25th of February, 2007 - 2:51
With a note on how Malati's been recovering at a substantial pace, the doctor let her leave the hospital on Friday afternoon. Four nights of rest in a 5Â½ feet bed for a 6 feet tall person makes you feel a bit stiff in the end, I'm glad it's over! The atmosphere there was extremely dozy, as much as you can expect of a place where most people are lying down and taking medications --- not exactly your bhajana-asrama of choice.
The Specimen is Moving
21st of February, 2007 - 11:19
After the operation, the doctor came in and informed me of the operation's having been successfully concluded. Then she asked, "Would you like to see the specimen?" ...
The other day I bumped into Dhanurdhara Swami as I walked across the Krishna Balaram yard to get a canister of filtered water. Through a twist of destiny we had been in touch last fall, once via phone and then over several e-mails, both related and unrelated to the original reason of our touching base. ...
Quick update on Malati
19th of February, 2007 - 10:52
It's 4 PM and I'm back from the hospital. The operation went well, even if she's still in quite some pain after the spinal anaesthesia is wearing off and as she's gradually becoming more and more aware of all that's changed within her...
Malati's health and being temporarily less available
17th of February, 2007 - 11:33
I'll be participating less, and will in general be less available over the following month or so, as Malati needs to go in for an operation to fix some health issues that have been bothering her since some time now, and as I will need to be tending to her needs and to all the housework during her period of recovery.
Clean clothes and ucchista
15th of February, 2007 - 7:42
The following was written to a friend who is puzzled over the undefined subtle issue on account of which he is told to change into fresh clothes before serving prasada to devotees.
When you eat, more often than not some food remnants end up touching your cloth, making them what's called ucchista (also called jhuta), something seen as contaminated due to contact with saliva. Such clothes are unfit for use during deity service, cooking and other services requiring full external purity...
On Becoming Free
13th of February, 2007 - 17:52
The adverse situations we find ourselves in are the consequence of our ill deeds and thoughts, we are caught in webs of our own weaving. Yet the situations are not deplorable inasmuch as deplorable suggests worthlessness, for they have been put in place for us to grow and to learn.
To let us take deep looks into our psyche, to firmen our natures, to make our hearts grow. To cultivate the field so as to let the crops flourish when the time is due. And when the time is due, events will unfold naturally â€“ of their own accord...
9th of February, 2007 - 18:06
A few days back, I came across a site called Dandavats where Vaisnavas discuss all varieties of pertinent matters, even if not as critically important as many of those ongoing at Chakra. An ongoing debate is about the bonafideness of chocolate.
Filled with lofty divine inspiration, I found myself writing a comment on a contribution titled "If Krishna does not accept my chocolates, who should I offer them to?". Here's what ensued.
Magic and Mystery
6th of February, 2007 - 18:52
Questions on avenues for sharing of one's experiences as a matter of proving the substantiality of the path of devotion to others ensued from an earlier blog entry dealing with hiding dreams and special experiences.
The core question, paraphrased, reads as follows:
"People wish to find a path that is substantial and can provide deep experiences when followed. If no contemporary practitioners are willing to elaborate on their experiences in penetrating into the mysteries of devotion, how can anyone ever gain faith enough to follow the way of bhakti? Indeed, even many practitioners have left the path behind over a scarcity of examples as nourishers of faith!"
Dreams and Special Experiences
6th of February, 2007 - 13:40
We sometimes come across Vaisnavas who are fond of liberally sharing of their experiences, gained in dreams and in wakefulness all the same, and we may also find ourselves puzzled with inspiration ensuing from experiences gained.
One should know that visions and dreams with special spiritual significance are private matters one should cherish within the chamber of the heart. By airing them out in the public, their impact on the self fades and vanishes over time.
On Cultivating Sattva
6th of February, 2007 - 4:48
These are notes written after reading an article by Muniraja Das, an old friend of mine from my brahmacari days in Finland, on the cultivation of sattva.
â€¢ Conquering sleepiness
â€¢ Sitting in proper asanas
â€¢ Purity of circumstances
â€¢ Japa techniques
â€¢ Purity of eating
Emotional Quality in Nama-bhajana
2nd of February, 2007 - 18:41
From recent correspondence â€“ question rephrased.
