Heart Attract

People have heart attacks in Vrindavana – not just physical, but spiritual ones too. Holy places ooze with a divine influence that overthrows material consciousness and inexplicably ushers one towards transcendence. You may have seen the t-shirt – “I lost my heart in Vrindavana.” The illustrious Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakur reveals the phenomena: “Krishna instigated a…

Mental Muscle

Govardhana is enchanting… and simultaneously educational. At every turn there is a lesson to learn. While pacing the peaceful perimeter path yesterday, a street vendor suddenly announced: “Monkey seva! Monkey seva!” It was an invitation to feed the mischief-making monkeys that had congregated. “Monkey seva is my thing” I thought, “I’ve been feeding this monkey-like…

Read or Relish?

I try to visit Vrindavana in an off-peak time, with no ‘business,’ no meetings, no responsibilities and no particular project in mind. I mainly come to read. The time, the headspace, and the devotional atmosphere helps to cultivate transcendental thoughts. No excuses and no place better. It sounds wonderful, and it is, but admittedly it’s…

Increasing Intensity

We arrived at 2.15am in Sri Vrindavana Dham. It was still, calm and quiet; a timeless place, unchanged in essence, ever-exuding spiritual potency. We bowed in the dust, walked to our room, and contemplated snoozing after a round-the-clock journey. At this early hour, however, Vrindavana wakes up – lights switch on, water taps start running,…

New Book!

Thinkers, readers, adventurers and seekers – attention! “In Essence” has landed. Sometimes it pays to look back before we move forward. Eons ago, wise sages ingeniously preserved their priceless insights in books of wisdom. They dealt with everything from religion to relationships, science to sociology, leadership to lifestyle management – the secrets to life, the…

Challenged

Today I remembered Srila Prabhupada. Today I felt challenged. Dear Srila Prabhupada, I’m challenged to overcome my weakness. You were unrelentingly attacked from all sides – critical journalists, irate parents, pretentious followers, fault-finding contemporaries and unappreciative officials. A barrage of negativity directed towards a selfless sadhu who only desired the greatest good for everyone. Unfazed…

Bin It!

It’s amazing what you can buy in the Pound Shop. Cheap and cheerful is definitely the order of the day. My Dell laptop was priced at a mere £250. I got five years of mileage from it before it broke down. There was the option to fix, but the price of a new one meant…

Induced Selflessness

“Should I get married or become a monk? Which one is best?” It’s a question people ask time and time again. It’s also a question which can’t be answered off-the-cuff. Imagine going into a hospital and inquiring which operation is the best. It’s illogical. Unless they sign you in, run some tests and peruse the…

Proud Block

Pride is a formidable block on the road of spirituality. When it rears its ugly head it’s painstakingly obvious – to ourselves and others. We may deny it, cover it up or justify it, but deep down we know something is out of tune. A mentor once told me that there is a fine net…

A Final Lesson

Its 10.30pm. I’m leaving Vrindavana in an hour, going by taxi to Delhi airport. Gathering my thoughts and making my last prayers. There’s a frantic knock on the door. As I open it, a humble but emphatic request shoots through: “please let me feed you!” It’s the middle-aged South Indian devotee who stays across the…

Hall of Fame

Vrindavana is like a hall of fame. Everywhere you turn there are stories, landmarks and temples commemorating the saintly people who lived here. Ironically, they never wanted any fame. In fact, they actively avoided it – unassumingly absorbed in their daily devotion, quietly dedicating every moment of their time to forging a deep spiritual connection….

Discovering Discomfort

Whether it’s the coldest pre-dawn hours of winter, or the staggering heat of May and June, the external conditions here are far from perfect. Along with the climatic attacks, there is noise, pollution, decrepit infrastructure… whatever you do and however you try, Vrindavana inevitably ushers you into some level of austerity. When hardships come, however,…