Saturday, August 11, 2012

Friends with Myself

Dear Friends,
   I arrived in Fort Collins for its birthday party. The beautiful Colorado city bustled with thousands of people who were there to listen to famous bands and partake of the many foods. I went straight to Om Ananda Yoga studio. Sarada, the director, had kindly invited me to do kirtan (singing to one's Beloved) on Friday night. I am deeply moved by her kindness and acceptance. I hope to meet her personally one day to thank her for allowing me to use her space.
   Near the studio, I discovered a little alley where a friendly youth named Jasper was playing a brightly painted piano. I sat down to play the piano, and thought I would bring the harmonium to play in the alleyway. So for the next 3 afternoons, I played the harmonium and sang sanskrit mantras to the passersby. At first, I was quite shy and embarrassed and looked away from the onlookers. But by the 3rd day, this self-conscious aspect was mostly dissolved. I was advertising the upcoming satsang, and this music was to uplift people and purify the city environment with its vibration. It seemed, in fact, that most people had their own shyness and would often just glance surreptitiously at this street musician. I made a couple of friends during the performance. One of those friends was my own self. It seemed that my body was walking taller and more confidently after playing for the people. Somehow, I cared less for other's judgments and thoughts.
   Well, it turned out that two people arrived at the satsang at Om Ananda Yoga Studio. The rest probably joined the throng who had showed up for Fort Collins birthday. We had a beautiful chant, singing the names of the Lord. Please let me continue to chant His name constantly 'til the end of time. Let me bring His Name to others for the upliftment of His Cosmic Creation. May Om Ananda flourish with His Grace. Thank you, Sarada!

All my love,

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Mission

Dear Friends,
   I visited the SCS Mission in Salt Lake City this past weekend. Grace certainly planned it so that I could arrive at the monumental installation of the Sri Chaitanya installation at the temple. This event is so significant that the installation day will be celebrated every year from now on.
   When I arrived, they were about to begin the Hari Nam march through the streets of Salt Lake. Joyfully we danced along the sidewalk, chanting Hare Krishna and playing various instruments. It was my first Hari Nam, celebrating Sri Chaitanya's early morning march a thousand years ago. The picture down below is a remembrance of our walk. Three great Sanyasins (renunciants) were in town - the guests of honor. The next day, we hiked through the mountains nearby along pristine lakes surrounded by towering trees. And the last day, we celebrated the installation of Sri Chaitanya, chanting devotional songs in sanskrit and singing the name Hari.
   I had the opportunity to wash many dishes and help out in other ways. The devotees serve the Lord in such a focused and powerful way that I was very much humbled. They treat one another as family, taking care of one another's children and cooking free and delicious food for large numbers of people. Indeed, seva is taken to such a high level in the community that I have not seen the likes of it anywhere. 
    Thank you to Sudarshan and his mother, Mata, for having me at the temple. They work tirelessly for the Lord. May I learn from their incredible example.

with love,

Satsang in Novato

I went to Novato, CA, just north of San Francisco, to hold satsang at the accupuncture clinic where Terrence and Joy tirelessly work together. Terrence took me to Mount Tamalpais, a holy mountain above Mill Valley. The energy is brought forth by the divine mother who dwells in all of creation. Satsang was centered around appreciation. Who is your life do you appreciate and love? What about that person or animal or thing do you love? This feeling of love is the key to opening the heart. When love is present all the time, suffering cannot touch you. One young woman spoke of her father who had just passed away. He had supported the family and given everything to support them. As we listened, we had tears of empathy for this woman's love. Her father was at the satsang in spirit. We can only learn from his example. I found that this participation, again, adds such depth to satsangs. Let me continue to learn the skill of listening to others. There are jewels in their words.

Terrence and I did a puja to bless the clinic. He is helping me to put together a couple of short recordings of the satsang. Thank you, Terrence, for your devotion to Truth. You are my teacher. Up above is Terrence sitting in meditation on Mount Tamalpais.

Joy gave me a a free accupuncture treatment and loaded me with homemade food for my journey. Thank you, Joy, for supporting the spiritual cause. Your generosity goes so far and beyond!

with love, Brian

Satsang in Santa Cruz

I stayed in Santa Cruz to do a satsang at the Pacific Cultural Center. Brent and Serena, wonderful friends, allowed me to stay at their home. Sandra, a wonderful friend from El Salvador, happened to be visiting the area at the exact same time. We all joined in satsang and shared in the a powerful field of love and gratitude. The energy was so strong that it was a miracle I could speak coherently. I found that  when people share an experience of gratitude, it unites the hearts of everyone attending. I am thankful for their participation, and I will cultivate this sort of participation in future satsangs. Dear reader, please feel free to e-mail me something you are grateful for in your life. I would love to receive your inspiration too. Above is a picture of my friend Brent. His generosity cannot be described. I am honored to be his friend. with love, Brian