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

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.