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


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.
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


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


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............