12.25.2013

my holiday loot screams "yogi!"

tomsdictionaryshoes/himalayansaltlamp/zafublackmeditationcushion/iyengarlightonyoga/livingyouryoga/yoganidrabook/tofuxpress/teapotandmug/alexandanilotusombangle/sparklyinitialnecklace/ghirardellichocolate!

12.21.2013

5 random things

1. I don't undertand the concept of eggnog. or how people drink it. and love it. shudder.

2. even though I hate (but still follow) this blog, they always have really cute ideas... like this one.

3. I haven't received any holiday cookies as gifts... I am both offended and relieved.

4. all of my cholis are tight in the arms. wtf.

5. I have a long list of books I want to read, but have no desire to read anything right now. I'm almost embarrassed to say that it feels really good to not be reading anything.

12.19.2013

the more things change, the more they stay the same...

yesterday I posted gita's answers to these questions. I thought it would be interesting to re-interview madhavi and see how her answers changed in the course of four years. her answers from 2009 are below the current ones.

answered by madhavi, age 11 (almost 12!)



1. What is something mom always says to you? "listen"

2. What makes mom happy? "when I do listen and helping her out...right?"

3. What makes mom sad? "when I don't listen."


4. How does your mom make you laugh? "when she teases me (laughs)."


5. What did your mom like to do when she was a child? "uuuuhhhhmmmm, umm, oh, (makes weird face) I don't really know..."


6. How old is your mom? "wait, hold on... what year were you born... you were born in 79... you're 34!"


7. How tall is your mom? "I'd say 5 foot... hold on... let's see, about 5 foot 5...?"


8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV? "probably Law and Order..."


9. What does your mom do when you're not around? "ummmm, shop sometimes..."


10. What is your mom really good at? "hmm, you're really good at Language Arts because you're a Language Arts teacher... and you're really good at sewing."



madhavi-devi, age 11

answered by madhavi, age 7 - March, 2009

1. What is something mom always says to you? "to listen"

2. What makes mom happy? "to listen"

3. What makes mom sad? "that I don't listen"

4. How does your mom make you laugh? "(silence, shrugging of the shoulders) ummm, hmmm, ummm..." 


5. What did your mom like to do when she was a child? "Whoa, that's tough. I don't know."

6. How old is your mom? "30"

7. How tall is your mom? "4 feet tall?"

8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV? "Wheel of Fortune, duh!"

9. What does your mom do when you're not around? "go to sleepy world"

10. What is your mom really good at? "you're really good at being a mom" (brown noser!)



madhavi-devi, age 7

12.18.2013

what she said

back in the early facebook days, people used to do all kinds of silly tag-you-re-it surveys in their "notes". I was looking at some old ones I did the other day and came across this one from 2009 where I asked madhavi a series of questions and recorded her answers. she was just-turned-7 and it was cute. I thought it would be fun to do with gita now, because you know, 3-year-olds say the darndest things! here are her answers...

answered by gita govinda, age 3.5


1. What is something mom always says to you?
  “um, I love you”



2. What makes mom happy?
 “um, when I listen.”



3. What makes mom sad?
 “when I don’t listen.”



4. How does your mom make you laugh? “ummmm, these funny faces (then sticks fingers in her mouth and makes a funny face)”

5. What did your mom like to do when she was a child?
 “um, she liked to do play.”



6. How old is your mom? "2 ½”



7. How tall is your mom?
 “um, this big.”

8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV? "um, Dr. Phil.”

9. What does your mom do when you're not around? “uhhhmmmm, ummmm, you do cook.”

10. What is your mom really good at? “ummm, paper cutting.”






10.01.2013

let's clear some things up: an open (kind-of) letter to kevin mccafferty.

two nights ago I received this comment from Kevin McCafferty in response to my support of the Philadelphia ISKCON temple's decision to change the time of their Sunday services:
note: this is a direct quote, with grammar errors included. I took a screenshot of the comment and don't want to stray from it at all, lest I be accused of misquoting...

