Confucius or Kongfuzi

Confucius or Kongfuzi (known as “Master Kong”) is a Chinese philosopher of the 6th century BC and the founder of Confucianism.

This legendary historical figure from ancient China lived under the declining dynasty of the Zhous, whose legitimacy would have come from the gods through the “heavenly mandate”.

Concerned about moral values ​​as well as law and order in society, Confucius traveled throughout China and taught much of his life. After his death, his ideas were collected by his followers (also called “the 12 philosophers”), and profoundly influenced all Chinese civilization, but also Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Viet-Nam.

His reflections were compiled by his disciples in the Analects (“Conversations”) in the form of philosophical anecdotes forming a “manual of good leaders.”

Confucianism (or “scholarly school”) was established as a state doctrine by the Han Dynasty in the 2nd century BC and remained so until the founding of the Republic of China in 1911.

The key values ​​of his doctrine are: respect for the old and the traditions, loyalty, benevolence, modesty and humility.

Mudras : health at your fingertips !

Mudras are hands gestures whose origin goes back to ancient India, several millennia ago.

According to the ancient tradition, our five fingers represent the five building blocks, or the five main elements of the universe (called Panchamahabhootas ).

The thumb is connected to the Fire (Agni)

The forefinger is linked to the Air (Vayu)

The middle finger is connected to the Ether, the Sky (Akasha)

The ring finger is connected to the Earth (Prithvi)

The little finger is connected to the Water (Jala)

It is worth mentioning that the 5 elements do not refers to the same concepts in the Indian and Chinese culture, the correspondences also change (learn more about the 5 Chinese elements here).

Murdas is practiced by creating, with one’s fingers, particular forms that generate energy and subtle vibrations that care for the body and the mind.

It also includes the principle of Asanas (postures of yoga). Moreover, mudras are often referred to as ” finger yoga”.

Practiced regularly, the mudras improve our general health, and harmony body-spirit-universe.

Mudras are omnipresent in Hindu dances, especially the dances that talk about the story of the manifestation of God in the universe.

Each mudra has a deep meaning and has a share of the magic of Life.

The Sanskrit word ‘mudra’ means ‘sign’ or ‘seal’. It comes from the terms: ‘mud’ which means ‘bliss’, happiness and ‘dhra’ which means ‘dissolution’.

Each finger has its own function and power in the body. Used properly it can help maintain your physical, mental and spiritual health.

When the fingers touch, the ‘nadis’ (energy channels) are connected and some energies are activated. The different elements that make up our body and the whole universe can associate and cooperate.

Our hands can replace our eyes in the dark, they can also be used to communicate with our fellow humans and with the rest of the universe. Our hands are the first means of expression before one learn how to speak!

Our destiny rests in our hands, and this expression is to be taken literally and figuratively.

With Hakini Mudra, the five energetic channels are equally activated.

Dharmachakra mudra is the gesture of the turning wheel of life.

Padma mudra or lotus seal is excellent to open oneself to universal love.

The Yin Yang symbol

Yin et le Yang symbole arasia

Yin and Yang is one of the fundamental symbols of Chinese philosophy.

It refers to the two opposed and complementary principles that characterize the world, for example: good and evil, shadow and light, visible and invisible, material and spiritual, oneself and others …

This duality guarantees the harmony and balance of the universe.

The Yin as a part of Yang and the Yang as a part of Yin as well , they are inseparable.

The Yin is the black part of the symbol and represents the feminine, the night, the moon, the cold, the rest, the immobility and the unconscious.

The Yang, the white part of the symbol and represents the masculine, the energy, the day, the sun, the summer, the warmth, the mobility, the conscious.

Arasia-Shop offers a selection of yin yang products: hangings, rings, incense doors, necklaces … Take a look here

To go further: The五行 Wǔ Xíng or the Five elements here

Mass-Education An Indian NGO that has planted 100,000 trees!

Mass-Education is an Indian NGO founded in 1976. Its goal is to promote education for everyone, mainly the poor rural and urban areas of Bengal.

Mass Education aims to make changes in basic, everyday life, to create opportunities for development, and to help the emergence of a conscious citizenship.

People are educated to become self-reliant in resource management.

The NGO has already built more than 60 schools with a capacity of 15,000 pupils, 6 teacher training centers, 1 orphanage and 1 nursing home.

They have set up training programs for adults (sewing, plumbing, etc.), actions to raise awareness of health, hygiene, contraception, actions to combat exclusion, demonstrations in favor of respect for Human rights and the environment.

Mass-Education is also a reforestation program with more than 100,000 trees planted since 1980, as well as an ethical tourism program that has already welcomed 300 tourists.

This year, Mass Education has planted 1000 mango trees, check out the pictures here.

You can also finance the construction of a collective latrine (starting at 350 euros), or sponsor one or several children (30 euros per month per child allow to pay for his/her education, food, school materials, etc.)

