Sri Rudra

Earlier last week a coworker introduced me to a game / app that, depending on your phone is either free or very inexpensive. It’s called Plague, Inc. and it’s essentially a game of strategy. The game goes like this: You’re a disease (fungus, bacteria, virus, etc…you get to choose) and your goal is to spread throughout the planet employing various transmission methods, symptoms, and “abilities” until all of life on the planet is not only infected, but also extinguished.

I love this game right now and I may well have a temporary addiction to it. No joke.

I like the game because it’s based in potential reality and it makes you think and well… it’s fun. At the start, you go through a few steps to “build” your disease and this includes naming it. One of the first names I gave my disease was Kalki. This is the name of God’s “End of Days” avatar, for the not-so-really end of days. I thought it was fitting because I’ve read that it’s possible Kalki will come as a virus or something that will pretty much wipe out humanity at the end of the Kali Yuga.

Since I’m not very much of the vaishnav persuasion, I’ve switched the name of my disease to Rudra, a fierce form of Mahesh / Shiva. Since Kalki, being of Vishnu, comes more to restore / balance dharma on the planet and not so much to wipe the so-called slate (entirely) clean, it seems more fitting that one of Mahadev’s names would be used (at least by me). Mahadev is, after all, the one who’s dance brings actual, lasting balance as it eliminates the entirety of phenomenal good and phenomenal bad, the result of which is the Mahapralaya – when everything phenomenal and causal is finally given rest.

I can see, given that folks raise hell over our gods showing up increasingly in secular usage, that some would be offended by the idea that a devastating disease would be named after something holy. I’m not, although I did hesitate to share all of this because I know many non-saivas already have an inaccurate and incomplete understanding of Shiva to be that He’s primarily known for destruction – and even then the common understanding of that word, destruction, is misapplied. However, in regard to gods in secular settings, in my opinion this isn’t the same as putting god on a pair of socks or a bikini bottom. What do you think?

For your viewing pleasure I’ve included many shots of different parts of the game in its progression.







Eradicate (1)



Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti




One of the books I purchased not too long ago and which arrived by mail recently is part of a trilogy of quotes by three successive gurus of a lineage I’m studying. They’re “specialty” is Raja Yoga and, I think because of my background with Jnana Yoga, a lot of it is making sense. So far, it seems like Raja and Jnana yogas are more conspicuously related than some of the others appear to be – although, we know that all interweave at various points and if practiced long enough and “correctly” will integrate eventually.

The book I mentioned is the first in the trilogy and holds quotes only from the first guru of the lineage’s “official” organization. (For the record, I’m speaking strictly in terms of the relatively modern face of this lineage, which actually traces its roots far, far back & includes Patanjali and others before him.) The quotes are divided into chapters according to their context or content. One chapter is titled, “GURU,” and leads into the quotes with a single sentence, “The definition of a Sat-Guru is that:” after which there are listed five apparent traits a satguru is to possess. The chapter closes with a few paragraphs of discussion. I’m still chewing on some of this, but you can see below the five traits that “define” a Sat-guru.

(Sri Ram Chandra of Fategarh)

(Sri Ram Chandra of Fategarh, taken from Google Image search)

1) He should attach himself to Reality, i.e., he should dwell in the fourth state and in the jivanmukta condition.

(For the record, while I’ve known the term “jivanmukta” for a solid decade, I’ve really only encountered its use with one other teacher.”

2) He should have practiced yoga (shabda-abhyasi) and by means of this practice should have control over the inner regions of the human brain.

3) He should have glittering eyes and a broad forehead.

4) He should have knowledge of devotion, knowledge, and work, and should be able to answer questions but should not bind the tongue of the questioner.

5) He should concern himself with spiritual things, i.e., he should pay attention towards them.

“These are all ordinary characteristics. But the real inner qualification is that he should be able to satisfy his disciples by imparting the Divine grace, transmitting grace, through the awakened inner vision.

