Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bring It On

(photo by

On my way to Whole Foods the other day, as always I passed by the street basketball court. The guys who play games on this court are like, NBA material. But they usually just wear their casual shorts and old T-shirts.

But this time was different. I could hear the whistle calls of a referee ring out down the street, and I could see that there were uniform red jerseys all over the court. Intrigued, I walked up into the park. Crowds had gathered.

I watched in awe. These casual street players had suddenly transformed into athletes with one-pointed focus and intensity. The orange basketball zigzagged up and down the court, between hands, between players, the teams migrating up and down the court in swift and stunning speed.

Just watching the game I felt that nothing else mattered in the world but that orange ball and getting it to swish through the net. I laughed, groaned, cheered.

When at last I pulled away, I walked on and meditated on how I want to live my life with the intensity of that basketball game. I want to absorb my mind utterly and completely, where nothing else matters but serving God.

Well, today was my day to cook lunch for the deities here, Radha Murlidhar, as well as the devotees. Today also so happened to be Srila Prabhupad's appearance day. So I plotted and planned to cook a lovely feast.

Beginning at 7:30am, nothing else mattered but chopping vegetables, baking muffins, spicing dals... time was ticking, ticking down until the offering would be made at 11:30am.

Cooking became my basketball game.

Only minutes were left when I discovered that I hadn't even made the rice. My friend Gauranga saved the day and began to make almond rice.

When Keshava Krishna arrived with the offering plate, I was still dashing around the kitchen.

But the plate got made. Everything was offered to Srila Prabhupad and Radha Murlidhar.

Swish! She scores!

Bring it on... for life.

I'm game.

(photo by

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Turn Up The Volume!

One of my 2013 New Year's Resolution: Write a minimum of 40 blog posts this year.

Guess what?

It's almost September and this is my 13th post. This has got to be my lowest publishing rate ever in the history of this blog. I feel sad and yet also indignant. Like, come on, you can do better than 13 posts. 

So, being a woman of my word, it's time to turn up the volume. 

On this stereo of Bhakti lata's life, we'll be playing 27 posts - life stories, photography, poetry, fiction, reflections, art, or just checking in. 

And who knows? My vow was a "minimum" of 40 posts. 

Stay tuned to this station. 

(photo by

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jewel of Stillness

For the past two weeks, my life has been scheduled chaos. Yeah, I guess I'm just catching the New York vibe, right?


Amidst such storms of activity, something stands out to me right now as I write this. Last night, Radhanath Swami gave a talk, and because I was MCing the program, I sat right up front. I'm talking front row, there was literally no one sitting in front of me.

Even though I had so many duties to conduct this program and I could have been dashing all over the Bhakti Center to arrange stuff, somehow I was forced to just sit. Sit still, Bhakti lata, and listen.

Listen I did.

There's just something about the way that Radhanath Swami speaks that pulls me into another world. Radhanath Swami has this grace to cut through to the essence with such beauty.

Last night, time stood still. I could've listened to him for hours speaking about compassion, integrity, humility, self-worth.

Not to get too gurukuli on you, but I'm just not much of a scripture class kind of girl. I remember, though, how when I was about fifteen and just getting to know Radhanath Swami, his classes would have this same effect of me: time would stand still. The world would fall quiet and my mind would be washed in light, my heart washed in realization.

I once heard that a symptom that someone is our spiritual master is when we listen to him or her speak spiritual philosophy and all of our doubts vanish. For as long as I can remember, back even to when I was a child, when I have heard Radhanath Swami speak, my doubts would vanish, my heart would awaken.

In this sense, as the years go on I realize that I did not choose Radhanath Swami as my guru. My soul has only needed to recognize him as my guide and beloved master.

So amidst such chaos here in New York - and while I am praying praying praying for things to settle down - to sit in front of Radhanath Swami speak was a jewel of stillness. 

To write is to dare the soul. So write.