"No offense K mala but dont you live in northe jersey? Have you ever considered yourself a member of the Philadelphia congregation? Just curious. Plus didnt you write a blog in which you stated that you no longer consider yourself a decotee[devotee],no longer chant,etc? I have no problem with that but i don't know why you would be putting your opinion here and encouraging the change if you dont even have any spiritual connection to the temple and its program. Do you now plan to come every sunday and actively participate in kirtan and bhajan? I am not judging or attacking you but some of us are upset by the change and if you dont plan to do any of those things than it is misleading to give your opinion here and give management a false sense of encouragment and support for change. Some of us feel like something that was important to us was ripped away and it is annoying to here people support it cause now they "might" come once in awhile. Haribol."

there is so much to say that I don't even know where to start.

first I should explain that I've only met Mr. McCafferty once that I remember. and actually I didn't even meet him - we sat next to each other, by chance, at a home program like maybe three or four years ago. after we sat next to each other (I should add that I'm not even sure if we exchanged in conversation) he requested me as a friend on facebook. I figured, sure, why not, and accepted the request. we were "friends" for a bit - though I noted that he often made (in my perception) inane comments on threads. after one particular (in my perception) ignorant remark related to gun-control I re-evaluated why I was even "friends" with him to begin with... so I decided to delete him from my list. honestly... we weren't even friends...like at all. after that and up until this past Sunday evening, I've not had any interaction with him, either in-person or on facebook.

maybe you remember that last year I wrote a blog post titled "honesty and the four regulative principles" wherein I discussed in a very transparent and open manner where I was "at" at that time. I went through each of the promises I made to my guru and basically confessed my sins (more or less). I was, and am still (as always!), struggling in my Krishna consciousness. I felt compelled, for whatever reason, to be real about it. no, wait, not for whatever reason - but for the most important reason: because honesty is important. because I'd rather people know who I am and where I am in my spiritual practices than be the person who hides behind a mask. and for all that I said, I can tell you that what I didn't say was that I don't consider myself a devotee. in fact, Mr. McCafferty, if you even read the blog post (or any, like this one, that followed) you would know that I said again and again how much I wanted to worship and serve guru and Krishna. and I questioned what it even means to "be a devotee" - a very valid question at that. but never, not once, did I say, "I'm not a devotee anymore, f' that, I'm outta here!"

as far as where I "belong" as a congregation member... I don't "belong" anywhere. I grew up in the Brooklyn temple with Sri Sri Radha Govindaji (though if Mr. McCafferty actually read my blog or knew me, he would know that), and will always and forever consider that my home. but I live quite far from there (an hour and a half AT LEAST on a good traffic day) and it's expensive to go into the city. oh - and their program is quite late (coughcough), so it's only very rare that I get to go... maybe once or twice a year. and since Mr. McCafferty is apparently a long-time-every-week-attender of the Philadelphia Sunday program, then he'll probably remember that from about late 2008 until mid-2010 (when gita was born), my family was there almost every Sunday. and I was in fact kind of hard to miss... since I was large and pregnant for a good portion of that time. my older daughter went to the Sunday school for that time. she was invited on multiple occasions to dance for different festivals (she has, in fact, danced for Philly Ratha Yatra for the past four years... oh, maybe Mr. McCafferty saw her there this past Saturday?!). we made donations. we chanted. we heard. hmm, I don't know if I was a "congregation" member, but I certainly felt like I belonged to some extent.

why did we stop going? mostly because I had my youngest daughter and she is not an easy child. she (at the time) didn't do well in large groups, and was (is) very sensitive to being hungry and tired. put all of that on top of the fact that my husband and I both work full-time jobs where we have to get up quite early in the morning on Mondays... well, you do the math. but yes, in the interim I've had some struggles - struggles that have been deep and dark and hard to climb over. but since when does one's qualifications (devotee or not devotee... congregation member or not) matter when it comes to worshiping and serving the vaisnavas, guru, and Krishna?!

