Thoughts From India

I've given a lot of thought to what I learned in India. n all honesty, I didn't go with the purpose of completing my 500 hour. But I did go with a laundry list of questions. got answers to some, and didn't to others. Some were immediate, some I'm still contemplating.


Rather than go through that laundry list, these are some of my most important learnings and reflections from the last month that I was able to capture in my small notebook:


"Feeling less confused and more secure in my conception of God after discussing Brahma as a group. Someone sad that no matter your belief, being a devotee of God is ‘not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less’ which resonates so deeply within me. When I let myself think less about how *I* am feeling, how *I* interpret others, about *my* path, self-study, or self-reflection, I move forward in my spiritual journey. Letting that go, releasing that, has allowed me to feel more comfortable with this Krishna Bhakta setting. As long as we all know that Spirit can take better care of ourselves than we can, how I can judge anyone who is on their path to find it?”


“The most important decision we make is whether we believe in a friendly or a hostile universe. Our attitude on this determines the kind of life we live in this world and the next. It is not about what the universe IS, because it IS however you see it to be.”


“When we recognize what we are really connected to – the unchanging nature of the Supersoul – we are clearer in thoughts, words and actions, and we are more beautiful and happy like an unmuddied lotus flower. The lotus never gets dirty because it is rooted in the soil, the same as us when we are rooted in our spiritual practice. When we’re connected to that, like the roots of the perfect lotus flower, it becomes easier to not be impacted by the changing world.”


“Above the absence of pain is the source of all love. That love is awareness of our true self which is eternal, as well as the love within every living thing, because we are all a part of the infinite.”


“The body is just a space that operates only when the soul is in it. Death is really just a change of clothes. If we are good people, we go straight to God or get to put on a better set of clothes. The body is like a car, and the soul is a driver. It only turns on and is moved when the driver is inside. In marriage we often say ‘til death do us part’ but we never really part. So in death we must celebrate the greatness in this life and the beauty of someone’s new destination”


“We are told that Jesus taught discipline – in helping others, in being moral, in being in this world but not of it. To love means to make sacrifices. To love all living beings, to be disciplined…and to find the joy in that… is devotion. To tune into God’s love, live by, and express that love in the material world… is devotion. We find an inner joy in God that helps us be disciplined and love everyone…to live in that essence, to be an instrument of that love, is Bhakti yoga.”


“Love is our natural state. You can’t stop the sun from shining, but clouds can block it. This is like the ego (ahamkar). The ignorance is that we have forgotten that we are naturally love. The ignorance is that we try to fill our lives with temporary pleasures. But when we can reconnect to our natural state of love, we are like an everlasting Sun.”


“The more our love expands, the more profound it is. And the more profound it is, the more it can change the world. When our love expands to include all living things, that love is ecstatic. Someone may be compassionate to human beings, but then there is a limit. Or someone is kind to animals, but isn’t kind to other people. That is a limit, too. That is exclusive. The disease of human society is that we think we have rights over others.”


“Environmentalism goes deeper than leaving the planet better for future generations. It is a part of our respect for what we have been given. It’s natural, but we have become disconnected. Everything that emanates from the Divine is perfect and complete and real. It is not that the world is an illusion – it is very real. The illusion is that we ARE the physical world or that we own it.”


“Surrendering is a hard concept. If we want to surrender everything to God, but everything already belongs to God, you must realize that the only thing you have to surrender is the false ego that you have something TO surrender. Letting go of the idea that you have “stuff” (a body, a mind, belongings, etc) to let go OF.”


“The stars are a window to faith in God, for me. The other night I looked up at the sky and saw a bright sta, which i a rare sighting for my less-than-stellar eyes. They immediately started watering, ithout having begun to reflect on why. hile I came with so many questions as to how I interpret the Divine, in that moment I knew this expansiveness of Creation is all I nee for my idea of faith. I think I knew at the beginnin of my tri that I wasn't a typical Krishna devote, and that I would be putting myself in an enclosed space eveloped around this Bhakti lineage. knew that my interpretation of God is less personified, and that even if I try to change that to perceive God as a relate-able being, o rather than try to change that during my immersion with Hare Krishn', I have worked to refine what that means. My days at the Eco Village or the temple listening to Radhanath Swami speak, doing puja or satsang with true evotees of Krishna have been inspiring. Their love is insurmountable. hey make my want to be a better person. here is no judgment of anothe person's version o God, because hey believe ll Gods are Krishna. My ormless God - that sta, the waves, a fire - is one and the same.”

Martel Catalano