Embrace Foundation is a non-profit, educational foundation set up to create better understanding between people of different religions, cultures, traditions and world philosophies.
Embrace Foundation works to bring leaders and scholars of world-wide religions, cultures and philosophies together by sponsoring forums, seminars, lectures and developing an international exchange program. Embrace Foundation is particularly concerned with reaching the world public through the media.
Embrace Foundation is an all volunteer organization. All donations go directly to programs.
Embrace Foundation does not and has never given permission to any outside organization to solicit or receive contributions on our behalf.
All donations should be made to Embrace Foundation only via Paypal or by mail. All donations are tax deductible. A receipt will be emailed to you. Please click on the Pay Pal link below to Donate.
Travel As An Interfaith Act
Embrace encourages all who can do so, to learn about other traditions and cultures by traveling as “Grassroots Diplomats.” We hope that people every where become life long students of our world-wide humanity.
“ In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil.” R.W.Emerson
TRAVELING IN AZERBAIJAN Azerbaijan is a small, prosperous country with abundant oil supplies which puts it in an enviable position in this present age. The leadership seems to have taken some of the best cultural and innovative developments from the West and put their own stamp on it. Making Azerbaijan easy to travel in for Westerners who are not experienced travelers and wealthy Gulf and Saudi nationals. Yet it retains its’ own culture and beliefs. Bacu is an international city by all accounts but an easy-going, comfortable one. The people, in general, are very helpful and likable.
Every once in a while a visitor may get a throwback to the Soviet era, when your inn doesn’t fix a broken shower the day it says it will, and then spends the entire following day filling your bathroom with workmen. Guests it is thought should be glad that they even have a room, after all you were given a triple bedroom when you requested a double.
Entrepreneurship is not always what it is for customers in Asia, the Gulf and in the West. The proprietors and employees are always very personable, but they still may not understand why a guest might want to come back to their room sometime during the daylight in two days.
For those who stay in international hotel chains, this of course, will not be the case and it is not likely that the above experience will be repeated by anyone, in any inn or hotel in Bacu in another year or two. The people of Bacu are savvy and it doesn’t take long for them to figure out the best way to accommodate tourists. Architecture Those who love old French architecture or reproductions of it, such as that recreated in the heart of Beirut, will love Bacu and those who love cutting edge architecture will be impressed by some really magnificent edifices to the “new.”
However, the best part of Bacu is that the setting for new architecture is treated like pieces of art. They are placed strategically amidst the traditional so it does not become redundant or overwhelming. A visitor can stand back and really see the whole building and appreciate it. Dənizkənarı Milli Park Since the Founders had to spend two days during working hours out of their room at the inn, they had plenty of opportunity to walk throughout the magnificent (Baku Bayside Park.)People with children can have a delightful time here. There are rides for children, exotic plants, lawns, a promanade along the bay that can be walked or jogged for 3 kilometers (2.85 miles) one way. It has numerous restaurants, or food stands, fountains (one is supposed to be musical) and sculptures. It’s a great place just to watch people. It has a vibrant, lit up night life also, when the heat is much reduced. Ateshgah Fire Temple The main reason, the Embrace Founders went to Azerbaijan was to see the Ateshgah Fire Temple and the Mir Movsom Ziyaratgah - Mosque & Shrine Complex. Professor K.D. Irani, a Zoroastrian scholar and professor of philosophy at the City University of New York, was one of Embrace Foundation’s Founding Board Directors and a personal friend of Ajata and Virginia. Since so many Zoroastrian (in India “Parsi”) temples and shrines have been destroyed, they were very curious about this one.
Despite the fact, that the current structure was built by Shivite (Hindus) in the 18th century. Many Zoroastrians (India - “Parsi”) travel to the Ateshgah Fire Temple from India, primarily Mumbai, where most live. Hindus & Sikhs At the Ateshgah Fire Temple Some scholars claim that the Ateshgah Temple was also used by the Sikhs but the Founders think that this is most likely wrong.
Sikhs have helped or collaborated with Hindus when living out of India with funds or support for their spiritual enterprises but it would be a radical departure for Sikhs to consider “Agni” or fire a focus of devotion. All Sikh temples must keep a copy of their Holy Book the "Gurugrantha Sahib" in their temple or "Gurdwara". Their emphasis is on the Holy Name “Sat Nam” not on visuals. However, Sikhs do go to Hindu temples and show their respect all over India all the time, but as an addition to going to their own Gurdwara.
Some of the script found at Ateshgah is carved is in Gurumuki. Gurumuki is the sacred language of the Sikhs (like Sanskrit is for Hindus.) It could be that Sikh traders contributed to the building of the temple and were being honored. Hindus also may have come from the Punjab that knew Gurumuki. In the state of Punjab, inter-marriage beween Hindus and Sikhs is not uncommon.
Lastly, Sikhs may have gone to the temple along with going to their own Gurdhwara which they often do today, as a part of their ecumenism. The Hindu monks may have wanted to honor their contribution by having a carved acknowledgement in the Sikh sacred language.
NOTE: There is a modern temple in the U.A.E. that both Hindus and Sikhs share. The U.A.E. temple contains both the Gurugrantha Sahib and items of Hindu spiritual focus.
Mir Movsom Ziyaratgah - Mosque & Shrine This is an incredible tribute to a saint, who though physically challenged, was responsible for the healing of many people and of many miracles.
Nearly every person in Azerbaijan who is a Muslim love him.
Above you will see five photos of the amazing memorial the people built in honor of him. More photos will be uploaded to EmbraceSacredPlaces.Org.
To go to Azerbaijan and not see this beautiful dedication to love, would be tragic.
Embrace Foundation Retreat Center Embrace.Foundation (skype messaging) - 011+1+212.675.4500 (New York)