Saturday, March 26, 2011

more spring and ghost stories

Here in New Braj we are Above the Clouds you know, metaphorically, but sometimes like today it seems we are Inside the Clouds ( but that would be another blog).  if you look closely at that old thermometer it is registering 34 degrees. cold.

Somehow Spring show's her determination:

and the Manzanita are in bloom just above Srila Gurudeva's garden. 

the pines are enormously fragrant:

but generally its a cold, dark, winter's day...which reminds me of the cool ghost story Prana Kisore prabhu told in last night's class.

Prana K. was giving a comprehensive class on anugatya, the concept of always being under the shelter of Guru and vaisnavas. he told how Mahaprabhu showed by example how to always be under guidance and them gave examples of those who did not remain in anugatya. then in the course of telling harikatha he said that once Srila Sridhara Maharaja said that if we do bhajana and follow the instructions of our spiritual master so many gaurdians will come to help us, seen and unseen. gaurdians such as tulasi and ekadasi. and then he told this story:

"This is the story of Vikanas Maharaja the disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura.  He was such an exalted devotee that even as a child the village gurus decided that no one was qualified to initiate him. So as a young man he was determined to find his guru so he went to the cremation grounds to meditate.  after some time some apsaras came to disturb him (why do they always do that?) and then a giant Brahman rakshaka ghost appeared and said, "I WANT TO EAT YOU!" 

Vikanas Maharaja replied, "Why? why would you want to eat me? you were a brahman how can this be?"

and the ghost replied, "GIVE ME THE RESULTS OF ONE OF YOUR EKADASIS!" 

So VM did give him the results of one of his ekadasis and ** POOF** the ghost became liberated.  As he was floating away to his destination he called out to VM, " Your guru is in Mayapura Dhama and his name is Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (shoot, forgot the caps, the ghost speaks in caps, anyhow).  That's how he found his guru. this was told in Srila Gurudeva's presence by Krsna Kripa Brahmacari also a disciple of SBSS.

the moral of the story is that is we are sincere then we will be guided by gaurdians seen and unseen, and if your going to do your meditations in cremation grounds make sure you have some ekadasis in your pocket!

posting from Above the Clouds at New Braj Dhama. ys, gopanandini dasi

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Her Grace: DASI and Some Stuff About the Swimming Pool

This is her holiness Dasi devi dasi. if you see the indignation in her eyes, she's saying, "Hey! i thought we were going for a walk. don't point that phone at me!"

Dasi is the door keeper here in New Braja.  she keeps all wild animals out:  bear, mountain lions, bob-cats, wild dogs, coyotes, rattle snakes, wild pig, birds, squirrels, butterflies, strangers, you name it.

she has the night shift so she sleeps in a bit in the morning but is never too tired for a walk. Nirguna prabhu says she has a loud and ferocious bark but she wouldn't hurt a flea. i don't know about that i've never seen a flea on her!

But this precious big girl has never missed a NB festival in her life and has received many heartly blessings from Srila Gurudeva.

She's a very strict vegetarian except for the random UPS man. her hobbies include hiking, wrestling, chasing cars and doggy paddling in Dry Creek on a cold winter's day. Devakinanadana P. says she's part polar bear. anyway we love her. she has a wonderful service attitude! there's this unusual thing about the swimming pool in the winter. as the rains and snows come the water level rises and rises. and there's this point where you have to drain the pool by attaching a pipe to the fountain and turning the pump on and aiming the pipe away from the pool and it will drain to the right level in about 1/2 hours. if the water gets high enough to seep between the pool and the cement border its very bad for the pool... so i was thinking the pool reminds me of our resident quiet sadhu, (PKprabhu). he's been hearing from Srila Gurudeva for about 34 years and of course rendering so much service. the rains of mercy have saturated his heart to such an extent that hari katha can't help but  flow out of him. and at the rate of 300 gallons a minute every evening after aroti!  Watch out!   flood warnings in New Braj!

posting from above the clouds at New Braj Dhama. ys, gopanandini dasi

ps here's a grumpy peacock with frozen tail feathers:

ys, gopa

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


dandavat pranams. March 20, Sunday, was the first day of spring and of course it snowed here in New Braj!  by the mercy of Sri Guru and Gauranga i am here at our mountain ashram, sitting in Srila Gurudeva's room and praying that he will keep me close.

we've just come off a 3 day power outage because of the big snow storm on sunday. the power outage, outrageously showed how dependent we are on electricity. no water, no lights, no washing machine, no bread machine, no heat in the garage...on the positive side we are using wood heat! yea! so we were warm and the kitchen stove is propane so it was cooking! we cooked with melted snow and washed with swimming pool water. so really it wasn't so bad except for the embarrassment of too much dependence on PG&E!

The plan is for New Braj to be self-sufficient in the near future. and if the enthusiasm continues here i'm sure that vision will be realized.

In the meantime Spring is making her appearance in NB! Spring here on the mountain is a major tug of war between Cruel Winter and Blazing Summer. We watch the fight every year and i always wonder who will win. It reminds me painfully of our situation as conditioned souls. with a major tug-of-war between the mind and senses and higher intelligence. i wonder who will win? ...but not for long because i know that our Gurudeva has planted pure bhakti in my heart and it will fructify if i follow because he said so!

posting from above the clouds at our New Braj, gopanandini dasi