Sunday, August 22, 2010

20 I recently came across (browsing the web) Angela Palmer’s exhibit of tree roots at Trafalgar Square, London. The exhibit was installed on November 2009.

I recommend for my readers to read Ms Palmer’s statement to learn of the artist’s activities. Currently the show is being exhibited on the lawn of Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum in central Oxford and will be shown there until July 31, 2011.

While Angela Palmer calls her exhibit a “Ghost Tree Exhibition” and I dedicate my “Temple to Johns” to axed forests, I believe that our concerns are the same.

As irony would have it, even as I posted my two previous blogs, a small forest next to my property was torn down by the owner of the property abuts mine. I say “torn”, because modern technology can quite manage without the chain saw handled by human hands. While a saw cuts the stump, the operation actually resembles Jack the Ripper at his worst. Of course, I am speaking from the point of view of one who believes the forests to be holy places even from a quite practical point of view. Are the floods in Pakistan not the result of a lack of forests to absorb the rains?

Incidentally, I believe that Ms. Palmer’s exhibit is in its own fashion a temple. If you live in England, it might be worth visiting it and writing a letter to this blog about your impression.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

19 As per a previous post, on August 13, the Temple to Melnays Jānis held a fundraising dance with the musical group "Kantoris 04" performing. The temple was visited by about one hundred people, seventy-eight of them paying guests. The next public get-together is being planned for about the middle of September.

Just a day before the dance, we finished painting the temple floor. Here are some pictures of it. If you come visiting, we do not for fear of damaging the design encourage anyone stepping on to the floor. However, we will provide a carpets to lead you up the temple steps for a closer look.

Some visitors have asked whether the temple floor will survive the harsh conditions of the winter. We do not know that it will, because in very cold weather, the cold will penetrate far below the surface layers and cause cracking. Like the Tibetan monks do with their sandpainting, we will fix or redo what needs fixing and redoing.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

18  Temple MELNAYS JĀNIS. August 14.

In its Saturday, August 14th issue, the Latvian newspaper "Diena" [suspect for some time to be the voice of the neo-capitalist right wing (Šķēle, Šlesers, Ulmanis, et al)], published a "questionnaire” under the heading "Politics with a tune for religion” (Politika ar reliģisku pieskaņu). All six men interviewed, politicians of as many political parties, came out for politics in religion and religion in politics. The most cited reason for collaboration is that collaboration of church with state has a long tradition. The first politicians, one Cilevičs, describes this “tradition” as one where one “should not build a fence” [between the state and religion]. The last helped the newspaper “Diena” to identify itself with the Bible. Said Šmits: “We will encourage the teaching of the Bible until High School.” (Rosināsim obligātu Bībeles mācību līdz pat vidusskolai). The politicians are:

Boriss Cilevičs (SC)
Dzintars Rasnačs (VL-TB/LNNK)
Juris Sokolovskis (LPCTVL)
Aleksejs Loskutovs (V)
Staņislavs Šķesteris (ZZS)
Jānis Šmits (PPL)
Not least among the above named is the editorial board of "Diena" standing up for the Bible and not separating politics from religion.

The tyranny of reactionary religious thought (I describe it as the projection of an attitude that claims for itself to be „I am my own state and social service and no law against it however I understand it”) highlighted by its collaboration with a corrupt state has troubled Latvia with its exclusionarism for a very long time. This once beautiful countryside, where once the endearing word ruled everyday speech of the people who lived there, has become a mind-oppressive closed-end bottom of the spiritual barrel. The men listed above are not the only ones for keeping Latvians there. The Latvian Prezident Zatlers, too, is a not so hidden Christian mole in government. Who speaks for the “religious” who do not identify themselves with the neo-Christian movement that arch-Christianity has been forced to become?

The Temple Melnays Janis invites the reader to build more private temples to challenge the prejudiced state of their state. It is time to shake off the iconoclasts that would prevent nature from becoming our garden again.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

17 A Hindu temple in London  costing 16 million British pounds is a long way from our humble attempt here in Latvia to build a private temple. However, looking at the BBC post, I am reminded that the Hindu Ganesh (the God with the elephant trunk) is a cognate of the name John and the Latvian “Jahnis”. As I have pointed out in other posts, the consonant G may slip slide and become a J (as in John) or Y (as in Janis). While the Latvians have for the most part forgotten about Janis as one of the godheads of their ancestors, reading about Ganesh may bring back some long forgotten associations. Oh, yes, our Jānis--as you can see--has four trunks.

We are presently planning an evening of dance with the well known "shlager" band known as Kantoris 04. The event will take place on August 13th at 21:00. Tickets Ls 2.50. The event will take place at "Melnays Jānis", the only temple in Latvia dedicated to Jānis (the Latvian version of Ganesh).