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Essential Thoughts and Questions for Life and Death


(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
Ma and Pa are congradulated for 60 years together

My wife Archana and I just returned from visiting her parents to participate in their 60th wedding anniversary celebration. A momentous occasion for anyone, though even more so when we consider the state of today’s marriages. Our family get togethers are always fun and help everyone come closer together, while gaining understanding, and appreciation for the differences and similarities between us. From a spiritual perspective, any event can be a learning experience, and any person our teacher. All circumstances present an opportunity to think of the Krishna conscious, or bhakti yoga, philosophy in practical terms. We can learn to be more understanding and seek common ground. I share some thoughts in free verse about my experience, in the mood that everyone’s life can be connected to Krishna’s service. Mundane or spiritual is a state of mind, and we have to make the best of any situation and relationship.

Living life purposefully
learning by observing events,
instructing gurus are everywhere
disguised in “normal” life,
while attending to necessities
they keep us spiritually nourished
experiencing the body’s temporality,
physical changes displayed dramatically
family photos testify transformations—
beyond external circumstances,
learn what’s truly important.

Famly pictures
Thirteen hour Florida drive
our parents wedding anniversary
sixty years, three children
good karma bears fruit,
kindness, generosity, helping others,
one hundred guests celebrate
going strong at 84,
their friends age earlier
frequent funerals give reminders:
the curtain call’s coming,
uncertainty beyond this life
not knowing how to prepare:
a forced stage role created
another birth to sleep or awaken.

Deficiencies apparent in others—
But am I really ready
to meet my Maker?—
leaving the body, interests, achievements?
my spiritual wings tested
flying upwards toward Krishna,
or are attachments weighing me down?
unresolved issues/unfulfilled plans?
preparing now for the future
by living a Godly life
my heart/mind fixed
on Krishna’s service, or not?
raising my consciousness
to my highest ideal, or not?
Spiritual family reminders for chanting my japa
Like attracts like
every thought creates another
either higher or lower
moment by moment,
becoming actions and future,
our next life’s created,
no accidents, but natural consequences
from birth to rebirth,
death’s fundamental questions
are also essential in life—
let us contemplate them
to gauge our spiritual progress:

“How is your life defined?
“What are your goals?
“What do you want?
“Where do you find happiness—
devotional service, senses, or entertainment?
“What would you die for?
“Your heartfelt definition of self—
servant of Krishna, material body
(black, white, young old, etc.)?
“How giving are you—
how kind, loving, compassionate, caring?
“What can’t you live without?
“What are your predominant thoughts?
“Is Chanting your food or medicine?
“Is Krishna your spare tire
for emergency use only,
or your steering wheel
giving constant direction?”
Don't fall into the water.
Answering these questions
should give us pause
about the distance remaining
on our spiritual journey,
adjustments to be made,
changes carried out—
real problems are within,
remembering our shortcomings,
how important are other’s blemishes?,
calling for merely justice
withdraws mercy for you,
and without grace
we have no hope.

Search for good qualities
not for minor faults,
this isn’t a sentimental idea
as we become our focus,
it increases in strength—
thoughts are boomerangs
coming back stronger—
choose your absorption well
as you will attract more,
either love or fear
service or exploitation
temporary bodies or eternal life.
Radha Gopinatha Sept 2011 2
The above thoughts I wrote
during my Florida stay,
upon returning I feel grateful
for a devotional life,
lovely Deities and altar,
association with devotees
and broadminded thoughtful people,
freedom to openly worship Krishna,
chanting loudly, offering food,
giving thanks before eating,
devotional pictures on every wall
giving reminders of Devotion,
studying Vedic scriptures,
internalizing the bhakti path,
having enough spiritual taste
not to be overly attracted
to the material facilities
and environment I just visited.

Without Krishna, my life is dry,
yet gratitude shouldn’t be vanity;
be convinced, yet openhearted,
appreciate others good qualities
wherever you find them—
encourage small acts of goodness
while not expecting conversion;
to be listened to
we must listen;
to be respected
we must respect;
our example, joy and kindness
speak more than words;
be a good adult child,
flexible, yet spiritually fixed;
apparently in the world
while knowing you’re Krishna’s,
create a devotional environment
within, and non-intrusively;
be a genuine well-wisher to all,
pray to benefit others.
Stunned beholding Radha Radhanatha