and since Mr. McCafferty is wondering about what my attendance intends to be... well, that's none of his business really. but what I will say is this: I would love to go to the temple every single sunday. I actually really, really love the program set-up of the Philly temple - more than any other temple (even Brooklyn, sorry!)... they really know how to get down to business and stick to a schedule, which, for someone with kids and a job and a life, is so fantastic. will we be there every Sunday? doubtful. while I am very supportive of the time change, it's actually not really helping us so much at the moment. my older daughter is with her dad every-other-sunday, so she will only be able to come as such. and it kind of falls smack in the middle of gita's naptime. I also teach yoga on sunday mornings, and it's going to be a challenge to get to the program on time after that... but still, I can see the benefits in the long run for more people than not - and that is why I support it... not because it has anything to do with me personally... because, even while I have an intensely selfish heart, I know that it's not about me. it's about what's best for the greater population.

while I wish my mood towards Mr. McCafferty was more of a vanca kalpa one, I have to be honest... it's not. I found his comment to be mean-spirited, selfish, and judgmental. and to try to qualify a judgmental statement by saying "I'm not trying to be judgmental" is just lame. and what's even more lame is to end all that crap with "Haribol." I am sorry that this change is so disheartening and inconvenient for him - and I for others, as well. but to attack other people in the name of your own inconvenience is quite disgusting.

for a while I've wanted to write an update to the "honesty and the four regulative principles" post. while I still feel like I'm struggling every single minute of every single day, I feel like I've come a long, long way. but now, after writing all of that, I feel like I need to take a minute and breathe. maybe tomorrow.

and Mr. McCafferty... you can continue to go scratch as far as I'm concerned.

just for fun, Sri Sri Radha Murlidhara from the Bhakti Center... you know, the place Mr. McCafferty claims isn't a temple.



9.26.2013

love is devotion

when my guru officially accepted me as his student and gave me my spiritual name, one of the things he said was that I like to hear - that we met because I would come to his classes and would hear from him. I've never really thought that sravanam (hearing) was my thing. I've always found sitting in classes uncomfortable - both physically and mentally. my body hurts; my brain wanders (endlessly!). I fidget a lot and think about a millionzillion different things - but not so much about whatever the speaker is saying!

pause that thought.

I've always had a hard time with sleep - intermittent insomnia as a mix of waking up in the middle of the night and/or not sleeping soundly and laying in bed for extended periods of time without being able to fall asleep. ever since gita was born the falling asleep part has gotten worse because she sleeps in my bed and I can't watch tv to fall asleep. I know, I know - that's not the best consciousness to fall asleep with - but it's kind of how I learned to fall asleep as a kid, so it's very natural for me. about a year or so ago, my inability to fall asleep (relatively) quickly began to get significantly worse and it was really torturous for me. bottom line: I could not shut my dang brain off! my thoughts would run a-muck the minute I laid down to try to sleep. I thought to myself one night, well, if I'm going to lay here, I might as well do something productive... so I started listening to podcasts of my guru's classes. my mind started to do two things: listen and shut down.

side note: I know - this sounds kind of weird. like, um, I used my guru's classes to fall asleep... but seriously, that wasn't my intention or kind of how it worked...so hold that thought, k?

anywho - I did this for quite a while. I would start a class, get maybe twenty minutes into it and start to drift off. then the next night I would skip twenty-minutes into the class, find the place I remembered last, and then continue on. granted, it would sometimes take me an entire week to get through one class... but it was working. unfortunately, I had to stop doing this because I also use my phone as my alarm clock... and I can't fall asleep without that app running. so I can't do my night time listening anymore...

but hold up, pause that thought too...

the thing that's funny about the guru-disciple relationship is that it doesn't haven't to be physically proximal. I don't actually get to see my guru very often, even when he is in america... even when he's only an hour or so away. he's busy. I'm busy. life is busy. I see him and hear from him in person when I can - and it is super awesome. but this is what I'm learning - is that even when I hear from him via delayed podcast, it has a profound affect on our relationship. I feel closer to him.

ok, rewind a little bit...

so now I can't do my evening listening and I'm feeling so much distance between myself and my guru. and I've noticed I'm craving... craving hearing from him.

oh, wait. pause that.

