December 29, 2013

Happy Day of the Birth


I learned that in Ecuador the Catholic tradition places emphasis on the Nativity scene rather than the Christmas tree as in the USA. As a result, baby Jesus dolls are quite popular in Ecuador. The people honor baby Jesus in an effort to earn grace and mercy from God. People will pray to baby Jesus because they think he is more likely to be merciful and much kinder than an adult Jesus. It's very common to see grown ladies carrying their exquisitely adorned and treasured antique wax or porcelain Jesus baby dolls in a miniature laced bassinet or basket to the church altar during a Sunday service to be blessed with holy water by the priest. This parade of baby Jesus dolls continues until January 6th of every year when the kings wise men would then return home. Every year a magnificent feast is given by the family member who received the baby doll in the annual exchange. Next year that same doll will be exchanged and a new family member will take on the responsibility of presenting the baby Jesus doll at the church altar for the blessing and then host the feast. Feliz Navidad! The Spanish greeting for Christmas means "Happy Day of the Birth".





December 25, 2013

Unity In Diversity


I believe that there are no coincidences in this life. We are destined to meet people and have experiences which will expand our hearts and our spiritual journey. And so what a blessing it was to discover that devotees: Visnupatni Devi Dasi, Raja Guhiam Das and we were united at the core of our being in this eternal oneness. As Californians traveling in Quito, Ecuador, my husband and I experienced unity in diversity first hand. Miraculous it seemed that in a country where 95% of religious worshipers are Catholic, we found each other and shared an immediate bond with these divine souls. Joined by words like the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads our conversation in broken Spanish had us praising the similar rather than the differences in each other. Words like Krishna, Rama, Ganesh, Shiva, and Swami Prabhupada, became clear evidence that ours was a supreme uniting love. Though our visit was only for 30 minutes it was one we shall never forget. We shared prayers, mudras, hugs, cries, and even bhajans music via my iPhone. The fact that it all happened on a very auspicious day, Christmas Eve, proved to us it was meant to be. Finally we said our Sanskrit farewells; "Namaste" and "Hari Om Tat Sat" an ancient mantra from the Vedas, promising to meet again if the Lord wills.






December 16, 2013

Truth is One


"The Master [Sri Ramakrishna] said that one day he sat in a parlor room at Dakshineswar, where a painting of Mary and baby Jesus was hanging; and intently studied that image, thinking of the wonderful life of Jesus. Just then he saw the picture become animate and luminous. Rays of light emanated from the bodies of Mother Mary and the child Jesus, entering his heart and revolutionizing his mental attitudes. … After he returned to the Dakshineswar temple garden, the Master remained uninterruptedly absorbed in meditation on those experiences pertaining to Jesus. He completely forgot to visit the Divine Mother in the temple. The waves of Christian faith that swayed him lasted for three days. When the Master was walking in the Panchavati at the end of the third day, he saw a beautiful but unfamiliar godman with a fair complexion advancing towards him, gazing at him steadily. … The Master was charmed by the unique divine expression on his serene face and wondered who he could be. Very soon after that the figure drew near, and a voice from within told him, 'This is Jesus Christ, the great yogi, the loving Son of God who is one with his Father, who shed his heart's blood and suffered torture for the salvation of humanity.' Then the godman Jesus embraced the Master and merged into him. In ecstasy, the Master lost external consciousness and his mind remained united with Saguna Brahman for some time. With this vision, the Master became convinced that Jesus was truly a divine incarnation." —Swami Saradananda, Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, p 355-6




Prayer 
of Unity
May He who is 
Father in Heaven of the Christians, 
Holy One of the Jewish faith, 
Allah of the Muslims, 
Buddha of the Buddhists, 
Dao of the Chinese faith, 
Great Spirit of Native Americans, 
Ahura Mazda of the Zoroastrians, 
and Brahman of the Hindus, 
lead us from the unreal to the real, 
from darkness to light and from death to immortality. 
May the all loving being manifest himself unto us, 
and grant us abiding understanding and all consuming divine love. 
OM shanti, shanti, shanti, 
peace, peace, peace be unto us all.



November 28, 2013

Wish-fulfilling Tree


"Am I in need of fruit?
I have the Fruit that makes this life
Fruitful indeed. Within my heart
The Tree of Rāma grows,
Bearing salvation for its fruit.

Under the Wish-fulfilling Tree
Of Rāma do I sit at ease,
Plucking whatever fruit I will.
But if you speak of fruit -
No beggar, I, for common fruit.
Behold, I go,
Leaving a bitter fruit for you."

As Sri Ramakrishna was singing this song he went into samadhi. 
 Again the half-closed eyes and motionless body that one sees in his photograph. 
 Just a minute before, the devotees had been making merry in his company. 
 Now all eyes were riveted on him.








November 14, 2013

Pray For What You Want


Zen in it's simplicity, a note in a fortune cookie gave me much to ponder. Could the universe be trying to tell me something? Today it seems even my food was preaching Vedanta philosophy. This bold demand to pray was fascinating to me especially coming from a cookie. It sounded a lot like what my Swami would say. For by definition, prayer is talking to God in a spirit of love. Through daily personal prayer we connect with our spiritual reality and develop virtues that enrich our lives and purify our spiritual channel to God. Prayer empowers us to take control of the way we respond to any of life's given situations. Through prayer and meditation our spirits are guided on a purposeful journey. As a result, prayer naturally extends to our actions (i.e."Work"). A fundamental teaching in all the world's religions is that our actions should reflect our prayers so that our deeds, our very lives, may be purposeful, virtuous, and beneficial to our fellow man. Living in a prayerful state occurs when every decision we make, every action we undertake, every word we say, is motivated by the remembrance of God. And that's the way this cookie crumbles!


November 2, 2013

Ramakrishna and Goddess Kali

Kali and Sri Ramakrishna in the Panchavati 
grove at the Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Why is Mother Kali so radiantly black?
Because she is so powerful,
that even mentioning her name destroys delusion.
Because she is so beautiful,
Lord Shiva, conqueror of death,
lies blissfully vanquished,
beneath the red soled feet.
There are subtle hues of blackness,
But her bright complexion
is the mystery that is utterly black,
overwhelmingly black, wonderfully black.
When she awakens in the lotus shrine
within the heart’s secret cave,
her blackness becomes the mystic illumination
that causes the twelve petal blossom there
to glow more intensely than golden embers.
Her lovely form is the incomparable
Kali black blacker than the King of Death.
Whoever gazes upon this radiant blackness falls eternally in love
and feels no attraction to any other,
discovering everywhere only her.
This poet sighs deeply,
“Where is this brilliant lady, this black light beyond luminosity?
Though I have never seen her, simply hearing her name,
the mind becomes absorbed completely in her astonishing reality."
Om Kali!  Om Kali!  Om Kali!

 - by Ramprasad Sen -

Version by: Lex Hixon From Mother of the Universe 
“Visions of the Goddess and Tantric Hymns of Enlightenment”

October 19, 2013

Remembering Swami Swahanandaji

Santa Barbara Vedanta Temple Altar
(June 29, 1921 - October 19, 2012)

Time or space does not separate Guru and Disciple. 
He will continue to guide us even after his death.

Do you want a "nambi-pamby" mother 
or do you want a mother who will fight for you?
- Swami Swahananda used to say in reference to Mother Durga and Mother Kali -





October 12, 2013

Puja Season




Mahisasura Hymn to the Divine Mother Durga

O' daughter of the mountains, 
who makes the whole world happy, 
who makes all the universe rejoice, 
who bestows boons upon the gods, 
who defeats the undisciplined, 
who tolerates the ignorant, 
who is ever rejoicing,
who nourishes the three worlds,
who pleases Shankara,
who removes sins,
who inhabits the sound Om,
whose wrath befalls the progeny of the demons,
who destroys those drunk on the intoxicant of pride,
who is daughter of the Ocean.
O' mother of the world, my mother
Victory, victory to Thee,
O' slayer of the Buffalo demon,
Victory, daughter of the Himalayas, 
with beautifully plaited hair.









October 11, 2013

Khichri


Saag Vali Khichri    (serves 24)

2 cups organic whole green mung beans
2 cups organic basmati brown or white rice
1 piece of fresh ginger peeled (about 2")
3 pounds organic fresh or frozen spinach chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/3 cup organic virgin coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
1 tablespoon (whole) cumin
1 tablespoon (ground) cumin
1 large onion chopped
2 tablespoons (ground) coriander
2 teaspoons black pepper

Place rinsed mung beans and 6 cups water in pot. Soak for 24 hours.

Rinse mung beans and put in a heavy cooking pot with 16 cups water, bring to boil. 
Cover, lower heat and let simmer for 2 minutes.
Turn off heat and let pot sit covered for 1 hour. 
Bring to a boil again and add rice and ginger. 
Cover, turn to low and cook gently for 1 hour. Stirring occasionally. 
Add spinach and salt, cook for 30 min. stirring as needed to prevent sticking.
In a separate pan fry spices and onion in coconut oil and add to the hot rice and mung beans. 
Discard ginger piece. Garnish with lemon juice or cilantro.


October 8, 2013

Mother Durga


The Divine Mother slays the mythical demons 
(i.e. our worst traits = laziness, vanity, gluttony, jealousness, unforgiveness, etc.)

The Divine Mother "Shakti" is the creative energy, power and consciousness of the universe. All nature in its beauty is the divine mother. Music and art also are imbibed with the creative touch of the mother. The mother is Everything. Wherever we go we carry the divine mother enshrined in our hearts. Recognizing that she and us are indeed one. Good and Bad are one, not separate these are two sides of the same coin. Bondage and liberation belong to the mind alone. What we think so we become. Only by letting go of resentment can our arms be free to grasp the complete fullness of forgiveness. Mothers divine grace allows us to realize freedom and liberation while living in this worldly life. The world is saturated in divinity. Let all that we do be offered to the divine mother first, fragrance, good food, beautiful music, etc. as she is the creator. The best way to worship Mother Durga is through japa "Jai Sri Durga", meditation, ritual puja, homa fire and the taking of prasad. 
                               


October 1, 2013

Disciples

Discipleship Speech by Swami Vivekananda
(Delivered in San Francisco, on March 29, 1900)

My subject is "Discipleship". I do not know how you will take what I have to say. It will be rather difficult for you to accept it — the ideals of teachers and disciples in this country vary so much from those in ours. An old proverb of India comes to my mind: "There are hundreds of thousands of teachers, but it is hard to find one disciple." It seems to be true. The one important thing in the attainment of spirituality is the attitude of the pupil. When the right attitude is there, illumination comes easily. What does the disciple need in order to receive the truth? The great sages say that to attain truth takes but the twinkling of an eye — it is just a question of knowing — the dream breaks. How long does it take? In a second the dream is gone. When the illusion vanishes, how long does it take? Just the twinkling of an eye. When I know the truth, nothing happens except that the falsehood vanishes away: I took the rope for the snake, and now I see it is the rope. It is only a question of half a second and the whole thing is done. Thou art That. Thou art the Reality. How long does it take to know this? If we are God and always have been so, not to know this is most astonishing. To know this is the only natural thing. It should not take ages to find out what we have always been and what we now are.
Yet it seems difficult to realize this self-evident truth. Ages and ages pass before we begin to catch a faint glimpse of it. God is life; God is truth. We write about this; we feel in our inmost heart that this is so, that everything else than God is nothing — here today, gone tomorrow. And yet most of us remain the same all through life. We cling to untruth, and we turn our back upon truth. We do not want to attain truth. We do not want anyone to break our dream. You see, the teachers are not wanted. Who wants to learn? But if anyone wants to realize the truth and overcome illusion, if he wants to receive the truth from a teacher, he must be a true disciple. It is not easy to be a disciple; great preparations are necessary; many conditions have to be fulfilled. Four principal conditions are laid down by the Vedantists.

September 9, 2013

Bloom Where You are Planted


Flower Fresh. Breathing in, I see myself as a flower. Breathing out, I feel fresh and I smile. The whole body of a child is a flower. Today, I saw my son Luke as a poppy flower, blooming tall and strong on his 23rd birthday. We are all flowers in the garden of humanity. With meditation, we can keep our flowerness for a long time. Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing. Conscious breathing is the key to uniting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into each moment of our life. Our breathing is a stable solid ground that we can take refuge in. Regardless of our internal weather- our thoughts, emotions and perceptions- our breathing is always with us like a faithful friend. Whenever we feel carried away, or sunken in a deep emotion, or scattered in worries and projects, we return to our breathing to collect and anchor our mind. We feel the flow of air coming in and going out, we feel how light and natural, how calm and peaceful our breathing functions. At any time, while we are walking, gardening, or typing, we can return to this peaceful source of life.