“If you sit by a fire, you feel warm; if you sit by ice, you feel cold. Why then will you not get transformed if you sit with a person who is perfect in discipline and etiquette? Worship of the worthy Master should be done. Association with Reality is called satsangh. Guru-bhakti means only worship. Spend some time in the company of the Master and get your doubts cleared.

“A master should treat all equally. His love should flow evenly on all without any difference. He should not think himself superior to the abhyasis in any way. Love alone does everything.”

So far, I think the biggest standouts for me would be things that amount to, as a dear pal would say, semantics. The main purpose of this post is to share the five traits and the paragraphs that follow them in the book, so I won’t go into those semantic differences right now.

Umm… I also think I know that the guru who gave these sayings lived in a part of India that was (is?) influenced a bit by Middle Eastern culture. I’ll have to check again but I think he spoke Hindi & Urdu and some sources say that he rubbed elbows with Sufism – a mixture I find particularly interesting, if true.

As I said, I’ll definitely be chewing on this / these for a minute or two more, but now you can see the five traits that “define” a Sat-guru, according to him.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

Intentional Jinx

Taken from Google Image search

Taken from Google Image search

I think I believe in jinxes. They’re not rational, but still. Any time I’ve shared that I’ve applied for a job or interviewed for one, I don’t get it. I keep my mouth shut, however, and I’m signing an offer letter before I know it. People announce that they’re quitting smoking – and fail. I’ve known a few who tackled this task quietly, and obtained healthy success. I mention to anyone that I’m rededicating myself to time at the gym and it’s invariably at least a month before I step through the doors. I sneak in without so much as a peep, and the next thing I know I’ve gone nearly every day for three months solid and seeing results.

There’s something different… special… powerful… about just getting to work and making it (whatever that might be) happen.

Periodically, I take a bigger view of my life than I already often do and make an assessment. I can remember the first couple times I attempted this, I pretty much failed. But getting back on the old horse is part of learning how to ride, so I kept with the effort and now when times of assessment hit me, they’re productive and more balanced / reasonable.

For me, the last seven days (today, Saturday, being the seventh) has been another period of assessment. I find this interesting and frustrating because my best had been hospitalized for numerous days, I’m wrapping up a class right now and have tons due, shopping season is evaporating as I write this (and I’ve yet to buy a thing!), I am moving into yet another position at work which means intense focus / learning, and I’ve gone on less sleep per night each night this week than I have in I-don’t-know-how-long. Of all the times to be adding something else to my plate – especially something like one of my “assessments” – this would surely be about the worst. No?

There have been a few times in the past when, post assessment, I’ve arrived at some conclusions and have mentioned those to some or all. Then, other times, I’ve arrived at a decision or two not related to any kind of so-called assessment and have still opened my mouth about it all. Mostly, at least within the narrow contexts of my self-assessments, I’ve not been jinxed. I’ll admit some decisions / conclusions here and there were short-lived in contrast to others. But I don’t really see those as failures so much as just proof that it wasn’t really a conclusion that I’d come to, after all. Further, in some cases I think those instances are evidence that I’ve evolved a bit from that point.

After these last seven days, I blissfully (and much-needed-ly) slept in this morning and when I awoke I had new knowledge, well almost a feeling really. Nothing dark-n-wondrous or ground-splitting, but definitely game-changing. Almost a new perspective. Certain things will be different moving forward, although I think I’ll choose not to reveal those right now.

I’d hate to jinx anything. (Or have I already?)

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti


Image taken from Google Image search

Image taken from Google Image search

I’ve been noticing things in daily life that seem … coincidental, almost. Much like the concept of luck, I don’t think I actually believe something like coincidence exists. Actually, that’s probably not entirely true. I think most people understand the term to mean what equates as the first part of the terms’s definition, but kind of ignore the meaning of the last part.

Coincidence is defined as: a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.

