|What's with the name...|
We take words, particularly names, very seriously as the foreshadowing of what we hope to incarnate, catalyze, manifest. As the riffs referenced in the "Read more" section suggest, Udaipur Shakti Works expresses this project’s interlocking artistic, eco-medicinal and political aspirations. In brief, however:
Udaipur - literally "city of the rising sun", Udaipur is one of the most beautiful and popular cultural destinations in Asia and the historic capitol of Mewar, the most egalitarian, uncompromised and highly revered of India's 565 traditional princely states. Udaipur is also home to thousands of gifted artists and a renowned center of resistance to all alien imperial aims (important virtues if you're trying to provoke new cultural phenomena and also resist the global corporate coup).
Shakti - Hinduism's feminine incarnation of creative/healing/protective power; the Tantric Mother Goddess and energy of life (aka kundalini); (and thanks to John McLaughlin, the West's first "world music" band). She embodies all our artistic, therapeutic and eco-social remedial aims and flaunts four millennia of sex appeal as well.
Works - verb: functions, performs as expected, serves the intended purpose;
Udaipur's historic realm Mewar is exceptional in several dramatic ways. Ever since its founding in 530 AD, Mewar has maintained the tradition that it is directly owned and ruled by Siva avatar Eklingji ("Lord of the Singular Phallus") with the prince or Maharana serving only as his Chief Minister (in stark contrast to all other princely states whose land and subjects were deemed the personal property of the Raja or king).
This idea that everyone and everything was ultimately and equally beholden to a highly sensual divine spirit and not an aristocratic ruler helped to weaken the caste divisions in the region and promote more societal equality. This more egalitarian ethos served Mewar well for many centuries when it was attacked by vast Mughal armies and its princes fled to sanctuary with the local tribal people who were "normally" considered untouchables in other Hindu states.
Mewar's tribal cultures not only protected these leaders, they helped them launch guerrilla counterattacks that finally reclaimed their land. Indeed Mewar's fierce unified resistance to all invading forces featured tribal, Buddhist and even Jain generals and heroes, a history unparalleled in any other state.
Because of this continuous refusal to yield to any outside domination, Mewar ranked highest in nobility among all the princely realms and its leaders were accorded preeminent status whenever the maharajas paraded or convened (except, of course, in British organized pageants where the wealthiest were always invited to lead...)
Mewar's traditional Coat of Arms featuring the equivalent status
of the ruling warrior kings and the "outcaste" tribal folks
(and lots of weaponry as they were both usually under attack)
"Shakti is the divine force, manifesting to destroy demonic forces and restore balance. Every God in Hinduism has his Shakti and without that energy they have no power. Lakshmi is the energy of Vishnu. Parvati is energy of Shiva. Shakti is also called Devi or Mahadevi, assuming different roles as Sati, Parvati, Durga and Kali.
"So Shakti is the mother goddess, the source of all, the universal principle of energy, power or creativity. The worship of Shakti as this energy is the main objective of Tantra Yoga. Shakti is inseparable from the one who beholds her, the Shakti-man, the masculine principle or Universal father. Shakti-man is called Brahman by the writers of the Upanishads. In the Tantric tradition he is called Shiva… Tantra believes that as long as the phenomenal world exists, it is the Universal mother who is the creator, preserver and destroyer. Thus Shakti should be worshipped as an aspect of the divine."
Shakti - Wikipedia
"There are many temples devoted to various incarnations of the Shakti goddess in most of the villages in South India. The rural people believe that Shakti is the protector of the village, the punisher of evil people, the curer of diseases, and the one who gives welfare to the village...
Shakti the Group
"Its leading member was the English guitar player John McLaughlin, but it also featured the Indian violin player L. Shankar. It also included Zakir Hussain (on tabla), and R. Raghavan (on the Mridangam) and T. H. "Vikku" Vinayakram (on Ghatam).