The Phoenix Rises out of the "Yoga of Despair"

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Author: 
Karnamrita Das

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player is needed; works best with Firefox or Explorer; if you are using Google Chrome it will automatically play, so to not listen, mute your speakers.)
Phoenix Reborn photo PhoenixReborn.jpg
Walls, fortifications, tall towers in the clouds
everything stone, metal, the strongest materials
supposedly for protection, though it also
serves as a prison to keep others from
finding and hurting the self, and keeping you and me
from our true pure soul, instead, confusing, confounding.

Relationships are meant as excavations of revelation
to bring out the real persons, behind the wall,
the more subtle veil, the fog and smoke of
self-deception, the soul plugged into the material
machine, the virtual reality, Matrix-like, forcing us
to believe our dramas, not liking our story, or anothers.

Can I express my truth and experience
so you will understand me really (do you want to?)
without your natural filter, lens or labels?
taking the time to know me with kind patience,
to try to go deeper than appearances
and let me into your guarded heart?

I want to do that for you as well,
naked as it were, with no airs, defenses
or any way to be separated and divided
without judgment, the critical eye
not trying to put myself above you but
as one part to another in love, acceptance.

Can we really talk, disarmed, fearless, open
heart to heart, soul to soul, love to love,
united in person, a vow to work together forever
to serve the most High, and others to awaken
with no pretense, position to defend, no intimidation
only love, spirit of service and giving in joy.

So many ways people divide and separate themselves
by age, gender, social status, race, language, religion
likes and dislikes, and so many features of the body
all coming down to the ego’s identifying with those,
thinking it’s better, more talented or deserving
while blaming you, or your kind for it’s suffering.

Can we choose to not follow the conditioned masses
guided by limited prearranged stories of tragedy,
complicated drama with comedy relief, ordinary
selfish romance that strokes two egos when happy
changing in time to the opposite, looking again
for the same thing elsewhere, though history repeats
always seeing others or all matter are objects for “me”.

Stories of human beings who all want the same
things to be happy and avoid suffering, war,
death—why? to be happy, such a joke—my self or
family, people or country against another person,
family, people or nation—all illusion, violence
to the body and soul—the only hope is waking up.

I’m not an existentialist who sees no hope
but I just finished an epic, tragic war story
the Mahabharata, both sad, and sublime,
so my emotions have come out, reminding me,
there is some happiness here for good karma people
though it is mixed, the Vedic eye teaches us that
the soul is incompatible with matter, not belonging
here—the real solution is living in relation to that guiding Star.

Gita’s 1st chapter, “The Yoga of Despair”, for out of
the ashes of material despair, grief, rises the Phoenix,
like the sun rising out of darkness, spiritual instructions
of Krishna teach us we are not our repeated sad, imperfect story,
but joyful souls, part of the Supreme Beloved—taking
shelter of Spirit brings us happiness, all we may desire.

That is divine hope and faith that spiritual practice
enables us to experience, to remain fixed amid our
attachments which define our material self, and variously
pull us down if we give them attention, since we go where
we put our faith and attention, so now, return to spiritual glory
walking in love and light, again being a true giver and friend.

This is the joyful ending the soul seeks—living happily ever after!

Combined comments from old site

Wed, 11/12/2008 - 13:46 — Karnamrita.das
Frustration about the limitations of relationships

I have to share with you that this was a very, very intense feeling poem (or whatever we should call it), and highly personal as well, so perhaps I shouldn't have posted it, but here it is. It is really about the limitations of relationships in the conditioned, shallow physical plane, so it is about my lamentation about not being able to connect deeply. You could see it as an out growth of my blog about friendships. I pray for my soul to come out and be able to connect from that pure platform to another soul, without pretenses or masks. For the time being we have to use our material personality and conditioning in Krishna's service and purify it, yet at some point we will go beyond it. Thus this represents my hankering for that level of spiritual advancement when I see no one or nothing as an object of my exploitation, only seeing everything as meant for Krishna's enjoyment. That is the ultimate "natural" for out self, the eternal soul.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


*Reply*

Tue, 11/18/2008 - 09:27 — bhaktincarol
question

Hare Krsna.
This from my simple mind...
Devotees have taught me that the real person in each of us is spirit soul. Our only true purpose is to serve Krishna.

