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The Calling

 

 

It was a splendid peaceful summer night. The Moon Goddess was silently and imperceptibly walking her path. It was a clear sky with a plethora of shining stars. Only from time to time, a cloud would appear on the horizon, but the Moon Goddess, with her majestic hands, would very caringly dispel it from her path. Here and there, a shooting star would reach its final destination and would fade into stardust. The forest was asleep. The trees were quietly dancing with the slight breeze coming from the south. Most of the forest creatures were in a deep slumber. Apart for the nocturnal birds, which were caringly producing their midnight symphony.

There was no living soul to be found, when our heroine approached the path entering the forest, except for the mysterious calling, that has brought our heroine here. This special calling was coming from deep inside the forest. It was so attractive that our heroine did not care for any external circumstances. Her only motive was to find the source. So she started walking on the forest path. She walked and walked and the path was swaying sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right. She lost sense of time and space. Her only focus was on the calling that was coming from the heart of the forest. It was so attractive. Suddenly, something from inside her heart made her look at the side of the path. She realized the diversity of beautiful flowers that were scattered on the side of the path. The mysterious calling made her start picking these flowers. They were all kinds of colours- pink, purple, yellow, orange. So our heroine grabbed a bunch of them and carried on walking towards the heart of the forest. She walked and walked. The more she walked, the more she had the feeling she was walking towards a place that she actually belonged to. As she was getting closer, a sense of Home aroused in her heart. She knew she has been there before. As she was getting closer to the heart of the forest, the mysterious calling turned into a melody. The closer she was getting, the easier was for our heroine to start discerning musical instruments and tumultuous sounds coming from the beings dancing and happily shouting. The path swayed to the left and then to the right, and again to the left. She arrived. She was there, in the heart of the forest, where the mysterious calling was manifesting.

Our heroine was so mesmerised by the scenery that was unfolding in front of her very eyes. There were drums, there were fireplaces, there was food, and there were bells. It was a festival of a sort. Everybody appeared stunningly beautiful. Everybody wore colourful dresses and ankle bells. Everybody was ecstatically dancing and singing. Everybody was smiling and laughing. Their smiles were illuminating the whole place. Suddenly, someone noticed our heroine and told everybody. Rapidly, everybody stopped dancing and singing, and all looked at the newcomer. Everybody was smiling at our heroine. Then, from the middle of the dancing circle, a young beautiful boy with a bluish skin and effulgent face, and His consort, a beautiful young girl with a golden skin, approached our heroine. Both of them kindly extended their hands towards our heroine.

Suddenly, the boy said:

‘-Welcome Home! Shall we dance?’

Our heroine replied, rather reluctantly:

‘-But I don’t know how to dance.’

The blue boy extended His hands and replied:

‘-Don’t worry, everybody knows how to dance… it’s natural.’

Our heroine replied:

‘-Okay… I can try I guess.’

Then, the blue boy’s consort grabbed the flowers that our heroine had brought. Next, the golden-skin girl quickly and artfully made a flower crown and offered it to our heroine:

‘- Put these flowers on your head, they will make you fit in! Come on! There is no time to waste! Let’s dance!’

All of sudden, the music started again and the festival carried on. At that moment, our heroine realised that she was Actually Home. She was at the Home of her heart!

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Jai Sri Radhe!

Jai Sri Radhe, Jai Sri Radhe!

Oh, You most merciful one,

without You we don’t know what Love is,

without You we don’t know what our real position is,

without You we don’t know  what our duty is,

without You we cannot access the ocean of nectar,

without You we don’t know what worship is,

without You we don’t know Krishna’s heart,

without You we are simply lost!

 

Jai Sri Radhe, Jai Sri Radhe!

Oh, You most exalted one,

You are the inducer of transcendental pleasure,

You are the driver of our faith,

You make us jump and shout,

You make us laugh,

You make us smile,

You make us dance.

You send us knowledge,

and You make us wonder.

Without You we are simply lost!

Jai Sri Radhe, Jai Sri Radhe!

Oh, jewel of Vraja,

Let us serve You,

Let us help You,

Let us never forget You,

Let us adore You,

Let us obey You!

Without You we are simply lost!

