Vamsa - Quest for the Divine Calling

This journey has finally culminated into my first book, it possibly explains the lack of posts. Its been an arduous journey of nearly 12+ years to bring my first work of fiction to you. 

The Making of the Book

 Vamsa - Quest for the Divine Calling

I am actually speechless when it comes to explaining the experiences I went through to bring this to you. Needless to say that the struggle was immense, not just with getting a good story together, but also to learn how to write a book. And when I thought my work had finally been completed the endless wait to find a publisher was a back breaking effort. But through all this ordeal, the fundamental question to find out whether I would make it as an author was quite the driving force. I was certain, when am on my deathbed, I certainly don't want to feel horrible that I didn't even try. And so, to save myself that deep dejection I decided that come what may, I just have to figure this out for myself. 

I have tried my best, I have put every effort that I am humanly capable of, despite my nature to be unable to sustain such fervor for a long time. And for some strange reason I have to tell you, I have felt a push inside my head, in my heart to not let go, to not give up. This push, appeared to be "not me" though it wasn't even external. To anyone out there, it looked like i was the one trying, but inside my head I know, someone/something was pushing me to it. 

I have come to give divinity a definition, define the tendency that "wasn't me within me". Its that strange feeling that doesn't let go, forced me to look at the manuscript every time my thoughts went dry. It has driven me to unthinkable levels of deep emotion, and a strange courage that I can see this to the door. Right through this entire journey, I have grown, I have changed and I have matured towards silence as I realized there is just so much more out there to being human, to tap my own capabilities and am so glad I made some good use of my time. But what really shined through this amazing experience is that when I hit a wall, and really had no where to go, help came in the form of people, help came in the form of ideas and all these added up to my kitty of miracles. The spiritual experience has been unbelievable, i have stopped and wondered whether what just happened actually happened. 

This work, is a sincere offering to the gods in a language known to people. I have floated away into some level of abstraction, but the story is simple, and quite opposite to the blog. I really hope you have a good experience while reading my book for the thoughts, the creative twists were all inspired by Lord Jagannath himself. It was really under his strange but amazing influence that the final touches the book were made, which in my world amounted to rewriting it :).

I cant explain it, but I can only promise, when you are done reading, you would have completely enjoyed this journey. This is a work of spiritual fiction, where the sacred texts have been revisited, and the crazy world of bhaktas becomes real. It is a place where emotions are not withheld and love and freedom find their way into a realm of deep adoration for the Gods. I am just one speck in that vast ocean. 

On another note, I would like to tell you that when I went to the astrologer to pick a good date to release this book online and let the world know about it, he had a peculiar answer to give me,

"This is a spiritual work, don't worry, any day is an auspicious day".
And with this, I offer this work of mine to all of you to journey along with me... into my world of deep spiritualism. 


Love in Spiritualism - Unconditional or Sensual?

The term "love" has many depictions in the scriptures, from rapturous sensuality as a form of expression to divine intoxication. The celestial being in our scriptures have either risen to the pinnacle of devotion or they have plummeted into the abyss of sexual satiation. Either way this emotion in its many forms makes or breaks a sadhak's spiritual endeavor. 

Love stems out of chemistry in gross terms and that's possibly the most mundane animal tendency we can see in ourselves. So blinding is the emotion that we as humans, have practically failed to look beyond it. But if and when we do get the chance to transcend this state and move to the next level, the definition of love changes drastically for good. 

Some call it Neela Madhava Bhava, others call it Madhura bhava, I some how relate to Neela Madhava Bhava a lot more. This is a state when love becomes unconditional, where bhakti takes over and rules the emotions. This is when love is not equated with gross sensuality but its a different high, that works more in the mind of course fed by emotion. It has nothing to do with physical attraction but the effect is far more intense in the mind, and lasts longer... possibly for good. 

Neela madhava bhava can be expressed to a celestial being in abstraction, to an idol representing that abstraction within a temple or quite simple to another human being who expresses similar state of mind. This bhava is beyond relationship, beyond rules and so free is its nature that it culminates in unconditional love towards others. Ramprasad Sen, a great poet and tantrik practitioner of his time went through this emotion in great depth, so much so that he practically prayed to Ma Kali to help him seek others who related to her divinity the same way.  

Many misunderstand Kaula tantra as an art form of love. To the uninitiated it may look like a potential orgy, but to the seeker the experience is way beyond words. When one sadhak goes through divine intoxication and relates to another sadhak with a similar mindset, the interaction is potentially that of Shiva and Shakthi, Krishna and Radha, but with one difference - There is complete detachment and yet there is extreme love and there is no sensuality in the picture. Love is a strong emotion that takes both the aspirants through, the gross bodies don't unite but the minds are in union. What results from the interaction is a higher state of bliss, in the mind and in consciousness.

