diwali disappointment take deux

the other day I happened upon a draft of a blog post that for some reason I never actually posted. it was from diwali of 2011. maybe I thought it was too depressing...? because instead, I ended up posting this weird superficial entry. shrug. at any rate, when I came across the original post I thought, wow, the more things change the more they stay the same...which, incidentally is one of my favorite sayings. I wonder how much longer it's going to take for me to either actually affect some change in my life or just surrender to the fact that this is my life.

here's the original post from 10.26.11, which was titled "diwali disappointment". how emo.


I'm a little surprised at myself. this is my favorite time of year, two-fold. one, because it is fall - and the weather is just perfect and nature, in death, is beautiful. and two, because we are in the middle of my favorite month on the indian-vedic calendar - kartikaI love kartika for so many reasons: hearing the pastime of mother yasoda binding krishna to the grinding mortar with her rope of love; singing the most beautiful song of that pastime every night and offering candlesrasa garbha dances and diwali, and the best holiday of all - govardhana puja (my favorite because it is the only non-fasting holiday... krishna wants you to eat more! aniyor!).

but I am surprised at myself... no, disappointed with myself... that I'm not doing anything this year. like really nothing. nada. zilch. zero. no kartika vows (think lent, but different), no damodarastakam and offering of lights every night. I haven't even been to a temple once this month. sigh. I'm so sad. for real.

last year we didn't really do anything because gita was still so newborn-ish. it just didn't seem practical. this year, ugh, I don't even know. I'm tired. I'm busy. but sadly, mostly just uninspired. I had so many plans in my head this time last year of what I would do this year - I wanted to do a "devotional" style family portrait and send out diwali cards, like christmas cards - but to celebrate the indian new year. I wanted to (by this point) be going to the temple every sunday. I wanted to be reclaiming my spiritual life - at least in some capacity. but I'm not. I haven't done any of those things.

today is diwali - the festival of lights that celebrates the return of lord rama after his years of exile. it is a day for celebration - a marker of a new year. my inner prayer tonight is that someday soon I will find the balance in my life - that the material and the spiritual will some how come together without crashing or exploding or knocking me over.

photo of our altar from the first night of kartik last year, 2013


poem: tryptich purge

tryptich purge

some people say
regret nothing.

but you,
you I regret.

all I can think of

are all the bullets

despite the ones
left behind.

the cards say
let go.

my daily prayer
is for release.


procrastination at its finest

so I have a bunch of stuff that I should be doing right now, but instead I decided to fill out this tween quiz that madhavi had pinned on pinterest. dude. don't even ask. I know.

1. full name: kadamba mala devi dasi

2. current crush: mc yogi

3. addiction: (iced) tea

4. how tall am I: 5’4ish

5. relationship status: grihasta

6. girls I trust: I’d say I trust my bffs (see 23), but honestly, I don’t really trust anyone completely except my husband. everyone has loose lips to some degree or other. myself included.

7. boys I trust: my husband.

8. current mood: meh. not super, not unsuper. just kind of whatevs.

9. favorite color: black

10. confession: I don’t have a daily yoga-asana practice.

11. who I miss: my guru maharaj.

12. who I last hugged: gita, this morning when I dropped her off at school.

13. who understands me: I don’t think anyone understands me completely. hell, I don’t even understand me completely…

14. someone who is always there for me: my husband.

15. last text: from madhavi. to my husband.

16. what pissed me off lately: hmm. I was in a class where the person relating a story didn’t really understand the story but made a huge judgment about it. it's kind of hard to explain without going into detail, and my instinct is that I don’t want to be critical of this person because I respect the person. but this particular incident made me so heated because I felt like it came from a place of ego and ignorance. like the person could have said the same exact thing, but if I knew that the person knew what s/he was talking about I could accept it – not agree, but just accept that that is his/her view. anyway. whatevs.

17. who makes me laugh the most: this is hard. I feel like I’m surrounded by funny people. my husband, gita, kdubbs, lavanga, myself. I mean seriously, I’m pretty funny. haha!

18. who I do the craziest stuff with: I guess Katie-kdubbs. we can get pretty silly. though I think most of the “crazy” stuff we do are things we just talk about hypothetically but don’t actually do. haha!

19. who makes me smile: my husband, my daughters. krishna.

