Monthly Archives: September 2020

Bliss is Your Birthright!

By Ruth (Rama) Brooke

I couldn’t conceive of it when I first heard Gurudevi Nirmalananda say, “Bliss is your birthright!”  I knew the kind of joy and happiness that comes and goes.  But what was the bliss she referred to?

In a beautiful poem, the 8th century yogic sage Shankaracharya wrote, “chidananda rupah,” my nature is the bliss of Pure Consciousness.  In saying “My nature is bliss,” Shankaracharya affirms that bliss is a natural state, a birthright.  We think we need to hunt for it.  We search for it in everything and everywhere we go.  Yet it’s inherent to the human being.  Each of us has the blissful capacity of awareness and knowingness.

This bliss of Pure Consciousness is found on the inside.  You turn inward to find what yoga calls the capital-S Self.  It is so close, a breath away, just behind the mind’s thoughts and activities.  Your own Self is the Self that you were when you were a child.  You are that same Self now.  Through meditation you can experience this again and again.  Meditation quiets your mind, so you experience your own Self and its qualities of bliss, awareness and knowingness.  Nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one else to be.  This is your natural state of being.  It is truly bliss-full. 

Through meditation, I now know the bliss that arises from within.  I access it daily; it’s no longer blocked from my view.  Bliss is eternal.  It need not fluctuate with the external circumstances of life’s inevitable ups and downs.  Bliss is always there, in you too.  You can reliably open into it.  This is the promise of Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation, taught by Gurudevi Nirmalananda, my Guru.  Through this practice, you experience your own Self and its ever-arising qualities of bliss, peace, quietude, compassion, love and more.  Meditation transforms your mind so that you can experience your Self while still engaging in the world.  You learn to bring your bliss with you into your life.  While in this state, you remain centered.  You are the calm eye of the storm even while turbulent times swirl around you.  You are joyful, even experiencing bliss through bittersweet events.  The light of the Self shines through you in all that you do, and into your relationships.

Yummy Tofu Breakfast

By Swami Sahajananda Saraswati

When I prepared Noochy Baked Tofu for breakfast along with Couscous and Pineapple Chutney, I was surprised at the ease and delicious tastes.  The highlight was the Noochy Tofu, but the Pineapple Chutney was not far behind.  Savory and salty, the tofu benefits from nutritional yeast (a special ingredient from my old hippie days).  The chutney is sour, sweet, hot and pungent with walnuts added right before serving for the bitter taste and crunch.  The couscous cooked with some ghee gave a balance to the distinct flavors of both other dishes.

I like that this tofu recipe gives me such a simple and flavorful way to make tofu.  For years, I have worked with tofu a lot, trying to make it pleasing to those who experience it as bland and boring.  I have tried pressing the water from the tofu overnight so itcan absorb more flavor from whatever I cook it in.  I have fried, sautéed and baked it in many different marinades.  Yet this simple recipe with four ingredients does it all.  It also eliminates the work of dealing with messy marinades and standing at the stove watching that the tofu doesn’t stick to the pan.  You just pop it in the oven and bake it.

The tofu recipe’s author, Isa Chandra Moskowitz (theppk.com) has written many vegan cookbooks.  She and says she ate this tofu through high school because it was so easy.  I followed her recipe as it was written, which is not usually how I cook.  But this one works, so I have no secret tips.  Enjoy!

Noochy Baked Tofu with Couscous and Pineapple Chutney

Serves: 2-4 people

Protein: 21 grams (entrée + sides)

Six Tastes:

Sweet = tofu, couscous, pineapple

Salty = tamari/soy sauce

Sour = pineapple, vinegar

Astringent = tofu, vinegar

Bitter = walnuts

Pungent = onion, ginger

Ingredients & Instructions

FOR THE TOFU:

  • 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained and chopped into medium chunks
  • 1 tablespoon oilive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

FOR THE PINEAPPLE CHUTNEY[1]:

  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups pineapple (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

FOR THE TOFU: Preheat the oven to 350⁰ F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the tofu on the baking sheet and drizzle with the oil and tamari. Sprinkle with the salt and several dashes of black pepper. Use your hands to flip and coat. Sprinkle with the nutritional yeast and flip again to coat.

Assemble tofu in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned. Use a spatula to flip and bake for 10 more minutes.

While hot, serve on a bed of cooked couscous.  Tofu may be served cold and refrigerated up to 3 days.

FOR THE PINEAPPLE CHUTNEY:

In a heavy saucepan, combine the onion, honey, vinegar, pineapple, curry powder, ginger, salt and red pepper flakes and mix well.

Put the pan on the stovetop and cook over high heat until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently.

Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally so the food doesn’t burn, until the pineapple is tender and mixture is thickened, about 20-30 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and allow the chutney to cool slightly. While still warm, add the walnuts, stir well and serve immediately, as a side dish with the meal.  Chutney may be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


[1] Chutney recipe inspired by thespruceeats.com.