Ananda magazine

Krsangi Dasi - January 4, 2006 6:14 pm

As some of you know we've come up with a new strategy in our continuous efforts to take over Finland: we've started publishing our own yoga magazine. It's called Ananda, and is planned to come out four times this year. Two issues were published last year, and the feedback has been very positive. Ananda is at the moment the only (semi)professional yoga magazine available in Finnish, and we're trying to market it as much as we can to reach all those yoga freaks out there.


"We" means Bhrigu, Kamalaksa, I and Jayananda, a yoga teacher who's a disciple of Bir Krishna Goswami. Mikko's wife Nea has also joined the crew for our next issue as a photographer, and Citta Hari's done a great job answering some of the stupidest questions on yoga and meditaion known to mankind.


This has been a very exciting project, as I've been able to combine two things I love: magazines and spiritual life. It's quite time-consuming and stressful at times, but it's really cool to be able to present these things to the Finnish audience in a new way.


Ananda contains articles on yoga, meditation, vegetarianism and spiritual life, and each issue has its own theme, a specific approach to these things. There's also a comic and a short article by yours truly, as well as something that should especially interest the Tattva-viveka members: an article by Guru Maharaja. We've felt quite honored to have him write for us, and thankful for his insights as he has a lot of experience of doing this type of magazines.


The magazine is in Finnish, so Guru Maharaja's original English articles haven't been published anywhere, but I got the idea of posting them here for all of you to read. I've found them very inspiring, and also relished the special closeness I feel to Guru Maharaja's words when I'm translating them and trying to find the right expressions to transmit them to the Finnish audience. Enjoy!

Krsangi Dasi - January 4, 2006 6:17 pm

Here's the article Guru Maharaja wrote for the first issue of Ananda, on the theme "Yoga as a lifestyle".




Buddhist author Sylvia Boorstein turned a popular phrase around quite successfully to make a spiritual point when she titled her book on mindfulness “Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There.” Identification with our mortal frame creates a perceived necessity to keep busy. However, while the body is needy, the soul is not so. The soul is the witness, consciousness seated within. Therefore we should take time to sit and get in touch with our soul.


According to Swami Sivananda, the purpose of yoga asanas, or the hatha-yoga that is so popular today, is to learn to sit. What to speak of the busy lives we lead driven by identification with our bodies, even yoga asanas and all the movement involved in doing them will be successful if in the end we can just sit. Action requires knowledge, yet the knowledge derived from sitting in yogic meditation makes the knowledge that fosters material action appear like ignorance in comparison. Self realization is far more valuable than self indulgence, even when one’s self indulgence involves yoga asanas for the sake of one’s health and material happiness.


However, one can legitimately ask how a life of sitting can be fulfilling. The madness of moving “as the world turns” is ended with the sanity of meditative sitting and the peace and permanence derived from it, but as much as peace is a laying down of arms, it should also lead to raising them in celebration. Is the self that is realized through meditation ultimately inactive? Does that which animates the body have a life of its own beyond eternal peace in solitude?


These are the kind of questions that lead one to the yoga of singing and dancing, something we practice every morning and evening at our monastery, Audarya. Ours is a celebratory yoga that overflows into an entire lifestyle of yogic movement that often looks no different from worldly movement. Looks can be deceiving. The life movements that spring from a heart purified by yogic singing and dancing involve engaging the world in divine service, rather than being engaged by the world in the bondage of mental slavery.


Nestled in the Califonia Redwoods, Audarya no doubt affords its members and pilgrims alike a conducive atmosphere for contemplation. Indeed the loudest sound around is one’s own mind. Listening to it makes it abundantly clear that one needs to quiet it. We do ascribe to the wisdom that sees worldly movement to be indicative of lack of inner fulfillment—the pursuit of the mandates of the unbridled mind. However, all movement need not be mind driven. It was Sri Caitanya who reasoned that if one is actually full in yoga, such fullness mandates celebration and all that it entails. Ananda yoga, the yoga of joy and a life of divine love—prema dharma—has arguably been expressed nowhere better than in the person of Sri Caitanya. Our monastery, Audarya, is named after the magnaminity that overflowed into the world of mindless action and into the meditative mind of many yogis as well as a byproduct of Sri Caitanya’s yogic singing and dancing known as sankirtana.


Sankirtana is a comprehensive (sam) form of glorification (kirtana) of God. For Sri Caitanya, this kirtana was Krsna- kirtana–singing the name of Krsna and dancing. The historical record demonstrates that his Krsna-kirtana tamed wild animals and drove yogis wild.


Imagine a yoga that even children can participate in, even animals, even plants! If yoga is God’s gift to the world by which we can realize our self and source, the yoga of Sri Caitanya is that gift in no small measure. It extends to all embodied beings regardless of which species they have identified with, for even plant life can participate in listening to Krsna-kirtana. Furthermore, it unites one with its source in a compact of love that exceeds the yogic experience of oneness with God, in that it not only puts one on equal footing with God making one Godlike, but ultimately subordinates God to oneself in the intimacy of love.


When I speak of singing and dancing in yoga I am of course speaking about bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotion. However, Sri Caitanya’s understanding of this well known form of yoga is perhaps unique. Singing and dancing in praise of God as performed by Sri Caitanya is not a means to attain self knowledge, at which point such singing and dancing is retired and one sits forever in silence. It is a means that is one with its end. It is a yogic path in which devotion begets knowledge, and as this devotion turns into love, it transcends knowledge of the soul’s oneness with God and transports the soul into a role in God’s life of divine play—lila.


The movement of lila is different from that arising from karmic implications and the womb of ignorance that such movement is born from. Lila is the Absolute celebrating its fullness, and this divine play constitutes the very heart of the Absolute when its central figure is Krsna. Singing and dancing in praise of Krsna eradicates the ignorance at the heart of all material movement. It cleanses the heart and awakens divine knowledge. However, these developments, which are the goals of many forms of yoga, are only the preliminary effect of Sri Caitanya’s expression of bhakti-yoga. Where does it takes one from this point? To that land of love in lila where all walking is dancing, all talking song. What then must be the singing and dancing there?


Krsangi Dasi - January 4, 2006 6:20 pm

Here's the article Guru Maharaja wrote for the second issue of Ananda, on the theme "Yoga and meditation".




In the summer of 1969 I encountered a problem in pursuit of meditation. At that time I was living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, just south of San Francisco. Whoever I approached and asked how to actually meditate offered only the vaguest reply: “Just sit and meditate.” My problem was that I needed more to feel secure that when I sat still I was actually traversing the inner landscape, rather than merely imagining myself into samadhi.


Times have changed, but they are not free from problems regarding meditation. Should the one ask, “How do I actually meditate” today, he or she will be bombarded with meditative techniques and notions about meditation, most of which take one nowhere, often suggesting that there is nowhere to go and nothing to attain. Half truth is worse than no truth at all, especially when it is mass marketed. Yoga and its developed stage of meditation (dhyana) have become commercially viable in the corporate world, with trademark litigation pending on terms like dhyana and samadhi once considered the property of God.


The whole truth is that meditation is not for everyone, at least not immediately. In order to effectively meditate, cleanliness and consideration of time, place, and circumstances are important factors. Furthermore, one must first embrace an ethical, holistic worldview of do’s and do not’s (yama and niyama), sit down (asana), catch one’s breath (pranayama), restrain ones restless mind (pratyahara), and practice concentration (dharana). Only after one is proficient in these preliminary procedures can one effectively meditate (dhyana), or touch the divine with one’s soul unfettered by the mind, leading to samadhi. This we learn from Patanajali’s Yoga-sutras, and his guru, Vyasa, says as much in his Gitopanisad, Bhagavad-gita. The Gita introduces meditation only after its first five chapters detail the importance of first leading a dutiful responsible life, in which one’s actions are informed by higher knowledge leading to detachment and inner wisdom.


There is, however, an exception to the above: meditation on the names of God, commonly referred to as japa. While meditation requires that prerequisites be met before it can be effectively taken up, meditation on God’s name does not. Sri Caitanya, perhaps the greatest advocate of the efficacy of embracing God’s name, has said that there are no rules or consideration of time, place or circumstances when engaging in such japa. His opinion is well supported by the scriptural canon.


This exception, among other things, calls our attention to the fact that one’s object of meditation has much to do with both one’s capacity to meditate and the result of one’s meditation. According to the Gita, meditation on an abstract notion of the absolute is difficult in comparison with the meditation on God’s name as commonly practiced by devotees, whose path has been described elsewhere in the Gita as consisting of “always chanting about God.” One will not get the same result from meditating on an arbitrary sound or even impersonal names of God as one will from meditation on the sound of God’s personal names.


