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TO BE UNDERSTOOD AND LOVED—WARTS AND ALL!

5
Author: 
Karnamrita Das

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In addition to attempting to help others, one of the reasons I continue to write is to better understand myself. Looking at my basic desires and insecurities, I ask why? Why do I want to love so much and have others love me? It seems obsessive. Ah, the quest to be understood as I am, and to fully understand others as they are—and additionally, to fully understand myself and encourage others to understand themselves as well. Self-introspection and awareness are essential.

On one level, perhaps the deepest level is the spiritual desire for total love, connection, and oneness with our “Maker” as they say, or our “Source,” “Creator,” etc., etc., or more personally on my path of bhakti, to Krishna with his Radha, or Chaitanya and Nitai, and all their energies, and associates, like my gurus and previous acharyas.

I understand the purpose of the false ego (though I don’t much like it) as a protective mechanism for souls who want to enjoy and exploit the material world and think of themselves as separate and independent—all in their own way and to varying degrees. By nature our sense in a material body and mind is to feel incomplete and in need and this fuels our search for love and fullness, and thus our continual attempt to do this, birth after birth, in countless different forms and circumstances until we learn that souls can only be happy outside the confines of matter.

No “thing” or possession or material object can satisfy; no material action or accomplishment can fulfill us; no physical relationship can be sufficient to satisfy our yearning for love, and all that we seek with another person. These truths are meant to point to the spiritual dimension for all we seek in the world.
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I have a list of reasons from my life history why I am so obsessed (am I really, or am I just aware of this side of humanity more than ever before?) with the desire to be love, understood and valued, from my particular conditioning and how I grew up. We are all self-absorbed and self-interested as social media expands upon, so why should I want you to be as interested in me as I am?

From my understanding if I—or any one of us—could connect to our soul and feel God’s love, that would be the true solution to all our problems in seeking love, understanding, and fulfillment. (We are spiritually what we seek in matter when we are connected to God.) Indeed, this is the premise of the practice of bhakti, yet we have to go beyond theory and truly feel this in our heart of hearts.

Even with this understanding and goal, most of us have to go through our biological urges for relationships and progeny and have an interface or identity in relationship to work in terms of occupation and social and familial roles. Ideally, if through it all we can be steady and prayerful in our bhakti practices, with focused chanting of the holy name, Deity worship, Vaishnava sanga, studying Gaudiya literature, giving to and serving others with affection, then gradually we will truly embrace the goal of bhakti—not just in theory, but as our life and soul.
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Our “life and soul” is our future, or we could say our “highest ideal,” or what we truly live for, and are willing to die for, so to speak. The Gita teaches us that we are our faith, and according to our faith we act. Our faith demonstrates our attachments, which shows us what we value. So one perspective of bhakti is it is the process of changing our faith and attachments from matter to spirit. We begin by connecting our faith and attachments to devotional goals and service, with the prayer that some day we will desire only unmotivated, fully pure. loving service to God—(Radha and Krishna). This is what Gaudiya Vaishnavas have signed up for.

Personally, embracing this goal fully, appears to be many births away, though I also know that as long as my life force is in this body, I can advance in ways, and to degrees, that I currently can’t imagine or fathom. This is one of my many hopes and prayers. My gurus, guides, and Gauranga (Lord Chaitanya) aren’t through with me—or you—yet! We live by mercy and pray to joyfully and lovingly accept, with no reservations or hesitations that arise from the bodily concept of life, how the mercy and grace manifests in our lives--all for the purpose of spiritual progress. My love and blessings to you all! (The 3rd picture is at a preaching center on "O" street in Washington D.C.around 1987; below is from a state of Hawaii ID card, 1973, and the 2nd is from my wife and my Vedic marriage ceremony along with 6 other couples--all still married!)
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