Thursday, January 10, 2013

Checkered Floors

As I sat in my temple room trying to focus as I chanted, I was transported to my trip to Vrindavan two years ago....

It had been a wonderful day, a festive day but the floor of the Krishna-Balarama temple was covered in flower petals and anything else that flew in through the doors. The temple room was vacated so a group of young boys could clean the mess up. My mom and I wanted to chant as the rest of the family went out to shop for a bit. We timidly walked into the main hall and sat on the edge of the checkered floor. The boys were hosing down the floor and moving all the dirt towards the drainage area with a large sweeper. In between, laughter would break out as one hosed the other but they continued diligently. There was a soft harmonium being played as a devotee did his mid-day shift leading kirtan at the front of the hall. He was in his own little world, singing with all of his heart for Krishna. In this atmosphere of motion but reserved from all the commotion that is the material world, we chanted. We continued to chant for over an hour without a word to each other, for fear that this enchanted state would be broken. There was such stillness in the air that instead of building panic, it brought calm.

We finally decided to leave and find the rest of the family. As soon as we stepped out of the temple hall, we were bombarded by harsh reality. It ached to walk outside. My mom and I looked at each other and there was an immediate sense that we had both felt something different in the temple hall. It remains as one of my favourite moments in Vrindavan.

As I remembered this scene today, I felt completely immersed in that same still air and the overwhelming feeling of cool checkered floor beneath me.

At Kusum Sarovar, morning of Govardhana Parikrama

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Year Later...

Yeah. I'm horrible at keeping this blog updated. BUT I did travel to India recently - after 16 years. I think that provides for some blog material, seeing that I documented everything in my journal. I'll probably put up a new post every week...but I'm not promising anything =).

So for those 1.5 readers, I hope you enjoy whatever comes out of this blog in the next little while!

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Favourite Hoodie

Hoodies are your warm solace in the cold winters of Canada. I have a huge collection of different styles, colours and sizes. Out of all of them, my favourite hoodie is the one I bought during Festival of Inspiration a couple of years ago. It has a beautiful, black and white print of Srila Prabhupada on the back. At first sight, it's easy to tell it is a picture of someone but few come up and ask who the person is. My friends are used to my "unique" ways that they are quick to ask and appreciate.

Not only is it the perfect hoodie in its size and warmth but its a constant reminder. It reminds me of that magnanimous personality I owe my life to every time I slide my arms through its sleeves. It acts as my armour against the arrows of the material world when my head pops out the opening. More importantly, it reminds me of my ultimate goal when I walk with it on, warm and thankful.

However, the other day I was reminded of the innate magic of Srila Prabhupada.

I was at work, "trying" to pay attention to my task, when one of my co-workers came over to speak to me. She is probably one of the sweetest people I have ever met with a care and genuineness that is truly special. She began to say she really liked my hoodie - it looked so warm! Slowly, carefully, she asked about the person on the back of my hoodie.

And slowly, carefully, I told her about Srila Prabhupada and a bit about Krsna Consciousness. With a bit of understanding, she opened up about her faith in Buddhism and the same principles came up - chanting the Holy Name will take you to your final goal, regardless of who you are. We also have the same cellphone and have the option of having a title and we found that we both had put something to remind us of the Holy Name (I have 'Kirtaniya Sada Hari'). We left the conversation with a better understanding of each other. It was truly special.

The next day, she emailed me a youtube video of George Harrison's, "My sweet Lord", one of her favourite songs. She was surprised to hear that the Beatles had met with Srila Prabhupada.

I couldn't stop smiling. My warm, beautiful hoodie brought me spiritually closer to someone else, a greater understanding. Again, it reminded me of how amazing Srila Prabhupada is, just in his form. His magic surpasses the illusions of this world because of his sincerity and love for Krsna.

It reminded me of how much I really love this hoodie all over again =).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shift in thinking

As I try to study for two exams, I'm compelled to procrastinate and write something. Plenty of thoughts have been running through my mind that should have made its way on to this blog....but haven't.

To break it down for you (mini-update):

Ratha-Yatra is less than a month away + finishing up 3rd year + chores I promised to finish once I had free time = busy me.

