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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Keep it Simple

When we were kids, and our parents went out,Home Alone my brother and I would watch movies and have popcorns all day. That is what we decided to do today as my mom went out of town for a small pilgrimage.

I finished my work and left home. The riksha  driver Mr. Sanjay Mishra(I asked his name later), was singing some chaupais from "Sri Ramcharitmanas" Interested I asked him what he was singing. He explained enthusiastically that it was the description of Sri Ramchandra killing king Baali, and he continued, I love reading and singing it, its so blissful. Then he asked me about my native place and was excited on hearing that I was from 'Rameshwaram'. He quoted a choupai from Ramcharitmanas that translates, "one who offers Ganga-jal to the Shivlingam at Sri Rameshawar Temple, will attain 'Sahujya Mukti' after leaving this body."  And he Said maybe someday he will have the opportunity to visit the Tirtha sthali.

The journey was small, when I expressed that I felt nice talking to him, he said that his work is tiring driving all day, but he had a picture of His Aradhya - Gopal, and singing the glories of the Lord, relaxes him. And so he enjoys his work.

As I decided to note this experience I realised, how Kanha, gave me the secret to combat my stress- by singing and chanting his name and glories- through this Simple Happy devotee. It is so simple.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Falling Slowly

It was an ordinary day, took my son to his weekly visit at the doc. His body’s immune system has not yet learned to fight cold, which is why we decided to keep him on some energy homeopathy pills. 
On leaving the clinic, as I was climbing down the steps, I did not notice that the last step was broken (lucky me it was just one step to the ground) and I tumbled down, twisting the joint of my right foot and leaving my son on the floor. It was emotionally humorous that I was worried if he is alright, and he was crying thinking that I fell due to him being naughty. Pacifying him, my husband took me to the “bone-setter” in our locale, and to my great fortune, he declared that it wasn’t a fracture, my tiny bone there just decided to move a little.
He said at-least a few days for the swelling to go off, and me to start walking normally again and boom my chirpy plans were home arrested. 
Over-thinker as my personality compels me to be, confined to the bed I had all the time in the world to do so.
So the first topic of my contemplation was “why today?” I thought I could use a break from some “karma-cleansing” after the big burn and be a little more productive. But maybe that is not what I required, and I trust my Blue boy to know better. So I changed the question to “Why my leg?” The first thought that came to me was, that was the only way I would be still, I mean, I was working and travelling with the burn on, so it had to be my leg to put a pause on me.
Introspecting deeper, I figured this gem of a realization, that now I can share (Finally!!!)
Sometimes in life all you need is “stillness” to be able to see through, and have a clear vision. Like the saying “Let it be still and it will gradually become clear.” Not just me, but my mind was unceasingly on, even in my dreams. Now, it’s good to be busy, but not overwhelmed by it, that you can’t differentiate the truth from the apparent. I need to just be, not only physically but also in my mind. I always spoke about “give up control, and embrace wonder” I guess it was God’s way of reminding me to start living it too. I am often a tough nut to crack who would not catch up on hints here and there. And that is why this is a bit of a routine to have my realizations and learning so eventfully. And this time the divine was sure resolute about bringing me to stillness. Because I was still crawling with the little strength that my foot had, and then I got hit on the leg once again, swelling it more, to make me completely still.
Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity. In this age of distraction nothing can be more luxurious than paying attention and the quieter you become the more you hear, and so I decided to quiet my mind and let the soul speak. And I was falling slowly, in a deep calmness, in Stillness- the altar of soul, I prayed, for guidance, and all I learnt was to BE. As in my mind I replayed the incident, slowly, I realized, if only I wasn’t busy planning my day in my mind, I could have seen the broken floor, and tumbling brick. 
Also in different areas of life we may have our own share of falls, but it is in falling slowly, we appreciate the thrill, acknowledge the right cause, and choose the spot to bounce back, renewed and prepared.
“When you lose touch with your inner stillness
You lose touch with yourself.
When you lose touch with yourself
You lose yourself in the world.”

