Ghostbusters

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Working at a New Age store means I get asked many spiritual, health related, and psychic type questions. People are searching for spirituality, healing, protection. I could have never worked here as a new devotee and youth. I have to draw on years of life experience and remain convinced of Krishna consciousness, yet open to present and hear truth in different ways.

Yesterday, a young couple came in with questions regarding protection from spirits who were causing them and others problems. They wanted stones or methods to keep some spirits, or "ghosts", at bay. They were disturbed and wanted solutions.

Chant Hare Krishna and read the Bhagavatam right? That's true, yet for anyone to accept something depends on their belief system and how it is presented. Since people on many paths come here, I often speak of general principles that won't be seen as sectarian. We may know that the holy name of Krishna is not sectarian, but not everyone will agree. So I said, "The reciting or saying of the name of God is powerful. When you do, all kinds of Divine helpers come. Pray for protection and for that ghost to be able to move on.", etc.

When giving advise from the Vedas, I have to say things like, "This is my lens or spiritual bias", or this is my experience. Sometimes people take your experience more seriously then a quote from the Vedas. That is why for some people topics about "near-death experiences" get their attention. We can use these experiences to help people understand that they are eternal, and that there are consequences to their actions.

I am up front about my connection to "Indian or Hindu" spirituality though it is not always appropriate to share this. Still, I often present methods from different traditions I am familiar with. For instance, there is a native American tradition called, "smudging" which is using burning sage or other herbs to clear an area of negative energies. In my experience there is something to this. We know the potency to some extent of offering incense to Krishna, and many religions use incense and resins in ceremonies to invoke purification.

Our intentions and faith have power in themselves, so add this to a practice like smudging and there is certainly potency there, and if people can offer their actions and intentions to God, even more. It is helpful in my work to know various tradition, beliefs, and what is popular so I can speak in an appropriate language. I work with that and add what I know from the Bhakti tradition that will be useful.

What works, works! Thinking deeply about things is essential, and not being reactionary. Few are ready for pure devotion, yet some mixed devotion in approaching God is still helpful. (see Gita 7th chapter). I have to keep an open mind while remembering the essence of what Krishna consciousness or Bhakti is.

Apparently there are two souls who became ghosts living next door to the couple---one committed suicide, seems tormented, and wanders the area, while the other one stays in the house. Often someone who kills themselves are waylaid in a ghost body for some time. The ghost has the same desires it did in a gross physical body, but no ability to fulfill them. This is a very frustrating existence, and sometimes these souls cause problems to people out of spite, envy, or boredom. They can especially prey on those psychically aware, the mentally challenged, or those who abuse intoxications (which weaken the subtle body). Ghosts are attracted by your fear or giving them too much attention.

In addition to praising the name of God and prayer, I recommended daily spiritual practice, seeing the ghosts surrounded by God's light, and certain gemstones and books. I did my best to reassure them that this was meant to teach them lessons and to take shelter of the spiritual dimension of life. I shared, "Since I began my spiritual search, I have never felt alone or feared for my life."

My job is all about being of service, and sharing my interest in people, love and well-wishing, prayers and whatever I am and know about spirituality and healing. From my perspective everyone of our "jobs" is to be of service to others and be a light to whoever we work with or meet. Life is about giving and going beyond our conditioned selfishness. I do speak of this often in my blogs, yet repetition is the mother of skill. I believe we all need to be frequently reminded about giving.

Although I am far from perfect in giving, I have a type of work that gives me a lot of practice. I have so many blessings. In fact we all do, but we have to look for them regularly, practicing gratitude and cultivating the attitude that Krishna is always working for our highest good.

Combined comments from old site

Thu, 07/03/2008 - 02:04 — gostha
(Gostabihari das, entered

(Gostabihari das, entered Berkely temple September 1971,initiated by Srila Prabhupada 1972, March, los Angeles temple. Email jerrysfree@gmail.com)

My brother, who I just met this year,(my father had another family after divorcing us) has just written a book about his experiences battling an evil spirit living in his house. I suggested that he could have sung the names of the Lord, and blew conch shell trumpets to purify the house. I related that this method was used by us when we purchased a mortuary for use as our temple in San Fransisco.
He wasn't convinced, and assured me that the Catholic church got involved, and it was only by his great faith in Jesus that this came to an end. I know that my duty in this life is to make one person Krishna conscious, and that person is myself. An advanced devotee doesn't study the scriptures just to defeat another person.
I know he has firm faith in Jesus as his savior. I see it as blind faith, because there is no philosophy beyond, "Jesus has done it for us, and so there is nothing we are responsible to do! We don't have to chant, or fast, we can have our bacon and eggs, and eat it too!".
So rather than try to disturb the mind by philosophical debate I try to be the best example of a devotee, that I can be.