Spiritualism is potent and as much as it offers such fantastic experiences to the mind, and soul it asks the physical body to have self restraint. The earthly definitions of love fall flat in the spiritual space. Attachment, ownership, pride and low grade orgasms have no place in this world. This world is beyond known imagination of love that has been peddled as a great experience, of the gross kind. In the spiritual space, this emotion starts with surrender, deep and pure surrender with no doubts. And when the Gods act on it, they speak to us, through events, through thoughts and through Neela Madhava Bhava.

निपीतपञ्चसायकं नमन्निलिम्पनायकम् |
सुधामयूखलेखया विराजमानशेखरं
महाकपालिसम्पदेशिरोजटालमस्तु नः ||६||

- Ravana Tandava Shlokam (Wikipedia)

May we get the wealth of Siddhis from Śiva's locks of hair, 
which devoured the God of Love with the sparks of the fire flaming in His forehead, 
who is bowed by all the celestial leaders, 
who is beautiful with a crescent moon

Its time we unleashed that lesser known emotion to get the best of its potential. We are truly capable of a lot more, we need to believe we are ready for this new wave of emotion, for once it engulfs us, its a flood gate to heaven... in a spiritual space. Remember, even Kama had to be burned in the fire of enlightenment, he didn't survive the intensity of the great Lord Shiva himself. 


Quest Towards Divine Craving

Twenty years and counting, I have come across so many version of expression that describe the form of Shiva, so many in the past have tried to seek and share what they have experienced. The making of my Shiva still has deeply depended on that which comes from out there, and not from that which is generated within me. This path so far has led me to crave so much more for anything that I can learn about who or what Shiva really means. After all this hunting, seeking, searching, expressing, reading, singing, painting, discovering... I have come upon a secret ... one secret that I believe completely describes Shiva. Its cryptic, its short, its potent. And while everyone else has possibly taken this for granted because its so easily available and they didn't have to try so hard, they probably don't know the value of this diamond they hold. 

Aghora Rishi
Na Ma Shi Va Ye Ti Beejam

I repeat these cryptic letters to myself, they make no sense in my world of noise, in my fast paced life constantly governed by western logic and glitz of intellectual proof, these little syllables are like that of a baby babbling, making no sense but no one is looking at me with a smile saying "how cute"!

No one has time for me, no one understands this pain of mine to find out what these syllables mean. They have too much of their own things going to spend a moment with me to find out why I am so stuck with it. I met a few wise men, some didn't want to talk, others didn't know what to say and some said so much, I could see clearly they didn't know anything. 

I learned slowly, that the answer to the meaning of these syllables was in the silence within my mind, took me a while to get there but I figured there is more to that silence than what meets the eye. But my first challenge was to switch off the din outside, and sink into the silence inside and try to maintain it. 

My first struggle was to make sure the outside din didn't keep coming back and bothering me. I needed to cut them off so I decided to get into this when the outside world slept. When there is silence outside, the noise inside can be heard. My next challenge was to close down the noise inside, and that turns out to be far tougher job. I am enough damage to myself, I don't need the world to mess me up, I can do a fine job myself. I have been struggling a lot on this, cant say I have succeeded, but I have found the possible key to the solution. I exercised it and it worked wonders. I stopped attaching myself with the world* outside, for a few minutes, then for a few days and then it became a part of life. I simply stopped worrying. Everyone will find their way, with or without me... I cut off one branch - the craving for self assurance externally. I don't need the world to help preserve me, I can do it myself. 

I managed to bring down the excess noise in my mind, that many people and things could take care of themselves for a while, so I don't need to worry. I brought down my self importance and the world around me learned, this time was for myself, and no one was invited. The phone was switched off, the door was shut and I moved into my den, my den with my Gods. I have been doing one thing for the last fifteen years which has come in very handy now - Japa. It is so much a part of me, that when my mind is idling around, it just falls into auto mode - japa. And this japa has cleared a lot of the excess thoughts and therefore the quality of the thoughts has improved. I can control what thought I want to entertain and what thought I can do without. Cant say they don't keep coming back, but when the craving ends, the thoughts die as well. So I learned to kill craving. 

With quite a few distractions out of the way, the silence started to grow and I started to repeat those mystical syllables, first loudly then softly then just within my head. I began to realize a strange difference that took place. I could feel my emotional intensity rise, ten fold, so much so that people couldn't handle me. They are so used to their frivolous existence, such concepts are so difficult for them to even understand, they harbor fear. I started to look like the different one, not someone you may like but someone you would definitely take notice of. I slowly started to realize the Path to Shivahood, is lonely and whether I like it or not, I will loose my connect with people. Frankly, today, no one understand me, no one knows me, and am good with that feeling because I just connect with someone else - My Divine Family and there I hear plenty of music. I have not seen Shiva (not sure if that is even possible) but I gather that I have felt a hint. 