I used to listen to the radio a lot in the car. sometimes because I was into the songs and sometimes because I just needed background noise. over the summer I noticed that I couldn't listen to it anymore. it made me anxious and annoyed. I would just drive with silence. I wasn't in the mood to hear anything. like, I would think, hmm, I should put on some kirtan at least... but yea, I just wasn't in the mood. so it would just be quiet and silent... oh, well, except my mind going kraykray, of course. so that's how I went on for quite some time... until...

ok, back to what I was saying before... until I started craving hearing from my guru. and then I started to listen to classes while I was driving... and now I can't stop.

and you're like, um, so? I know. this doesn't sound very earth shattering or ground breaking. it's actually kind of like, duh. but remember what I said before... I'm not so much of a hearing-sravanam kind of girl. at least I didn't think I was. maybe I'm becoming one?

who knows... but all of that was leading up to me telling you this one thing I heard during a class that was given about Sri Radhe. and I thought this point was so beautiful...
my guru was saying how love means giving pleasure to the beloved. like Radharani's whole goal was to just please Krishna. that's all. there's nothing selfish in it. if Radharani was dressing beautifully, she was dressing beautifully to make Krishna happy - because she loved him and wanted to make him happy - (and here's the mind blowing partnot because she wanted him to love her back. it's not about getting someone to love us! that's not love! bhakti means loving without expectation. love is devotion and devotion is love - but only when it's for the beloved's (ultimately Krishna's) pleasure.

that was all I was originally going to say about that... but then I saw this amazing blog post and it made me think about my husband. and I was thinking how this principal of loving for the sake of the beloved's pleasure could also apply to him. how when I do things for him it should be about him, not me. isn't it crazy how selfish we are as people? how everything revolves around our desire to be the center of everything?! holy cow. I could go on and on! - and not in a way like I'm somehow immune, but because I so much see this in myself. so much of what I do is so other people will love me, or validate me, or just make me feel importantcoolspecialwhateverfillinyourownadjectivehere.

anywho. go read that blog post. it's so good. I have to stop myself from rambling, because seriously, I could go on forever.
carry on.

oh, in case you want to hear from my guru too, here is a link to his podcast sanga.

"I Didn't Love My Wife When We Got Married"

9.25.2013

sri vyasa puja 2013

this past saturday was the vyasa puja celebration for my guru maharaj. here is the offering I made to him this year...


Dearest Srila Guru Maharaj,

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to you on this auspicious day.

I have always been proud that you are a very personable guru. In my self-centered and egotistical mind I have always thought how awesome is it that you aren’t like those other “big” gurus that seem unapproachable. You are very approachable and relatable. I’ve come to realize that this is actually your secret preaching weapon – people are naturally drawn to you, and subsequently to Krishna, because they feel like they can talk to you and ask you anything. I have noticed that over the past few years more and more people are coming to programs and the temple – and Krishna Consciousness in general – because of you! Either they met you in India on a tour, or at a talk at a yoga studio, or through a friend – but in the end, they are coming because of you.
Here is my confession: When I first started noticing this influx of new friends, followers, and admirers I was immediately jealous. I am such a self-centered, egotistical jerk that I was thinking, “Who are these people? What do they know?” Can you believe it? I am so childish and immature that instead of realizing that you are doing some of the best and most effective preaching around, all I can think about is myself. Guru Maharaj, please forgive my horrible and offensive mind. It’s so embarrassing!
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and after stepping away from the idea of myself as the center, and really watching you interact with people who are new to Krishna Consciousness I am proud in a different way. I see that everyone is seeing in you what I see: a true guru – a kind and caring teacher who selflessly gives knowledge without regard for his own comfort or benefit. You are truly following in your Guru Maharaj’s footsteps and carrying on his mission. Thank you for always living Srila Prabhupada’s “simple living, high thinking” tenet – for walking your talk, and practicing what you preach. Without your example, I would have nothing to work towards. Without you, I would have nothing.