Sukumar Singh dreams of changing society with his ideas and alternative approaches. He studied history, economics, politics, as well as the social and cultural situation of India. 40 years after founding Mass-Education with a group of farmers, he is till this day dedicated body and soul to this noble cause.

Mass-Education website

Photos of Mass-Education achievements

Fair travel to India

Plant a tree for 1 euro!

The banyan trees: sacred trees

The banyan, also called pagoda fig tree, Bo tree, pipal, or ficus religiosa is a majestic tree that can reach 30 meters, and several hundred meters in circumference!

With its aerial roots descending from its bushy crown to the ground, becoming trunks, and its heart-shaped leaves, the banyan invites to meditation. In Asia, they are found everywhere: in the towns, in the middle of a road, in front of a building or in the middle of a parking lot, and are tended to by devotees who come to place some offerings or prayers.

Indeed, it is said that Buddha attained enlightenment under the shadow of a banyan tree. And the Bhagavad-Gita made it the tree of supreme knowledge.

This tree has a particular energy, the banyan trees are very often found near the temples, and can live up to 1500 years. It has the power to calm the mind, but also to take the mind very high to heaven.

In South America it is called “the tree that walks” because it seems to have enormous legs that can be compared to elephant’s that leave the “main trunk”.

Some famous banyan trees:

The most famous and most sacred is in the holy city of Bodh-Gaya, in northeastern India, where the Buddha would have attained enlightenment.

The Great Banian of Howrah, near Calcutta, India. Its diameter is over 130 meters.

Another famous Banyan is the Dodda Alada Mara in Bangalore.

The banyan is part of many Ayurvedic remedies. One uses its sap, its leaves, or its bark.

 

Operation 1 euro = 1 tree in Bengal!

 

Arasia’s reforestation

Forest Man, the man who planted a forest!

Majuli Island is located in the Bhramaputra River in the north of India. In the 1970s it was a large shoal threatened by winds and soil erosion with a population of 150,000 inhabitants.

Jadav Payeng is an incredible defender of nature. Since 1979, tree by tree, he planted, by himself an incredible forest, the Molai forest, with the aim of saving his island threatened by erosion.

Forest Man Jadav Payeng

Today, the Molai Forest makes up to more than 550 hectares. It has become dense and rich, and is home to many animal and plant, many of which are endangered: elephants, Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, vultures …

The Molai forest was planted by a single man, now dubbed “Forest Man”, he planted his forest without tools or without any help but simply with his two bare hands.

Jadav Payeng devoted his life to planting this forest, this man is a true nature lover, humble and passionate, who shows us that with will anything is possible.

His fight is far from over. As he himself says: “it will never be. The biggest threat I face is not from nature but from my people. Man has a vocation to destroy everything, when it should be the opposite. I will fight to the end to make it happen. ”

What if we took this as an example and each of us take action on their own scale? The whole world would be transformed.

Arasia offers you the opportunity to plant trees by participating in the operation 1 euro = 1 tree, in partnership with the Indian NGO Mass-Education.

Click here to plant a tree!

Learn more about reforestation projects sponsored by Arasia here.

The五行Wǔ Xíng or the Five elements

The wuxing are in China, the five (wu) elements (xing) : an extensive classification system which determines all the elements and phenomena both at a cosmic level than at a human level.

The Five elements (or phases or movements) – along with the fundamental concept of yin and yang and the active principle Qi –make up the core of the traditional Chinese philosophy.

To each of those elements is associated a color, a music note, an organ, a cardinal point, a season, an emotion, etc.

The conceptual scheme of the five elements attempts to give a deep spiritual meaning of the world’s mechanisms and the cycles of life and of the universe. Every existing thing is subjected to the cycles of life and the universe’s and cycles of life and destruction.

The Yin cycle (domination / destruction)

The Wood chokes the Earth

The Earth dries the Water

The Water extinguishes the Fire

The Fire melts the Metal

The Metal slices the Wood.

The Five elements have a certain order. First come the Metal (jin), then the Wood (mu), then the Water (shui), then the Fire (huo) then the Earth (tu).

Those 5 elements interact, complete each other and exist simultaneously together within the cycles of destruction and creation.

The wuxing are defined as raw natural material, each with their own intrinsic dynamic playing a part in the grand scheme of things.

Thus, it is in the Water’s intrinsic nature to flow (downwards) and to wet. It the Fire’s intrinsic nature to rise (upwards) and to burn, the Wood can lie flat or stand tall, the Metal is docile and takes any form its given, the Earth’s primary essence is to be suitable for cultivation and harvesting.

The Chinese theory of the five elements thus succeeded to unify a multitude of different phenomena, to establish inter-relations between them and give them a deep and meaningful meaning within the universe. The constants flows between the elements are to be equilibrated and their energies balanced to prevent any disruption.

If one elements arein excess, its energy will weaken or increase excessively its opposite element. For instance, the excess of energy of the Metal will exhaustthe Wood’s energy and disproportionately raise the Water’s energy.

The right proportion of each elements is primordial to the balance of the universe and the nature’s harmony.

