Friday, March 25, 2011

"Princess of the Underground"-- Sufis, High Art, A Kali Devotee, and the Path of Paths

This might be the best piece of religious journalism this year: a must-read. Lex Hixon makes an appearance, as does Walter de Maria's Lightning Field and that cultural lightning rod, the "Ground Zero mosque" [sic]. At the center of it all is Sheikha Fariha al-Jerrahi, née Philippa de Menil, "a strikingly beautiful spiritual seeker and youngest scion of the Schlumberger oil fortune."

In addition to its many other charms, the article contains some uncommonly perceptive remarks re the fuzzy borders between "Western" and "Eastern" and "sacred" and "secular."  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why We Love Him

Swami Saradananda, in Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, recounts a Vaishnava hymn the Master was fond of singing, one that begins "Brother, joyfully cling to God; / Thus striving, someday you may attain Him..."

Saradananda says, "sometimes the Master would quote the second line of the song .... While singing that line he would suddenly exclaim: 'Fie on you, rascal! What is this 'someday you may attain Him'? One should not have that kind of lukewarm devotion. Have self-confidence and cultivate this attitude, 'I shall realize God right now; I shall see Him at this moment.'"

Ramakrishna: my rock n' roll rishi.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


New York Times article on celebrations of the Hindu spring festival Phagwah (Holi) in Queens:
In India, Holi festivities often include drinks laced with bhang (cannabis indica), but in the United States, “we stick to bourbon,” said one woman, who would not give her name because, she said, Hindu women traditionally do not drink alcohol, even on Phagwah.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Tired Sutra

World falls, neck snaps, and, in between, noctilucent clouds of bliss.

Neck snaps, the world returns: computer or wobbling book or, God forbid, steering wheel and dark road.

Not again. Establish intent. This world will stay, you'll keep it palmed in spite of yourself. Grip tight those rubber nubs and hold the ball like death, as sleep's small forward slaps at you, slaps soft and unseen, slaps and steals. And once more purity, wholeness.

This time for sure. Thrust eyes open with all your blue might, Shiva, or you'll kill the universe.

Samsara, ananda, samsara, ananda, samsara, ananda. Eternity just a beat of the cosmic heart, the bounce of a ball.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

From the Kularnava Tantra

"...parrots and mynah birds recite before people sacred words with delight. Are they to be regarded as great scholars from such talk?"

"Animals like pigs bear the winter cold and summer heat and for them food fit or unfit is alike, are they Yogis thereby?"

"... such privations and self denials are only for deceiving the world while direct knowledge of truth alone is the means for liberation."