Thursday, September 23, 2010

“Some people think that meditation takes time away from physical
accomplishment. Taken to extremes, of course, that's true. Most people,
however, find that meditation creates more time than it takes.”

Caught in a world of progress and achievement, we rarely stop to give ourselves the time of day or take personal nourishment for, not only our body, but mind and soul as well. Meditation is gradually being seen in the Western world as a substantial way to relieve stress and focus the mind. Plus, after each meditation, we serve a healthy breakfast. This week it was fresh dosas!

Standing before an assembly of students in Athens, Solon, one of the seven great Greek wise men, held up an apple. It was rotten and decayed. He questioned them, "how can we regenerate and make new this apple?" Unable to provide an answer, the students remained silent. "You can not revive a rotten apple." At that time, Solon cut the apple in half and removed the seeds. Holding the seeds he remarked, "this is how the apple can be regenerated. By proper care and use of it's seeds, a new apple can be made." Who are the seeds of society? They are indeed the youth, and the spiritual values, morals, and ethics that the students of today hold in their lives, qualify them to regenerate society and make a better tomorrow as they move to become the future leaders, managers, and parents of the future. What are the values that you hold dear in your life? What are the values you feel pressured to keep by society? Where do we get are values? These questions and others were discussed in our Wednesday night Reflections.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mixe vegetable coconut milk curry


* 3 tbsp ghee/oil
* 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
* 2-3 green hot chilies,chopped
* One 2.5cm cinnamon stick
* 10 curry leaves
* ½ tsp asafetida powder
* 1 ½ cups green beans
* 1 ½ cups potatoes (3/4 in. cubes)
* 1 ½ pumpkin (3/4 in. cubes)
* 1 ½ cup Zucchini (3/4 in. cubes)
* 1 ½ cup cauliflower, cut into florets
* 1 ½ cup carrots (3/4 inch)
* 1 tsp turmeric
* 1 tsp coriander powder
* 2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp sugar
* 1 cup coconut milk
* ½ cup water
* ¼ cup coriander leaves


1. Place the ghee/oil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat.
2. When hot, drop in the ginger and chilies and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add the cinnamon stick and curry leaves, and sauté for another minute.
4. Sprinkle in yellow asafetida powder.
5. Stir briefly then add all the vegetables, the turmeric,
coriander powder, salt and sugar.
6. Pour in the coconut milk and water. Reduce heat and simmer
slowly, well covered for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
7. Additional coconut milk and water can be used for more moist curry.
8. Fold in the chopped fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.

Bhagavad Gita: In your life

This past Friday we kicked off another year of wisdom for the body, mind, and soul with our Intro session for Bhagavad Gita-In Your Life. We set a template for our discussions this year with the clear idea that not only can the Gita be relevant to our contemporary lives, but it can also take us to a deeper and happier everyday level, where real spiritual wisdom can enter into our thoughts and actions and help us to become the person we want to be.

Curious newcomers and returning friends were welcomed and introduced to the setting of the Gita, and the great personalities, Arjuna and Krishna, at the heart of the discussion. Arjuna is the greatest warrior of his time drawn into an unimaginable situation, having to fight his dearest teachers and family members in a massive civil war. Krishna, as his chariot driver, dear friend, and incarnation of the Divine, has the duty of convincing the naturally reluctant Arjuna to fight.

What does this all mean? Isn't this another example of religious violence gone wrong, gone beyond morals and reason? We explored some of these tricky topics, and asked students to consider that the story of the Gita will reveal something much deeper beyond its challenging surface, setting the stage for next week when we will dive deeper into the crossroads Arjuna finds himself at, and the crossroads we often find ourselves at.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Missing the point.

Internal happiness doesn't always follow external, material success. We have a certain conception of what will bring us happiness in life, whether it's money, prestige, position, achievement, etc., but the case of Amanda Beard shines light on the deeper side of the issue. An excerpt of a recent New York Times article is below. Her picture, left, is from the 1996 Olympic Games, where she was 14 years old.

[Beard twice broke the world record in the 200-meter breaststroke and won that event at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. She made four Olympic teams and the cover of Playboy. Yet during that period, Beard said, “I was never really, really happy.”

Throughout her teens and well into her 20s, Beard presented an image to the world that was as airbrushed as her photographs in magazines. Her toothy smile and surfer girl insouciance hid deep emotional pain. In a series of interviews over the past year, she revealed for the first time her struggles with anger, depression and self-injury.

“I’d go to swim practice, put my face in the water, and I didn’t have to talk to anybody,” Beard said. “Swimming was like my escape, but it was also like this huge prison because I felt like I had to swim up to people’s standards.”

“I just kind of put a smile on my face and just pretended a lot of the time,” Beard said, adding, “I always felt like I didn’t want to be a role model because if people knew the real me or the things I was doing or going through, there’s no way they’d want their kid to be like me.”

Beard said: “I’d go back to this whole self-hating thing, where I had this record player repeating to me, ‘You’re stupid, you’re ugly, you’re fat, you’re nobody.’ You’re in so much emotional pain, and you don’t know how to express it.” ]

What are we actually looking for in life? Where does that internal peace, fulfillment and satisfaction come from? As we progress materially, we also must progress and cultivate values internally, or spiritually. Otherwise, we may up with everything we always wanted, but nothing we were really looking for.

For the complete article, visit

Are you ready for some cooking!?!?!?!?!?

Last Tuesday we kicked off our first Bhakti event of the year with our most-beloved Vegetarian Cooking Class. Pandit was at the healm, teaching us his favorite Tomato Spinach Eggplant subji with Chickpeas. Filled with a variety of colors, texture, flavors, protein and served along side spiced rice with carob-peanut-butter halava, this meal went over well with everyone. Check out the recipe below.

Recipe: Spinach, Tomato, Eggplant & Chickpea Stew

½ cups ghee or oil
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 hot green chilies minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp black mustard seeds
10 dried curry leaves
¼ tsp asafoetida pwdr
1 medium eggplant (½ in. cubes)
4 med. tomatoes ½ in. cu
1 pound spinach
1 tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp salt
2 cups chickpeas canned
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
(serves 6-8 persons/Prep. time 40 minutes)

1) Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy saucepan or large wok over moderate heat.
2) When the ghee is hot, add the ginger, chilies, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds.
3) When the mustard seeds crackle, add the curry leaves, asafoetida powder, & eggplant.
4) Stir fry the eggplant for 8 to 10 minutes or until the eggplant is a little softened.
5) Stir in the tomatoes, spinach, turmeric, & salt.
6) Partially cover and reduce the heat to moderately low. Cook until the eggplant is soft and the spinach is reduced in size, stirring when required.
7) Add the cooked chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the sugar and lemon juice now.
8) Remove from heat and serve hot.