Om Satyam Shivam Sundaram

by Mark Chmiel

If you’ve ever …

put your faith in a guru
traveled to India and were blown away and never took a single drug
recited a mantram throughout the day
memorized part of  chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita
had a mid-Seventies practice of TM
acknowledged 1970 seed planted from radio frequent blessing of My Sweet Lord
engaged in a conversations where such words as Atman, samadhi, and sattva were common
quoted often one of your Gujarati-American students who told her classmates, “I look at you and see God”
went off-script after having read Be Here Now
smiled with a Namaste and palms together several hundred times
underwent 190+ hours for Yoga Teacher Training
learned how to play the sitar
intuited that the Katha Upanishad had a special message for you
wished you spoke Gujarati, Hindi or Bengali like your parents
challenged yourself by attempting ekāgratā while driving the car
heard one of your pre-med students say that her life dream was really singing and dancing in classical Indian style
gave friends Library of America edition of Whitman’s Poetry and Prose
felt goosebumps even at the 57th listening to Krishna Das’s Ma Durga
said at least ten times, various social situations: “I’m spiritual, not religious”
asked a seventy-year-old Catholic nun to tell your circle about the several weeks she spent in training with ninety-something Mr. Iyengar in India
cited skillfully Maharajji, Yogananda, and Ramakrishna
enjoyed Isherwood’s candor in his book, My Guru and His Disciple
chanted with cheerfulness Hare Kṛṣṇa while walking down Michigan Avenue, a stunningly sunny Saturday morn
facilitated a nine-month reading group of the Bhagavad Gita, with Eknath Easwaran’s three-volume commentary optional
spent long retreats at California ashram
meditated while seated before classic b/w photo of Sri Anandamayi Ma
wondered if N. Finkelstein’s immersion in half of the Collected Works of M. K. Gandhi affected the scholar in ways he himself wasn’t aware of
filled a notebook with the Holy Name
learned to appreciate Jesus through Prabhavananda
fused three of your students into the fictional character Tanya Chatterjee
understood the links of Thoreau to Gandhi, and Gandhi to Martin Luther King, Jr.
saw activism at its collective best as karma yoga
responded to the question at La Dolce Via, “What do you want your life to be about?” with Om Satyam Shiva Sundaram

…you may enjoy Philip Goldberg’s American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation—How Indian Spirituality Changed the West.