Beyond Initiation: The Social Lives of Mantra in the Puṣṭimārg

How to Cite

Shital Sharma and Emilia Bachrach. (2022). Beyond Initiation: The Social Lives of Mantra in the Puṣṭimārg: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 24(2), 181–199. Retrieved from


The rainy season comes as great relief to the residents of Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city with a population of over six million. In addition to breaking the summer heat, the rains are also known to “change people’s
moods.” This is according to Megha Choksi, who is arranging lunch tiffins: one for herself and her husband Akash to take to the hospital where they both work, and one for her daughter Mrigakshi, who is headed off to school. “For me, the monsoon is the best of all seasons.1 I feel during [this season] that everything is
in its right place, just so,” she gestures, as if molding a ball with her hands. “I also feel calm,” she continues. “Everyone has a more a peaceful bhāv (state of being) and there is so much less anxiety [...]. It is as if Śrī Kṛṣṇaḥ śaranaṃ mama is just coming with the rain.” Whether or not it is carried by the morning’s heavy rain, the eight-syllable mantra—Śrī Kṛṣṇaḥ śaranaṃ mama—has been resounding from the Choksi’s CD player since Megha started her day at six a.m.

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