Of the many names of God some are direct and personal and some are only indirect, impersonal names. God’s direct names are those that refer to his person, form, feminine counter part, qualities and pastimes (lilas). These are the names of God that are filled with all of his personal power (shakti). They are names that each of his devotees holds most dear to his or her heart because they correspond with a particular sentiment of love for God. Impersonal names such as Brahman and Paramatma, on the other hand, are secondary names of God and do not refer to him in divine play in his abode energized by his internal power.


The efficacy of japa also sheds light on the munificence of God’s names. Although the two, the name and named, are one, the name is nonetheless more readily accessible, exceeding the named in grace. While God resides beyond the mind and is met in meditation, God’s name enters one’s heart through one’s ears and then dances on one’s tongue and conquers one’s mind. Even though one’s heart may be cluttered with desire, rendering one’s mind incapable of concentration, the name of God disregards this clutter and enters one’s heart in the role of a sweeper, paying attention to the clutter therein only in terms of sweeping it aside.


Of all of God’s names, the name Krishna is particularly so inclined. Known affectionately by his devotees as Harinama (the name of the thief), this name steals his devotee’s hearts, and like a thief not caring for the high walls and locked doors surrounding our hearts, he finds a way in and works his magic. In doing so he gradually makes us dutiful, detached, wise, and wealthy with the treasure of divine love.


Japa consists of the constant repetition of Harinama in a way that is either audible to others or inaudible to others but audible to oneself. Japa can also consist of repeating Harinama mentally. Japa often also involves keeping track of the number of names one chants on a rosary of sacred basil (tulasi). Ideally it is performed in lotus posture, but as we have seen, there are no rigid rules that govern japa.


As one can readily surmise, japa of Harinama has been the answer to my 36 year old question. It has also been an integral part of my practice for over three decades. It is both easy and effective. It reaches down to the least qualified and reaches up high into the spiritual sky, energized as it is by divine power. When ease of use is combined with the highest possible result - entering the divine play of God - it is difficult to look elsewhere. Furthermore, when such a method leading to divine madness is well supported by saints, the scriptural canon, and reason, it is worth sharing with others.


Dhiralalita - January 4, 2006 6:38 pm

What a great job! Nice, nice. I have no words to describe my admiration for your service. If i was 30 years younger I would go and join your group.

May you always be anthousiatic in the service of guru and Krishna in this way.

Haribol! ;)

Babhru Das - January 4, 2006 11:36 pm

These articles are wonderful, and Ananda is a wonderful service. You devotees are an example to us all. Thanks for sharing this, Krishangi.

Syamasundara - January 7, 2006 1:47 pm

Amazing articles, the contents are always the same, yet the style is so fresh and elegant.

Our GM is not saying different that Prabhupada; just differently.

I have a hard time imagining someone reading these articles and not feel compelled to have a connection to what he has been exposed to.


Good luck translating them though, Krsangi. Now you're even dearer in my sympathetic eyes.

A few expressions caught my eye, like:


"as much as peace is a laying down of arms, it should also lead to raising them in celebration"


where the first "arms" means weapons, and the second upper limbs.


Or this:


"Krsna-kirtana tamed wild animals and drove yogis wild"


where "drive wild" makes sense only in English and any translation would erase the link with the wild animals (ajaa erämaa? hehe).


Like I said, good luck, but you are right as to how special the service of translation is. It seems a dull activity, after all the contents are already there, but in order to translate them you really have to assimilate them and then make them comprehensible to others.

When I was in Italy waiting for my mother to leave her body, Aesthetic Vedanta had just come out, so I decided to translate it into Italian to keep busy. I just prayed. I had a picture of GM's shoes that I put on my monitor and I would really pray hard. Those of you who have read the book may be able to relate.

And then the magic would happen. Some exquisite Italian expressions were popping in my mind that I had probably never used in my life; I remember being astonished and so happy when I could even translate the poetry in it, replete with imbellishments and rhymes! I remember one in particular about a candle... I don't have the book now.

Unfortunately I never finished the translation, as my mother died and I went back to Eugene and the usual seva.

The whole translation thing shrivelled as the Italian devotee who would have published them started to have problems; but I agree that it's a great service.

After all, that's what a guru does: these articles are a clear example of translation of the words of our acaryas into modern terminology.