Silence

The drums have stopped,

The bells have chocked,

The harmonium has died,

The voices have gone,

and the Kirtan is no more.

Silence has arrived!

‘-Come back, come back!’-

the heart cries out.

‘-Don’t stop singing, Don’t stop dancing!’-

the heart shouts out.

Alas, there is no response…

Silence has arrived!

Without a transcendental sound,

there is no life,

there is no goal,

there is no Love.

How can the heart live in Silence?

how can it dream;

how can it sleep;

how can it walk;

how can it talk;

How can it do anything at all???

Silence has arrived!

Without a transcendental sound

there is only darkness,

there is only sadness,

there is only madness.

Without a transcendental sound

the Moon doesn’t shine,

the Sun doesn’t rise,

the flowers don’t smell,

and the Spring never comes.

Silence has arrived!

Bhakti

 

How can I not love You!?

You create and You annihilate,

You sustain and You slay,

You smile and You play,

You dance and You cry.

You are the inexhaustible, life-giving force to all living entities.

You are the seed-giving father and all caring mother.

You are the Sun in the sky and the Moon in the night.

You are the eternal time personified.

 

How can I not love You!?

You protect me and You maintain me,

You feed me and You wake me,

You invigorate me and You humble me,

You carry me and You guide me.

 

How can I not love You!?

They say You are infinite.

Once, You came as my mother.

You gave me this body, You raised me up, and You eternally loved me.

Once, You came as my father.

You gave me this body, You taught me, and You eternally loved me.

Once, You came as my friend.

We danced together, We sang together, and We played together.

Once, You came as my guru.

You opened my eyes, You gave me knowledge, and You showed me the way.

Once, You came as my lover.

You showed me what true love is, You showed me eternity, You made me dance in ecstasy.

You made me forget about death, You made me cry out of bliss, You nested yourself in my heart.

 

How can I not love You?!

When I see You in my heart, the whole world stops.

When I sing Your name, the sweet transcendental nectar flows.

When I meet Your devotees, fearless I become.

 

How can I not love You?!

Oh, God,

Oh Krishna, How can I not love You?!

The Mind, The Body, and the Spirit walked into a bar…

It is Friday night. The weekend has come. Our hero has just finished work and was thinking of going to the pub.

-‘Whoohoo, it’s Friday, let’s go to the pub guys! Let’s get really wasted, you know, enjoy ourselves! You Only Live Once! YOLO! YOLO!’- shouted the Mind.

-‘Seriously dude! We have been through this more than 100 times and it always ends up bad for all of us, and the worst for me, of course, because I am the one who endures all the pain and toxins! Urgghh! Please, let’s just go home and sleep! I am really tired! It’s been a long week.’- replied the Body.

-‘Oh, you two! Here we go again! Mind, you should seriously have some restrain! And please show some respect towards your brother, Body! Without him we are both lost! – replied the Spirit!’

-‘YOLO, YOLO, YOLO! YOLO, YOLO, YOLO!’- chanted the Mind.

Thus, our hero ended up ordering a double Jack Daniels and Coke.

-‘Ahh, that’s nice!’- said the Mind, after our hero finished the drink.

-‘Ouch, that is hot, hot, hot!’-screamed the Body. -‘I don’t understand why you are doing this to me every weekend, Mind! You drag me here, you pour down burning liquor into my mouth and stomach, you are deluding yourself that you are having fun, and on the next morning, I am paying a heavy price! I am in pain, all in bruises, having headache, and the worst is when you drag us to someone else’s bed, and have sex with strangers! It’s pure luck, we haven’t caught up some disease! I can’t stand you anymore! You are driving me crazy! Spirit, can back me up here!’

-‘Body has a point! If you think you are not paying any prize for this misbehaviour, you are completely delusional!’– said Spirit. -‘There are universal laws that affect all living beings, despite of their ignorance! The ultimate sufferer is me, as I am eternal! You two will disintegrate with time passing, but I will have to take another body with another mind! We can all stop this madness here and now, but we need to unite forces and work together, put our differences aside, and ultimately, strive for self-realization. In turn, this will allow for escaping this material world and all its sufferings!’

Our hero downed another drink.