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Loves pour at the SeaShore

Sea shores have always been a hot-spot for a wide range of lovers from fun to peace. Depending on the popularity of the beach and the time of day or night, you can count the number of people at the beach. Early morning and a lonely beach is the time and place you need if you are a lover of peace and quiet, and what to speak if suddenly love melts in your ears and fills your heart with joy. Something similar was experienced by one of my husband’s managers recently in Goa. 

Last night when my husband came home I expected him to not talk to me, as we were on cold terms since a few days for reasons incomprehensible for both of us. But he was excited about something and wished to share it with me; at dinner he told me how his manager who had recently been to Goa for a vacation was enchanted by the singing of Harinaam at the beach by few devotees. He had intentionally opted for that beach because it is not usually crowded and is thus less noisy, but was taken by surprise when a group of devotees were singing Hare Krishna Mahamantra. He described it to be a very enchanting and peaceful experience. 

We had the remaining food in silence; my husband asked me what I was thinking, and I said I will let him know. And here’s what it was. 

The first thing that came to my mind was far-sightedness of Srila Prabhupad, to start this activity of Chanting Mahamantra at the beach. Of course there are numerous more things done by Srila Prabhupad that has never failed to amaze devotees and Harinam at the beach was one of them. 

I was also reflecting on the glories of Harinaam-“God’s Lovely Names”-the most attractive sound vibrations in the entire creation. When I was a kid the first thing about the faith my parents followed (Christianity) that I was taught was “In the name of the father, and of the son, and the holy spirit- Amen (so be it)” When my thirst for spiritual knowledge and desire to know about Krishna brought me to ISKCON, The first thing I was asked to do was Chant the Holy names of the Lord. “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”  I was drawing similarities, I don’t claim these similarities to be authorised. it is what I have understood( I am therfore open to comments and corrections) this is simply what I realised and happened to me. My Spiritual journey in this body from the time I am conscious began with importance of God’s names, and my Spiritual journey on the path I chose, or the path that chose me began by chanting those names. A Trinity there a Trinity here. Lost in these thoughts as I was travelling back the memory lane I stopped at one Sunday class I attended, Our guest teacher a senior nun from some other church asked us, what is the thing we need the most to survive. Different students were giving different answers, water, oxygen, money etc . . . Although she politely accepted all the answers, I was sure she was expecting something else, for an obvious reason that it was not a science or economic class, and right I was when she expressed satisfaction as I said “Unconditional Love of God” is what we need the most to survive. Without which we won’t be able to even take a single breath leave aside everything else. Now let me confess it was not my genius understanding or high enlightenment. It was something I had learned in a lecture at the temple in the previous week. 

Another thing I was reflecting on was one of my most favourite things to do. Out of the very few similarities that I share with my husband the most interesting desire I find is we both love sitting at the beach and sing Kirtan. Something we don’t miss to do whenever we visit Sri Sri Radha Gopinath at the Churney road temple near Chowpaty beach (Mumbai). Juhu beach is usually crowded and silent Kirtan is generally not possible. 

The most important thing that I realised, is that just by discussing about holy names we forgot that we were angry with each other for reasons unknown to both of us, and our relationship became fine once again. Another magical potency of Harinaam. That gives me a practical solution to end our baseless arguments hence forth :p

Golden rays of the Golden Sun on the Golden grains of sand
Golden voice singing the Golden names of Blue boy and His Golden doll
All glories to the Golden Avatar and His Golden devotees
Who brought this Gold for all.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A Warm Winter Morning

As I sat near the window, enjoying a hot cup of coffee while being lovingly caressed by early morning winter breeze in the beginning of a new year, my eyes was lost in oblivion as my mind travelled to my past, every little memoir that was somewhere captured in parts of my heart I was ignorant about popped up changing my expressions from smile to giggles to moist eyes to bitterness. Mimicking the expressions was my heart where feelings went from happiness to ecstasy to pain as the mind remembered moments spent in school, with family, friends, old crushes, with parents, dad and his death.