Krsangi Dasi - February 15, 2006 9:19 pm

We just picked up the new issue from the printer, and here's Guru Maharaja's article, entitled "Where Shakti Rules". As for the rest of the magazine, well, you'll just have to learn Finnish! (Sorry.) Enjoy!




The yoga tradition of Sri Caitanya with its emphasis on shakti, the feminine power, among other things, played a major role in uplifting the position of women in what was a largely patriarchal society. No doubt this social upliftment was fueled in part by the role of the feminine in transcendence envisioned by Sri Caitanya. Women in today’s society may thus be encouraged both in their social struggle for equality and in their spiritual struggle for enlightenment to learn of his ideal, even when gender distinctions in transcendence are categorically different from our material gender distinctions.


While material gender distinctions are based upon the soul’s misidentification with matter, causing one to misconstrue one’s self to be a woman or man, the spiritual gender distinction of Sri Caitanya lies in acknowledging the subtle difference between that which constitutes power (shakti) and that which constitutes the powerful (shaktiman). The two are experienced as simultaneously one and different, an experience that transcends logic. When viewed through the philosophical eye of yoga they are one, but when viewed through the yogic eyes of devotional ecstasy they are two, Radha and Krishna. They are one soul in two bodies dancing in divine play. Radha is the personified feminine aspect of Sri Caitanya’s deity and Krishna is the personified male aspect.


In one sense the feminine aspect of this divine dyad is more important to us, closer to us. In the Vaishnava schools of devotional yoga where devotion is not only the means but the goal as well, materially embodied souls like ourselves are considered feminine in nature regardless of the bodily dress we wear in this world. We are, that is, an expression of the shakti aspect of the divine couple. In this sense we are closer in constitution to Radha than we are to Krishna. She is our source.


Whereas Krishna is the deity of divine love—perfect love’s object—Radha personifies perfect love itself. Thus she is not only our deity, being one aspect of the divine dyad, but moreover she is also our ideal of devotion. Without an example of the ideal, a role model to follow, theory alone is not that helpful. Yogeshvara, “Master of Yoga,” as Krishna is addressed in the Bhagavad-gita, only teaches the theory of bhakti-yoga, but it is Radha who teaches it by her example and personifies the perfection of devotion. She does so within the divine lila, play, and furthermore it is her shakti that empowers our earthly teacher and example, the guru.


Thus relative to the bhakti yoga practitioner, Radha’s position is more important than Krishna’s. However, even if we view her position from the absolute vantage point—through the lotus eyes of Krishna—her position is hardly diminished. After all, in Sri Caitanya’s vision, Krishna has fallen in love with Radha, and while the greater yogic world bends its knees to Krishna, Krishna has become weak in the knees at the mere mention of Radha’s name! While the yogic community idolizes Krishna for good reason, the bhakti yoga of Sri Caitanya is preoccupied with Krishna’s idol—Radha. Welcome to the land of love that knowns no reason.


This realm is represented in the widely celebrated Hare Krishna mantra that Sri Caitanya asked his devotees to chant. A mantra that appears first in the Upanishads, the Hare Krishna mantra is a mantra of divine names recommended for the present age of strife and discord. It consists of three names Hare, Krishna, and Rama, all of which are in the vocative case. The names Krishna and Rama are uttered four times each, while the name Hare is uttered eight times: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.


Krishna means “irresistible.” Rama indicates one expert in divine romantic love. Hare is the vocative for Hari, which means “he who takes away.” All of these are names for Krishna, to whom the mantra calls out—“O Hari, O Krishna, O Rama! However, Hare is also the vocative of Hara, a name for Krishna’s shakti, Radha. Understood in this way, Hare means she who steals away the heart of he who is irresistible, the connoisseur of divine romantic love. Thus this simple mantra of divine names takes one deep within the yogic world of divine love where shakti rules over shaktiman. It seeks to unite Radha and Krishna in love within their divine play, and in doing so facilitates the chanter’s prospect for following Radha and falling in love with Krishna, who has fallen in love with her.


Swami - February 16, 2006 1:50 am

Oh, my unedited articles in print! No one to blame but myself.


I like the picture on the cover of this issue. I don't know if she is a famous Finnish yogi, but I like the fact that she is not a sensuous model.

