Thursday, December 27, 2012

Standing at Mount Kailash's Door, Tablet in Hand

The Art of Living, amongst whom I consider myself a member, has a new project, apparently the purpose of which is to connect bloggers and promote the use of blogging as a tool for social change. This project is called Just Connect. They have an article on how to be an effective blogger, and reading that article inspired me to write this post, where I will answer the question of why I blog.

Maybe I've answered it before, but it bears repeating at this point to ascertain how much progress I've made in this regard. But after much thought, the one thing I've realized about why I blog is that at the most fundamental level, I blog because I crave acceptance - I crave the recognition of others. Not negative recognition, mind you, but positive: love, respect, admiration, adoration, you know the rest.

I know on a rational level that getting the above takes much more effort than just blogging. I also know that it's a risk-to-reward sort of thing...the positive feedback from readers is like pure nectar to me, but negative sentiment can be many times more poisonous. So I know I shouldn't count on blogging to fulfill that base emotional need of acceptance. So why do I do it?

I do it I guess for much the same reason I pray to Lord Ganesha for solace and strength. I know many (but not all) of my readers I'll probably never meet in person, but Hinduism does teach that there's divinity in everyone and everything. I bare my soul to Lord Ganesha in the hopes that he'll express love for me; in much the same way I bare my soul to the world in hopes of gaining its love. I know it's foolish to expect everyone to love me, and I'm not expecting that...but if we can trust God(s) to love us, why can't we trust each other to do the same?

I know I'm being naive in expecting everyone who visits this blog to like it, and like me by extension, but I also hope through this blog that I can learn how to deal with one's adversaries. If someone dislikes this blog, it has the potential to help me reinforce my spirit against real life haters. It's like a vaccine in that sense.

Why do I crave so much recognition? I guess it's because as a child I didn't feel like I was appreciated or loved with sincerity...but that's another topic for another time. I don't expect this blog to be my own personal hug box, but I feel readers can support me in their own way, whether they like this blog or not.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Feelings After Meditation

Namaste readers - I'm back with another experience from the meditation file that I've experienced just now. Yes, this is a post-meditation blog entry. :-)

As for what happened during and after meditation today that I wanted to blog about - well, today's meditation experience was quite profound, actually. I started off by chanting the usual mantra I chant (which is "Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha"), and after I settled into meditation post-mantra chanting...I felt feelings I never really experienced during meditation before. Some others have described these feelings, and just now I've experienced them: ringing in the ears, and myriad sensations that felt...blissful, and thrilling...I can't seem to describe them now. Some help I am in getting my readers to understand...

After the meditation, things got even more interesting. I brought myself out after about an hour, when the feelings subsided...and afterwards, it felt like in my mind that I got...cheated, or robbed of something. Like something big was about to head my way and at the last second it was taken from me. And I'm writing this, I'm not sure what to think.

Sorry, this is apparently a vague, ellipsis-filled blog entry. But I don't know how to describe what I felt during my mediation tonight. Yet I want to post something...not for the sake of posting, but for the sake of finding someone who might understand. Would anyone out there understand?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Kalash

I admit for this blog post I'm cheating a little bit - I'm actually reusing a post I wrote in a forum. But I figured it doesn't hurt to ask the question I'm asking here outside of the forum too. So on that note...

Recently at the local temple in my area (the Hindu Temple of Rochester), I actually did something that was quite bold, for me at any rate: I sponsored a kalash puja, meaning I donated money to the temple and therefore got a spot to do a kalash puja with some other devotees. This was exciting for me, as this was something I've certainly never done before! :-)

However, I can't help but feel that I didn't do it entirely correctly, and that I made mistakes - I couldn't keep up with the priest's chanting during the times we were supposed to follow along (and I'm almost positive I didn't pronounce everything correctly), I might have arranged the flower petals wrong (because they were falling off), and I lit the wrong end of the incense burner. This was my first time doing this puja, so I can forgive myself for these mistakes (and everyone else seemed to do so as well ), but for next time, I want to be more prepared.

So therefore, if any of my readers want to give me more information on how to do the kalash puja, and more info on what it means, I'd be really grateful. I know overall it's the intent that counts, but maybe if I know more I can do it better next time. And I sure hope there's a next time that I can do it! :-)

Monday, December 10, 2012

The End of Heartache

I know in this blog I've previously brought up the topic of bhajans and their ability to spiritually uplift us, but let's not underestimate the power of popular music (not pop, there's a difference between pop and popular, I feel) to stir our heartstrings. That's why I've added a widget from the website This Is My Jam to my blog - you can find it to the right. I think this will give readers another window into my soul, for one's taste in music can say a lot about a person, as long as we respect the tastes of the person in question and aren't blind to the validity of whatever they like.

As for why I've picked "The End of Heartache" by metal band Killswitch Engage, I feel that sometimes, the lyrics of this song really capture my relationship with God(s). Sometimes I feel that Lord Ganesha (or one of the other incarnations of God) is the only thing that stands between me and oblivion, between mere heartache and a total emotional abyss. I know my choices are mine and I'm responsible for my future, but sometimes this heartache I feel is the fact that my present efforts aren't enough, and that I somehow lack the strength to take it a step further and do what is necessary. In this sense, I hope God(s) can help me find that strength, to find the antidote to this heartache. I may have no excuses, but self-improvement isn't something I can do all on my own, and that is why I need the help of God(s).

Heh...I know I sound whiny right now, but sometimes writing down the pain helps me deal with it. And listening to my favorite tunes sometimes helps too...although bhajans will always have a place in my heart. :-)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Ultimate Reality Check

Namaste readers!

Hot on the heels of my article for Hinduism Today going online, an article that appeared on the Huffington Post about two weeks prior goes somewhat viral. This article, by professor Deepak Sarma at Case Western University, is pretty much the polar opposite in message and tone to my Hinduism Today article: it makes the case that whites, such as myself, who try to convert to Hinduism inevitably mock and insult it by virtue of their historical baggage, the fact that whites colonized India and plundered not only its physical but mental wealth. If I'm reading it right, it sounds like in his article that it's impossible for whites to redeem themselves via conversion to Hinduism because of their white skin privilege.

Um...yeah. This pretty much torpedoes everything I've worked for. Those readers that know me probably know what my reaction to this article would be right away...I don't think I have to explain what my objections are. And yes, when I initially read the article I was devastated...but then after thinking about it some more, I think I have nothing to fear from this piece. The reason being that he is someone I've only read about on the Internet, while I've got plenty of backup for my position in my real life! And I have everyone in my real life to thank for that. :-)

Mr. Sarma says in that article that Indian Hindus who welcome whites into their fold aren't really genuine, that they suffer from a "post-traumatic, post-colonial servile disorder." There are several problems with that statement, from my experience - the first being that it sounds like Mr. Sarma doesn't even trust his fellow Hindus/Indians with their own decisions. If the local Rochester Hindu community really felt that way about me, then they most certainly would've said so by now! It sounds like Mr. Sarma is putting words in their mouths.

I guess my encountering this article on the Internet is a reality check for me in the sense that I shouldn't believe everything I read on the internet, and that I should take my real life experience more seriously than what someone I've never met in person says about people like me. That was the test, it seems to me - and I hope to every Hindu I've met in real life, that I've passed that test. :-)