River of Offerings is a hard cover photography and story book (approximately 225 pages) covering twelve stories from a variety of locations along the Ganga, India’s sacred river, from Gangotri in northern India to the delta where it opens into the Bay of Bengal.
I initially went to India in 2008 to deepen my understanding of yoga. After more than a dozen trips, I see the practice of yoga, the country of India and our place in the world through an entirely different lens. I was introduced to a variety of interpretations of what it means to practice yoga, spent time with the first female sadhus to participate in an ancient gathering of 100 million people called the Kumbh Mela, fled a devastating monsoon that took the lives of 12,000 people, spent time with people whose bodies were ravaged by polio, and struggled to understand the sufferings and joys of those I met along the way.
“In the morning, we’re standing on what’s left of the road, brushing our teeth, looking at what the divine goddess has taken away. A tiny roadside restaurant’s sign reads Love All Serve All and I take the sign as a sign. Everyone I meet seems to as well, because we’re sharing in one of those “survival ordeals” where a window inside all of us opens for a short time, revealing what we know and apparently just as soon forget during normal waking hours: we are all from the same family. The storm has washed away everything unessential, including culture and caste, and left people who are happy to be together. We look up at a sliver of blue in the sky. The morning’s small talk among car passengers is a collective prayer in a variety of languages that the rain has come to an end. Our new friends push the car to get it started and we begin another day’s travel.”
“This book is a rare and extraordinary offering. It brings the flow of the sacred Ganges river directly into our hearts. In India the Ganga is more than a river of water. It is a river of consciousness and love…and for those with souls ripe to feel, it is a path of purification for our hearts. Immerse your Self in this sublime and beautiful offering.”
“In mythic time, the Goddess Ganga, daughter of Brahmā, India’s Jehovah, was overwhelmed by compassion for beings suffering from thirst, and so graciously flung herself down from heaven to become the sacred river Ganges. Today the holy river is also one of the most toxic. This book takes us down the river to reveal its world of overwhelming beauty and unspeakable horror, opening our minds and hearts. Jennifer’s skilful vision and intense devotion kindles our meditation on the different qualities of the river, letting her become our teacher. She teaches us that we each have our own special flow to share, we each are a River of Offerings. Her photography immerses us in a lucid dream, kindling our joyful awareness, inspiring us to dare to love the world, as it is, yet moved to powerful action to make it better.”
“This book is beautiful!”
“This is more than just a book about the Ganga. Crafted over many years of tireless work, and undertaken out of palpable love for a people and a place, it is a work of great artistry. The stunning photos, and the text that accompanies them, give astonishing insights into the many faces of the great river, and into the mysteries and contradictions of life—and death—for those who live along it. It is also the record of a personal pilgrimage, and a testament to how deeply landscapes and people can transform us in ways we can’t foresee.”
“River of Offerings takes you on an adventurous journey that flows like the most prominent river in the world. Jennifer has a special way with story and image and a deep emotional connection to the places she pilgrimmed to tell this special story. I was lucky enough to join her on a small part of the journey, and the way she experienced the place and then recreated it here is just pure magic! The images offer a special way to revisit the adventure again and again, and I know I will.”
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