Tuesday, November 29, 2011

these are from the e-mails in my inbox, as they appeared this morning, all in a row...

Today's Word of the Day from Anu Garg:


1. Not easily upset; tranquil.
2. Uniform; steady.
3. Free from extremes.

Today's Q&A from Swami Sivananda:

QUESTION #70: If God is just and merciful, why should there be so much misery in this world? Sometimes we see virtuous men suffer and hypocrites enjoy. What is the logic in this?

ANSWER: Misery is the eye-opener in this world. Had it not been for the presence of pain and misery, no one would attempt for salvation. Misery is a blessing in disguise.

Virtuous men treat suffering as a blessing as it develops the power of endurance and mercy, and makes them remember God always. They welcome suffering. They do not want worldly pleasure and prosperity. They have a changed vision. They always keep a balanced mind in pleasure and pain. You cannot understand their mental state. They rejoice in suffering. Your mind is still worldly. You cannot understand these things.

Today's Bhagavad-Gita Selection:

Chapter II: Sankhya Yoga
(Krishna speaking to Arjuna)
II.57. He who is everywhere without attachment, on meeting with
anything good or bad, who neither rejoices nor hates, his wisdom
is fixed.

COMMENTARY: The sage possesses poised understanding or evenness of mind. He does not rejoice in pleasure nor is he averse to pain that may befall him. He is quite indifferent as he is rooted in the Self. He has no attachment even for his life or body as he identifies himself with Brahman or the Supreme Self. He will not praise anybody when the latter does any good to him nor censure anyone when one does him any harm. This is the answer given by the Lord to Arjuna's query: "How does a sage of steady wisdom talk?"

You think someone's trying to tell me something?

Image by Leah Palmer Preiss. Purchase her work here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Madonna - "Shanti Ashtangi" / "Ray of Light"

The first song's lyrics are a variation of the ashtanga opening mantra.

Look for the awesome Supta Virasana adjustment from Lenny Kravitz in the second song, around 4:10.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Raw Thanksgiving

Not naked, but live:

Click here to hear Cara-Kali's radio essay about the raw Thanksgiving dinner she attended back in 2005.

When this essay was recorded, the diet was 30-60 percent live. Nowadays it can be up to 70 percent live during the warm months. Most of what I consume comes from a short list of specific foods, particularly certain juicy fruits, in their natural form. In the cold months, there is more cooked food. The digestive system is still not a fan of raw food restaurants that use a lot of nuts, spices, seasonings and combinations to make live food look and taste like something cooked. It does, however, seem to like eating seasonally (again, from a short list of specific foods). And it has the final say over what goes into the mouth.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


"A person however learned and qualified in his life's work in whom gratitude is absent, is devoid of that beauty of character which makes personality fragrant."

-Hazrat Inayat Khan


"Everything we do should be a result of our gratitude for what God has done for us."

-Lauryn Hill

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ashwin Batish - "Bombay Boogie"

We used to play this on our college radio show, and thought it was gone forever.....

Thursday, November 17, 2011


"Kindness resembles God the closest and disarms man the quickest."

-Father Vermeuhlen in A Nun's Story

Click here to read about the novel's author.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Prema Mudita Manasey Kaho Rama Rama Ram Rama Rama Ram
Papa Ghatey Dukha Mitey Lekey Rama Naam
Bhava Samudra Sukhada Nava Eka Rama Naam
PaRama Shanti Sukha Nidhana Divya Rama Naam
Niradhara Ko Adhara Eka Rama Naam
Maata Pita Bandhu Sakha Sabhi Rama Naam
Bhakta Janara Jivana Dhana Eka Rama Naam
Rama Rama Ram Rama Rama Ram
Rama Rama Ram Shri Rama Rama Ram

With the heart and mind full of love and devotion, recite the name of Lord Rama. Reciting the name of Lord Rama cuts down sins and miseries and helps to cross the ocean of life and death. So potent is Lord Rama's name that it brings eternal peace and bliss and is the only support of those who have no support. O Lord Rama! You are my Mother, Father, Relations, Friends, everything, and all. The only life-long treasure of the devotee is your name.

Chant the mantra 'Rama Rama Ram'. Chant should emanate from the depths of the heart. Remember the name of Rama with love. God can be realized only through love and by no other means.

Click here to hear Satya Sai Baba's amazing, heartfelt version of this lovely bhajan.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


"A human being is a part of the whole called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind."

- Albert Einstein, in a letter to a man at the World Jewish Congress

(For the record, Einstein was also a vegetarian, who said,"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.")

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Words by the Participants

I feel inspired and refreshed. This time away was much needed and now I am feeling renewed strength in my Self.

I feel a strong connection to the Dharma Yoga and the sattvic teachings.
It has pushed me to grow so much already and I have only just begun.

I love the that the teachings are strong in their roots and there isn't a taboo on the subject of God that I have found in other classes.

"Be receptive to the grace of God."

What you said about the true Self got to me. I've heard you say it before but this time was different.

I also felt I had some “healing” in some way. I certainly can attest to the shared warm glow afterward. I hope I can hold onto this feeling!

I felt my body was strong and my mind was peaceful in the retreat! I had a good time and I am glad I did!!

Fond memories of an unforgettable week-end flood my mind as I settle in after a long day of working....:) I feel so blessed to have spent the last few days learning more about the the 8 limbs of yoga. I just can't seem to get enough of the wisdom that yoga offers.

The retreat was even better than I imagined. I enjoyed it all, but most of all, I enjoyed our circle of "offering up" at the end...I was awed by the spirit and expertise of the those who chose to participate. Truly, I have never seen yoga performed so beautifully and freely.

....Such a lovely, energetic and memorable time together.

I can't begin to express what the retreat meant to me. Life has seemed pretty turbulent and exhausting lately. The retreat was the first opportunity I have had in months for true rest. I felt cradled in the arms of the Mother throughout the weekend. Sleep was free of interruption, solitude was peaceful, company was uplifting, devotion was heart-felt and asana was humbling. It felt like exactly what I needed to stay afloat.

I can't wait until the next time we can do it again! I loved every moment spent with you. Peaceful, gentle night, If only I had a labyrinth to walk in the moonlight!

For me, the retreat offered a special transformation. I awakened Saturday night from a new sensation. I found that the persistent pain of an eye ailment I had developed several weeks ago had receded. I shared this news with Cara, attributing it to our breathing rituals, and she reminded me that we had done a purification ritual. She shared with me that we would do more on Sunday, and we did and as I write this to you all, I am still pain free.

I am grateful to the Universe that brings what we need. So on Sunday for the first time,emboldened by that feeling of healing, I had the courage to embrace the beginnings of two inversion postures. My fear left with my pain. So I wanted to say thanks to each of you, for you were a part of that energy, and I am humbled by the power of the experience. I move forward today still warmed by the glow of our synergy. So may I offer to each of you the blessings of peace and harmony in your day.

Thank you to everyone who made this weekend so magical, including my nephew (who made the flyers) and brother (who took the pictures), the Port for Prayer, my Guru and teachers (who taught through me), and the participants - including the many karma yogis who helped out in various ways (including the DeKalb Four, for their lovely photo). It is their selflessness that made this such a powerful experience. Many pranams to you. Om Namah Shivay! Jai Jai Ma!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Inspired by this weekend's wonderful retreat

Jai Jai Ma!

Thursday, November 03, 2011


"A nun is not a person who wishes or desires."

-Audrey Hepburn, as Sister Luke in A Nun's Story

I recently caught this 1959 film by accident on Channel 11, and was spellbound.

Based on the 1956 novel by Kathryn Hulme, it's about a young Belgian nurse who in 1900 decided to leave her family to become a nun and work in the Belgian Congo.

The burning away of her lower nature through such pre-Vatican II tapas (austerities) as avoiding useless speech and relationships, writing down her faults, constantly negating her self-will, attempting perfect obedience, getting up at 4am, etc. reminded me so much of yoga, I kept inadvertently substituting the word "yogi" for "nun" as I watched this excellent film.

At one point, Sister Luke is standing across the operating table from the brilliant atheist doctor, performing a surgery.

She starts to blink and turn green, and then begins to faint.

The doctor asks if it's the long hours and lack of food that are making her lightheaded.

No, she says.

"It's all the garlic you ate last night."

* * *

(Garlic fumes make this yogi feel ill, too).

(In fact, when I was in Mysore the students used to avoid garlic and onions so that they wouldn't offend Pattabhi Jois. That is, until Friday night - when they could eat whatever they wanted, since there was no practice on Saturday. More often than not, they went for the pungent, deep-fried, garlic-and-onion-laden Gobi Machuri at Mahesh Prasad).

(If only the students here would do the same).


"Tension is a sign of intense internal struggle."

-Dr. Fortunati