Historical facts:

It appears that the Chinese dynasties have succeeded one another following the succession of the 5 elements or phases. And, each time a new emperor acceded to the throne, heaven sends a good omen to the men.

Therefore, during the Yellow emperor ascension giant earthworms and ants appeared in the sky so the Han dynasty was associated whit the element Earth. Afterwards, the Xia dynasty was associated with the Wood, the Zhou dynasty with the Fire and so on and so forth.

Bhumibol, King of Thaïland

The death of King of Thailand plunged the country into uncertainty.

The king of Thailand RAMA IX aka Bhumibol Adulyadej, was born on December 5, 1927 and died on Thursday, October 13, 2016. He ruled over Thailand for 70 years. His dynasty, the Rama dynasty, succeeded the dynasty of the kings of Ayutthaya and Bangkok was established as the capital of the kingdom in 1782.

Bhumibol is revered like a demigod and his portrait is omnipresent in all homes. 90% of the population had only him as a ruler, he held a central role in the unification of the country.

The designated successor is his only son Maha Vajiralongkorn. He is not very popular because of his erratic personality and lack of commitment. Most Thai people would prefer to see his sister,Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, on the throne

The troubled political context of the country:

After a strong economic growth in the 85’s -95’s, Thailand was among the four dragons of South East Asia, nowadays the country is experiencing a troubled politicalclimate.

The relations between the army, the royalist “yellow shirts” and the pro-democratic “red shirts” are often violent. The country is plagued by coups, internet censorship and the imprisonment of journalists and opponents.

Any unfavorable opinion towards the king or his family is punished as a crime of lese majesty according to the Thai constitution. Its authority and legitimacy are truly immutable. The King is the symbolic father of all Thai people.

By tradition, Father’s Day is set on the king’s birthday (therefore on December 5 since 1946) and it is the same for Mother’s Day.

Following the death of the king, the entire country was grieving. A mourning period of one year was declared after which the new sovereign will be crowned.

I convey my condolences to the Thai people for this difficult moment in their history, which I am sure they will be able to face with the wisdom that characterizes them.

Bollywoods

Born of the contraction between Bombay (now Mumbai) and Hollywood, Bollywood refers to an Indian cinematographic genre born in the begging of the twentieth century

As its name suggests, the capital of Indian cinema is Mumbai and Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world.

The Bollywood films are characterized by their duration of about 2 to 3 hours (with an intermission), outdoor shoots which is one of the trademarks of the genre, and colorful choreographies, sometimes soliciting hundreds of dancers with impeccable technique (see our article on mudras here). Choreographies are allied to atypical songs that were traditionally, in Hindi and started to be mixed with English with more Western rhythms thereafter.

In India, cinema is family-oriented (hence the absence of explicit scenes), dedicated to entertainment, and combines drama, romance, comedy, action, music and dance.

It is much more than an art or an industry, it is a culture, an important part in the life of many Indians, who identify with the characters, their adventures and the values ​​they carry.

Bollywood actors are very versatile and their talent is sometimes underestimated by the Western cinema because the intrigues are considered kitsch.

Hindi movies have managed to spread to the rest of the world not only through the diaspora and “neighboring countries” such as Southeast Asia, North Africa and the Middle East but alsotrough Westerners, that areand more are interested in this cinematic genre. Some Bollywood actors succeed in exporting to Hollywood: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, DeepikaPadukone, Priyanka Chopra…

At Arasia, we have a slight preference for the films: Ram-Leela, Devdas, As Long as I Live, Fanaa and UmraoJaan.

ArasiaShop sells many articles with a Bollywood theme such as the ring bracelet (here), statues of Indian deities (here), Indian scarves (here).

sources :

http://www.lefigaro.fr/culture/2012/08/06/03004-20120806ARTFIG00401-bollywood-ce-cinema-qui-unit-l-inde.php

http://shakiraqs.e-monsite.com/pages/bollywood/qu-est-ce-que-bollywood.html

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bollywood#Sc.C3.A9nario

Thank you to  Stéphanie Teko Malonda for this article  🙂

Ganesh

Ganesha or Ganapati is a cross between the human and divine worlds. His body is that of a man while his head is that of an elephant. His mount, Mushaka, is a tiny rat.

Known as the god of wealth, wisdom and luck, traders, travelers and the household. He is the son of Shiva and Parvati.

Ganesh protects from any obstacles and unawareness, and it is customary to make an offering in the form of of flowers (preferably red), fruit (bananas, coconuts, mangoes …), plants, lamps, candles and incense, as well as treats, which he loves before one foregoes an examination, a trip, or a ceremony.

A warm and welcoming god, Ganesh is extremely popular in India and as He is seen in temples, houses, shops, restaurants…

His favorite days are Tuesday and Friday.

Other names of Ganesh are:
Ganapati: Lord of Ganas
Vinyaka: Best guide
Gajnara: Elephant Head

Ganesh statues for sale on my online shop Arasia.

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