last year
March 24, 2008, 2:51 am
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Last year at this time I was dancing with the brahmacaris of Radha Gopinath Mandir at the farm outside of Mumbai. We were also swimming with Gurumaharaja, mud sliding with the kids, eating hot tandoori naan, birthday celebration of HG Jananivasa Prabhu, wonderful lectures, spontaneous dramas and mosquito bites!


virtual kirtan
March 23, 2008, 3:49 am
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Last night I was “Skyping” with Talpasai Prabhu. He recently bought a new harmonium. While sitting in Upstate New York I grabbed a mridanga  and he played his harmonium in in his appartment in Minneappolis. We had a nice kirtan together for some time over video chat. It was an interesting experience.

I spent the day with the devotees here in upstate. Walked around and visited the waterfalls, took a nap,  practiced in the studio,  talked for a long while, ate nice microbiotic kitchri,  raw chocolate for desert, burned some yoga music and observed babies crying. It is interesting watching babies cry. They are such confused scared people. You can really see how they are trapped in a body and unable to speak despite trying so hard to express themselves. All they can do is cry. I realized that despite my being 27 years old I feel the same way sometimes.

tata rekha travels.
March 22, 2008, 8:50 am
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I just left New Vrindaban on another deviant education mission. Destination: Upstate NY.

We landed yesterday afternoon in the Holy Dhama on the auspicious appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The place was packed with guests and I did not enter my usual winter depression as I had during the past few months. I was excited and enthusiastic to perform service.

I had the great privilege of playing mridanga for two hours with Premananda Prabhu from NYC. I rarely have the opportunity to play with anyone else so I appreciated the experience. You can learn so much playing with others. That is something I never really had. I remember the winter of 2002 when our last mridanga player Mukunda Madhava Prabhu left New Vrindaban. I think Abhaya Prabhu was gone at the time(he is really good). It was gurupuja time and Nityodityo Prabhu looked at me and said,”Well its time you learn to play mridanga.” The same day I picked one up and started banging away. Then I found a “how to” on the Chant and Be Happy website. I was horrible. I never played an instrument before. I just couldn’t do it.

A few days later Kuladri Prabhu told me that Bhima Karma Prabhu was going to visit New V for the summer and teach Mridanga. He came and began to teach a dozen of us the complete system of Mridanga as taught by Narrotama das Thakur. It was a wonderful experience learning all the mantras and actually being taught something systematically. It was the first time I had done this while in the ashram. I appreciated the clarity, the organization, the ability to develop and look forward to continuous learning. He was a great teacher. He not only taught me how to play the drum but also taught me how to look inward and connect with kirtan and myself. He assisted me through the process of playing the mridanga to emotionally develop and work through a few difficulties I was having in my life as a young devotee. He was a real well wisher and big brother at that time.

I especially remember the time he told me how practicing mridanga was a true meditation. If anyone was practiced hasta sadhana and hatuti will know that it is completely impossible unless you have no thoughts other than than chanting the mantra and proper hand placement. He made me go slow and slower and slower. I hope that I can return to that practice one day. I haven’t made the time recently(the past two years) and really wish I would. He also told me that If I learn to love to play the Mridanga my spiritual life would be secured. He said that you can only play the mridanga in Kirtan with devotees therefore you have to be with the devotees if you want to play. The devotees and the holy name will save me. This is true.

Yoga is like that for me now. So that is where I am headed. To learn from the devotees.

local society for bike consciousness.
March 18, 2008, 2:28 pm
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Yesterday was Ekadasi and all I thought about were bicycles-atleast my right hip only thought about bicycles. If I were to die now would I be born in China or Italy or family of pious bike builders/riders? I also did my laundry, chanted with cold feet, went on a japa walk to the campus lake, organized my trip to NYc, ate buckwheat with butternut squash soup, read about kumbhaks and bandhas, attempted to watch little Irish kids dance, did not wear green, watched a video about yoga, another one about anatomy, finished up a newsletter, ordered a few books off of amazon, went to the bike co-op to develop my fixy fetish, froze tofu, ate dried papaya spears, and researched Ayurveda. I think that was it. Oh yeah a little face book and emails. Maybe I was not so Krsna Conscious. I did obstain from cutting my hair, if that is a means to enter the gates of heaven.

If I am really tired before going to bed I think it prevents me from dreaming. I think I have always been afraid of dreaming since I was a child. Day dreams are ok, it’s just the night one’s which have tormented me. When I was little I used to have drink hops and chamomile tea to prevent me from having “night terrors”. They went away after some time but especially after joining an ashram and understanding a little philosophy and knowing the uncontrolled mind has full control at night makes sleep a scarier thing.

I have been waking up at 4 am every morning without an alarm. At that time I sit up check the time, drink some water and pray for a few minutes. Then I go back to sleep and wake up later. Today I re-awoke at 5:30am so I could go to the studio before my class and have my own practice. For those that teach yoga asana or philosophy we often pass up the chance to go to others classes or lectures. We more often fall into an area where we don’t practice ourselves. I like to arrive to the studio an hour before so I can warm the place up, light incense, set the music and my playlist for the upcoming class and do a few asanas and pranayama to awaken and go inward.

