Sunday Service: Malaysian Mother


Week of Dec 15 – Dec 21, 2013

by Peter Kowalke

There I sat, from my window in a tiny village, watching a couple dozen Malaysians of Indian descent climb aboard vans.

One of the passengers was my Malaysian mother. I scanned the group looking for her. She was short, maybe five feet tall, with curly hair parted in the middle and a naturally intense expression that mostly came from her eyes. When I located her, my eyes followed her around as she waited for others to board. I watched everyone a little wistfully—the Malaysian aunties, the friendly uncle with the wolfman ear hair, my Malaysian father—but especially my Malaysian mother. That’s what sons do.

We met at Belur Math the first night their group arrived in town. I sat next to her and my Malaysian father during dinner, and at first Mother’s intense gaze scared me off a bit. But we began talking, and she was warm. I adore Malaysia, having fallen in love with it during a visit last year, so we bonded over her homeland and our shared faith. It felt like her son had come to sit with her, she later told me.

I felt the same, and others in the group picked up on it. The friendly uncle would make sure I sat next to my Malaysian parents. Aunties would ask, “Where’s your mom?,” or point her out to me. Everybody was in on the adoption. I welcomed it, feeling the relationship too. Aware that kinship is a state of mind, I probably felt it strongest.

But now the group was leaving, my Malaysian mother included.

(read more)


Jnana-YogaBook of the Month


by Swami Vivekananda

Jnana-Yoga, the Path of Knowledge, describes the essence of Vedanta philosophy – the wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita in a modern scientific manner. Jnana-Yoga, along with Swami Vivekananda’s Karma-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga, are considered classics and outstanding treatises on Hindu philosophy. The Swami’s deep spiritual insight, fervid eloquence, and broad human sympathy shine forth in these works and offer inspiration to all spiritual seekers.

(download the book for free)

Other books we recommend can be found in our Books section. We also recommend audio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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