Always your servant,
Kadamba Mala devi dasi

his holiness srila dhanurdhara swami
photo by lenny zimkus/govardhana lal das

9.02.2013

vine summer

I've been on a major hiatus - this is true. but I haven't been dead... I figured, because I'm lazy, instead of writing all about what I did this summer, I'd just show you. my husband became obsessed with vine (a social networking app where you can make 6-second looping videos) a few months ago. I wanted to be in his world, so I joined and started making vines too. I wasn't (and am not) as obsessed as he was/is, but it is pretty cool. I decided to make a vine compilation video of all of the vines I made from the end of june until now. it's funny to see my summer unfold through these silly videos. some are meant to be artsy, some funny, some silly, and others to just capture moments. when jd saw the whole thing he said it seemed like a weird documentary.

anywho, I think it's kind of fun. enjoy, or don't. whatevs. :)


.

6.05.2013

what I wore: a weekend full of vaisnava sanga!

I know it's already wednesday, so this post is a few days late... but it's like fashionably late, not awkwardly late (haha!). I was fortunate to spend this entire past weekend in the association of beautiful vaisnavas for a few different events. I saw some devotees that I haven't seen in years and some that I've seen not so long ago, but either way it was so nice to see everyone and it reminded me how much I miss and need to have vaisnava sanga. we live so far away from everything and everyone that it takes so much endeavor/effor (and money!) to go to a temple or devotee program. one of my friends posted something on fb the other day estimating the costs to go into nyc and it didn't surprise me to see that just to get into the city (gas/tolls) it's $40 or something like that. it's totally crazy! but now that my guru is in the area for the summer, I decided that I have to... must... try to go to as many functions where he is present as I possibly can. I got to see him twice this weekend and was able to bathe Lord Jagannatha (Brooklyn snana-yatra)! in any case, here's what I wore...


friday: I wore this "half-sari" skirt set from UDD to my god brother's wedding reception.

on the way to the reception I stopped at the Brooklyn temple...here's what Radha Govindaji was wearing!

saturday: this picture is from ratha-yatra 2011. but I wore this exact outfit on saturday. I know, not so fancy for snana-yatra, but I went by myself with Gita, so function over fashion! batik style skirt purchased from that beautiful lady, Satya, right next to me in this pic. :)

after Their snana - here's what Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra wore!

sunday: thin green/orange/maroon checked south indian sari from sarisafari with an orange ikat choli via gopi skirts by radhika worn to a lovely home program. I was also playing around with my abeautifulmess photo app here. eh.

5.27.2013

after a long time, some rambling.

humility is important. being humble, not living from the place of the ego... it's, like, essential to coming to a place of higher thinking. my struggle is balancing the "humble position" without going into self-deprication. for example, say I have a strained/distant friendship. my ego's first response is to be critical of the friend. to think/say bad things about how that person is a horrible friend, etc etc. so I get angry. but the anger eventually turns to sadness because I realize that it's ridiculous for me to point my finger at someone else for every little thing. it is higher for me to think, "what did I do to cause this? how could I have been a better friend?" but the slippery slope here (for me) is that I can so easily fall into, "ugh, I'm such a jerk. I always push people away. I'm a horrible and selfish person. I'm not a good friend. I don't even like me, why would someone else...?" as you can see, this can go on and on.

I wonder, sometimes, how much of this thought pattern is just karma. my astrologer told me once that in my past life everything came easily to me and that in this life everything is debilitated in such a way that I have to work harder... and even still some things won't come. that all feels kind of hopeless to be honest. but some part of me doesn't want to give up and just brush it off as "oh, just my karma! guess life sucks!"

