SWAGATAM – A Celebration of India & Book Launch

This 40 minute highlights film of the Swagatam celebration at the Speed Art Museum gives a real sense of the day and it’s many offerings.

Click here to access a playlist of full length individual talks by scholars and other presenters.


November 18, 10 am – 3 pm @SPEED MUSEUM, Louisville, KY – The Wisdom of Thomas Merton & Tagore

A celebration of India through faith, the arts and our shared universal values. Enjoy Indian music, poetry, dance, film, art, book signing, food, and the wisdom of Thomas Merton & Tagore. The event leads into the annual Festival of Faiths, which begins at 7pm the same day. (See their schedule).

GET TICKETS! Admission is Free but registering is required. Reserve your place at the Speed Museum: TO ATTEND REGISTER HERE – 


Guests will be invited to enjoy traditional Indian dancing, an art exhibit, lunch, and a film by India’s most renowned film director, Satyajit Ray. Earlier in the week, the film Gandhi will be shown on Nov 14 at the Speed cinema.

November 18th, 10AM-3PM. Arrive by 9AM. Masks and proof of vaccination OR a negative Covid test within the last 72 hours.required. 


Celebrating the launch of two new Fons Vitae titles:

1) Merton & Hinduism: The Yoga of the Heart, the ninth and final volume of the acclaimed Fons Vitae Thomas Merton Series, and the first book to thoroughly and definitively trace the lasting influence of Yoga and the Hindu tradition on the life and writings of the renowned author, Thomas Merton, Catholic Priest and pioneer of inter-religious dialogue.

2) A new translated interpretation: “What Wants To Come Through Me Now” of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali (Song Offerings) by Coleman Barks. Barks, known and loved for his exquisite transmissions of Rumi, opens us up to the heart of the Bengali poet and mystic, Rabindranath Tagore. Hailed by poets from Hart Crane to Robert Frost, Yeats’s personal response perhaps sums up the empathy the Western literary community felt when it first received Tagore’s Nobel Prize winning work in 1913: “A whole people, a whole civilization, immeasurably strange to us, seems to have been taken up into this imagination, and yet we are not moved because of its strangeness, but because we have met our own image…or heard, perhaps for the first time, in literature, our voice as in a dream” (Yeats, 11). Read the ‘Spirituality & Practice’ magazine Book Review.

The books are NOW AVAILABLE on the Fons Vitae website with a 20% discount from now through November 18th. There will also be a book signing at the Speed event including Fons Vitae’s Hinduism Titles >> CLICK HERE.

With our very special thanks to the sponsors: Rishabh & Lopa Mehrotra for Tagore; Eleanor Bingham Miller, Don Morrison and Peter Schroeder for Merton & Hinduism; and to Fons Vitae proofreader Anne Ogden.





















Swagatam Krishna” – a rendition in the ancient dance form of Bharatnatyam by the students of Samarpan, School of Art.

“Dear Krishna! Welcome into our homes and welcome into our hearts. With Your Grace, brighten our lives and enrich our souls. The One that resides in Mathura, the One who exudes tenderness and compassion towards the good and is fierce and destructive towards the evil. Welcome!” The dancers depict the characteristics of chivalry and charm of Lord Krishna from His life story, Srimad Bhagavatham. The dancers will conclude with a stanza from the Mahabharata.


FILM (Speed Cinema) Nov 14 & 18:

1- GANDHI. Directed by Richard Attenborough
Sunday, November 14, 3pm. Free. Trailer: https://youtu.be/B7I6D3mSYTE

Winner of eight Oscars including Best Picture, the film celebrates the leadership of Mohandas K. Gandhi through nonviolent protest covering three major campaigns for freedom and equity.

Ben Kingsley won an Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Gandhi. With John Gielgud, Candice Bergman, and a cast of thousands. 1982, U.K./India/U.S./South Africa, DCP, in English and Hindi with English subtitles, 188 minutes. Rated PG.


1- CHARULATA. Directed by Satyajit Ray (Screened as last part of the INDIA celebration)
Thursday, November 18, 1.15pm. Free. Trailer: https://youtu.be/sJP3R6L9o-8

“An exquisitely traced drama of repressed desire.”—Kate Muir, The Times (UK)

Based upon the novel Nastanirh by Rabindranath Tagore, this adaptation by Satyajit Ray on the surface addresses 19th-century values, but also incorporates political and colonial discourse, class, proto-feminist values, music, poetry, and love.

Charulata (Madhabi Mukherjee) is an isolated, artistically inclined woman who sees little of her busy journalist husband. Realizing that his wife is alienated and unhappy, he convinces his cousin Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee) to spend time with her and nourish her creative impulses.

Amal is a fledgling poet, and the two develop a bond over their shared love of art. Charulata finds herself creatively inspired and dangerously drawn to him.

Charulata is a work of subtle textures, a delicate tale of a marriage in jeopardy, and a woman taking the first steps to establishing her own voice. 1964, India, DCP, in Bengali with English subtitles, 119 minutes. Recommended for 12+.

Screened as part of the INDIA celebration. For more information and to register for the event click here: SPEED CINEMA. (Also check out 1. Satyajit Ray’s film: RABINDRANATH TAGORE, 1961, Documentary. 2. An interview with Satyajit Ray, South Bank Show, UK; 3. Suggested further film viewing: Jean Renoir’s ‘The River’ here.




Renowned poet Coleman Barks, accompanied by sitar, tabla and sarod, will read from What Wants to Come Through Me Now, his interpretation of the Gitangali, a collection of poems by the Indian Mystic, Rabindranath Tagore. Coleman Barks (PhD) is an American poet known for making the poetry of Rumi widely accessible to the English-speaking world through his unique translations, including The Illuminated Rumi (1997), The Essential Rumi (1995), and several other volumes. Barks and his translation work have been featured in an episode of the PBS series “The Language of Life” with Bill Moyers, and in a televised conversation with the late poet, Mary Oliver (listen here: https://lannan.org/events/mary-oliver-with-coleman-barks). He has often produced his Rumi translations in collaboration with music and dance ensembles, including the Paul Winter Consort and Zuleikha.

Lisa Starr, is the former Poet Laureate of Rhode Island (2017-2013). She spent most of the last 35 years on Block Island, a tiny island off the Rhode Island coast, where she owned and operated a 10-room inn (The Hygeia House) and created and directed the Block Island Poetry Project. Starr is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Rhode Island Fellowship in Poetry, which she received twice.

Starr’s publications include three full-length collections, including Mad With Yellow (2008) and the anthology Where Beach Meets Ocean (2013). For the last 15 years she has traveled extensively, conducting workshops and giving readings with her long-time friend and companion, the Poet and Translator Coleman Barks. Starr is also collaborating with Barks on a memoir about grief, friendship, poetry and their beloved friend, Mary Oliver tentatively titled Three Years Without Mary. Starr is currently the Creative Director for The Arts Café Mystic.

Robert Thurman is an American Buddhist author and academic who has written, edited, and translated several books on Tibetan Buddhism. He was the Je Tsongkhapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, before retiring in June 2019. Robert Thurman held the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West. He also is the co-founder and president of Tibet House in New York. He translated the Vimalakirti Sutrafrom the Tibetan Kanjur into English. He is the father of actress Uma Thurman.

Brother Paul Quenon will speak on Merton and Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita. He has been a monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani for 62 years. Fr. Louis (Thomas Merton) was his Novice Master for over two years. Later he attended many of Merton’s monastic conferences given for those in formation. Quenon earned a Master’s degree in Systematic Theology from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Br. Paul has published seven books of poetry.

                                                                                                                              David M. Odorisio, PhD, serves as Director of The Retreat at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA, and is Associate Core Faculty in Pacifica’s Mythological Studies graduate degree program.  He is editor of Merton and Hinduism: The Yoga of the Heart (Fons Vitae, 2021), and co-editor of the volume Depth Psychology and Mysticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

Jonathan Montaldo is the Co-General Editor with Gray Henry of Fons Vitae’s Merton & World Religions Series. He and Gray also edited We Are Already One: Reflections to Celebrate Thomas Merton’s Centenary (2015). He has served on the staff of Bellarmine University’s Thomas Merton Center and the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living. He is the reader of five Merton audiobooks and has edited numerous volumes presenting Merton’s work that include The Intimate Merton and A Year with Thomas Merton. With Robert G. Toth he created the ten volumes of Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton for small group dialogue. He was President of the International Thomas Merton Society for the 2001-2003 administration.

Christopher Key Chapple, Phd, presenting Yoga & Aspects of Being Human: Upanishads, is Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and founding Director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. A specialist in the religions of India, he has published more than twenty books, including the recent Living Landscapes: Meditations on the Elements in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Yogas (SUNY Press). He serves as advisor to multiple organizations including the Forum on Religion and Ecology (Yale), the Ahimsa Center (Pomona), the Dharma Academy of North America (Berkeley), the Jain Studies Centre (SOAS, London), the South Asian Studies Association, and International School for Jain Studies (New Delhi).

Francis X. Clooney, Phd, presenting Merton and Mahanambrata Brahmachari, is Catholic priest and member of the Society of Jesus who joined the Harvard Divinity faculty in 2005 after teaching for 21 years at Boston College. His primary Indological scholarship relates to theological commentarial writings in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India. He is a leading figure in the field of comparative theology – faith seeking understanding through the study of traditions other than one’s own. Recent books include Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics: Why and How It Matters (2019) and Western Jesuit Scholars in India: Tracing Their Paths, Reassessing Their Goals (2020). He is currently President-Elect of the Catholic Theological Society of America, and will be President during 2022-23.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Emile Farge, Phd, who will speak on Merton, Patanjali & Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda, served as a Catholic priest from 1960 to 1971, during which time he read and admired Thomas Merton. After returning to lay life, he earned his PhD and was a public health official for 24 years. He returned to serious reading of Merton in 2001, and is currently a member of the Atlanta chapter of the International Thomas Merton society.

Pico Iyer was educated at Eton and Oxford and since 1982 has been a full-time writer, publishing 15 books, translated into 23 languages, on subjects ranging from the Dalai Lama to globalism, from the Cuban Revolution to Islamic mysticism. They include such long-running sellers as Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, The Global Soul, The Open Road and The Art of Stillness. His four talks for TED have received more than 10 million views so far. Since 1992 Iyer has spent much of his time at a Benedictine hermitage in Big Sur, California, and most of the rest in suburban Japan.

Paul R. Dekar, Phd, presenting Merton and Gandhi is Professor Emeritus of Evangelism and Mission, Memphis Theological Seminary. He teaches, writes, and volunteers with various organizations including Dundas [Ontario] Community Services and the Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. He is the author of Thomas Merton, Twentieth Century Wisdom for Twenty-First Century Living, and Thomas Merton: God’s Messenger on the Road Towards a New World.

Paul M. Pearson is Director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky and Chief of Research for the Merton Legacy Trust. He is Resident Secretary of the International Thomas Merton Society, and served as President for the 10th administration. Paul is a founding member and first secretary of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland. He edited Seeking Paradise: Thomas Merton and the Shakers, A Meeting of Angels: The Correspondence of Thomas Merton with Edward Deming and Faith Andrews, Thomas Merton on Christian Contemplation and, most recently, Beholding Paradise: The Photographs of Thomas Merton.

William Apel, Phd, will present on Merton and Tagore and  Expansive Hindu: Thomas Merton and Amiya Chakaravarty is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Linfield College. He holds a PhD from Northwest University, and an MDiv from Garrett Theological Seminary.

Radiance Music Group

MUSICIANS (Radiance music group):

Joanna Mack began her pursuit of Classical North Indian Music in 1997. While studying Neuroscience at UCSD, she attended a Classical Indian Music class with sitar virtuoso Kartik Seshadri, a senior disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar of the Maihar Gharana. She had been involved in Western music since childhood but was immediately drawn to Indian music. Joanna is fulfilling that promise today. Joanna was fortunate to be able to study under the now late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.

Bruce Hamm is a long time disciple of the great sarod master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Born into a musical family and immersed in music since early childhood, Bruce began his studies with Khansahib at the Ali Akbar College in 1974. He has pursued a serious and continuous study of instrumental and vocal music since then. In 1981 he performed the traditional thread tying ceremony to symbolize his bond to his Guru. Since that time he has been a regular teacher of instrumental and vocal classes at the AACM. Bruce continues his mentor’s legacy today as a respected teacher and performer, mesmerizing crowds worldwide and keeping alive the tradition of the Maihar Gharana.

