Thursday, September 26, 2013


I'll tell you a secret: I have absolutely no idea what is going on in my life.

Maybe I seem like I have it all together; my career, family life, spiritual life. All my life I've been a "conviction" type of girl - deciding on a path and walking that path with one-pointed zeal.

But now?

Not really.

If you could peek inside my mind, you'd find a whirling tornado like in the Wizard of Oz, with houses, bicycles and people flying through the air. For the past nine months or so, half-baked plans and half-hearted convictions whirl through my mind and make me dizzy. And sad.

And lost.

All I can do is put one foot in front of the other - offer worship to Radha Murlidhar, go to work, host a program, engage in this beautiful adventure of living at the Bhakti Center. Just keep going. But when I look up - what's your plan for your career, Bhakti? what's your plan for college, Bhakti? what's your plan for making money, Bhakti? what's your plan for community, Bhakti? what's your plan for service, Bhakti?

I don't know I don't know I don't know.

I don't know.

So there you are, that's my secret.

What's yours? Ha ha!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An Honor

Today I got to dress Sri Radha Murlidhar for the first time.

What an honor. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Story

Last night in a circle of people, Tukuram Prabhu asked me, "So what's your story?"

I drew a blank. "My story? Uh, what do you mean?"

"Your story. Whatever that means to you."

My mind flew with images of which tack I could take. Being born and raised a Hare Krishna? No. My path to finding a guru? No. My professional career path? Nah. How I have come to the Bhakti Center here in New York City?

None of them seemed to tell MY story completely.

The conversation within the group of people kept pivoting and shifting, and Tukuram must have asked me 3 or 4 times, "What's your story?"

I was vague. I changed the topic. I kept asking him to clarify.

Finally he said, "Okay, look, I'm going to tell your story."

"Whoah, whoah, I didn't even say anything!"

"But how you've spoken already is enough,"

"But, but - "

"Hey, I might be wrong. But hear me out, it's like getting your fortune told."

I felt dubious. "Ooookay..."

The whole circle of people went utterly quiet and listened to what Tukuram told me what my story was. He described me as affable and easy to get along with, but actually a very private person who doesn't open up much. "When I ask people this question, most people are ready to simply tell me a story, but you? You kept avoiding the question,"

Okay then.

You wanna know my story?

I'll tell you my story of love.

As a child, I always felt this loneliness, this hole in my heart. God was my friend - familiar but not too serious. I had a difficult time growing up with parents that I experienced as not very present in my life. When I was 13, I developed a chronic illness and began to search for a spiritual path that I could own. I began the journey of finding a spiritual master and of healing my relationship with my parents. I have had several romantic experiences that have challenged me to go to the core of my heart to be a woman of honor and integrity. Most of all, I have learned to embrace who I am, just as I am, and to let myself laugh when I trip and fall.

As time goes on, I am finding that nothing of this world fills the hole in my heart. Nothing, no one. Only God, only Krishna, only His devotees.

That's my story.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Journal Roulette

72 volumes. 72 volumes of putting my soul on paper. My journals now take up several shelves of a bookcase in my room, silently containing the history of my life since I was 11 years old.

I'm going to conduct a little experiment.

I'm going to open up several random journals and open to a random page. I'll then copy down a paragraph or two from those pages. Let's call it Journal Roulette, shall we?

You ready?

August 1st, 2011 (age 24)
Baja, Mexico [summer Bus Tour]
I write this late at night in the front seats of the bus. We're parked on the cliff, and the ocean waves crash far below in whispers. Everyone's sleeping.

December 24th, 2005 (age 18)
Oaxaca, Mexico [winter Bus Tour]
I pull plants out of the bag... and pull out the ugliest coconut head I have EVER laid eyes on. It's carved and painted to the likeness of a pirate with an eye-patch and an ugly grin.

I fight the urge to drop it and scream through the numbness. Hoots and raucous laughter erupt around the bus...

Why couldn't I have gotten a pair of earrings???

December ?, 2008 (age 21)
Tirupati, India
I stormed off to Brindavan, the mystical garden of Anantalvar, the place where his soul resides. There, I found my solace at the lake. A sadhu was chanting his gayatri on the ghat steps, and his presence soothed me. Otherwise the entire garden and ghat was empty in the cool evening.

November 1st, 2011 (age 24)
Gainesville, Florida
I'm sitting here in the eveningtime writing this on the Plaza of the Americas, and a young man just walked by me with a wave and a smile. [Puzzled], I called out to him, "Do I know you?"

He turned around and smiled. "No. You just look happy and peaceful. That's all."

I beamed. "Why, thank you!"

He waved again, turned around, and kept walking.

May 1st, 2013 (age 26)
Mayapur, India
Last night I spent time with Jahnavi at her place. We shared such deep secrets and realizations with each other. Shame, guilt... I feel so deeply grateful to have shared with someone this secret of shame that has been in my heart for many months now. We actually discussed it - not that I just said it and it was over. Wow. I feel like I was cleaning out and letting go of a burden. Last night I slept very peacefully; I had simple and peaceful dreams.

