23 10 2009

Krishna’s flute

18 08 2009


In Hindu symbology, Krishna, the god of love, is pictured playing a flute. Divine love enters a man and fills his entire being. The flute is the human heart, and a heart that is made hollow becomes a flute for the god of love to play. The pain and sorrow the soul experiences through life are the holes made in the reed flute. The heart of man is first a reed. The suffering and pain it goes through make it a flute that can then be used by God to produce his music.

-Shems Friedlander, Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes

The immortal voice of Pandit Jasraj

Krishna Govinda

29 05 2009

Hare Krishna Bhajan

6 02 2009

Krishna and Me

26 01 2009

Part II: The Baby Butter Thief and the Quest for a Western Bhakti

A few days after my visit to the Hare Krishna temple here in Berkeley, I received in the mail the first installment of an Indian miniseries on the “life” of the deity Krishna. This is religion Bollywood style. To say that the the movie is, well, unique, is a bit of an understatement. Like many Indian movies, the acting is exceptionally bad. If you are looking for cheesy renditions of scenes from ancient Hindu mythology, this is the film for you. Not only that, but I think you will have your hands full; there are about twenty discs in the series, so knock yourself out. The eighth incarnation of Vishnu led a long and exciting life, don’t you know?

The first episode is actually the most informative and sort of an overview of the rest of the series. It reveals how important Krishna is to the Hindu religion; he occupies almost the same place as Jesus in ours. The stories of his birth and life are equally miraculous: he was the eighth child of his parents, and destined from birth to smash the power of the evil demon king who was holding his parents and the world hostage. Meditation on his life and deeds, according to many of the sages portrayed in the movie, is the secret of bhakti yoga. People in India during the feasts of Krishna reenact scenes from his life in dramatic plays. As the Hare Krishna leader said during the Bhagavad Gita class, all things must be done for Krishna: the incarnation of God on earth.
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Krishna and Me

15 01 2009

Part I: An Evening at the ISKCON temple in Berkeley

In Berkeley, there are certain sights that you just take for granted after having been here a while. One of them is the now famous naked guy of over ten years ago. There was an equally eccentric gentleman known as the “Pink Guy”, who got his name from the pink unitard and cape that he would wear as he rode through the street on a unicycle. The day I came back to Berkeley, I was in Moe’s Books examining the selection of Spanish Baroque literature when a rather scraggly gentleman walked up and down Telegraph Avenue screaming at the top of his lungs like a wild animal. It was as if he was saying, “welcome home”.
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