Im back, back to the old routines, back to the same scenery, back to the same feelings. There was something about being in India where words and pictures do no justice in explaining. It was just a feeling of peace, that may be because I did not have to do class work or maybe its because the people there I understand a little bit better but it was something about being over there that gave me peace. As I continue to think about it, my smile was so natural over there. Its cold here in Hamilton, extremely cold here and I am not just talking about temperature. The feeling of being back at Colgate, as excited as I am to start back being productive, just feels lifeless. It may have been because I was so excited to try something different. But now that I am back, I understand how much a gain this experience was. The caves and monuments were special but the people and the food made me feel at home, even the vegetarian food. I miss it. My family and community is proud of me. It makes me feel good to have experienced something that my family hasn’t and to bring it back to them, not to show off but to share what I have learned, thats why I asked so many questions. India is much more complicated in my head than the way life probably is for them, or maybe they just make it look flawless, India is something really special and I hope to visit again within the next ten years.
Walking up the huge uneven steps, with the excitement sitting in the back of throat, I anticipate ancient greatness. I am not going to lie I was exhausted going up those stairs but it was great exercise. When I finally reach the top of the stairs, I see beautiful women in extravagant clothing, carrying the heaviest bolder on top of their heads. I sit back in awe because they walked those steps with the cut bolders on their head. WOW! When I entered the cave the Ardhanarishvara carving sits in the back left corner, rewarded with more light than the carvings that lie directing in the back of the cave down the middle.
Ardhanarishvara was the piece of work I decided to study at Elephanta. Ardhanarishvara represent Shiva as a half man and half God. While at the site, I was initially amazed by the size of the carving, compared to the size of the cave. While my understanding of the cave was not waiver, my ability to describe the cave definitely did. My main focus for the carving, to help understand the meaning of my research, lies in relation to other scholars, such as Betty Seid and Ellen Goldberg. I focused on whether or not the carving focused on balance and equality. Two subjects that were raised about Ardhanarishvara was the number of arms Shiva has compared to the woman side and the slight backward step of the woman’s foot. What does that signify if, anything? The number of arms vary depending on the location of the Ardhanarishvara and many researchers say that the number of arms signify a higher being or celestial creatures. I was able to show the students that the woman’s foot sags behind Shiva’s foot, while being at the sight better than when I was presenting through pictures in class.
As I reflect back on my presentation I believe I did a good job explaining the main points of my research with the support of the previous scholars. Below I have posted pictures while being at Elephanta.
Goldberg, Ellen. “Ardhanār?Śvara: What we Know and what we do Not.” Religion Compass 2, no. 3 (2008): 301-315
Seid, Betty. “The Lord Who is Half Woman (Ardhanarishvara).” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 30, no. 1 (2004): 48-95.
Wow ? the city is wide awake and so many things are happening at one time but flow perfectly. The streets are busy but everyone flows in a manner that Americans wouldn’t understand but is perfect for them. Even the people that are selling you stuff are not harassing as I thought. The stray cats and dogs do not bother me but they make me nervous. Seeing so many people homeless or in proverty is really shocking but what is even more shocking is how people actually look peaceful through all of it. They are not depressed looking as when advertised on American Television… They have something I would call joy in the soul, which makes me feel at ease here even more than when I am home. We also visited the cave Elephanta and all I can say is wow… the grandness of the architecture and strokes or smoothness carved by man out of a living rock is mind blowing. Pictures are coming soon.
Been In New Jersey for a while now, I enjoyed my vacation back home but as the clock ticks down I get more and more nervous. I am excited to be in India but I am not excited for this over seas flight . To be completely honest, it feels like my whole family is coming with me. They are waiting for the pictures just as bad as I am waiting to see it in person. I am nervous but so excited at the same time. First time being this far from home but at least it is warm like Florida. Praying and praying even more for this flight to land safely there and back. – Re’