Monthly Archives: December 2007

Wait! Stop! Don’t Eat that Mango!!!

I did it! I called into the sanga.

It was not an easy task. I saw the obstacles mounting late this afternoon as I got back from running errands and both kids fell asleep in the car. They never nap. Yet today, they were out.

I brought groceries into the house, had a bite to eat, loaded up the woodstove and consequently melted a honeycomb of holes on the right sleeve cuff of my brand new Calvin Klein hand-me-down goosedown jacket.

Out to the car, in with the kids, I put them down on the couch. In an unprecedented slumber, both children remained asleep. Sewing kit in hand, I found a swatch of cloth I was going to use to make bean bags for the kids and stitched a fashionably unfashionable patch job on my hand-me-down goosedown Calvin Klein jacket. With optional zipper functionality.

The clock ticked. The wood burned. The kids slept. I brought in more wood. They made little “eh” sounds. They continued sleeping. Two and a half hours later, at 5:30 pm, they awoke. I keow I was in for it. I knew they would be up late. No little red suit. No looking cute. Just two kids, with energy, up past their bedtime. And a mata with an agenda.

Usually we snuggle cuddle up in bed by 7 to read books. It was 5 past 9 by the time we got there tonite. I started reading Rikki Tikki Tavi and then my husband called. Bored, the kids began using my hip as a diving platform. After finishing up our ration of four books, I grabbed the phone and the sanga number and dialed in. Pressing ‘6’ I was muted and ready to go.

Squirms and tosses I ignored as I settled into hearing Maharaja speak some much needed Krishna katha. Despite my untranscendental physical company, I imagined his words surrounding me like overgrown chickweed, tall and green smelling. Completely edible. This was the nourishment I needed.

Briefly Maharaja said something about renunciation…that it was the giving up of attachments that cause one pain. I thought this was an interesting comment, open to interpretation. That cause one pain. Would this be false renunciation? Or is the pain that which is felt by separation from Krishna? I made a mental note and intended to ask him about this at the end of the class.

But in the end I didn’t even have to ask. While it is nite here, for Maharaja it was morning (ahhh, what is day for the devotee is night for the demon). Therefore, he spoke briefly about Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja in honor of his Disapp. Day.

Maharaja spoke about Bimala Prasada, at the age of 5, eating Radha-Krishna’s unoffered mango and how Bhaktivinode Thakur chastised him. So upset with himself that he had eaten the Lord’s bhoga, this 5 year old Bengali boy renounced mangoes for the rest of his life. Thus giving up that attachment which was the source of so much pain.

Hearing Maharja’s words made me want to just hop on a plane to India and make my home in Vrindavan, where everyday is a festival and every word is spoken for the Lord’s pleasure. And this, I realized, would be an example of false renunciation. Stay and fight, Arjuna. Do your duty. Give up all plans.

But pray for a Vrindavan retirement.

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Wait! Stop! Don’t Eat that Mango!!!

I did it! I called into the sanga.

It was not an easy task. I saw the obstacles mounting late this afternoon as I got back from running errands and both kids fell asleep in the car. They never nap. Yet today, they were out.

I brought groceries into the house, had a bite to eat, loaded up the woodstove and consequently melted a honeycomb of holes on the right sleeve cuff of my brand new Calvin Klein hand-me-down goosedown jacket.

Out to the car, in with the kids, I put them down on the couch. In an unprecedented slumber, both children remained asleep. Sewing kit in hand, I found a swatch of cloth I was going to use to make bean bags for the kids and stitched a fashionably unfashionable patch job on my hand-me-down goosedown Calvin Klein jacket. With optional zipper functionality.

The clock ticked. The wood burned. The kids slept. I brought in more wood. They made little “eh” sounds. They continued sleeping. Two and a half hours later, at 5:30 pm, they awoke. I keow I was in for it. I knew they would be up late. No little red suit. No looking cute. Just two kids, with energy, up past their bedtime. And a mata with an agenda.

Usually we snuggle cuddle up in bed by 7 to read books. It was 5 past 9 by the time we got there tonite. I started reading Rikki Tikki Tavi and then my husband called. Bored, the kids began using my hip as a diving platform. After finishing up our ration of four books, I grabbed the phone and the sanga number and dialed in. Pressing ‘6’ I was muted and ready to go.

Squirms and tosses I ignored as I settled into hearing Maharaja speak some much needed Krishna katha. Despite my untranscendental physical company, I imagined his words surrounding me like overgrown chickweed, tall and green smelling. Completely edible. This was the nourishment I needed.

Briefly Maharaja said something about renunciation…that it was the giving up of attachments that cause one pain. I thought this was an interesting comment, open to interpretation. That cause one pain. Would this be false renunciation? Or is the pain that which is felt by separation from Krishna? I made a mental note and intended to ask him about this at the end of the class.

But in the end I didn’t even have to ask. While it is nite here, for Maharaja it was morning (ahhh, what is day for the devotee is night for the demon). Therefore, he spoke briefly about Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja in honor of his Disapp. Day.

