Category Archives: pictures



Shawn Bird’s very excellent soup.

Also check out Leanne Cole’s photography here.

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Filed under Nature, pictures, poetry, Re-blogged

Some pictures, a story, some good other things to read

Pictures from my kids phone-photo blog (always click for full size- I do not skimp on size):








Pictures from the site that shall not be named:

[gt] Daisy



These are animated- if they don’t work automatically, click them to nudge them along:




[ani] nice catch

How I spent last weekend or….

The waiting room at Urgent Care
I was actually on my way to Best Buy to ask why the headset didn’t work, got there, noticed that my left foot was numb.
I knew my ankle was sprained, at least, and nobody seemed to think it to be a big deal. Especially given the bigger deal of the rip-roaring pain throughout my left leg that was caused by the ruptured disk that was squishing the nerve- But the ankle did look kind of dramatic. Although swelling had gone down over the past week (it was a week ago Saturday that I slipped on it), the bruising was spectacular. I personally have never seen anything like it. It has been blue-black from my ankle to the bottoms of my feet including my toes. So, given that the bruising was still awesome and the numbness was new, I thought it would be prudent to go to Urgent Care at Kaiser (in the Sunnyside complex).
The Urgent Care nurse who checked me in asked to see it, I showed it to her (sounds like a porn intro). She immediately had me go get X-rays and blood-work and I was shuffled through those places and put in the Urgent Care waiting room.
It would seem that the short phrases “waiting room” and “Urgent Care” were paired together for maximum contrast in the use and mis-use of the English language. You could probably do a whole – never mind, I digress…
I noticed that the group around me stayed pretty consistent. New people arrived here and there. A couple times someone’s name was called and they were taken back to what I decided was the “Exam Area” (I made up that phrase- I am easily entertained). I never saw anyone come back out of this Exam Area. After being in the waiting area for about 45 minutes a nice young lady came out of the hidden areas where people were sometimes taken (the ones who were never seen again, as far as I know) and she announced that there was currently about a 2 hour wait for getting in to see a doctor at “Urgent Care”.
She apologized, smiled and went back behind the closed doors.
I began to speculate about the true nature of this hidden dimension I had so innocently and glibly labeled as the Exam Area- maybe it was actually a place where the “disappeared” were being dissected and barbecued! (Had I eaten anything yet today? Were my thoughts being perverted by hunger?) I remember thinking there was some grease on the scrub-top worn by the announcer lady.
I closed my eyes to try and explore the smells around me- was there a faint odor of BBQ?
I was shaken from this macabre vision by something that at first seemed almost as unsettling. Sitting across from me and seeming to notice me only as I noticed him was Jess from the hospital- our volunteer coordinator. I hadn’t seen him arrive, it was as though he had materialized from thin air. He said that he had a cactus thorn embedded in his finger. There was no mark that I could see but he explained that it was buried deeply in the flesh of the finger, had no egress from it’s lodging and was causing him pain and distress. I have no reason to disbelieve him except that his story was so outlandish. What is he doing handling cacti?
Time passed. I kept myself entertained with a variety of “Twilight Zone”esque stories that could take place in the Urgent Care waiting room.
I eventually got to see the doctor. He very quickly ascertained that I would need to go back to X-ray because when I had come in they had not taken pictures of my ankle. They did have good shots of my toes but he was uninterested in those.
Hours later I was sent away with a big apparatus they referred to as a “boot”. The numbness was caused by the inflammation and blood from a slightly torn ligament and something else that he tried to draw a picture of. The nurse told him his drawing was poor and unrecognizable.
the end

Other more better stuff:

Death by Analysis (chapter 1)

‘Freedom is an Adventure Without End’ – Don Juan


“I am Chinese!”


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Filed under animated gif, animation, comedy relief, mp3, Mystic Poetry, Nature, personal story, pictures, Re-blogged, sound bite

Personal Health Update [TMI Warning]

Who would even guess that I’d be writing a health update?

About 2 weeks ago I was woken in the night by severe pain in my left calf. For a few nights I was routinely awake with pain in the night. It was at first very localized in a specific part of my calf muscle (seemingly). I couldn’t get in to see my Primary Care Physician. She prescribed some pain medication to take at night. The medication had no effect and the area affected was spreading, so I went to Urgent Care a couple days later. They did their best to rule out the most diabolical possible causes using ultra-sound and blood tests. Nothing serious seemed to be happening and at the time the pain was still mostly at night, with some residual pain in the morning that tended to be reduced quite a bit by evening only to erupt again with some intensity at about 2 am.

The Nurse Practioner that provided my service felt confident that blood clots and other vascular issues were not present. She prescribed stronger pain pills for night-time and added a mild muscle relaxer (cyclobenzeprine).

