Last summer, cellist Dane Johansen hiked 580 miles across the northern rim of Spain. His plan was to record the Bach Cello Suites in the churches that line the ancient pilgrimage route known as the Camino de Santiago and turn the experience into a documentary.
The significance of this mountain lies more in its religious significance. Brahmagiri is located only a few kilometers from Triambakeshwar, the source of the river Godavari, one of the major river systems of South India.
The heady aroma of incense is contrasted by the stench of garbage, the cobblestone pathways are coated red with paan, and the chant of a sanyasi is interposed by the groan of a passing buffalo. That's Varanasi in a nutshell for you.
Pilgrimages have always been a big part of every culture's spiritual ethos. As a Hindu, perhaps one of the most important pilgrimages to make would be the one to Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar in the Himalayas.
Beginning in May, I will walk nearly 600 miles on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route beginning in France and crossing Spain to the Atlantic Ocean. I will carry my cello, performing and recording Bach's Suites in ancient churches along the way.
What if we chose not only to recognize the power of storytelling, but to genuinely value all stories -- anecdotes, objects, memories, causes, narratives, critiques, impressions, the little things we so often overlook?
A group of thoughtful clergy is taking it upon themselves not just to talk the talk, hold the hands, and hug the grieving, but to walk the walk -- and in this case take the flight and try new approaches to preventing gun violence.
However complex the causal linkages, religious actors and leaders are central figures in many world conflicts. Understanding what lies behind the contrasting perceptions and the complex realities is a vital (and sadly neglected) part of international relations, in all its dimensions.