a blade of grass

… he told me that perfection could be learned from nature. be more humble than a blade of grass; more tolerant than a tree. give respect to others freely, without expectation or motive. in such a state of mind, stripped bare of your false pretenses, call out to your Lord eternally.

i’m still working on it …


the Italian Job

10th August, 2007
Administrative Office, Villa Vrindavan (outside of Florence, Italy)

Being on a spiritual path is supposed to make you more attuned to what a Higher Intelligence is trying to communicate to you. Yogis can pick up on the subtlest of messages; they can read the signs and sense the shift in cosmic winds. So, after almost 17 years of chanting Hare Krishna, one might think that I'd gained some level of proficiency in this art. No such luck. Apparently, I need to be hit with a ton of bricks -- each one spray painted with the answer on it -- before I get a clue.

And a ton of Italian bricks is pretty much what I got hit with when it came to blogging. The message: don't try.

The omens began early. The internet connection was slow and painful at Prabhupada Desh, and every time I'd sit to type, my laptop would start to freak out. Blogger took "when in Rome, do as the Romans do" a bit too seriously and decided that it would only speak to me in Italian. The spell check disabled itself. Spacing and formatting took an ugly turn. I started falling behind in my jotting down notes.

The signs grew more and more ominous. I sat dutifully at the keyboard, determined to post; each time mosquitoes took the opportunity to ravage and pillage any exposed part of my body.

By the time we reached Vicenza, all I could do was get online long enough to promise more backposts and upload a picture of a pizza flipping Italian stereotype.

In Venice, our fine hotel offered us access to the world wide web... as long as we paid them handsomely in Euros (which for Americans, considering the exchange rate, is practically like asking someone to give over her first born child).

And here at Villa Vrindavan, pure love of God is more readily attainable than a steady internet connection. Meanwhile, the mosquitoes here are so big that I think the last one I swatted away was wearing size 10 Nikes, and the prospect of meeting Machiavelli's disembodied spirit on the way back to my room is not exactly comforting.

But it gets better: in Venice we mysteriously lost our camera case (thankfully we still have the camera).. which means we lost our upload USB cable, so no posting any of our pix.

And then there's this: also in Venice, when I went for a swim, I forgot to take the brand new 2 gig flash drive I bought from America out of my pocket. (Helpful hint: if you ever wanted to know what happens when you put a flash drive under water, don't).

Of course, the biggest sign of all: even before we exited the plane, my better half pleaded with me to relax and not to worry about blogging. This being our first true vacation in a while, I am starting to realize that she may have had a point there.

As one of the great songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas goes: "You gotta know when to hold em, and know when to fold em." I think it's time to fold.

Still, here I am... its almost 12:30 am (if I get to sleep tonight, in three hours, I will wake up) and me and the mosquitoes are at it again. Tomorrow we (me, Krsangi, and the mosquitoes) leave for Rome. And from there, back to the States.

So here is the deal: if the stars allow, I may just post something in Rome. Maybe some highlights of the trip so far (which incidentally, has been simply incredible) or bullet points on how we've been spending our days. Otherwise, I'll see you back home.