Those sacred syllables don't have a meaning, not in the language we speak. Those sacred syllables have an effect on us, making us rise above being human. Forgive those who are ignorant, its ok. Let go, its ok. Be compassionate, its ok. Please don't hoard, you cant take it with you. Look for spiritual wealth, not material wealth. That wealth comes with you after death, its way more valuable. 

The question now is - what is spiritual wealth? :)

It is this craving that takes over your mind, conquers your thoughts, conquers your soul. This desperate need for divine love that makes you latch on to anyone remotely showing you the presence of divine grace within themselves. It doesn't matter whether they live or they are gone, it doesn't matter whether they are men or women. They have a story to tell and that story you will want to listen. And this feeling is deep and no one will understand you then. Its the state of Shivahood. 

*Stopped attaching doesnt mean indifference, it means compassion dispassionately. Simply put - I dont need to own you to care for you, I simply care for you because you are alive, and you shine with divine grace. 


A Conversation with My Divine Family

It's been a journey this far, one into deep spiritualism... deeper than you have been possibly, and also one of the most enriching. There is fatigue and intoxication in the mind. Fatigue because I am determined to see my divine family, in this world and in the next and my search is not quite taking me anywhere. Intoxication because they are making doubly sure this search continues and I don't give it up for any  reason. I thought this was a subtle tease until I was posed with a very deep question... One that has started me on a new journey, a different journey. 

The circumstances of having gone to Jagannath, of having visited the temple and experienced the depth of Neela Madhava Bhava to some degree has left me saturated with such emotion. This divine intoxication led me to take a daring trip to the remote shakthi peetha of Tara Ma and despite warning of lack of safety in the rural region of West Bengal, I dared to surrender to MA Tara and tell her to protect me.

With Lord Jagannath residing in my heart and the beckoning call of Tara Ma, I headed out of a way side hotel in Tarapith to meet her at 3:00am. They say that the form of Ma Tara actually hides a deeper potency within herself, the sacred form of her feeding Lord Shiva; but what I had thought was all there is to it 2 years ago, led me to believe there was more. This form actually hid yet another vigraham within it and it had eaten into the reserves of my unending curiosity to know what that firm really was. Yes, I had kept this hunger going for 2 years, I had made it my purpose to know what was within that which the panda so carefully had hidden away...or maybe Tara MA herself for she did want me to come back again to bathe every form of hers that I subsequently discovered.

I had been excited about performing the abhishekam of what I thought was the inner form when I realized it was but a teaser to a form deeper within it. The discovery of Tara Ma has taken me 3 visits spanning few years. And sitting in a wayside shop waiting it out for a panda left me reflecting on what a friend of mine had said the previous night.

"It's a long queue at 2:30am, that continues till 3:30 with or without a panda and we get a glimpse of the inner form for a few seconds. 

But the instructions of the panda were otherwise. "Come at 3:00am and we will take you inside." Here were conflicting pieces of information, packed with added stress when the panda's wife replied to our frantic calls saying he was unwell and couldn't make it, led me to wonder what was in store. I was not going to curl up and sleep, I was going to brave it through the dark streets of the night. I was here for it and I was not going back without it.

Yet this intoxicated heart could barely wait to see her, as her intense mysticism overpowered my soul and no, no human was going to mess around with this sacred rendezvous.

With the panda's son's arrival to lead us into the temple at 4:00am, I had no clue what was lined up but the size of the offerings in the basket indicated there was a lot to be done. We waited our turn in a rather empty temple while few others were inside offering their prayers. We were called in, and I set eyes on her mysterious self, her core, the inner most idol, her potent earthly form that stood there awaiting me to bathe her. 

I am particular about what thoughts cross my mind at these moments for they govern my perspective of life back in my mundane world. And in this blank mind every thought that trickles through is a potent message from my spiritual family, and I wait for the next order or pearl of wisdom.

And in the silence of the chamber, in he silent waters of my mind I heard the swirling question come towards me. 

"I have given you my heart in a Saligrama, I have given you my life energy that it breathes with. I have shown you what there is to see in my earthly splendour be it at Kanchipuram, be it a Puri, be it at Lingaraja, be it at Tarapith. I have granted your wish to visit and discover everything there is to my earthly form. And now I ask, have you found me? Is this all there is to know about me? Or do you perhaps need to start looking within to go on this search?"

The question stung me hard. Go within, that's all I thought, but how and where?

I have crossed the threshold, some kind of threshold, I don't know. I have lost my anger to compassion. I have shrunk my materialism to triviality in relation to deeper faith. I have lost my expectations to forgiveness and tolerance. I have lost my earthly attachment to divine love. And now the path has opened up to go within.

