Friday, December 26, 2008

Whew

The last couple of days have been interesting. Interesting in the sense that I've been having to do a lot of reflection. Last week we visited my friend John in the hospital. He's been battling cancer. In this war he is winning and hopes to recover fully and quickly. He told us of his realizations. A person who is facing possible death has many realizations that a person who is comfortable might never have. But, we are all battling death. Each day is closer to death. I'm not trying to be negative, I'm pointing out the truth. How much time we have is limited in this body. Anyway, whenever someone becomes sick around you it really makes you analyze the valuable time that you're wasting.

It's also Christmas time when everyone is getting together trying to enjoy the holiday spirit. It's that time of the year we meditate on the birth and life of Lord Jesus Christ. Srila Prabhupada stated that Jesus Christ is our guru. I've been hearing lectures on Jesus and reading the Bible. Jesus was such a compassionate and powerful devotee of the Lord. His life is amazing and his teachings are very instructive. And yet, Christmas is another commercialized holiday that focuses more on our capitalism than trying to re-spiritualize our mundane lives. I could go on but this dead horse has been flogged and flogged by numerous scholars, transcendentalists and many others over the years.

I have many more thoughts to write down, but I feel the other thoughts will be blog topics in themselves rather than bombarding whoever reads this with many ideas scrunched together. It's been a while since the last blog due to so many things going on so, I hope to get back into a writing schedule for the new year. Hare Krishna, please forgive my offenses.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Begging For Compassion




I woke up today with a very clouded feeling. I laid on the couch with my daughter while she played around me. The phone suddenly rang. We usually don't get any calls at that time in the morning so I felt something was going to be wrong. The machine picked up and my mother in a distraught voice told me to call her back. I jumped and got the phone. My mother informed me that my grandmother had passed away last night. She had been there to see her last breath.

Honestly, what does one say at that moment? My mother was crying and I wanted to say something comforting. I closed my eyes and internally started praying for my grandmother's soul. I hung up and my mind started downloading a million thoughts at once.

This last week has been one of those trying weeks that force you to hold your ground. First, my wife had complications with her health that required serious medical attention. Now she's slowly getting better. Then my friend John found out he has lung cancer. He is currently going through chemotherapy treatments.

As I pray I think about the nature of this material world. It is a place of suffering. Why? Because everything is temporary. We want to enjoy and be happy by exploiting the material elements. Our mind contemplates the objects of the senses. We become attached. This attachment turns to lust. The senses want something new. Basically, happiness means keeping ourselves distracted from the suffering around us. We become frustrated when our senses fail us. The comforts we build around the body suddenly slip away.

Everything in this world is temporary. The body will die, our cars will break down, natural resources are running out, we have to work hard just so we have money, and now the economy is failing. We want a permanent, comfortable atmosphere but that is not found here.

We are eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss, but we are now thinking that we are these material designations. In this material atmosphere we are constantly plagued by miseries because that is the nature of this world. This is not our home. We are dreaming away.

In the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord continuously explains these points to Arjuna, who has become full of doubts. He has become overtaken by lamentation and dualities. In chapter five there is a great quote that can help us lighten the burden of the material world: "Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and is happy in this world. One whose happiness is within, who is active and rejoices within, and whose aim is inward is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme."

One problem may arise. One's heart may become very hard because of renunciation and diving into analytical study of the world. At that point, one becomes desensitized from others sufferings. This is a major stumbling block in spiritual life. One who loves Krishna loves every aspect of Krishna's creation. The sufferings of others becomes that devotees sufferings. The devotee's only suffering is others' suffering, and their happiness is the happiness of others.

One great saint who lived more than 500 years ago, displayed the ultimate compassion. His name was Vasudeva Datta. In Caitanya-caritamrta, it is stated that the Lord glorified Vasudeva as if He had a thousand mouths. Vasudeva Datta very sincerely stated: "My Lord, my heart breaks to see the suffering of all the conditioned souls; therefore I request You to transfer the karma of their sinful lives upon my head. My dear Lord, let me suffer perpetually in a hellish condition, accepting all the sinful reactions of all living entities. Please finish their diseased material life."

"When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard Vasudeva Datta's statement, His heart became very soft. Tears flowed from His eyes, and He began to tremble."

I read the news, I hear the sirens, I witness so much pain and suffering in this world but because my heart is still filled with envy and lust, I fail to develop compassion. I pray and I beg for mercy, but because of my offenses I remain very far the ocean of devotional service unto that Divine Couple Who enjoy pastimes in the eternal groves of Vraja.

Sitting here I look at the beautiful face of the Lord and pray to give strength and hope to others. I pray for my Grandmother who always had a smile on her face.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

World Of Politics

It is true, political problems are not solved by love and mercy. But the world of politics is not the only world, and unless political decisions rest on a foundation of something better and higher than politics, they can never do any real good. When a country has to be rebuilt after war, the passions and energies of war are no longer enough. There must be a new force, the power of love, the power of understanding and human compassion, the strength of selflessness and cooperation, as the creative dynamism of the will to live and to build, and the will to forgive, the will for reconciliation.
-Thomas Merton

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some Nice Poems




Self-Knowledge
"Know yourself-and is this the prime
And heaven-sprung adage of the olden time?-
Say, canst thou make thyself?-Learn first that trade;-
Haply thou mayst know what thyself had made.
What hast thou, Man, that thou dar'st call thine own?-
What is there in thee, Man that can be known?-
Dark fluxion, all unfixable by thought,
A phantom dim of past and future wrought,
Vain sister of the worm,-life, death, soul, clod-
Ignore thyself, and strive to know thy God!
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge


"My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.
I have declared my ways, and You answered me; teach me Your statutes.
Make me understand the way of Your precepts; so shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word.
Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me Your law graciously.
I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgements I have laid before me.
I cling to your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame!
I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart."
-Psalm 119 Daleth


"Look at this figure of a man on horseback,
his turban with gold thread,
striking a gallant pose, asking, "Where is death? Show me!"
He seems powerful, but he's a fake.
Death attacks from six sides. Hello, jackass. Where's your magnetism now, the famous temperament?
The jokes you told, the carpets you gave relatives?
It's not enough to spend your life turning bread into dung.
We are pawing through manure to find pearls.
There are people with the light of God on them.
Serve those.
Don't trivialize any suffering. I say this to myself.
I am that mounted man, his illusion. How long shall I keep pointing to others?
Shams of Tabriz is a fountain. We wash in the water of his eyes."
-Rumi


"The dust from the lotus feet of pure devotees gives rise to devotional service, and service to the devotees is itself the supreme perfection and the root of the tender creeper of divine love.

With great care I observe holy days like Ekadasi and Janmastami, for they are the mother of devotion. And with the greatest reverence and love i choose as my dwelling place the transcendental abode of Sri Krishna.

In the company of loving devotees I will visit all those places where my Lord Gaurasundara traveled and performed His pastimes.

My mind always begs to hear the music of the mridanga, and my heart dances in ecstasy whenever i hear the kind of kirtana established by Lord Gaudacandra.

I feel supreme bliss when i behold the Deity forms of the divine couple, Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, and I conquer all worldly illusions by honoring the Lord's prasadam.

Everyday Goloka Vrndavana appears in my home when I see Lord Hari being worshiped there. My joy knows no bounds when I see the Ganges, a river of nectar emanating from the Lord's feet.

