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


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


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.