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Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh


2008 Spirit & Festival

The 2008 Spirit & Place Festival theme: “Exploring Imagination” is truly thought provoking. As I see it, the theme invites and celebrates our efforts and resolve in transforming ordinary and extraordinary, imagined and perceived ideas, and cherished hopes and dreams into visions of reality.

First, we must define and understand imagination, its significance, and important place in human affairs. It is in exploring that we set forth new markers in human advancement and test the power and limits of our imagination, skills, experience, and great ideas. Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, a former President of India, reminds us, “ideas move the world, and thought precedes action.” Someone else made another brilliant call: “great ideas are wonderful but something has to be done about them.”

As living-breathing and thinking beings, we carry special hopes, dreams, and expectations that best reflect our times, interests, talents, and commitments to improve our personal and collective human condition. We wonder, examine, and interpret the meaning, intricate mysteries and interrelationships, and the boundless promise of life. We see life as a colorful and complex tapestry of thoughts, emotions, ideas, and raw images of dreams and possibilities. We see life as a many-faceted living prism, teeming with and unfolding many ideas and images that dazzle our mind and attention. Our study, meditations, and reflections inspire us to give shape to ideas that capture our imagination.

In this journey, culture, creativity, time and circumstances, and unexpected challenges daily interface with elements of our complex universe, constantly stretching our imagination from mundane to the unfathomable reaches of our spirit and humanity, connecting us at many unimagined crossroads, and leaping across others along the way. Our imagination is an unmistakable call and adventure into our “can do better” spirit, leading us on a tireless search to further ideas that may make a difference to our individual and shared worlds, not just for ourselves but also for generations that follow, and finding the best answers and directions to the critical concerns and opportunities of our times.

Man instinctively knows that great ideas are critical to enhancing human promise. Imagination is our passport that leads us to discovery of new fascinating possibilities and destinations; a uniquely-human attribute and emotion that charges our senses to plunge into the uncharted regions and realms to satisfy human curiosity, fulfill some urgent need, or simply to indulge in a daring rendezvous to test the nature and character of our fascination. Imagination is about carrying an intuitive understanding that impossible it may be, but impossible it is not when we set our spirit on fire in our pursuits.

Our ability to dream big, imagine in living color, and think in grand terms; our passion to overcome past limitations and boundaries; human ingenuity and innovation to fulfill cherished ambitions and awesome fantasies; and deep urge to unravel the great mysteries of life are the among the greatest gift from the Divine. Imagination represents a powerful live-force that adds an intriguing and motivational dimension to human happiness, prosperity and advancement, since it forms the intellectual, emotional, and creative framework to our ideas and visions. Imagination translates the human fascination with adventure into acts and expressions of greatness, constantly revealing and expanding the already myriad dimensions of the universe that surrounds us, and inspiring our stake and rightful place in this mysterious puzzle and drama that gives definition and character to our ideas and civilization.

Human imagination is an awesome adventure not just of the mind and sight but also of our spirit and humanity, taking us into realms far beyond the easy and familiar into areas that on first thought may seem impossible and a formidable climb. Given the time, energy, right preparations and investments, surprising results may shatter thresholds that often hold us back. No task is too great for the spirit, since it originates deep within our soul and carries an innate knowledge that the untried and unrealized frontiers and thresholds of yesterday can be the new reality of tomorrow under the right circumstances and directions. Mr. Fauja Singh, the 98-year old distinguished Sikh marathoner form U.K., reminds us: “Impossible is Nothing.” We all admire the American icon, Dr. Helen Keller, an awe-inspiring and shining example of triumph over her struggle against incredible odds, and the power of imagination, exemplary determination, and uncommon courage of her teacher that made the unlocking of Helen’s spirit and brilliance a reassuring lasting testimony for all humanity.

Freedom of thought and spirit are essential for human imagination to flourish, for new discoveries to take place, for human civilization to make forward leaps. Each of us has that power to make great things happen, to attempt and harness the uncommon and unimagined. Pursuit of great ideas has led us to intercontinental travel, exploration of space, landing on the moon and a glimpse of the heavens teaming with billions of stars and galaxies; incredible scientific, industrial-technological, and medical advancements; exploding internet, information, and telecommunication revolution; achievements in the arts, architecture, and engineering; and countless humanitarian global initiatives to solve human problems. It all begins with someone sensing a need and dreaming up an idea; someone defining the challenge, stepping forward with a sound plan and assembling critical talents; and someone daring to face the unknowns, go against the unfriendly winds, and bring about the celebrated outcomes.