And we are to serve Krishna's devotees.

Are you saying that we need to share something about our personalities here so that we can better serve Krishna? So we can better serve Krishna's devotees?


*Reply*

Wed, 11/19/2008 - 06:46 — tekisui
Interestingness

Hello, all.

What Bhaktin Carol wrote here reminded me of something else that came up in my mind while reading Karnamrita das' OP:

Namely, it seems to me (and this is of course my own projection, I am not sure whether it is in accord with what he meant or not) that in order to "deeply connect with others", we need to be "interesting", we need to "be someone", "have a personality" and not simply be "just another devotee".

Among run-of-the-mill people, it is often very important to be "special", to "be somebody", to "have a personality", to "be different than others", to "not be yet another one from the crowd", to "be interesting". If a person isn't like that, they tend to be considered "worthless", "boring", "mediocre". So people do all sorts of things (sky-dive, parkour, wear fancy haircuts, etc. etc.) in order to "rise above the mediocrity".

Of course, it is understandable that devotees aspire for perfection, to be "above mediocre", to "be interesting" - in the sense that they seek to perfect their devotional practice, in line with the prescribed instructions.

But sometimes, I get the impression that aspiring for perfection in the practice is not enough, and that instead, one should also have some additional credentials - as if to say "Pure prema? Bah, that's what any devotee aspires to anyway. How mediocre. How about some more, how about something that really is your own, something that you have got to show for your individuality, and that isn't merely due to the instructions of your religion?"

I suppose this is the false ego speaking. But it is also the sort of attitude I am afraid of, I've encountered in some people on other spiritual paths - this notion that one has to be in line with the doctrine of one's spiritual path, but also have additional credentials, or one is simply mediocre and rather worthless.

Hare Krishna!


*Reply*

Thu, 11/20/2008 - 11:06 — Karnamrita.das
A good Karma profile

I think to deeply connect to others you have to first want that (many people don't), and really endeavor to understand a person. If we are interested in and care about someone and are able to convey that, they will be more inclined to share their heart with us. How deep we can go depends on two persons level of spirituality. Various karmic conditioning is not very favorable for close relationships--even with their own self.

Sometimes the Christians speak of people who go to Church showing their "Church face" or a type of acceptable religious profile not really in accord with who they are. A person on any path can be guilty of this, being more interested in appearances then on substance. So we have to be aware of this. Sometimes among devotees there can be pressure to cut a certain image of external acceptability. For instance, devotional attire is good (dhoti and sari etc), and can be helpful for bhakti, yet it is not an end in itself.

I have it heard from one of my Gurus' esteemed godbrothers that a lesser person only sees anothers' past, an average person their present, and a superlative person the highest ideal they are endeavoring for. Though we may struggle following all the rules, our sincere desire for a superlative spiritual goal will help us. To repeat the comment you quoted from your other new comment: What do we really want? If we really want Krishna, though we fall short, we will still make progress from the power of our absorption. Our gross body follows our hearts' absorption. Imagine if we can't live without Krishna---if he is our life and soul. Certainly that would affect one's life in observable ways, yet it may not always be clear externally.

Someone may not be attractive, articulate, apparently intelligent, yet be totally fixed on the goal of prema and seva. Others, although believing that is the most worthy goal, may have other priorities and desires, and not appreciate the seemingly insignificant person who is full of spiritual hankering for Krishna. Appearances can be deceiving if we don't spend the time to go beyond stereotypes.

Even people beyond "run of the mill" may want to be significant or known for their good qualities or devotion. It is not easy to want no appreciation, or praise, though that is the essence of what is required to constantly chant the holy name (One can chant the holy name of the lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower then the straw, more tolerant than a tree, ready to offer all respect to others, but not wanting any for themselves. Lord Chaitanya's 3rd verse of Shiksastakam).

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


*Reply*

Fri, 11/21/2008 - 04:15 — tekisui
Who is "we"?

Greetings, Karnamrita das.

To go back to the question - What do we really want?
But to know what we really want, we also need to know who we are, no?

