Celebrating One Year of the Lotus Blooming
In one year since it went live in November 2022, ALotusInTheMud.com has made tremendous strides. The quality of content has improved progressively to rival any in a similar niche. The number of regular readers and page views has been growing from month to month.
In furthering our mission of serving our readers as a guide to wellness and spirituality, we have made some notable advances. To further the reach of the Lotus web magazine, we have contracted an agency in Chicago to handle our Social Media and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so we come up high in Google searches. Starting in June, a biweekly newsletter is being emailed to our subscribers and potential readers.
We also had an opportunity to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in August 2023, and have carried many reports from there. In September, we organized a discourse and meditation on Kashmir Shaivism with Virendra Qazi, an expert on the subject.
All this activity and growth could take place with the generous support of our benefactors. In 2024, Lotus is poised for a bigger round of expansion and looks forward to support from new donors and charitable organizations, as well as corporations and government agencies.
Lotus webmag holds event on Kashmir Shaivism with Virendra Qazi
ALotusInTheMud.com organized its first public event on September 10 where Shri Virendra Qazi expounded on Kashmir Shaivism. About 70 prominent people from Long Island were edified at the session held at the Arya Samaj of Long Island in Hicksville, NY arranged by Parveen Chopra, founder editor of the Lotus webmag.
Qazi ji is a top expert and practitioner of Kashmir Shaivism, which has been garnering attention even from global spiritual gurus. He said its central teaching is, ‘I am Shiva’. “So, know that God resides in all of you and you can realize the Divine in this very life.”
He defined Kashmir Shaivism as a universal spiritual philosophy that accepts all elements of life in totality and teaches a path of realization through divine grace. The grace or shaktipat is in us all to a lesser or greater degree. He advised people to make humility, love, and compassion their second nature. “That will give you tremendous blessings.” He concluded with a brief meditation to give a taste of the follow-up experience sessions he conducts over two days.
In his introduction, Dr Nirmal Mattoo said Qazi ji has been explaining Kashmir Shaivism to laypeople for three decades and had served in leadership roles in the Steel Authority of India. Dr Mattoo, the force behind the Center for India Studies at Stony Brook University, and co-founder of Atlantic Dialysis Management Services, also gave an erudite introduction to Kashmir Shaivism.
Mohan Wanchoo, Chairman & CEO at EC Infosystems and philanthropist, thanked Qazi ji for “enlightening us about Kashmir Shaivism and I am sure all in the audience here benefitted as we were almost like drinking from a firehose of his pearls of wisdom.”
Qazi’s discourse was preceded by Mrs Hema Qazi rendering devotional songs in Kashmiri and Hindi. She was greeted by Kavita Wanchoo. Prof Indrajit Singh Saluja, editor-publisher of The Indian Panorama, introduced Parveen Chopra as an editor whose passion for spiritual journalism inspired him to start Lotus magazine.
Parveen Chopra reported that ALotusInTheMud.com, launched in January, has been growing its audience at a fast clip. He added that Lotus was at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in August to cover it.
Based in New Delhi, Qazi ji has been holding similar events in many cities in the USA and Canada during his current tour. Ashok Vyas, program director for ITV Gold, produced the video recording of the event for his Heramba Studio.
Here is the link to watch the video on the YouTube channel of Lotus:
United Colors of Faith & Bonhomie at the Parliament of the World's Religions
Photos by Parveen Chopra in Chicago
Parliament of the World’s Religions 2023 in Chicago is spotlighting inclusivity and diversity. It is also issuing a call to action on climate change and social justice. Lotus is there to exclusively cover the mega interfaith event. Here are some moments to savor.
Yoga Day 2023 witnessed greater awareness of the practice worldwide
The 9th International Yoga Day on June 21 served as a global platform to raise awareness about the holistic benefits of practicing yoga. This year the theme has been, ‘Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (for the welfare of all). Indeed, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading the Yoga Day celebration at the UN headquarters in New York reiterated that yoga is India’s gift to the world, sans copyrights or patents. He had spearheaded the campaign to get United Nations to declare Yoga Day in 2015.
Growing awareness of yoga was witnessed at the UN session which created a Guinness world record by gathering people of 135 nationalities together at a session. Another Guinness record was set in Surat, in the Indian state of Gujarat, where over 1.5 lakh people gathered to practice yoga on a 12 km-long stretch. Events and mass yoga sessions were reported from Times Square to the glacial ranges of the Himalayas.
Photos courtesy Xinhua & Twitter
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Photo Essay by Komal Bedi Sohal
Working in ad agencies across India, Singapore, and Dubai, Komal has won multiple awards including Cannes Lions, where she also served as jury. As a photographer she likes telling stories of people she meets during her travels. She captures feelings, nuances, and time. Her shots are spontaneous: the moments, stolen. Instagram: @kobeso