Rupa and Sanatana goswamiis were apparently defeated by a pandit in vrindavan. Hearing this Jiva goswami seeked him out and completely distroyed him, philosophically. He was severely chastised later, when they found out.

Srila Prabhupada ,when asked what pleases you most replied,

"That you all become lovers of Krishna".
Thank you, very much.


Wed, 06/25/2008 - 15:44 — MahaVishnu
Stones

Hey can I order some of those? I need to fix my sidewalk -
just kidding!!

Actually i know this massage therapist here in town, she uses some type stones in her therapy practice that she learned in Tibet. I have to admit - it does do something.

I have been a member of a comparative religion study group for years now, the group moderator is from a Vedic background but also holds a PhD in comparative religion and a doctorate in divinity in a Christian faith. Its a constant theme of discussion on the subject of the common thread of all religions and their origin.

It can always be traced back to early Vedic culture, we see this over and over! Not a very popular or desirable topic of discussion with others though.

I was initially attracted to Krishna Consciousness through the observation of the strong and unwavering convictions of good devotees - but more that that, they lived it as well as spoke it. I have found this is the most attractive factor - true conviction.

When I met a KC devotee for the fist time, I had just come off a 10 year Transcendental meditation Vedic science trip, and was all puffed up about my Vedic prowess. I met this KC devotee and thought we had something in common, so began the next 10 years.

The first few discussions were interesting, then the realization gradually came over me that I had no real theistic knowledge except for the Christianity of my youth, that I had abandoned. This feeling of having little faith and feeling lost made me pay more attention. I knew inside that I was missing something.
But what the real attraction was - was this devotees unwavering conviction and lifestyle! The observation of this didn't click right away, but I knew that's what I needed, I needed those regulatory principals, and needed to implement a practice of spiritual devotion. This was what I was missing!!! I loved the artwork and what I had heard of the teachings, but after 10 years with Maharishi I was still bubbling up to the surface - so it was the example and the love that was the attraction - I could really feel the compassion.

I have found in my travels and in the comparative religion group, that all people are seeking the common thread of all religion, but many (like myself) are slower to go right to it, and take a few indirect steps. But these indirect steps have different purpose for different people, and those glimpses of example by devotees are like light houses that remind one and guide one back to God head.

Haribol


*Reply*

Wed, 06/25/2008 - 23:59 — Karnamrita.das
Devotee association

Thanks for such an interesting post about your background and the effect of coming in contact with the conviction of your devotee friend. For all of us our connection with Krishna comes from coming in contact with a devotee, usually personally, though also from their writings.

Even though I am not a very high, realized devotee, I am some type of devotee, and Krishna still uses me for his purpose at the store. The qualities I display to customers (the devotee I am, the character I have) speaks to them in addition to what ever I may say. Any good qualities I have are the mercy of Lord Chaitanya and my gurus, and if people are inspired by me and grateful for the help I give them, that will be good for them.

Certainly increasing my service attitude to benefit others is good for me. I am meant to revive my nature as Krishna das, servant of Krishna, and I endeavor to see my service to others as an offering to him. I am meant to be a giver, not a taker. Of course we have to also graciously receive things or praise from others, but we do that as far as possible in the mood of service, thanking Krishna and giving him the credit. Whatever our occupation, developing the service attitude and remembering Krishna (ideally in love) is our real "job". Our work can be a vehicle for that. That is the beauty of bhakti---there are no material impediments, and we can practice it in any circumstance.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


*Reply*

Thu, 06/26/2008 - 02:15 — MahaVishnu
practice it in any circumstance

Haribol

That's a great situation you have. Years ago there was a real good spiritual book store in the town I was living. I remember I used to look to the people who worked there for guidance when interested in a certain thing, and took their advice very seriously. That's a great place to be influential to people!

I come in contact with small numbers of people in my work, but they are pretty extreme. Its a mix of artist and affluent material driven business owners. Artists (generally speaking) have a venusian quality combined with other qualities that give the propensity to 'lend an ear' to discussing spiritual matters. I'm fortunate to have these artist to interact with. It balances it all out.

Hare Krishna