20. what am I listening to: this kid in my class is breathing really loud right now. they're in the middle of taking a test and this is what I’m doing to procrastinate other things I should be doing…

21. turn ons: this question makes me feel weird.

22. turn offs: making sounds when eating; breathing too loud; snapping gum; using gross words for body parts (think the “t” word for breasts); bad grammar.

23. best friends: jd, lavanga, katie, abby.

24. second confess: hmm, I can't think of anything good. hmmph.

25. what I hate: the fact that this is the lamest kartik ever for me. I've pretty much done nothing. and it's all completely my fault. on one hand I'm just being lazy as hell. and on the other hand I set my life up in such a way that I never have the ability to have a real spiritual life. 

26. who’s annoying: amber from rhonj

random store selfie from the summer. yea, I don't know either.


{YSP} yoga sutras of patanjali 1.2: shush it!

in continuing with my idea to take a look at the yoga sutras, here is sutra 1.2 and my notes/thoughts from reading the commentary...


yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ

“Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind.”***

so what does stilling the changing states of the mind really mean?! hey, ms. mind, shhh, be quiet! but how do we shush up that mind? 

-control the senses, firmly.
-become equaninanomous (which is potentially not a real word – but practice equanimity)
-be without pain
-the stilling of all thought

“cessation of the permutations/activities of the citta

citta?! what the heck is a citta? is that like a hamster? hmm, well maybe... 

so the citta is basically the mind, but like the subtle mind. it's made up of three parts - buddhi, ahankara, and manas. and these parts are influenced by all kinds of things - like prakriti and purusa.

citta à prakriti/purusa, aka material nature and pure awareness/consciousness à buddhi (intelligence) – how we discriminate; ahankara ([false] ego) – how we indentify; manas (mind) – accepting and rejecting emotionally… the internal body.

citta is often used interchangeably with the word “mind” – but it does essentially encapsulate the three elements of buddhi, ahankara, and manas.

ok, but why can't the mind just be quiet all by itself? because of the vrittis...

vrittis: any activity of the mind – thoughts, ideas, mental imaging, cognitive act performed by any of the three elements of the citta.
“if citta is the sea, the vrittis are the waves.”

we must understand our separateness from the mind in order to understand the soul as the true self.

and with that there are all kinds of other influences, like the gunas, and sense objects, which make samskaras... and ermergerd it's enough to make my brain want to explode.

the commentary to this sutra - which is probably one of the most important sutras because it's essentially the definition of yoga - was SO complicated. I really just skimmed it. because, in the end, if I'm looking to give someone a basic definition of what yoga is beyond asana, I would never break it down into all of that. of course, I need to have a firm understanding of the citta and the vrittis and the gunas and why being sattvic is important and all that... but that's not what I would say to a new person! so where am I at this point in my summation?

there's no better time than now for practicing yoga. yoga is really about making peace with the mind so we can realize our true nature as the soul.

***(as translated by edwin bryant)


the vows I would make if I could keep them

today is the first day of kartika - the holiest month in the vaisnava calendar. it is a time of deep prayer and a time to make promises (vratas) in order to come closer to krishna.

I suck at making vows. I always want to make them and keep them in earnest. but I usually flounder and falter. I feel especially unprepared to make and keep even the simplest vrata this year. but if I lived the perfect spiritual life, these are the vows I would want to make...

- chant damodarastakam and offer a candle daily

- read krishna lila daily

- chant my japa

- make an offering to my deities daily

- no tv / social media

- write every day

when I look at them all together they don't seem so intimidating... well except maybe the no tv / social media one... but it makes me wonder why it's so hard. my life is hectic and crazy and busy. I guess that's my reason, my excuse. I keep telling myself that one day it won't be like this, that one day I'll be able to worship krishna the way he deserves to be worshipped. one day. hopefully before I'm dead.

happy kartika!

damodar-lila painted by my husband as a gift for a friend


poem: if I lived there I'd be home by now.

if I lived there I’d be home by now.

I spend my life in
“working like an ass”
as my teacher’s
teacher would say.
spreading myself
too thin.
grinding my self
into little pieces,
working the pestle
until there is nothing.

but I don’t want to be
I don’t want to dissolve
or merge
or melt
or become one
with anything.
I want to sit next to him
so he can put his arms around me
and tell me
it’s going to be ok.
everything will be
will be