The search continues but will I ever visit temples again... I don't know. They are within me and I am them. The temple out there... Maybe they will call me again if I fumble.

What a splendid lesson to learn on Shivaratri.


A Tryst with Faith

Yes, it’s been the year of Jagannath, the year of Kamakshi Amman and Tara Ma, the year of the great lord Shiva himself. Call it a twist of fate that in the last few months I got tossed into Bhuvaneswar on work, or was it a pretext to a greater reality unseen by the rest of the mortal world. 

Lord Shiva was my prime focus, and His sheer presence in my mind drove me to visit Lingaraja temple where I had the chance to walk into the Garbha Griha and learn more about Him. At the center of the chamber lies the shrine, a low Shiva linga, but with a difference. Lord Vishnu adorned in silver resides on Him. To my surprise I learned for the first time, this could well be the form of HariHara. Rich with experience I subsequently went to Puri Jagannath, where I came upon Kasi Vishwanath at the entrance. I also learned that the great Guru of Jagannath also resided within these temple walls and to my surprise he was the great Lord Shiva himself in the form of a linga. 

But, there was something else that moved in the mystical world just about the same time, one that I could sense but couldn't quite place my finger on. Emotionally I was exhausted wondering about how I could channelize my high energy emotion of Love and Bhakti. That’s really when Lord Jagannath stepped in, presenting ever so many occasions to repeatedly come and visit Him. He was there to guide, to keep my faith intact and to grant me as many visits as I possibly wanted. And, if there is anything am capable of ... its spiritual greed, I wanted to meet Him, again and again and again, closer and closer each time.

In my first visit apprehension overtook my emotion of divine love, a fear that this beautiful world within my mind would be destroyed by a screaming uncouth panda demanding for dakshina. It’s a mortal fear I have like anyone of you, the only difference was that I was worried because I really wanted to meet the Lord and I was scared it would not work out at all. My focus stayed in place, but my heart didn’t know what to expect. It appears like Lord Jagannath felt my fears and put it to rest when he sent a panda (who I never met after that) to come and guide me into the sacred chamber with gentleness and respect, something that I never expected. I met the Lord close, up close, amazed that I could walk into a garbha griha... no rules, no noise, no demands. 

I came out overwhelmed and went back home fulfilled only to learn later that there was a path of pradakshina I could have taken which I was not aware of. In my next visit, there was little chance of meeting that panda again but as I cursed my stars a friend of mine said she could arrange for another panda, the logistics of which I fixed through the course of the evening. It was a close call, to cover Konark and head towards Puri and find our way back to the airport at Bhuvneshwar, it was clock work and the Lord didn’t disappoint, for he let us walk into his shrine in the early hours of the morning. This time, I requested for the Pradakshina and I was allowed through with my friends. It was an experience to discover more about Lord Jagannath every step of the way, to learn about the temple, to learn about the way of life that surrounds these walls. 

I came out overwhelmed again, breaking down into my emotions partially as I thanked my friend endlessly for helping us through this. This time I saved the panda’s number and informed him I would be back in January to offer my manuscript, my work of art to the Great Lord Jagannath. Come January, I trooped back to Puri, as promised with my heart all set in anticipation wondering whether I would be granted my Jayadeva moment. It was unbelievable to say the least, where Lord Jagannath orchestrated my entry and exit ensuring I didn’t go back with disappointment. Whether it was day or night, whether it was a normal darshan or Shankranthi, whether there was few people or millions who thronged the temple, He made sure I visited him and had a darshan of him up close. When the Lord wishes, we can get the opportunity to bypass a wall of human beings to get a glimpse of him in a packed audience. I came back blessed with his victory flag that flies up high on the finial of the temple. 

Intoxicated and overwhelmed, emotionally saturated I returned yet again to visit him this time, with just one thought in my head.  I may not be able to come so often, and hence I asked the Lord "why don't you come back with me, come with me, reside in my heart, be a part of my being." I do not know what came over me, but the mind was ready and the heart ached and I asked the panda to source a saligrama this time, knowing fully well I was signing up for the ultimate state of orthodox living, and I was prepared to go for it. It was all for my Lord Jagannath.

I went back this time, repeatedly calling up my panda to be reassured that I would get what I had requested for. I had no idea on how it was going to happen but I was ready for NO as an answer anytime... in the mortal world, being a woman, NO comes more often than a YES in the spiritual world. We reached the temple doorway, and walked in silently into the peaceful courtyard. He told us to wait and look at the Lord while the pranapratishta was underway. He came back and handed me a saligrama, wrapped in grains and a red cloth which I safely put into a wooden box I had brought along. I stared at it and looked up questioningly...no shankha, no chakra? He smiled and said it’s the prana of Lord Jaganntha, within this saligrama sila, it’s a Banalinga. It is Lord Shiva himself. 

