An eclectic spiritual & inspirational place to heal, learn, feel & expand. Heart & soul first. Miraculous experiences from India as well as the life & times of a spiritual healer/teacher in the U.S. Miracles, saints, sages, gurus, healing, life & death... and more...!

Friday, August 25, 2006

a Snickers for Ganesh

Originally uploaded by alxindia.

so, a few nights ago, a group of us did a fire homa (healing Vedic ceremony) at a friend's home. he's hoping to sell the house, and soon, and wanted to get an extra push to remove the obstacles that seem to be preventing the sale of the home.

so, we were on the deck at dusk doing a Laxmi mantra for 1/2 of the homa. the sky was beautiful, getting darker blue as it went along, and the tinges of sunlight around the west horizon (mountains) were fading completely... it was a beautiful night.

after Laxmi, we did 108 times of the Ganesh mantra. as we were about to start, all of a sudden, Ganesh came strongly into my mind -- Jonathan and I were telling stories about him and his nature, and how much he LOVES the sweet things, like his laddus.... -- and I realized we needed to offer something really sweet into the fire for him if this homa was going to be a true Ganesh puja.

I asked if anyone had cookies, or candy -- no one had anything like that. omigawd, it's Santa Cruz and everyone's healthy vegan eaters, non-refined sugar and all. no sugary snacks!

and then -- mercifully! -- one lady remembered she had a Snickers bar in her car. peanuts! caramel! chocolate! oh, perfect!

so she went to get it and we went on with the homa... and after the 108 Ganesh mantras, the passed coconut with all the offerings, we put that Snickers bar on the tray of offerings... and into the fire it went!!!!!!!

(now I wish I had a photo of that Snickers bar, perfectly landed as it did in the fire pit, label up -- oops! we should have unwrapped it?! -- surrounded by roses and incense pieces and quickly engulfed in hungry flames...)

just one of the more surreal moments in the life of an American pujarini.

& it was clear from the fire's response that Ganesha got the offering and was quite merry about accepting it!

Monday, August 21, 2006

street JAMMing

Originally uploaded by alxindia.

"a funny thing happened to me on the street in Santa Cruz on Sunday....."

yeah, I guess! The Mystic JAMMS Band took their first leap into Street JAMMin' -- spending a couple of hours singing sacred songs, kirtan, bhajans and mantras, on the street in Santa Cruz.

what a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon! the vibrations were beautiful, and people walked by, smiled, donated cash, sang along, made 'namaste' with their hands, stared at the photos of Sri Kaleshwara and Shirdi Baba, and enjoyed the music.

thought I'd share the photo as evidence of what can happen when sacred song takes to the streets.

of course we were all completely blissed out and wanted to spend the rest of the night out there...!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

some advice on living...

someone asked about what advice, if any, one could give to young people asking for support and guidance in this life.

my response runs along the lines of...

what would I say to young people? pretty much the same message I’d share with adults:

a couple things – first, never ever do soul prostitution; that is, don’t ever go against your deep inner voice, your deep inner knowing. if you know, internally, intuitively, ‘this is a bad idea’ or you’re faced with taking an action that betrays your deep self – don’t do it.

secondly, learn to meditate and research on yourself and your role in this planet from the inside, to balance all the input and investigation you’re doing on the outside, in the external world. try to find out what’s real, inside yourself, and who you really are (and what you came to do here). try to discover something of the divine fragrance of this life – it is precious.

thirdly, laugh as much and as often as you can – take life as a sport, not so seriously. not taking things personally is one secret to a happy, healthy life no matter what obstacles and trials may come.

finally, be grateful to your parents, daily, for bringing you into this life, this world. they’re the vehicle through which you entered this creation (regardless of whatever happened with them AFTER your birth!) and they deserve respect and gratitude, for that. they represent the Cosmic Mother and Father.

there are prob'ly a few other points I could make; these are just a few pieces of hard-won experience off the top of my head.

Friday, August 11, 2006

today's quote

"The Master observes the world,
but trusts his inner vision."

-Lao Tzu

war story

From Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language:

FASCISM: A system of government characterized by rigid one party dictatorship, forcible suppression of opposition, private economic enterprise under centralized governmental control, belligerent nationalism, racism and militarism, etc.

