Farewell, Hospital
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 5½ 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 – of their own accord...
Bonafide Chocolate
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.

• Conquering sleepiness
• Sitting in proper asanas
• Purity of circumstances
• Brahmacarya
• Japa techniques
• Purity of eating
• Silence
Emotional Quality in Nama-bhajana
2nd of February, 2007 - 18:41
From recent correspondence – 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?"

• The essential "why" of chanting
• Cultivating emotion and relationship through nama-bhajana
• Gradations in invoking a feeling for the name

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Malati's health and being temporarily less available
Posted: 17th of February, 2007 - 11:33
I'll be participating less online, and will in general be less available over the following month or however long it takes, 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.

Vaisnava Thakurani posing for a photo at our plot, and would she be upset if she knew I posted a photo of hers into our blog... And the stick is for keeping dogs and monkeys away, she can walk without one!
We're leaving for Vrindavana tomorrow morning, and she's going in early Monday morning. Even if it's a fairly routine operation we're looking at, a five-day stay at a hospital isn't something too pleasant for a sadhika observing principles as rigid, committed and engaging as hers. I will be accommodated nearby, and will be cooking for her during her stay. We should be coming back to Radha-kunda towards Friday evening, or otherwise towards mid-day Saturday.

For those concerned, the hospital at Vrindavana – Brij Healthcare – is a decent modern facility, a branch of the all-Asian Apollo Hospitals Group. One of the few health care related places in India that have invoked a sense of confidence in me. The doctor, a friendly enough lady she is, Dr. Anubha, has been working in the Delhi Apollo Hospital for years. It's not as fine as what I'm used to seeing in Finland, but then again it's much more than I expected, and frankly quite reasonable.

Prayers and get-well messages are of course welcome. It'll take a minimum of a couple of weeks and possibly up to two or three months until she can resume her normal routines. Sitting on the floor, bowing down and any other activities giving pressure to the stomach area – such as washing laundry in a bucket, which is by the way one of her favorite hobbies – are completely off limits. Let us pray for a swift recovery. While she's done her fair share of homework on natural remedies and so forth, health tips from those better versed in matters of health on recovering from a hysterectomy operation would be welcome. For example, notes on foods that aid in rapid recovery, or beneficial yoga postures that could be practiced during the period of recovery.

I don't exactly know to what my daily routines are going to settle during this period. Whichever the case, it's going to mean less participation online, and any active online development work will be suspended for the time being. I'll try to keep up with my e-mails, but as most of you know I'm not being that successful with the task even during normal times. As a heads up for everyone, this period is most likely a lead-in to a more permanent shift in priorities. In a week or two, I'll be putting out a poll asking for devotees to assess the priorities of all things ongoing, and based on the feedback and my own best judgment, I'll start suspending things deemed less than vital.

There was a time where my inclinations called me to initiate and produce the bulk of what you find in my project index. Those days are gone, and those inclinations have been purged. My sincere wish is to invest much more of my time into sadhana proper, into acts of svarupa-siddha-bhakti versa aropa-siddha-bhakti, and through their gateway into deep internal cultivation.

At a quick glance, I stand to gain about a lakh of names more into my day with the shift, and when I contrast its value with the uncertain final worth of many things I have been investing myself into, the call for a new direction is obvious and natural. Good things have been put in motion, let others now come forward, take of them what is of value, and carry it into the future. I'll be writing more on this in about a week or so. Don't ask too many questions yet, I know most of them and I would have answered them all today, had I found the time for it.
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