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Archive for the ‘Featured Weblog Posts’ Category

Kaustubha das

Radhanath Swami on Sita’s Banishment

“There is more love in separation than in union, for in union the beloved is found in one place only, while in separation the beloved is found everywhere.” Braja poet Nanda das

[One can not estimate the influence of the Ramayana on India’s culture and art or it’s importance to the panorama of India’s religious and spiritual traditions. Rich in the teachings of ancient Hindu sages, the Ramayana’s 24,000 Sanskrit verses follow the life of the Vishnu avatar Rama, from his childhood as prince of Ayodhya, to his youth amongst the sages, his marriage to Sita, their exile to the forest, the kidnapping of Sita to Lanka, the rescuing of Sita and their triumphant return to Ayodhya. But then Rama, who had throughout the epic professed his unending love for Sita, upon hearing an ordinary washer-man’s doubts about Sita’s chastity during her captivity in Lanka, banishes Sita from the kingdom. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Kaustubha das

Finding Selflessness Amidst Mumbai’s Sorrow

When we see innocent people running our city streets, scrambling for shelter from acts of violence committed in God’s name, whether in Manhattan or Mumbai, it’s a good time to ask ourselves whether our religion is making us more divine or deranged. On the verge of 2009, it’s become all the more apparent that the first decade of the new millennium will, in many ways, be defined by the impact of religious terrorism on our nations, communities, families and minds. Times like these call for us to examine how our faith affects our reasoning. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Dhanurdhara Swami

The Mother, The Mind, and Food

GFV LogoRecently my mother related to me how she was advising her daughter-in-law, who had become overwhelmed with the responsibilities of her family and job. She quoted to her daughter-in-law a Yiddish saying that her own mother told her when my mother was similarly overwhelmed with the care of her three young sons. She said something to the effect that ‘it will all soon pass.” Now that my students have children and I am often living among them, I have become more aware of how much sacrifice a mother has to make. Somehow, until my mother recently told me about her own struggles as a mother raising young children, I never realized that she also underwent a similar sacrifice taking care of me and my two brothers. I have to say that over the last few years my admiration for motherhood has soared. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Sacinandana Swami

Leaving the Noise of the Ten Thousand Little Things

The Art of “Retreating”

In this retreat I would like to go deep into myself, leaving all the different layers behind. I know that deep down in the very bottom of my heart a treasure is waiting for me. I can find it by the process of “spiritual archaeology.” I feel that this treasure will give me the strength required to deal with the compromises I make in my life that keep me in the so-called comfort zone. It is a dangerous zone that gets darker each time I act in a way contrary to what I know to be true. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Matthew Dasti

Creation, Karma, and Intelligent Design in Nyaya and Vedanta

vishnu shesha 4The phrase “intelligent design” gets a lot of currency these days, from both its champions and foes. Its proponents contend that the organized structure found within the universe indicates an intelligent cause whereas its opponents claim that undirected natural processes are enough. I have heard some people claim that the notion of intelligent design is merely an attempt to repackage Christian creationism in a respectable way. But, this is clearly false. It’s a Hindu notion as well. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Kaustubha das

Yoga Journal’s Abstract Impressions of Bhakti

Yoga Journal’s June, 2008 issue features an article by Nora Issacs entitled “Everyday Ecstasy – See the Divine in everything, when you practice bhakti, the yoga of devotion”. In the magazine’s Editor’s Letter it is mentioned, “we welcome the criticism and praise we receive from readers – it helps us to ‘refine our alignment’ and explore beyond our normal boundaries”. In this spirit, I’d like to offer some constructive criticism. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Dhanurdhara Swami

Kirtan and Humility or: Scrambled Thoughts on Grass

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“One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant constantly.”
(Shri Shikshastakam verse 3)

Pradyumna, a friend and noted scholar, recently shared with me, in his own words, Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s interesting commentary on the phrase trnad api, “lower than a blade of grass” from Shri Shikshastakam (Shri Caitanyas eight core instructions), where the anonymity of the kirtaniya (kirtan leader) is described: CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Dhanurdhara Swami

Windows to the Material World

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I just finished assembling my journals into book form for a final edit. Fortunately, I finished the work before my computer crashed. I knew it was on the blink, but I dreaded the day when it need to be sent for repair. Leaving the shop on my way home, however, I felt a surprising relief, a sense of liberation. Even though I use the computer almost exclusively for my writing and correspondence, it felt as if some shackle of illusion had been lifted. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Kaustubha das

The Ornaments of a Sadhu

titikshavah karunikah
suhridah sarva-dehinam
ajata-satravah santah
sadhavah sadhu-bhushanah

The symptoms of a sadhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime. (The Vishnu avatar Kapiladeva to his mother Devahuti, Srimad-bhagavatam 3.25.21)

There is an apparent irony in the term sadhu-bhushana, (sadhu-ornaments). The stereotypical image of a sadhu is that of an ochre-clad, long bearded, Hindu ascetic who sheds all ornaments save for a string of beads and a mark of sacred clay. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

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