July 26th, 2001 (age 14)
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
I have been through major ups and major downs, but you - a journal that reflects my own thoughts - are a patient friend who is always there to help me see the light. It is almost as if Krishna himself was guiding me. I could not have found anyone more dependable than a piece of paper, a pen, and my own soul.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

When The Time Comes...

In June, three of us young women were seated around a dinner table in Mumbai. One woman in particular was sharing her woes and thoughts on love and marriage.

Then she turned the tables and asked me, "Do you want to get married?"

"Of course I want to get married," I replied. "My desire to be in a relationship and get married has been one of the biggest meditations of my life. Many heart whirlwinds, quite a bit of pain."

"Really?" another young woman put in. "But, I mean, you seem so peaceful about it."

I smiled. "Thank you. You know, I feel peaceful."

"How? Why?"

I paused for a moment, then grinned and leaned forward. "Okay ladies, let me break it down. Here's the reality check: I'm not in a relationship. Just a fact. Now, is there anything I'm willing to do about it? Yes or no? No. I'm not going to go figure something out.

"So I'm not in a relationship, there's nothing I'm willing to DO about it, voila: peace."

The two young women looked at me with wide eyes.

"It's that simple?"

"Yes. Bhakti Vidya Purna Maharaj once told me, 'When the time comes, the time comes.'"

The woman who had been sharing her woes grinned and said, "Wow. Perfect."

So if you're reading this and you're searching for or waiting for your life partner, just trust me, trust God: when the time comes, the time comes.


"Real love is a pilgrimage. It happens when there is no strategy, but it is very rare because most people are strategists." - Anita Brookner

Monday, September 2, 2013


My room here at the Bhakti Center was a tornado zone for quite a long time. So much moving had my life in a whirlwind. Boxes, luggage, piles of clothes and bags lay everywhere.

When I had a day off work, immediately I scheduled a trip out of town to buy organizational stuff at a Wal-Mart.

After many hours I came back, holding a long box and laden down with all of my organizational stuff in my suitcase. I stepped out of the elevator onto the sixth floor. In the hallway I encountered a huge crowd of residents.

"Hey guys, is there a party going down?" I called out, jolly.

Virabhadra grinned at me. "We're here to greet you, Bhakti lata!"

"Ha ha, nice. No seriously, what's up?"

Just then, all heads turned to the apartment door 6W and everyone fell a little quiet - Radhanath Swami emerged.

"Oh, haribol Maharaj," I said.

"Bhakti lata, where have you been?" he asked.

"I was at Wal-Mart. I bought a lot of organizational stuff for my room."

His eyes went wide. "Can I come see your room?"

"God no, Maharaj," I replied with a little laugh. "It's a tornado zone."

"No really, I'd like to come see your room,"

I laughed again, still thinking that he was joking. "Ah, sorry my dear gurumaharaj, but my room is a mess."

Radhanath Swami took up the handle of my rolling luggage. My eyes went wide.

"Let's go," he said.

I walked forward towards my apartment, my feet becoming heavy with each step. Maharaj rolled my luggage behind me. My mind raced - my room, my room, God forbid was there anything embarrassing lying around, like underwear? Sure, I could've firmly said no, but this seemed to be very important to Maharaj. He had been inquiring about my living situation from the moment he had reached the Bhakti Center.

We entered apartment 6E and I walked towards my room. My friend Nanda joined us. "Maharaj, I just bought all this organizational stuff, I swear!"

He just smiled, maneuvering my luggage over some shoes on the floor. Then with a pounding heart, I slowly opened the door to my little room. He came over and peeked inside. Nanda also came and we exchanged nervous looks. My room was a madhouse. My stomach dropped.

Maharaj turned to me and lifted his brows, then stepped inside to turn on the lamp. He peered around and then stepped even deeper into my room, standing in the very center of the chaos. "Hm, no windows..."

I held bated breath. Then he came around and peered into other crevices of the tiny room, leaving no spot unobserved. I felt like I was getting X-rayed.

He emerged.

"Calling this room a mess is like calling the ocean a puddle," he remarked, then laughed, his eyes twinkling.

Only Radhanath Swami could make a poetic analogy out of this. I laughed too.

Maharaj then systematically went through the rest of the apartment, observing the piles of bags in the hallway, the unswept floors. He seemed to be catching us off-guard - who we were when no one was looking. There was something stinging and yet also relieving about him being there, like hydrogen peroxide cleaning a cut.

At the end of his inspection, he turned to me and said, "Bhakti lata, I would do anything for you,"

I fell silent, and my heart echoed with the unspoken words, Please just let me be near Radha Murlidhar. Please let me be here or nearby.

Then Maharaj turned around and said, "Well, we had our pastimes," then he chuckled and left apartment 6E.

To write is to dare the soul. So write.