I have to take a moment and relive a moment of my dad's personal history. I am super-grateful that I was given the parents to whom I was born, and from whom I learned many powerful lessons about life, death, and service on this planet.

my father in particular was an extraordinary man; there really aren't enough words and there isn't enough room on this blog to describe him adequately. I'll settle for sharing a small sketch with you, a few charcoal lines, a la Matisse, to convey at least some flavor of what he was like.

first and foremost, he was the most intelligent human being I've ever met, hands down. his mind was really a steel-trap, and his near-photographic memory served him well throughout his life. his chosen profession was that of a surgeon, and he worked tirelessly as a small-town physician, often unpaid for 2 a.m. repair work on insuranceless victims of head-on car crashes and other delightful accidents.

he was a voracious reader, loved music so much it made him weep, and was similarly bonded with nature. (just talking about old-growth forests made him cry.)

politically, he was an incredible activist who supported many noble and just (and therefore doomed! (giggling)) causes. we got thrown out of one small Missouri town because of his opposition to the Vietnam War, his hatred of then President Nixon, and his belief that women had, among other things, the right to a safe and legal abortion.

above all, though, my dad was a pacifist who thought that war was unacceptable, period. forever and amen.

his heroes were men like Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

not as fortunate as his brother, who was actually a conscientious objector to World War II, my dad was compelled to enter military service in 1944 (he had just finished medical school and was a trained surgeon) as a captain in the medical corps. he was sent to the European theatre, in what would now be called a MASH unit, a mobile army surgical hospital, a few miles behind the front of Patton's army in the last throes of WWII.

(he used to howl with laughter, in the '70s, watching the television show M*A*S*H -- he thought it was deadly accurate in its portrayal of medical life in a war zone -- and I often thought he must've been something of a Hawkeye Pierce kind of character, in real life, irreverent, unwilling to be in the war, cynical, iconoclastic and mischievous.)

in later years, when my schoolfriends' dads would tell war stories and boast about how they'd gotten shot by Japs on naval boats in the Pacific Theatre of WW II and nearly died -- I was confused by my own father's absolute refusal to speak of ANYTHING he experienced during World War II.

his only comment about war, when pressed, was this: "war is hell, and I hope that none of my children will ever have to experience it."

one day when medals fell out of his wallet, into a parking lot where he accidentally dropped it, he scooped them up and hurriedly put them back in their hiding place, with a fiery glance that commanded, "don't even ASK."

we never asked.

but one story he did share, years later, in the 1980s, was so brilliant on so many levels -- and so utterly relevant today -- that I feel compelled to put it here, now.

I hope you'll pardon my indulgence, talking about my dad and sharing a piece of his flame with you today.

during the Reagan years, my dad was so appalled and disgusted at the way American society was heading -- dumbed-down schools, underpaid schoolteachers, the arms race (and the so-called Cold War), cutbacks for university students' aid, unbelievably stupid militarism like CIA escapades in Central America, the invasion of Grenada and the Iran-Contra scandal -- that he used to yell back at the TV, especially when Reagan was on giving a speech, with words that I won't type here but I'm sure you get the point.

he was furious about what he perceived as an upsurge in American Fascism, and worried that it was largely unchecked because it was a subtle decline -- the average person's lifestyle was getting tougher and economically more challenging, but it wasn't SO bad, so fast, that anyone really protested.

then one day he told me this story from WW II --

"it was the end of the European war, and Roosevelt made a speech, which was broadcast on the radio, a stirring, inspired speech about how Hitler was vanquished, the German army had surrendered, and peace was once again going to dominate the world we knew. Roosevelt talked at great lengths about the repair of Europe, the outline of what would become the Marshall Plan, and the ideals of the world community, now that balance and peace was restored.

like all the GIs and servicemen, of course I heard the speech and what the ideals were.

a young soldier, someone I'd talked a lot with, over the preceding few months, came running up after the speech was finished, his face lit up and enthusiastic, all full of the idealism and the stirring vision that Roosevelt had laid out.

