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[One of my favorite poems—this one reposted from 08-16-2012]
Remembering my material sojourn:
Caught up in the waves of a Cosmic storm
ever-increasing change and uncertainty
swirling, frightening energy @ mind speed
lightening wind, amidst thunderous explosions
bewildered, I go all directions at once, but nowhere,
I’m desperate for stability, fulfillment, truth, peace
a lasting resting place with loving feelings
understanding who I really am through and through,
asking what’s my relationship to life & the Universe
searching to find meaning in chaos and misery—
[Republished from 09-09-09]
I thought of this blog while offering mangal arotik (early morning public worship ceremony) at the Temple this morning which I do twice a week. During the years I lived in Temples I was mainly a pujari (priest who looks after the Temple Deities or forms of God) and cook. After so many years, I am quite comfortable in this arena and love the beauty of the altar, the Deities and their opulent paraphernalia, and of course the many services like bathing and dressing them. I also don't mind being in front of people, which pujaris often are, as in doing arotik and other public ceremonies like bathing of the Deities or abhishek. Whatever service I do, I try to do it on behalf of the devotees, praying for ever increasing devotion. I feel the years I spent in what was a very focused and intense service has given me much of my spiritual foundation, and "staying power" as a devotee.
Dallas Morning News,
By spiritual constitution we are all one--individuals of the same nature and family of God. By living in the material world we accept a false ego that tells us we are the material body, mind, intelligence and emotions, and that we should act for this limited self-interest. Our general conditioning is to believe we must compete with others for what we perceive as scare resources and facilities for survival and enjoyment.
At times we may feel like this: "How pitiful that although I believe in my own and everyone's spiritual identity, and have experience of myself beyond the perishable body, I am still affected by the same selfishness." Of course, it is a question of degree in how much selfishness we have, yet we are wired for survival, and have to learn the benefits of giving and then strive to increase our kindness.
I believe Srila Prabhupada really knew what he was talking about and had a close personal relationship with Krishna. I choose the bliss he has offered to anyone willing to serve and worship Lord Krishna and His devotees’ lotus feet.
I feel very low and unfit to approach Krishna on my own strength so I will make the attempt through service to His devotees. “The servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord.”
For spiritual practice, the early morning
quietness, calm, lack of fruitive action
more than quantity, time’s has a quality
like fragrant gold and pure magic
morning facilitates hearing, contemplation.
Like a blanket, darkness accentuates sound
we better hear the holy name, Hare Krishna
mind is less active, the newness of the day
at any age the morning is our excited youth
full of potential, promise, highest aspirations.
The Grihastha Vision is hosting its 3rd annual Couple’s Retreat, October 2nd to 4th 2015, at the Gita Nagari farm. Married and engaged couples are encouraged to attend who would like to deepen their connection to one another and to their spiritual practices. This is a special opportunity to nurture your relationship in a lovely country setting and spiritual environment with other couples similarly focused.
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Many devotees struggle with chanting on their beads (japa). Some devotees make a big endeavor to come to the standard of chanting 16 rounds with the goal of initiation, and then after initiation, find it too much work, and give it up. While I have been steady at my chanting since I took it up—which I consider has kept me a devotee—I can't say it has often been of a very good quality. At times it has been very challenging to continue the practice—yet I did.
Lately, I have been going deeper with my chanting by daily setting the intention to actually hear, and to chant purely, while endeavoring to be present to hear one mantra, or concentrating on one bead, at a time, and praying constantly for help. I must say this has made a startling improvement in my experience, though it takes continual effort, and my focus comes and goes. I had a very profound experience of this as I prepared for a wedding talk I recently blogged about, and I am continuing to build on that.
I think we forget, or don't know, what chanting is, that it's a prayer to make spiritual progress by taking full shelter of the Lord, like a child crying for its mother—an absolute feeling of dependence and seeking shelter.