by Thich Nhat Hanh



September 1, 2013

Ecology and Evolution




Homage to you Refreshing Earth Bodhisattva
Mother of this world with its many species.
We want to turn to you with respect,
Beautiful green planet in the midst of the sky,
You who have given birth to countless species,
Produced so many wonders of life,
Loved in the ultimate sense of non-discrimination,
Embraced all species not barring a single one,
Loyal and reliable, tolerant and stable,
The mother who bears all species.
Countless bodhisattvas spring up
From your fresh green lap.
Mother you embrace and transform
Sweeping away the hatred of humans,
Creating new life day and night,
Helping the earth to bloom with the flowers of heaven.
You are open to thousands of other galaxies,
Sharing your joy with the trichiliocosm,
By seeing that your true nature is interdependence.
Conserving and protecting so that nothing is lost,
Not being, not nothing, not eternal, not annihilated,
Not the same, not different, not coming, not going.
Your love knows no limits,
Your virtues no shortcomings.
Your nature is the Four Immeasurable Minds
Like the four great oceans they never dry up.
Whenever spring returns you wear a new robe
Of red roses, the green willow, beautiful and fresh.
When summer comes the vegetation displays its bright colors,
Wholesome seeds, sweet fruits are to be found everywhere.
How brilliant are the colors of the autumn forest
Until winter comes and snowflakes fill the sky.
The afternoon tide chants like the roll of thunder
The morning sunrise paints an incomparable picture,
Making visible all the splendors of the universe.
You are the most beautiful flower of the Solar System,
The wisdom that lights up the ten directions,
The mind that is open to all places.
Mother, you are the Paradise of the Present,
Making possible the future for all species.
We come back and take refuge in you,
With nothing to run after, accepting the unfavorable as also favorable,
Seeing that you are always in us and
Seeing ourselves in you for all of time.
May we follow your good example,
And live every moment with true peace and joy.
Homage to the Refreshing Mother Earth Bodhisattva


Lecture by Swami Mahayogananda

- - - 



Essay on Global Ecology and Vedanta by Pravrajika Vrajaprana






August 8, 2013

Meditation


In meditation we start learning to practice focus and sit quietly before God in love. Focusing the mind on any supreme aspect of God is true meditation. The consistent practice of meditation removes stress, anxiety and fear by eliminating the causes of our sufferings. Through meditation man becomes one with God (Brahman). Personalities are transformed and one develops physical and mental strength.

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just 
leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” 
- Swami Vivekananda

Meditation Technique:

– Sit in a comfortable cross legged position. You may also sit on a chair or lean against a wall for this meditation.

– Elongate your spine upwards, lengthen your neck and subtly bring your chin back and in, like a soldier at attention. This will align the spine with the back of your head.

– Take 5 deep, slow breaths though the nose. Keeping the head straight this will oxygenate your blood and relax you. Try to remain as still as possible.

– Rest your hands in any comfortable position or mudra, you can place them on your knees.
Close your eyes and try to go deeply into yourself while holding this mudra. Do not strain.

– Now inhale deeply and begin to chant in a soft, slow, steady voice the manta OM (pronounced AUM). One chant of OM (AUM) Mantra should last for the entire exhalation. Its a long “Oh”, followed by a semi long “Mmmm” during each exhalation. Once all the air has been expelled, inhale fully again and begin to chant the mantra once more.

– Visualize the OM sound coming from a point in the middle of your heart and emanating throughout your entire body. Feel OM as the Infinite Pure Consciousness. It is this primordial sound vibration that expresses itself everywhere both in the microcosm and the macrocosm.

– Try to feel that every cell and molecule in your body is like a rising sun full of infinite energy, beauty, purity and bliss Absolute. Feel that every cell of your body is shining like the luminous golden rays of the sun. With your inner vision visualize the rising sun in Infinite blue space. You are that Supreme Auspiciousness.

– Feel that you breathe out only Pure Love and good thoughts. Spread this positive vibration of thought in all directions to the far corners of the universe to all beings. You may repeat OM, your personal mantra or any prayer to retain this Infinite harmony in your being. Pure Love is Pure Consciousness. Shivoham!






July 21, 2013

Mahasamadhi

Sri Sarada Devi 
1853-1920

Mother left her earthly body and entered into Mahasamadhi on this day in 1920. Worshipped during her lifetime as a manifestation of Divine Motherhood, Sri Sarada Devi's throne was the earthen floor. Her only adornments were the white sari with a thin red border and two simple gold bracelets. In place of bow, trident and other divine weapons, Mother carried a broom and basket. To take darshan of Mother was to help her with the daily chores of cleaning and preparing food for offering. Her principal concern was that her children have enough to eat. All who came were her children. Mother's benediction was an outstretched hand of welcome which bade one always to come again.

