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Blogging for Blogging's sake?

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I wrote Friday's blog about motivations and qualifications for approaching or worshiping Krishna to encourage those of us who are not pure devotees and may have material desires that we want to fulfill. That is most of us---it is a question of degree, experience, maturity, and especially realization. It is important to realistically access where we are on the map---so to speak---and act with this in mind. This often takes time of course and we need to know that introspection isn't quick and may come gradually as we mature in levels of understanding as we need it. It is great to want to have pure love for Krishna and be off the bodily platform, but another matter to actually be there.

Though we may know the theory well, we still may not really practice what we know or believe completely, due to our other priorities. Though being complacent isn't helpful for our spiritual growth, neither is feeling guilty about our lack of spiritual standing. I do my best to emphasize the need for balance between our material and spiritual lives. Often when we are new to Krishna this idea isn't very appealing. Everything is new and exciting and we may be sick of the material world and we want it all spiritually---we are not just going to settle for being a mixed devotee--no!!, we are going to give everything up and move into a Temple. Of course that may be part of your path, though perhaps not.

I have shared my story of how my life unraveled and at 19 it seemed like the most natural and essential thing to renounce the world and move into the Krishna Temple. As a brand new devotee my mood was set and fixed (I thought) and I never imagined I would ever live as a married person in the "deep dark well" as materialistic married life is often called. Living in the Temple seemed the only plausible option. I was convinced I would be a pure devotee in a few years, that the world would soon be Krishna conscious and that a flower airplane from the spiritual world (Vaikuntha) would be coming for me in a short time.

It is good to have high aspirations, and it is also good to be able to be pragmatic. After my ups and downs as a Temple devotee nine years later, I had a much more realistic view of myself, my material needs, and my level of spiritual advancement. I came to understand and still appreciate the maxim to "Know thyself". Then rather then thinking of a few years, I was thinking of the phrase Prabhupada gave us, to "Give this one life to Krishna"---so I knew being Krishna conscious was not an overnight sensation or achievement but one of my whole life commitment and likely lifetimes of practice.

To protect ourself from laxity it may be necessary in the beginning to be a bit extreme or what could be seen as fanatical or black and white in our thinking about the world, Maya, and K.C. If that helps us dedicate our lives to Krishna and make a commitment to chant regularly and center our lives around him, then it is fine. Many of have been there. At the same time we should come to realize the enormity of the task ahead of us and not expect results in a only a few years. Our determination to serve Krishna needs to be tested and strengthened by the "fire of ordeal"---like steel being strengthened through being in fire. Though we do have to believe that with the help of our guru and Gauranga (Lord Chaitanya) that our highest ideal is possible, and also that everything comes in time. That is why we are advised to be patient, yet confident of ultimate success. Krishna will carry what we lack and preserve what we have!

Everyone who is an aspiring devotee should fine a way to be encouraged and to encourage others with compassion. I have encountered people here who have been discouraged by impatient overzealous new devotees. I know it is hard to hear people's doubts or lack of faith, yet these things are to be expected. That is another reason I wrote Friday's blog---there are many levels of motivation in directly approaching Krishna, and ways to approach God indirectly that can be offered to people unable to accept Krishna. One of the symptoms of new devotees or kanishtha bhaktas, is that they find it hard to accommodate differences and even feel threatened by them, making neat categories of friends and enemies. Some religionists never grow out of this stage.

So there you have it for what it is worth. I feel my last few blogs may have been way to wordy with too many quotes. I love the philosophy and like to show my readers where different subjects are covered in Prabhupada's and other Gaudiya books.

It is little hard to address my audience here since other then a few regular readers it seems we have a large number of people who come and go. So besides my more philosophical pieces I will try to have more conversational pieces that address everyday life and common issues in spiritual practice and which will be shorter and more hopefully more digestible.

We all have many faces!