I stared back into the shrine, I had come a full circle. Lord Shiva and Lord Jagannath had taught me a serious lesson, there was no difference between them for this was the pure form of Harihara. Where the sacred prana of Lord Jagannath resides within a saligrama whose nature is that of Shiva, as a Banalinga. There is no Vaishnavism, there is no Shaivism, there is no separation on such religious or spiritual Gods, this was their swarupam, the primordial nature of supreme energy, a small drop of which rested within my hands for me to take back home. Lord Jagannatha had answered my prayers, as he sent me back to my world of Shiva, but with His life force. 

I realized in these months, in these many darshans of Lord Jagannath, that I had undergone a change, I had matured, spiritually evolved. I had lost every form of attachment to my earthly existence. I had found my divine family, I had reached the abode of my sacred home. I have found my sacred family. This year has been blessed, Kamakshi Amman made me meet her, Lord Jagannath gave me his soul locked in a Banalinga saligrama, Ma Tara awaits me in Tarapith and Lord Venkateshwara awaits me in Tirupati and I have stepped into the next stage of spiritual evolution. Experiencing the completeness of my life with my divine family. 


Jagannath Raas Lila - Silent conversation of affection.

Puri, sacred land of Shankha Kshetra, divine earth where the Lord Jagannath resides has come to become a part of me, it is what I call my home. Yes, this spiritual vagabond has found her home, previously at Tarapith, and now at Puri. 

Divine intervention or providence, I don’t know... and I frankly have stopped thinking. All I know is, when I get a chance to come to Bhuvaneswar, I can’t go back without setting foot into Puri to meet the Lord. After all its He who calls me all the time without fail. It’s been three visits, and there is no stopping this force from calling me. And each visit has had something new to offer. Somehow with these swelling emotions of devotion he just cares too much and takes care of everything, from permanently fixing a good panda who is genuine, giving me anytime access to the Lord to a meal, the maha prasad, before I leave. He has just been so real, so vibrant, pulsating in every breath of mine, now he just makes my heart melt. I can hardly think beyond him at the moment. 

Where do I start, how do I explain the impossibility of the trip, the lack of any chance to go to Puri, and yet He made me do it... against all odds to just book my return tickets a day later and not worry about the repercussions. I have not felt such levels of fearlessness and yet I seemed to have sailed through, not just unharmed... but protected as well. 

Well, I made the time but I was not quite ready for the next hurdle. It’s the time of Pongal/Shankranti and the temple is swarming with people, packed beyond capacity. I was blissfully unaware of what I was getting into. I just knew, I had to meet Him, with or without crowds, with or without company, nothing mattered, I had to go. But there was a catch, I wanted to submit my work of art, my manuscript at his feet, in my way and spend a few good silent moments with Him. I guess he knew that too. I have worked for this moment, not just waking up at 3:30am every morning in the last 3 months, but for the last 10 years, to close this work and reach my moment, my Jayadeva moment. I have grown, in my spiritual journey and He has taught me well. But nothing was possible without that last push and for that I realize now why I ended up visiting Him so often these last few months. He just made sure, I completed this manuscript, not in my way... but in His way. 

I barely wrote those words, but they stemmed from his consciousness. I barely strung them together, but the sweet fragrance of divinity was sprinkled by Him. I barely managed to complete it by noon, but He had devised His plan for me. It was truly accidental and while I tried to get my coordinates together, a friend walked in asking me if I wanted to visit Puri by night. It was unthinkable, 9:00 pm for a temple visit... does it even work? He was certain it did. But, none the less, “Yes” was my answer, and the divine excitement of meeting my Jagannath started to rise again, intensely, strongly leaving me speechless. This was not going by my plan, this was His plan and I was given a way to follow and sure enough, even the panda confirmed it was a better idea to finish it tonight.

We hit the road, with strange hope and even stranger anticipation of how the evening was going to unfold. So thick were the thoughts that I hardly realized when I reached Puri and we were hastily rushing to the temple, the panda had already called us thrice to figure out where we were. He caught us at the gate and we rushed in, as I carried the loose sheets of my manuscript packed into newspaper. I loved the ambience in the evening, the silent raas lila of Krishna Jagannath hummed in the air, in the winds. We lit lamps at smaller shrines, meeting Ganesha, Kasi Vishwanath, Ma Bhuvaneswari, Ma Mahalakshmi, and soon after headed towards the inner sanctum. 

