Sunday, April 27, 2014

You know it's almost time for the New Braj festival...

You know it's almost time for the New Braj festival when the apple trees are in full blossom...

                                                                                  and the big storms appear...

and you know it's almost time for the New Braj festival when you

exchange winter mittens...

for garden gloves,


you see
the first rattle-

or maybe a skinny bear...

then you know it's almost time for the New Braj festival!

See you there!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Meditations and back to my "post"!

Dandavat pranams!  I'm taking a hike through Bhagavatam - thought maybe you'd like to join me...we're in 4th Canto and Dhruva Maharaja is going to fight with Yaksas (Srimad Bhagavatam 4:10).  The chapter's called "Dhruva Maharaja's Fight With the Yaksas".

Okay - first let's look up what a Yaksa is...
wiki :
Yaksa (ヤクシャ, Yakusha), or Yaksha, is a recurring demon in the series. History Edit. Yaksha (Sanskrit: यक्ष, yakṣa, ञक्ख, yakkha in Pāli) is the name of a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, who are caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots.n Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist texts, the yakṣa has a dual personality. On the one hand, a yakṣa may be an inoffensive nature-fairy, associated with woods and mountains; but there is also a darker version of the yakṣa, which is a kind of ghost (bhuta) that haunts the wilderness and waylays and devours travelers, similar to the rakṣasas.'s one supporting a Greek scroll, (must be one of their jobs).'s one in Bangkok, (a bit scary)!

Back to the chapter...
Dhruva is a bit grown up after his famous austerities that allowed him darshan with Vishnu on Garuda. His father, Uttanapada leaves home to find self-realization in the forest. Dhruva is installed as king, gets married, has kids and then his younger brother is killed by a powerful yaksa, while out hunting. The younger brother's mother also dies and Dhruva is furious at the yaksas.  He goes to the main yaksa city called Alakapuri in a valley of the Himalayas. There is some information that these particular yaksas are followers of Lord Siva.
Dhruva is faced in battle with 130,000 armor plated, gold studded, multi-weaponed, fierce yaksas.  Demi-god people in the sky watch on and lament thinking Dhruva will be killed. But Dhruva is really, really angry and yaksa heads and body parts soon cover the battlefield.  The yaksas run away but sling some super natural, magical illusions at him - blood and body parts falling from the clouds, snakes breathing thunderbolts and vomiting fire, herds of mad elephants and lions and tigers (all this is falling from the sky).  ((Dhruva gets a bit freaked out))!

Thankfully some sages and rishis are praying close by and they remind Dhruva that by simply remembering the Lord he will be saved (yea, rishis)! and they encourage him with this beautiful verse:
munaya ucuh
auttanapada bhagavatams tava sarngadhanva
devah ksinotv abhidhaya nisamya caddha
loko 'njasa tarati dustaram anga mrtyum

All the sages said:  Dear Dhruva, O son of King Uttanapada may the Supreme Personality of Godhead known as Sarngadhanva, who relieves the distresses of His devotees, kill all your threatening enemies.  The Holy name of the Lord is as powerful as the Lord Himself.  Therefore, simply by chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord, many men can be fully protected from fierce death without difficulty.  Thus a devotee is saved.

Next time you meet the yaksas of your life - chant, chant chant! 
                                                                                    ys, g.