Maharaja spoke about Bimala Prasada, at the age of 5, eating Radha-Krishna’s unoffered mango and how Bhaktivinode Thakur chastised him. So upset with himself that he had eaten the Lord’s bhoga, this 5 year old Bengali boy renounced mangoes for the rest of his life. Thus giving up that attachment which was the source of so much pain.

Hearing Maharja’s words made me want to just hop on a plane to India and make my home in Vrindavan, where everyday is a festival and every word is spoken for the Lord’s pleasure. And this, I realized, would be an example of false renunciation. Stay and fight, Arjuna. Do your duty. Give up all plans.

But pray for a Vrindavan retirement.

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Hare Christmas Eve Dinner (Alright, it was lunch…)

While a few of the preparations had their shortcomings (chapati dough too stiff, salad dressing could have been thicker), I must admit (even if I did cook it myself)that viewed as a comprehensive collection of preparations, the meal was impressive. Which only goes to prove that praying to Gadadhara Pandit before cooking is an essential step to any offering.

It is all prasadam so go ahead and enjoy!

Chaunce rice

Palak paneer (fesh and yummy…paneer made from local raw organic milk)

Asparagus with butter/nutmeg

Broccoli with butter/mustard pwdr

Chapatis

Chili Pickle

Khandvi

Eggplant Parmagiana (rasa bhasa? what the heck..)

Salad and Yajna Purusa dressing

Vanilla Bean peach lassi (with cream so frothy you need to drink it with a spoon)

Jam cake

Mmmmmmmmmm….

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Hare Christmas Eve Dinner (Alright, it was lunch…)

While a few of the preparations had their shortcomings (chapati dough too stiff, salad dressing could have been thicker), I must admit (even if I did cook it myself)that viewed as a comprehensive collection of preparations, the meal was impressive. Which only goes to prove that praying to Gadadhara Pandit before cooking is an essential step to any offering.

It is all prasadam so go ahead and enjoy!

Chaunce rice

Palak paneer (fesh and yummy…paneer made from local raw organic milk)

Asparagus with butter/nutmeg

Broccoli with butter/mustard pwdr

Chapatis

Chili Pickle

Khandvi

Eggplant Parmagiana (rasa bhasa? what the heck..)

Salad and Yajna Purusa dressing

Vanilla Bean peach lassi (with cream so frothy you need to drink it with a spoon)

Jam cake

Mmmmmmmmmm….

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Back to Reality

Two days short of a month ago my husband returned from India. I am finally feeling the relative truth of normalcy return to my life. And while I still haven’t made it over to the temple and I once again missed Dhanurdhara Swami’s phone sanga on Sunday, I have gotten back into the kitchen.

A few days ago I cooked faux-chicken soup, sushi, sesame tofu, faux tuna (fried tofu wrapped in nori), potato croquettes, eggplant pakoras, chatni and brussel sprouts. The abundance of fried offerings made my husband’s heart leap (or maybe that was a murmur brought on by all that oil…) and the simple act of cooking a meal which I was going to eat very little of (soup and brussel sprouts) brought me closer to to Sri Sri Gaura Nitai.

While my husband was away, I wrapped them snug in Their winter chaddars, told Them that They were Big Boys and They would have to take care of Themselves for a while. I had my kids to look after, none of whom are even five years old, what to speak of God. Not only did I tell Gaura Nitai that they would have to be atma-rama, but in my heart I was praying for a little extra care from Them for myself.

They didn’t complain. I didn’t hear a peep out of Them. Days were hard and I had a feeling inside that if I just took care of Them, things would be better. But of course, I didn’t listen.

But when I started cooking full meals for Gaura Nitai and my husband, I started feeling Them in my life again. Not that all my problems were solved. But I was happy in spite of my problems.

I moved them into the kitchen, where we could all be together, listening to Caitanya Bhagavat. The children, too, were pleased with the change and spontaneously brought Their shoes from the altar into the kitchen.

At night I moved Them into the wood-stove room so They would be roasty toasty while They slept, just like us in the room above them.

And today we all had the most fun together. I invited Mother Kaulini, Mother Locana-padma, Bhagavat Prabhu and Mother Nitya-lila over for lunch prasadam. I haven’t seen Mother Kaulini much in the last two months and Bhagavat and Nitya-lila arrived from Mayapur the same day my husband left for Mayapur. So essentially, they came to town exactly when I retreated to my hermitage, therefore never giving them a proper welcome back to Gita Nagari.

The only time I met them was when we were visiting Gita Nagari, trying to work out the purchase of our house. We were briefly introduced. The introduction went something like, “This is Bhagavat and Nitya-lila from Croatia. They are leaving tomorrow to move to Mayapur.” Today they came over our house and were greeted by the “For Sale” sign out front.

The association was so enlivening that I instantly felt pleasure and pain. I wish there was a way to stay at Gita Nagari, save sending my kids to an orphanage or raising them like isolated-friend-deprived lab rats. Gita Nagari is a hidden treasure and the devotees who come seeking it are many things. None of which is unworthy of the wealth.