Krsangi Dasi - February 16, 2006 8:54 am

Glad to hear You liked the cover! She's actually a yoga teacher, one of the pioneers in Finland. And she also happens to be the mother of our good friend Jayanta Krishna das. ;)

Bhrigu - February 16, 2006 10:31 am
but I like the fact that she is not a sensuous model.


We'll see her this evening at Jayanta Krishna's younger child's birthday party, but I'm not sure whether to pass on your appreciation or not... ;)

Krsangi Dasi - May 29, 2006 8:43 am

The new issue is out and we're getting good feedback for the magazine. In the attached photo you can see it on sale in a bookstore in a big mall in Helsinki. In the summer when Guru Maharaja visits Finland we'll have a public program where we hope to attract people who are into yoga, and we have an ad for the program in the magazine. But until then you'll have to survive by reading his article pasted below. :)






Ascetics are known for distancing themselves from the world by their austerity. However, as frightful as a life of austerity may seem to the worldly at first, there is something undeniably attractive about asceticism. In the very least, the mystery of how one appears to live “without,” or “within” perks our curiosity. We are either enchanted by this prospect or driven to debunk it. In either case it speaks loudly to us, and while ostensibly a life of depravity, asceticism declares just the opposite, “Go within, or go without.”


We need only explore the ascetic within ourselves to begin understand the nature of the asceticism's inner wholeness. No one can avoid austerity, and even when we are forced by circumstance to accept it, we find that we can live with less. We learn. We learn that our existence in not as dependent upon material acquisition as we had mistakenly thought. Even during involuntary austerity we are forced to move from the world of the senses and sense objects to the world of the mind and intellect. In great austerity we have to reason to endure, and doing so we find a world that is larger in its scope than that of the mind and the five senses.


The mind is no doubt more spacious and accommodating than the body, but intellect is more spacious accommodating than the mind. With our five senses we can experience a mountain and we can experience gold, but only in the mind can we encounter a mountain of gold. In the mental world there are many more possibilities that we find in the physical world. Above the senses and the mind stands reason, for with our discriminating faculty we can make sense of our physical and mental experiences, and determine how to respond to them such that our lives become more meaningful and freer. For example, although some experiences may feel good to the mind and senses, with our intellect we can determine whether or not they are good for our true selves. From sense objects, to the senses, to the mind, and from there to touch the intellect constitutes a progression within the material hierarchy, beyond which lies the self. As the Gita informs us, “It is said that senses are superior to the sense objects, the mind is superior to the senses, and moreover, the intellect is superior to the mind. Superior even to the intellect is the self.” (Bg. 3.42) It is when we leap from the last step on the ladder of the material hierarchy—beyond reason—that we find the self and become whole, landing on the ground of being.


This leap, however, involves voluntary austerity. It involves intentionally going within in pursuit of one’s fortune, a journey fuelled in part by the well reasoned conclusion that the world of things and thoughts has little to do with the self. It should be noted that the reasoning supporting the self's superiority to the intellect lies in understanding its categorical difference from matter. The self is the perceiver, the thinker, the knower in this world and merely expresses its capacity to be so through the instruments of the senses, mind, and intellect. It is the self—consciousness—that brings matter to life and underlies the entire material existence. In all of our human experiences, we should marvel most at one: the experience that we experience, while matter in contrast is that which is experienced, lacking any capacity to experience independent of consciousness. To turn inward, away from the relentless call of the mind and senses in pursuit of a more meaningful life is reasonable, while the means to do so is one that transcends the limits of reason. From austerity we turn to abnegation.


The ascetic’s abnegation—his or her renunciation of personal interests in favor of the interests of others—is at the heart of the ascetic’s spiritual practice. The sacred Hindu text, Srimad Bhagavatam, informs us in an advocacy of devotional aeceticism that “Giving up aggression toward others is the highest gift.” The ascetic accomplishes this by eradicating his or her ego of exploitation within the context of replacing it with an ego of dedication. His or her renunciation and austerity is thus is a by-product of the ascetic’s dedication. That which appears on its surface to be negative and world denying has its origin in something sublime.


In yoga we learn that giving is getting, something that contradicts reason yet is nonetheless readily experienced by anyone who gives. The mystery of the ascetic’s fullness—how he or she lives without many of the things we think we need to survive and be happy—is unveiled as much as one begins to give. When we give of ourselves we gain wisdom and understanding of the nature of the self. This gain is not something one can hold up and show to others, yet it is tangible, as tangible as one’s very self.


