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My Latest Letter to the Holy Name

Japa of the holy name

During every Japa Retreat we have the opportunity to formally write down our prayers to the holy name. We are again reminded that the holy name is a person, or really the combined persons of Radha and Krishna. Our Christian brothers are fond of offering their followers a relationship to their conception of Divinity in the shape of Lord Jesus Christ. Gaudiya Vaishnavas are also offering their followers a relationship with Radha and Krishna through their holy name, as revealed through Gaura-Nitai and their representatives. We worship and praise One God in multiforms and expansions, and we especially esteem those we represent them.

Beyond the Influence of the Stars

Stars influence
The sojourn of the ignorant soul
looking for a real, satisfying role
to find the ultimate final goal
an end to suffering from illusion’s toll.

In the stars at birth, a picture is taken
revealing if we are blessed, or perhaps forsaken;
a chart plotted, the future is told
will we become ill, die young or grow old.

Basic Essentials for Indian Cooking

So although many of us may be very familiar with Indian cooking it can be somewhat intimidating for those of us who are not so familiar with it. For this edition of the newsletter I would like to share the things that I would recommend you keep in your kitchen for those days when Indian food is on the menu.
First and most importantly, let’s talk spice. There are a few spices that I recommend every well stocked kitchen cooking Indian food must have.

Mustard Seeds

Ordinary Everyday Mystic

Autumns beauty'
Change is a constant, ordinarily
in Nature, slow and steady
obscured by our mind’s absorption
till a critical mass “aha” moment.

Walking outside to the mailbox
greeted by fall’s embrace
colored leaves falling and swirling
gracefully decorating the ground.

Vegetable Barley Soup and Half and Half Bread

I love, love, love vegetable soup in the winter. Often, I will make a big pot of soup one day and then have enough left over for dinner the next day. Although it may not be absolutely ideal to have leftovers for dinner, what is a busy mother to do? Actually, I often find that soup tastes even yummier the next day, and no I’m not just trying to make myself feel better about serving leftover soup to my family. If you decide to also serve soup two days in a row my tip is to mix it up a bit, serve the soup with bread one day and rice the next day.

Not Taking Anything for Granted—Practicing Appreciation for Krishna's gifts

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After returning from the Japa Retreat enthused and divinely touched by sharing such potent spiritual practices in uplifting company my wife and I also received another type of mercy: the flu that some devotee inadvertently gave us. Sickness, although never sought after, often teaches us about the dual nature of the material world (happiness and distress) and its temporary nature. If we are a “spiritual possibility thinker”, then every situation can be favorable, helpful, and instructive for our holy aspirations to make progress in “shuddha Bhakti” or pure devotion. What follows are some of my thoughts from being sick and having reduced capacities for living.

Monthly call for Couples (or those thinking of marrying)

Monthly Phone Teleconference for Devotees With Marriage Questions

This Month's Topic: THE NEED FOR ON-GOING RELATIONSHIP

SKILL-BUILDING-ESPECIALLY IN MARRIAGE.

WHEN: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21st, 2010, 7-8 p.m. EST
Bridging the gap
WHERE: Teleconference call-in number is 712-432-0111 begin
access code: 761698 #. If you have any difficulties connecting, PLEASE HANG UP AND TRY AGAIN.

Dead Poet’s Society

Modern poetry leaves me cold
(though the poet's allure is appealing)
rarely I find a work meaningful
of consequence to my life
either emotionally or spiritually—
which to me are all important.

Why should I have to work so hard
to unravel the meaning in a poem
like a detective searching for a murderer
shifting through reams of so-called evidence
finding a children’s playground of no consequence.

Vegetables Au Gratin and Quick and Easy Cucumber and Tomato Salad

So here, where I live, it is beginning to cool down and I can almost visualize the months to come when I will be cold and bundled up with socks and a coat. Anyways, when winter begins to come, I start to look towards more warm, rich foods to satisfy my body’s cravings. As the winter months become cold our bodies begin to store fat in order to stay warm throughout the cold winter. With this in mind, I am sharing a recipe today from the awesome cookbook Great Vegetarian Dishes by Kurma Dasa which you can purchase easily here: http://store.krishna.com/Detail.bok?no=721&bar=_shp_media-books

Outer Silence, Inner Insights: Reflections on the Holy Name

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At the recent Japa Retreat III we spent days chanting the maha-mantra (the Hare Krishna chant) while observing a “mauna vrata” or a silence vow. Devotees of Krishna are advised to “always” chant the holy name (satatam kirtayanto mam Bg 9.14). Refraining from talking can help this goal by freeing up our time and facilitating deep contemplation about the mantra and our life. Silence with spiritual practice is like turning down the volume of the external channels of our awareness and opening up the inner one.

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