There He was, my sacred world, my Jagannath adorned in silks, seated, looking back at me with a big smile on His face. We were ushered to a corner where I stood, staring at Him while the panda went ahead and kept the loose sheets of my offering at the Great Lord's feet. My Jayadeva moment had arrived. I stood speechless, feeling the warmth, feeling my emotions seek Him... I walked inside, around the sacred passage completing my pradakshina as I turned to Him again, this time closer, much closer. Everyone was warm, the pandas didn’t push me, and no one said a thing. I bowed to Him, looked at Him endlessly and thanked Him for calling me by night. Bowing down to Ma Subhadra and Balarama, I spend few silent moments there with them. There were no crowds, no noise. Just Him and me, silence outside, silence inside. He gave me what I had wanted.... He never disappoints. 

We headed back around 12:00am, along the peaceful stretch from Puri to Bhuvaneswar, as I reflected on the evening. Unplanned, fantastic, He had granted me my wish. I had planned to go there the next day, I did it anyway. I hit the road again at 6:30 catching the morning sun. This trip was about Him, everything else was incidental, a part of my karmic to do list. This was the real thing. 

Jagannath Puri, was filling up fast as I entered the temple, bhajans rang on one side, queues lined up everywhere and people thronged to the temple looking for hope, seeking faith, feeling his divine power. It was one of those moments of ultimate freedom on earth, where I am alone and I am just sitting on the steps of Lakshmi Mandapa staring up at the pinnacle of this magnificent 10 Cen AD architecture. Three good hours of bliss at the sacred shrine, practically spent with japa and silence as the crowds just buzzed around me. Its possible to feel the silence of Lord Jagannath in the middle of a lakh audience pushing each other to get a glimpse of Him. 

My panda was back, just like the genie in Aladdin, :) to magically help me through the crowd. And believe me he did it so amazingly well. The main door was shut down, the paths were packed with people and police yelled at poor folk who didn’t toe the dotted line. Can you believe the impossibility of this darshan when I hadn’t even gotten into line yet! I was blissful in the mystical world of Jagannath, hardly aware of the millions criss-crossing my way as I headed closer to the shrine. Close was not "close", we had access up to the second door way, two chambers away from the shrine. A couple of police men opened a corner door, as we walked through and sealed it immediately and we moved in swiftly. The crowds were crazy, a potential stampede was building up and in this sheer people force the panda said, bend down under the blockade and sit on the steps. Was it the panda or the divine intervention of Lord Jagannath, I don't know, but leaving the sheer madness of the crowds an inch behind, I sat at the steps for another 2 minutes, staring at Him, in my mystical silent world before I walked out. The sheer human force got me out of the temple as I found my footing again. I left the temple, almost breaking down into tears, it is possible to bypass the sheer volume of people if the Lord wishes it so. Before I left, the panda came back with a piece of red cloth, "this is a flag from the temple finial, this is for you". I opened the flag, it had the sacred mark of Chandra Bindu on it. Lord Jagannath had spoken to me, wished me well and gifted me his victory flag. 

I left the mad rush of the human world, walking out of the temple, this time, he truly touched my heart. He gave me more than I asked for, he gave me more than I deserved. 

Naachke Aye Natakhat Giridhar...He truly came dancing into my heart.


Jai Jagannatha - The Lord Who Never Disappoints!

It’s been a year with the Gods, I spent time with them more than I spent time with people. I lived with them, thought about them, loved them, prayed to them, adored them, sang to them... it has been so fulfilling and they didn’t disappoint. Lord Shiva, Ma Tara, Ma Kamakshi, Ma Kali are real in my head, more real than you and me. But recently circumstances presented themselves, events unfolded and I found myself heading to the temple of Puri more often than I had planned for. 

The larger picture is starting to get clear, the play of fate is a game am slowly getting to understand. There is a way to control things and not let it unfold as it feeds on our temperament. That’s when we rise towards being higher than just human. In this subtle reality, the mind has to work harder but if the heart is in the right place, it’s completely doable. Astrology helps to give direction, lets you know what’s coming but doesn’t get down to the depth of it...it lets you figure it out. And when the Daksha of fate comes to challenge us, hang on...face him with the army of Gods to support. Lord Shiva will come, or he will send someone. In my case, he sent Lord Jagannatha... and he didn't disappoint. 

I speak of a subtle reality, which has now become very loud. In my consciousness everyone around me now has become an actor, of a larger play and I am in it. Life has started to look up, people hardly matter for now my enemy is within, it’s me, it’s my fate... can I change it? I believe I can.

When we keep faith, when we surrender completely, I mean completely without doubts the Lord will act on it. And it’s an intoxication, the mind hardly wants to come back and live in this world. The other world is just more beautiful. Am I hallucinating, I wasn’t sure but when Lord Jagannatha just kept coming back I was certain, this is for real. Yes the heart has to be in love with him, the mind has to be persuasive and the magic of living can bring all the difference. Its deep, it’s fulfilling and it’s beyond human frivolousness. We are capable, more capable than we thought. 

