Kaleidoscope of Cultures CD set and MP3
Kaleidoscope of Cultures is an introduction to India, a kind of first visit with its initial multi-sensory impressions:city streets alive with bicycles, scooters, cars, taxis, hawkers, pedestrians and animals; endless village landscapes, summer heat and dust; earthy aromas; dazzling wealth and desperate poverty; ancient and space-aged cultures side by side; and a mind boggling array of languages, cultures and religions. India is perhaps the last place on earth where the word "superlative" really can be used with some justification. It is so diverse that many visitors have questioned seriously whether is accurately called a country. Rather, it appears more like Western Europe first with it different peoples, languages, and customs. In this program we examine briefly the multiplicity of languages and religions: four of the world's great religions were born in India and there are fourteen official languages.
In spite of this extraordinary diversity, or perhaps because of it, there is such a thing as India. Nobody can quite identify what constitutes "Indianness." It's not religion and it's definitely not language. The Indian character must be traced to a much deeper level, perhaps a shared culture, a common mythology that transcends religion and geographic differences, or a unity of spirit. This first program raises several issues related to this India. Further explorations of these questions occur in more depth in later programs. Our aim is to introduce you to the reality of India as you would first experience it: an explosion of images and sensations which never seem to subside. India is a different world. It is a civilization so old that it predates the beginnings of most of our ancestor's homelands.
Much may seem alien and puzzling at first. However, the more you experience of India, the more you will discover the meaning behind what you are seeing and hearing. The meaning of India may not be so foreign after all, or--when they are-- it could actually be a stimulating experience, because you are forced to rethink ideas you may have taken for granted. Studying India is like looking into a kaleidoscope which is turning constantly. India is complex. It is colorful. It offers multiple evolving patterns which are contained within one framework. It provides us with new perspectives and possibilities. This is one reason to keep looking at this kaleidoscope of cultures. As the Hindu would say: "There are as many ways to reach the goal as there are human beings." You are about to learn some new ways of seeing.