Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Glorious Moment

I have sat in front of the deities of Radha and Krishna many, many times with only the walls as witness. I would sit in front of the harmonium and sing the holy name or a bhajan in a random way, just let the notes flow like a river and take me on a journey. Sometimes the notes start to flow and move in a pattern, and a melody forms.

One such melody seems to flow in and out of my life. I often forget it exists and can't remember it, like a distance place I've visited but can't place on a map. I've never sung it in a group kirtan; it always seems to rise to the surface in the quiet times.

The final day of class for Kirtan Connection, I sat at the harmonium while students arrived and took their seats. I had an agenda for the day, and yet there was something unplanned that needed to unfold. So I sang. This melody emerged, the one of the quiet times, the one of spending time with Krishna.

Students boarded the vessel of the holy name and we all journeyed together down this river. All voices intertwined and separated in undulating waves. Each person was wordlessly invited to lead us all in singing one mantra. Each person who sang seemed to express the inner jewel of his or her heart. I felt honored, moved with emotion. 

Being immersed in the holy name, I was surrounded by this sense that, "This is the perfection of life." I could leave this world in this very moment and be at peace. The holy name is my shelter, those who are singing the holy name are my refuge. I am safe. 

I kept playing the harmonium and shared with students to envision those inevitable moments of leaving this world. As Srila Prabhupada said, death should be glorious. So sing as if these are your final moments in this world. 

Our voices joined in a final wave. Tears streamed down my face and others' faces.

Gratitude to Srila Prabhupada suddenly filled my heart. He was the one who sacrificed everything to give the holy name to each of us. Fifty years later, we continue on his legacy. And when that inevitable day comes, may the holy name and Srila Prabupada fill the soul of each and every one of us. May that moment be glorious. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Clicking In

Ghanashyam's mother lives in a small town in New Jersey, and we decided to visit her for a couple days. This morning we took a stroll. Every so often we would pause to gaze in wonder at a dried leaf that shone golden in the sun, or the bright purple, blue, and yellow flowers that were just peeking out of the grass.

We cradled these leaves and flowers in our hands to bring home. We descended to Ghanashyam's old room in the basement and he placed our treasures in a little bowl. We dusted off two Krishna books and found a picture of Prabhupad and Radha Krishna on the covers. We leaned the books against the wall and placed the bowl of flowers in front of the pictures.

I picked up a tiny metal teapot and took off the lid. I began to play the lid against the bottom of the teapot in rhythm, "1, 2, 3... 1, 2, 3..."

In unison, we sang the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, the holy name. We began to sway, and then dance in sync. In the middle of our little kirtan, Ghanashyam would remember other great teachers and find books that had their pictures on the cover. He placed these books upon the makeshift altar and our lineage kept growing.

I meditated upon each beautiful, powerful face. I sang the holy name and suddenly I felt my soul click into place. This is the essence of my life: to offer something simple to the Lord, to sing the holy name with others, and follow in the footsteps of the great souls.

Ghanashyam raised his palms and his arms as he danced, and I continued to cling-cling-cling my tiny teapot. Every so often we'd glance at each other and smile broadly. When our little kirtan concluded, we embraced each other in gratitude.

I tried to put the lid back on the tiny teapot but it seemed a bit bent out of a shape. By my soul clicking into place it seems as though the teapot had clicked out ;)

To write is to dare the soul. So write.