Om namah Shivaya!This is perhaps the best known Hindu chant in the Western world, along side Hare Krishna. Shiva is one of the best known gods, both within and without the Hindu tradition. I first gained familiarity with him through practicing yoga. I must confess that as I write this post on Shiva I fear that I have very little to say. He and I are just getting to know each other. Or, more precisely, since He is the Absolute Ground of Being and is therefore I, my Self, my True Self, that He … [Read more...]

Kali – a post of praise

O Kali Ma, slay the fears that limit my spirit!O Kali Ma, dance upon the grave of my ambivalence!This is a prayer that I pray nearly every morning. Yes, I pray to Kali daily. She is a fearsome deity: fierce in stance and weaponry, staring directly at the viewer with crazy eyes, tongue extended, bold, wearing heads, skulls and fetuses. Kali, the destroyer - of time, of illusion! Kali, loving and fierce mother!There are many places online where you can get the full story of Kali. … [Read more...]

A Review of Eat Pray Love – the movie

I had one surprisingly quiet evening to myself over the weekend. My husband was up in Edinburgh to see his good friend perform a one man show at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest. The children went down easily, so I made a little dessert for myself (hand-whipped cream with a dash of vanilla, some banana, and a spoonful of honey - divine) and put on a movie. I decided to watch Eat Pray Love - a pretty film, not requiring deep thought, and with a loosely Hindu theme. Also, Julia Roberts is easy on the … [Read more...]

Raksha Bandhan

Today is Raksha Bandhan, a celebration of the bond between brothers and sisters. The brothers promise to protect their sisters from all harms and evils and the sisters promise to be devoted to their brother's well-being. It seems like this is a day for gifts and family celebrations. Traditionally a red woven bracelet is tied around the brother's wrist.I thought this would be a sweet holiday to observe as I have a boy and a girl. Of course, they are a little young to really understand what's … [Read more...]

Karma-yoga and the struggle as a woman

Karma-yoga is the yoga of action. It is the main form of yoga advocated in the Bhagavad Gita. There is no such thing as inaction, as everything is in process. Even when we choose not to act, we are acting; even when we sit still and meditate our bodies are continuing to act by breathing, digesting, blood flowing, etc. Until recently I never had any interest in this form of yoga, but I'm finding this to be the key to my reconciling my new life as a stay-at-home-mother. It also raises some issues … [Read more...]

Pradosham and fasting

Pradosham is a day of devotion to Shiva and fasting for liberation and removal of samskara, accumulations of karmic debris. I decided to observe this today, because who couldn't use a little extra help in removing the bonds of karma and attaining eternal freedom?The day usually involves lots of white (flowers and clothes), prayers, certain other rituals, and fasting. I've come to terms with fasting. Usually I'm a fan of fasting. Many years ago I used to go vegan for Lent. I think fasting, in … [Read more...]

Mangala Gouri Puja, or how to practice as a feminist

Mangala Gouri Puja is a day of fasting for wives in the first five years of marriage, where they dress up and perform puja on behalf of their husband, praying for his well-being, prosperity, and longevity. I think this is a good post to talk about some of the difficulties with observing Hinduism, particularly from a feminist point of view, and from a Western perspective. But before I go any further, let me tell you that I am observing Mangala Gouri Puja. We've been married for four years. I've … [Read more...]