The following night the pain was very severe and encompassed most of my leg from thigh to ankle. The pain was also not reducing as much during the day and I was unable to dress my self without great difficulty and time. I was beginning to feel it in my buttocks. Sitting on the toilet was very painful. I was also becoming quite constipated from opiod use.

I went to the emergency department at Kaiser Sunnyside. They gave me stronger pain medication, Dilaudid, and Valium (as a muscle relaxer). They suggested that I take various laxative products.

Somewhere in here I had had another visit to Urgent Care. X-rays were taken, no relevant information gained. They ordered an MRI, of my hip, lower spine and pelvis, which I had the very next day at the hospital. Then I heard nothing back for a few days, no result information was provided. 

By this time I had seen 4 different medical practioners on 4 different visitors and had been unable to talk with or even correspond with my Primary Care Physician. I was grateful that I had an appointment within a couple days with my doctor at my usual clinic. The pain was quite severe and had taken over my life morning, day and night. During this time I also had my first major bowel movement since being on pain med- it was excruciating. It was not painful at the point of exit but my left buttock and thigh hurt so badly I was left on the floor of the bathroom crying. It was the worst physical pain I can remember ever having.

[A very special thanks goes out to my most excellent friend Candace, my own personal nurse, who helped me through this process and kept my spirits up.]

So, with cautious optimism, I went to my appointment with my doctor. Unfortunately, she was out sick and my appointment had been turned over to an apparently overworked and surly gentleman who provided very little information, as quickly as he could, re-filled my Dilaudid script and gave me an after-visit summary hat included no useful information about my condition. The important things I learned at that visit were that the MRI provided evidence of some multiple nerve problems associated with possible herniated disks in my lower spine and that I would be taking oral prednisone right away followed by steroid injections. Scheduling the injections required use of imaging equipment to insure proper administration of the steroids. I was not told of potential side effects of the injections but was assured that I would receive substantial pain relief.

Yesterday I wrote an email to my doctor wondering out-loud if anyone was actually in charge of my care or if it was actually as fragmented and un-coordinated as it appeared. I asked if I would soon be given a diagnosis, in writing, of what was happening to me and when I might be able to return to work or at least do ordinary things like go to the bathroom or put on my own clothing.  I was able to get her one the phone very soon later that day. She assured me that she was reviewing all the information, she apologized for being sick (she didn’t need to do that- I would have loved to get an apology from the surly and uninformative doctor who took her place). She also made an appointment with me for tomorrow- after my appointments with other specialists where I hope to get the promised relief.

[Now, I have what is considered in this country to be a “Cadillac Health Plan” of substantially higher quality than average and at a level the our new “Affordable Health Care” law will probably tax me for. I don’t mind that, really. If I am getting more than my fair share of the pie I am happy to pitch in if it means that more people, if not everyone, can get access to basic care.]

The pharmacist told me that the prednisone would have possibly drastic effects on my blood glucose levels which I would need to monitor very carefully. He also said that I could anticipate some mood irregularity and that it was important to follow the directions exactly, especially concerning the weaning off of the prednisone because of potentially serious side effects.

I look forward to tomorrow with “cautious optimism”. I learned this phrase from my very articulate and precisely spoken co-worker, Malcolm.

Completely unrelated:

Astronomers Discover New Kind of Supernova


Sesame Street – Martians yipyip


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Filed under personal story, pictures, silly, sound bite

How are things

I have a wing injury which has been difficult but little else in terms of trouble. I’ll show a picture later.

Work is alright. Its hard but not in a way that hurts my spirit. I’m not keeping up with many of my wellness goals from when I was off work. But I’m doing some of it and  making it okay.

Some things I just don’t want to talk about yet.

My head and heart are mostly in balance.  There have been hard things, as always, but I am mostly untroubled. My energy level is not what I would like but right now that’s because of the tendinitis in my shoulder. Today I got a cortisone shot.

We had such a wet June that frogs and their children are very happy. Even into July we still have lots of water in marginal habitat areas like ditches and seasonal marshlands. So, that’s good.

Someone, a patient, at work dies a few weeks ago and that was tough and a bit frustrating.

Here are some pictures I’ve found or taken:

parents divorce answered

Comic-con pamphlet

Transamerica spin

better add music- 

follow the money- I made this when GW was nominated, still current

That’s Annie, sleeping in the pot by the window.

01 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Carry On


look ma, no thumbs

all of the earth’s fresh water


Rumi- from here:

You are in love with me, I shall make you perplexed.
Do not build much, for I intend to have you in ruins. If you build two hundred houses in a manner that the bees do; I shall make you as homeless as a fly. If you are the mount Qaf in stability. I shall make you whirl like a millstone.