I fight my mind every day. every hour, every minute, every second... every moment. it is never, ever quiet. and sometimes - most of the time - it feels like a losing battle. but I can't give up. because if I do, then where am I? what is my worth?

4.04.2013

30/30: day four haiku

ugh, honestly. I got nothin'. today has been such a long day. I'm tired. grey's anatomy is on right now. the last thing I feel like doing is writing a poem. but I feel totally lame that I already skipped a day - even if I made up with two yesterday. sigh!

I'm a little bit psyched though, because I found that one of my most favorite poets, rachel mckibbens, has a bunch of her own prompts up and they're so good! honestly, the 30dpc ones have really let me down, so I am grateful for rachel's more hip and thoughtful ones. but I have no energy for hip and thoughtful right now. so here's something, because as I always say, something is better than nothing.

***

when in doubt, write a haiku...

sun rises and sets.
put down the pen, close the book.
even poems sleep.

4.03.2013

30/30: two for one

a few things before the poems.

I've been up since 2am for no particular reason other than bad sleeping karma. I'm a little bit delirious, so please forgive me in advance.

I didn't post a poem yesterday because I didn't like yesterday's prompt from the 30dpc. I think I'm becoming a prompt snob. so this morning I decided I'm just going to do whavers and try to just write something every day.

I'm also trying to do the 30/30 with my students - or at least getting them to write a lot of poems this month - but since I didn't like the prompt I had to come up with something off the cuff for them too. yesterday I had them respond to this poem by Jeanann Verlee by writing their own poem that started with the same first line as her work ("I was born of..."). most of them quite enjoyed it.

in the shower this morning I was brainstorming and came up with the idea to do abstract acrostics - where basically they had to use their name(s) but weren't allowed to do the usual cheesy positive adjectives. here is the one I did for my own name to model what I meant...

***

acrostic

kites
are
restless
above.

***

in other funtastic poetry news, I had the honor and pleasure of hearing bonafide rojas speak and read some of his poems today. he (along with one of his fellow urban word poets) was totally awesome with the residents and I think they enjoyed seeing a real poet in person. I actually saw him last year when he came to do another program and I brought my college class and they loved him as well. I had one of those former students just a few weeks ago come see me just to tell me what an impact seeing him had on her. she said she had never really liked/appreciated poetry before that experience.

he inspired this poem for today...

***


re(a)d

he says
that when he writes
his poems
he is mostly speaking to himself.

when I write my poems
I am mostly
speaking to
you.


bonafide reading last september at the oc library

4.01.2013

30/30: day one

here is today's 30 day poetry challenge (30dpc) prompt:

Write a short poem (less than 5 lines). Be sure to include at least two strong images. Don’t over think it, just do it!


sunstar

here we are.
softness in reality,
shining like midnight stars.
where will we go - like nowhere we have been.
our sun bursting over the horizon.

3.31.2013

oh, hey.

want to hear something totally silly? aside from my laziness, one of the main reasons I haven't been blogging is because of my blog header. a long time ago I made a new header with the tag line "medicated melodramatic melancholic ramblings of the mundane" which I thought was quite clever. I went off my medication completely back in december, and ever since then it has really bothered me that it still said "medicated". I know, I know. long story short, I was being lazy for a while but then also my photoshop wasn't/isn't working so I couldn't fix it on my laptop. so I finally decided that a super simple solution would be to just email my husband the file and do it on his laptop. and it literally took like 3 seconds.

so now that it's fixed I'm hoping this well help motivate me to write more.

also, tomorrow is April 1st, which is the start of National Poetry Month. I read on the 30 Day Poetry Challenge  that they're going to have new prompts this year, so I'm thinking I'm going to do that as well. maybe I'll post that every day to get myself going. hmm, I don't know. no promises, but we'll see.

oh... and it's finally starting to feel like spring around these parts. it makes me hopeful for lots of good things to come. including dresses without pants and pedicures and sandals. mmm, sandals.



2.17.2013

shhh. listen.

the other day I sent my astrologer this rambling question - one that I have asked him before, I think...

"do you have time to look at my charts at all? I'm really struggling with what the heck to do with myself and I just really don't understand why I'm so depressed/manic/sad/crazy all of the time. like is it ever going to end? is there anything I can do to alleviate some of the suffering? like, I know suffering is the status quo in the material world... but is it going to get any better for me?"

even reading it now makes me kind of chuckle to myself. anyway, later that night I was listening to a recent class that my guru gave on his phone sanga and as soon as he started talking, I knew he was answering my question. or at least I felt like I could hear some kind of answer in it. I decided to transcribe the part I'm referring to - it's a bit long, but I really feel like it's worth sharing... I hope paramatma speaks to you the way I feel like he's speaking to me...

"[…] We all have a kind of destiny. God moves the world around us to bring us closer to Him - that’s all. And we really can’t say exactly how God will do it because we’re not intelligent enough to figure out how the world should move around us to give us what we need to take the next step to get prema-bhakti. It would be presumptuous. Why did god do this to me? You’re assuming so much. You’re assuming you know the complexity of your karma, the complexity of your consciousness, and what you need to get to the next step in the elevation of your consciousness. We are entangled by our own actions and the consciousness that we created. But we will be untangled by the experiences we have by God, who is the only one who can understand what it takes to untangle us. […] It’s fun to watch your destiny, if you are determined to respond in a way in which you can learn the lessons that destiny has to offer you. We should extract ourselves a little bit and study the world around us and ask the question, “What does god want?” – in terms of how I respond […] Somehow or other there is God’s nature and He is offering us an opportunity to grow. And it is really difficult sometimes to understand why. And again it is presumptuous to think we can grasp that because of the complexity of an individual’s psychology. Plus it’s also asking that people get the same reaction – and the answer is no. nehābhikrama-nāśo 'sti pratyavāyo na vidyate sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt- even a little endeavor in Krishna consciousness saves you from the greatest type of fear – and that’s using your independence to change yourself for the better – it means to use your human form of life. The reaction is certainly not the same. Although there will be reaction. In other words when one becomes a devotee one raises the question does the person still get karma – karmāi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām– there’s a verse in the Brahma-samhita that a devotee gets no karma. The first question is what does it mean to get no karma? Who is that devotee? Devotee means what? One who wants to please Krishna. And that means a person who is surrendered to the will of Krishna. And you can act on two platforms: the platform to please God or the platform to please yourself independent of God. Now if you’re on the platform to please god  - if you’re really on that platform then you’re calling out from your heart, “God, what you want I will do.” But really, are we doing what God wants? Are we fully surrendered? Because when one is fully surrendered to guru, who is representing God and the will of God, then there is no more karma. Where is the karma? Where is the karma? The karma is based on ego – fruitive activities. Certainly one doesn’t create any more karma. But if we act independent of God, even if we are a devotee – then there will be some reaction. Now, we may say the reaction comes from karma or the reaction comes from God. But we see that there is very little difference, because God’s law of karma is His perfect agent to give us reactions to activities - to purify ourselves of the fruitive consciousness that caused those activities. So generally, even if it is directly under god – because now you’ve taken shelter whether you made a mistake  - still reactions will be very similar. Although, they may be reduced because of the devotee’s understanding or purification. Even as devotees we see so many things come to us – just like it’s karma. Just like it’s karma to learn our lessons. So the reactions are not the same because they are coming from Krishna and can be reduced. But there will be reactions to help purify us.”




you can download/listen to this class in its entirety here

the first verse quoted is from Bhagavad-gita, chapter 2, verse 40. the second verse is from Brahma-samhita 5.54.

I'm also not sure where that picture of maharaj came from... so I'm sorry if I stole your photo!

