First of all, please forgive the inactivity on this blog for the past little while. There are plenty of good unfinished articles that will be completed in the future, but for the time being I have decided to call a moratorium over the next 10 days or so as I prepare for my return to Canada.
Tomorrow I will deal with any unfinished business on the computer, but in the days that follow, I will check my email only once a day and otherwise not touch the computer, and certainly not go on the internet. I will be doing a week's complete silence, in particular on the next ekadasi.
Silence is a fairly important element of the yoga practice in this ashram. I have a bit of a reputation around here as a noisy person who is always singing and talking loudly. That is perhaps an exaggeration, but it is simply the contrast with the dominant ethos here.
Swami Veda has a concept called "five pillars of sadhana": stillness, silence, fasting, celibacy and conquest of sleep. Today I had to lecture on the subject in Sanskrit to the Sanskrit Bharati people (I will hopefully post something about this tomorrow on Jagat Jindagi as one of those last items) and it crystallized something that has been developing in me over the past several days.
The above five are the kinds of heroic practices that I haven't touched with a ten-foot pole for centuries. But now that I am leaving, I feel that some kind of intense preparation for my reentry into the "West" is, if not really needed, at least a way of honoring my residence here.
In my room, I have an altar in front of which I occasionally sit and chant japa. A few days ago, while I sat there, I realized that there was a powerful pull coming from the ground. Perhaps it was my imagination, but I felt it was the pull of sadhana, placed there by the thousands of years of passing sadhus that have made this land sacred. The modern modes of passion and ignorance that engulf India in the present "ghora kali" may disturb on the superficial level, but the underlying power of spirituality is still present.
I realized also that during the last few weeks, in which my sadhana schedule was disrupted in an attempt to complete a chunk of Bhagavat-sandarbha, that my focus had lessened a little. On the other hand, I became aware of the overall positive effect of this last 18 months I have spent in India, living and teaching, meditating and engaging in various spiritual practices over that time. There has definitely been a cumulative effect, set on a bedrock of love for this world of devotion, prema-bhakti and the life of sadhana, and I would like to consolidate all that by a period of intense reflection and interiorization.
I probably have a hundred things that I should busily be doing in preparation for my departure. But a kind of exhaustion has also set in and so I barely feel inclined to even lift a finger in any kind of endeavor whatsoever, other than this. It is no doubt the mercy of the saints and of the Divine Couple, who wish me to strengthen the little bit of sattva-guna that I have managed to acquire in this setting.
So feel free to email, etc., if there is anything important, but basically, maunam is the order of the day.