Falling Off the Ground

Last night I took myself outside after two failed attempts to nap. (I’ve been battling a head cold for about three days already. It’s been quite the roller coaster and I’ve been craving rest.) It was around dusk and I decided to untangle some of my Morning Glory vines and encourage them in new, specific directions. After that was done, with my laptop at our sun table I decided to do anything online except school work. This made me feel lonely, so I texted The Best and reminded him that he hadn’t left his room since coming home and that his nicotine levels were surely running low. (“Don’t you have to come outside for a breath of fresh air soon?”) Sure enough, he had joined me outside within 5 minutes. A short while later I found myself out at our sidewalk, sitting and staring at the dark sky. I watched the stars while suspended in Navasana (boat pose). This led to sprawling out on the sidewalk – which actually is a much better way to watch the stars.

While I was still really young my father taught me how to see the stars move. It’s one of my all-time favorite things to have learned in this life so far and having been given that wisdom from him makes it even more precious to me. After he’s gone I’ll continue watching stars move with him. The best and I also saw UFOs, no joke.

Resting later in Shavasana (still on the sidewalk), I experienced something cool. I suddenly felt like I was on a ceiling and was looking at a celestial floor. Of course, humans aren’t meant to relax on ceilings, so the celestial floor felt like the better, more natural place to be. I sensed within me a very subtle yearning leave the ceiling for the floor. I found myself practically craving a launch from the pavement I relaxed on and expand into the speckled indigo Everything I saw before me. Usually closing my eyes helps encourage these kinds of expansive experiences, but this time it proved only to limit it – so I kept them open, without blinking, for as long as I was able. In his own way, I think The Best (who joined me on the sidewalk after his nicotine dose) was probably also having a similar experience because he started a conversation about gravity and being thrown out into space.

I’ve said before that when this life is finished and I’m done with this body, I will refuse additional bodily cycles and instead adopt the myriad forms of this planet’s weather system(s). I now suspect that this will not suffice. Even being a part of Earth’s weather is likely to feel too much like still being stuck to the ceiling. Rejoining the aforementioned floor will be far better and I will do it.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti


Ganesha-Lila, Ek

Image taken from Google Image search

Image taken from Google Image search

I found a story about Ganesha in a book I’m working through currently. The chapter I just finished is about myths surrounding Ganesha – of which there are many. I may share other stories, but this one struck me. The author, before detailing the myth, points out that Ganesha is easily pleased, but only if there is sincerity in the devotion – which invariably results in rewards for the humble and retribution for the arrogant. The author points out, too, that this story illustrates his compassion for all. I can think of many other things this story tells us about the nature of Ganesha. Can you?

One day Ganesha was seized with a longing to eat kheer. He disguised Himself and set off, armed with a pinch of rice and sugar, and a teaspoon of milk. He presented these to everyone he met and asked them to make him some kheer. Only an old lady took pity on the lad. She brought out a small katori and prepared to put the ingredients in it to cook the sweet-dish. Ganesha asked her to put them in a large pot. She tried to explain that it was unnecessary but to please him she did as he asked. And of course, as the kheer cooked, it filled the pot.

While the rice and milk cooked, Ganesha went for a walk. But the kheer was ready long before he returned. The smell was mouth-watering and the old lady couldn’t resist tasting the kheer. But before she did so, she invoked Ganesha in her mind, inviting him to partake of the kheer. One spoonful led to another, till she had eaten almost half the pot.

Ganesha returned.

The old lady invited him to eat, but Ganesha replied, “I have already eaten the kheer.” Then he appeared before her in all his celestial glory and showered her with gifts

Gita 4:24

I have a subscription to a magazine known as Yoga Journal. I’ve had a subscription since forever.

Used to, somwhere near the front they’d have an “Om” page on which they’d offer a mantra or prayer of one kind or another. This is one trait of the magazine that makes it rather Hindu, although the magazine isn’t technically such. Sadly, while there remains an “Om” page or two, mantras are no longer offered.

This month one of the Om pages holds a perspective article titled, “Living Blessing.” The author pretty much only talks about blessing his meals before he consumes thems. But he details every part of this process, and for no longer than the article is (it’s not long), he does well and going deep, but staying very easy to understand.

