Tuesday, April 16, 2013

it's time...

Some of you may have noticed that I don't update this blog very often anymore. For those who may not know, it's because I'm fully occupied in my humble endeavour of trying to write on a Gita verse everyday! If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, please feel free to: http://www.gita-asitis.blogspot.ca/

Today, however, I write because I am perturbed. I am perturbed by the "news-worthy" events that are constantly unfolding and that are almost always steeped in negativity. At the moment, the one that is fresh in my mind is the tragedy that unfolded in Boston yesterday. What a waste of energy and time to cause such disruptions and spread so much pain.

The predictions of the Bhagavatam are unfolding in front of our eyes. At such a time, the two words HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami coined keep ringing through my ears "Spiritual Warriors." If there was any time or any push we needed to truly invest and take our spiritual lives seriously - it's now.

However, it doesn't come cheap. We only have to look at the lives of incredible role models such as Srila Prabhupada and Bhakti Tirtha Swami to know that to become a spiritual warrior isn't something that can just be bought. It takes an investment of time, commitment and spiritual practice (sadhana).

Those sixteen rounds of the Hare Krsna mantra we chant are our shield. In the battlefield, weapons and strategies are important, but if we do not have a shield to protect us from any weapons that are sent our way, what is the use? The Hare Krsna mantra is our shield in this battlefield of maya where corruption, negativity and hurt are the weapons of choice that are being hurtled at us. Therefore, it is so important to make chanting our utmost priority. Through chanting, we can take shelter and genuinely pray for the welfare of one other.

Our weapons to combat this battle are those that come from purification of the heart. Those intangibles such as kindness, compassion and realized knowledge come by putting in the time to work on ourselves and cultivating genuine, loving relationships with one another.

It's time...are you ready to step up to become a spiritual warrior?

Sunday, February 10, 2013


As some of you may know, I've taken on the challenge of writing on a verse of the Gita daily (www.gitaasitis.com). That's why I haven't been writing as regularly as I would like to here. That being said, today I wrote some reflections on Chapter 2, Verse 10 of the Bhagavad-gita and thought I'd share it here.

Verse 2.10: O descendant of Bharata, at that time Kṛṣṇa, smiling, in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.

On the surface, this verse seems pretty astonishing. Krsna is smiling at Arjuna's grief? What kind of God is this? Someone who takes pleasure in others' suffering?

Firstly, let's clear one thing up. Krsna is not smiling at Arjuna's grief. Krsna is smiling because his dear friend has now taken shelter of him. He is smiling because Arjuna wants to let go of the material suffering he is experiencing, as a result of identifying with his body, and instead wants to understand what reality is all about. Now that puts things in a whole different perspective, doesn't it? Just like a parent who may smile with compassion and understanding when their child comes to them in a heartbroken state and asks for help, Krsna too is smiling because this dear soul is now turning to him.

Arjuna is putting all his faith and trust in Krsna, a lesson we can all take inspiration from. Oftentimes, when things don't go the way we want, when we lose loved ones and when we see someone else getting something we think we "deserve", we blame God. C'mon, if you are in any way religious, spiritual or just believe in a higher force or entity, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Our problem is that we have been burned by the material energy so often. Not just in this lifetime but in previous lifetimes. Although we may not remember those previous lifetimes, what we carry with us are the impressions from those lifetimes. Having been hurt, disappointed, misled, and betrayed, it is no wonder that we have such a hard time trusting one another, what to speak of God.

God doesn't work by "our rules", which by the way are often different for every single living entity. He gives us what we need. And what is that need? Normally it's not the red Porsche, million dollar book deal or perfect relationship. No, often those things will just drive us away from him since we will feel we don't need anything but material temporary pleasures. What we do need is a reminder that our trust and faith should be put in that person who will never let us down - God.

But we forget this and keep questioning "Why? What did I ever do to deserve this?" Thing is, we cannot remember everything we've done to deserve what we're receiving now, but Krsna does. The law of karma states that for every action, there is an equal reaction. Because we tend to live our lives thinking that nothing comes before or after this lifetime, this truth doesn't often bring solace to the heart. But, if we were to actually remember this, things won't affect us as strongly as they do.

Krsna only wants us to come back to him. So everything that happens to us, whether good or bad, is actually an opportunity to remember that. Anyone who is aspiring to reconnect with God will go through this. "But why?" we may ask and the answer is actually quite simple. To make us stronger. To deepen our faith.

Growth only occurs when there is some pressure. Whether it be a weight-lifter, academic or aspiring bhakti yogi, we grow the most in difficult conditions. Not conditions that will break us, but those that will stretch us. God loves us more than we can even fathom, so the next time you pose the question "Why?" remember that. The answer is because we need to grow and he's giving us the opportunity to come closer to him.

Friday, January 4, 2013

on fast forward

Last week as I was sitting down to chant my noon gayatri I realized something. I was trying to chant all the mantras really quickly as though I had some place to get to immediately. Truth was, the only thing I had lined up afterwards was checking my email! So why the need to rush?

When I analyze my life, I grudgingly realize it's something I do constantly. I fast forward through most of my spiritual practices as though there is some imaginary race that I must win. Even though I know faster isn't better, the challenge in slowing down is having to acknowledge the fact that I may be doing things imperfectly.

When I used to take singing lessons, the thing that challenged me the most was singing my scales slowly. And I'm not talking about just slowly, I mean excruciatingly slow. That was the time my teacher would always correct me. Over and over and over again would I have to repeat them until I got it right. Although frustrating, I never forgot what she told me. "If you don't get it right when you sing slow, you'll not only sing it wrong when you sing fast, but worse, you won't even notice that you're singing it wrong."

Similarly, as I hit fast forward in almost everything I do, I'm starting to realize the only person I'm short changing is myself. As aspiring bhakti yogis one of the most importantly lessons to imbibe is that it is the mood and consciousness that matters. When I rush, my consciousness is of stress, not devotion!

It's a humbling lesson. There's no need to fast forward. It's a good thing to hit pause and re-evaluate and even more important to be satisfied on play. That's the time when I'll grow.