THe sight of the tulasi plant soothes my soul, for I know she gives pleasure to Lord Krishna. I feel that my life has been fulfilled when I honor saka, a green leafy vegetable preparation that is a favorite of Lord Caitanya's.

Whatever Bhaktivinoda obtains that furthers devotional service to Sri Krishna he accepts every day with greatest joy."
-Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Facts I Found




Livestock production is a major cause of desertification (where the land dries out and loses its precious topsoil so vegetation is unable to grow on it anymore) as well as deforestation (loss of trees).

Two hundred years ago American cropland had topsoil that averaged 21 inches in depth. Today, only about 6 inches remain. Every year in the U.S. an area the size of Connecticut is lost to topsoil erosion- 85% of erosion is associated with livestock production.

Spinach grown on an acre of land can yield 26 times more protein than beef produced on the same acre.

Number of pure vegetarians who can be fed on the amount of land needed to feed one person consuming a meat-based diet: 20

Some beef comes from cattle raised on land that was formerly rainforest. This land is not good for grazing and it lasts only for a few years, after which more rainforest must be destroyed to raise the cattle on.

For each quarter-pound fast food hamburger sold that came from cattle raised on former rainforest land, 55 square feet of rainforest was destroyed.

A lot more water is required in animal agriculture than in plant agriculture. It takes only about 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat and around 390 gallons to produce just one pound of beef. In fact, It takes less water to produce the food that a pure vegetarian needs for one year than to produce the food that a meat eater needs for a month.

Animal production requires a lot of fossil fuels. Fuels are needed to transport animal feed, to heat their housing, and to take the animals to slaughter, meat packing plants, and grocery stores. The burning of these fuels, as well as methane produced by the animals, is one cause of global warming.

Pesticides, herbicides, and fertlizers used in the production of animals' feed pollute land and water.

Many plants and animals become extinct due to the destruction of land.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Purport To Caitanya-caritamrta 1.1.46

This is a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.27) spoken by Lord Krishna when He was questioned by Uddhava regarding the four social and spiritual orders of society. The Lord was specifically instructing how a brahmacari should behave under the care of a spiritual master. A spiritual master is not an enjoyer of facilities offered by his disciples. He is like a parent. Without the attentive service of his parents, a child cannot grow to manhood; similarly, without the care of the spiritual master one cannot rise to the plane of transcendental service.
The spiritual master is also called acarya, or a transcendental professor of spiritual science. The Manu-samhita (2.140) explains the duties of an acarya, describing that a bona fide spiritual master accepts charge of disciples, teaches them the Vedic knowledge with all its intricacies, and gives them their second birth. The ceremony performed to initiate a disciple into the study of spiritual science is called upaniti, or the function that brings one nearer to the spiritual master. One who cannot be brought nearer to a spiritual master cannot have a sacred thread, and thus he is indicated to be a sudra. The sacred thread on the body of a brahmana, kshatriya or vaisya is a symbol of initiation by the spiritual master; it is worth nothing if worn merely to boast of high parentage. The duty of the spiritual master is to initiate a disciple with the sacred thread ceremony, and after this samskara, or purificatory process, the spiritual master actually begins to teach the disciple about the Vedas. A person born a sudra is not barred from such spiritual initiation, provided he is approved by the spiritual master, who is duly authorized to award a disciple the right to be a brahmana if he finds him perfectly qualified. In the Vayu Purana an acarya is defined as one who knows the import of all Vedic literature, explains the purpose of the Vedas, abides by their rules and regulations, and teaches his disciples to act in the same way.
Only out of His immense compassion does the Personality of Godhead reveal Himself as the spiritual master. Therefore in the dealings of an acarya there are no activities but those of transcendental loving service to the Lord. He is the Supreme Personality of Servitor Godhead. It is worthwhile to take shelter of such a steady devotee, who is called asraya-vigraha, or the manifestation or form of the Lord of whom one must take shelter.
If one poses himself as an acarya but does not have an attitude of servitorship to the Lord, he must be considered an offender, and this offensive attitude disqualifies him from being an acarya. The bona fide spiritual master always engages in unalloyed devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By this test he is known to be a direct manifestation of the Lord and a genuine representative of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Such a spiritual master is known as acaryadeva. Influenced by an envious temperament and dissatisfied because of an attitude of sense gratification, mundaners criticize a real acarya. In fact, however, a bona fide acarya is nondifferent from the Personality of Godhead, and therefore to envy such an acarya is to envy the Personality of Godhead Himself. This will produce an effect subversive of transcendental realization.
As mentioned previously, a disciple should always respect the spiritual master as a manifestation of Sri Krishna, but at the same time one should always remember that a spiritual master is never authorized to imitate the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. False spiritual masters pose themselves as identical with Sri Krishna in every respect to exploit the sentiments of their disciples, but such impersonalists can only mislead their disciples, for their ultimate aim is to become one with the Lord. This is against the principles of the devotional cult.
The real Vedic philosophy is acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, which establishes everything to be simultaneously one with and different from the Personality of Godhead. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami confirms that this is the real position of a bona fide spiritual master and says that one should always think of the spiritual master in terms of his intimate relationship with Mukunda (Sri Krishna). Srila Jiva Gosvami, in his Bhakti-sandarbha (213), has clearly explained that a pure devotee's observation of the spiritual master and Lord Siva as being one with the Personality of Godhead exists in terms of their being very dear to the Lord, not identical with Him in all respects. Following in the footsteps of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Srila Jiva Gosvami, later acaryas like Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura have confirmed the same truths. In his prayers to the spiritual master, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura confirms that all the revealed scriptures accept the spiritual master to be identical with the Personality of Godhead because he is a very dear and confidential servant of the Lord. Gaudiya Vaishnavas therefore worship Srila Gurudeva (the spiritual master) in the light of his being the servitor of the Personality of Godhead. In all the ancient literatures of devotional service and in the more recent songs of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other unalloyed Vaishnavas, the spiritual master is always considered either one of the confidential associates of Srimati Radharani or a manifested representation of Srila Nityananda Prabhu.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Intelligence

"Intelligence refers to the power to analyze things in their proper perspective...." -Bhagavad-gita 10.4 purport.

"When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that will be heard." -Bhagavad-gita 2.52

"Mind is the center of all the activities of the senses, and thus when we hear about sense objects the mind generally becomes a reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification; and, as a result the mind and the senses become the repositories of lust. Next, the intelligence department becomes the capitol of such lustful propensities. Intelligence is the immediate next-door neighbor of the spirit soul. Lusty intelligence influences the spirit soul to acquire the false ego and identify itself with matter, and thus with the mind and senses. The spirit soul becomes addicted to enjoying the material senses and mistakes this as true happiness." -Bhagavad-gita 3.40 purport.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Message From Maynard James Keenan That I Thought Was Beautiful