2.04.2013

what I wore: sunday morning program at the bhakti center, nyc

it seems like the deepest I can go on this blog these days are posts about what I wear. sigh.

yesterday I hitched a ride with my friend kisori to the bhakti center's sunday morning program. I decided to not wear a sari because I was potentially going to dance (hahaha!) during a free introductory bharatnatyam class given by the very lovely and talented komala kumari. I got out of the dancing part by volunteering to take photos of the class instead. it was a fun day out and about... here's what I wore...





dress: anokhi in "vintage" print. purchased in the u.s. via raga rags

it was really cold out yesterday so I didn't take my sweater off. I wish I had so you could get the full experience. here is a pic I took when I first got the dress...


I'm so in love with this dress it hurts. lurv it.

1.21.2013

what I wore: bhakti center sunday morning program 1.20.13

well how-dee-do.

we went to the bhakti center again yesterday. it was a little extra challenging because gita was in rare form. in the end it was worth the drive and the little bit of stress because we unexpectedly ran into a favorite friend. when I asked him what brought him to that part of town, he told me he had seen my post from last weekend and the fact that the bhakti center has an early morning program stuck in his head. then the opportunity arose and he decided to make a visit. now, my ego isn't so big that I think I somehow inspired his trip... even I know that's Krishna and paramatma in the heart. but it did make me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside when he said he read my blog. I mean, I'm not sure why he would want to read any of this nonsense, but it was kind of flattering none-the-less!

in my humble sari-wearing opinion, winter time is thick, soft cotton orissan sari time. you won't ever find me wearing a cotton orissan sari in the spring or summer. it's kind of like wearing white after labor day to me - except I don't really care about wearing white after labor day...

at any rate - here's what I wore...







jd said he felt left out of my fashion photo shoot and wanted to be included. he tried to make himself look like a hobo. here's what they wore...


1.13.2013

what I wore: sunday morning program at the bhakti center nyc

it's been a long while since I've done one of these 'what I wore' posts...um, because it's been a long while that I've been to a regular program! I've been meaning to do a post for a while about where I'm at now in terms of KC and my spirituality and whatnot - that will come soon hopefully - but for now, let's just say I'm trying really hard to claw my way back. I've realized that I really need regular association and sanga, but it's super hard to drag my lazy self to a sunday evening program - especially when we have to drive so far to go anywhere. I remembered that the bhakti center in the lower-east-side of nyc has it's sunday program in the morning - it starts at 10:30 and is done essentially by 1ish. that leaves a lot of the day to get stuff done and no pressure in the evening to skeedaddle home and then have the get up early in the morning for work. so we decided to try it out this morning and it was really great. the crowd was small and the energy was super sweet. we can't wait to go back again next week. here's what I wore...




black and green cotton pochampally orissan, purchased at ganga prasad syamadundar lal, loi bazaar, vrindavan, u.p.

and of course, here's what They wore!

sri sri radha-murlidahar!

1.03.2013

take the spoon out of the cup. duh.



in my yoga teacher training program we are supposed to take all varieties of classes so that we get a full well-rounded experience. so tonight I took a flexibilities/chair yoga class - something I would normally never take because I'm young and spry and don't have any limiting injuries. 

during the class the teacher said something really great that struck me on so many different levels. he was talking about how we shouldn't go past our limit and that if something hurts we should stop doing it. 

first he simply said, "if you're hurting yourself, stop!"

even that kind of hit me right to the core.

but then he went on and said something along these lines (I'm paraphrasing, but this is pretty close...)

"if you went to the doctor and you said to the doctor, 'doctor, every time I drink hot chocolate I get this pain in my eye.' what do you think the doctor would tell you?! he'd say, 'take the spoon out of the cup!' so if you're doing something that hurts you, stop doing it!"

what a f'ing revelation! this is real ahimsa. practicing non-violence against the self. and it doesn't just mean in yoga asana practice - it's like everywhere in life. take the spoon out of bad relationships. take the spoon out of your negative-self talk. take the spoon out of hurtful actions and language. just take the goddamn spoon out!!!!

namaste.