In this world there are those who have and those who have not. Each, however, thinks the opposite about the other. The worldly think they have and that the mystic has not, while the mystics know that they have and the worldly have not. Again, this is the mystic’s mantra: “Go within or go without.”


Kamalaksa Das - May 29, 2006 8:49 am

To give a more comprehensive idea of the cover it's posted here in its entirety. On the cover is Mikko's wife Nea posing in a winter garden in Helsinki. The headline reads Austerity and balance.


Krsangi Dasi - December 9, 2006 5:49 pm

Oops, I've forgotten to post Guru Maharaja's article from issue 3/2006 of Ananda that came out in August. Enjoy!




O Harinama!


In the world of yoga it is not uncommon to hear the sound of kirtana, an outpouring of the yogic heart in the form of song often accompanied by Indian folk instruments. Kirtana is especially popular in bhakti-yoga, the path of the heart advocating the wisdom of love. In bhakti-yoga, nama kirtana or singing the name of the divine is perhaps most common, and all schools of yoga acknowledge that it is a powerful means to conquer the restless mind and more.


Yoga teaches that a person's mind is composed of two basic functions, acceptance and rejection. “Acceptance” refers to the mind's ability to join thoughts into concepts. “Rejection” refers to the mind's function of rejecting thoughts, simplifying and limiting experiences which are gathered through the senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Both functions are said to be controlled by sound, and just as the world of our mind is assembled with the help of sound, divine sound can dismantle the world of the mind altogether, allowing the yoga practitioner to see the world for what it is, unfettered by the filter of the mind.


When covered by illusion, the soul remains dormant in a state of suspended animation. However, even the sleeping soul is so powerful that it infuses consciousness throughout the body and mind, and through the influence of the mind, which is the connecting medium between the soul and the body, the senses act and we appear to “know” things. Unfortunately in this knowing we do not come to know our sleeping selves, not to speak of waking up. However, when the mind is sufficiently influenced by kirtana, its constructs that limit our experience of happiness and cause suffering are dismantled and the mind is conquered. The mind then reflects the existence, spiritual knowledge, and bliss of the soul itself, as one begins to wake up and know one’s self.


The waking of the soul corresponds with extinguishing the fire of desire that drives the mistaken notion that enduring happiness can be found in a plane where nothing endures. Our body has been burning from its inception by the process of digestion. Biologists all declare that the body is a burning organism, giving off heat, water vapor and carbon dioxide. After seventy or more years, our body is consumed by that smoldering digestive fire and, according to the philosophy underlying yoga traditions, we move into another body only to burn again. Reincarnation is like chain smoking, wherein with the lit end of a burned out cigarette one lights another cigarette again and again. By the power of kirtana this habit can be broken, as the cause—material desire—of the fire is extinguished.


Kirtana then benedicts the soul with the cooling effects of the sense of one’s positive prospect in the realm of consciousness. We approach the world after coming out of the womb with many deep-rooted fears; Is there safety? Is there peace? Is there happiness? The primordial sound OM answers with one big spiritual “Yes,” an affirmation, and kirtana enables us to easily realize this prospect. Not only is the soul deathless, it has the potential for divine life. Having been cured of the illusion of death by the medicine of kirtana, this same kirtana then becomes the very food of the soul. It serves the thirsty soul an ocean of ever increasing blissful nectar, and the once sleeping soul not only wakes and walks, but dances step after step to its tune in wild abandon. When it is perfected kirtana bathes not only the soul, but one’s body, mind, and soul with spiritual bliss. Indeed, it has the power to transform both consciousness and matter, bringing the inner and outer world in harmony with one another.


How can we begin to participate in this powerful and charming yoga of kirtana? The thirteenth century saint and bard, Jayadeva, after drinking deeply the spiritually intoxicating nectar of nama kirtana has written a beautiful verse describing how the yogic tradition of kirtana is passed on:


“O Harinama,* as you enter my ear and touch my heart,

and tears flow from my eyes and fall to the ground;

marking soft clay, my footprints are left

for my successors to follow my way."



* Harinama means the “name of Hari,” a Sanskrit name for God that means “He who steals one’s heart.”


Krsangi Dasi - December 9, 2006 8:10 pm

And here's the article from the new issue that came out just a couple of weeks ago.






