Swati Chopra


Shakti in her ten aspects

The ongoing fervour of Durga Puja turns my mind to the idea of Devi, the Divine Feminine, in Indic wisdom traditions.

Not driven by mad rush

Recently somebody quipped, “If you drive in Delhi traffic, you are prepared for any stress life throws at you.” The same could be said about any of our congested metropolises.

An elephant and a mouse

To those unfamiliar with the Hindu pantheon, our penchant for worshipping animal forms might appear strange or at best, remnants of an animistic faith. The latter assumption would not be entirely untrue, as there has existed a worldview that imbues nature and all its forms with sacredness.

Vishnu and Mahabali

The festival of Onam, celebrated as a 10-day carnival in Kerala, is based on a fascinating story that blurs boundaries between human and divine. It is a fascinating story we have all heard at some point or another, at a grandmother’s knee, perhaps. On the occasion of Onam, it bears retelling.

Flow of life

Two stories we have all heard at some point or the other in our lives provide useful pointers to our relationship with death. Both are ancient and Indian, yet the attitudes they describe are universal. One is from the Mahabharata, in which a wise prince goes to quench his thirst and is questioned by the keeper of the lake, “What is the strangest thing in the world?”

In search of Buddhahood

The Himalayas have some of the highest inhabited regions in the world, and perhaps some of the oldest as well.

The spirit of rituals

As I understand it, a ritual is the formulaic doing of something, the performance of an act, which might have religious, social or cultural significance.

The truth seekers

The wisdom traditions of Asia, particularly the Indian subcontinent, are originators of some of the most interesting and varied models of spiritual seeking.

Tryst with sky dancers

As we celebrate Navratri, the festival of nine nights of the goddess, let us consider a lesser-known feminine divinity — the Dakini.

Peace seekers amidst chaos

Countless women have walked the inner paths of spiritual realisation despite the thorns placed in their way by patriarchy, discrimination and unequal opportunities. Their journeys have been characterised by courage, determination, ingenuity and creativity. What is amazing is the inventiveness women have displayed when they couldn’t get past their gender roles. In the Indian spirit of cobbling together a workable solution with whatever you have, they did jugaad and found ways to lead spiritually rich lives under the skin of their worldly selves.

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.