Monday, January 23, 2006

Bhor bhaye baaje Madhur Muralia

Bhajans have a therapeutic quality to them. When sung and listened to with devotion they lift up the conscience from the physical plane to one that somehow feels closer to the Lord. Even more uplifting, are the participatory Kirtans, where the whole assembly sings along with the lead singers and as the combined love of all the bhaktas finds expression in heartfelt and unbridled utterance of His name, even Bhagavan joins in into the festivities and one can feel his distinct presence.

Honestly this is no exaggeration. I have felt this connection many times in my childhood during our father's Kirtan sessions. The prayer hall would resound with the words "Hari bol, Hari bol, Hari bol mon aamar", tears of ecstasy would roll down the cheeks of all the grown ups around me as the joyously sang his glory. Father would have this serene smile in his lips as he led on the proceeding feeling the Lords love in every word and every note. Unobstruously a feeling of boundless joy would lay claim to the heart and I would always cry. Connection to the divine or collective histeria, I don't know, but it surely felt good and blissful.

The ironical truth however is that for most of us the effects of the uplifting love is not long lasting. During the time we zone in into a Kritan, sermon or whatever form of rememberence that suits us, His love envelops us and seems all encompassing. And as soon as these are over we descend back into our lives of crib-fests and into our rat races seeking ephemeral sense satisfaction. How easy is it to talk of Bhakti and how hard is it to lead a life of a bhakta.

I heard something in Astha channel the other day that's so moving. The sant was talking of Krishna's flute being the ideal bhakta. The flute cares not whether the tune Krishna is playing on it is a happy tone or a sad one, it produces the Lord's divine music unquestioningly. The whole purpose of the flute's being is to do the Lord's bidding. Ever immersed in the service of Lord, perhaps the bliss it experiences in love of God, the Ananda, transends the egoistic emotions of personal happiness and sadness that assils us the ignorants.

Perhaps that's why Krishna loves this para-bhakta so much and is never visualized without his trusty flute.

Dahe Chetan Thakita Ek bar Gaur-Hari Bol
Gaur-Hari bol re Madhai, Gaur-Nitai Bol

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Iss Saal Phir Dil Maange More....

Don't you just love to have more? Much more really, more of Money, more of fun, more of all that we like. In fact, except for Kiran More, (of whom I definitely want to see no more in the selection board) generally more mores can be merrier. Quite so!

The perpetual demand for more is not just restricted to the realms of the mundane material. We demand more from everyone, parents, children, colleagues, bosses, govenment (that is a joke and you are expected to chuckle, thank you) and even God. Take Jesus and Mary Magdalene for instance, that Jesus saved all of us and Mary is one of his foremost apostles in known and accepted. But we are often driven to think that there have been more, maybe they were married! The number of books written on this one subject is phenomenal, by far the most popular being the fictionalized treatment provided by Dan Brown. Personally, I am happy that this research is happening, I have always felt that the Magdalene was treated unfairly by history. Anyway on the commercial front, France, where the Sang raal supposedly ended up and royal bloodline is reputed to have continued, has derived a booming tourist business from this want of more of The Mary who married The Lord. For centuries.

One doesn't even have to go back so far in history, it seems that some miracle has to be attributed to Mother Teresa for her to attain sainthood! This is so ridiculous! Isn't her being born and coming to Calcutta a miracle of the first degree in itself? No, the world wants More. I don't know about the suits (or robes or whatever the Vatican bureaucrats wear) Mother Teresa is already a saint for all whose lives she has touched and all who have been inspired by her.

All this is well-n-good, but is there more to life itself? The perpetual question that haunts intellectual, wannabe intellectuals and pseudo intellectuals alike. What do the Upanishads mean when they talk of the underlying unity of all creation, the all pervading Brahaman? What of the Ishwara, who is supposedly the personification of the mighty Brahaman and why can't I find Him in the pages of all the weighty books I read?

I don't make new year resolutions anymore, one, I am old and can't think of new and good ones and second they don't really last longer than the first week of January anyway. The reason that these resolutions fail is because such resolutions usually are typically made with the intent of "Lessening or Curbing" - for instance, this year I shall eat less carbs, I shall be less lazy, I shall gnaw the toe in my mouth a little less and so on. All these come to a naught for as we all know from the good Pepsi commercial - Yeh Dil Maange More...

So this year I have made a new year's eve proclamation that I am going to have More

- More of silence, and when I do speak, speak more about Krishna, Sing his glory.
- More of contemplation and Meditation on Krishna name
- More quality time spent with this Atman guy who is supposed to lurking somewhere inside of me (heaven knows doing what!) for he allegedly has the capability of leading one to the Truth!

And as the good book says - the Truth shall set you free.

Happy New Year Everyone.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare