Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Japaholics Anonymous

Manu wrote this blog post several weeks ago (you can read it here) about an alcoholic who falls to his knees every morning to pray to God to give him the strength to be sober for that day.

This man has fallen to his knees for forty years. He's been sober for forty years.

In connection with chanting the holy name, I realize that I'm that alcoholic. I've been in a space where I haven't chanted japa, and I never want to go back.

So I need to fall to my knees. I need to BEG God every single morning to please allow me to chant His name sincerely for that day, for every day, for all of my life.

Some people can be sober their whole life with no problem, just like there are people who can chant their rounds every day on the simple merit of regularity. It's a non-issue. 

But I'm like the alcoholic. I am in danger of falling away every single day. I need to pray every single day for God's grace to allow me to even wake up in the morning, to even pick up my beads, to even utter one syllable.  

And every morning, before I chant, I fall to the floor and I pray to Krishna: Please allow me to chant Your name today. Give me the strength to make it through this one day.

Just this one day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Installation of Sri Nitai Gaurachandra

Krishna Dhama and Gaura Shakti are two second-generation devotees who recently invited the Lord as Sri Nitai Gaurachandra into their home and into their family.   

Come and celebrate!

The family offers prayers



[below photo courtesy of Jaya Radhe]

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Story of a Vow

Around five years ago, on a warm summer night in Alachua, Dattatreya, Jaya Radhe, and I sat in a circle with Bhagavad Gitas in our laps.

"So, if we're going to do this Bhagavad Gita study group, I say we have a vow in order," I declared.

"Vow?" Jaya said.

"Yeah." I put my hand in the center of our circle. "You guys in?"

Jaya slowly placed her hand on top of mine.

"I'm in," Datta said, and he placed his hand on Jaya's.

"So," I intoned. "We must vow to read, study, and complete the entire Bhagavad Gita, together."

"Agreed." Jaya said.

"Agreed." Datta said.

We looked around the circle and grinned at each other. Then I shouted, "Srila Prabhupada, ki - "

"JAI!" And our hands flew to the sky.

One night a week, we meet in one of our living rooms to read the ancient Bhagavad Gita and Srila Prabhupad's timeless words. We discuss, we debate, and we confront our issues of faith with gruelling honesty. Each one of us contribute something unique, each of us with a dynamic and perspective that balances the discussion.

But life has drawn the three of us down paths into unknown worlds, paths that have lead away from Alachua, away from each other, sometimes for months and months at a time. We all have been turned upside down, twisted inside out, and had our heart put through the washing machine a couple times.

But always, after our sojourns into the world, our paths return to the confluence of one of our living rooms on a Monday night, and to the words of the Bhagavad Gita and Srila Prabhupad.  

At the time we made our fateful vow, we all thought it would take us a year, maybe two to complete the Bhagavad Gita.

Five years later, and we're on Chapter Five. 

We've stopped trying to calculate when we'll finish, because we've all realized that there is no finish line. Through each other's association, the words of the Gita have leapt from the pages and have irrevocably changed each of our lives.   

Man, we had no idea what we were getting into when we put our hands into that circle. 

To write is to dare the soul. So write.