In my experience, people often focus on that first part. But things don’t just happen. Ever. Things do, however, often happen without our knowledge of the cause. So, within the context of a strict application of its full definition, I guess I do believe in coincidence.

Recently, a lot of seemingly unrelated things have been coinciding. Things like a chat with coworkers, a magazine article, and a tree in my front yard suddenly all point to the same thing at around the same time. I don’t usually read much into those kinds of happenings, beyond noticing. But, for some reason – lately – going beyond noticing the coincidence seems to be my default. And that’s really saying something because I read meaning into EVERYTHING. It’s something that will pass, for sure, but I think I’ll try to pull these things together and make something of them – perhaps for bloggering. That remains unseen (to you).

Deeper within me, I more strongly believe or suspect that my Self is showing my self something so that a greater integration can be made. Indeed, if this isn’t the value of all karmas, then I don’t know what is.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

Sweet Dreams Are Made of These


A bit over a week ago, at work, we somehow found ourselves in the middle of a debate about dreams. I’ll mention now that I’m actually quite good at interpreting dreams. To save my life, I still don’t know how we came to be talking about this, but we did and it left me with some uncomfortable feelings. That much, I’m still sorting out – at least until I decide I plain just don’t care. Details of parts of the conversation, though, I’d like to share – as well as my thoughts on suchery.

At some point in the chat, a coworker had mentioned that he read that most people dream in the third person. I’d say this is definitely true of my own experience with dreams. Mine have almost always been vivid, and almost invariably where the real me is more of an observer than anything – often watching myself play some role in the dream itself.

At another point, I mentioned that I almost never dream. Right away, people were quick to point out how wrong I am, since studies have shown that absolutely EVERYONE dreams EVERY night. When citing these studies, which these people actually knew almost nothing about, it was agreed upon by just about everyone – who had suddenly become sleep specialists – that I couldn’t possibly not dream. I tried explaining that I’m not saying I never dream. I tried explaining that my sleep is “different” and actually quite aware. I even went into some details about that, knowing already that my audience wouldn’t understand.

Here’s what’s bothersome about all of this: People don’t seem open to the idea that someone else’s experience might differ significantly from the bulk of everyone else’s.

At no time did I ever refute what “studies have shown.” (Well, maybe a little.) At no time did I ever say anyone was wrong. I did, however, indicate that I wasn’t a test subject with any of those studies (and so the results as they would apply to me might well vary) and that I’m fairly conscious while “asleep” and that this puts me in a different position from which I am (was) speaking. Responses I got literally ignored what I was saying. I received questions like, “Maybe you just don’t know that you’re dreaming” which I admitted could be the case except for the mostly-alert awareness I experience while I sleep.

It was actually quite frustrating – these people couldn’t see past what they had already digested in their minds. They really couldn’t. It’s like they were saying, “Apples, Apples, Apples” and I said, “What about Oranges?” and was met with, “No. Apples.” Although it wasn’t mentioned specifically, this factored, a bit, into a recent post wherein I self-jinxed. Things like this are making a change within me.

I can tell it.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namah
Aum Shanti

The Mandala of Mandela

Taken from Google Image search

Taken from Google Image search

Every once in a while someone comes along and, whether in a subtle way or blatantly, things change. And then they leave.

I’m not one who’s very in touch with world events – at least, not usually until things are done and over. But I am often familiar with the feel of people, even if I’ve never met them. Sometimes, in life’s hustle and bustle, souls pass each other and seem to hardly connect and other times you hardly have to look at someone and you can connect with them, or “feel” them and in that way you can know them.

It’s a bit weird and more than a bit difficult to explain, I guess. But Nelson Mandela is one such person – soul – for me. Before his recent passing I knew not much about him. The basics only, really. But whenever he was in the news or if I came across photos of him, my spirit always smiled. Something about him, without actually knowing much of anything about him, “felt” good to me. I’ve read a few quotes attributed to him. I know in his lifespan he endured harshness and pain and challenge after challenge. But the goodness I know of him actually came from looking at him.