I managed somehow to make time for these activities/services. I would stay up for hours on end, skip meals because they got in the way, whatever it took. Futile, really, since my rounds were suffering. Completely.

Thank Krsna for devotee association and Brhat Mrdanga Prabhu. If you haven't met the latter, I suggest you find a way to meet him! He gave an unbelievable seminar on the importance of our most sacred vow, chanting 16 rounds. (To check it out, please visit: .)

As practioners, you hear constantly the importance of chanting. I totally get it but my problem is prioritizing. I leave my rounds to the last second, barely with an ounce of respect and love for them. I just want to finish them to say that I have. Neglected and used, would probably be used as words to describe our relationship. Prabhu kept hammering the point that rounds in the morning are the best and hearing the vibration is the most important part. So I have tried to rebuild that relationship in the morning. I won't lie - I don't finish all in the morning but the attitude is changing.

My rounds have become my solace. Solace from my juggling act of spiritual and material life - school, services, family. Truly a stress reliever. With this attitude in mind, I try to hear more deeply and to concentrate. It doesn't prove to be an easy task. The relationship is slowly building up to where it was before. Services are done with more awareness of reasonings and goals - Krsna. All in all, happier demeanour. Maintenance is crucial right now.

Will post some other stuff soon enough. (Really, a reminder for myself to do so.)

*Scurries back to studying*

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Amazing perspective...

HH Indradyumna Swami and Sri Prahlad Das recently visited our city in a blur of dancing, kirtan and well, dancing! Maharaja's stories of Srila Prabhupada were super special and one stuck with me.

Maharaja recounted a time when Srila Prabhupada was walking along the beach with several disciples. Upon spotting a bunch of stray dogs and someone taking their dog for a walk on a leash, Srila Prabhupada asked the devotees present, the difference between the dog on the leash and the stray dogs. Many were puzzled and could not answer the question. Srila Prabhupada explained that the stray dogs were skinny because of malnourishment, constantly looking for any morsel food and always on the run. However, the dog on the leash is quite the opposite. This dog has beautiful hair, is healthy and quite satisfied, regardless of being tied to a leash. Why is that? Srila Prabhupada explained that the leash was being held by the master, a master who is able to take care of all the various needs of the dog so that the dog need not worry about his next meal.

What a profound example! If I was presented this scenario outside the context of KC, I would not have understood the link between the well-being of the dog and the master. To be honest, I felt that the dog was kind of "trapped" by being tied to a leash. History has always put emphasis on so-called freedom - that we need to "break the shackles of oppression" and live free and I was kinda' following that line of thinking.

But what is freedom? Is it even possible to achieve and if it is, do I necessarily want it?

I guess the rebel teenager in me (which is still going strong, I might add) still thinks freedom is beneficial in this time and age and will prove to be helpful in the long run. The truth, which is inevitably harder to swallow is that yes, freedom needs to be achieved but not from the simple material shackles of political rivalries, slavery or economic crises but from the all encompassing power of Maya. By freeing ourselves from Her clutches, we rid ourselves from constant anxiety and immerse ourselves in the loving service of the Lord through the chanting of His Holy Names. Now, that's REAL freedom for ya'!

Back to Srila Prabhupada's amazing analogy. It is incredible how Srila Prabhupada could take such a mundane observation and make it transcendental by linking it to a fundamental thought in our philosophy: we as servants are better under the care of our Master - whether it be our spiritual master or ultimately, Krsna - since it is our eternal position. To be in any other situation would be going against what we naturally are and thus, cannot be fully satisfied.

Now, I just gotta' drill this point in my head.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Understanding the Disciplic Succession...

Vyasa Pujas are always a great way to reflect and enjoy a wondrous occasion. What gets me everytime is the humility a guru possesses and their sincerity towards the mission of Srila Prabhupada. I recently attended a Vyasa Puja. The most beautiful point was when Maharaja was offering Aarti to Srila Prabhupada. The love with which he offered all the items, with a smile on his face emanating humility.... that's disciplic succession personified. Hopefully, one day I can be part of that everlasting disciplic succession.

I can only wait.