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Danger, Beauty & God-Intoxication A Journey to Amarnath

I have lived with a picture of the Amarnath ice lingam on my wall for many years, and though I am a seasoned traveler and have made it a point to visit all the major places of pilgrimage in India. I never went to Kashmir. I thought a journey to Amarnath was beyond my reach, at least in this lifetime. The trek to the holy cave is strenuous and the political situation in Kashmir is mostly unstable. Last April, my friend George called to le me know that he an his artist-partner Claudia were going to Kashmir and planned to [...]

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Kali in Kashmir Shaivism

Swami Lakshmanjoo (1907-1991) was one of the foremost expounders of Kashmir's Krama tradition, and was an inspiration to both Indian and Western scholars and seekers. In the summer of 1991 Swami Lakshmanjoo, a direct master of the Kashmir Shaiva tradition, visited Los Angeles. One sunny afternoon, while listening to a group of devotees singing bhajans in praise of Mother Divine, he went into an ecstatic mood. Moving about the room he enticed everybody to dance. As the fever of the singing gained momentum Swamiji moved gracefully to the center of the room, eyes brimming with tears. He began to outline [...]

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Sister and Brothers of the Forest

"Please fasten your seatbelts," said a flight attendant over the PA system. "we'll be landing shortly at Swami Vivekananda International Airport in Raipur," Wow! I was amazed to hear that the city of Raipu named their airport after Swami Vivekananda. Swamiji lived in Raipur from 1877 to 1879 when his father Viswanath Dutta, an attorney at the Kolkata High Court, was transferred there. At that time, there were no good schools in Raipur, and the fourteen-year-old Naren (who later became the famous Swami Vivekananda) spent time at home learning from his father and discussing spiritual topics. I remember a story [...]

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The Road to the Mother

Confessions of a Twenty-Something Kali Worshiper by Brahmachari Parameshwara This article originally appeared in Winter 1998 issue of Light of Consciousness Magazine (Desert Ashram, Tucson, 1997). Flipping through one of my old journals recently, I came across a sentence scrawled out years ago, in bold, black ball-point pen, while in a fit of inspiration or desperation-it's hard to distinguish between the two when you're in high school-and reading it now so many years later I had to chuckle: "In disparity is the Great Dynamic." I was very proud of this little dictum when I wrote it, probably because I didn't [...]

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Sri Ramakrishna

A Biographical Introduction by Swami Chetanananda Excerpt fromThey Lived with God, Life Stories of Some Devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, Vedanta Society of St.Louis, 1989, (pp. xi-xiv). "When religion declines and irreligion prevails, I incarnate myself in every age to establish religion", declared Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. The lives of Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, Chaitanya, and Ramakrishna justify this statement. That God descends to the earth as a human being to help mankind is not a myth, but a fact. Each avatar, or Divine Incarnation, fulfills the need of a particular age and points out the goal of human life. [...]

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Kali in Kashmir Shaivism

  From the Teachings of Swami Lakshmanjoo Swami Lakshmanjoo (1907-1991) was one of the foremost expounders of Kashmir's Krama tradition, and was an inspiration to both Indian and Western scholars and seekers. In the summer of 1991 Swami Lakshmanjoo, a direct master of the Kashmir Shaiva tradition, visited Los Angeles. One sunny afternoon, while listening to a group of devotees singing bhajans in praise of Mother Divine, he went into an ecstatic mood. Moving about the room he enticed everybody to dance. As the fever of the singing gained momentum Swamiji moved gracefully to the center of the room, eyes [...]

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