Marcus Wise is a top-tier tabla player, poetic and genre-bending. An ambassador of Eastern classical music, he makes Indian sounds accessible to American music fans, collaborating with folk, jazz, gospel and pop artists. He has performed and recorded with such artists as The Doors’ John Densmore, sitar player David Whetstone, R&B singer Alexander O’Neal, classical Indian musician Nirmala Rajasekar, jazz artist Anthony Cox, cellist David Darling, sarod player Bruce Hamm and pop producer Jimmy Jam (Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige). One of the first profesisonal tabla players in the United States, Marcus has been playing for over 35 years. He makes his home in Jaipur. ——Listen to a sample of their music HERE


Lopa Mehrotra is a social entrepreneur who has worked on three continents to unlock the potential of individuals and communities through education, technology, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. She has founded an education technology platform, run a microfinance institution, and led nonprofits. She currently serves as a Trustee to the Speed Museum, James Graham Brown Foundation, and Community Foundation of Louisville. Lopa is a Hindu by birth, a perpetually novice meditator, and passionately curious about the great ground of Being. 

Chandrika Srinivasan is the current Chairperson of the Hindu Temple of Kentucky. She is a lawyer at Hance & Srinivasan, PLLC. She is the founder of Samarpan School of Art, where she practices and teaches the ancient Indian classical dance form, Bharatnatyam.

Virginia Gray Henry, Publisher & Founder of Fons Vitae books. Author and Lecturer on World Religions and Art History.

Vidya Ravichandran is the President of GlowTouch, a technology services company headquartered in Louisville and with operations in multiple global locations. Vidya is passionate about supporting science and the arts in the Louisville community and serves on several academic and arts organization boards. Vidya also runs GT Foundation, a philanthropic organization that provides different types of assistance to underserved communities in India and the US.


SPEED ART MUSEUM Exhibit: Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s The Unforeseen Wilderness

Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s The Unforeseen Wilderness: While at the Speed Museum please also visit this special photography exhibit of Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s The Unforeseen Wilderness (accompanied by Christopher Meatyard who will be in attendance at the event also). It celebrates the recent acquisition of a remarkable portfolio of 56 photographs depicting Kentucky’s own Red River Gorge. See also Fons Vitae’s title: Meatyard/Merton – Photographing Thomas Merton.

With our very special thanks to the sponsors: Rishabh & Lopa Mehrotra for Tagore; Eleanor Bingham Miller, Don Morrison and Peter Schroeder for Merton & Hinduism; and to Fons Vitae proofreader Anne Ogden.
Thanks to Vidya Ravichandran & Glow Touch Technologies for the design and printing of the event progam.
Thanks to the event sponsors listed below:





SPECIAL OFFER: Get the Complete 9 book Thomas Merton & World Religions Series 2021 at 25% discount.
GO HERE: https://fonsvitae.com/product/complete-9-book-thomas-merton-and-world-religions-series/

“I will be a better Catholic, not if I can refute every shade of Protestantism, but if I can affirm the truth in it and still go further. So, too, with the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, etc. This does not mean syncretism, indifferentism, the vapid and careless friendliness that accepts everything by thinking of nothing. There is much that one cannot “affirm” and “accept,” but first one must say “yes” where one really can. If I affirm myself as a Catholic merely by denying all that is Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., in the end I will find that there is not much left for me to affirm as a Catholic: and certainly no breath of the Spirit with which to affirm it.”
– Thomas Merton

A selection of  art from the collection of Drs. Krishna & Vani Nadar:

Enjoy art works from the Collection of Drs. Krishna and Vani Nadar, who have practiced internal medicine and pain management since 1978. They are currently establishing holistic healing centers in India which provide meditation, yoga, covid relief and food as well to those in need. They are avid travelers who believe in One World and One Religion. Their collection of artifacts come from the world over, and especially from the Himalayan region. They feel honored to share these  treasures with the Speed Museum.

For those who would like to arrange a visit to the Hindu Temple of Kentucky in Louisville. Visit their website at: https://www.htky.org/#/home or write to: contacthtky@gmail.com

GET TICKETS! Admission is Free but registering is required. Reserve your place at the Speed Museum: REGISTER HERE

Fons Vitae Books, 49 Mockingbird Valley Drive, Louisville, KY 40207 – Tel: 502-897-3641