A busy urban road, a quiet agrarian suburb, and an abandoned weed bound field became my route for chanting on my japa beads today. By the time I reached the field, Nirguna, my companion, offered to demonstrate a sound projection, something he learned from a voice workshop.
“Go ahead,” I said. And then he let out a resounding one syllable, “Hey!” This sound reverberated like anything. “You just scared all the rodents,” I said. In terms of whether it was a devotional gesture or act of piety, he did get one thing right, he shouted out the sound, “He!” which is found in the word “Hare” in the mantra. If someone makes the remark, “Let’s go to the Casinorama,” which has within it the sacred word, “Rama”, there is some benefit for the person listening and the one speaking. This is the power of mantra and the syllables therein.
In the class today, from the Bhagavatam, I was the presenter. The theme had to do with envy or jealously. It related to the story of Indra, a very jealous demigod, who feels threatened when a king or yogi excels in pious deeds or austerities. It sounds like we all have a piece of Indra in us. Rather than frustrating, halting or defaming a person who demonstrates excellence, it’s better to celebrate the celebrity, then you become one in the eyes of God. With a sneak peek at tomorrow’s verse from Canto 4, I could see the theme was ‘cheating’, and then the subsequent verse appears to highlight anger. Isn’t it interesting that these traits, envy, cheating and anger are bedfellows?
My earlier walk off the temple grounds with Nirguna brought me close to the earth because the fields that were fallow or cultivated were so obviously full of dirt. But here’s where it got real earthy. A resident, Radhika, a spiritual sister of mine, wanted me to see her newly done up quarters within the ashram. She opened the door and invited Nirguna and I in to show the work she had done. Like the Bhakti Center in Manhattan which I had viewed this summer with the cow dunged walls, Radhika had plastered her entire walls with the stuff. I must admit, it felt good being in that sattvic (mode of goodness) environment.