Day twentyfive: Mantra

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Bright and ear­ly, I put togeth­er my offer­ing of fruit (the two apples I got yes­ter­day), flow­ers (some orange ones I picked near my dorm and some strange look­ing ones I got from a tree out­side the Reception) and mon­ey (mak­ing sure it’s not a round fig­ure), and made my way to the tem­ple.

I thought I was alone there, but as dawn broke I noticed a fig­ure med­i­tat­ing silent­ly in the shad­ows. The silence was pal­pa­ble.

Soon, Nataraj arrived and qui­et­ly explained what I’m sup­posed to do. As Swami Mahadev made his way to the altar, I pros­trat­ed to Shiva and him, then placed my offer­ing there. I then sat cross-legged fac­ing the Swami as he chant­ed a prayer and applied some pow­der to my fore­head. Swamiji then advised that I repeat my mantra dai­ly in the morn­ing and night to sus­tain its ener­gy. I slow­ly slipped into a calm med­i­ta­tive state as we repeat­ed my mantra togeth­er, and could bare­ly hear him bestow my spir­i­tu­al name.

I don’t remem­ber how I got back to Shiva Hall after my Initiation, and I con­tin­ued to med­i­tate there until sat­sang was almost over. So when I opened my jour­nal to write down my new name, I found that I had com­plete­ly for­got­ten it.

It seems that med­i­ta­tion had cleared my mind a lit­tle more thor­ough­ly than I intend­ed!

Line of the day:

The mind is like a drunk mon­key stung by a scor­pi­on.” — Janaki quotes a yog­ic proverb.

No wor­ries. After sat­sang Nataraj (as kind as ever) says he’ll ask Swamiji at the staff meet­ing.

Highlights of the day: Nice chat with Dana (actress from North Carolina) — poor girl got stuck mov­ing fire­wood in a human chain for kar­ma yoga… again. Practiced the Arabic Universal Prayer with Lebanese Sita over date cook­ies and halawa (she also told me many sto­ries about Swami Vishnu, whom she was very close with), and a chat with Naomi (girl from Canada) about large tat­toos (she has one of Ganesha on her back).

After that I attend­ed a focus ses­sion on med­i­ta­tion mod­er­at­ed by Gauri, and told the group about my astral expe­ri­ence. She said that was a very pos­i­tive indi­ca­tion I’m on the right track with my prac­tice. At the ses­sion I med­i­tat­ed for about ten min­utes then had to rush out for tea and a meet­ing with Kalyani on the Shiva Hall steps. We talked about my emcee duties at the Talent Show and she ran through the stan­dard list of Dos and Don’ts to keep the shindig “ashram appro­pri­ate.”

Cora dozes off against the wall (prime loca­tion) dur­ing evening sat­sang.

Afternoon talk on yoga with Janaki was fun as usu­al. It focused on Positive Thinking (Swami Vishnu’s Fifth Point) and Janaki made the point that few of us know what we want by telling a sto­ry about Shiva and his con­sort Parvati. I also shared a sto­ry along the same lines.

Three mis­er­able home­less men were sit­ting at the side of the road when a genie appeared to grant each of them a wish. One of the men wished to live in a man­sion in the Caribbean and with a snap of his fin­gers the genie grant­ed him his wish and made him van­ish. The sec­ond man asked to live in the Taj Mahal. In the same way the genie snapped his fin­gers and the man van­ished. The third man looked around him and real­iz­ing now that he was now by him­self got very lone­ly. So he wished that the genie bring the oth­er two men back!

Afternoon yoga class was refresh­ing and very calm­ing and Udayan helped me improve my bal­ance in the head­stand. The swim after­wards with Eric, Kat and every­one else was the per­fect end­ing to a won­der­ful after­noon.

Tonight’s veena per­for­mance was divine.

Dinner was a sog­gy but healthy affair which was fol­lowed by my kar­ma yoga shift at the Boutique because I had missed my morn­ing slot to meet with the Lebanese Sita. The Brazilian Boutique Sita was out sick, so Ananda made me sub for her behind the counter, which she nor­mal­ly does not allow kar­ma yogis to do. It was lots of fun doing my best Ananda impres­sion by order­ing Ananda her­self around in a high-pitched Middle Eastern accent: “Karma yogi! Karma yogi! You no chat with cus­tomer!! You work, work, work!!”

Nataraj stopped by and wrote down my spir­i­tu­al name, which he had con­firmed with the Swami.

It is Madhava — one of the names of Krishna. I’m hap­py.

Evening sat­sang fea­tured some very good veena music by a group from Trivandrum. I final­ly got the chance to read some Midnight’s Children before bed. Om, out.

DAY TWENTY FIVE SNAPSHOTS • Click on each image for a larg­er view.

Snapshots tak­en on my phone.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nadzo April 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Madhava :)
<3

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Meedo Taha April 24, 2010 at 7:37 pm

At your service, m'lady.

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