-‘Spirit, you go to hell, with your mumbo-jumbo spiritual lectures and myths! If there is anyone delusional here, it’s only you!’–replied condescendingly the Mind. –‘And you Body, stop complaining and moaning! I know for a fact that you are enjoying alcohol and sex as much as I do! You are only pretending that you do not like it, so you and Spirit can overthrow me and become the masters of our hero! I know you both pretty well and your petty conspiracies! So get lost! I am in control! YOLO!’

-‘You are not in control, Mind, you are simply delusional!’- said Spirit calmly. ‘Instead of being grateful to Body for taking you here and there, for feeding you day and night, and for essentially being your servant 24/7, you pay him back by punishing him with burning liquor. That’s simply a disgrace!’- commented Spirit.

-‘Spirit is right! I am your servant, Mind, show some mercy and compassion, I do so many things for you!’- encouragingly said Body.

-‘You two, can’t you just stop whining about this and that! I am trying to enjoy myself here!’- said Mind, as he was making our hero down another shot of tequila.

-‘Body you’ll be fine, you said it yourself, we have done this before more than 100 times, so why not make it 101!? Spirit, you manipulator! I am not going to let you deceive me with your moral/spiritual lectures. Why don’t you just let it go?’- said Mind.

Thus, our hero, controlled by the drunk Mind, continued on drinking more and more for the rest of the night. In this way, Spirit and Body became numb, and there was only one ruler. The delusional Mind.

PS: Inspired from: ‘For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind.’ (BG 6.34)

 

 

Monk Undercover.

Everybody wants to be a superhero or superheroine while growing up. Everybody wants to be able to fly like superman and have inhumane strength, saving innocent people from falling skyscrapers. Everybody dreams of being Batman, so they could distribute justice in their own versions of Gotham. Yet, others dream of being Wonder Woman and preserving peace amongst humanity by stopping wars from occurring. Everybody wants to be a Luke Skywalker and save the galaxy from the oppressive regimes. And the list goes on and on.

If nobody did not want to become a hero/heroine, then these stories of superheroes that we go to see in the cinema, or read in comics, would have not been so popular. The point is everybody wants to become a hero/heroine in their own movies i.e. their lives. But then, as everybody grows ups, they start realising that reality is rather different. They realise that one cannot stop people from dying in accidents, one cannot prevent injustices occurring, one cannot stop wars from occurring, and one cannot save countries from oppressive regimes. ‘Grow up!’ they all say to you. ‘Get a job, take responsibility!’ the chant goes. Sure, all these are legitimate and real claims. However, REALITY should not stop one from becoming the hero/heroine of their lives. One can be an ACTUAL hero. And yes, ACTUAL heroes do not have fictional or defying physics like powers. ACTUAL heroes have powers, human powers. ACTUAL heroes follow principles, just like fictional heroes. ACTUAL heroes get inspired from fictional heroes, but yet they act in a human way. What I am suggesting here, is an archetype of an ACTUAL hero. I call it a Monk Undercover.

Everybody can become and act like a Monk Undercover. One does not need any special qualifications. One does not need to be rich like Bruce Wayne. But one could make sacrifices for the greater good of the community. One does not need to fly like Clark Kent. But one could always find an alternative way of helping others. One does not need to carry a sword and shield to stop conflicts like Diana. But one can be peaceful themselves. One does not need a lightsabre and be a Jedi like Luke. But one can see the good in the worst of people. In other words, you can be a Monk in every moment of your existence. However, being a Monk requires cultivation of internal attributes like honesty, non-violence, tolerance, self-disciple etc., rather than external. Therefore, an ACTUAL hero is always Undercover. So get your job, take your responsibilities, buy a house, settle in, educate yourself, build up a family, have a laugh with friends, have dance with friends, read, sing, pray, live!

BUT NEVER FORGET TO BE A MONK UNDERCOVER!

 

 

Grey, but authentic.

To all Bulgarian (and not only) people .

‘-Everybody looks so grey.’- whispered a voice in my head when I was in the local supermarket.

‘-Grey clothes, Grey expressions, grey predominates the whole atmosphere around me’- the internal voice kept on ranting.

