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 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
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.
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.
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.
We have had back to back to back holy days commemorating the appearance or disappearance of great saints in Gaudiya Vaishnavism. These include the appearance day of Shrila Jiva Gosvami (sort of hidden by Lord Vamanadeva’s appearance on the same day), the appearance of Bhaktivinode Thakur, and today, the disappearance day of the “namacharya” (great teacher of the glories of the holy name) Shrila Haridas Thakur.
Though I can’t do them justice especially in the same essay, at least in this short piece the significance of these great personalities can be brought to your attention, perhaps inspiring the need for more research. So please consider this three blogs in one!
In this world we find that there are many kinds of secrets for living happily that are known by only a few people. Ordinary knowledge is concerned with exploiting the resources of the planet, or other people for our survival, enjoyment and prosperity. This knowledge is based on our individual ego or false sense of self based on bodily identification.
After contemplating a verse
for morning scripture preparation
I give Shrimad Bhagavatam class
returning home late to worship
honor breakfast Prasadam
attend to Internet and calls
time has evaporated
so plan B to make opportunity
escaping in seclusion
casual clothes, walking stick
heading outside for better focus
In my study of the great spiritual text the Bhagavad-gita I have collected over 10 Vaishnava commentaries both ancient and modern—among them “Krishna’s Song” by Steven Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa). I have greatly appreciated his insights and analysis and thought I would share my impression of it with my friends.
The subtitle is fitting as indeed it is a different look at the Bhagavad-gita, at least in the way we usually think of it. The book draws from well known Western authors from the last few hundred years, as well as contemporary books and movies to discuss many of the Gita’s major philosophical ideas. It is actually a collection of bite size and tasty essays or lectures combined to form chapters which draw the educated, inquisitive reader in with catchy, compelling chapter titles.