"Roughly 9 years ago, on a day off from endless touring, I found myself in Memphis, TN. Instead of the normal routine of bad room service, pay-per-trash, cookie cutter mall visit, dinner, and "gentleman's club," I opted to visit an historic site. The Civil Rights Museum & Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. Rather than cab it, I chose to walk the several dozen blocks across town in an attempt to tune myself to this place. This Museum is not in the center of town and not a place you would just happen upon. It's a place you would need to seek out. As you approach the building, it appears that it's simply a converted motel. Basically because it is. And for good reason. You pay your donation and begin to wind through a seemingly endless maze of photos, documents, text, video/audio. I took my time. I read as much as I could. It didn't take long for the dark reality of this period to set in. Atrocity after atrocity. This wasn't that long ago. We did these things to each other. These awful awful things. It was like watching a movie. I kept thinking, "surely something good must happen soon to offset all these horrible things and events and surreal moments." I spent hours in there looking for it. At times I caught myself walking faster from display to display looking for an emotional break or some levity and found none. 2 full floors. And just when I thought it was over, and I could see the exit sign ahead, my body froze. I realized why it was a motel. I realized where in fact I was. I was standing in front of a display window that looked into the room where Dr Martin Luther Kings Jr drew his final breath before stepping out of his room. He was assassinated in this very spot. I could feel my heart snap. And although it rarely if ever happens, I wept like a baby. We did this. People like you and I who come into the world in the same manner, walk on the same soil, breathe the same air. We did this. Will we always be capable of such monstrous acts against our brothers and sisters? Where is the light? Will we ever see it? Today, Nov 4th, 2008 I think I may have seen evidence of this light. Never mind the candidates. They're politicians. Not the point. That we were able to grow enough as human beings to elect Senator Barack Obama as our President and International Representative showed me hope. It began to untie the knot that I've carried with me since that visit to Memphis. This time tears of joy. Granted, we aren't out of the woods yet. But I see light. And today is truly a wonderful day." -MJK

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mercy From Guru




Through the mercy of my spiritual master, I have been able to take a deep look at my life. I can now see that I am very much attached to this body and the senses. When one is too much absorbed in the body and sense gratification, one is very far from the Lord. The proof of spiritual advancement is freedom from materialism. This is a very basic understanding that is talked about in all of the great religions.

In Chapter 2 of Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna makes it very clear that one who is bewildered by sense enjoyment and the opulences of this world can not enter deeply into samadhi (devotional service to the Lord.) The first instruction in the science of self realization is that we are not this body. We are spirit souls.

I have to constantly adjust my consciousness by asking myself, how deep do I really understand these spiritual truths? Do I focus more on my material designations or put myself first as a servant of God. For three days in a row, I listened to a class by His Holiness Radhanath Swami where he talked about the miracles that took place in his life. I have been dwelling on how intense his determination was to reach God. He cried and prayed to the Lord with such sincerity. I then look at my life and see how I'm so distracted by the things of this world. I'm trapped in false sense of comfort that keeps me from crying out to the Lord.

But, by associating more and more with Krishna through the scriptures and the Holy Name and my guru through his lectures, slowly I'm seeing what I must do to be properly situated as a lover of God. Not in a theoretical way but in the most practical terms.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Govardhan Puja Ki Jaya!








It's been a great week for me. Somehow or other I have received some special mercy. I think it all started on Saturday when we went to a program at our friends' house for Govardhana-puja. Then on Sunday we celebrated Govardhana-puja at the Temple.

One day, Srimati Radharani asked Lord Krishna if He would fulfill one of Her desires. Krishna replied that He would satisfy any desire she wanted. She asked that He would create the most supreme place. He meditated on the essence of His love. From His heart came a seed that floated to the ground. When the seed touched the ground, Govardhana Hill sprang up.

Krishna later lifts Govardhana Hill for seven days and seven nights to curb the pride of Lord Indra and to show how He protects His devotees.

The pics above are from the Temple celebration. Hari Bol!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quotes From Thomas Merton




I fear the ignorance and power of the United States. And the fact that is has quite suddenly become one of the most decadent societies on the face of the earth. The body of a great, dead, candied child. Yet not dead: full of immense, uncontrolled power. Crazy.

If somebody doesn't understand the United States pretty soon-and communicate some of that understanding to the United States-the results will be terrible. It is no accident that the United States endowed the world with the Bomb.

The mixture of immaturity, size, apparent indulgence and depravity, with occasional spasms of guilt, power, self-hate, pugnacity, lapsing into wildness and then apathy, hopped up and wild-eyed, inarticulate and wanting to be popular. You need a doctor, Uncle!


Why am I so willing to believe that the country will be destroyed? It is certainly possible, and in some sense it may even be likely. But this is a case where, in spite of evidence, one must continue to hope. One must not give in to defeatism and despair, just as one must hope for life in a mortal illness which has been declared incurable. -Thomas Merton

The Gita can be seen as the main literary support for the great religious civilization of India, the oldest surviving culture in the world. The present translation and commentary is another manifestation of the permanent living importance of the Gita. Swami Bhaktivedanta brings to the West a salutary reminder that our highly activistic and one-sided culture is faced with a crisis that may end in self-destruction because it lacks the inner depth of an authentic metaphysical consciousness. Without such depth, our moral and political protestations are just so much verbiage. - Thomas Merton, Intro to Bhagavad-gita As It Is

Friday, October 17, 2008

WTF!?




People are responding with hate and fear to Barack Obama. Obviously, the first reason being due to the bodily conception of life. The second is due to not being informed about the issues. It's very crazy that this is even going on in America, the land of progress, where we're supposed to be beyond racism. And to think that every Muslim is a terrorist is another calamity created by false propaganda.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Los Angeles City Blues




Los Angeles hums. There is no silence here. The freeway is busy, helicopters constantly flying, electrical wires buzzing, planes roaring above. The sounds mesh together as one big hum. Do I crave for silence?

I remember the summers I spent at my uncle's farm. At night it was so silent that you could hear a truck driving miles away. There was no light. That would inspire and scare me at the same time. The insects would be talking amongst themselves and frogs would be inviting gardner snakes with their croaking.
Peaceful and serene.

The city inspires rage and face paced days. Everyone colliding rather than floating. Obviously this is my subjective perception.

How to find silence in the city? Solace in the noise. Here I am listening to the birds outside. Do I focus on the birds more than the other sounds?

The mind can make heaven hell, and hell heaven.............

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I've Been Busy... Sorry For The Momentary Lapse Of Reason






" This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of the night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if the answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must write," then build your life in accordance with this necessity." - Rainer Maria Rilke


"Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations spring from but a spark of My splendor." - Lord Krishna in Ch. 10, text 41, Bhagavad-gita.



"Black then white are all i see in my infancy.
red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.
lets me see.
as below, so above and beyond, I imagine
drawn beyond the lines of reason.
Push the envelope. Watch it bend.

Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.
Withering my intuition, missing opportunities and I must
Feed my will to feel my moment drawing way outside the lines.

Black then white are all i see in my infancy.
red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.
lets me see there is so much more and
beckons me to look thru to these infinite possibilities.
as below, so above and beyond, I imagine
drawn outside the lines of reason.
Push the envelope. Watch it bend.

over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.
Withering my intuition leaving opportunities behind.
Feed my will to feel this moment urging me to cross the line.
Reaching out to embrace the random.
Reaching out to embrace whatever may come.

I embrace my desire to
I embrace my desire to
feel the rhythm, to feel connected enough to step aside and weep like a widow
to feel inspired to fathom the power, to witness the beauty,
to bathe in the fountain,
to swing on the spiral
to swing on the spiral
to swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be a human.

With my feet upon the ground I move myeslf between the sounds and open wide to suck it in.
I feel it move across my skin.
I'm reaching up and reaching out. I'm reaching for the random or what ever will bewilder me.
what ever will bewilder me.
And following our will and wind we may just go where no one's been.
We'll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one's been.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going." - Lateralus, Tool


Change slicing through me one more time... Do I resist or allow myself to mold?
Forever finding feelings felt only in dreams during the day, I smile at the ability to smile
Focus on the feather of Brother Hawk trapped in a cage
Speaking softly still he will hear, and then bear the grudge

Resting my head on your shoulder
I witness beauty felt between husband and wife
Intimacy that keeps the world at our heels
Humbled by her gentle looks
I find myself discovering locked secrets and false ramblings of a boy that should be cast off the subtle body
Will her kiss send my tattered daydreams into the breeze...

