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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.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

An Innocence Ago

Trying to fathom the complexities of 20 vowels in the sprint of completing the assignments my mind drifted to the time where learning 5 vowels was an achievement finding words that do not contain these vowels was a clever discovery. The simplicity of lifestyle then, drew my attention to the simplicity of the thoughts and heart of a child.

It is so open and so unpolluted; filled with innocence. They fight with their friends and get along in no time. When you scold them they get hurt, but the moment you smile at them, they come running to you. No ego, no duplicity just a simple heart vulnerable yet resilient by the power of forgiveness. And the best defence statement “jo bolta hai wahi hota hai” (the one who teases possesses the same qualities) isn’t it the same principle, “what you see in me is nothing but your reflection” or “When people insult you that are telling you the exact negative qualities they possess.” Kids not only use this statement to defend themselves, but religiously believe it. They express themselves without the fear of being judged being truthful inside out.

I thought to myself what happens as we grow up, what changes? Why can’t we still be able to take things lightly, why can’t we easily forgive? What are the impurities that enter our heart? And what makes us shut ourselves. We are constantly at guard, what are we protecting ourselves from? We take offences so easily and can hardly forget? We find it so difficult to genuinely apologise. And if we see someone who has innocence like a child, we call them dumb or foolish or silly.

These intriguing thoughts invoked a strong aspiration to try to clear the blocks within me obstructing the flow of innocence and Love. To be able to free the heart from the shackles of pride, ego and anger and float in the bliss of sheer being, being in love with the creator, sing like a bird without knowing who listens and caring about what they think. Bathe in the light of freedom, freedom from prejudices, from ownerships, from false sense of identity and fear of losing. Not worrying about list of things that could go wrong and bothering to be right always.

Is it so difficult to go back innocence ago and be a child again?

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Take away my will Krishna . .

Remembering HH Bhakti Tirtha Maharaj on his appearance day (25 Feb).
His most humble prayer in the mood of Vasudev dutta.

I got this poem as a gift ... I was just a couple of years old in my sadhna... This poem has changed my mood.. And m more inspired since then.. Amazing how Maharaj continues to inspire ... Even after he has physically left this world... Certainly this pure devotion and highest mercy.

Take away my WILL Krishna,
I am yours.
Force me to do what is right & best.
Use me as you like,
You be my intelligence.
You be my mind,
You act as my will.
I do not know
what is best for me.
In this lifetime
I am trying so hard
and nothing is working.
I ask you to put me
in the right place,
at the right time,
for the right thing.
Whatever is best,
whether it is auspicious or inauspicious,
bring on me what I need.
My desire,
my intelligence
even my will,
they are all contaminated.
I offer them all to you,
I am yours,
You do with me what is BEST.
Help me to be eager,
to accept
not in a grudgingly mood,
but with real zeal and enthusiasm,
as I submit myself and ask,
“what can I do?”

 H.H. Bhakti Tirtha Swami Krishnapada

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day

Many people have different opinions about today (Saint Valentine’s Day). Some enjoy it, some crib about it, some are simply neutral. For me it is yet another opportunity where we can celebrate the Love of God. Historically, that is what both the Saint Valentine actually did. It may be argued that God’s Love can be celebrated every day, every moment; true!! But until we achieve the unconditioned consciousness and can sincerely feel that, there is no harm in doing it at least on a few days. Anyways we always hunt for a reason to celebrate.

My day began missing my beloved father at almost the midnight. I was thinking about him that after he left how I want him back even if it means he scolding me all day, or being angry at me, because I know at the core of his heart there was immense love, and his anger was only a manifestation of his love and concern. I shared this thought with my husband, and we appreciated the fact that the same thing apply to his parents. It is true that most of the times we are irritated by the constant nagging of our closed ones, parents, spouse and siblings perhaps even friends. But when they are no more in our life we start missing even their anger or our fights with them.I lied awake for some time reflecting on my favorite bible verse 

‘1 Corinthians 13:4-7’ 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

The more I think over it, the more this psalm sinks deep in my mind and opens my heart to forgiveness and patience. Respecting individuality is the first step to be able to love someone. If we do not accept and respect a person for what they are, how can we love them? The Love then becomes conditional, which diminishes the entire glory of Love. Love is simply unconditional, the moment we add any ‘Ifs or Buts’ it can be called anything but Love.

It is not that we do not know all these great things about Love, we may have read it in books, heard it in sermons or movies a zillion times, the difficult part is to realize it even more to align it with our natural behavior. Nevertheless we must try, till we succeed. And the simplest way to do it is by Loving God. Because “when we Love God first we Love each other better” If our every action could simply be placed around the question “Will this please Krishna?” I am sure most of us would be doing the right thing. At the end it is not between you and anyone, but it is always between you and Krishna.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Monkey Reflection

Sitting in the park I was noticing a monkey playing on a nearby tree.  It climbed down and sat on a bike parked by the tree. Looking at his own reflection in the mirror the monkey was puzzled. It tried to look everywhere for the other monkey. It also went behind the mirror. Angry he started pulling the mirror and vigorously moving it until the owner of the bike hushed it away.

I was not the only spectator at the scene and we all were laughing at the silly act of the monkey. However, the anger and irritation along with the amazement of the monkey on seeing its own reflection reminded me of a thought I had read few days ago. “Everything that irritates you about others is your key to understanding yourself. What angers you in another person is an unhealed aspect of your own self. If you had already resolved that particular issue, you would not be irritated by its reflection back to you.”

It’s common wonder that we are irritated to see behaviour that is not according to our expectations. And like the monkey we fail to identify the behaviour to be the reflection of similar behaviour or attitude within ourselves. For instance, when someone goes around announcing their first rank, it may be simply because they are just too excited about it and wish to share their happiness with everyone they meet. Just like a little child goes around showing their new toy to everyone. But, if we feel that they are boasting, then the tendency to boast is actually hidden within us. And these hidden impurities within us manifest themselves in the face of our feelings towards others. It can serve as a good check on our heart, before we declare our judgement about others.

These imperfections within us make us very human. It is not easy to be all kind all loving and all good all the time. However, there is no loss trying to change our feelings for others. It will only help us love them better, and keep our heart free from unwanted impurities. As kids we found it so easy to forgive and forget, and get back to loving one another, just because our heart was free of impurities and filled with innocent love. I believe by identifying and trying to remove these impurities from our heart, we can try to love with child-like innocence.

P.S: I am wondering how much a little monkey can teach with his silly act. True, Krishna can use anything at any time to teach us. Keep Looking and Keep Listening with your heart open.