"Jaya Jaya Janani"

Victory to you, O Mother Sarada, embodiment of compassion. 
You are the primal energy and supreme manifestation of the divine.
You, Mother, are the refuge of even the lowliest of the lowly. 
Mother, you are the savior of the world, giver of fearlessness, 
remover of all pain and suffering. 
You are the mother of all creatures in the universe, ever engaged in protecting all.
O Mother, you remain covered with a veil of humility and shyness; 
to you both the wicked and the virtuous bow their heads. 
Victory to you, O Mother Sarada, embodiment of compassion.


Read about Sri Sarada Devi
by Swami Tapasyananda


July 5, 2013

There is None Except the Divine

The soul has neither pain nor pleasure. It is the witness of everything. The eternal witness of all work, but it takes no fruits from any work. To work properly you first must give up the idea of attachment. Hold yourself as the witness and go on working. Everything is evanescent and changeful. Knowing this the sage gives up both pleasure and pain and becomes a witness of the panorama of the universe without attachment for anything. He sees the world as a picture knowing that nothing affects him. Then he enjoys its beauty. Whenever there is any bliss, there is a spark of the eternal bliss, The bliss that is the Lord himself. The essence of our own soul. He's the light and life of the whole universe. He's the eternal witness of the universe. O Lord and Mother of the Universe, Thou flowing stream of nectar, How many forms and aspects does thou play in manifestation. The soul has neither pain nor pleasure. Hold yourself as the witness, then behold nature's beauty.

Believe that you are the children of God, the heirs of infinite strength and bliss. Believe that your body and mind are sacred temples. Believe that God pervades every man, and every woman. He pervades every tree and creeper, every sentient and insentient being. The presence of God must be realized everywhere. He is the personal and impersonal, with and without form. He dwells in all beings. He pervades land and waters. He pervades hills and valleys. He pervades the sky and stars. He pervades all things. There is none except the Divine in the entire universe. See God in the blue of the sky, the waves of the sea. See God in the face of a friend, in the simplicity of a child. See God in the horrors of death, in the steadfastness of the saint. There is none except the Divine in the entire universe.

-- Except from "Vivekananda Oratorio 150 : His Ministry" a classical oratorio by Swami Atmavidyananda, composer and lyricist, of the Vedanta Society of Southern California and a monk of the Ramakrishna Order of India. The lyrics he derived from "Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda."






June 24, 2013

Vivekananda Oratorio 150


Created in honor of Swami Vivekananda's 150th Birth Anniversary, composer and choir director, Swami Atmavidyananda will lead a live performance of his “Vivekananda Oratorio 150″ on July 4th, 2013 at the Vedanta Society Trabuco Canyon Monastery during their Annual Open House. In an effort to spread the essence of Swami Vivekananda’s timeless teachings this original musical work will appeal to a new level of sophisticated spiritual seekers. Credited with being the first to introduce Hinduism to the West during the Chicago Parliament of Religions in 1893, Swami Vivekananda's most uplifting writings and speeches will be sung as lyrics during this masterful 90min operatic tribute in classical oratorio style. If you cannot attend the live performance you may listen to the recording at the link below.



June 21, 2013

Hawaiian Prayer of Forgiveness



Ho'oponopono Pule Prayer

These beautiful words came to Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, who was a teacher in the huna tradition. She got these words in meditation while in communication with the "I"or the oneness of all things. She told students to always share what they had learned. Summer Solstice is the perfect time to reflect on the divine immortal soul which inhabits all beings.

All Hawaiian prayer forms start with breathing, which is call Ha. One round of Ha is to breathe in for the count of 7, hold for the count of 7, and release for the count of 7. When you have emptied your lungs again then hold for the count of 7. Be relaxed and let the breath determine how long the count of 7 is. You can fit it to your own physiology.

Mana is the energy that belongs to you in this Life and is connected to you and all worlds in all spaces and at all times. We will be cleaning this Mana with the Ho'oponopono Pule.

Aka cords are what ties us, and all other things, beings, energies, and Karma, together, for this and for all times. When we say "Cut all Aka Cords," we are talking about cutting all the ties we have with all our friends, family, relatives, and ancestors. We will include all possessions, things we are attached to, places we have been, memories we hold, and so forth. This also is a very deep cleansing method.