Forgetting myself in moments of work
I return to a man...
He thinks about the changes in his life... He smiles
For this man knows that changes are natural...
Even the most horrible changes bring about a polished a stone

Stone melts in the midst of spiritual awakening... - Bal Gopal das

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Something I Wrote In The Early Morning To Help Me Start The Day




In this material world, there is the concept of good and bad. A person in knowledge does not act out good nor bad actions. For actually sees that the truth. The Truth?

To discern the truth from ignorance one must have proper education. Proper education means taking shelter of a person who will lead you out of ignorance. 99 percent of the people do not understand real knowledge. Knowledge begins with understanding that we are not the material bodies that we inhabit.

Hence, our materialistic minds dwell on certain activities of the bodies as good or bad. A good action for one person might mean disaster for another living entity. For example, one who slaughters a cow thinks, "this is good so my family can eat." To another person seeing this action is bad because a life was taken unnecessarily. The learned person who understands that we are not these bodies can truly see the modes of nature are in control just like puppeteers controlling puppets.

This, as my wife says, is the greatest conspiracy theory. When you break it down, the main conspiracy that starts it all is: You have someone who has control of another person. Example: government controls the people. The modes of material nature are goodness, passion and ignorance. In the mode of goodness, one can gradually develop knowledge, but they're still controlled by that mode. We must therefore free ourselves from these ropes or modes.

How can one free himself from ropes? If you're bound up by ropes, you cannot free yourself (unless you're Houdini.) A person has to come and untie the ropes. This is the process found in all spiritual truths. Bhagavad-gita states: "This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it."

Therefore, we can understand that there are two processes of finding Truth. Revelation, or taking refuge in God and then receiving knowledge from Him. The other path is called sankhya in Sanskrit. This process entails that one analyze all of the 24 material elements very scrutinizingly until one finds the Truth. The last process is like being tied up in ropes and wriggling and pulling until the ropes loosen and then you wriggle and fight and pull and tug until it loosens some more. Finally you fight so much that the ropes give and you achieve freedom.

The problem with the last process is that this world is full of distractions. We can analyze the elements but there's always a chance of being captivated by those elements. In the other process, you are protected and cared for by the Higher Power.

Some people believe that you will never actually come to know Truth in full. This is because they do not know the Truth. That is why we must take shelter of those who have see the Truth. Will you go to a doctor who will guess about what operation he should perform on you? Problem.... Who should we trust and who should we keep away from? Which one is good or bad?

Beyond good or bad is knowledge that pleases God. The only real thing is devotional service to God, everything else is phantasmagoria. This might sound dogmatic, but when you get to the point, that's the Truth. The world around us will tell us differently. But, if you are not serving God, then you are serving your out of control senses and the senses of those people around you. Being nice and doing good to others are activities that can be performed by atheists, theists, and other eists you can think of. Those who serve God naturally serve others, but the quality is very different.

The example: A ship is sinking. Rather than saving the people, you save their clothes. Rather than perform activities that enlightens others, you just serve their material bodies. This DOES NOT MEAN WE BECOME HARDHEARTED!!!! We must act in such a way that both soul and body will be nourished.

Lord Chaitanya is the best physician. He came to teach us the easy process of chanting the holy names which cleanses the mirror of the heart and extinguishes the blazing fire of material existence. He taught that each person can have a personal relationship with God or Krishna.

Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya taught that we must strive to be humble at all times. Humility and tolerance. We see this in His dear associates. Knowledge can only be obtained through humility. And good and bad is only a concoction of the mind. Transcendental activities are that which pleases Krishna. Activities that please Krishna, please everyone. Water the root of the tree and the entire tree will be nourished..........................

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lord Vamana Part Two




One instruction that always struck my heart is when Lord Vamana asks for three steps of land. The Lord had walked to the place by the Narmada river where King Bali was engaged in performing sacrifices. The Lord's body was so effulgent that the sages thought this person was either the sun personified, or a fire-god.

After hearing the Lord's request for three steps of land, Bali rebuked the Lord for not asking for more. The Lord then uttered these words: "O my dear king, even the entirety of whatever there may be within the three worlds to satisfy one's senses cannot satisfy a person whose senses are uncontrolled."

This is the problem of the material world. Because we are not satisfied within ourselves then we are forced to seek happiness outside of ourselves. This in turn keeps us in an endless cycle of consumerism which then leads to destroying our surroundings all in the pursuit of happiness. We are complete because we are parts of the complete whole.

One might then ask the question: If we are complete within ourselves then why seek the satisfaction of God? The answer is: "All different varieties of atmaramas (those who take pleasure in the spirit self), especially those established on the path of self-realization, though freed from all kinds of material bondage, desire to render unalloyed devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead. This means that the Lord possesses transcendental qualities and therefore can attract everyone, including liberated souls."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Intermission

Today is Sep. 11th and still people are bringing it up as a tool to keep the American mind in a state of fear. The media is used in many ways to conform people into what the government and the elite want them to do and say. That may be a conspiracy take on it, but please watch this video and ask yourself: Is this real or are they trying to keep parents scared for their children? Are they trying to inform us of dangers in society or are they sparking up paranoia?




Now if you know anything about high fructose corn syrup, please watch this next commercial. Aaahhh, everything on t.v. is the truth.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lord Vamana Part One




It is very difficult to understand the Lord's pastimes from a scholarly pursuit. One may memorize the pastimes and speculate on them from different angles, but this will not bring about the desired result. The true goal from hearing the Lord's pastimes is transformation of the heart. To achieve this goal, we must hear submissively and then try to practically apply the teachings from the pastimes into our daily lives.
We read in Bhagavad-gita that the Lord descends when there is a rise in irreligion. He also comes to protect the devotees and clear away the demoniac forces. Tomorrow is the holy appearance day of Lord Vamana, or the dwarf brahman. It starts when Bali Maharaja decides to conquer the heavenly planets. He performed many great sacrifices and therefore got the blessings of the descendants of Bhrigu Muni. He became very powerful and overtook the heavenly realm, making the demigods flee. The mother of the demigods became very sad and wanted something to be done. She was instructed by her husband to perform a special ceremony called payo-vrata, which consisted of many austerities and hardships. She, Aditi, pleased the Supreme Lord, and He appeared before her in his four armed form. He spoke to her about how He would take birth from her womb to protect her other children.
I was meditating on the fact that many devotees described in the scriptures started out desiring something other than pure devotional service. The Lord tells Aditi that I know this desire you have to see the mothers of the demons lament upon seeing the dead bodies of their sons. This seems to be a very materialistic desire. But, we can take Dhruva Maharaja as an example. He was a little boy who wanted a kingdom greater than that of Lord Brahma. His mother told him to go to the forest so he could see God, who was the only one who could grant him that boon. After seeing the Lord, Dhruva was completely washed of all contaminations. Narada Muni is another one. The lives of devotees are very difficult to understand. Some of them were placed in certain circumstances just for the Lord to perform pastimes.
Another instruction I was meditating on, was that Bali Maharaja pleased the brahmans and therefore was infused with brahma-tejas, or spiritual power. Because of his service to the brahmans not even the Lord could overtake Him with power. To make spiritual advancement we must constantly strive to please the devotees of the Lord. To serve the devotees is to please God. This is a very essential instruction. The devotees are even seen as expansions of the Lord in this material world. If you have the blessings of great souls, nothing can interfere with your plans.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Radharani Ki Jaya




Another day to feel gratitude and love, but my mind wraps around sense objects and other temporary subject matters. I struggle. I want to cry out for mercy. I want to drown in ecstatic love for God, but as Bhagavad-gita states: "One who is bewildered by material enjoyment and the opulences of this world cannot properly attain samadhi (a state of complete trance)."

