newest entry 2001-09-17 1:21 p.m.

Back to Bhakti

In another attempt at Pilgrimage, yesterday AMA and I walked from our house in Sunset Park through Brooklyn and over the Manhattan Bridge. I'd never been over that bridge on foot is not nearly as pedestrian-friendly as the Brooklyn Bridge: clanky, noisy from the subways and messy from construction and rickety-seeming, suspended over two fairly industrial areas. It also seemed much higher (vertigo!) than the BB, but that could be the illusion created by not being cushioned by a layer of traffic.

The farthest south we could get was the Chambers Street J/M/Z/4/5 station, which we took back to Brooklyn. It wasn't a particularly meaningful trek, but it gave me time on the way back to read my latest book The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion by Prem Prekash. It's a translation of the Narada Bhakti sutras, and it is just what the doctor ordered. The Bhakti sutras are about the path of devotion, as distinct from the path of meditation (raja yoga), and discrimination (jnana yoga) and physical practices (hatha yoga).

I think I have the heart of a devotee. I'm smart, but I'm not an intellectual, and I love hatha but I'll never be an adept. I may get depressed at times, but my heart always longs to love something or someone widely and deeply and forever...but I'm too much of a contrarian to love any human that deeply or give myself over to a teacher or guru. So I think a love-drunk relationship to God is my calling.

I think that is why I am such a fan-girl. It's hard for me to be critical, e.g., of music or books or movies that I really like. I love the feeling of giving my heart over to something completely If none of these things qualifies me as a bhakti yogi, then I'm applying for the FBI.

I've been to three vigils so far (and am keeping two candles lit on my altar). The vigils truly reflected the character of the neighborhoods they were held in: subdued in Brooklyn Heights, warm and political and socially diverse in Park Slope, and chaotic and war-rallying in Sunset Park. I see people in my neighborhood wearing t-shirts with the logo "Attack on America!" and "I Survived the Attack!" No judgment intended, just reportage.

We moved the computer upstairs from the gloomy basement to the spacious, sunny dining room. It's already made a difference in my productivity. It's nice not to be hidden away.

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