The English word “holiday” derives from the religious observance of holy days, but today holidays have been extended to include secular days of historical, political, and social significance. Furthermore, whether they are of secular or religious origin, their observance often amounts to more of an escape from one’s day to day routine with little or no remembrance of their original significance.


However, while some may despair at what appears to be an enormous gap between the meaning and the moment that today’s holiday observance often involves, using holidays as an excuse to escape from one’s daily ritual need not be as profane as it sometimes is. After all, yoga also calls for recreation in moderation.


In yoga practice there is a place for play. This we learn from the Bhagavad-gita. In chapter six of this most sacred text Sri Krsna instructs his student Arjuna in the practice of yoga and meditation. Therein in verse 17 he mentions that a successful yogi knows how to balance his or her practice with recreation (vihara)—to take a holiday.


The central focus of yoga practice involves harnessing the restless mind. The mind is obstinate and difficult to control. The Bhagavad-gita has compared the yogi’s attempt to harness the mind with an effort to capture the wind—not an easy task. However, when the Gita instructs us to factor recreation into the equation of our yogic practice, it suggests that confronting the mind head on is not always the best approach. In order to successfully harness the mind one must learn to work with it rather than against it. One has to allow it some room to roam even as one seeks to bring it under one’s control.


When the mind is not harnessed we are not able to appreciate the value of each and every moment. We are waiting for something to happen without realizing that life—the day to day—is far more meaningful than restless mind would like us to think. While we are waiting for something to happen, something our mind dictates we must have or do in order to be happy, we are missing the joy of being fully in the present moment and realizing that each moment offers us the opportunity to serve—to give and thereby live life in the fullest sense.


Successfully harnessing the mind thus opens the door to the possibility of making every day a holy day, and such success often involves a well planned holiday from the direct practice of yoga at hand—one that serves ultimately to help us return to our practice with renewed enthusiasm. Indeed, many of the worlds greatest breakthroughs have come not when great thinkers were directly pondering the issue at hand, but rather when they took the time to step back from them, allowing moments of genius to descend, and then on the basis of such inspiration, reapplied themselves to their pursuit.


Thus for one whose life goal is enlightenment in divine love—yogic perfection—there is a place for holidays, both in terms of taking a controlled break from one’s direct practice and in terms of taking a holiday in general. Holidays can be seen as an opportunity to reflect on how one has been spending one’s days, and such reflection can lead to reorienting oneself to take advantage of all that life has to offer—to find the significance and sacredness in each and every day. Such discovery, I believe, is what holy days were originally intended to promote, and when they do so, they themselves can become our most cherished or most holy days—our personal holy days of the heart. In the words of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,


The holiest of all holidays are those

kept by ourselves in silence and apart;

The secret anniversaries of the heart.


Krsangi Dasi - May 28, 2007 12:59 pm

Yes, we did a new issue in the beginning of this year, but unfortunately we're unable to locate the English version of Guru Maharaja's article at the moment. But let me comfort you with the one published in Ananda 2/2007, titled "Love is the Answer".




Preoccupation with enjoying the fruit of one’s labor is less than ideal, for there is no love to be found in this orientation to life, and it is love alone that we are in search of. Preoccupation with what one will gain by one’s labor also tends to distract one from the labor at hand, placing one off balance This may compromise the labor itself, but moreover it takes one out of the present into a speculative future. Heed the English adage, “Trust no future.”


If we are to love, we will have to live in the here and now. For that matter, it is in the present that both past and future are to be found. In the present we reap the fruits of seeds we have sewn in the past, and how we respond to these reactions to our previous actions with subsequent action determines our future. To consciously be here now facilitates realization of both the nature of one’s material predicament and one’s potential to extricate oneself from it. It enables us to get our bearings in our search for love.


Our karmic predicament is immense. Not only are we burdened by our past that is now bearing fruit, furthermore there is much that lies in our karmic past that has yet to bear fruit, enough to insure many more births. We are bound not only by deep rooted tendencies and desires that force us to act at times even against our will or better judgment, but also by karma that has not yet manifested as desires and tendencies—karma that is stored, waiting for an opportunity to extract its tax on our lives. We have taken, and by the law of nature we will be taken from. Again, there is no love to be found in this circle of exploitation among hunters and hunted.