'Doc!' he cried to me, 'didja hear that! Mr. Roosevelt said the war is over and Hitler's defeated! we can all go home and gee, the world is going to repair itself and Europe will be even greater than it ever was, with American help and support! we're finally going to live in peace! isn't it great????!!!' "

and my dad said to me, about this moment, "I looked at his face and saw all the enthusiasm and naivete of youth, and hope, playing out on his features.....

and I replied, 'yes, son, that's wonderful, and I'm very glad indeed that Hitler has been defeated, and this war is over. but let me ask you -- do you really think we've seen the end of Fascism in this world?' "

my dad said, that kid looked kinda confused, his face fell, and he stared at my dad with a bemused expression and mumbled, "well, gee, Doc, I dunno."

in the 1980s, during the height of Reagan's teflon presidency, and the beginning of the end of American democratic process, relying so heavily on an informed and educated (and participatory!) public, and government beginning to invite more and more influence and allegiance with corporate entitities and their insatiable greed for money and power -- my father would tell this story, and then finish it by adding, thoughtfully --

"I often wonder where that guy is, today, and if he remembers that conversation during the war, and what he thinks as he looks around America now."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mahavatar Babaji and the Middle East

the photo for this entry is a map of Palestinian villages that were destroyed in the first Israeli-Arab war, in 1948.

after my many years working as a peace activist on both sides of this conflict (with Arab-Americans and American Jews), and seeing first-hand the mutual devastation these two fine peoples have wrought on one another over decades, I've also observed the incredible similarities between the cultures and values and come to feel that the Arab-Israeli conflict is truly a fratricidal war. a huge (and costly) misunderstanding between two beautiful brothers.

anyway, back to the photo -- this came from a brilliant website,, created by an American woman journalist who's spent a lot of time working in Gaza and the West Bank. her position (which I whole-heartedly agree with) is that Americans don't have a clue about the region (except what our heavily biased and wrong-headed mass media tells us) and that if Americans DID know -- we'd stop supporting the modern state of Israel's predilection for warfare and torture with billions of dollars a year in foreign aid.

we need to be properly educated about the region -- and now. with ten thousand Israeli troops pouring into Lebanon -- AGAIN (like a bad deja vu of 1982, a sort of DVD Home Version with extra special added features like new bombs loaded with DU!) -- we need to understand the Middle East more than ever.

make of that what you will -- of course it is politics on the surface level, one part.

on another part -- as universal souls, we do know that whatever injustices are committed in one part of the world, they DO affect all of us, internally.

and now, for spiritual commentary on the region -- Mahavatar Babaji.

this story is excerpted with love and gratitude from a fine little book called "Babaji, Meeting with Truth" by an Israeli woman named Dr. Shdema Goodman. Dr. Goodman has been kind enough to share her extraordinary experiences in the Himalayas, and her extremely painful spiritual development experiences honestly and openly.

the years she spent with Babaji in the Himalayas yielded incredible spiritual gifts and insights, such as this story:

"We went over to the tea shop and he offered me tea.

He then asked someone to give me a cigarette and he asked, "You like?" I told him yes, feeling a little puzzled because I had given up smoking. At the same time, I felt delighted because I realized that it was allowed for me to smoke. I can handle it, I thought, I can use it in moderation and enjoy it. As we were walking back to the Ashram, Babaji picked up his arm and pointed his finger in what looked as though he was shooting with his arm like one would shoot a gun, and asked me, "You like?"

"NO!" I said emphatically, feeling a little flustered that he would insinuate that I liked shooting. Then I became aware of my thoughts immediately prior to his pointing his arm and I realized I had looked on some people there [at the ashram] as being inferior to me.

He later asked me, "The Israelis and the Arabs are fighting?"

"Yes," I responded.

"Who is big, Israel or the Arabs?"

"Israel is a small country, the Arabs large," I said.

"No," he said, "Israel is big."

"Good," I replied.

"Who wins the war?" asked Babaji.

I put up my right fist in a victory gesture and was ready to say, we, Israel, when he turned to his right and started talking with some people. He ignored me totally as I waited and waited to respond. I looked at my raised arm and became painfully aware that my brother and my sister were killed in the Israeli-Arab wars. I had lost.

I put my arm down and waited to respond and Babaji turned his head towards me for my answer.

"We both lose," I said.

He just stared at me without responding. As I walked back to my seat, I felt as though I had shot down those people that I viewed as inferior to me. I saw that I was creating a subtle war.

Even though I had little contact with these people, I was later put down by them at various occasions for no apparent reason. I felt hurt, and I came to realize that even thoughts can create war. There are never any winners when that happens, only losers. We all lose. It took me a long time to realize that there are no inferior or superior people on this planet, only different."