The more I fill my mind with subjects that have no real essence, the harder it is for me to dive deeper into the goal of life. Distractions keeping me from truly loving and feeling compassion. Keeping me from giving compassion.

Yesterday was Radhastami. The day we celebrate the "birth" of Srimati Radharani, Krishna's most intimate devotee. Without Her mercy we cannot perform any activity. Yogamaya, Her spiritual energy allows us to engage in intimate service to Krishna. Her Mahamaya, or material energy keeps trapped in illusion unless we obtain the mercy of great souls or Krishna.
Lord Krishna upon seeing the beauty of Srimati Radharani becomes completely bewildered, in a very transcendental way. Everything Radha does, is simply to allow God to dive into His own pleasure potency. This is true love. God loves His devotee and the devotee loves God. But, She loves Him so much that She experiences more happiness than the Lord. The Lord is therefore greedy to taste Her love and so Krishna appears as Lord Caitanya to understand Radha's love.

The only way to dive deeply into these very high subject matters, is to constantly strive to focus on being lower than the straw in the street, more tolerant than a tree and constantly give all respects to others without wanting respect for oneself.

Thursday, September 4, 2008



I'm very sorry that I haven't been keeping up the blog properly. This week, actually past few weeks, have been very blissful and very busy. Starting from Jagannath Ratha-yatra and ending this week with a visit by His Holiness Radhanath Swami, my beloved spiritual master. There's so much that I have realized, yet, I feel overwhelmed to put them all down in writing.
My greatest realization was being around a spiritually surcharged personality has a great effect on the heart. Last Sunday, my guru chanted for an hour and a half, this was after he gave a talk about spiritual foundation. Everyone was so enthusiastic to dance and cry out to the Lord. We were literally ringing sweat out of our clothes at the end. We didn't want it to end.
This is taken from Caitanya-caritamrita 1.1.44: "Every living entity is essentially a servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the spiritual master is also His servant. Still, the spiritual master is a direct manifestation of the Lord. With this conviction, a disciple can advance in Krishna consciousness. The spiritual master is non-different from Krishna because he is a manifestation of Krishna.
"Lord Nityananda, who is Balarama Himself, the first direct manifestation or expansion of Krishna, is the original spiritual master. He helps Lord Krishna in His pastimes, and He is a servant of the Lord.
"Every living entity is eternally a servant of Sri Krishna Caitanya; therefore the spiritual master cannot be other than a servant of Lord Caitanya. The spiritual master's eternal occupation is to expand the service of the Lord by training disciples in a service attitude."

I witnessed my spiritual master giving every single person attention and guidance with such love and compassion that it should have melted my heart. He literally drains himself every time he visits trying to make sure everyone is cared for spiritually and materially.
Another thing I realized is, my spiritual master has so much intensity and deep knowledge. It's quite amazing to know someone that has a one-minded goal of constantly trying to go deeper into the spiritual. Very amazing.


I know everyone is focused on the Democratic Convention and the Republican National Convention, but at a certain point we really have to ask ourselves: Is a change in politics really going to solve the problems in this world. I was recently reading how prime ministers or brahmanas in Vedic culture we're never paid for their services. Instead, they would live off the earth and from donations that people would freely give. This gave them power over the King to instruct him. The people had such a relationship with the king as if he was their father. Nowadays politicians will say and do anything just so they can get some power. Lust, anger and greed which are the doors leading to degradation, will not be stopped by rules set up by the government.
Understanding that we are not these material bodies, but eternal, blissful servants of Sri- Sri-Radha-Krishna completely washes the false ego away allowing pure love to enter the heart. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bhajahu Re Mana Sri Nanda-nandana

This is a song sung by the great poet Govinda das Kaviraja.


"O mind, just worship the lotus feet of the son of Nanda, which make one fearless. Having obtained this rare human birth, cross over this ocean of worldly existence by associating with saintly persons.

"Day and night I remain sleepless, suffering heat and cold, wind and rain. For a bit of flickering happiness I have served wicked and miserly men.

"What assurance of real happiness is there in all one's wealth, youth, sons, and relatives? This life totters like a drop of water on a lotus petal; therefore you should always worship the lotus feet of lord Hari.

"Govinda das longs to hear the glories of Lord Hari, chant His glories, constantly remember Him, offer Him prayers, serve His lotus feet, become His servant, worship Him, serve Him as a friend, and completely offer Him his very self."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sri Lalita-Pranama-Stotra: Bowing Down to Sri Lalita






This is a poem written by Srila Rupa Goswami. In this poem he describes the glories of Srimati Radharani's closest friend. My wife is named after her. Lalita means "one who plays." My wife's full name is Lalita Sundari devi dasi or "the servant of beautiful Lalita."


Verse 1
I offer my respectful obeisances to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi, who worships the perspiration from Sri Sri Radha-Mukunda's lotus feet, and who, out of great love, is very bold and arrogant.

Verse 2
I offer my respectful obeisances to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi, the beauty of whose face rebukes the full moon's splendor, whose eyes are like the lovely eyes of a frightened doe, and who is famous for artistically decorating Srimati Radharani.

Verse 3
I offer my respectful obeisances to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi, whose transcendental form is gracefully dressed with a bodice, ornaments, and silk garments wonderfully colorful as the tail of a jubilantly dancing peacock, and whose fair complexion rebukes the splendor of gorocana.

Verse 4
I offer my respectful obeisances to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi, who gives the following instruction. "Radha, please hear these beneficial words: Be contrary with the rogue who is the prince of Vraja. O dishonored one, do not become gentle and submissive for Your own doing."

Verse 5
I offer my respectful obeisances to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi, who, seeing Him even slightly cheat Sri Radha, with reddened eyes shames the prince of Vraja with a flood of words.

Verse 6
I offer my respectful obeisances to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi, who is the abode where the queen of the gopas places her love, who is the teacher of the arts of friendship to her friends, and who considers Sri Sri Radha-Krishna as dear as life.

Verse 7
I offer my respectful obeisances to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi, all of whose desires became at once completely fulfilled when She saw in Vraja the path of Sri Radha blocked by a certain person.

Verse 8
I offer my respectful obeisances to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi, who is the first of Radha's friends in Gokula, and for whom the meeting of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna is the greatest of jubilant festivals.

Verse 9
Srimati Radharani, the splendid desire vine in the family of King Vrsabhanu, lovingly accepts among Her own associates a person who happily and with pure vision reads these eight verses describing the charming virtues of Sri Lalita.

What Hurts The Soul? By Rumi...




We tremble, thinking we're about to dissolve into nonexistence, but nonexistence fears even more that it might be given human form!

