Thursday, July 27, 2017

All And Everything

I feel raw and on edge lately.
I know I'm emotional and stressed,
I know I can't wave a magic wand and make it go away.
I know this is part of life, ups and downs.
I know I can't have it all.
I know I'm lucky to be alive.
I know I have more than I deserve
I'm lucky to be alive and well.
I'm lucky to have anything at all,
And maybe that should be enough.
Maybe this is it:
All and everything.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Disciple's Vow

At times I feel overwhelmed, alone and afraid. I don't even recognize myself sometimes and I feel as if I've transformed into an entirely different person. I've learned that, like a marriage, it is impossible for one to truly know their spiritual partner. One could spend his or her entire life with someone and still have a shallow or incomplete understanding of that individual. A spiritual master may see only what representation the disciple portrays of him/herself. (The eternal spiritual master who resides in the heart, Sri Guru, however, is never fooled.)
Disciples frequently lack the maturity or complexity to understand the desire and wishes of the spiritual master. Likewise, it is daunting to understand the Self. While the pact between master and disciple is before God to each other, allegiance in spiritual life is also an allegiance to the Self. The disciple is obligated to act always in his spiritual best interest. By no exaggeration, it is the primary priority of the initiated disciple to remain chaste to her eternal spiritual identity and duty. Failure to do so would hamper all progress and lead her astray; in fact, such misgivings could turn her away from the spiritual path entirely if given to offenses and accumulated misconceptions.
I do not know my Self. I do not understand my Self. I've often succumbed to doubt, temptation, fear and, most of all, hesitation. I fear to act, speak, feel or think for fear that it may not be palatable to others. I fear that my actions could be misconstrued or condemned or deemed reckless. I've found few things that truly bring me joy-- music, martial arts, and dedicated study. I've found that often I learn more valuable lessons in pursuit of mundane knowledge than in a dry discourse. I've seen drug addicts, addicts of the flesh, gamblers and so-called lost souls with more humanity, compassion and wisdom to offer than even the most weathered practitioner in temple. I find their lessons most valuable, relevant and influential-- for they remind me that the Lord can lead anyone back Home just as easily as illusion can lead her astray.
O Keshava! I've seen You staring back at me in the pages of a book. I have seen the Lord-- He was hidden between scribbled notes on the page. The Lord was found in careful arithmetic and calculations, in the relaxed breath between poetic phrases, dancing amid notes on sheet music. He was intelligence, beauty, an exasperated sigh and fluent understanding breaching forth from the page. I felt the Divinity within myself, around me, encoded within the multiverse, and brimming forth unbounded! I felt alone in this realization as I feared no one else had this same vision and yet I felt swaddled, safe in the Divine Feminine's arms.
Of all my identities, I found that the one I treasure, protect and keep hidden is the one that I should nurture and cultivate. She is locked away in a tower, accessible only with great effort. She is appalled and frustrated and distrustful of the outside world. She lives in her own imagination, in a fantastic faery-tale realm with ivory towers that offer her fortification from the grotesque. She is alone and peaceful, and yet restless and yearning for escape. She remains chaste, loyal and faithful to her spiritual master and awaits patiently his orders and instructions!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Gouranga Duti Pada

Today I woke up late at 5am. Our hope was that I would get the boys up early enough to make it to the early morning service (mangala-arati) but I figured it wouldn't happen so I prepared for my home altar service. The boys got up relatively early for a weekend (and spring break at that) and they helped out a lot with the services. Since today is a Gouranga Mahaprabhu's appearance day, we planned a large festival and worship for Gouranga. I sewed a new outfit for Giriraj Lal, a turban, two dhotis and chadars for Gour-Nitai. I thought the turban would take more time and I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish it. Kanai volunteered to make garlands, he designed a garland for Giriraj that was adorable.
We took a breaks for breakfast and lunch but the entire day was full of preparations for the festival. I managed to finish the outfits before it was time to go to the temple celebrations. I changed Nitai into his new outfit and quickly showered and changed before we left to Radha Kalachandji's temple. When we got there, I immediately couldn't stand it. The place was already packed and the festival was just getting started. I wore my new yellow silk sari with this gorgeous embroidery work. I think it's my new favorite sari. After the temple's bathing ceremony, it was time for us to get home and do our home deity's bathing ceremony. We did a bathing ceremony, worship ceremony and I got to lead the Gour arati prayers. We were supposed to go back to temple for the procession around the block but the boys and I were hungry and exhausted so we decided to go back home and eat. Dinner was fantastic. I was full so I decided to lie down for a bit and check Facebook. Maria and I took some cute photos today but she's really good at taking photographs.
I wanted to shared a prayer in glorification of Lord Gouranga's two lotus feet:

The Lotus Feet of Gouranga are my life and soul.
They shelter and protect me from the onslaught of material suffering.
The Lotus Feet of Gouranga are my only refuge.
They are like an oasis in the burning, desert-like material existence
My Lord Gouranga has come with the gift of Divine Love of God
He freely distributes it to whomever asks for it
Regardless of whether one is qualified or not.
My Sweet Lord Gouranga has shown the path back to Godhead
By personally taking up the process of chanting the Holy Name.
May that Holy Name bring upon Divine Love in my heart!
May that Holy Name purify my existence!
May that Holy Name always dance upon my tongue!
The Lotus Feet of Gouranga are my treasure, my soul, my greatest solace!