Pursuing new dreams and distinctions and finding answers to human yearnings has been a primordial second nature to man. As a civilization we would not be where we are today without our pioneering spirit in search of new thresholds and dreams. To set new markers along the human journey, we have called upon the best of the human will and willingness, often an entire village with new and ancient wisdoms working together, deep faith and sustained passions, and a whole lot of inner strength to defy the odds. In time, our persistence has prevailed, unlocking our alternatives and successful answers.

Each such event is simply another beginning for the conquest of our next formidable challenge. With a fertile imagination, with eyes on the prize, man has embarked upon the conquest of the unreachable from the beginning of time. Led by this passion, man has set his sights on the hardest and highest, the mysterious and dangerous, and by refusing to surrender has opened up, conquered new frontiers and proudly trail-blazed into some truly memorable and spectacular triumphs of the human spirit.

Even in the midst of intense darkness and devastating experiences, our imagination has offered us a lifeline to ride out the uncertain prospects and our temporary defeats. In the midst of our brightest moments, our imagination has called upon us to go higher and farther where we have never been before. Our imagination, with its constant dance of images, awaiting possibilities and dazzling testimony of others before us, has served as a brilliant teacher and motivator beckoning us to yet unexplored brave new worlds. Time, innovation, determination, and patience alone have certified the reality and prospects of success beyond the frequent setbacks experienced along the journey.

For us, just imagining, achieving wonderful dreams or significant breakthroughs is not enough. Man’s true calling is seeking answers to tough problems, resolving conflicts, uplifting human spirit and condition, pursuit of happiness, and going beyond the mandate of his endeavors and imagination of the moment. Imagination is never static; our urge to explore is inherently natural and intensely personal.
In life, we will all have our share of struggles, interrupted dreams, unexpected failures, and unjust and unfair rewards of our efforts. We need to look past the moment for new signs, always remembering that, in time, our tireless striving will lead us through new gateways and preordained outcomes.

Scriptures proclaim that God places all ideas and thoughts in our mind, hoping that we are listening and make His planned lessons for us a reality. Faith testimonials affirm that God often guides our efforts and prayers to conquer the impossible and overcome the unimagined. As a Benevolent Presence, God blesses us a kindred network - parents, teachers, friends, strangers arriving as angels, faith, hope, resilience, and unexplained miracles to carry out His Will. We need to listen to our inner commands and take courageous steps forward to our appointment with destiny. Suddenly we may see in front of us, not anything that we have achieved but a testimony of higher trust, generosity, love, and moments of Grace personified. We may witness that many hearts and angelic spirits pray for us, lead us across the thresholds of uncertainty and impossible, and rejoice in our triumphs and achievements.

Such thoughts and lessons keep me grounded and grateful, serve as an anchor in my journey, and fill my spirit with renewed faith and creative passion. Each of us have our own inner sanctum from where we draw our strength, let our spirit embark on journeys and renaissance to make our ever-changing human universe a better place in which we may all dwell and prosper in peace and happiness. We need to learn about each other; the manifestations of culture, freedoms, and opportunity that surround us. Exploring our uncommon common connections, making timely investments to accomplish big visions, trailblazing uncharted spaces and interests with the best and brightest ideas, with initiatives and intentions that celebrate and honor our shared and sacred humanity above all else, and putting our entrusted gifts and spirit to greater good are all amazingly liberating, our gift to Life and the Divine.

It all begins by open and imaginative community conversations, programs, and performances where we stretch our hands across the real or unfounded fences, explore ideas, weigh divergent responses, and answers to our common visions. The Festival places the arts, cultures, matters of spirit and our faiths as universal anchors and civic language at community crossroads. The Partners showcase their unique and colorful gifts. The Participants listen and learn with their heart, and in faith, about the rich diversity that surrounds us, and the need to dispel ignorance, prejudice, and unfounded stereotype. Together we strengthen community interrelationships to maximize our collective future promise.

With expanding audiences, interest, and momentum, the Spirit & Place Festival offers carefully selected programs based on a fascinating theme (‘01: Crossing Boundaries; ‘02: Building & Belonging; ‘07: Living Generously) that advances understanding across traditional attitudes and unfamiliarities. Each group is required to work with and embrace new Festival partners with the hope of making new friends, building new bridges, teaching and learning, and brightening the cultural and spiritual landscape of our City. Over the last ten years, the Hoosier Sikhs have collaborated with The Tibetan Buddhist, Methodist, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, and The Asian American Alliance as Festival Partners, in a proud affirmation of the spirit and noble mission of this unique Festival.

The Spirit & Place Festival is sponsored and coordinated by The Polis Center of Indiana University. For details of The 2008 Festival, visit:

Kanwal Prakash Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA
August 14, 2008







Kanwal Prakash Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA


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