Friday, October 24, 2014

Govardhan Giridhari and the story of a Gopi

Today is Govardhan Puja. The day after Diwali - Pratham.

The story goes like this...
The residents of Vrindavan used to do Indra puja. Krishnji, still a child of around 8, said, we should pray to Govardhan hill which feeds our cows and is the source of our wealth and well-being. So on the day after Diwali we also start a financial new year in many parts of India by opening new financials books and sanctifying the books with Puja. So going back to Vrindavan, everyone started preparing for Govardhan Puja. Lord Indra was very cross! He's the God of rain and started pouring down torments of rain, thunder and lightning. The homes started getting damaged and people didn't know where to go. So, Krishnji used Giriraj (Govardhan) as a refuge by lifting the hill on his little finger and having everyone under it. Krishnji lifted Govardhan about 7 days before Diwali on Saptami.

Now there's another story related to Govardhan. There was a Gopi who got married to Krishnji's friend. As she was leaving for Vrindavan her mother told her not to look at this boy, Krishn. The Gopis get so mesmerized by him, that they forget everything and get drawn to him. So when this newly wed Gopi's palanquin arrived in Vrindavan, Krishnji naturally wanted to see His friend's bride. So Sri Gopal went and peeped inside the palanquin, but scared of getting hypnotized the Gopi turned her face away. Then Sri Kanhaiya went to the front, and she turned away again! This happened a few times.

Then came the day of lifting Govardhan hill. That day this Gopi looked at her Giridhari for the first time and melted completely into Him. She continued to look at him for the seven days that He lifted the hill. It is said that Giridhari told this Gopi that for the number of times you avoided looking at me, for those many lifetimes you will not remember me. But then you will be born as one of my greatest devotees. And when she was born as this devotee she remembered who she was when this little girl saw a statue of Giridhari lifting Govardhan. Therefore she always addressed Him as Giridhari. And the rest is history!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

From Guilt to Freedom

I've been seeking to regain that unconditional love that I am and which I have long forgotten. Beyond the wavering love with cycles of attachment then aversion, like then dislike, ups and downs of the limited emotional love of duality...there is a field of love, of oneness where we merge...may I function from there. 

But first I have to start from within - to love myself, unconditionally. After layers of negative messaging, which pained and buried the heart, I have forgotten the feel of self-love. My heart has to somehow heal and re-emerge. I have to love myself inspite of my shortcomings, how else will I love others with their imperfections? I have to love myself as God loves me, and love others as God loves them. As my dear friend Nirmal said, constant affirmations of 'I love and honor myself' are needed. 

A friend who's a psychotherapist became a healer for me as she gave me a refreshing new perspective. It was like being given a verdict of innocence. My guilt flipped from years of blame, and I feel so freed! Now to dismiss and dispel that pain as a myth created by false belief, and fill myself with love and light. The more I love myself the more will I spill out onto others, till there is only light and love - only that field of oneness where we all merge!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Self-Expression of an Unconventional Woman

I've always been different, a rebel, questioned the norm, and unconventional, so rejected by society and labelled. But it's my role in creation to challenge limitations!

People live in the limitations of their beliefs and definitions of what a woman should or shouldn't be. Sometimes roles are reversed because of personal natures and abilities. A husband can be feminine and weak, a father motherly; but a wife has to submissive not strong, and a mother can’t do things fathers do. There are double standards I question, but I’m not supposed to. That's the way things are, they say, earlier you accept the better. Then they judge, criticize, want to change me according to their conditioning of what’s conventional and accepted, assuming these are eternal truths. Norms change over the ages and what was wrong in the 16th century is okay today, still people continue to blame, criticize and judge. Weak and fearful they are themselves of other’s opinions, then they force you to fit into their subjective definitions of a role. Unwilling they are to see within they lay the blame on you.

There is emotional abuse for years that suffocates the life force within, yet that is the acceptable method to contain a person into the narrow channels of what is right. Made to feel that you are horrible person, not a good wife, and a bad mother who doesn't love - which is the most painful and damaging. Which isn't even true, as one does their duties to the best of their abilities, and loves beyond measure! It’s also the duty of a parent to put boundaries. A mother always says things which are best for the child, and not selfish. 
So then should a person die again with the guilt hung around her neck of not being a good wife, or mother? Does she not have the right to self-expression? Please don’t crucify her for being different. If a person is not doing anything immoral, or harming anyone, can she not express her own unique personality? If not then she will feel blamed, alienated by society, isolated; it’s very traumatic and such impressions last a long time. 

It’s better for me to know that it’s my role in creation to question the limitations people live within and this is the treatment I will get for challenging the conformists. So now finally I get it – and I will move beyond the suffering, from the feeling of not being loved, of being rejected, shunned and labelled as a bad woman. Will this knowing free my heart from being locked up under a heavy weight? Deep within, in the spine, a seed of love, in excruciating pain, covered by a hard knotted heart - will it finally release the pain? Will it blossom like a flower?
Life flows through self-expression. Without self-expression life lacks fulfillment and joy. 

People may not like me for my self-expression. They don't accept me as I am. Why should I get affected? Everyone has their baggage. Let them deal with it. Why should I transfer their baggage to me. Let me be free.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Navratri and Fasting: an Ayurvedic Detox Method


"In all religions, they recommend fasting. But there are some rules for fasting. It is not that you should not eat all day and then eat a lot at night. Sometimes in Navratri in the name of fasting we feast.
We eat potatoes, fried food, french fries.This is not correct.This is a wrong type of fasting. You should not fast like that.A little bit of food and food which is easily digestible. A little bit of fruits and drink a lot of water. When body is not so heavy or dull, then it blossoms and meditation happen better.Isn't that so. How many of you have this experience. At the same time too much fasting will raise the pitta in your body." -- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Fasting is an ancient method to detox prescribed by Ayurveda per body type, dosha (Vata, Pita, Kapha). Having no food increases acidity, it's very bad (Tamasic)!
One should have more alkaline fruits and vegetables, cucumber, watermelon is very good.
In general khicchadhi is used in Ayurvedic detox diet and used in Panchkarma
One needs to first know ones doshas. For example, if you have Kapha dosha, to restrain from deep fried food, have green beans, carrots, and so on.  
It's also necessary to have lots of fluid, 6 - 8 glasses, to wash away the eliminated toxins and reduce the taxing on the liver and kidney. Certain juices maybe good for certain body type and ailments. Coconut water is very good, and a complete meal.

Fasting means to eat healthy, low carb diet, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, protein, healthy food, which is essentially called a "Sattvic" diet in Ayurveda.
It's not a to starve yourself to please a God. Ancient teachers linked it to God, like Tuesday for Hanuman, etc. so that people would fast. Starving yourself is not good. Now fasting has become ritualistic and dogmatic without people understanding the true meaning behind it.
A lot of people will eat unhealthy food as mentioned by Sri Sri. Nowadays you see a lot of detox diets. That's exactly what the ancient method of fasting was. If we can't practice the ancient methods correctly and they have become corrupted let's follow the new modern scientific method which is essentially "Punarnava" the old method renewed.

It was said that we should fast on the elevanth day of the lunar month, "Ekadashi." Why? Because certain cronic ailments peek either on no moon night or full moon night.If we eat a detox diet three days prior to the no moon or full moon night, our ailments will be reduced because it takes three days for that to reach all the cells of the body. It is very scientific.
The human body is a good conductor of life force energy, prana. When the cells are not burdened by digesting food, the cells then turn to conducting more energy and can survive on it. It raises the energy Prana in us. This is why having a light stomach is good for meditation as well.

Navratri is a good time to do a complete detox of the enter system. Fasting is a good time to do complete cleansing on all levels - it's not just refraining from food, but to be in a pure state of being. It is to raise the Sattva (purity), remove impurities (Tamas) and imbibe good qualities (Rajas). There's no point in not eating, yet being angry, or worried, or doing non-sattvik things.

Purifying on body level through yoga, fasting (detox). It is good to fast for at least 3 days because it takes that much time to be cleansed down to the cellular level. It's the same in Ayurveda's Panchakarma.
On the breath level through Pranayama; on the mind level by turning the senses inwards, showing restraint on our speech, and keeping the senses in check. Purifying emotions through devotion, Puja, Kirtan/Satsang. Keeping the intellect engaged in spiritual knowledge. All the detox/purification makes it easy for us to be in awareness and meditation goes much deeper.

This gives all our levels of existence deep rest and rejuvination. It's a good time to go to a spiritual retreat for a few days or to an Ayurvedic Panchakarma. Fasting and spiritual pracitices during Navratri, Ramadan, Pentacost, were meant for yearly detox. So if we do this during Navratri then we will be renewed by Dussera!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Better to Light a Lamp than to Curse the Darkness

Spirituality unites and Religions divide people.
We must go back to the Spiritual aspects of Religion and abolish all aspects of religious following that don't align with the original message.
All faiths started as a spiritual messages for personal and social transformation and then deteriorated into dogma, blind belief systems, outdated practices, traditions that were never renewed as per time and place. Followers deviate from and sometimes do the opposite of what their religion teaches, yet use religion to justify their actions. So thick is the ignorance and so deep is their slumber.
Still there are many who are not blind, who find the real meaning of scriptures through study, reflection, and direct experience of divinity. A few spiritual leaders come along to reform the followers and renew traditions as per time and place. They become role models because they practice the values, and imbibe the wisdom.

We must ask ourselves what is Religion. Traditions, Rituals, Values and Wisdom.
We must ask ourselves what is Spirituality. We must ask ourselves what is Truth.
We must ask ourselves what is the pursuit of man. We must ask ourselves what is humanity.
We must ask ourselves what is conscience. What is and what isn't common sense. 

I wish we can abolish Religion but we can't. We must return to spirituality.
What do we do with those who call themselves staunch followers of their religion, who create divide, who are angry, who demean other religions, who hate, who kill, who behave like demons in the name of God?

Sri Krishn says in the Gita, that evil increases in the world when the noble and wise withdraw, don't do or say anything and this causes imbalance because the ignorant and evil forces create havoc in the world.
It's Better to Light a Lamp than to Curse the Darkness. The darkness of ignorance in these so called followers. Let those who are spiritual, evolved, who are good humans, who are wise and loving, reform their religion. Let them raise their voices of love and drown the voices of hatred, let them light the lamp of spirituality, self-evolution, spiritual growth, awareness, love, compassion, wisdom, and the oneness of all humanity. May dark demonic shadows be cut asunder by the sword of light, by the warrior who has become a luminous being of love, whose tongue flashes flames of truth, whose white horse moves with great strides, and in this awakened soul seven candles burn pure, therefore she wears a crown of seven stars.

Also on SpeakingTree.in

Inferiority Complex of being Indian or Hindu

I feel very strongly about this so I would like to express it. There is so much cultural, religious, language, ethnic divide in India - what is the solution? First you are Human, then you are male/female, then a Citizen of a country and then of a particular religion, and so on. Don't muddle your identity - this is key to unity. See truth without prejudice, hatred, ignorance in perception. Indianslack self-esteem in their own culture and country which leads to inferiority complex. Don't demean your own esp. in public - you are what you demean. Criticism comes when you are not taking responsibility to fix what you criticize. Do something to serve community and country, weak people are arm chair critics. And why are Hindus so fearful of being good Hindus in India? ...and around the globe. We are idiots to tolerate injustice, inequality; be silent and not respond to: misrepresentation, accusation, disrespect, and prejudice of a ancient wisdom tradition which many non-Indians respect, understand, and defend more than we do! Is there something wrong in being truthful good human beings? The whole world is reading the Gita - it is the most secular spiritual text. It also says all religions and path are the same! Hinduism is one of the few major religions that is based on pluralism. It's not about superiority or inferiority - it's about equality, human dignity, and mutual respect. We learn things from other countries but why is it so hard to learn good things from them!? "Deepen your roots and broaden your vision" !!