The calling is strong, very strong and I just end up following my heart. Puri, land of the great Lord, a bustling temple swarming with people and with monkeys. Lord Rama is there with his Vanar sena, Lord Shiva has descended from Kasi, Lord Hanuman has come from the east gate and Goddess Mahalakshmi is seated on her throne. This dham, one among four, is the great seat of Lord Jagannatha, Neela Madhava... oh the bhava of surrender is just so amazing as we make our way into the sacred sanctum of the Lord who stands with Subhadra and Balarama. 

It’s a quiet chamber with a bit of day light streaming in and the lamp lights brighten up the interior. Ignore the sounds of the people and then you can feel the silence. Jagannatha stands there, with his hands spread out, with his eyes that don’t ever close, with his heart that is ever open to receive if we are willing to give. HE is my Jagannatha, my dear Lord, who called me again and again to visit him, to be with him, to surrender to him and to leave my heart behind with him for safe keeping. In this world of divinity, full of energy and divine secrets, its his home and its my home, my Hrydaya Kamalam where he resides, where Lord Shiva resides, where I have chosen to merge with him. 

Lord Jagannatha never disappoints, if we let go He will come to protect. Jai Jagannath!

Om Na Mo Bhagavate Vasudevaya


The Sati in Me Burns as the Daksha of Fate Looks on...

He is there, far out in the wild, far away from social rule, far away from the plague of human order of living. He is Shiva, the wild one, the living, the intense, the pure, the flawless, the fearless, He is my Shiva. But in this forest of human living, I have lost him in the crowd. I have lost him so bad that I wonder whether he even exists among them...anymore. And yet this heart yearns for the possibility that he exists. 

The wheel of time has turned again, fate has lolled out its ugly head and placed yet another test to me and I have this unsettling feeling am losing this war again, very badly this time. I have a quest, do I have the luck to meet my Shiva in this life.... ever, at all?

This heart is tired of the hunt, this heart is tired of the web of emotions it has caught itself in... this heart just wants to stop beating.

The ambiance of life is set, the great sacrifice is underway and Daksha, the father of my fate has rolled out yet another plan, but this time the sinking feeling is louder. And in the crowd of humanity I cant quite find my Shiva. Where is he and will he protect me, will he come? At the center of this earthly universe is the deep fire of burning human desire, large flames rising up threatening me to dare look for my Shiva in it. The flames are hot, fiery with possessiveness, crackling with anger and greed, raising their fiery arms to grab my poor soul that stares at them dance within the stage of their homa kunda. The black smoke of sorrow, of doubt and of betrayal rises out consuming every one standing there witnessing, sucking their emotions into its flames. Is my Shiva there?

I see people getting consumed in its flames creating illusions of deep emotions. I see people willingly succumbing to its tempting offerings as they dive into its flames, only to feel its real fury. They burn, they shout and groan in their suffering of burns as they writhe in sheer unbearable pain and yet they cant stop themselves from diving, its call is just so strong. This fiery pit is lethal and no one knows what they are signing up to until they take the plunge to only realize how it tricked them by playing into their hearts. And I stand here, trying so hard not to fall into this deadly pit of burning desire.

Daksha is watching in silence, as the fire rises to consume people, consume their minds, consume their hearts and consume their souls into sorrow, into hate, into anger... oh what is the real nature of its flames? I can see him sit there and smile, urging me to jump. I can see the lust and greed in the eyes of the people who willingly fall in, something is so not right in this fire and yet, in my world, that is all I see ... the fire and its tempting arms of a beautiful illusion of finding my Shiva there. 

And I jumped into its flames.

I can hear the screams of agony, I can hear the wailing of sorrow, its a terrible world in there as I start to burn. Its deep, it sucks me in and am trying desperately hard to find my way out, Ma Tara, help me... help me. Help me out of here. The fires are consuming my heart, its sinking deep into the black abyss of human plague. Its burning away the beauty of my soul, its burning away the purity of my being... its burning me to ashes, destroying the real me, the core that I need my great Lord Shiva to protect. And I collapse in exhaustion. Am losing the Shakthi within me, slowly but surely. 

The pain is deep, the hurt is immense and am waiting for him to lift me out of these raging flames to take me away. He will come with his army to lift me out of this burning ground of emotions. I am waiting ... as I burn in this pyre of life. 

Oh my Shiva, my calm Shiva, the fearless one, the strong one... where are you? Won't you listen to my cries.

Na Ma Shi Va Ya... 
Na Ma Shi Va Ya...
Na Ma Shi Va Ya...
Shii Vaaa Yaaa... 


To Lord Jagannatha I bow

You have come back again to quench my thirst, to dip my dumb head into the Gita, to shake the ignorance out of my mind once again. I am thankful to you for that. 