"I am chanting a regular quota of names on a daily basis. Nonetheless, I find that I am yet to overcome some very basic vice, lust and anger to name a few. Why so, and what can I do?"
â€¢ The essential "why" of chanting
â€¢ Cultivating emotion and relationship through nama-bhajana
â€¢ Gradations in invoking a feeling for the name
Emotional Quality in Nama-bhajana
Posted: 2nd of February, 2007 - 18:41
Another excerpt from recent correspondence. The question has been rephrased.
I am chanting a regular quota of names on a daily basis. Nonetheless, I find that I am yet to overcome some very basic vice, lust and anger to name a few. Why so, and what can I do?
There are many different qualities of japa and nama-bhajana, yielding diverse effects. The question makes it evident that you expect, and you are essentially justified in the expectation, that your worship of the names would have purged your heart from your unwanted traits. Why hasn't this happened?
The first question you must ask yourself, in assessing the quality of your japa, is â€“ "What am I thinking while chanting?" The name is cintamani, a wish-fulfilling touch-stone, or literally "thought-jewel". Then, chanting has to go together with some thinking if one is to attain fulfillment in chanting. If you cannot give a clear answer as to what you are thinking, you are way out in the woods with your practice, so to say. If you can come up with an answer, then good â€“ you have gained some focus in your worship. Now, and assuming that there is some focus to begin with, that focus needs to be refined to come up to par with the standard of suddha-bhakti.
People in this world are able to come up with a vast medley of desires disconnected from the true purpose of bhakti. We guise our ambitions into devotional desires, hoping to attain enjoyments or recognition by our practice. This is bhakti in the mode of passion. We may be thinking wicked thoughts of others, assessing their bad qualities or even wishing for their bad fortune. This is bhakti in the mode of ignorance. Or, and an option better than the other two, you may be wishing for freedom from the miseries of the world, or from your bad qualities, and so forth. This is bhakti in the mode of goodness. It is still in the conditioned realm, veiling the true powers of the worship of the name. They must be rejected through refinement of desire.
Worshiping the divine name must be accompanied by heartfelt prayers for the Lord's service. The grade of these prayers, all basically in the realm of suddha-bhakti, varies depending on the eligibility of the sadhaka, spanning from initial desires for selfless surrender and service to the more advanced stages, where the sadhaka has become established in a specific relationship with the Lord and longs for particular services to be fulfilled in his nitya-svarupa in the context of the Lord's eternal pastimes.
Ask the question "Why?" again and again. Remember the answer again and again, "Only for your service, and for nothing else." If you pray for riddance from the pangs of your anger, stop yourself and ask "Why?". Then give yourself the correct answer â€“ "Dear Krishna, I wish to be rid of anger because I am ashamed to come before you in such a distraught state of mind, and I also fear I will offend your dear servants in my fits of rage." In this way, clarify the purpose of your worship and of your existence.
If the heart does not cry with feeling when chanting the names, you should know that a level of proper chanting is still cast afar. The name should be chanted with feeling. There are some, who forbid you from thinking anything at all while chanting â€“ shun their company, let them merge in the impersonal godhead if they so will. The holy name is Krishna â€“ a real, living divine person with whom you develop a deep, affectionate relationship. A relationship indicates variety, thoughts, exchanges, desires, longings, proposals, discussions â€“ acquaint yourself with the Lord with his easily accessible and beautiful name.
If your heart is not overflowing with the rasa arising from the perception of of extraordinary and astonishing pastimes, lament and cry in separation. If your heart does not lament and cry in separation, scold yourself for having cultivated such a wretched condition of heart, framed with steel as it were. If you cannot sincerely scold yourself over this, lament over your shameless condition and realize how far removed you have been cast from having a relationship with the Lord, the only true meaning for life.
In one way or another, discover a connection that invokes emotion while chanting the name, and from there onwards you'll find your nama-ruci growing. Whenever moments of clarity and feeling arise in the core of your heart, make a deep impression of them, and return to them again and again. Remember the times you found some success in your nama-bhajana, and let that act in inspiring you and in invoking the same feelings again.
Taking this avenue of worship with sincerity, you'll find your heart becoming swiftly purified of the pollutants accumulated over countless lifetimes. You'll find your heart's lotus coming to bloom, and you'll find yourself in a position to invite the Lord to take his seat as the sovereign, sporting deity of your heart.