Wednesday, June 4, 2014


"Where are you from?" I'm asked sometimes.

Sigh. I can see that they're puzzled by my name, dress, accent, and/or hairdo.

"Do you want to know where my parents are from, my ethnicity, my nationality, where I grew up, or where I live now?"

In fact, none of these categories really give a sense of where I'm from, because I don't identify with any of them. What often follows is my declaration that I'm a second-generation devotee of Krishna - or, a gurukuli.

Everyone is searching for who they are, where they're from. Everyone wants an identity. I'm no exception, struggling and slipping upon words and definitions, searching for something to hold onto to keep me from being a nobody from nowhere. So I sometimes I grab ahold of being a gurukuli.

Gurukulis can be found in almost every country in the world speaking almost every language in the world. We sometimes get drawn to each other, like flamingos, eagles, penguins, and sparrows who all flock to one place with only the basics in common. Wings. Beaks. Feathers.

Boiled down to one thing, we have parents that are devotees of Krishna. Of course, nowadays its becoming complex to even define gurukuli. We all seem to struggle with that question, "Where are you from?" because we all have a long list of possible answers. We all seem to slip and slide upon definitions.

But one thing I know for sure is that when I'm with gurukulis, I have this experience of unconditional acceptance - I'm accepted, I accept others. Family. That sense of belonging transcends all cultures, languages, countries. And when the motley crew of us birds gather in one place, my own experience is that deep down, our wings are Krishna. We seem to all be connected to Krishna in some way - whether we accept Krishna as God or not. Krishna seems to be that gene that we were born with, and whether we like it or not, we've all got wings.

And ultimately, don't we all have wings? Don't we all yearn to shed our identities - even of being a "gurukuli"? Doesn't every soul long to fly?

"This sky 
where we live
is no place
to lose your wings

- Hafiz  

To write is to dare the soul. So write.