Goodness shapes you. Quite literally! Yes, it shapes your heart and your soul and your mind. And when it’s presence within you is nurtured and cultivated it shows not only in your actions, but in your physical self – your body. It’s like looking at someone’s face and noticing so-called smile lines. Of course, those lines are named thusly because the name references how and where they form. Still, they’re indicative on some superficial level, right? They indicate that the person bearing them smiles – likely a lot. Smiling often is also, in its own way, indicative.

When seeing Mandela, I also was often able to perceive some of the finer aspects of his personal mandala. So many traditions teach that one’s body is their temple. Health nuts use this reference frequently. Certainly, in the Hindu tradition as well as others, the temples we worship in are literally shaped in certain, precise, ways – the very architecture of which is meant to teach us and in its own way be highly indicative.

I can only hope that as my life is spent, people watching and those who look back on my own small life will be able to “feel” me when they see my unique mandala or photos of it and know some level of goodness. And it’s my hope, dear reader, as your life is spent that your own mandala shines as brightly as Mandela’s.

Aum Tryambakam Yajamahe – Sugandhim Pushti Vardhanam – Urvarukamiva Bandhanam – Mrtyor Mokshiyam Amrtat
Aum Shanti – Shanti – Shantihi!

Image take from Google Image search

Image take from Google Image search

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti – Shanti – Shantihi

Dankbar Fest

Image taken from Google Image search

Image taken from Google Image search

This year’s was certainly an interesting Thanksgiving. As the beloved put it, “The Jordan family never disappoints.” It’s true, I should admit.

There are lots of things I could be (and am!) thankful for. I have a “special someone” who apparently loves me. This is a treasure coveted by many people. I have a home that’s not only far from poverty level, but is even better than the homes of many I associate with. I have good health. I have a job that pays really well – which allows me to do for others just about as much as my heart wants me to do. I have adopted a religion that wholly suits me and continues to challenge me in ways I often am surprised by. I have so many memories and premonitions / precognitions that make me smile sweetly, for reasons I’ll never be able to explain. So very many things in my life are exactly as I would hope… I’m able to live a wonderful grhasta dharma that is interestingly … swami-ish. And of course, I have a family that is at times both bizarre and amazing.

Of all the things I could be (and am!) thankful for, and one thing I haven’t quite mentioned, I think I am almost surely the most thankful for my teachers and guides in this life. For these first thirty-three years of my current life, The Guru has taken a number of forms: my parents, my siblings, my extended family, my closest friends and many not-so-close friends, work associates, books, music, a few animals, most flowers, and some of my sadhanas.

All along, these many “inputs” have helped me develop into who I am today, but not in the way most people think. For most people, a statement like that means that “who I am today” is a reaction, or maybe a response. But when I use that phrase I intend something kind of different. My karmas seem to be so, that I came to this life with a relatively “even” demeanor. My parents would likely confirm as much and I swear there’s a newborn photo of me hanging on my grandmother’s wall that shows me making jnanamudra when I was only days old. I might be up one minute and down the next, as most humans are, but despite external appearances sometimes displayed I never really stray too far from center. It’s true. And so the aforementioned inputs have provided me with opportunity after opportunity to see my self and gauge what it experiences – and subsequently move from there.

It’s meant being industrious when I need to be – and when I don’t. It means learning how wrong I’ve been about some things in my past, and developing a thirst for “right knowledge” as I enter the present moment (and learn to reside there!). It’s meant knowing when I’m the student and when I need to teach. It’s meant knowing when I’m acting for myself and knowing when I act from the Eternal within me. All those things and so very much more.

I’m convinced that this has made all the difference in my current life – whether in comparison / contrast to the lives of others or as a standalone – and it’s a source immense gratitude for me.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti