Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Folded-Palms Thingy


The stampede of students flew down the stairs - the end of the school day had arrived. "Hey, Mrs. Caruso," Charles*, an 8th grade student, called out to me with a grin, breezing past, "you have 180 youtube subscribers!"

"Wait, what? I do?" I replied, shocked. "How do you know??"

"We were all just checking it out in Mr. O'Connor's* class,"

"You mean, right now?"

"Yeah. We saw you singing. And dancing. You were playing that piano thingy..."

My mouth was agape. "That's called a harmonium,"

"Yeah, it was cool. A Simple Post? That's the name of the video? Pretty cool,"

"That was like, six years ago! My youtube channel is mainly a teaching tool for singing...!"

"I know, I know. And what was that thing that all these people were doing - " Charles motioned his hands up into a kind of prayer position, " - you all came in and bowed..."

Bewildered, I said, "Uh, I don't know!" My initiation? But that's not on my youtube channel.

Then the student swept on by. I glanced around in shock to other 8th grade students who had overheard us and they just nodded, grinning too. They also bounded away, carried away in the exultation of the end of the school day. Obviously they were in on this and had seen all the hullabaloo on Mrs. Caruso's youtube channel.

I walked back up to my classroom, dazed.

Naturally, I looked up my youtube channel. I looked at it through the eyes of my eighth graders. Mind you, I work at a Catholic school and I'm the Religion teacher to boot. So these kids are looking at a teacher who has all of these exotic videos of India, putting on some strange draped garment, wearing red dots on her head, performing some intricate and foreign kind of dance, being proposed to in front of an exotic priest in orange cloth, singing some kind of ancient language, and on and on.

Must be weird.

I then came home and kept watching and watching, no longer seeing through my students' eyes, but seeing through MY eyes, the eyes of a Bhakti lata who has been removed from her culture and active spirituality for a few years now. In all of these videos, I'm seeing a common thread - even the ones where I'm just demonstrating the structure of a Hare Krishna melody:


I'm peering into another world, another person's life.

And it's beautiful.

I keep remembering when my student Charles said that he had watched A Simple Post, which I had posted 6 years ago and was just me singing Hare Krishna in my cluttered living room. He had expressed genuine appreciation for that video. It wasn't some fancy edited video, I wasn't doing anything that dramatic. But his eyes had softened when he said, "Pretty cool,"

Some 8th grade boy thought that was pretty cool? Why? No seriously, why? Not just because of the cool harmonium thingy. Not even the foreign language I was singing in.

There must have been something else that was cool.

The holy name.


A hunger for something beyond this world. A hunger for a love to satisfy the soul.

In this quiet space before I jump into the whirlwind of work tomorrow, I feel this tender spiraling of my heart, this yearning to... to... be a devotee. To express my longing for God with all of my heart.

Oh Krishna. Please draw me home to You.

And if you so desire, may I play the piano-thingy and may I come to you with the folded-palms thingy.

(If you are an email subscriber, you may click on the links below the videos to view)

A Simple Post:

Dina Doyal:

Welcome to Mayapur:

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