This internal realization happened when I was back home in Bulgaria. I spent a whole month in my home country, as I usually do, at end of each academic year. I went to the big cities and smaller ones. I also went to some villages. However, this greyness predominated the whole atmosphere. Do not get me wrong, this phenomenon is something that I have noticed before, while growing up in Bulgaria. However, this time I made the correlation between the colour and the general mood of the people around me. Greyness emanates depressive mood. A hopeless situation. An endless cycle of negative emotions. The ridiculousness of the whole story is that if you ask anyone on the street, they will know what causes this greyness, or rather they will list a few reasons what puts them in this grey mood. For a starter, ‘everybody is corrupt, politicians are crooked, the judiciary is a complete parody’ etc. These are the top most complains. Oh, and of course my favourite the ‘we’ll never get better’ chant. I am not saying that these claims are not legitimate or not real. They are! However, organizing our entire lives around them is rather problematic. This predominating grey mood puts everybody, even the more positive inclined people, in a pathological path of pandemic depression. In addition, as most sociological studies suggest, negative emotions only lead to divisions and conflict, whereas positive emotions, lead to more cooperative patterns of social behaviour. Think about it- if I hate going to the cinema, would I be more willing to go with you to watch a movie or not? In sum, Greyness predominates the scenery.

However, no matter how pathological Bulgarian people might be at times, we are generally authentic people, when it comes to expressing our emotions. We are going to shout at your face, when we are angry. We are going to lough loudly, when we are happy. We are going to cry loudly, when we suffer some pain. We are going to stand our ground strongly, when we are passionate about something. We are going to say things directly as they are. We are not going to be passive-aggressive; we simply will be aggressive when we mean it.

Therefore, greyness is not productive, but authenticity is what keeps us sane. I would rather be grey, but speak my truth, than be bright, but fake and sugarcoat everything I say to others. Authenticity is what makes relationships work, be they family, friends, or business. Authenticity prevents future conflicts occurring. Authenticity is the mother of progress of any kind. Of course, the perfect scenario would be if we could cultivate this authenticity more often, so we can become brighter, rather than grey. Unfortunately, we are not perfect. Or as the song goes… ‘I am only human after all…’

PS: Be grey, but keep on speaking your truth.

Bodies

Bag full of bones, Bag full of veins,

Bag full of fears, Bag full of dreams,

Bag full of desires, Bag full of pains.

Oh, this Bag full of wonders,

Oh, this complicated machine,

this Bag,

our bodies, we name it.

Bodies as diverse as the night sky.

Skinny bodies, fat bodies,

Short bodies, tall bodies,

Black bodies, yellow bodies,

Red bodies, purple bodies

Beautiful bodies, ugly bodies,

That body, this body.

Her body, his body, its body.

All these bodies, but they have one thing in common,

All these bodies, but all they never cease to wane.

From the first breath, all these bodies,

They wane, they die, they cry,

Oh, they collapse, they fail, they break.

They change, they grow, they fall.

And at the last breath, they evaporate.

And what we often forget,

Is that these bodies,

don’t define Us,

don’t describe Us,

but only captivate Us.

If we remembered only,

that we are beyond these bodies,

Infinite we could be!

Bigger than life,

bigger than the boundaries of this Bag full of bones,

a Bag full of waning flesh!

Infinite we could be!

Bigger than fear,

Bigger than Death.

Infinite we could be!

Conquering any heights,

and surrendering with every step!

Oh, Infinite we could be!

If we remembered only,

That we are not these bodies,

but the eternal spark within…

 

She walks away…

 

I met her in the classroom,

We met.

We shared some beautiful moments together,

She smiled,

I smiled,

But then she walked away…

I met her on the street,

We went out,

We kissed,

We hugged,

But she walked away again…

I met her in the club,

We talked,

We walked,

We laughed,

And she walked away…

I met her in the temple,

We danced,

We shared food together,

We talked,

We made love,

But she walked away…

I met her on the Way,

We walked,

We meditated together,

We sang,

But she walked away…

I met her in Yoga class,

We practiced,

We chanted,

We read together,

But she walked away…

She comes, She goes,

She walks away!

She kisses me, she hugs me

She walks away!

She loves me, she surrenders to me,

She walks away!

On and on she walks away…

 

El Camino de Santiago…The One I should have written long time ago!

In August of 2016, I was blessed with the opportunity to walk the Strange Road to Santiago and Beyond! It was a walk to remember, a walk of letting go, of healing, and growing. For those of you who does not know what El Camino de Santiago is, I will quickly summarise.

The Camino, as is widely known at least in the English-speaking world, is a Catholic Pilgrimage path in the north of Spain. It starts from the Spanish-French border in the Pyrenees and it ends in the northwestern city of Santiago. It originated during the Middle Ages and since then millions of pilgrims have made their way to visit the cathedral in Santiago and of course pay their respects to St. James. The length of the Camino is about 800 km and around 200,000 people from each corner of the world walk it every year. Some people walk the Camino for spiritual/religious reasons (including me), others for cultural, historical, or recreational reasons. However, enough is enough; there are hundreds of books, videos, and various materials about the history of this magical path. So if you want to dive deeper in its history and cultural heritage, just go for it!

 

How long did you walk for?

My Camino started on the of 3rd August 2016. I made it to Santiago in 24 days, finishing on the 27th of August 2016. After that I walked another 3 days and more 90 km to Finisterre (the End of the World), which is located on the west coast of Spain. I would walk 20-30-40 km or 6-9 h per day. In total, I walked about 900 km for 30 days. It was very physically/mentally/ spiritually challenging experience.

How much did it cost you?

If we exclude the price of my flights from the UK to France and from Spain to the UK, the whole 30 days cost me about 1000 €. I would spent about 30 € per day on average. Sometimes less, sometimes more. This 30 € include my accommodation and food.

What would be the most memorable experience for you on the Camino?

This is a though one. I do not know where to begin from. There were so many memorable moments. However, I think one of the most memorable would be my last day on the Camino. After I finished the walking day I climbed up on a small hill, which overlooks the vast Ocean. There, I watched the Sunset with hundreds of other pilgrims. The Moon came on the horizon and with it millions of stars. One could see the Milky Way very clearly. Then, the magic happened!  Shooting star after shooting start, even a few at a time, started appearing out of nowhere. I could count about 30 for 1 hour. Then I gave up! I call this moment the Gift of the Camino. It is a gift, because I walked 900 km to this place and there I was granted with such a beautiful scenery by the Universe. It was also kind of humbling experience looking at the vast cosmos and the infinite worlds that are out there.

What people did you meet on the Camino?

I met every kind of people, all carrying their stories and troubles, joys and hopes, scars and pains. I met cancer survivors, who were walking the Camino, so they can prove to themselves that they were still alive. For them, every step, no matter how painful, meant they were still amongst the living. I met writers, filmmakers, and artists. I met people who have sold everything back home and have started their Caminos thousands of kilometres away. Some were walking for weeks form Belgium, from Denmark, from Germany, from Hungary. I met people from each continent. I met people who had walked from Rome to Santiago for 3 months (around 3000 km).

What did you learn on the Camino?

So many things, I do not know where to start from! Probably the biggest lessons of the Camino are to learn how to let go easily, live with less, find gratitude for what I had at each moment, trust the way, accept every step of the path, and cultivate some Love for God. In more general terms, the Camino taught me to dream big. It showed me how to speak with the forest. It taught me to love The Great Spirit. It taught me about the Spiritual Ego. It taught me to tolerate other, different people from me. It taught me how to be taken care of and how to take care of others. It gave birth to the New Me- the Gladiator. It inspired me to start this blog. It taught me patience. It showed me how to connect and start a conversation with anyone. It taught me how to overcome mental/spiritual/physical pain. It introduced me to my limits, so now I have new limits. It made me grow. It showed me how to lead a pack and how to be part of the pack. It showed me my ‘friends’ and my ‘enemies’. It showed me beauty. It made me wonder about the mysteries of life. It taught me some Spanish. It taught me how to forgive. It showed me grace. And many more lessons.

Would you recommend the Camino to others?

Definitely! I believe that If you want to know yourself, you have to be alone with yourself. You have to get out there, where each moment is a completely new experience. Only when you challenge your status quo of living, you will be able to understand YourSelf fully! The Camino gives you all these opportunities.