Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ash Ram

Couple things about me:

1. I live across the street from an ashram.
2. I have more than one friend who worries about the end of the world.
3. Sometimes, people call me Ash.
4. I miss my friend Emily. Occasionally, she'll text me or email me to say, "I love Ram."
5. The other day, someone told me they wanted to write a book and I asked them why. I assured them it was a good idea but insisted they have a reason why.
6. Yesterday, somebody asked me why I write this blog. In that moment, I couldn't remember. Snap.

Ram is a nickname for the seventh incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu, Rama. Rama is beloved by many around the world because of his perfect adherence to dharma, despite all of his life's challenges. He played fair even when everyone else around him was breaking the rules. I've never been good at talking about Hindu deities because I feel like there's so much to say and I never know where to start, or, mostly, where to end. I think my friend Emily might love him because he is a human and not a god but a very virtuous human, which can be hard to find. My The Little Book of Hindu Deities says, "Rama's legacy as the ideal man, husband, and king is an inspiration to millions of Indians everyday."

I go to the ashram across the street when I can. They have a quote up on the wall I like to read from the Ramayana, the epic tale of Ram: "In the first age of the world men crossed the ocean of existence by their spirit alone. In the second age, sacrifice and ritual began and then Rama lived, and by giving their every act to him, men lived well their ways. Now in our age, what is there but to worship Rama's feet? But my friend, the last age of this world, the Kali Yuga, shall be the best. For then, no act has any worth, all is useless...except only to say Rama. The future will read this. Therefore I tell them, when all is ruin around you, just say Rama." Many experts on this sort of thing say that we're in the Kali Yuga now. It comforts me for my friends who worry about the end of the world to know that practice is the one thing that can comfort "when all is ruin around you." The Ramayana is saying, "say Rama," when the shit hits the fan, or see God in everyone and everything.

It has been my practice for years now to remember my spirit when its easier to just remember my ego. I am grateful to my friend who asked me yesterday why with the tipsandtricks. Now I remember. The commitment I've made to tipsandtricks keeps me honest with that practice. As my main man Rumi says, "there are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground." This is my way on Tuesday and Thursday.

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