To me, "What do you really want?" is one of the most difficult questions to answer.
I want ice-cream. I want to have an infallible body and mind. I want appreciation from others. I want nothing bad to happen to me. I want ...
In all these, which of these I's is my actual self speaking, and which of these is my false ego speaking?

Just because a sentence I say has "I" in it, does not automatically mean that it is my true self speaking. And it's not like I am capable of telling apart my false ego and my true ego. I know the doctrine about the two, yes, but I don't have a personal realization of them, so for all practical purposes, I can't actually tell which is which, and this has consequences for me.

You say that many people don't want to deeply connect to others. By "people", do you mean that their true selves, or that their false selves don't want to deeply connect to others?

Hare Krishna.


*Reply*

Fri, 11/21/2008 - 10:52 — Karnamrita.das
Thoughtful

Yes, I think we have spoken about this before. Although our eternal identity is spirit we are plugged into the virtual reality called the physical body and mind. We are the consciousness or perceiver. Our original desires are pervertedly manifest in the desires of the flesh.

Our spirit "I" thinks it is the body and that happiness means fulfilling the desires of the mind through the senses. I am sure you have heard all this, but like you said you haven't realized it. That takes time, though as much as possible we endeavor to act on the soul platform by doing service to Deities or devotees at home or the Temple, chanting the holy name and in general making our life an offering. In addition we have to keep hearing the philosophy and thinking about what is said, praying to realize and act on it, and gradually changing our desires from matter to spirit.

Our soul wants what it already has by nature, eternity, knowledge, love and happiness. Trace any desire back far enough and you come to the root. So the soul wants to connect deeply with others even in the conditioned stage. That is true desire, because souls can connect in that deep loving way in their constitutional spiritual nature. The falsity is trying to obtain spiritual states in the temporary world of illusion and misery.

We can understand something of our soul and Krishna by looking at our deepest desires and needs.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


Tue, 11/18/2008 - 10:34 — Karnamrita.das
Not a simple question, but a simple answer

Actually the fact that we are not our bodies has confounded devotees to varying degrees since Prabhupada began ISKCON in 1966. When I first moved into to a Temple 39 years ago we practically denied our physical body, its' nature and needs in the name of "we are not the body". Or we would think that it didn't really matter who you married as long as we were devotees. For many of us our experience shattered those myths.

Although the fact that we are not our bodies is in one sense the beginning of spiritual life, it is not so easy to realize and act on. The word ATMA which is generally thought of as referring to the soul, can also refer to the body and mind in different circumstances. Thus, on the path of spiritual understanding and loving Krishna, we have to take help from our conditioned body and mind, spiritualizing them by chanting the holy name and other devotional services. The body and mind don't disappear by neglecting them so we have to understand our conditioning, finding our strengths and weaknesses, and have an occupation and service which complements our nature.

Hiding behind the philosophy, behind "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" to deny the struggles we might be having will be disastrous. That has been done in the past. Knowing "who we are" in the body is as important as knowing the goal and theory of K.C. We don't want to just look good, without being honest. Although we should all stretch at different times to go beyond our comfort zone, we need to acknowledge our nature (as the Gita says, "What can repression accomplish?"). In addition, if we don't have a support community of confidential friends we will likely fall away. This all sounds like simple common sense, yet the truth is that this is "uncommon, common sense".

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita

Tue, 11/18/2008 - 11:21 — bhaktincarol
Yes, I've only been around

Yes, I've only been around devotees for a few years, and yet I've been told several times how important it is to take care of the body. Of course we should take care of our bodies! I was told working to keep the body healthy allows us to use it to serve guru and Krishna. And because everything belongs to Krishna, we should take good care of what He has let us use. One devotee told me that taking care of our health is service to Krishna (that was in reference to my being in the hospital on Janmastami when I wanted to be doing service at the temple instead.)

I was thinking, though, that our actual identity is the soul. I wasn't challenging, I was wanting to understand your ideas on the link between 'personality' (is that what I wrote?), 'conditioning... strengths and weaknesses' (you wrote) --and serving.

