Saturday, March 23, 2013

Birthday Prayer

Yesterday morning for my birthday, my friend Mandali and I took a rickshaw to Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur's bhajan kutir. This is the place where the Thakur made a vow to chant one billion names of the Lord in prayer for the fallen souls of this age. He chanted for 9 years and 3 months.

I had wanted this quiet, meditative morning; obviously Lord Chaitanya had a different plan. Yesterday so happened to be the last day of Navadwip Mandala Parikrama! This is an organized pilgrimage that draws thousands of people from every corner of the world. Mandali and I were moving among rivers and rivers of people, their eyes glowing, faces bright. We kept shaking our heads and grinning, letting ourselves get carried with the current. 

The kutir itself is usually quiet, but yesterday thousands had gathered in the courtyard to sing kirtan and listen to saintly people speak about such a holy place. I felt moved by how the Lord has truly reciprocated with the Thakur's prayers to flood the world with love of God. 

This kutir is the place to pray to be empowered to give. I prayed that this year I can be strong and share with others the love that has been given to me by the great souls.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur 

Srila Prabhupad 

my spiritual master, Radhanath Swami 

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Mayapur Academy

After five years of prayer, endeavor, and many, many blessings, three days ago I received a Diploma with Distinction from the Mayapur Academy.

When Nrisimha Kavacha Prabhu came through Alachua in 2007, he spoke about the Mayapur Academy. The Academy would be a place where people from around the world could come and learn the art of worshiping the Lord in his deity form.

Immediately I resolved that one day I would take this 4-month course. Year after year passed, but the time was never right. Finally, last year I graduated from college and was free to go to India.

Only... I was a broke, fresh-out-of-college student.

But this was the year. It had to be.

With much trepidation, I began a fundraising campaign. I needed to raise thousands of dollars within only two months. Would people believe in me? I faced huge walls within myself to reach out so boldly.

I swallowed my pride and began to send e-mails and then make phone calls. I soon began to realize, though, that through fundraising for this trip, Lord Chaitanya was pushing me forward to beg the blessings of everyone I knew in my life - professional colleagues, senior devotees, peers, even juniors. A tsunami of blessings rushed in.

I reached almost my entire fundraising goal.

Thus, built upon the blessings of the devotees, last November I stepped into the Mayapur Academy. For four months I have been immersed in a powerful world filled with austerity, magic, and beauty.

I have dived deep into the reality that God is a person. Be clean for God, show up on time for God, cook the best food for God, give the best clothes and jewelry and flowers to God. Sing for Him, sacrifice for Him, be soft with Him, cry for Him.

That is love.

Love is a verb, and for the past four months I have been in the fire of that verb, realizing how how icy my heart truly is. My only hope is to remain in the fire.

Now that I have received my diploma, I am reflecting how I have been propelled forward by the blessings I received last year and every step of the way. I especially want to thank my parents - my fundraising campaign had been unfinished, and so they have supported me in these final months to finish the Academy.

I feel deeply moved by each and every person who spoke some kind word or gave even one dollar. Thank you.  

I offer my respects to each of my gurus at the Academy, especially Jananivas Prabhu and Nrisimha Kavacha Prabhu. I offer my respects to each of my fellow students, who taught me so much about humility, patience, tolerance, and respect.

I offer my gratitude to my spiritual master, Radhanath Swami, and to Srila Prabhupad. 

I pray that to repay this debt of love I may give to others what I have been given.  


If you are interested in attending or offering support to the Mayapur Academy, please visit

If you would like to give so that I may finish my time here in Mayapur, you can visit Thank you.

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