Also on SpeakingTree.in

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Devotion - A play of duality

"When you know you are God, how can you have this devotion and fascination for Krishna Mama?" my son asks me in astonishment. "On the one had you say I am God, you are God, everyone is God...ok Brahman, and then on the other hand you say pray to an eternal God - Krishna?!" He's quite confused by my talk on Advaita and Bhakti at the same time :)
"Knowing that Krishna and I are one, that there is only One, we can still play the game of duality; and enjoy the bliss and ecstacy of devotion; and do so knowingly", said I :)

Aa apne rang se bhar do Murari
Ek Rang Ban kar Mein Naachoongi
Is Raas ki Raat Tujh Sang Bitaoongi
Kesari ke Krishn...Krishn Mein Kesari
Rass mein doobh kar mit gayi Kesari

Fill me with with Your presence Murari
Merged in you I will dance in the bliss of ecstacy
This dance of Maya on the eternal Void
He is in me as me, I am in Him as Him....
This great expanse flooded with bliss

Hey Deen Dayal Hare!
Jai Krishna Gopal Hare!
Jai Nand Ke Laal Hare!


Monday, August 4, 2014

On Nothing is Everything Superimposed

No mind can reach there, nor logic, nor can any information illumine it...
No uniform of a Swami or Sanyasi or Sadhu are required to achieve it...It is by the Atman that one reaches that Atman...the mind and intellect can be a friend...When ONE alone remains...nothing eternal, no other, just a great living vibrant conscious expanse...
Like on a canvas a painting is superimposed
On Void is Creation superimposed
On Realization is Human Experience superimposed
On Self are Thoughts superimposed
On Nothing is Everything superimposed
On Void is Creation, Thoughts, Human Experience, and Everything superimposed!

Friday, August 1, 2014

What's the Purpose of Life?

Have you realized your life purpose? We are here for others! Our God given gifts are to be shared with others. Whether it is cooking, creating, scientist, singing, teaching, counseling, entrepreneurship, ... Do you know your gifts and role in this grand play? Yes we can earn a living from using our gifts but when we also do it as a service to others n offering to the divine we will find our soul's purpose and fulfillment!

The Soul has a purpose that is within, the body has a purpose in the world, outside. The outward role can be to be of a teacher or leader or business person or worker. Often we operate from just the mind, but when we function from our Soul then life flows to fulfillment, with body and mind aligned with the soul. It is a beautiful flowering of life! The ultimate purpose of the soul is Moksh.

Your life is not about you. It has nothing to do with you, it's about others you touch, to bring them back to themselves. Life will find it's own way to express this purpose.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oneness of Devotion

When love becomes sacred it's devotion 
When the mind drops into prayer it's devotion 
O Sweet devotion! I dance in your bliss!
When intoxicated singing His name it's devotion 
When I sense my beloved as vast love everywhere, as everything ...everyone, as all existence...it's supreme devotion
When I become that nectar of devotion, when the beloved fills me...and merges...there's only devotion

The divine is present all the time, when I become aware, that instant there's Darshan
Krishn is always my soul but when the "I" drops, that moment there's Darshan
When I say I am Him and He is me the world thinks I'm crazy 
They praise my devotion of duality and can't relate to love as unity
I AM Krishn..this child's play...this dance of duality...a raas in the oneness of eternity
Who is Krishn but consciousness where is consciousness but all that is!
Jai Krishn Gopal Hari... Hey Deen Dayal Hare
Shyam ke rang me rang gayi Meera...merged...Rass khan to rass ke khan hue