[LINK] Communicating Indian Culture Online

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Nov 10 09:39:48 AEDT 2010

Dr McComas Taylor, teacher of Sanskrit at the Australian National
University, and Julian Dennis, cameraman/editor, have released a digital
version of their three part documentary 'Mountain God and Sacred Text':

The documentary was shot on 35m film during a seven-day festival in the
hamlet of Naluna in the Garhwal Himalaya, India, November 2009. This
relates the story of the Bhagavatapurana.

Dr Taylor, teaches Sanskrit via the Internet, including to students in
India. He uses Moodle, video conferencing and recorded digital video.
He gave a fascinating description of this at Moodle Moot Au 2010,
including singing some of the material:

There is also a 25 page paper "Mountain god and sacred text:
Power-sharing and cultural synthesis in a Garhwal community" by McComas

"The first and indeed the abiding impression of the hamlet of Naluna
in the Garhwal foothills is the ever-present rushing of the Gaṅgā River.
Here the Gaṅgā's swift glacial waters, flecked with white-caps, are less
than 80km from their source in the high Himalayas, but are still over
100km from Haridwar where the river emerges from the mountains on to the
North Indian Plain. Steep, dry mountains tower over the river, rising up
1000m and more. Sometimes bare and rocky, sometimes covered in dark
forests of pines, rhododendrons, oaks and deodars, they are dotted with
villages and terraced fields. A single road, only partly sealed, snakes
along the valley floor beside the river. ...

     I had come to Naluna to document a seven-day cycle of stories about
the deity Kṛṣṇa. These narratives are found in their most authoritative
form in the Sanskrit text known as the Bhāgavatapurāṇa, one of the most
important texts for Kṛṣṇa-devotion. The Bhāgavatapurāṇa is generally
thought to have reached is present form by about 1000 CE (Rocher 1986,
Bryant 2007). It is a very long work, running to over 18000 verses
(Jarow 2003), and is concerned with the various avatars of the deity
Viṣṇu, and in particular his form as Kṛṣṇa. The tenth and eleventh
books, which together account for nearly half the total length, contain
the best-loved stories of Kṛṣṇa's childhood and youth among the
cow-herding people of the Vraja. ..."

From: Mountain god and sacred text: Power-sharing and cultural synthesis
in a Garhwal community, by McComas Taylor, ANU, 2010

Tom Worthington FACS CP HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science, The
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/
Visiting Scientist, CSIRO ICT Centre: http://bit.ly/csiro_ict_canberra

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