You came back to push me to think, to push me to realize the deeper nuances of human relationships, that which I never knew of, that which no one believes ever existed.

You held my hand and took me through the path of bhava, bhava of different kinds. Yes! This heart is capable of viewing love in more ways than one. 

You taught me sakhya bhava, and I was too dumb to learn. Eight years after you stole him away I realized what you meant. Spiritualism in human relationships, oh what a game you have played!

You taught me madhura bhava and I hardly got the point. What a waste I was, till you made me realize the hard way it was meant to be divine, not human. 

You taught me dasa bhava, and I melted in devotion not knowing where it led me. But today when I stand on what appears to be a pedestal for another, I realize what the previous sage didn't get right. 

And now when I need you most, you taught me vatsalya bhava, another version of the same love. And while this heart fears detachment, you threw the impermanent world at me to grapple with while I try to realize the actual truth. 

You have shown your grace to teach me tanmaya bhava, to see your form in everyone I meet, to cure me off human folly. To worship you in every living human, every insect, every being pulsating with life...and for that divine intoxication, I thank you again.  

And finally, when I rest my tired heart that doesn't know what else is in store, it awaits your lesson on shanta bhava to imbibe the silence of the universe, the void, the truth that you have so carefully hidden away from me. 

Oh when will you reveal your true form to me O Lord Jagannatha and claim this heart that truly belongs to you.

To Lord Jagannatha I bow.


Divine Love, my encounter with the crazy world of Bhaktas

Are you a bhakta? How far does your Bhakti go? Will you take the leap, close your eyes and trust me and let go?

"No" would most likely be the answer. How then do we go on this path of faith, ahem blind faith. Blind faith which is not so blind that you take anything that’s given but blind faith that is informed on whom you take it from and what they have to offer. And yes, you had better know your faith better, way better because whoever you go to, won’t teach you that. 

Faith is what you make of it, it is not what you see in a group of people as to what they make of it. It is not a war of symbolism, it is not a war of numbers, it is not a war of belief (whether my belief is greater than yours or not). It is a STATE OF MIND. It is yours for you to manage, like your home, your work, your kids... faith is all about managing the creature called you. Why, because guess what ... you spent your whole life managing everyone and everything else around you but yourself. 

I belong in that world, the world where we think managing ourselves is way more important that managing others. We manage ourselves and define what principles and virtues we want to live up to and define who we really want to be...in the divine world. I discovered a handful of others who have tried as much to do the same thing with themselves and succeeded. And we have a common goal, the goal is to seek the divine, the goal is to exploit what we have in abundance - sheer love. 

Love - not the chemistry between a man and a woman, not a spark that defines a human relationship - but love that is free of human definition. You and I are capable of it. I discovered a man, I read his poetry and now I am deeply in love with his ideology, deeply in love with his craving for the Goddess, deeply in love with his purity towards the divine. And every line in his poetry just makes my heart cry out for him. Oh where is he, the great lover of the Goddess, who looks so dejected because he can’t find me. 

Alas, we are born in two different eras...we are born never to have ever met before. And as I scroll through his divine verses to the Goddess... I feel the pain of what he feels. We are simple people, we don’t know the ways of the world, and we just know one thing, deep love, just love for the divine Mother. 

He writes:

A Country Fair (Excerpts) 

Drive me out of my mind, O Mother
What use is esoteric knowledge
or philosophical knowledge
Transport me totally with the burning wine
Of your all-embracing love
Mother of mystery, who imbues with mystery
The heart of those who love you
Immerse me irretrievably
In the stormy ocean without boundary
Pure love Pure love Pure love

The Poet Stammers, 
Overcome with longing:
When? When? When?
When will I be granted companionship 
with her intense lovers. 
Their holy company is heavenly
A country fair for those mad with love
Where every distinction between master and disciple disappears

 - Ramprasad Sen (Shakta Poet, 18th Century, West Bengal)

Yes it’s a mad world when one true bhakta meets another, it’s a mad world of freedom from the hypocrisy of men. Out here there is truth, there is pure love and deep faith that pulsates, binding us together. We sing each other’s praise, we view each other as an extension of ourselves. We realize just what we need beyond the world of earthly human love and existence. And the divine mother drives us, like horses tied to her chariot as we run in directions of our own choice, of our own freedom. The harness of love keeps us steady and doesn’t let us stray away.

He taught me well. He taught me to love the Goddess. He taught me to look into the mirror and see him as a reflection of me. 

That is truly when the divine illusion of the Great Mother falls and she sees herself face to face with herself. We are but a figment of her imagination. Ma Kali meets Ma Kali, I am you seen through her eyes and this illusion too shall fall. 

At last... I have realized the meaning of true love.