After class I returned home in the rain speaking with one student and friend named Zeb. He is a very sweet guy. This was the first time we spoke at length and I appreciated his company. Sometimes after a class I might walk home alone, I usually place my hand in my bead bag and chant a few rounds. I love Dwadasi so I can eat grains again. Today we broke our Ekadasi fast with cantelope smoothies, organic cereal with soy milk and a Srila Prabhupada lecture.

I have to chant now,shave my head, shop for tonights workshop, teach again at 3:30pm and then cook up a storm! It is finals week so there could be many people or a smaller crowd. You never really know. I’ll have to say good bye to a few graduates, a few see you laters to a number of students who will study abroad for spring quarter and chastise a few for showing up to our last workshop and not any previously. It is easy to schedule around, we always have VCW Tuesdays at 7pm. Don’t schedule classes during that time!

My Name is Rachel Corrie
March 17, 2008, 4:14 am
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It’s late and my legs hurt. I just devoured a post bike ride/pre ekadasi plate of Vegan Mac n uncheese. I had a great yoga session at the studio. It was packed and I got the royal position of being right in front of the heater. Nice method for intensifying the practice.

After yoga Jason and I decided to go on our first bike ride of the spring. First we road out to the grocery store to purchase the very best frozen dessert on the market. Good Karma brand-Carrot Cake Vegan Rice Cream. It is my new sinful enjoyment. It takes the edge off. Check them out at http://www.goodkarmafoods.com/

So Jason and I rode 20 miles from Athens to Nelsonville to watch our old friend Kat in her thesis performance called “My Name is Rachel Corrie”. We have known her since she was a Freshman and I have never seen any of her shows until today. I am happy to have seen at least her very last performance in college. The performance brought back many college memories and desires of heading to Palestine. I was telling Jason of a tattoo I saved up to get just before I joined the temple. I never got it and gave the money I saved up to my president to purchase Sri Sri Gaura Nitai Dieties which are now installed in Phoenix Arizona. The tattoo was going to be a large picture of Palestinian children with slingshots, molitov cocktails and rocks. It would have gone all the way around my body from my back to my stomach. That would have shocked a few people during festivals. It is always interesting to see devotees wrapped in their gumshas in the bathroom for the first time. All of their tattoos are revealed.

During the performance one of the songs was a modern hip hop rendition of SriKrishna Govinda…. Krsna is everywhere, even in small town Appalachia.

We left the theater by 9pm and rode the 17 miles back home in the moonlight. We loved each moment of the ride despite our legs being very very tired.

Does anyone out there have a road bike or track bike they want to get rid of?

We are planning our next ridewithin tour, want to come?

The process is simple, but the application is difficult.
March 16, 2008, 4:44 pm
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Today I was sitting in my Baker Ballroom office speaking on Sri Chaitanyadeva. I tried my best. Each Sunday I have a telephone conference call with a group of friends where I answer questions and speak on various KC subjects. It’s my little secret. It keeps me connected to Krsna Consciousness and provides transcendental pleasure. If you want to call in on Sundays 12-2pm EST let me know.

HG Gauranga Prabhu once told me that I can do as much outreach for westerners as I can tolerate but I have to always continue to lecture to devotees “for my own pleasure”. We need the opportunity to speak fully about our own realizations and about pure unconditional Bhakti to keep it “real”-to keep Krsna Consciousness real. It is amazing how and hour and a half can just fly by when speaking about the Lord and His pastimes.

I am going to take the mid Sunday Yoga class at the studio now since yesterday I used my yoga time for extra chanting and more chanting.

“The process is simple, but the application is difficult.” I read this today in Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 1.1.2. I had not heard it in a while and it caught my attention very quickly. Something I will reflect on for some time.

the sun and moon are arising at the same time
March 16, 2008, 4:10 am
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bcd on computerOnly one more week until Spring break! I am so excited. This week I only have one evening program so I will have a lot of free time to prepare for important things like death and taxes. I still have my regular regular yoga classes at the studio to keep me a little busy. I am most looking forward to being out on the college green with our own “climate change” kirtan sessions. This will be a wonderful and an appropriate way to lead our way into Gaura Purnima.

The last two weeks have been very hectic adjusting to the new teaching schedule. The addition of teaching 3 hours of yoga a day is definitley a schedule packer. Last weekend I took a bag full of dirty clothes, borrowed a friends Lexus and drove 300 miles through a blizzard to DC. I played in Rock Creek Park and attended the monthly Sacred Sound Program. Lately I have felt a lot more comfortable with close friends than at New V. I was going to go today but ended up taking Mauricio to a Karate ceremony where he had to spar with upcoming blackbelts on behalf of his martial arts lineage. I love to see close friends reveal their talents. Mauricio is very talented.

Earlier this week I was invited to Trimbolt Middle school to teach a Yoga class and serve prasad to a group of 20 10 year old students. We had lots of fun and the students loved the raw sweets and nectar I brought them. I will return in April for another session and continue in the fall. It was most interesting being with such young people. Their personalities are very much manifested and I could envision them each being 20 year old college students. Our Friday class in Mcarthur with MentorCorps is almost over to complete the qualifications for our Grant.

Today Jason and I checked out our spot in the university gardens for our adventure with Bee Protection(ISKBEEP).

Our “secret” visitor will be arriving Athens soon.

I’m heading to NYC for 10 days on Saturday.