Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Open Secret

Today over lunch, my friend Amal Kirtan asked me how I'm finding his home country of Brazil.

"I am feeling so deeply fortunate." I replied. "Amazed. The devotees here seem to live with their hearts on their sleeves. They give their whole hearts in service. No walls."

"Indeed, Brazilians have very open hearts," Amal Kirtan agreed.

"Yes! But I am wondering, Prabhu - if their hearts are so open, don't their hearts also get hurt much more easily?"

Amal Kirtan shook his head, "Brazilians have very strong hearts. It's very hard to break a Brazilian heart,"

My eyes widened and I leaned forward in my seat. "But why? How come??"

"Brazilians give and love with all their hearts, and if it gets hurt they also let it go. They know how to let go."

I leaned back in my seat. "Wow. They don't get so bitter or angry,"

"No, that's American!" Amal Kirtan laughed, and I laughed, too.

Brazilians seem to live the open secret: let love flow.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Letter to Srila Prabhupad

Note: For the holy month of Kartik, I have vowed to write a letter every day to Srila Prabhupad.

Dear Srila Prabhupad,

Once again I'm experiencing stuckness in my writing for Seed of Devotion. I know, I know, I just need to sit down and write. Argh, why do I go through this, these intense spells of resistance to writing?

How did you do it? How? Every single day you wrote the most empowered and heart-transforming words on the planet.  Just by reading one of your books once, people discover meaning to breathing and being alive. They transform how they live their lives and devote their hearts to love of God. 

Prabhupad, you were such a clean, beautiful instrument. So clean.

I aspire to be like you. But I experience the instrument of my heart as clogged up and rusty with pride, ulterior motives, selfishness, and laziness.

So I pray that you at least allow me to stay in the fire of purification to clean my heart. I want to become a truly clean instrument for your and Krishna's will. I want to become your pen. 

This is the only way my soul shall fully blossom. 

Thank you,

Bhakti lata dasi 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why We're Alive

Here at the Bhakti Center, we have a community meeting every two weeks to simply connect and cultivate relationships. Last Friday we gathered. 

With each person who spoke into the open space of the circle, I could feel something special build. Then Ghanashyam shared his reflections on living here for the past decade - that the building was nothing without the people. Nothing. Even though people may come and go, relationships formed here in the fire of service to God are somehow different, special, eternal.

After he finished sharing, a long silence fell. His words seemed to hang in the air like spun glass. 

Later that evening I walked up to the rooftop to chant my japa meditation. Manhattan sprawled around me in every direction in all of its glittering, silent splendor. The cold air chilled my skin and I pulled my shawl tighter. I chanted the holy name and Ghanashyam's words circled through my mind in quiet spirals.  

The entire world looks to New York City for the next trend, the next wave. Srila Prabhupad knew this - that's why he came to Manhattan, and that is how the entire worldwide movement of Krishna Consciousness began.

When I reflect upon that night of walking on the roof of the Bhakti Center, I realize that although I was surrounded by the glory of buildings of the most powerful city in the world, they were nothing without the people inside of them. Nothing. They were just cement, steel, and glass.

It is so easy to get lost in the insanity of New York City. But within a certain building on First Avenue, I have found shelter within the people who have devoted themselves to God, to Krishna. I am coming to realize that there is nothing more of value in this world than these relationships.

Whether we're in Raxaul, Nepal or New York City, this is why we are all alive, this is what we're all searching for - purpose, service, love. 

(photo by

(photo by

To write is to dare the soul. So write.