Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thoughts on Love

view from the mosque

A Muslim praying in the mosque next to the Taj Mahal. 
Which is real love - the monument or the prayer?

"If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism." 
- Erich Fromm 

When I first entered the gates and saw the Taj Mahal, the full impact of its glory didn't quite sink in. I had to sit down on a ledge for over five minutes to drink in the splendor. I analyzed lines and perfect arcs and the symmetry of the white marble against a pale blue sky. At one point I couldn't even analyze any more - it was just too beautiful.  

My awe was tingued with distaste, though. All this splendor... to house a dead body? And second, the nature of this king; he cut off the hands of the 300 artisans who had labored for 22 years to create this masterpiece, just so that the Taj could be unparalelled. Such violence just to protect his ego.

If that king truly loved anyone in this world, his love would extend to others. He would be a revered example of care and compassion. His "love" for Mumtaz was selfish, in the end, and he used that "love" as an excuse to glorify himself. 

Now consider the Palace of Gold in New Vrindavan, which has often been called the "Taj Mahal of the West". The Palace was a part of my childhood, and in growing up in New Vrindavan, I heard volumes of tales of the sacrifices that were poured into the building of this monument for Srila Prabhupad. 

(above photo courtesy of

And I realize that when we do something for God, or His devotees, no act of sacrifice or service, no expression of love is ever too great. We could dedicate every breath, every movement of our bodies, every thought in our minds to God and to His devotees, and still we could find more to give. That's the nature of love. 

Monday, April 13, 2009


I dedicate this video to Srila Prabhupad and Radhanath Swami. Without them, I would have never tasted any sweetness of Vrindavan. 

I present to you this humble offering.
(note: if you are an e-mail subscriber, you will need to click through to to view this video) 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Revelations of an Editor

"A good editor is one who encourages a writer to write his best. Being an editor is a kind of selfless thing--again and again your own wisdom and insight are absorbed invisibly by the author, who then signs his name." John Updike

When Syamarani dasi (aka Jadurani dasi) discovered that I loved to write, she proposed to me that I help her edit a long-anticipated book. I agreed, if a bit naively. So for the past several months, I have poured hours and hours into editing various manuscripts. I have found that editing is a grueling, unglamorous process. 

And I love it. 

There’s no fame at the end. No one knows (or cares) who the editor of a book is. The only glory is to maybe hold a finished book in your hand one day with the knowledge that in some small way... you served. 

And no one knows

That, I realize in the most profound way, is the best part. 

And so last month, I met the gurukuli Nandini dasi, who was the editor of Radhanath Swami’s recent book, The Journey Home. (And I’ll bet you had no CLUE of that fact.) 

“Nandini, however did you receive such a service?” I inquired. "I admit, I'm quite jealous." I added.

Nandini smiled. “My husband and I are old friends of Ram das [the publisher]. So he directed Maharaj to me.”

“Amazing. Have you ever met Maharaj?”

“No, I haven’t,” she replied. 

“Are you serious?”


“When you do... Oh man, he is going to shower you with so much love.”

She laughed and then grew serious. “When I read the story of how he met Srila Prabhupad, I wept.”

She reviewed that piece of writing? “Oh my,” I murmured. 

Now that is the joy of being an editor. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kirtan of the Year

This kirtan has my vote for Kirtan of the Year. 

After the fireworks, breathless, I dashed up to my room in the castle and found time to write a blog post... check it out here:  KuliMela LIVE: Day 3

(note: photos are by Roman Dvaladze and Yadurani... I was too busy dancing to take photos!) 

By the way, you DO know there's a KuliMela in Los Angeles this summer, right?

See you there, right?

We'll rock it out, right? 

To write is to dare the soul. So write.