Loving God is the only pleasure.
Other delights turn bitter.
What hurts the soul? To live without tasting the water of its own essence. People focus on death and this material earth.
They have doubts about soul water.
Those doubts can be reduced!
Use night to wake your clarity. Darkness and the living water are lovers
Let them stay up together. When merchants eat their big meals and sleep their dead sleep, we night thieves go to work.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Symbols Splashed Over My Daily Life




Panting in the darkness from the object that never was
Painting pictures in your mind that you'll never be able to finish by hand
Newspapers scattered with headlines that challenges the qualities of humanity...
Humanity makes great use of pictures and sounds to produce emotions that you never wanted to deal with...
Exhausted from dismantling the confusion I created by identifying with that which is not
Turn up the volume and kiss the wind
Pick up the stone and touch the sky
Determined to love and be loved in a world full of suffering, yet you pull it off with a devilish grin that provokes strangers into fantasizing...
This girl cries when she doesn't get what she wants...
Focus... Pull... Push... He drags his daughter to the rainbow... She blows a kiss
She giggles as the sun tickles her face

When I assume a position of power, I'll see how helpless I really am
Filled with guilt and rotten guts from worrying too much
Bloated from greed and lust, tainted by the disease of pride...

Skip to the back of the room
She talks about conspiracies to those who don't want to listen
I whisper dirty secrets that float around with the fly
Our daughter picks up the mess and explains through practice that we should live like innocent children who are content, no, astonished at kitten rolling in the dirt...
When I'm older will I live in a state of constant emergency?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Compassion and Nourishment




I have been meditating on a very deep principle that is practiced in Vedic culture. THis principle is: a man must see every woman, with the exception of his wife, as mother. This principle can produce essays and voluminous books, but because I have not the intelligence to go as deep as others, I will make a humble attempt to elaborate.
In Vedic culture, there are seven mothers: the birth mother, the guru's wife, the king's wife, the nurse, the Earth, the cow, and the brahmana's wife. Why are they specifically designated as the seven mothers? Because each of them in their own way nourish and bring about compassion in the society. This is something men have a hard time understanding. Nourishment and compassion are the two most important features for women.
The society must then respect and protect women as one's own mother if they want to make any advancement. Today our society often creates objects out of women. If you look at the television (please don't), movies, magazines, etc., women are objects that attract the male ego. When women are seen as objects then men want to exploit and abuse them. Looking at the world, ask yourself: if men properly respected all women as their mothers, would there be so much rape, abuse, sexual harassment, prostitution and many other vices that degrade the civilization?
A woman's heart is very soft. We can see that because of this softness, women have many abilities that men do not. Women often are psychic, spiritual and act as teachers. The setback is their judgement can often times be swayed. Another problem is their hearts are often dismantled due to a lack of having a proper father figure. Women then search for that love they never received leading them to degradation. Vedic culture therefore states, that a woman should always be protected in her life. At the beginning her father is the protector. He maintains the family and sees that she is properly married off. Then her husband is the protector. He gives her security and sees that she has everything she needs to live comfortably. Then, she is finally protected by the son. The son also has a natural inclination take care of the mother. Women give nourishment and compassion. Men offer protection and security.
Man and woman come together to balance their lives out. Masculine meets feminine. Yin meets Yang. Shiva and shakti. This is natural. A family unit is born. The family unit can strengthen the community as well as weaken the community. Children raised in proper family settings go on to spread love and joy to the rest of the community. In this Kali-yuga the population is mostly consisted of varna-sankara, or unwanted population. The male and female while engaging in sexual intercourse must do so in such a way to bring about good population. Vedic culture teaches this science known as Garbhadhana-samskara. Through different practices, the child is born with such a consciousness, that that child will bring about spiritual and material revolution around them.
Lastly, I wanted to touch upon the phenomena that is happening more and more. In our modern society, women are attempting to take on more and more male roles. In businesses and even the army, women are trying to be equal with men. What happens is that they artificially transform into male personas leaving behind the nourishing and and compassionate qualities that the world desperately needs. Men aren't equal with women physically and women aren't equal with men physically. Spiritually we are all the same. We are not these material designations, but we have these bodies. A man has different hormones than a woman and therefore will act differently.
Respect, protect and serve women so we can fill the world with compassion and love. Forget what Freud said..........

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pow Wow




Bhakta Dave has asked that I speak about Native American spirituality. He himself has stated that the culture and rituals were passed down from generation to generation. There was nothing like a Bible, a Koran or any other manual to experience that which is beyond.
I feel the first thing we must understand about these peoples is that they had a very deep connection to Mother Earth. Such a connection actually brought about their culture. Some were nomads and others were pueblo builders. Definitely, their way of life was much simpler and more respectful.
In many aboriginal tribes, there is the shaman or medicine men. These people are gatekeepers to the unknown. They usually have visions and intense dreams that lead them on a spiritual path. They then take shelter of another shaman who then initiates them into the practices. Fasting, dancing, rituals and herbs are used as tools. Shamans and medicine men can be compared to the guru in India. These spiritual leaders were sought for guidance and cures. They would go on vision quests that would guide their people.
The spirituality of Native Americans and other tribal groups centers around the Great Spirit or Great Mystery. they believe in animism, or seeing that each animal is the representative of a spirit. For instance a beaver would be called Brother Beaver and would represent the entire beaver kingdom. And each animal represents a certain trait such as power, knowledge and so on. Shamans often take shelter of a Power Animal which they receive their gifts from.
We can see that they tried to explain the world around them in spiritual terms.
The formula is the same: there's a creator or Godhead, the material world is not our home, and there is the Happy Hunting Grounds or Heaven. Some might say they are demigod worshipers, others would simply call them heathens or pagans, but one who has knowledge can see that they had a deep connection with God in many ways that people today cannot understand due to our dependence on machines, televisions and so many other comfortable gadgets that we take for granted.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Two Poems By Rumi




A great sheikh has lost two sons, yet he is not weeping. His family and his wife wonder at this lack of grief. "do not think that I am cold and uncompassionate. I don't weep because for me they are not gone. The eye of my heart sees them distinctly. They're outside of time but very close by here playing and coming to hug me. As people sometimes see dead relatives in dream, I see my sons constantly in this waking state. I am even more deeply with them when I hide for a moment from the world, when I let the sense-perception leaves drop from the tree of my being.
I weep for those who have ungrateful souls. I weep when boys throw stones at dogs. I weep for dogs who bite for no reason. Forgive the harm that anyone does. We are here to be a forgiveness door through which freedom comes. I weep when I ask that the door not be shut."
Some attend to individual mercies and some to universal grace. Try to let them merge. Pond water eventually arrives at the ocean. One saint works and lingers in the lakes of personal life. Another plays without limits in the sea.
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On Resurrection Day God will say, "What did you do with the strength and energy your food gave you on earth? How did you use your eyes? What did you make with your five senses while they were dimming and playing out? I gave you hands and feet as tools for preparing the ground for planting. Did you, in the health I gave, do the plowing?"
You will not be able to stand when you hear those questions. You will bend in double, and finally acknowledge the glory. God will say, "Lift your head and answer the questions."
Your head will rise a little, then slump again.
"Look at me! Tell what you've done."
You try, but you fall back flat as a snake. "I want every detail. Say!" Eventually you will be able to get to a sitting position. "Be plain and clear. I have given you such gifts. What did you do with them?"
You turn to the right looking to the prophets for help, as though to say, I am stuck in the mud of my life. Help me out of this! They will answer, those kings, "The time for helping is past. The plow stands there in the field. You should have used it."
Then you turn to the left where your family is, and they will say, "Don't look at us! This conversation is between you and your creator." Then you pray the prayer that is the essence of every ritual:
God, I have no hope. I am torn to shreds. You are my first and last and only refuge.
Don't do daily prayers like a bird pecking, moving its head up and down. Prayer is an egg.
Hatch out the total helplessness inside.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Black Elk On the Center of the Heart