When we talk about the Divine Creator: The Aumakua, the Uhane, and the Unihipili as One, we are talking about the totality of all that is and ever was or will be. This is what Christianity calls God as well as all of God's works, i.e., the Universe and every thing contained within it. When all of this is put together as One, then that is what we mean when we say the Divine Creator.

This we shall call the "I", because it is like the Roman numeral I representing the oneness of the Universe. The sound "I'' is likewise like the sound of "Eye" which can be thought of in the ancient way as the "Eyeball" of the Sun. This is the center of our solar system and represents an image of the One.

The Aumakua is the "Spiritual Self" and represents all of the Gods of all of the religions of Man since the beginning of time. It can be thought of as our own singular genetic past to the beginning of time as well. And in a very real sense, it is our consciousness backwards in time representing our knowledge of right and wrong, or our conscience.

The Uhane is the "Physical Self" and represents the caretaker of our body. It is our thinking mind and our physical function. We talk with the Uhane and we think with the Uhane. We have a drive for survival that is part of the function of the Uhane. When we are hungry or sleepy or when we want something, it is the Uhane that does this function of the body and brain.

The Unihipili is the "Emotional Self" and represents the feelings which are not really expressible in words. Often feelings have more impact on our activity than thoughts and words do. Feelings guide us to a knowledge of our "Inner Self", and are very important to an understanding of our wholeness. "U" means to grunt, and "Nihipili" means to move through the grass like a snake. Together these words describe the nature of the Unihipili. It is emotion without the ability of language. It is the "Inner child" which is so often spoken of in today's new age explanations of human integrity.

We are One within our selves, and we are One with the Oneness of all that is. We need to understand, however that the little Unihipili within us, is like a child has no language. The Unihipili however, holds all of our personal Mana. Mana is the spiritual energy that defines exactly who and what we are and why we have come into being at this time and place. The Mana is the menu of our Life, and our ticket for this lifetime! I cannot express how important this idea is. Most people could have a perfect Life existence if only they could learn to talk with their Unihipili.

Only through the Unihipili, can the Uhane (the individual mind/body) make contact with the "Aumakua". This means that if you loose contact with your Unihipili, you will be almost assuredly become lost on the path of your life. This is a very important idea, yet many if not most people have an Uhane that is not willing to recognize or respect the importance of the little inner child, the Unihipili. One must remember that even without language, the Unihipili has all of our memories from the time of conception onward, and is the only source of our personal Mana.

May 29, 2013

Buddhism & Hinduism

Please Call Me By My True Name
by Thich Nhat Hanh

Don't say that I will depart tomorrow -- 
even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch, 
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.The rhythm of my heart 
is the birth and death of all that is alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird 
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his "debt of blood" to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up, and so the door of my heart
can be left open, the door of compassion.




May 1, 2013

Swami Vivekananda


Song of the Sannyasin

Wake up the note! The song that had its birth
Far off, where worldly taint could never reach
In mountain caves and glades of forest deep,
Whose calm no sigh for lust or wealth or fame
Could ever dare to break; where rolled the stream
Of knowledge, truth, and bliss that follows both.
Sing high that note, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

Strike off thy fetters! Bonds that bind thee down,
Of shining gold or darker, baser ore;
Love, hate; good, bad; and all the dual throng,
Know, slave is slave, caressed or whipped, not free
For fetters, though of gold, are not less strong to bind;
Then off with them, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

Let darkness go! the will-o’-the-wisp that leads
With blinking light to pile more gloom on gloom.
This thirst for life, for ever quench; it drags
From birth to death, and death to birth, the soul
He conquers all who conquers self. Know this
And never yield, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

‘Who sows must reap,’ they say, ‘and cause must bring
The sure effect; good, good; bad, bad; and none
Escape the law. But whoso wears a form
Must wear the chain.’ Too true; but far beyond
Both name and form is Atman, ever free.
Know thou art That, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

They know not truth who dream such vacant dreams
As father, mother, children, wife and friend.
The sexless Self! whose father He? whose child?
Whose friend, whose foe is He who is but One?
The Self is all in all, none else exists;
And thou art That, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

There is but One – The Free, The Knower – Self!
Without a name, without a form or stain.
In him is Maya, dreaming all this dream.
The Witness, He appears as nature, soul.
Know thou art That, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