Near the end, he mentions that there are many ways to bless one’s food. He admits that the one he uses is a prayer from the Bhagavad Gita, known as the Brahmarpanam. I love it. See below for this prayer…

Brahmarpanam brahmahavir, Brahmagnau brahmanahutam,

Brahmaiva tena gantavyam, Brahmakarma samadhena.

(The act of offering is Brahman, The offering itself is Brahman, The one making the offering is Brahman- offering into the sacred fire which is Brahman. He alone attains Brahman. who, in all actions, is fully absorbed in Brahman.)

I mentioned that I love this shloka, and here’s why: It sums up the essence of my religion eloquently and simply.

Personally, I don’t subscribe to Dvaita philosophy/Dualism. I find truth to be more manifest in Advaita philosophy and I also find Advaita to make a stronger foundation for a more complete religious and spiritual expression, and to be more complimentary to the human experience.

Having said that, I’ve not yet reached an understanding of how any believer within any religion can believe (only) that G/god exists more in one locale than another. The awareness of that realization can be more evident in one person or thing than another, but that doesn’t in any way mean the Divine is more or less present there. So to believe that G/god is “somewhere out there” while downplaying or neglecting altogether the immanent presence of the Divine seems arrogant, ignorant, insulting and incomplete, nevermind illogical.

So, within the foundation of understanding the Highest One as simultaneously immanent and intimate, as well as impartial and impersonal, this prayer says it all.

Brahman, who is THE highest conception of the Divine ever, and the closest humanity is likely ever to come to describing The Incomparable All, is the only real Truth that exists and is the center of this prayer (as well as everything else, literally). Through this prayer we learn that The One is Who offers. The One is That which is being offered, AKA: the offering. The One is the actual action of making the offering. The One is the means through which the offering is offered. And The One is the recipient of that offering. There simply isn’t an aspect of existence or nonexistence which isn’t permeated by Brahman, The One.


Chapter 4 of the Gita is the chapter on the yoga of action and renunciation, and this chapter actually kicks ass. Allow me to detail why.

  1. Shlokas/Verses 5-9: Foundational to Hinduism, Krishna explains that humanity is never without The One. A promise that every age sees The One arrive and that those who recognize suchness are able to step off of the wheel of death and rebirth.
  2. Shloka/Verse: 11: Also foundational to Hinduism and a support for why Hinduism is so inherently tolerant and peace-loving. Here The One states, “My path is the path all follow, in different ways.” I don’t need to force or pressure you to convert to my religion becuase my religion already encompasses yours and finds inherent value in it.
  3. Shlokas/Verses 18-30: Pretty much a definition of Karma Yoga and Renunciation. For me this amazes, because of the emphasis on intimately knowing and, perhaps even more importantly controlling, one’s internal landscape. These verses explain the essence and outlook of the person succeeding in renunciation (vairagya) and also in controlling his karmas. Notice how many of these traits involve what would, by today’s standards, be called absolute controll over one’s emotions. These verse indicate that that person’s actions are purified through knowledge (a hint at Jnana Yoga), and in verses 22 & 23 we learn that in abstaining from emotional reactions one’s karma disappears. I suspect this is because far too often a lack of control over one’s emotions leads to a roller coaster of reactions, which perpetuates the cycles of samsara/samskara. Verse 25-30, of course following the Brahmarpanam, detail how fully The One pervades every aspect of life.
  4. Shloka/Verse 35: “Knowledge will remove your bewilderment.” Throughout the Gita Arjuna is a wreck and Krishna makes many attempts to console him. I interpret the knowledge mentioned here to be knowledge of the Truth, AKA Jnana Yoga. I love that He tells Arjuna that this knowledge will enable him to “…see all creation in yourself and in me.” Jnana leads one not only to mastery over his own karmas, but also to peace, and even further to Self-Realization. This is supported in the following verses. In verse 36 Krishna says that knowledge takes even the worst folks to safety. In verse 37, He states that “knowledge consumes karma” in the same way a log is charred to ashes by fire. Verse 38 has Krishna saying, “There is no purifier like knowledge in this world; time makes man see the truth of this,” and in 39 we’re advised that “the commander of his senses gains knowledge; and with this knowledge he finds final peace.”

I’m aware that there’s more to the Gita than Jnana, and entire sects have been founded on those bits and pieces. Still, in Chapter 4 I find a huge chunk of my religion -and this chunk pretty much applies across the board. The wisdom found in this chapter, like Brahman/The One, without a doubt pervades and permeates all that there is.

