BE MINE FOREVER….OR YOU WILL SUFFER THE AGONIES OF THE DAMNED.

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1165311e076f9fab8a6e2f39ba6df8caWhen a sage is born, shining like a star in a noon sky, some are fortunate enough to encounter him or her personally and to directly absorb his teachings. But after he passes away, other elements take over, and these folks are rarely of the high caliber of their master. Gradually, sometimes over centuries, what was once a vibrant and liberating teaching often becomes a rigid and entrenched institution, guarded zealously by those who do not understand the true essence of what the sage originally taught.

Consider the fundamentalists of all stripes and religions today, who warp, distort and twist what their original teacher said to serve political, power or financial purposes. How, for instance, could the true teachings of peaceful and pure Jesus of Nazareth ever have been used to justify the unbelievable horrors of the Inquisitions that followed centuries later? We can come up with a thousand other such examples, of course, for no major religion is exempt from this madness.

One thing that really bothered me when I began my own spiritual quest is that a certain ilk of teachers would insist that, once you signed on for their teachings, that was it, you could not leave their fold. Yes, you owed them not perfect and total loyalty until you took your last breath! Some also insist that you tithe part of your income to them, and god forbid if you move on to another guru more suitable to your spiritual needs—then you are nothing less than a despised and fickle traitor. Continue reading

From “Consider the Source” to “Who Am I?”

opening-imageI flew from south India to Manhattan in the summer of 1986 as a young bride with great expectations. Almost none of these hopes were met; as the saying goes, the Great Goddess laughs when you tell her your plans.

For one thing, I had yearned to study creative writing for film at New York University. My husband (now ex) had assured me I could. It didn’t take long for this exciting plan to be shot down by my mother-in-law, who wielded a powerfully negative influence on our life. I was urged to find a job instead, so I could get used to a new culture and lifestyle—and assured this was all for my own good. Once I found my feet, they both promised earnestly, I would be in a better position to really study.

Gnashing my teeth, I learned how to wear a suit and pumps so I could interview. Soon I had a job I did not deserve: I had been an advertising copywriter in south India but now I was Director of Media and Public Relations of a small but prosperous trade advertising agency located on downtown Broadway. Apparently the confident demeanor I had projected along with my excellent speaking English had impressed my new employer. Shell-shocked by the prospect of what lay ahead, I could see no way out of this predicament other than to brazen things out. Continue reading

Mirabai’s Dazzling Cosmic Vision…2 of 3

KrishnaMira saw her entrancing Blue God everywhere—in rocks, forests and blossoms, in storm, thunder and lightning, in animate and inanimate things. Fearless and ascetic, graceful and elegant, Mira was saint, philosopher, singer and poet, and one of India’s most versatile geniuses.

Uncaring of her critics, Mira danced wildly on the streets of Vrindavan. Averse to the ritualistic worship so entrenched in the Indian psyche, she focused on Krishna—who was husband, friend, family and Guru to her. Shielded by his love, she forsook royal extravagance for a beggar’s life on the bustling streets of ancient Vrindavan. Wars erupted around her, and human consciousness sank to its nadir, yet nothing could stop this Queen from her simple devotions.

This is why, centuries after her miraculous passing, her poem-songs continue to infuse people with courage and unconditional love of the Divine; they express both her yearning to merge with Krishna, as well as the ecstasy of divine union. Her songs melt the angry wounded human heart into surrender; they inspire not because she was a skilled wordsmith, but because they were tender outpourings of a heart dedicated to the Divine. Even atheists have been profoundly moved by Mira’s potent language of love. Continue reading