Perhaps this activity was triggered by a recent conversation with an old friend who informed me that they lost their mom a few months ago.  I felt sorry, for their loss, for not being able to be with them at such a delicate time, but more because I was not aware of it for so many months. We were really good friends, and use to be among the first few to know what new was happening in each other’s life. Reflecting on this situation I thought what changed? And the answer followed “Time”

Beautiful and Mysterious thing this Time is. A moment now you feel so choked up; drowning in a tumultuous ocean of emotions you wonder how will you breathe? And a hundred moments later you will have already taken a million breaths.

Another thought that attracted my attention was how strange our mind is. It knows and understands the power of time, yet chooses to ignore it. In the night we lament for the day and in the day we cry over the previous night. A useless lamentation because the sun will rise when it has to -neither early nor late-; also, what a useless grief, because, it simply doesn’t serve the purpose of the lamentation. How thick can this logic be for us to understand, yet we do not.

The best way to release the burden from the heart, and prevent choke ups and blockages is to open our heart to forgiveness and release the pain, embrace gratitude so that the heart becomes soft and remains brittle no more. If you are happy today, be grateful for all the challenging yesterdays, because had they not been challenging you wouldn’t have been appreciating the joy of today. And then why worry about tomorrow, because challenging or happy every tomorrow will have a tomorrow.

Every person, every situation, every moment in our life will come serve its purpose and leave. Due to a numerous reasons you can be separated from a person, fight, distance, misunderstanding, change of situations, if nothing then death. Nothing is permanent, except your being with yourself and your being with God. At the end, that is the only permanent reality.

Now is the only thing you can be sure of, and how you use it will determine your later. Suddenly the winter morning felt comfortingly warm as the rays of rising sun dawned upon my body, mind and soul. With the ending darkness, my heart released the burden of yesterday and embraced a new warm winter morning.

He who binds to himself a joy 
Does the winged life destroy; 
But he who kisses 
the joy as it flies 
Lives in eternity's sun rise.

- William Blake

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Life's Birthday Present

Beginning with an adorably romantic treasure hunt of perfectly selected gifts by my husband, my day began all excited and pensive. Going through daily chores, accepting love-filled wishes from dear ones, fulfilling some hobbies, reading, chanting, playing with my bachu and spending some family time, I reached the threshold of dusk in a blink of eyes.

We left for the temple; my baby’s first visit to Radha Gopinath, and mine ‘after a long time’ visit. After an almost 2 hour journey, when we reached the closed door my heart skipped a beat and eyes immediately checked the watch. The doors were yet to open for last (shayan) Darshan of 10 mins.

Listening to the heart-melting tune of the Mahamantra, I recollected the same feelings that had filled our heart the previous time I was there. Same apprehension filled anticipation, some excitement, it was all the same just a lil more guilt of having the filth in the heart increased.

The Darshan opened, dressed in pink roses and white lilies the blue boy and his golden doll were captivating everyone’s heart. The 10 mins of Darshan passed like 10 breaths of the heart, and again time to leave. We had Prasad, and left. What occupied my mind at that moment was the pink and white beauty of the most lovable sweethearts.

Next day when I reflected on the day, I realised it was a small replica of life. a pensive beginning, responsibilities, hobbies, dreams, lil sadhna, leisure time(wasted time), a delayed start (post dusk)? owards the final destination and a day ending in peace; although it had feelings of anger, frustration, joy, pain, all passing throughout it ended in peace and gratitude, few regrets but also few hopes.

This mini replica of my life in one day gifted me one of the finest realization I ever had, although we know it, picturing it or living it made it more substantial that everything is gonna pass just like 25 years of my life, but how I let it affect or bring an effect depends on my conscious living because I may not be able to remember or feel their presence throughout, the pink roses and white lilies drapped love is with you throughout and is also waiting at the end.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Krishna will be happy.