I asked Bhagavat and Nitya-lila why they returned to Gita Nagari when they had just built their flat, to their painstaking specifications, in Mayapur (where he was studying and dressing Panca Tattva and she was sewing for the Deities). And basically, the answer was that they were moved in their heart to return because they knew it would be the most pleasing to their spiritual master.

This reminded me of how I came to Gita Nagari this time around, inspired by a feeling in my heart. And now that we have spent the happiest year of our marriage here, the experience has soured simply becasue my children need more. There is no sane way to work out staying. Broken-hearted, I will leave a bit of myself behind, sacrificing my sense gratification for my children’s general and spiritual well being. Tonite my prayers to Gaura Nitai were simple. Please make my children treasure hunters.

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Back to Reality

Two days short of a month ago my husband returned from India. I am finally feeling the relative truth of normalcy return to my life. And while I still haven’t made it over to the temple and I once again missed Dhanurdhara Swami’s phone sanga on Sunday, I have gotten back into the kitchen.

A few days ago I cooked faux-chicken soup, sushi, sesame tofu, faux tuna (fried tofu wrapped in nori), potato croquettes, eggplant pakoras, chatni and brussel sprouts. The abundance of fried offerings made my husband’s heart leap (or maybe that was a murmur brought on by all that oil…) and the simple act of cooking a meal which I was going to eat very little of (soup and brussel sprouts) brought me closer to to Sri Sri Gaura Nitai.

While my husband was away, I wrapped them snug in Their winter chaddars, told Them that They were Big Boys and They would have to take care of Themselves for a while. I had my kids to look after, none of whom are even five years old, what to speak of God. Not only did I tell Gaura Nitai that they would have to be atma-rama, but in my heart I was praying for a little extra care from Them for myself.

They didn’t complain. I didn’t hear a peep out of Them. Days were hard and I had a feeling inside that if I just took care of Them, things would be better. But of course, I didn’t listen.

But when I started cooking full meals for Gaura Nitai and my husband, I started feeling Them in my life again. Not that all my problems were solved. But I was happy in spite of my problems.

I moved them into the kitchen, where we could all be together, listening to Caitanya Bhagavat. The children, too, were pleased with the change and spontaneously brought Their shoes from the altar into the kitchen.

At night I moved Them into the wood-stove room so They would be roasty toasty while They slept, just like us in the room above them.

And today we all had the most fun together. I invited Mother Kaulini, Mother Locana-padma, Bhagavat Prabhu and Mother Nitya-lila over for lunch prasadam. I haven’t seen Mother Kaulini much in the last two months and Bhagavat and Nitya-lila arrived from Mayapur the same day my husband left for Mayapur. So essentially, they came to town exactly when I retreated to my hermitage, therefore never giving them a proper welcome back to Gita Nagari.

The only time I met them was when we were visiting Gita Nagari, trying to work out the purchase of our house. We were briefly introduced. The introduction went something like, “This is Bhagavat and Nitya-lila from Croatia. They are leaving tomorrow to move to Mayapur.” Today they came over our house and were greeted by the “For Sale” sign out front.

The association was so enlivening that I instantly felt pleasure and pain. I wish there was a way to stay at Gita Nagari, save sending my kids to an orphanage or raising them like isolated-friend-deprived lab rats. Gita Nagari is a hidden treasure and the devotees who come seeking it are many things. None of which is unworthy of the wealth.

I asked Bhagavat and Nitya-lila why they returned to Gita Nagari when they had just built their flat, to their painstaking specifications, in Mayapur (where he was studying and dressing Panca Tattva and she was sewing for the Deities). And basically, the answer was that they were moved in their heart to return because they knew it would be the most pleasing to their spiritual master.

This reminded me of how I came to Gita Nagari this time around, inspired by a feeling in my heart. And now that we have spent the happiest year of our marriage here, the experience has soured simply becasue my children need more. There is no sane way to work out staying. Broken-hearted, I will leave a bit of myself behind, sacrificing my sense gratification for my children’s general and spiritual well being. Tonite my prayers to Gaura Nitai were simple. Please make my children treasure hunters.

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On the Demise of Women Covering Their Heads

For me it began one November, late in the middle of the night.
Half dressed, I pressed up against my husband. “Don’t touch me,”

I groaned, as I pushed the palms of my hands against the palms
of his in a mood lit room.

He was inside of me and outside of me and my body a ring of fire.
With a volcanic force I erupted bodily fluids

of life while my son tore forth with the blue ferocity and meekness of someone
who’s been buried alive.

In the daylight he began to look more like an appendage than a baby.
Never leaving my breast, even on the toilet, I held him tight, like a shield.

My sari contorted, my hair smoothed with the unwashed oils of harried motherhood, my putra became my chastity, my protector.

I saw my son as my Krishna, reams of unending cloth. I saw myself as mother,
(no longer an honorific title)

surrendering any beauty, transferring the power of youth. When I stand before you my sons, I stand behind the veil of Motherhood. Can you see me?

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