Where seekest thou? That freedom, friend, this world
Nor that can give. In books and temples vain
Thy search. Thine only is that hand that holds
The rope that drags thee on. Then cease lament,
Let go thy hold, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

Say, ‘Peace to all: From me no danger be
To aught that lives. In those that dwell on high,
In those that lowly creep, I am the Self in all.
All life both here and there, do I renounce,
All heavens and earths and hells, all hopes and fears.’
Thus cut thy bonds, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

Heed then no more how body lives or goes,
Its task is done. Let Karma float it down;
Let one put garlands on, another kick
This frame; say naught. No praise or blame can be
Where praiser praised, and blamer blamed are one.
Thus be thou calm, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

Truth never comes where lust and fame and greed
Of gain reside. No man who thinks of woman
As his wife can ever perfect be;
Nor he who owns the least of things, nor he
Whom anger chains, can ever pass thro’ Maya’s gates.
So give these up, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

Have thou no home. What home can hold thee, friend?
The sky thy roof, the grass thy bed; and food
What chance may bring, well cooked or ill, judge not.
No food or drink can taint that noble Self
Which knows itself. Like rolling river free
Thou ever be, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

Few only know the truth. The rest will hate
And laugh at thee, great one; but pay no heed.
Go thou, the free, from place to place, and help
Them out of darkness, Maya’s veil. Without
The fear of pain or search for pleasure, go
Beyond them both, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

Thus, day by day, till Karma’s powers spent,
Release the soul for ever. No more is birth,
Nor I, nor thou, nor God, nor man. The ‘I’
Has All become, the All is ‘I’ and Bliss.
Know thou art That, Sannyasin bold! 

Say – ‘Om tat sat, Om!’

- by Swami Vivekananda






* Swami Vivekananda in the course of thirty-nine years (1863-1902) left for posterity his four classics: Jnana-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga, which serve as valuable treatises on Hindu philosophy. He organized the Ramakrishna Order of monks, a respected religious and service organization of India, and was a guide to many spiritual seekers in America and abroad. This year marks the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, who is credited with being the first to introduce the ancient theory and practice of Vedanta and yoga to the West. 


April 1, 2013

Swami Brahmananda


Swami Brahmananda 
1863-1922

Considered the spiritual son of Sri Ramakrishna 
Swami Brahmananda was the first president of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.



The Eternal Companion
Lecture by Swami Sarvadevananda



March 10, 2013

Shiva Ratri


God is in Me and
I am in the Heart of God

Yoga is the work of the inner self (vyakta) on the outer self (vyakti). All the outer does is merely in response to the inner. The inner is the source of inspiration, the outer is moved by memory. The outer can help by keeping quiet and free from desire and fear. All positives belong to the inner self, as all absolutes to Reality.
- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

February 24, 2013

Ramakrishna and His Disciples


Swami Vivekananda     --     Sri Ramakrishna      --      Swami Brahmananda
Pray constantly with a pure sincere heart:
"O Lord I don't know what is good and what is bad for me.
I am entirely dependent on you.
Grant me everything I need for spiritual life.
Take me along the path that will bring me the greatest good.
Give me the faith and strength to remember you
and meditate on you constantly."
- Swami Brahmananda -

The Teachings of Swami Brahmananda lecture by Swami Tyagananda

February 3, 2013

Homa Fire



Heart strings awaken
Divine melody
Senses reveal
Timeless being within

Stay aware luminous
Atman inside source
Grounded warm nourished
Teachings Mother's milk

Attain here infinite
Wonder content known
And knower dance on
Tip of Brahman's flame

Mirrored in Gaia's sphere
Celestial multitudes
Hold space for awareness
Transport glow of ages bliss

Into being sattva, rajas, tamas are
Awaken consciousness
Be my meditative puja joy
Forged in copper

Quiet changeless breath
Energy found
Love unconditional
Take me home

Om shanti, shanti, shanti, Om

- Andra Rubcic

January 6, 2013

Holy Mother Puja

Sri Sarada Devi

"Don’t be afraid. Human birth is full of suffering and one has to endure everything patiently, taking the name of God. None, not even God in human form, can escape the sufferings of body and mind. I tell you one thing my child — if you want peace, do not find fault with others. Rather, see your own faults. Learn to make the world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own."
(From Sri Sarada Devi’s last words, spoken before passing away on July 21, 1920)

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