"I am blind and do not see things of this world, but when the Light comes from Above, it enlightens my heart and I can see, for the Eye of my heart sees everything. The heart is a sanctuary at the center of which there is a little space, wherein the Great Spirit dwells, and this is the Eye. This is the Eye of the Great Spirit by which He sees all things and through which we can see Him. If the heart is not pure, the Great Spirit cannot be seen, and if you should die in this ignorance, your soul cannot return immediately to the Great Spirit, but it must be purified by wandering about in the world. In order to know the center of the heart where the Great Spirit dwells you must be pure and good, and live in the manner that the Great Spirit has taught us. The man who is thus pure contains the Universe in the pocket of his heart."
-Black Elk

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Material Sight Vs. Spiritual Sight




God consciousness begins with understanding we are not these material bodies. I must understand this. To simply know this, but then act as if I am this body is a strong sign of unintelligence.
Because of this material body, we add so many others designations. This body was born in America, therefore i am an American. I was born in a Catholic family, so I am also Catholic. Americans are better than people born in other countries. Because of these designations, men and women commit horrible acts that I cannot understand. Men fight and start wars. Women have babies at such young ages due to their inability to control their senses. Famine is created because of greed. Politicians plan out men's lives to exploit them to the fullest degree. Poverty stricken homes, diseases and now environmental issues are created because we are too attached this material body.
To see that all beings from plants to humans are actually spirit souls covered by material elements is a very advanced stage. God is also within the heart, next to the soul guiding. We have this "skin disease" as Srila Prabhupada would put it. How liberating it is to realize everything is spiritual due to it all coming from the same source.
Parrots fly overhead, the breeze glides across the land, bees and insects busy themselves with work I'll never know about, flowers soak in the sunlight, water flows cleansing the ether. Here I sit writing this thinking about how I'm not this body, and how everything is intimately connected through the Supreme Person, Sri Krishna, God. Through loving service to Sri Krishna, I can receive the intelligence to love every living entity, not holding back in any sense. Spiritual love.... Service is love.
I do not want to be absorbed in God, I want to be absorbed in serving God.
This is so easy to write down in my notebook. I return to the pages and stare at the words I've scribbled. Am I putting any of this to practice? Am I struggling to change the conflicts inside me or am I more eager to change others? As Gandhi says, "Become the change you want to see in the world."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Surrender




The greatest benediction in life is to be able to perform devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By performing devotional service, one purifies the senses and destroys the false designations that the false ego identifies with. This service disentangles the soul from matter.
In my devotional life, because I am inattentive, i see the service that I perform as just another activity I must get through so that I am able to do what I want to do. It has taken me millions of lifetimes to be able to perform this service, yet, I rush to do something my mind tricks me into believing is more important.
Surrender.... What does that word mean in this situation?
I can surrender my body without surrendering my mind. If I fail to surrender both, then I am not surrendered, simple...

This morning while chanting Hare Krishna, I meditated on how Srila Prabhupada stated: "The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His internal energy Hara, to give protection to the conditioned soul." I started praying to Sri-Sri-Radha-Krishna to engage me in Their service. But then my mind added, "But not so much service because I'm already doing so much." What a foolish thing to add?!
This proves that I have no love. If I had love for God then I would have prayed: "Give me service until I'm completely immersed, so I have no spare time to waste on material activities."
Rather than fully surrender, I want to surrender at my own convenience. If I have to exert myself or suffer, then I don't want to surrender.

Jesus Christ knew that he was going to be crucified. in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed in a very particular way. He said, "Lord, if this cup can be taken away then allow it to pass from me. But let your will be done, not my will." Jesus was completely surrendered. He didn't want anything for himself. He only wanted what the Lord desired, even if that meant he would have to suffer.
A prayer that I chant at the end of my japa is the last verse of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Sikshastakam: "Let Krishna tightly embrace this maidservant, who has fallen at His lotus feet, or let Him trample me, or break my heart by never being visible to me. He is a debauchee after all, and can do whatever He likes. But He is the Lord of my heart and no one else."
Lord Caitanya is praying in the mood of Srimati Radharani. Sri Radhika only wants Krishna to have pleasure, even if that means that She might have to suffer.
So, surrendering is true love. It's like a parent who serves the child even if that parent has to struggle more. And the parent might not get anything back in the future. But Krishna is so kind that when one surrenders to Him than Krishna wants to serve that person.
I must focus on what surrender really means. Not a surrender out of fear, defeat or duty. A deep surrender that is unmotivated and uninterrupted.
A surrender out of love...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pouring It Out

On coming back from our trip, I feel spiritually recharged. Somehow, I have once again obtained the mercy of my Guru. Everyday I have woken at 4 am and attended the full morning program. I have noticed that my mind is much clearer enabling me to think of Radha-Krishna much more now than before. Being with the devotees in the morning chanting and praying together, has really opened my heart to new insights. I feel very blessed and grateful.
But, this is where it starts getting difficult. How can I properly maintain this enthusiasm? How can I continually feel grateful rather than falling into a pit of familiarity? How can I strive for increasing sincerity?
Obviously, it is by association. It is by prayer. Rather than rush through the activities of my life, I must use each second to struggle towards my goal. What is the goal? Love of Krishna. I must see that every prayer I sing, every name I chant, every service I perform is an opportunity to please my Guru. If I please Gurudev, than I please Krishna. I must pour my heart into everything that I do.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Poem By Ibn "Arabi

Gentle now, doves...
Don't add to your sighs
To my heartache

Gentle now,
Or your sad cooing
Will reveal the love I hide,
The sorrow I hide away

I echo back, in the evening
In the morning, echo
The longing of a lovesick lover,
The moaning of the lost.

In a grove of Ghada,
Spirits wrestled
Bending the limbs down over me
Passing me away

They brought yearning
Breaking of the heart
And other new twists of pain
Putting me through it...

Hour by hour
They circle my heart
In rapture, in love ache
And touch my pillars with a kiss

As the best of creation
Circled the Ka'aba
Which reason with its proofs
Called unworthy

He kissed the stone there
And was entrusted with the Word.
What is a house of stone
Compared to a man or woman...

A white blazed gazelle
Is an amazing sight.
Red-dye signaling
Eyelids hunting.

Pasture between breastbone
And innards.
Marvel,
A garden among the flames!

My heart can take on
Any form:
For gazelles, a meadow
A cloister for monks

For idols, sacred ground
Ka'aba for circling pilgrims,
The Tables of the Torah,
The Scrolls of the Qu'ran

I profess the religion of love
Wherever its caravan turns
Along the way-that is the belief,
The faith that I keep...