Neither is love motionless, and to cease from acting altogether is not an option. After all it is we who animate our bodies. Consciousness—the soul itself—is life, illusive as it is. Thus it would seem that we are active by nature. It is we who set our bodies in motion, just a viewer brings life to the television by sitting before it and turning it on only to have the television’s subsequent actions can take over one’s life. Our situation as souls is similar: By the force of desire we set our life in motion, turning on the karmic machine of material nature. Having done so we are consumed by the movements of matter we have unleashed. We move by the force of desire in an effort to enjoy the fruits of our actions, but the fruits are not always easy to digest.


However, we do, it would seem, have the option to act while sacrificing the fruit of our action. This approach has merit when our actions have moral integrity. Such work ceases to be binding, for there is no binding reaction to pious acts, the fruits of which are not enjoyed by the actor. As one relaxes one’s karmic bondage by ceasing to further it, the possibility of a life beyond karma comes into view. This is a life in which mystic insight into the nature of the self is glimpsed and action in relation to that which does not endure is seen for what it is: materially binding and devoid of potential to afford one enduring happiness.


Nonetheless, it is difficult to forgo the fruit of one’s work, and for that matter it is not entirely possible to act in this way. As long as one insists upon doing one’s own work, or acting with moral integrity in accordance with one’s material desire, one must maintain oneself and the false sense of independence that derives from such action lingers. Such action requires that at least some of the fruit of one’s labor be retained. Furthermore, we are not independent entities. Indeed, we are dependent on every breath we take. Failure to recognize this is at the heart of our material predicament.


Deep introspection reveals that our potential to absolve our karmic debut on our own is limited as best. As debutors we would do well to connect with greater capital. How can we attract such an investor? Humbled by our plight the best course is to fold our hands. Prayer works. By prayer I am referring to the yoga of devotion—bhakti, divine service in love.


A servant who does the biding of his or her master has nothing to give. The part has no existence independent of the whole, no possession for that matter of its own. Nothing belongs to such a servitor, rather it is the servitor that belongs. We may give the fruit of our labor, but in doing so we fail to fully acknowledge that we ourselves belong to someone.


Love fosters a sense of belonging, not independence, and such love dynamically bridges the gap between the perfect object of love and the perfect lover in a way that merely offering the results of ones own actions, however pious, can never do. Dynamic union with the Godhead constitutes a oneness in purpose with the Absolute. In love two individuals share the same interest—each being interested only in the other’s welfare. When our significant other is the Godhead, our potential for solving our material predicament knows no bounds. In divine service there is no binding material reaction, and stored reactions waiting for the opportunity to bear fruit never come into fruition. Furthermore and unique to bhakti is its power to absolve karmic reactions that are in the midst of bearing fruit. In a life of divine service we need not worry who will maintain us or who will protect us from ourselves. Love answers these questions definitively. For that matter, one in love is hardly fearful for oneself or needy.


If we are going to do something, as we must, we should do it right. Find the center and repose your capacity to love there. From the heart of that center the Bhagavad-gita speaks assuringly as to the solution to our material predicament thus:


For those who love only me

and on me dwell constantly—

wedded to me in bhakti,

I meet their necessity


Krsangi Dasi - October 1, 2007 6:13 am

The new issue is out, and here's the cover! This time Guru Maharaja's article was questions and answers, I'd imagine you can find them in the Sanga archives. :Shocked:


Bijaya Kumara Das - October 2, 2007 7:05 am

way cool, cant wait to sit down and read them, no time now so keep publishing them here if you would.

Bhrigu - September 22, 2008 5:54 pm

We've continued publishing Ananda, even though Krishangi hasn't posted any more of our covers in this thread. A couple of days back my wife chanced upon a quote from Ananda in "Voi Hyvin" (1/07), a major "wellness" (what a word...) magazine over here. Translated back into English, the quote is


"Often times in life, what first looks like a hopeless situation, turns out as a blessing in disguise."


Yogateacher C.J. Brown in Ananda 3/2006


Now the question is, how many know who C.J. Brown is?

Gaura Krsna Dasa - September 22, 2008 6:25 pm
Now the question is, how many know who C.J. Brown is?


No way! Charlie Brown! Who knew that he's teaching yoga? I guess everybody teaches yoga these days.

Syamasundara - September 23, 2008 4:06 am
Yogateacher C.J. Brown in Ananda 3/2006


Now the question is, how many know who C.J. Brown is?



Hah! I almost missed that! It dawned on me after I closed the page.


I know him all right. I used to even get paid in his name for a couple of months. :ninja:


Dear old Christopher John... :)