If I am beginning to understand, the nature that we have due to our conditioning and history needs to be acknowledged and understood...so that we can deal with struggles and be honest, and develop in our KC.

I think you are saying we need to deal with issues, and try to understand ourselves --as part of advancing in KC and continuing to be in association with other devotees. I would think other devotees being sympathetic, or giving effort to understand our struggles also helps us all remain in association. And that would lead to... our having assistance to advance in our KC, being able to work ourselves and together in KC activities, learning, growing, preaching.

And you were communicating how deeply you wished to be understood and have pure interest in your relationship with others. (do I understand partially?)

You revealed your feelings so beautifully.
Again I am grateful to have experienced what you wrote.
Hare Krsna.


Sun, 11/16/2008 - 07:05 — tekisui
On connecting deeply with others

Greetings, all.

I've been thinking about what has been written here. I can't say I can really relate to Karnamrita das' frustration about not being able to connect deeply with others. Not that I feel that I am perfectly able to connect deeply with others, or that I have no desire to do so - far from that. It just seems that I see the whole issue somewhat differently than he.

I would put it this way, in the form of questions:

- Is there anything that really is one's own, that which defines one's individuality, other than one's personal relationship with Krishna?
- Those soul to soul dealings - how much are they really soul to soul dealings, and how much are they simply the workings of the modes of material nature? Where is the line between the self and the modes, how can one recognize it?
- How does karmic causality work - is there only one cause behind each result, or are there many causes contributing to a result? If the latter, how can we truthfully speak about our experiences and other karmically caused things, if we don't know all the causes (as chances are that we don't know all the causes)?
- If one doesn't have personal realization of the Absolute Truth - then how can one incorporate teachings about it into one's everyday life, without betraying either the Absolute Truth or oneself and others, and without compromising one's integrity?
- How to avoid the cheap partyline "I'm in maya, you're in maya, we're all in maya" and instead communicate with others and write about our experiences, thoughts, emotions etc. in a meaningful manner, without violating Vaishnava philosophy and values?

It seems to me that all these questions can be answered at least in part if not completely with scriptures. I try to formulate my doubts, wonderings and questions in scriptoral/doctrinal terms as much as possible, because it seems that this way, my doubts etc. have the best chance to be answered and be accompanied with the appropriate instruction. Granted, I am not proficient enough in scriptoral/doctrinal knowledge to do all this myself. The devotees who introduced me to Krishna Consciousness are very philosophical, especially one. The training I have received from him has been just that: to formulate my problem (whatever it was) in scriptoral/doctrinal terms, with exact reference to scripture. So far, this has been the best approach for me.

And something else to the topic of connecting deeply with others -
It is said in the Nectar of Instruction:
NoI 4: Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one's mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.

These are the six types of dealings between loving friends.

The one I find most pertinent for the discussion at hand is "revealing one's mind in confidence". The purport to the verse doesn't seem to speak much about this directly.
What does it mean to "reveal one's mind in confidence"? What are the prerequisites for "revealing one's mind in confidence"?
I'll try to give some answers, to both questions: to speak to others with confidence that they can understand and that one can make oneself understood to them; not thinking that oneself or others are stupid or inept; having checked and convinced oneself that a particular person is the right sort of person to talk to about a particular issue; having checked and convinced oneself that a particular time and place are right to talk about a particular issue; not harboring fear or hatred for the people one is talking to; not bringing up topics of discussion idly and not naming false reasons for bringing them up; "doing one's homework" - previously informing oneself or reflecting about a topic one wishes to discuss with others.

It has been my experience that when things go sour in communication, it is because one or more of the above factors are not in place.
For example, we often talk to people we harbor some negativity or resentment for, while telling ourselves "Oh, I am going to overcome my prejudices, I am not going to let maya affect me like that, I am intelligent enough to rise above all these petty things and will have a decent conversation with this person". Yeah right. As soon as you try to rule over maya - it's got you.
Or it's not the right time and place, but we bring up an issue anyway and wish to "reveal our mind" - and then there is a short cut in the communication and we think how bad the other person is, or how bad we are and yada yada yada.
Or we really just want to gossip, but since we know gossip is bad, we bring up some philosophical issues and pretend that that is then not gossip - and then wonder why things went bad anyway.
And so on.

Of course, being careful about how, where, when, with whom, about what one speaks about can mean that one will not talk much at all - and being silent like that can make one feel very lonely, alienated, it can be very frustrating, it can fill one with even severe feelings of worthlessness. But humility is the beginning of knowledge (BG 13.8-12).

Hare Krishna.


*Reply*

Tue, 11/18/2008 - 07:36 — Karnamrita.das
Only Krishna and his energy

I see my inability to connect with other souls on this plane as an impetus for my spiritual practices. In spiritual life there are both negative and positive impetuses for service. Negative impetus includes the material miseries and shortcomings of matter, while positive impetuses are the nectar and sweetness of Radha and Krishna, their service, holy name, pastimes etc.

I don't claim to be spiritually advanced, yet the more we progress spiritually the more we understand both the limitations and spiritual opportunities that exist in the material realms. We need relationships, so we have to have ones that help us spiritually. Whether my unhappiness at the limitations of relationships in the world--even with those on a spiritual path--is just from my material conditioning, lack of spiritual attainment, or some spiritual awakening or a combination is anyone's guess. The more important question is to determine if it is favorable for my taking more shelter of Guru and Krishna, and feeling convinced that my real prospect is in the spiritual plane.

From one perspective there is only Krishna. Looked at more closely there is Krishna and his energies, which are one and different from him. We are one of Krishna's energies, the jiva shakti, and are also conscious, but only minutely so. So Krishna's energies have different relationships with each other and with Krishna by constitution and by consciousness.

It is true that in the ultimate sense we can't really possess anything---only Krishna really possesses anything, though that is just a way of speaking about him---he is everything after all, so even for him, what is to possess, except himself? Never the less, souls in all dimensions can have relationships with each other---in the world we do in illusion and forgetfulness of Krishna, and in the spiritual world we relate to one another in relationship to our primary relationship to Krishna.

So my lamentation is not being able to have spiritual relationships with others, based on realization of our spiritual identity and relationship with Krishna. Of course I do the best I can, and it is naturally better with those who are striving to love Krishna, with whom we can reciprocate with, at least sometimes in the 6 loving exchanges--or at least a few of them.

The best way to associate with devotees or anyone is through devotional service, as through that service we gradually forget our bodily conception. The more purified we become the easier it is to separate out the modes of nature and the soul. To the degree we are covered we see others from the external platform.

You are correct that we need to cultivate a scripture based vision of how to see life and others, especially I might add by keeping company with advanced devotees whose very presence reminds us of the spiritual platform and whose words elevate our consciousness. Truth be told such association is the primary way we make spiritual progress. Such souls though rare are, do exist, and need to be searched for. I know a number of such persons, and I greatly value being with them as I feel the spiritual current coming from them. There are different statements that say 90% of our advancement comes from the association of saints, or that 90% of our advancement comes from our chanting japa of the Hare Krishna mantra. So we have to see that both are essential as are all the other spiritual practices given by the great acharyas or teachers.

Krishna says in the Gita the to understand the intricacies of action and reaction is very difficult. Though we may not understand the ultimate material cause of something that may happen to us or in the world, we can still look at it philosophically. Since from one angle we are responsible for our being in the world, we can take responsibility for what problems that may come to us. Blaming our problems on others is not helpful and our karma means things we have set in motion in our previous lives or this life.

There are many ways to see things that can be favorable for our spiritual advancement. For instance, Prabhupada describes in 2nd chapter of the Gita, that when good things happen to a devotee, he gives credit to the Lord, thinking he is unworthy of us mercy, yet accepting it for service, and when reverses take place, he believes that Krishna is minimizing his or her suffering, yet allowing some to come to teach us. Whatever happens to a devotee can be instructive if we look for the reason, and pray to understand beyond appearances. For a devotee the Universe is favorable for his advancement, since behind the Universal laws is the merciful Lord.

Being "in maya" shouldn't be an excuse for fallen habits or acting out our illusions. When a devotee told Prabhupada that he sometimes "falls in Maya" Prabhupada said he was always in Maya and occasionally "fell into Krishna". So we can evaluate within our self--how much we want to serve Krishna, how much is centered around our selfish desires. We study Krishna, and what the absence of Krishna means. What do we really want? And if we want to make spiritual progress then we will want to do those things and associate with those people who foster our Krishna remembrance. Imperfect practitioners we are, but Krishna carries what we lack and preserves what we have. We want to have a prayerful attitude to remember we are not the doers and that Krishna is the source of all ability, talent, intelligence, memory, and is our very life!

It is a good quality to be inquisitive. There are many Vedic scriptures and for devotees, especially the Bhakti scriptures to satisfy your need to know, as well as those persons whose lives teach us how to live our life based on those scriptures. At the same time our line of Gaudiya Vaishnavism gives a good bashing to the intellect. It is useful to an extent, though ultimately Krishna is a transcendental person, understood by a trans-rational process, in a word, realized through pure love.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


*Reply*

Wed, 11/19/2008 - 07:26 — tekisui
Reality checks

Hello, Karnamrita das -

You said something I'd like to emphasize:
The more important question is to determine if it is favorable for my taking more shelter of Guru and Krishna, and feeling convinced that my real prospect is in the spiritual plane.

So we can evaluate within our self--how much we want to serve Krishna, how much is centered around our selfish desires. We study Krishna, and what the absence of Krishna means. What do we really want?

I think reality checks like that are very important.

I have found that it is very easy to just drift off, blindly convinced of that "I want to progress in spiritual life" when in fact one also wants other things, even more than progress in spiritual life. This is sometimes called "spiritual bypass" or "high-level denial".

I have a question here, any input is welcome: What is one supposed to do when one finds that "spiritual progress" is not one's number one priority, but one is also sure that the other priorities, the material ones, will not bring true happiness either?

In fact, I shall post this as a topic - it's here: http://connect.krishna.com/node/4596

Hare Krishna.


Thu, 11/13/2008 - 08:34 — tekisui
Without pretenses or masks

There are some things that I find striking about expressing one's feelings and thoughts in the form of a more or less orderly poem:

The poem in the OP has twelve stanzas, ten with six lines each, the seventh one has seven and the final one is a single sentence. All stanzas except the third one are made up of one sentence, and even the third one could actually be counted as one sentence.

Personally, I find such an orderly expression of one's thoughts and feelings to be intimidating, even alienating, and quite impersonal, actually. It often seems to me that if a person has the time and the energy to express their thoughts and feelings in the form of an orderly poem, then things can't be that bad for them as the poem might wish to convey.

Then there is also the factor that the mere form and order of the poem have an undertow power to shape one's thoughts and feelings. So when using the poetic form of expression, it is possible that the writer has "poetified" them, made them seem more palatable for expression - but has thereby also possibly falsified them.

In the poem of the OP, I think its relatively orderly form also helps to convey what its content conveys: the relatively orderly stanzas also function as "walls, fortifications, tall towers in the clouds, everything stone, metal, the strongest materials supposedly for protection, though it also serves as a prison to keep others from finding and hurting the self, and keeping you and me from our true pure self, instead, confusing, confounding." So the form and the content are in a kind of ironically sad interaction.

So how is this post of mine for being without pretenses or masks ...


*Reply*

Thu, 11/13/2008 - 11:16 — Karnamrita.das
Interesting topics

You have brought up many interesting topics for discussion.

I understand your point about masks. You seem to be saying that my speaking of masks is another mask of sorts. Fair enough. It would depend on if was trying to make some sort of posture, or cut some profile, like I am a deep poet. I don't think I am, but I wasn't meaning to imply I was mask-less, only that I dislike them and all the superficiality of human interactions. In a broad sense the desire for open honest communication is the desire to uncover the soul and have soul to soul dealings. My inability to communicate in that deep spiritual way frustrates me at times. It is not all consuming, yet that is a real part of me trying to come out.

I understand your theory of how structure might be another type of covering, and not suitable to express lamentation---at least very deeply. However, I can't entirely agree with you. One thing is that you don't know the intensity of feeling that went into what I wrote, or my process of writing. I just let it flow, and didn't think much of its form. Yes the lines are about the same in length which required a little thought, yet that was about it---I didn't and don't edit much.

If I just used a jumble of words to express my feelings I don't know how effective it would be to share my experience.

"Intimidating, even alienating, and quite impersonal"---sure if that is your experience. I respect your experience, and I was trying to express mine, however imperfectly. You might share with me how this could be done better as I have never taken any training in such things. I am just winging it and practicing---with life as well.

I think any form of communication or artistic expression can be impersonal. It is the attempt to express one's experience in a second hand way---through some medium, whether through paint, clay, or in this case words. It is the "separated energy" of the artist, a re-presentation of something.

I write out of inspiration. Am I expressing something, or is something coming through me? Perhaps both.

We could question if the attempt to express one's experience has any value if it is prone to be misunderstood.

I think you did very well to express yourself without pretenses--though can any of us really know that without knowing another deeply, and then, how much can we truly know and digest? This fact was the themes behind this poem.

I appreciate your time in sharing, and I am grateful for the opportunity to think about your points. If there are no comments, then there is no discussion, or churning of whatever comes from the expression. My subjective expression brings out anothers' subjective response.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


Thu, 11/13/2008 - 00:59 — Navasi
Connecting Deeply

Dear Karnamrita,

I'm glad you posted it.

I agree it's very intense and highly personal. I was honestly a little "undone" by it. It almost hurt.

I wanted to say something, to respond, but all I could feel was "well, I'm afraid of such direct, unveiled, personal sharing"....

That's awful I know, and I felt conflicted when I saw that was my reaction, because it's that kind of "wall" exactly that you're addressing.

I almost commented, telling you I understood, because I had those kinds of walls myself. I was not as courageous as you are, so I didn't.

Still, that feeling about not being able to connect as deeply as we might want to, is there too. I was mentioning that feeling in the post I made called "Pain Junkie" about how hard it is to really connect deeply with others.

I don't know if I'm understanding what you're saying here, or expressing what I'm trying to say in a way that is understandable to you.

I admire you for having the courage to express this much of yourself, in such a personal, genuine way. I'm glad you did.

We are all dealing with the limitations of relationships in the conditioned sense, until we are totally pure, like you're saying.

Along the way, to me at least, it's the endeavor (and hankering) to go beyond that, that is beautiful. That is the expression of the soul. It ~wants~ to go beyond conditioned existence, in every way.

Thank you for expressing that.
Thank you for having the courage to share that expression. It gives me strength. It's encouraging to see.

Your friend in Krishna,
Navasi


*Reply*

Thu, 11/13/2008 - 05:45 — Karnamrita.das
Sharing the depths and heights

Thanks for sharing your honest feelings. Of course you know the value of hearing that our offering in the form of writing has a positive effect on others, so I am glad you appreciated my sentiments, however difficult to hear. Writing is my heart and my very intense feeling side often comes out---though usually it is too personal to share here.

There are limits of course to how much we share our lamentations or "broken-ness" , though I do think there is a place for it. It shouldn't be the main meal that we share, but a side dish to our lofty aspirations of Krishna Prema. It demonstrates that though we are practitioners of Bhakt following it to the best of our ability we also have our human struggles, sometimes stumbling and going through long plateaus where we may not be doing everything "right" from the strictest standard.

On the one side we can be strict with our self, lenient with others, and then we have to be compassionate with our self at times, accepting where we may be while keeping our eyes firmly on our highest ideal. The standard of attainment is pure devotion--nothing changes that--while at different times we may appear to be going a few steps back to regroup. (The way out is through) If you are going to jump over a chasm you have to step back to get up the necessary speed. In general we reject Daksa's philosophy spoken about in the Shrimad Bhagavatam of material enjoyment, yet it does partially apply--we regulate the senses, giving them superior engagement, and not over indulge in the name of burning out the desire. Of course devotees have different conditioning and require various levels of material facilities.

The point is to be thoroughly convinced that our highest prospect is in serving and loving Krishna and not in matter. We go to where our heart and attachments lie. So we are cultivating attachment for Krishna, his service and devotees, and being guided by that taste (ruchi) feeling natural detachment from everything that doesn't foster that.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita