March, 2008


Dear Friends,

This spring is bringing blessings to the world at an important time in world history and events.  Hope is in the air, and that's a great thing because our thoughts and emotions do affect the world, though not in as simplistic and materialistic a way as some modern spiritual fads might have us believe (as I describe in some of the new chapters of Spirituality For Dummies 2nd Edition).  This newsletter offers some Shivaratri chants and sharings, and info about two upcoming events in the San Diego area.

Happy Shivaratri!

Maha Shivaratri is one of the most popular Indian holidays; it is also translated as "Night of the Lord."  During this time, followers chant the name of Shiva in various forms, including the Shree Rudram (CLICK HERE to play several versions of this text) from the ancient Vedas.   This chant is often accompanied by a fire ceremony or the symbolic dripping of milk onto a representation of Shiva.

This year, Shivaratri is generally on March 5th in the west and March 6th in the east.

The first time I experienced Shivaratri was during my first year after meeting my guru and going to his ashram in Ann Arbor, MI.  I write about the mind-boggling, awareness-expanding, world-smashing experience I had during that all-night chant in Chapter 12 of Never to Return: A Modern Quest For Eternal Truth - "Who is Shiva?" (Click to read), that created a foundational structure for my evolving worldview.

Here you can play a track of slow chanting of Om Namah Shivaya from the new Spirituality For Dummies book/CD set.  This is a powerful mantra anytime, but is considered to be especially potent on Shivaratri.

CLICK HERE to play Om Namah Shivaya

This ancient set of syllables reverberates with the deeper meaning of “I honor the great Self of the Universe that is also my own innermost self.” I was blessed to chant this mantra many times with my gurus  Baba Muktananda and Gurumayi Chidvilasananada, and remember at times, while playing the harmonium organ or tamboura for the chant, watching this scintillating bright blue light flowing from Muktananda with each repetition. In Chapter 19 of my memoir Never to Return, I describe a most amazing experience of chanting this mantra with Muktananda minutes before he left the United States for the final time.  You can read that chapter here:  Chapter 19: That Gracious Glance.

CLICK HERE to play more tracks from the new Spirituality For Dummies CD, with songs from Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Buddhist Traditions.


First 30 days

First30Days is a useful new website that is very well done. It helps to guide you through the first 30 days of dealing with any new circumstance or making a change in your life, such as living healthier, being a new parent, adopting a pet, switching to a mac, getting organized, graduating from college, and much more. My interview on "Living More Spiritually" can be found at:



Upcoming Events

March 8th, 2008

A 3-Hour Afternoon Workshop and Evening Concert:

Experience the Ecstasy

Offered by Kumuda (aka Sharon Janis)

At Jyoti Mandir, Encinitas, California

CLICK HERE for a map to Jyoti Mandir

Workshop is March 8, 2008 1 - 4 pm

Followed by an evening concert at 7:30 pm

Cost is $25 for the workshop, $15 for the concert, or $35 for both

This course will focus on the Maharashtrian poets such as Tukaram, Janabai, Namdev, Surdas, Mirabai, Eknath, and Jnaneshwar, and will also include other poet sages such as Kabir and Shankaracharya.  We'll be delving into the amazing and ecstatic meanings and experiences behind their profound, devotional words and music.

CLICK HERE for Poet Saint audio and video clips from previous events


March 15 at 12:00 pm

A Presentation and Booksigning

"Navigating Your Spiritual Journey in Today's World."

at Barnes & Noble in Del Mar, California



Spirituality For Dummies 2nd Edition

Search inside all pages of the book is now available at



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