Karnamrita's blog

Shri Advaita Acharya—Teaching the Secret Bliss of Servitorship

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
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[Depending on where you are in the world, today, or here in India, to morrow, is Sri Advaita Achary's appearance day. So I am reposting a blog from 2012, and will post my first two Vrindavana Healing Video Blogs in a few days to test the water of interest.]“I offer my respectful obeisances to Shri Advaita Acharya, whose activities are all wonderful. By His mercy, even a foolish person can describe His characteristics.” [Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi-lila 6.1] Shrila Prabhupada, my guru, and the founder/exemplary teacher of the Hare Krishna movement, referred to the bhakti scriptures as “the science of God.” This term is amply demonstrated by the appearance days of various incarnations or expansions of Godhead. Shri Advaita Acharya is one such expansion of God, specifically of Krishna, whom Gaudiya Vaisnava’s see as the fountainhead or Source of all incarnations—or we could say, the Source of our conception of God which is in relationship to the material world. Within this tradition Shri Advaita Acharya is famous, and celebrated for His compassion, as it was His pure prayers for Krishna that caused Krishna to personally appear (as Shri Chaitanyadeva) for the deliverance of suffering humanity. Specifically, Shri Advaita is the cause of the material creation and is considered an expansion of Maha-Vishnu, that aspect of Krishna who maintains and sustains the material world.

Introduction to my Vrindavana Healing Video Blog series

Karnamrita with Master Nahar Singh Vaidya photo Karnam with Master Nahar Singh Vaidya_zps3ksreijl.jpg
A few days before I left for India, some of my dear friends, the Gopals, allowed me to speak at their home for a gathering that I asked for, in order to seek the blessings of my larger extended devotional family. It will be in two parts, and is a big longer than what I have called my "Vrindavan Healing Video Blogs," which are usually no more than 13 minutes. This series is how I keep in touch with my family and the larger family of devotees and friends, in which I share how I am doing, along with the realizations, experiences, and thoughts I am having living alone in Vrindavan, and doing what has turned out to be an extremely difficult healing protocol, and yet full of grace and blessings, not the least of which is from the prayers of the devotees, my family, and those near and dear to me! Now I share it with you if you would like to accompany me on my healing journey which has so far, at least in India, spanned 2 month with approximately 8 more to go, though it may be longer which I will continue in my home in the USA. For my cancer healing journey in general, I have been sharing it here and on Facebook, for over 3 years.

ADVENTURES IN MONKEY HEAVEN—VRINDAVAN JOURNAL, DAYS THREE, FOUR, & FIVE

 photo Monkey and devotee_zps89zqtj1i.jpg (From last month, as I am now in my sixth week living in Vrindavana, but I'm trying to set the ground work for my video blogs) Hard to believe it is already the sixth day here, but time flies wherever we are. Eventually, I am sure I will be looking more at weeks and months, though naturally each day and moment is what we live in, as the present is all there ever is. I have acclimatized to being here. No jet-lag to speak of even in the first few days. The stopover in Finland for 12 hours helped, and spending that time with gracious devotee friends, who shared delicious prasad with me. The fact that I was able to sleep on both flights was also essential. I’ve settled into a temporary routine of going to the temple and taking my meals at the MVT restaurant, and sometimes at the restaurant where I live, until my treatment begins when I will be cooking all my own meals.

MY ANGEL She is originally from Germany, a disciple of Kavichandra Maharaja, living in India since 2001, and married to a devotee from Jaipura. She speaks fluent Hindi, English, and of course, German, has done the Hodal treatment I am embarking on, and thus knows its ins and outs. Out of gratitude and kindness she mercifully helps other devotees doing the treatment. I would be hard pressed to imagine doing all the purchasing by myself and knowing how to take the medicines, though directions are in written form. Such a kind-hearted, humble, and giving devotee, with a fine sense of humor. A joy to be with and so helpful. I am indebted to her—certainly I can see her as an agent of Shri Radha, as are others who have helped me like Mahadevi and Kusa Matajis, Prema Prakasa and more. In fact, the whole trip has been practically flawless—and even yesterday’s unexpected, startling encounter with a fury, tailed, red-butted resident of Loi Bazar, turned out much better that it could have.