More than a decade back on January 1st,2000; I had been to ISKCON Juhu, with Uncle and his family . It was too crowded so we could only manage a glance of the deities, and I vaguely remember instead of looking at the deities I was looking at the group of devotees dancing to the tune of Hare Krishna Mahamantra. I remember wondering what sort of worship that was. Then we came out of the temple and went to the snacks counter (since we had had nothing for the breakfast). While my uncle was purchasing some eatables I ran to the gift-stall that had attracted me. I was looking at the different types of beads when a man in saffron dhoti-kurta asked me, “Mala Karega?(would you like to do the beads?)” I gave him a confused look. (does he wants me to make these beads I wondered). He cleared again, “ Japa karega Japa? (would you like to chant?)”  I asked him “ Why do we chant?” He gave a very sweet reply, “ Jaise chota bacha ka bar bar naam leta hai toh wo khush ho jata hai, waise Krishna bhi chota gopal hai, bar bar naam lega toh who khush ho jayega. (Just like little babies laugh when we repeatedly call their names, Krishna is also a small baby, if you repeat his names he will be very happy)” Listening to this at least I was delighted and went back to my uncle asking him to buy me the beads. He replied, “ Tera baap mujhe usi maala mein taang dega jaldi khao aur chalo. (Your father will hang me with the same beads, fnish your snack we have to leave.” I got very upset, and due to my over-sensitive nature  on the verge of crying. Then my aunt promised, “Either you take his permission and then I will bring one for you, or wait till you grow big and then you chant” I considered the second option as I was too scared of my father and waited.

Then finally I managed to begin chanting on February 14th,2007. And while chanting I always remembered Krishna is getting happy, he is smiling and laughing and I enjoyed chanting the most.
But it didn’t last too long, and slowly the chanting was more mechanical, and then the image of laughing Krishna was replaced by the prayers that I can chant the same way as I did, until recently where concentrating on chanting and completing the rounds has become the biggest challenge where I completely forgot the face of that smiling Krishna. But Krishna comes right in time to help you. Recently my baby started responding to his name (Krishna-Kirtan) and he was laughing and laughing when I repeatedly calling his name (Krishna) again and again. And the same form of Krishna smiling as I saw while chanting appeared in my thoughts and has stayed there.
This incident has reinstated my faith in so many things,
  • power of Krishna’s names
  • the effects of good preaching and to any age group. I was 9 yr old when that prabhuji explained why we chant
  • and that Krishna will never leave you, no matter what. He is there, right there, to hold you just when you are about to fall, or even if you fall he is there to pick you up. He will never even the lil spark of devotion in your heart blow off.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

He is coming. Where will you Keep Him?

Janmashtmi is here and we see many people decorating their houses, decorating ‘palanas’ (cradle) and arranging various paraphernalias. But take a moment to think, -while I am absolutely not against Deity-Worship- is that all the preparation required to Welcome the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Is he really interested in the nature of the metal of the palana you bring for him or number of flowers you offer, or sweets you make?

Krishna is ‘Atmarama’ meaning self-satisfied completely. By accepting our services He is actually pleasing us. Then how can we please Him? This question reminds me of an interesting story. ‘Krishna had 9 lakh cows, some of them were ‘Surabhi’ cows which produced extremely nectarine milk. These cows were personally taken care of by Mother Yashoda. She fed them Extremely fragrant special grass, milked them personally, and make butter out of them for Krishna, which was of highest quality and nectarine. All of it for Krishna. Then why would he steal the butter? Also being the Supreme owner of everything in all creations, everything belonged to him. Why would he steal? The answer is that by stealing this butter in his playful childhood pastime, He would steal the Butter-like Heart of the Braja-gopis. Their hearts were soft, pure, and sweet like freshly made butter. And they would keep it ready for Krishna to come and steal. So Krishna stole their butter to honour their offering of Love.

Wouldn’t we want Him to steal our hearts  too? He can come and reside in our heart provided we keep it ready for him, A heart which is pure, full of Love, and free from hatred, anger, lust, envy, greed and pride. Our Heart is the most important thing to prepare to welcome the Beautiful Blue boy. He is Coming. Get Ready.

Happy Janmashtmi.