The Aims and Objectives were impressive to read--such foresight and intelligence, and compassion for the sangha. Steering clear of cults of personality and sect and of political ideology-- very good ideas!
Jai Mā! I LOVE Kamalakanta Ji's wisdom regarding appropriate feet behavior. I'm in awe of the beautiful reverence Indian and Hindu culture have for the Sacred... and how sacred so much of what we consider mundane really is. There's a trend in the Western "Bhakti scene" to have live kirtan during an asana class. I've enjoyed these classes in the past, myself. One line in the article reads: "It is considered disrespectful (and quite vane) to engage in yoga asana stretches while in a temple or during a kirtan or meditation." I play pre-recorded kirtan during the asana classes I teach. Is this also considered disrespectful? Also, can anyone elaborate on this a bit? Not because I'm trying to be argumentative, I'd just like to have a more thorough understanding both as a devotee and asana instructor (who also leads kirtan on occasion). Thank you!
Rev. Kamalakanta’s “Mind Your Feet” reminded me of something that happened to me years ago regarding the whole foot etiquette issue :) An important teacher for me in my early Śakta days was Andrew Harvey, an Anglo-Indian Christian devotee of the Divine Mother. Andrew launched my long, troubled reconciliation with Christianity and, just as importantly, during a period when I was reading thousands of pages of Upanishads, Sahasranamas, and saints’ lives, he stood out because he was like me: a highly sexed, academically-trained Westerner who knew the intellectual game inside out but whose heart was aflame for God. I thought of him as a spiritual big brother. When I got a chance to attend a weekend retreat with Andrew and 7 or 8 other people, I was so excited. The topic of the weekend was, of course, the Divine Mother and more specifically how to build your daily life around Her, l ive with Her as you would a friend or lover. Andrew was not one of your “I sit up here, you sit down there” teachers, so for satsang we all sat on the floor. Somewhere in my vast reading, I’d come across that “never point your feet at God or the Guru” thing, and I was determined not to point mine at Andrew. He must have figured this out, because he always seemed to end up right where one or both of my feet were pointing. And when I moved, he moved. He’d shift himself with a playful smirk, and I’d nervously shift myself back into a Spiritually Correct posture. Soon, he’d move again and the dance would continue. Finally I got it: just listen. Join the rest of us. Be Here Now. Note: none of this is to imply that Rev. Kamalakanta is “wrong.” I’d almost rather be shot than point my feet at Shree Maa or Swami Bhajanananda or any Guru. But—in Hinduism, context is so important, and like any good teacher, Andrew knew what I needed right then, in that situation.