By Ibn' Arabi
Translated by Michael Sells

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lovely Relationships




Today I read a wonderful article pertaining to the relationship between Moses and God. The relationship started off with Moses wanting something from God but went into a more intimate relationship. God finally revealed His more intimate self rather than the angry/father persona that the Old Testament mostly focuses on.
I was walking around with Baby Gauri outside and it just hit me, that God wants an intimate relationship with us and we want an intimate relationship with God, but due to our being covered by the inferior energy of the Lord, we wrap ourselves up in fruitive activities and mental speculation. We know from the scriptures that devotional service awakens our dormant love for Him.
Love of God. The more we serve with love. Loving Krishna is not based on rituals and regulations. Love transcends these. The devotee does not perform rituals, he transforms the rituals into acts of love. Those acts of love attracts Krishna. It is stated that devotional service is sri-krsna-karsini, it attracts the Lord. That love is Srimati Radharani. As we surrender the Lord reciprocates. We cannot understand God through intellect or ritual, we can only understand God by His mercy. We cannot force our way into a relationship with somebody. We cannot force God to have a relationship with us.
Love. The devotee wants Krishna to be pleased, nothing for oneself. The gopis are the topmost devotees. They are simple village girls who love Krishna for Him. They do not even care for the knowledge of Krishna's Godhead position. They are attracted to His pastimes, qualities and His flute. This may sound sentimental, but this is actually deeper than any mundane religion, meditation or hatha yoga. Covered over by the Lord's maha-maya potency, the living entities do not the truth. The truth is the devotee wants to please Krishna and Krishna wants to please the devotee. To please someone means to serve that person. We are selfish and filled with speculations because we take shelter of other speculators rather than serve the pure representative of God who has the ability to transform us into pure devotees. Whew............................... Love.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Perfect





Excerpt from What Is The Difficulty?

It was about 5:30 in the morning and Srila Prabhupada called me into his sitting room wanting to know why Syamasundara and Pradyumna were still sleeping.
"I don not know," I replied.
Srila Prabhupada told me to bring then to his room. When we returned, he told us we must conquer over sleep. "Rising early and taking a cold shower is not austerity, but just common sense and good hygiene," Srila Prabhupada said.
Then revealing a wonderful truth, His Divine Grace told us, "By chanting 16 rounds, following the regulative principles, rising early, reducing one's eating and sleeping, one gets spiritual energy. If one follows these guidelines for 12 years, all he speaks will be perfect!"



All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Temptations





My temptations have turned into habits
I am like a pig rolling into stool
Drowning in my own bad habits I forget why I struggled
Like climbing a tree only to fall and break my leg
How will I climb up again with an injured leg?

Struggling then giving in to temporary pleasures that only distract
The wedding party forgot to pull up the anchor
All night long the boatman rowed
When morning came the party found they had not moved
They asked him what had happened... He rowed all night without making progress...

Music, pictures and videos fill my head for future meditations
Meditations that bring about fear and frustration
I put the obstacles on the path and then complain about them later on
Am I that self-destructive or is this an exaggeration?
One who is in illusion will never admit that he's in illusion

Do I write this for others to applaud my introspection or do I write this for purification?
Will you accept my faults and forgive my trespasses?
O Gurudeva hearing you pray to Srila Rupa Manjari breaks my heart and yet I keep from crashing to the ground
O Lord of the Gopis, will You take from me these distractions or will I remain far from Your lotus feet?
The perfection is found in the dust of Srila Rupa Manjari's lotus feet.............................................
Yet, I cover myself with the donkey urine of fault-finding............

Friday, May 30, 2008

Why Is the Sky Blue?

Yesterday afternoon, Lalita and I were walking the baby around Butler. The sky was absolutely beautiful. Lalita turned to me and asked, "Isn't the sky the color of Krishna?"
I foolishly turned to her and replied, "Well, Krishna's body is the complexion of monsoon clouds. I think it's darker than the blue sky."
We continued our walk and went home. I sat down to start reading What Is The Difficulty? by Srutakirti Prabhu. I was amazed at what I read:

"October 4, 1972 ISKCON Los Angeles
One evening, while in his garden, Srila Prabhupada looked at the sky and said; "So, is the sky the color of Krishna?"
"The Krishna Book it says that Krishna is dark bluish like a thundercloud," a disciple answered.
"The sky is the color of Krishna," Srila Prabhupada explained. "It is the light from Krishna's bodily effulgence that makes the sky blue."


This made me realize my neophyte position. Srila Prabhupada revealed to me that just studying the scriptures is only one aspect, but really understanding them is much more important. We can think we know so much but really we never end receiving the knowledge handed down by the disciplic succession.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Hope




Sometimes out of laziness, I just put up a video or write something from the scriptures really quick to maintain this blog. I feel as if I'm not pushing myself harder with this chance to really open up and express what different realizations I'm going through. This week has been like a dream. So many distractions that seemed to get in the way of hearing, chanting and my service. What happens is these distractions turn into habits. These habits then turn into a dependency. The dependency is based on comfort. We become attached to feeling comfortable and secure. Most of the time, this comfortable feeling makes a spiritually lazy. No longer is there a real need to cry out to the Lord for His mercy. No longer is there a need to pray because everything is going okay. We forget that this world is not our home. We attempt to make everything nice creating an illusion that we'll never die. Hurricanes, earthquakes, wars, crime, and so many other things keep popping up reminding us that our time here is limited. We have this great gift called the human life. This life allows us to seek self realization. Self realization is to know God and to know God is to know our self. We are the eternal servants of God or Krishna, and Krishna is the most beautiful Supreme Personality of Godhead that wants to have an intimate relationship with us more than we want one with Him.
So, in retrospect, I have a lot on my mind and want to bring the good out. I want to focus on what's really important.

"O my Lord, I do not have any love for You, nor am I qualified for discharging devotional service by chanting and hearing. Nor do I possess the mystic power of a Vaisnava, knowledge or pious activities. Nor do I belong to a very high caste family. On the whole, I do not possess anything. Still, O beloved of the gopis, because You bestow Your mercy on the most fallen, I have an unbreakable hope that is constantly in my heart. That hope is always giving me pain."
-Taken from the Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu by Srila Rupa Goswami

Monday, May 19, 2008

Full Moon Tonight






Tonight is a full moon. According to the scriptures the moon gives light which nourishes the vegetation on the planet. The moon is also the deity governing the mind. I thought it would be nice to talk about the moon in the Vedas, but then I watched this and felt it would be more controversial.

What the hell is the spacecraft made out of anyway? Tinfoil?
The scriptures state the moon is a heavenly planet, with lush plants and water. Goes into detail that there are in fact people living there. Also, it states the moon is farther than the sun. Whatever you want to believe, please do not accept anything blindly.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

McCain Might Be Worse Than Bush




This man is crazy, just like his supporter Bush. Spread the word.

Lord Narasinghadeva's Appearance Day Ki Jaya!




"I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Narasinghadeva, the source of all power. O my Lord who possesses nails and teeth just like thunderbolts, kindly vanquish our demon-like desires for fruitive activity in this material world. Please appear in our hearts and drive away our ignorance so that by Your mercy we may become fearless in the struggle for existence in this material world."
- Spoken by Prahlad Maharaja in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 5, Chapter 18, text 8.



"Unless one is completely freed of all material desires, which are caused by the dense darkness of ignorance, one cannot fully engage in the devotional service of the Lord. Therefore we should always offer our prayers to Lord Narasinghadeva, who killed Hiranyakashipu, the personification of material desire. Hiranya means "gold," and kashipu means "a soft cushion or bed." Materialistic persons always desire to make the body comfortable, and for this they require huge amounts of gold. Thus Hiranyakashipu was the perfect representative of materialistic life. He was therefore a great disturbance to the topmost devotee, Prahlad Maharaj, until Lord Narasinghadeva killed him." -excerpt from Srila Prabhupad's purport on the above verse.