love is devotion

when my guru officially accepted me as his student and gave me my spiritual name, one of the things he said was that I like to hear - that we met because I would come to his classes and would hear from him. I've never really thought that sravanam (hearing) was my thing. I've always found sitting in classes uncomfortable - both physically and mentally. my body hurts; my brain wanders (endlessly!). I fidget a lot and think about a millionzillion different things - but not so much about whatever the speaker is saying!

pause that thought.

I've always had a hard time with sleep - intermittent insomnia as a mix of waking up in the middle of the night and/or not sleeping soundly and laying in bed for extended periods of time without being able to fall asleep. ever since gita was born the falling asleep part has gotten worse because she sleeps in my bed and I can't watch tv to fall asleep. I know, I know - that's not the best consciousness to fall asleep with - but it's kind of how I learned to fall asleep as a kid, so it's very natural for me. about a year or so ago, my inability to fall asleep (relatively) quickly began to get significantly worse and it was really torturous for me. bottom line: I could not shut my dang brain off! my thoughts would run a-muck the minute I laid down to try to sleep. I thought to myself one night, well, if I'm going to lay here, I might as well do something productive... so I started listening to podcasts of my guru's classes. my mind started to do two things: listen and shut down.

side note: I know - this sounds kind of weird. like, um, I used my guru's classes to fall asleep... but seriously, that wasn't my intention or kind of how it worked...so hold that thought, k?

anywho - I did this for quite a while. I would start a class, get maybe twenty minutes into it and start to drift off. then the next night I would skip twenty-minutes into the class, find the place I remembered last, and then continue on. granted, it would sometimes take me an entire week to get through one class... but it was working. unfortunately, I had to stop doing this because I also use my phone as my alarm clock... and I can't fall asleep without that app running. so I can't do my night time listening anymore...

but hold up, pause that thought too...

the thing that's funny about the guru-disciple relationship is that it doesn't haven't to be physically proximal. I don't actually get to see my guru very often, even when he is in america... even when he's only an hour or so away. he's busy. I'm busy. life is busy. I see him and hear from him in person when I can - and it is super awesome. but this is what I'm learning - is that even when I hear from him via delayed podcast, it has a profound affect on our relationship. I feel closer to him.

ok, rewind a little bit...

so now I can't do my evening listening and I'm feeling so much distance between myself and my guru. and I've noticed I'm craving... craving hearing from him.

oh, wait. pause that.

I used to listen to the radio a lot in the car. sometimes because I was into the songs and sometimes because I just needed background noise. over the summer I noticed that I couldn't listen to it anymore. it made me anxious and annoyed. I would just drive with silence. I wasn't in the mood to hear anything. like, I would think, hmm, I should put on some kirtan at least... but yea, I just wasn't in the mood. so it would just be quiet and silent... oh, well, except my mind going kraykray, of course. so that's how I went on for quite some time... until...

ok, back to what I was saying before... until I started craving hearing from my guru. and then I started to listen to classes while I was driving... and now I can't stop.

and you're like, um, so? I know. this doesn't sound very earth shattering or ground breaking. it's actually kind of like, duh. but remember what I said before... I'm not so much of a hearing-sravanam kind of girl. at least I didn't think I was. maybe I'm becoming one?

who knows... but all of that was leading up to me telling you this one thing I heard during a class that was given about Sri Radhe. and I thought this point was so beautiful...
my guru was saying how love means giving pleasure to the beloved. like Radharani's whole goal was to just please Krishna. that's all. there's nothing selfish in it. if Radharani was dressing beautifully, she was dressing beautifully to make Krishna happy - because she loved him and wanted to make him happy - (and here's the mind blowing partnot because she wanted him to love her back. it's not about getting someone to love us! that's not love! bhakti means loving without expectation. love is devotion and devotion is love - but only when it's for the beloved's (ultimately Krishna's) pleasure.

that was all I was originally going to say about that... but then I saw this amazing blog post and it made me think about my husband. and I was thinking how this principal of loving for the sake of the beloved's pleasure could also apply to him. how when I do things for him it should be about him, not me. isn't it crazy how selfish we are as people? how everything revolves around our desire to be the center of everything?! holy cow. I could go on and on! - and not in a way like I'm somehow immune, but because I so much see this in myself. so much of what I do is so other people will love me, or validate me, or just make me feel importantcoolspecialwhateverfillinyourownadjectivehere.

anywho. go read that blog post. it's so good. I have to stop myself from rambling, because seriously, I could go on forever.
carry on.

oh, in case you want to hear from my guru too, here is a link to his podcast sanga.

"I Didn't Love My Wife When We Got Married"


sri vyasa puja 2013

this past saturday was the vyasa puja celebration for my guru maharaj. here is the offering I made to him this year...

Dearest Srila Guru Maharaj,

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to you on this auspicious day.

I have always been proud that you are a very personable guru. In my self-centered and egotistical mind I have always thought how awesome is it that you aren’t like those other “big” gurus that seem unapproachable. You are very approachable and relatable. I’ve come to realize that this is actually your secret preaching weapon – people are naturally drawn to you, and subsequently to Krishna, because they feel like they can talk to you and ask you anything. I have noticed that over the past few years more and more people are coming to programs and the temple – and Krishna Consciousness in general – because of you! Either they met you in India on a tour, or at a talk at a yoga studio, or through a friend – but in the end, they are coming because of you.
Here is my confession: When I first started noticing this influx of new friends, followers, and admirers I was immediately jealous. I am such a self-centered, egotistical jerk that I was thinking, “Who are these people? What do they know?” Can you believe it? I am so childish and immature that instead of realizing that you are doing some of the best and most effective preaching around, all I can think about is myself. Guru Maharaj, please forgive my horrible and offensive mind. It’s so embarrassing!
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and after stepping away from the idea of myself as the center, and really watching you interact with people who are new to Krishna Consciousness I am proud in a different way. I see that everyone is seeing in you what I see: a true guru – a kind and caring teacher who selflessly gives knowledge without regard for his own comfort or benefit. You are truly following in your Guru Maharaj’s footsteps and carrying on his mission. Thank you for always living Srila Prabhupada’s “simple living, high thinking” tenet – for walking your talk, and practicing what you preach. Without your example, I would have nothing to work towards. Without you, I would have nothing.

Always your servant,
Kadamba Mala devi dasi

his holiness srila dhanurdhara swami
photo by lenny zimkus/govardhana lal das


vine summer

I've been on a major hiatus - this is true. but I haven't been dead... I figured, because I'm lazy, instead of writing all about what I did this summer, I'd just show you. my husband became obsessed with vine (a social networking app where you can make 6-second looping videos) a few months ago. I wanted to be in his world, so I joined and started making vines too. I wasn't (and am not) as obsessed as he was/is, but it is pretty cool. I decided to make a vine compilation video of all of the vines I made from the end of june until now. it's funny to see my summer unfold through these silly videos. some are meant to be artsy, some funny, some silly, and others to just capture moments. when jd saw the whole thing he said it seemed like a weird documentary.

anywho, I think it's kind of fun. enjoy, or don't. whatevs. :)