Now you’ve departed and gone to the Unseen-
On what strange ways you’ve gone from our world!
You shook your feathers and you broke the cage;
You flew away, far, to the soul’s own world.
You were a hawk, encaged by Mrs. World.
You heard the drum and flew to Where-no-place.
You were a nightingale among the owls-
The garden’s scent came; you went to the rose.
You suffered headache from these bitter dregs-
At last you went to the eternal tavern…
The rose flees from the autumn-daring rose
That you went on in the autumnal wind!
You fell like rain on the terrestrial roof,
Run here and there, escaping through the spout.
Be silent-there is no more pain of speaking:
You are protected by a loving friend!

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Filed under animated gif, cats, Music, pictures, poetry, Uncategorized

Last day before I return to work

I think I’m ready but I am a bit nervous. I’ve been off since 2/10/2012. Oregon State Hospital- here is a state propaganda page.

Some things have changed while I was gone. Everyone is now moved into the new hospital building. Even me. No more big comfortable, private office- I’m in a giant cube-farm. This will take some getting used to.

The word is that most patients find it to be much more prison-like. There is no real “outside”- yards are internal, surrounded by tall walls, space is limited more in some ways. There is no real space where people can congregate and talk. Dining is now in shifts of 30 minutes each, treatment groups happen in rooms attached to crowded narrow hallways.

Staff are also concerned about the new building and the whole new set of rules and restrictions that have emerged over the past 6 months

...but oh, so clean!!

Many staff there are excellent people. Most of them are having trouble working in the new environment. But the propaganda machine is telling everyone it’s great, so really what are people complaining about?

Recently a staff person died while restraining a patient. The death was your basic heart attack unrelated to the events, other than there was probably some physical exertion going on. The guy is someone who always looked like a walking coronary. He was 36  years old.

Peace out Matthew. Rest easy. You don’t need to come to work tomorrow. I do though.

my co-workers

Wish me luck. I will need all the good vibes I can muster.

Okay, lets do something different. Funny stuff or things that caught my eye. And a bit of music. We’ll start with music to make the whole segue thing more realistic. Lisa Germano singing “Destroy the Flower”.

This is cool- if you like this sort of thing-

the above is from my older son’s art/ pictures pages…

Below is important instructions from Goopy

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Filed under animated gif, animation, comedy relief, Music, pictures, silly

It’s Early

Willamette Valley


Coming into the end of April, amphibians have plenty of water. It hasn’t been the wettest of winters in NW Oregon but there is plenty of healthy habitat for now. Some egg laying was observed in early April (some in March as well but there was a couple killing frosts, even snow, in March).

Lots of peeping, croaking all around the town- wherever there is a seasonal or year-round wetland. Froggies lookin’ for love.

It’s still too early to tell how the marginal habitats will fare. More frogs will be coming.

Don’t tease the frog

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Filed under Frogs, Nature, pictures

Easter is over

the internet


Music for today, Kirtana, Who You Really Are

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Filed under animation, Music, pictures

April 5th, 2012

19 years ago she died today

miss her so much
she broke my heart
they’ve made it real difficult to get to the spot where her ashes are buried,
still managed

click if it doesn’t animate- it

‘s a big file

play this song if you want

lawn full of marigolds by Joshua James


Filed under animated gif, Family pictures, Music, personal story, pictures

Mostly funny business, ani-gifs


Just so you know.

click the next one if it doesn’t animate

go to goopymart!

zero-point energy solved!

Sound- Ben Folds, Jesusland:

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Filed under animated gif, animation, cats, comedy relief, Music, pictures

Mostly Prahlad Chandra Brahmacharya, no funny business

This is a large picture- click for full size

This widely recognized spiritual master lived from 1902 to 1982. As is the case with some extraordinary yogis, Prahlad Chandra was never a disciple of any earthly/ external master or guru. [Several others who fit in this category are described on other pages/ posts on this blog, especially on the “This Here” tab above.] An interesting thing about  PCB is that he received all of his instructions in yoga from the goddess Kali in dreams and trances. There is a website devoted to his life and teachings here.

The following biography comes from Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls:
Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal 

J. McDaniel, (Oxford University Press, 2004)

Prahlad Chandra Brahmachari was a renunciant devotee of the goddess Kali, who was subject to trance states and visions throughout his life. He spent his later years as a Kali priest in Ramnathpur, West Bengal, having large goddess worship celebrations which attracted thousands of visitors.

He was born into a poor Brahman family in Orissa, somewhere between 1900 and 1910 (the date is uncertain). He was one of five brothers, none of whom ever attended school. His father would spend time in meditation, and sing to Rama. The family lived on land which could grow rice only for four or five months during the year, and the rest of the year was a time of semi-starvation for the family. Occasionally his father might act as a priest, and receive a small amount of money. The children had rickets and malnutrition, subsisting during the lean months on one meal a day of bread made from grass roots.

One day, Prahlad stole some green mangos from a neighbor’s tree, and brought them to his mother as food for the family. When his father found out later, he was furious, and started hitting the child with an axe. Prahlad ran away bleeding, covering the wounds with grass.

He ran off into the woods, and travelled at random until he passed out from weakness. He awoke to see a sannyasi (monk) before him, smiling and compassionate. The sannyasi gave him some flat bread to eat, and touched his wounds with a log of wood. After that touch, the pain disappeared. Prahlad kept that log with him throughout his life. Then the sannyasi searched for a kind of leaf with a tough stem, and grabbed Prahlad’s tongue and wrote lines on it with the leaf. He etched the lines so hard that Prahlad’s tongue bled, and his “senses were lost,” as Prahlad went into a state of trance.

He regained consciousness at sunrise, and the sannyasi was gone. He could only see the remnants of a ritual fire (dhuni) and some coins. He considered his survival of his father’s beating to be a new chance at life. He rode the train in rags to Howrah station, and lived in Calcutta on the banks of the Ganges for several years, sleeping on burlap sacks. He survived in a variety of ways, first by begging, and then by acting as a wandering Kali priest with a picture of the goddess hung around his neck. He would visit shopkeepers and bless them with the goddess’ image, and they would give him a few pennies.

Sometimes he would work as a servant, a dishwasher, or a sweeper, ignoring the caste of the people for whom he worked. He was unhappy at these jobs, but at night he received instructions on yoga in his dreams from the goddess Kali.

During the day, he would contemplate these dreams and fall into trance states. This made him a poor worker, and he was often condemned by his employers. However, he did save some money, and decided to visit his parents after a gap of several years. His youngest brother had died, and his father took the money to renovate the family worship room. He continued to have visits from the goddess in his dreams, and she gave him instructions in meditation and hatha yoga. She told him to leave the household again, and he did so.

He returned to Calcutta, and first took a job as a servant, and then as a wandering priest. The goddess continued her yogic dream instructions, and he perfected his yoga postures, staying in one position for the whole night. Accompanying these practices were states of bliss. He had kept the sannyasi’s log of wood, and the goddess told him in a dream command to chew it. He would scrape off small pieces of the log to chew, and he would start having visions. He could hear verses from the sacred books of India, and see pages written in gold letters. When a person stood before him, Prahlad could “read his heart,” and know the person’s innermost secrets. He gained an ability to tell the future, and took up a new career as an astrologer. While people had looked down upon him previously for being ignorant, now they would call him anxiously to tell their futures, and his predictions were generally accurate.

He continued his nightly yogic exercises, seeing himself as a tool in the goddess’ hands. He continued chewing splinters from the log, and he lost track of time, with “tidal waves” of Sanskrit coming out of his mouth without forethought, in the form of hymns from the Hindu holy books (Vedas and Puranas). He would see visions of light before him, and lose track of his surroundings.

At the age of twenty-four years he attended a funeral ceremony (shraddha) in Hooghly district, where his abilities to predict the future made him a valued guest. His hosts insisted that he continue his visit. He did a large number of predictions, and many people with diseases and legal problems came to speak with him. He underwent mood swings and would often enter into depressions, but he felt that he was following Kali’s will. He acted briefly as priest in a small Kali temple nearby, but upset the villagers there by offering the goddess cooked food. They came en masse to threaten his host, and Prahlad was forced out of the house in which he was staying.

He wandered out and eventually sat beneath a large tamarind tree, in an open space with bushes and thorns. The goddess came to him in a vision, and told him that he should not spend his life with householders, but should create his own space. She said that he would have the barren land on which he sat. The next day, the owner of that land gave him permission to build a small ashram there, and he determined to settle there in Ramnathpur. He spent the next four years in meditation, often at a nearby burning ground. He found it frightening, but went there because it was the Mother’s command.

When he had extra money, he mailed it to his parents, and they sent back a demand: Prahlad must marry. His father had chosen a girl, and told his son to marry her. Prahlad returned to Orissa to argue with them, but they were unwilling to listen to him. He went into a single yogic position (asana) and trance state for four days and nights, and returned to normal consciousness with indifference towards his potential bride and his family. He explained again his unwillingness to marry, and his view of all women as only embodiments of the Divine Mother. He then left the house silently, and disappeared off into the woods. He took a formal vow of renunciation, and put on the clothes of a sannyasi.

He returned to Ramnathpur, and again started doing yogic practice at night. During the day, he would do ritual worship for the villagers and foretell the future. Every new moon, he worshiped the goddess at the burning ground. On one new moon in February, the villagers insisted upon following Prahlad to witness his ritual offering to Ratanty Kali. About fifteen people came, bearing lights and long sticks (lathis). Prahlad took a sharp knife and cut his arm, to offer his blood at the Mother’s feet. The wind whistled, and a storm came up, blowing out the lights and frightening the villagers so that they ran away. Outside the burning ghat the weather was quiet, and the villagers then returned. They found the altar blown over, and Prahlad unconscious and lying in a pit. They sprinkled his face with Ganges water to awaken him. During the storm he had had a vision of the goddess as infinite light, and he had been absorbed into the Mother’s spirit.

About three years after his sudden exit from the wedding, another message came from his parents: Prahlad must return, because his father was dying. He went to his parent’s house, and fulfilled his father’s last wishes, and he gained his father’s blessings. Among other requests, his father told him that he must not neglect the worship of the family deity Rama, even if Kali was his special goddess. After his father’s death, Prahlad was grief-stricken, and roamed through South India as a beggar for a month. He then returned to Ramnathpur.

When he came back to the village, two men asked for initiation from him as their guru. He also became the guru for their families. He then initiated many other people. When he entered a house, the villagers would offer him fruits and sweets, and wash his feet. However, the villagers would go through periods of doubt, and once they condemned Prahlad as a false monk, saying that they would only believe him if he could stay in his room without food or water for seven days. He went into the dark room, and knelt down before the statue of Kali, who filled the room with light. She came in visionary form and took Prahlad onto her lap, and he felt that their souls merged for seven days. He did not eat, drink, or leave the room during that week, until the trance ended at the appropriate time. It was his last trial by the villagers at Ramnathpur.

He had a variety of places where he would meditate. Often he would spend time in contemplation within a hollowed-out tree. He also had a meditation hut on a raised area between some rice and pan fields. Buried under the floor of this hut were five skulls, and he would sit over these skulls. The room also had a trident and an omkar (Sanskrit letter OM) painted on the wall. Later there were pictures of deities, and stick figures on the wall, and a large altar with a picture of a blue Kali. He warned others that this room had great power, and that it would be dangerous for others to live there. Apparently one person stayed in this hut while Prahlad was on a pilgrimage, and this visitor died after a few days there of snakebite. It is still said that the goddess Kali speaks to people who enter the hut.

Prahlad called himself a kite in the hands of Kali, which she keeps whirling. She is infinite light, showing herself as a candle, or as the soothing morning sun, or the violent and scorching sun at noon. He followed her will in practicing yoga and meditation at Ramnathpur ashram for over fifty years. He would offer Kali blood on new-moon night, when he would slit his wrists, and his disciples would hear him moan and gasp. He was often asked for boons by his disciples, especially for healing and for children, and for predicting the future. He had a coconut marked with red sindur powder and a long tongue, which he called Old Mother or Ancestress (Budi Ma). He performed rituals to Old Mother each day, when he chanted mantras and did his ritual fire sacrifice. When visitors would ask him to do things for them, he would ask Old Mother’s opinion. He would put a flower on top of the coconut, and if it remained there, he would agree to the request. If it fell, he would not accede to the request.

Prahlad gained disciples outside of West Bengal in his later life, including ones from the USA. In India he had a core group of about forty disciples, though he initiated large numbers of people (he looked for various physical signs, such as a sharply pointed tongue, which was the sign of a Kali devotee). Some Western disciples came to India and brought him to Brooklyn on several occasions. He would fall into trance states frequently there, becoming the child Krishna, the goddess, and the warrior Arjuna (among other roles), and he would perform fire sacrifices (homa fires) and pujas (ritual worship). He knew no English, and refused to touch money, living the life of a renunciant Kali priest as well as he could in a New York brownstone building.

He spoke to his Bengali devotees about prayer to the Mother:

This is a very large picture- click for full size

You must always pray to the Mother. It is Mother who takes you on her lap. She is my god, Mahamaya, the great Kundalini Shakti. You have to wake Her first, and pray to Her first. That is why our worship of the Mother must come first. Because who is he who is my Father? Only the Mother knows. She will take me to him in her arms. If you can wake up Mahamaya, that great power in the sushumna, in the thousand petalled lotus, then you will drink nectar.. this is why I perform the Homa fire before her… Mother is the provider; without the mother, there is no father. When the Mother takes me in her lap, she will merge me with brahman. Mother knows my father’s name, and my caste, and she knows the path to infinity. Without Mother, one cannot find that impossible path.

The goddess is reflected in human women, and also in statues:

You must first pray to the outer mother, only then can you gain the Mother within. It is like seeing your face in mirror. You must see the outer image, so that you can know what you look like… Ma is in many places. Once when I was defecating, I was digging with a stick, and a small statue appeared. The goddess within it spoke to me, and she said, “I am Anandamayi.” I took it back and cleaned it very well, and it shone like gold. Some robbers saw it and thought it was real gold, and they took it away. I began to cry, and the Mother came and said to me, “Let the statue go. Have no fear. They have only taken my outer form. The statue which is established inside you is still there, the robbers have not been able to take it.”

According to his disciples and to people who knew him, he had a variety of psychic powers, especially the abilities to induce visions and to communicate at a distance. As one informant stated:

When Baba (Prahlad) was doing his homa fire, I saw a vision of the goddess, Ma Kali. She was dancing in a river of blood, like a waterfall, but she was beautiful and laughing. She had blue skin and six arms, with weapons and other things in her hands. She laughed with bliss.

His devotees spoke of his having a “cosmic telephone.” He would put his finger on the ground, as if pressing a button, and say that he was in touch with someone at a distance. He was said to be particularly adept at entering the dreams of his devotees. As an American informant stated,

click for full size

I once had a dream of Baba before I met him, in which I was playing a guitar and singing spiritual songs. He appeared in a loincloth, dancing with one arm up in the air, his legs moving rapidly, stomping to the rhythm of the song. Suddenly, the scene changed, and he was staring at me, six inches from my face, his eyes focused intently on me. A strange power radiated from his eyes. I felt myself expand inwardly, and my heart was full of a bliss that spread through my body. Later I learned that one of his devotees had given him a picture of me. When I met him months later, as soon as I walked into the room his translator told me that Baba wanted to know if I remembered him, that he had visited me. He did not say this to any of the other thirty people in the room. I think he had used the picture as a means of contacting me.

I saw that same look when he gave one of his visitors in New York City darshan. He sat the person down and stared intensely at her for a period of minutes. She later said she had a profound spiritual experience during this period.

Many of his talks are recorded and available online. Here is a sample:

Guru : Keep a diary. Whether you feel happy or sad, write it down. Write about whatever comes into your mind. I told everyone about keeping a diary.Always work and follow your routine. Go to school, college, work, keeping your regular schedule. Don’t avoid your duty. Keep the diary and always write down whatever you are doing. Write about whether you have followed your routine. If your mind is “right,” or your mind is “poison,” write it down. Write about whether you have kept in the company of your satsang.

Premananda (translating): Record how your mind was each day.

Guru: When you speak or think spiritual things, write it down: “I experienced ananda in meditation,” or “Today I couldn’t do that much meditation.” If you see jyoti (light) in meditation, write it down.

Someone asks Guru if he wants to take a walk.

Guru: Where will I walk?

Premamayi: Outside!

A child runs by, playing. Guru says, “That boy has wings.” Guru mentions that at Ramanathpur Ananda Ashram many people come on Saturday and Tuesday. He then begins to talk about Kanta Devi’s initiation, that she approached him and said, “I did not take initiation from anybody. You give it to me.” Shortly Guru turns the subject back to Gita, and to the photograph of Guru Premananda gave to her.

Guru (to Premananda): Did you get a bribe from Gita, that you gave her such a big picture? (to Gita) If someone wants to have your Guru’s photo, and they will give that picture the proper respect, then you give it to them. Otherwise, don’t.

Premananda: Only give Guru’s photo to someone who really wants it. Don’t push it.

Guru: Why do you take a Guru? Give him everything to carry.

A young male student begins a conversation about the Guru, and about spiritual practices.

Student: I see all these teachers — Swami Chitananda, Sushil Kumar, and others, but I want to know: Who is the Guru? Who is the Teacher?

Guru: Divine sound or nada. Hold onto the sound.

Student: How do you find the sound?

Guru: Meditation. How do you see a sound, find a sound? A baby is growing in its mother’s womb — how can you see it until it’s born? I don’t want to be a Guru. If I want to be a Guru I will not tell you that myself: “I want to be your Guru.” Slowly everything will come. Can you buy Guru in the marketplace? If you pay with a diamond, can you get Guru?

Student: I want to ask about pranayama (yogic breathing). Should I do it, or is it better not to do it?

Guru: If you do it, do a little bit. Do it slowly. (Guru begins demonstrating alternate nostril breathing). One, five, zero, zero. “One” is God; the body is “Five” (for the five senses and five elements in Hindu cosmology — Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether), and “Zero-Zero” (indicates the two nostrils). The breath becomes still. You must sit properly, with your body straight. You can see light. If you really pursue pranayam seriously, you must observe Brahmacharya (celibacy).

Sanat (translating): He is advising you to do ordinary yoga. If you do this for a long time, passions will be conquered, and you can reach the state that holy person reach. Householders cannot do as saints do. They have to pay the rent, feed the children. It is not possible for them to do rigid sadhana. But they desire Brahma-darshan, vision of God. How to get it? Slowly, by doing normal yoga practices, you attain this.

Guru: I started to do yoga at the age of seven, and I became like this after all those years. It is the same for you … slowly, slowly, you get bhava samadhi, prema samadhi, maha samadhi. Right!

Guru then recounted an incident that occurred while he was performing the fire ceremony in Athena’s yard. He began the story by saying “Brahmamayi!…brain …” Sanat translated.

Sanat: He said that after concentration and meditation, a time will come when you will experience a state of stillness, where you forget everything. For example, He was citing what happened the other day with Mrs. Hart. Baba was sitting in the room where he used to worship and make the fire ceremony. In the moment when the fire ceremony was on, he called for Param Brahmamayi and Brahmamayi. Both were sitting side by side, and while he was doing that ceremony, Brahmamayi went into samadhi. She forgot everything. She doesn’t go through pranayam or all those things. As she simple meditates in that position, so he advises you to do yoga in an ordinary way. Not a difficult way, like yogis will do.

Sanat then moves the conversation into a discussion on the rigors of a yogi’s life, noting “They do not take salt. It is a sin for them to take salt.” As Sanat continues in this vein Guru says “Om, Om, Om, ah ma. Shanti.”

Student: How do you (break) the Brahma Granthi, Vishnu Granthi, Shiva Granthi (the obstructions to kundalini at the various chakras).

Guru: You must go slowly on these things … when it happens, you will know. First: repeat your mantra. After that, the light comes. Third: divine sound. The first is mantra, dhyan (meditation) on Guru’s form; then you will be shown the light. After that light comes nada, sound. Finished. Then you don’t need mantra anymore.

“Om,” no. “Hare Krishna,” no.

This is a talk given by PCB on the birthday of Sri Ramakrishna [there is much much more info about Ramakrishna elsewhere on this site]:

Om welcome, Om welcome, Om welcome!

Today is the birthday of Sri Ramakrishna. It is a great holy day. Here at Ananda Ashram are a number of devotees, and Premananda, Yogananda, Nityananda.

Today it is fitting to remember Sri Ramakrishna, to worship him. His “immortal words” (Kathamrita) are a very great thing. Sri Ramakrishna! Sri Ramakrishna! Sri Ramakrishna! Priceless jewel! You can’t put any price on it. There is no limit to its greatness.

This great man of ours, Yuga Avatar Ramakrishna, has given immortal nectar by his darshan. Drinking that immortal nectar, the universe—I’m not saying only India but Amer ica, London, Russia, Germany, Japan, Poland, Hawaii, and all there other countries—everyone is swimming in that nectar. Some have dived into it, some have drunk of it, and others see Ramakrishna all the time. Thus their lives are blessed.

Today is a great day, the greatest day. All these days are going by, day after day is passing by, yet who really has peace of mind? That which is called Brahma, or consciousness, or Prem.

Prem Kalpataru Sri Ramakrishna!
Prem Kalpataru Sri Ramakrishna!
Jagat Guru Sri Ramakrishna!

Ramakrishna, how worthy was his life! Even now he is still with us, he is walking around, he is deathless. It seems to the eyes of ordinary people that Ramakrishna Parama hansa has given up his body. But no, this is “maya” talk. Truly he is still alive.

Why? As when the light shines, the darkness is removed, so by the light of his compassionate grace, his immortal nec tar-like message, the words of truth, by all these things millions of people have become madly intoxicated. Sri Ramakrishna, throughout his whole life, in what a beautiful way he spent his life! Again and again he used to laugh and say: “I am but a fool. I am a fool!”

Swamiji’s original name was Naren. How many times Naren tested him! How many times he hurt him. And yet if Naren didn’t come Thakur would worry and suffer. In the same way that this American, Premananda, is testing me, or will test. Truly this has been his work. Until one takes the gold in one’s own hands, to look at and see whether it is actually real or not, until then one cannot make use of it. So someone says it is “gold,” does that make it real! Ah! But when it is given to a goldsmith …

Then one day Ramakrishna said laughing to Sri Ma, “Oh Ma, you have been wanting to wear a golden tulsi leaf bangle, haven’t you?” The gold was called “bangle.” Then again, when it is made into an earring, it is not called “gold,” it is called “earring.” And again, it is a necklace or a bracelet for the hand—truly, from gold a lot of different names are born.

It is true that he was born in India, but he has taken birth all over the whole world. Why? Because everyone loves him so much. It can be seen that in an ordinary household a father loves his son. He also loves his mother, and all his children as well. And yet as we are seeing right now, does he not love Ramakrishna as well? In this whole world, people who have not drunk of Ramakrishna’s name are very rare.

“Whole Area.” So I am unlearned. I am also that kind of really unlearned fool.

Today in Ramanathpur Ananda Ashram, in front of all the Ramanathpur devotees, I pranam that great man, that Yuga Ava tar Ramakrishna a thousand times. This compassionate one, truly worthy to be remembered, this great man Sri Sri Ramak rishna, to him I bow down.

You know, I have no power to give a speech. I am com pletely ignorant. I haven’t studied any shastras. I can’t speak any languages very well. Just by feeling this little bit, by his blessing, this bit ..

On this day, the first day of our Chaitra month, today I bow down to Ramakrishna, most venerable Lord, guru of the world. Oh great one! Man-filled-with-light! Hey Paramahansa! Hey knower of Brahman, hey wish-fulfilling tree, oh light filled moon: remove this darkness from the “whole area.” He has, in his own body, given everything away.

And sometimes he used to say to Mathur Babu, “I am so very poor, very destitute, give me a little bit, I want to help the very, very poor” Ah-ha! He used to give them the very clothes off his own body! If he saw a need, from his own body he used to give. Rich devotees would give him shawls, good blankets, very good things, and right away he would help the poor in their need.

Swamiji also said, “Where is our God? Where is the Lord? In men’s hearts! Those who love mankind, it is they who truly love God.” Sheva-dharma. Service is true religion. Today in America, people from house to house, taking Sri Sri Ramak rishna’s picture, or Swamiji’s picture to their breast, have become intoxicated. It is a true saying that under the lan tern there is darkness. The light is revealed at a distance. We live, no doubt, right near the Ganges, but we hardly ever take a bath in it. This is caused by our ignorance.

So he is the Wish Fulfilling Tree. From age to age he is here and will remain. Ordinary men give up their bodies and die, but he was not an ordinary man. He was high. His every single word was immortal. Just as if one drinks “Amrita,” one becomes deathless, so those who have drunk his immortal words, they also become deathless, they are alive.

So I have spoken this unlearned speech, but one must feel it within. His message was “Tyag-Dharma,” the religion of renunciation. Tyag-Dharma is our one and only means. Prem.

He said to Naren, “Naren! why don’t you sing a song? I want to hear one.”

Naren said, “Oh! You have a great fancy! You always want to hear songs, don’t you? My stomach is on fire, I am whipped by sorrow, I have become so oppressed, and still I have to sing a song for you?”

“Oh?” said Thakur. “You have become sad? You are in need? Why don’t you go to Ma? Bishwajanani, Ma Jagadhama, go to Bhavatarini and tell her. Your sorrow will be removed.”

Swamiji answered, “You go and tell her on my behalf.”

“Naren, Naren, you go and tell her, Bhavatarini, she who ferries us across this world of illusion. Go now, go once and tell her.”

Swamiji, obedient to Thakur’s order, went to the temple of Bhavatarini. But he forgot about his terrible poverty. He only asked Her: “Ma! Give me love, give me devotion, give me pure knowledge. May the whole world be blessed. May the whole world be at peace.” Ah! What a beautiful feeling!

When he came back, Thakur asked him, “Well Naren, what did you get from Mother?” “Oh Thakur! I forgot! I forgot about the sorrow at home!” “Okay,” said Thakur, “you go again tomorrow.”

Day by day, three days later Swamiji said, “Thakur, it’s no use. It won’t work by me. I couldn’t want my own happiness any more. This whole world is crying at the whiplashings of poverty. For that I am praying to Bhavatarini.”

On this, Ramakrishna’s birthday, I have spoken this very little bit. But I am a fool. I don’t know how to give speeches. Yet I spoke anyway, to Premananda, Yogananda, and Nityananda, three boys.

Sivaratri day was Premananda’s initiation day, the day he had gotten diksha. For a month, in great suffering, much sor row, by many paths, through many obstacles they have come here. On Sivaratri day. Our Sivaratri is a very great night. Wakeful. So they arrived. Mother’s grace is like this. I saw the serious illness of the tree. “Diarrhoea.” Vomiting blood! What hardship! This is called Prem. “Guru-God, God-Guru!” To get the darshan of guru. It said in Premananda’s letter: “I don’t have much money. We will go by land, by train, by bus.” This great weariness, by so many paths, so many steps, coming by walking, not getting food, no time for getting rest, in this way they have come.

For this reason today I pray to Sri Ramakrishna, Wish Fulfilling Tree, Sri Sri Ramakrishna, “Hey Kalpataru! Hey Yuga Avatar! Thakur! Hey Gem of Love! Please, sitting right within them, grant them Light.”

He has already done something. If he hadn’t, would this feeling have dawned in them? They are young boys. Where is any entertainment, where is any cinema, where will they get any luxury or enjoyments here? Everything is given up. Ah! What religion, what high feeling. See what great renuncia tion! What tired paths, what suffering they got. This is religion. And where is ours? Surrendering the mind and body — this is religion.

Enough. Today I have finished here. For the peace and benefit of the whole universe, the whole area, whole Asia, whole world, for that, bowing down to Sri Ramakrishna thousands of times, I end my speech.

The above is a really big new picture of the globular cluster Messier 92 also known as M92 or NGC6341. Click it for full size. This is a segue to things unrelated to Prahlad Chandra, although it is a wonderful expression of how the universe is providing instruction all the time, in every way, simply by being itself.

Below: Pictures I like that have turned up recently. As always, click for full size. I wouldn’t want you to miss a thing. Also, sometimes they don’t animate, if they are animations, unless you click. Depends on your browser, I think.

Maybe they are old-hat to you but they came as new to me.

The above is a new lunar snapshot released by NASA this week.

picture taken by a *friend*

huge- Io- from Cassini

This one sums it up-

Today’s musical offering, by Innocence Mission, the Prayer of St. Francis:

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