"Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitute wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there." Meister Eckhart (12th Century mystic)
The practice of Singing For God was discovered in the monastery when I left my home, studies and career to become a monk. In this post, I share the origins of this discovery.
Singing For God is a spiritual art form I developed in my years of monastic formation in India while studying forms of Bhakti at the famous Ranganatha temple, the largest temple complex in India where we will take our group in January. The great Vaishnava mystic and scholar Sri Ramanuja used to teach here in the 12th century.
January 2023 will be the last time we take a group on pilgrimage to India. On this journey to find the other half of the soul, I will be sharing many of the spots, including spaces in this extraordinary temple complex, in which I tapped some of the deepest and most formative spiritual experiences in my life.
The famous mystic Meister Eckhart once said: “If the only prayer you said was ‘thank you,’ that would be enough.”
We are encouraged to give thanks and be grateful throughout the year. However, once a year, we celebrate Thanksgiving in America. Our Canadian neighbors did theirs already—they are always ahead of us in niceties, those polite, well-mannered denizens.
Brash and bumbling though we are on this side of the fence, there is an unmistakable large-heartedness about the American people that immigrants like us cannot but help appreciate.
This year, we celebrate 35 years of being in North America. We loved Canada, where we began our journey in 1989, but those winters are not easy on South Indian bodies, although the warmth from the people more than makes up for it.
Today, there is so much conflict in our world. It is important that we do not push these matters under the carpet this Thanksgiving but remember these regions and the intensity of...
Because spirituality, like life, is about relationships.
What is spirituality about most of all? One word that perhaps most humans will relate to behind the various norms and practices is "connection."
On the one hand, as humans, our spiritual connection (with the divine) is with something we don't see with our physical eyes; on the other, it is with something we discern through a different sense: something like intuition, perhaps.
In other words, there is a paradox behind the word "connection" and the process involved. We seek connection through a mysterious process about something that words often fail to define: the divine reality. It is challenging to pin down the divine truth as this, that, or the other. Yet, we believe in it and relate to it as a reality, or, in most cases, the truth, the supreme reality.
"Paradox" is another word critical to deep spirituality, as paradox helps us resolve the profound contradictions that arise within us due to spiritual experience and process....
Lakshmi Tantra is the quintessential method of manifestation. Many teachers of manifestation have taken their methods from this ancient system without giving credit to their sources. Now you can study the traditional way to assist your process as a practitioner of manifestation techniques or as a teacher of such techniques.
Can you identify a sense of lack in your consciousness, in relationships, your career, your finances, your location, your environment?
Can you determine that you are willing to do something about this lack, that you are determined to commit to the process daily?
Can you decide that you are willing to commit to building your relationship with Lakshmi because you see her as a way towards.
If you can say YES to all three of these questions, you can change every “I can’t” To “I can”
Sunday, November 12 is Diwali, perhaps the most important Hindu festival of the year that celebrates the triumph of spiritual light over the darkness. It is on par with Christmas for Christians.
To help you prepare for this auspicious day, a time to invoke the goddess Lakshmi, you can engage a 15-minute abundance meditation visualizing what you want to manifest for yourself, your loved ones, and the world.
We hope you can feel the blessing of this moment when the stars and deities configure to grant us prosperity and well-being. Wear a good headset for an immersive effect and make yourself comfortable before you begin the meditation.
Without throwing a dampener on this blessed time of the year, recent developments in the world cast a shadow that is impossible to ignore, especially as civilians come under direct fire. Let us pray for the resolution of conflict in our world and for peace to establish itself in human hearts as we envisage good fortune and well-being...
While temple elephants might be seen as emissaries of Ganesha, could we, as humans, also explore this possibility? On this pilgrimage of life, what does Ganesha symbolize for us?
One of our secret expectations on pilgrimage is to encounter a temple elephant. Somehow, these elephants are different. Could it be because people approach them as Ganesha, the God of Wisdom and Remover of Obstacles? Could it be because they are trained to bless those who come to them by gently touching their trunk on the bowed head of the devotee?
Although live elephants can draw people to the temple, that is not the intended reason for their presence there. It is their connection to divinity and sacredness that is paramount. The unmistakable connection is to Lord Ganesha, Hinduism's beloved elephant-headed God, a child born of Shiva and Shakti. Receiving a blessing from a temple is especially auspicious.
In ancient times, elephants were used in India to clear the forests for agriculture, so...
In many places worldwide, humans hurt other humans in the most horrendous ways. At times, it happens in our families, neighborhoods, and backyards.
What happened in Israel on Oct 07 was awful and emotionally devastating. And now Gaza is painful to follow. And then, there's Ukraine; and Sudan.
In some ways, one feels helpless. What can we do, we ask, to end these human conflicts? Where does our power lie? One response is prayerful chant.
There is nothing political about this post. It is simply an assortment of peace prayers in multiple languages that can be sung sequentially and simultaneously.
You probably have places on the planet that deeply concern you. Please join us in collectively praying and chanting for peace on a global scale.
Featured on this page is a video with graphics that serves as a meditation, a complete text of the lyrics, and a video showing the guitar chords if you want to learn it.
PUT ON A GOOD HEADSET AND KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN...
Sometimes, it isn't easy to understand why we are so profoundly moved. Visiting the 9-11 Memorial in New York City touched us this way. Perhaps it was because we visited it for the first time since the event happened. Maybe it was because our visit was within the week of today, the 22nd anniversary.
The moment we reached ground level after getting off the subway, the new Freedom Tower reached high into the heavens as we walked across the street to the memorial. This building that replaced the Twin Towers...
I first encountered a Hindu meditating in the temple in Chennai, my native city. My staunch Roman Catholic father did not force me to attend church or to take Catechism classes, but he became concerned about my Hinduness in later years. When I was five, we moved to an orthodox Hindu neighborhood, and my parents enrolled me in the Hindu school nearby. These were among the best years of my life because the influence of Hinduism affected every part of my life. However, my connection to Hinduism is much deeper than the circumstances of my childhood.
In traditional Hindu temples, seeing men and women sitting in deep meditation is expected. You may see them sitting outside one of the shrines within the temple complex. Sometimes, they are positioned alongside the outer wall after you enter the central courtyard. Some you will find within the exterior of the inner sanctum. No matter where they are seated, the depth of their absorption is striking.
Now these are not gurus or yogis or...
Pradosham, an especially auspicious evening time associated with Shaivite observances. April 3, the day this blog was created, was "Soma (crescent moon) Pradosham."
Pradosham often involves fasting to raise the bar on spiritual practice, and I explain why and how in the tutorial. Using the esteemed Panchakshara (five-syllabled) mantra (Om) Namah Shivaya is of equal importance, so I give you some tips on how to enhance its effect. It's all in the tutorial right here:
Fasting is used on pradosham to enhance our spiritual practice because the word "doṣa" is a defect, specifically something that can cause us harm. Pradosham is our monthly cycle to cleanse our karmas and purify, which is why the esteemed Panchakshara (five-syllabled) mantra (Om) Namah Shivaya is used to invoke blessing.
The word "Shiva " in Sanskrit means "auspicious," a word that is not in common parlance today, meaning "favorable," a presence that blesses us and ensures successful outcomes.