An interview with Danda-krt dasa
This is an interview with Danda-krt dasa recorded in the Hare Krishna temple at Govinda’s Vegetarian and Vegan Cafe in Swansea. Interfaith dialogue began between us even before we started speaking.
Danda sat next to his harmonium upstairs as we settled to record. I had an Irish flute with me. Neither of us thought to ask, “What kind of music do you play?” or even, “What key shall we play in”. The music simply started and, prayerfully, we found the dialogue had begun.
The interview came naturally when the music gave way to words. Listen to the music and then listen to Danda speaking about God and about living, praying and doing in the flow of God consciousness. Such is the essence of Hare Krishna. You will find out about the movement’s beginnings, its founding in the West by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and you can enter quite deeply, through Danda’s guidance, into what the faith is all about.
Interview with a Sufi
This interview with Nur Jamil took place at the Centre for Meditation, Healing and Retreat, which she runs at Dre Isaf, Ystrad Meirig in Ceredigion. Nur Jamil is of the Sufi order set up in Britain by the Indian Sufi master, Hazeat Inayat Khan (1882 – 1926) who came here after the First World War. Nur Jamil says her spiritual path intertwines Christian and Moslem roots but also that contemplative practice takes us deeper than religion. If you listen to her you will realise that Christ is central to the way in which Nur Jamil interprets the spiritual journey of the human adventure into purity (sufi), as we traval into and from divine consciousness and being. Listen too for some wonderful illustrations, not least concerning the poet Rumi, and beautiful Sufi prayers and blessings.
Exploring Islam’s message of peace
This is an interview at the Mosque at Swansea University with Dr Mahaboob Basha in late March 2017. I also met Sheik Mohsen El-Beltagi, the Imam in Swansea and was made very welcome. I shall gladly accept the offer to attend the Mosque sometimes for Friday Prayers. Islam is a “message of peace”, says Mahaboob, “a message of peace and love”. Sheik Mohsen and Mahaboob are both active in interfaith dialogue and believe that deep listening and sharing of faith will help societies in the world to integrate with compassion and respect for the other. “When integration happens, really integration, then there is community and I think there can then be no problems in society” – Mahaboob. For me, the reporting of Islam in the media these days is almost always uninformed, distorted and deeply destructive. I look forward to working with Mahaboob and Mohsen in the cause of peace now and through years to come.
Exploring Yungdrung Bön
Below is an interview with Sandrine, who has been a disciple of Lama Khemsar Rinpoche and practitioner of the spiritual practices of Yungdrung Bön for the last 20 years or so. She is also a French translator, tutor and interpreter at Swansea University.
Yungdrung Bön is the indigenous faith of the Tibetan people and, according to its practitioners, predates Buddhism: “Yungdrung Bon was taught by Buddha Tonpa Sherab in Wol-mo Loong-Ring (Shambala). The Buddha’s history can be traced back to over 18,000 years” (Khemsar Rinpoche). Lama Khemsar is an eminent master of Yungdrung Bön Buddhism who has been teaching in the West for over 20 years. He is fluent in English and is renowned for his lively disciplined teaching style and fast wit. RInpoche is a ri-med (non-sectarian) teacher who teaches Spiritual Knowledge rather than religious dogma. He teaches his disciples not to change their faith but one must change one’s mind and explore other faith’s spiritual knowledge in order to enhance one’s own faith.
Sandrine goes to church sometimes and she is exploring the teachings of Jesus now. She believes interfaith dialogue is essential.
A recording about Judaism
Here is an interview with Norma Glass MBE about the Jewish community in South Wales. It was recorded in a Gower cafe on the cliffs, in late January 2017.
Norma is the Welsh representative on the UK Board of Deputies of British Jews and is a founder director of Peacemala UK, a member of SACRE, a former president of Soroptomist International and a board member of the South Wales Police Independent Advisory Group.
Norma is chair of the Older Minority Ethnic Network run by Age Cymru and was awarded an MBE by the Queen for Services to Racial Understanding in Wales. In 2010, she was honoured by First Minister Carwyn Jones AM for her contributions to Race Relations.
Interview with a Druid
This interview with Druid Dr Ian Clegg was recorded under the ancient Yew tree in the llan of St Rhydian, in which Llanrhidian church is built. The interview took place in January 2017. A raven, a druidic symbol of peace, wisdom and divine communication, can be heard toward the end of the interview. Dr Clegg is a Druid and member of OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) and he is active throuout the UK and in Brittany. Of Scottish origin, Dr Clegg is currently based in Gower. Much of his life has been as an academic (history, philosophy, politics) and a political activist.