Combined comments from old site

Mon, 12/29/2008 - 07:44 — Dhama Rupini
Thanks ever so much

Hare Krsna Prabhu,
I just wanted to thank you for your blog entry. I thoroughly appreciated reading it. I totally agree and endorse the need to be realistic and balancing the material and spiritual aspects of our lives. There were moments when I started questioning my occupational vocation and whether it would enhance my kc life. However, due to Krsna's mercy , the association of devotees and Bhagavad Gita readings I've realised that once you try making Krsna the centre and dedicate all activities to Krsna then there'll be hardly a question of balancing. We can use all our talents and skills for Krsna. I remind myself about engaging in the different aspects of devotional service and I try to do as much as I can. The association of devotees, engaging in different forms of service at the temple and reading immensely has helped me tremendously. Of course there are challenges and stumbling blocks but those are the times that I try to delve deeper. Thanks for this lovely blog and please keep writing.
Haribol
Julia


*Reply*

Mon, 12/29/2008 - 10:31 — Karnamrita.das
Balance and Stretching

As I mentioned in the beginning--by way of an analogy--we may want to jump on the rocket to outer space by our sheer will power--being tired of earth life. That can be a good beginning, yet we eventually learn that to be spiritual astronauts we have to be in good "spiritual shape" to withstand the intensity of leaving the earth's atmosphere and rigors of "space life" until we reach our ultimate destination. Our sadhana or spiritual practices are like building our spiritual muscles to prepare for the moment of death. At death Prabhupada tells us that we need to "fly our own airplane". Everything will depend on our Krishna consciousness and our dependence on Krishna seeing him as our true wealth. What do we want?

The rocket ship analogy is good up to a point. Our going to Krishna takes our effort though mostly it is the mercy of our gurus, the Vaishnavas, and Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda. We live like everything depends on us, knowing that it is only by mercy that we can obtain success or even continue in our practices. We are truly tiny and easily distracted. Every step we take is a wonder!

So we need to keep the fire of determination alive, while we realistically understand our spiritual appetite--what we can digest spiritual speaking. Then we need to stretch beyond our comfort zone to check complacency. Festivals at the Temple (appearance days, Kartik etc.)or Japa and spiritual workshops can be helpful for this purpose. At times we can do more, seeing what is possible, beyond our limited thinking.

Eagerness to progress, the beginner's mind, gratitude, looking for the good yet being able to discriminate, intense prayers for spiritual advancement, seeking out advanced devotee association ( and believing it exists!), chanting more attentively and prayerfully, regularly reading of the K.C books, intelligence to know our actual position, and stretching to do more are all important and can work together to help us. The Krishna factor is always important to remember, and that makes all the difference in our lives!

We Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


Mon, 12/29/2008 - 01:08 — Namacarya das
Dear KArnamrita Prabhu...

... I consider myself very fortunate to have possibility to put my eyes on your writings. You are very kind and merciful.
Please bless me, that I can take these precious instructions to heart and live them.

Your servant,
Namacarya das


*Reply*

Mon, 12/29/2008 - 08:49 — Karnamrita.das
Students and teachers of each other

Truly we are all students and teachers of each other. Association with devotees is about being of help and service to other devotees and to people in general who may benefit from knowledge about K.C. I ask for your blessings as well that I may be allowed to continue in my writing seva (service).

We all need encouragement and also feedback when we may be off the mark. I invite all types of questions and doubts so that we can churn the nectar of K.C and go deeper into the ocean of devotion. I need another word besides appreciation as I have used it each of my replies here, but I do appreciate devotees taking the time to comment or speak their mind or experiences etc. Thanks so much.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


Sun, 12/28/2008 - 12:45 — abrennan
"And every one of them words rang true- "

"And every one of them words rang true and glowed like burning coal, pouring off of every page like it was written in my soul..."

The above is a line from a Dylan song. When I read your words this is what they are like.

It seems to me you must carefully consider them all before, and after, you have written them.

I don't think there is anyone here who hasn't been drawn to consider deeper issues of devotional service after reading the gifts you present to us.

You allow us to consider issues from perspectives we may have never noticed, as well as allowing us to consider what we may never have presented to us in such a thoughtful way.

I have heard that Ananta Sesha has been eternally singing the glories of Sri Krishna with his many, many mouths and he still hasn't finished yet, and most likely never will.

I prefer a meal that someone has taken their time to lovingly make, with Krishna in mind. We should not consume unconsciously, be it the food of our tummy or the food of our heart. I am not here for fast food. If we don't chew our food then our digestion won't work, and our teeth will fall out. Don't let that happen to me.

Rock on Karnamrita das, great job, please continue.


*Reply*

Tue, 12/30/2008 - 08:52 — Namacarya das
what is the name of Dylan's

what is the name of Dylan's song?


*Reply*

Tue, 12/30/2008 - 10:58 — abrennan
It's called 'Tangled up in

It's called 'Tangled up in Blue', from the album 'Blood on the Tracks'. The song has nothing to do with the subject matter of Karnamrita's post. The lines I wrote down were ringing in my ears as I was reading Karnamritas blog.

In the song Dylan meets someone who "Opened up a book of poems and handed it to me, written by an Italian poet in the 15th century. And every one of them words rang true and glowed like burning coal, pouring off of every page like it was written in my soul from me to you.... tangled up in blue"

Karnamrita is a poet who opens up his book to us. What he talks about IS written in OUR souls. Bob (Dylan) is such a great wordsmith. When Bob produced his Christian songs and played them on tour he changed some of the words of this song.


Mon, 12/29/2008 - 08:40 — Karnamrita.das
Thank you!

Amazing quote from Dylan. Certainly I pray that Prabhupada and Lord Chaitanya and Nitai will use me in such a profound way, without it changing me (by inflating my ego), except to be in awe of that mercy which may flow through my intentions and writing seva. In all circumstances have to bow our head and remember that the Lord's mercy is all we are made of.

What you have written brings tears to my eyes. I don't know how to respond exactly. It is so expected and easy to say "your words are humbling", but they are to the extent that I know I am not the doer but the servant of Krishna, who out of his unlimited mercy may allow me to be used to help others on their spiritual journey. That is amazing and miraculous!

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


Sun, 12/28/2008 - 06:12 — Go-Seva
Siksa Guru

Haribol kind Prabhuji~ Being a "regular" here, I guess I would be considered a loyal reader. I can't really describe how what you write about touches me; it's like I read it and it sounds so familiar and heartfelt and clear, I can't NOT take it in and learn from it. Both yourself and your wife are siksa guru's for many here and everywhere, teaching so many so much. I am sure that I can safely say on behalf of everyone that even if we don't comment on what you have written, it is because we don't want to seem or be thought of as totally ignorant, lurking in your shadow of knowledge, yet emerging into the light of that knowledge when what you say turns on the switch in our head. We all appreciate your enlightenment very much....

Please keep on writing exactly what you want, as this multifaceted approach is bound to hit some part of everyone who reads.

Thank you for taking time out of your lives to give us this necessary nectar.

Haribol!


*Reply*

Mon, 12/29/2008 - 08:31 — Karnamrita.das
Light and Shadow

Hi Lisa. I don't expect everyone to comment every time I write. Sometimes though I try to get a reality check to make sure I am relevant.

Krishna consciousness in my view is extremely broad and there are many understandings. Not all devotees agree with everything I say, though I can support what I write with scripture or commentaries or common sense reasoning. That is why I have written blogs like "K.C. is Multi-colored" among others to do my best to stretch you and help you to see how generous, broad, accommodating and inconceivable this path is.

I consider my self a tiny devotee--my false ego doesn't agree--though I have enlightened masters. I do my best to share what I have heard which has broadened and stretched me, and what I have found useful. I also share what pitfalls and difficulties I have encountered in the attempt to help you when you may face the same things. I am not on a cloud, but an very much living on the earth while trying to fix my sights on the goal of Prema--I have my distractions too! Your audience and questions helps me go deeper and provides me a meaningful service. I accept your appreciation on my head, with whatever humility I can feel, with the ideal of seeing it as Krishna's kindness in my life.

Thank you all for that! The audience is at least 50% of the equation in a class or written communication.

Your friend in Krishna,

dasanudas Karnamrita


Sun, 12/28/2008 - 05:34 — Mistia
I don't think you have been too wordy

I don't think personally you have been too wordy..more like the thoughts I have had are you have been sharing your wisdom there..the quotes have helped too for me..things I can reflect on then grow from there..I appreciate you sharing both your wisdom and your struggles in learning that wisdom..thank you..


*Reply*

Mon, 12/29/2008 - 07:34 — Karnamrita.das
Thanks for stopping by

Thanks for sharing your sentiments. I truly appreciate your appreciation. :-D Writing is a calling for me to express and somehow make a difference in others lives. Krishna is very kind to facilitate my desires for service and to provide devotees and seekers with whom I can share my experiences, my questions, thoughts, struggles and my journey. Krishna has many surprises in store for all of us, and though some are difficult, they are all good---from God, wonderful Krishna and Radha and his agents!

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita