainly located within the south-eastern semi-circle. South of 20S, the northerly shear is expected to increase Friday and Saturday, NWP guidances also suggest a positive interaction with the upper level dynamics associated with the mid-latitude trough that should persist to the south-east of Madagascar. This interaction may maintain or slightly increase the intensity of the system that will evolve to a post-tropical structure.
TROPICAL DISTURBANCE

POSITION 2014/02/06 AT 0600 UTC:
WITHIN 21 NM RADIUS OF POINT 12.8 S / 70.6 E
(TWELVE    DECIMAL EIGHT   DEGREES SOUTH AND SEVENTY    DECIMAL SIX   DEGREES EAST)
MOVEMENT : WEST 6 KT 
CENTRAL PRESSURE: 1000 HPA
MAX AVERAGE WIND SPEED (10 MN): 25 KT
RADIUS OF MAXIMUM WINDS (RMW) :NIL
EXTENSION OF WIND BY QUADRANTS (KM):
28 KT NE: 300 SE: 300 SW: 260 NW: 240
FIRST CLOSED ISOBAR (PRESSURE / AVERAGE DIAM): 1005 HPA / 800 KM
VERTICAL EXTENSION OF CYCLONE CIRCULATION : DEEP

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The system shows a monsoon depression structure with strongest winds 30 knot located according last ASCAT data at 0402Z far from the centre of into the monsoon and trades flow north and south of the system. Until Friday, the system should track slowly mainly southwards under the current effect of two middle level high; one in the north-west and the second in the south-east. Saturday, the northern high cell is expected to become predominant and located in the north-east, so the track will be more south-eastwards. Sunday a ridge develop in the east of the system generating a northerly steering flow, then north-westerly on Monday. Until Saturday, environmental conditions are very favourable to intensification. On Sunday the system should benefit of a positive interaction with the upper level dynamics associated with the mid-latitude trough coming from the south south-east. On Monday the system is expected to remain under the axis of this trough.

EDILSON Current Status 06.02.14

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Link to real time EDILSON Satellite Loop
http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/indian/storm/movies/MOV8-4.13S.GIF

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Current Wind Speed: 40 knots / MPH
Max Predicted Wind Speed 60 knots / 69 MPH

Mauritius : A cyclone warning Class 3 is still in force in Mauritius.

Reunion island: Cloudy weather associated with strong winds from the south. Moderate Tropical Storm Edilson 990 hPa was located at 4 425 km North-East of the island pursuing a South-West trajectory at 22 km / h.

   EDILSON is gradually shifting its structure towards a move typical warm core system. However due to a moderate northerly to north-westerly constraint ( 12 knot according to CIMMS analysis at 00Z ) The surface centre appear displaced to the north of the convective area. Long range radar imagery from Reunion island suggest that a mid-level circulation exist within the convective area that is displaced to the south of the surface centre. The current intensity estimates, based on DVORAK, is on the very good agreement with all other available estimates (KNES AND PGTW AT 3.0 AT 2330Z). Under the steering influence of a northerly to north-easterly flow, Edilson is now accelerating on a south south-westwards track and this motion is expected to continue during the next 48 hours. Available guidances remain in good agreement.
The sheared conditions should maintain today and should not allow the system to deepen further at short range. However, if the current mid-level circulation becomes more vertically aligned with the surface centre, a stronger rate of intensification than currently indicated is possible during the next 24 hours. Edilson is expected to maintain an asymmetric circulation with strongest winds and heavy rains mainly located within the south-eastern semi-circle. South of 20S, the northerly shear is expected to increase. Friday and Saturday, NWP guidances also suggest positive interaction with the upper level dynamics associated with the mid-latitude trough that should persist to the south-east of Madagascar. This interaction may maintain or slightly increase the intensity of the system that will evolve to a post-tropical structure.

   In regard of to the expected track, the inhabitants of the Mascarene islands, particularly Mauritius should monitor the progress of the system. Radar imagery from Reunion show some heavy rain bands just a few miles off the eastern coast of Mauritius.

Mauritius 06.02.14, 24 hours cursory weather forecast.

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