Om Shanti

positivity, with a little P

Being a positive influence in someone’s life doesn’t always mean making them happy.

Most people think that having a positive influence on someone is to make them happy. I suggest that this, as an automatic assumption, is a mistake and can create as much problem as it can create potential benefit. To illustrate this, I’ll detail examples found in the concepts of the guru and of the bodhisattva.

The most obvious example, of these two concepts, is that of the guru. The definition of guru varies from source to source, but usually always comes back to something along the lines of a balancing, guiding, wisdom –a teacher of the highest regard. Truly, the highest and most trustworthy of gurus is that Guru which resides within every conscious organism, but of which the organism is almost never aware. I’ll denote this form with a capital letter. This form of Guru is cosmic and universal and pervades everything, with a “higher concentration” in beings possessing consciousness. Ultimately, the voice of this Guru would be heard loud and clear if the conscious being was less ensnared in Maya and better able to separate awareness from consciousness. However, because this is virtually never the case, a more obvious and mundane manifestation of the Guru is required. This, too, can take a million forms, but for humans specifically, often comes in the form of another human. This form of the Guru has a little “g” and can seem like a mixed bag.

On one hand, the human guru is able to relate knowledge of the Infinite to others in ways that are easily digested by the under-developed mind. On the off-chance that the mind is unable to comprehend, this form of the Guru might sometimes need to resort to more direct and even physical means of conveying the lesson to its recipient. In things I’ve read, this can take many forms including strong words or even a whack on the side of one’s head.

Another instance of someone/thing affecting a positive influence on someone’s life is the instance of the bodhisattva. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, and to keep this short and sweet, a very basic definition of the bodhisattva includes a fully aware (aka karmically/egoically liberated), yet still individualized portion of the Infinite which has vowed to forego eternal bliss in mahasamadhi in the Infinite to instead manifest, life cycle after life cycle, in the physical worlds for the sake of helping others also find liberation.

This sounds very hunky-dory, but truly is an assumption. The truth is, some must learn the hard way and many times there seems to be no choice except to pull the karmic band-aid, hair-by-hair, from the arm it’s stuck to. In this way, a bodhisattva can be like the guru whopping someone on the side of his head, and indeed, many gurus are bodhisattvas.

I’d like to also point out that, whether someone is a guru or bodhisattva or neither, it’s possible to help lead others and have a positive influence. Further, just as with bodhisattvas and gurus, it’s possible that this can be done without necessarily inducing a smile on that person’s face. I feel many times people have the assumption that to be a positive force, you must necessarily be making people smile or love you or at least want to say good things about you. Not true. Those things depend on two factors.

The first is those being helped must be not only aware of that help, but appreciative. This can seem remarkably rare. The second hinges on their level of ego (ahankara). In my opinion, this factor is the most crucial. Someone possessing  a smidge too much ego may well be aware of the benefit being afforded them by the other person, but won’t value it as much on account of their ego having a stronger say than the opportunity they’ve been given.  In this case, the reaction of the one being helped is likely to be one of aggression. They’ll often lash out, use harsh words, and attempt to reject the help-often succeeding for the moment.

I think in these situations, it would be incredibly trying for the guru/bodhisattva. I say this, knowing what I know and having tried helping those I’ve tried to help… and being met with responses like, “You can’t see two feet in front of you!” Um… no, I actually can. I’m no guru and nor am I a bodhisattva, but even what little help/perspective I’m able to offer others often feels like throwing pearls to swine (a concept I don’t even believe in, really). I can only imagine how frustrating it would be for someone who can offer so much more for another’s benefit, only to be scorned or rejected, completely unappreciated.

It continually amazes me that the ignorant are ignorant of their ignorance. I suppose this is par for the course in Kali Yuga. This applies to me as well… I look back on some of my actions or words, and literally cringe at my own behavior from when I was younger. Some people, though, who are decades older than myself exhibit traits and behaviors that are worse than I ever did in my most juvenile stages. I mean, I know we all are learning as we go. I’m not talking about that. But whatever.

I think before I begin rambling more than I already have, I’ll close.

Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Shantu Nir-Aamayaah |
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu
Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Om, May All become Happy,
May All become free from Illness.
May All see what is Auspicious,
Let no one Suffer.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.