MY AUSTERITIES The yogis undergo austerities, and we experience driving to Loi Bazar from near the Krishna Balaram temple. Although the other 3 lady devotees where enthusiastically chatting and laughing as if this trip was no problem and the most natural thing in the world, to me (Mr. Tough Guy—not!), going over the rough road and potholes gave me the feeling that my brain was bouncing off my scull! Bong, bong, bong!

AVERSION, INSIGNIFICANCE, CRITICISM--VRINDAVAN HEALING JOURNAL DAY ONE AND TWO

Vrindavan Journal photo IMG_3314_zpsdgx3ubnc.jpgI have been living in Vrindavan for the last 5 weeks of an eleven month stay doing a very intense Ayurvedic/Homeopathic treatment. I had to set up a household as I cook for myself and have to deal with the cold and terrible air quality, some mornings near 500 (0-50 is considered good air quality). If the air was this bad in the US they would likely close everything and tell people to go out as little as possible.

I wear a surgical mask when I go out, which people think is amusing. However, according Government statics, over 150,000 people died last year from the polluted air--and the air quality here is almost as bad as Delhi. I wrote this and another blog during the beginning of my treatment, but then found that took too much time. Thus I have been posting video blogs of about 10 minutes, which I'll post after the second written journal. Today I am working Volume 9, and plan on posting them all gradually, so you can see them in real time. I hope you find them as interesting as I do in posting them. I speak and about my treatment, challenges and reflection on living in Vrindavan, and still facing the possibility of death which has been with me for the 3 years since I have known about my throat cancer. Living in Vrindavan has intensified this, due to both the outer environment, and the spiritual feeling here. The cancer was kept at bay for nearly 3 years with alternative treatment, but has just begun getting worse, and thus my treatment here.

We often find pairs of opposites combined in the Gita, Bhagavatam, and other scriptures, in verses that recommend us to be equipoised in the face of all dualities. In the combination of attachment and aversion, attachment has in the past seemed to me to be the greater problem. However, after my first day in Vrindavan, and on my drive from Delhi to here, aversion is my bigger challenge, and is a significant “in my face” opportunity to miss the dhama or inner Vrindavan. Additionally, it takes some days to make the adjustment to living in India because flying here is like being dropped from one world into another practically overnight. Thus, I have been advised to be patient as some people can’t handle it and leave.

I HAD AN INTERESTING DREAM LAST NIGHT and MY PRAYER FOR DIVINE HELP

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I HAD AN INTERESTING DREAM LAST NIGHT. I was able to fly and was looking at all the sights of the planet. It was fun, but I wasn't very satisfied with the experience. Then as I was attempting to help someone in a seedy part of town, I was captured and injured. As my new master was putting me in a cage, he freed the former resident of the cage to make room for me, who happened to be my wife. I awoke as she was telling me the rules for living in the cage.

I relate this dream to my wife's difficult health throughout our marriage, and how now it is my turn. At the same time, one of the important ideas, while keeping death in mind is to know what is truly important. I also need to keep a good sense of humor and laugh a lot. That is very healing. I feel such gladness and gratitude for the outpouring of love, affection, and support from my friends, as I try to share the lessons I am learning. It's rather overwhelming even as I drink it up as the most valuable healing elixir of shared love. I am a rather mild mannered, introverted type, but inside my emotions can be raging.

At this point, I am feeling a great deal and pray to reciprocate with the kindness, love, and prayers of the devotees. And now, I am getting ready for yet another installment on my healing journey, my next adventure to live in Vrindavan for all around healing—physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual.

Reflections on the Guru, on Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day

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[reposted from 10-21-2009] ISHRILA PRABHUPADA'S DISAPPEARANCE DAY REFLECTIONS: It is likely that most disciples of Prabhupada remember exactly what they were doing when they heard the news that indeed Prabhupada had “left his body,” 'disappeared," or departed this world for the spiritual plane or Goloka. As the death of our mother and father is a kind of initiation or rite of passage for everyone, when one’s guru leaves the planet, it calls for a new birth—and an unexpected, difficult one, as it ushers in a another stage of life.

We learn in the Chaitanya Charitamrita that one meets one’s guru by the grace of Krishna: “…Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bonafide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.” Cc Madhya 19.151

The guru is considered a kind of incarnation of God (a mercy incarnation)---he is an individual soul as we are, but is acting as a representative of Krishna. He or she is a tailor-made manifestation of Krishna just right for our particular nature. Although Krishna is present in scriptures such as Bhagavad-gita and Shrmad Bhagavatam, he is for the most part passive in this form—he doesn’t talk to us if we don’t understand or teach us how to follow the instructions. For that we require a guru, who is referred to as the “active agent of Divinity” because he not only asks us to read the scriptures, but will ask us if we have understood, and to explain it. Therefore we require both the book Bhagavatam and the "person Bhagavatam"—the person who lives the Bhagavatam and also teaches it by example.

Govardhana, Prabhupada, Sweet Potatoes--seeing the Spiritual in all Circumstances

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
Govardhana hill of prasad
[reprinted from 11-03-2011]
The reward for surrender?
Vrajavasis receive trouble
from angry Indra
trying to destroy Vrindavana,
devastating rain, intense storms,
not one leaf fell
to inspire us,
that refuge in Krishna
is always a blessing
despite first appearances.

WHO ARE YOU? WHAT IS REALLY YOURS? WHAT DO YOU TAKE WITH YOU WHEN YOUR BODY DIES?

Our family photo Karnam Arcana Narayan old from BTG_zpsrq9be3re.jpgBefore I travel to Vrindavan this December I was planning to back up my storage drive for my computer—whoops, too late!!!! I shared some pictures from this drive with a friend and it seems got a worm virus in return, and as a result, all my pictures and writing, including two books I wrote, and one I am working on, were gone the next day. Some pictures are irreplaceable, though the majority are on my blog on Krishna.com and Facebook. Naturally I was sad and disappointed, but in my usual style, I sighed and said, “O well,” and I thought about it philosophically, and wanted to at least get a blog from it.

So here is today’s meditation from the title of today’s blog: Who are you, really? What belongs to you? What can you take with you when your body dies? There are many ways we could answer these questions depending on whether one thinks they are the body, or has experience that they are an eternal soul temporarily inhabiting a body. Even for those, like myself or likely you, who understand we are a soul, can also define ourselves by what keeps us in material existence, or elevates our consciousness.

Month of Kartika—Pure Devotion on Sale for Less

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
Yashoda tries to bind Krishna
[Reposted from 10-11-2011]One of the recommendations for advancing in devotional service is the observance of Kartika Vrata (special devotional practices) especially in Vrindavana, India, or at some holy place, but anywhere that we worship Krishna during the Vedic month of Kartika, or Damodara, which corresponds to October-November. It began yesterday on the full moon and continues to the following full moon. As the next month of Margashirsha represents Krishna, [Bg 10.35] this month represents Shri Radha, who is the feminine compassionate aspect of Krishna. Shri Radha is considered the best devotee of Krishna, and she is both Deity and ideal of devotion for Gaudiya Vaishnavas. We try to please Radha, and our gurus who represent her, to obtain the favor of Krishna, which means engaging in His devotional service eternally. Our aim is not so much to obtain Krishna, but love of Krishna, or prema, because wherever prema exists, Krishna lives! Thus by the grace of the Divine Couple, Shri Radha and Krishna, Radha’s month is considered like a special sale, where the ordinarily very difficult ideal of pure devotion, becomes easily available for a small price. Ours is truly a path of mercy, though as much as possible we also follow the recommendations in the scriptures for our daily spiritual practices.

RECOVERING FROM MATERIAL EXISTENCE

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As I recover from the flu
I realize that my whole life
is about recovering from impositions.

Think about yourself as a soul
with no material identity or externals—
what then belongs or covers you?

The body we are so attached to—
whether we like it or not—
gradually deteriorates and turns to dust.

Our material ego fiercely defends impositions
or whatever temporary position or possessions
we define ourselves by or think "this is me.”

I am a “this or a that,” a created handle

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