Friday, October 2, 2009


Five miles into the Weimar run we stop at Prayer Cove, a secluded clearing just off the Coyote Creek trail.

Dharma drinks and splashes around in the creek while I pray, or rather, chant a beautiful Sanskrit prayer called “Jyota se Jyota,” irreverently translated to mean “Come On, Baby, Light My Fire.” I chant or sing the chorus and six verses at the top of my lungs, letting the song ring out through the green woods.

My musical treatment is not Siddha Yoga approved. I riff the rhythms and embellish the phrasings as the spirit moves me. I even make a couple of slight, but profound changes in the words. I begin and end the chant with “Om Shantih Shantih Shantih (Om Peace Peace Peace)” instead of “Sadgurunath Maharaj Ki Jay,” the traditional invocation and benediction. I change the first line of the sixth verse to “Jivana Nityananda Avinashi.” For those who have hung around SiddhaYoga, this is an eyebrow-raising alteration. It won’t be the first time I’ve played fast and loose with the orthoodoxy. I’ll probably get a midnight knock on the door from the Siddha cops.

I offer the chant, and myself, to the Mother of us all. I open my arms wide and turn in slow circles, inviting all of nature to pour into me.





creek sounds,





poison oak,




bird songs,



All of it. Welcome. I adore you.

That’s my prayer. Am I praying to an old white guy in the heavens to grant me personal favors? A cure for cancer? World peace? C’mon. So why do it? I pray as discipline, as spiritual practice to help me keep my feet on the Path.

I pray because I like it.

The final chorus of “Jyota se Jyota” picks up speed, and some folks, including me, like to add spirited hand clapping. Dharma’s head snaps up. The hand clapping is her signal that it’s time to get back on the trail.

“Om Shantih Shantih Shantih.”


"OK, dog, let’s go!"





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