Karnamrita's blog

Hiranya-kashipu’s Disappearance Day (Lord Nrisimhadeva’s Appearance)

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
Merciful Lord Nrisimhadeva
[This blog was originally written on Saturday May 5, 2012. This year this appearance/disappearance day was May 18th in India and May 17th in the USA]
I am only half kidding with today’s blog title, yet I am trying to make a point, as you will see. Specifically, this is the day we celebrate the devotion of Prahlad, his constant remembrance of Krishna, and Krishna’s assuming the fearsome, though ecstatic, form of Lord Nrisimhadeva to protect and glorify His pure devotee. However, we can also feel a kind of gratitude to Hiranya-kashipu, for without his demoniac nature, and trying to kill his son, we would have never heard of Prahlad, or seen the practical demonstration of the Lord’s love for his devotees. Great souls are glorified by their struggles and victory over adversity.

In every great life story there must be an antagonist which allows the hero to shine. Although unimaginably powerful, Hiranya-kashipu also represents our tiny selves, or our personal rebellion against God, and—to put it nicely—those less than ideal qualities in our heart that we as devotees, or sadhakas, struggle with. Thus, in our material conditioned state, we can think of our dark side like a mini-Hiranya-kashipu, and pray that the Lord slay our “anarthas” or our unwanted conditioning, such as lust, anger, greed, enviousness, etc. We are fortune to have both good and bad examples in the scriptures, so we will know our ideal, and what we want to rise above. Everyone can be our teacher!

CUTTING LOOSE THE WEIGHTS THAT HOLD US DOWN, & Vrindavana Healing Video Blog# 5, Power of Attitude, Love, Gratitude, Mindfulness

[revised to reflect my current situation in India--reposted from7-20-18 ]
Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts
we’re just stuck in our old patterns.
Even we say we don’t like them
but they’re habitual, a natural groove—
such a strange aspect of life
how we empower our personal rut
while screaming our whine against it!

The essence of trying to go forward
is that change doesn’t come easy
unless we make a total commitment
and there is more pain in stagnation
then in changing for the better—
we do more to avoid pain
than to experience happiness.

ENDEAVOR AND GRACE—A HUMBLE ATTEMPT TO SHARE MY PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE and VRINDAVANA HEALING VIDEO BLOG #4

ENDEAVOR AND GRACE—A HUMBLE ATTEMPT TO SHARE MY PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE TO A FRIEND I HAVE ENDEAVORED TO BE AN ENCOURAGING CHEER LEADER TO FOR SOME YEARS, AS HE SORTS OUT HIS LIFE:

What follows is part of a discussion I had with a him where I shared part of my philosophy of life in a nutshell:

What prompted this was a quote he sent me:

उद्यमेन विना राजन्न सिध्यन्ति मनोरथा:।
कातरा इति जल्पन्ति यद्भाव्यं तद्भविष्यति।।
(पञ्चतन्त्रे)
O King, one can never achieve without hard work; only cowards say, “what is destined to happen will happen”. (Pañcatantra)

My two responses:

1) Endeavor and grace. Thinking, feeling, willing, acting, blessings, as we aren't the doer. We do our best after full deliberation, and leave the rest to Krishna knowing we aren't the ultimate cause for the results.

His response to this was a pranams (hands in prayer) symbol and a smile, so I was inspired to share the following. Of course, I don't know why he shared this quote, yet knowing him, I think he just wanted to highlight the importance of our endeavor. As a devotee, he knows the reality of depending on Krishna, while also knowing that some may refrain from endeavoring due a fatalist attitude, making karma supreme, and thus not thinking we can change, or strive for a certain goal, or that depending on Krishna means inaction.

A Lotus in the Redwoods and Vrindavana Healing Video Blog #3

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
Some persons caught up in the counter-culture of the late '60's and '70's felt that all materiel prospects were void and society's status quo, miserable stagnation. Thus, as if in a life and death battle, they intensely felt compelled to search out meaning and happiness on the spiritual quest, appearing as their only hope. This free verse poem, inspired by the months I spent in the redwood forest in Muir Woods in Marin County [near San Francisco, California], condenses the background feelings of my spiritual search that culminated in Krishna bhakti and continues to unfold to this day, some 49 years later.

While the dynamics of my mood in writing this poem in 2011 was much softer than is expressed in this poem, my current mood has a similar quality in terms of inspiring action. The power of my original spiritual search gives me energy today, and has sustained my spiritual life all these years. I am inspired to remember that pivotal time of my life. It reminds of the power of urgency in fueling our endeavor to act for our dreams and goals, and what is required to make radical life changes for a higher purpose. I was so determined (for the first time in my life for anything!) to find the real purpose of my life and to make sense of what appeared to be a mad, pointless, world.

I was willing to forgo everything else to be successful on that pilgrim's journey. By the grace of my current cancer I am putting forward a more mature, subtle, but no less powerful, determination toward my life goal of service to others by speaking and writing, based on my life experiences. I'm inspired to remember the feeling and dynamism of that time of new beginnings, and to create another new beginning for myself. And as I have, so can you, whatever your age!

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Appearance—The Exoteric and Esoteric Reasons

(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.)
Chaitanya and Krishna lila photo ChaitanyalilaandKrishnalila_zps0ffbcc5f.jpg

[reposted from 3-15-14] There are many ways to know a person. One can know a person by guessing what they might, or should, be like, study the person from a distance—say from the Gossip column, Internet, or Facebook— hear about them from others who may, or may not, know them, or we may directly experience the person through a loving personal relationship.

The last way is the best because if we love a person we will discover, and they will reveal to us, all their secrets. It is similar with Krishna. Even though he is both infinite and inconceivable he has the prerogative to reveal himself to those who love him purely and selflessly. In regard to Krishna, and specifically Shri Chaitanya, there is both an exoteric (apparent) as well as an esoteric (hidden) reason for his appearance.

PART ONE, THE CONFIDENTIAL, HIDDEN REASONS:

The closer we come to Krishna the more we will know about him, by his grace. And there are many ways to explain the necessity of the Lord’s various forms and energies. For example, great devotees have looked very carefully at Krishna, and discovered another person, Radha, or devotion personified, who is most dear to Krishna. There is Krishna, and his energies, all of which come from Radha.

And looking even more closely at the Divine Couple, pure devotees have found that Radha and Krishna have combined together to become one, in the person of Shri Chaitanya. Such pure souls, such as the Six Goswami’s of Vrindavan, Shri Krishnadas Kaviraja, and others, have shared their experience with us in their writings, and given us the logic of their love, referenced by the Vedic scriptures.

THE LORD'S DESIRES ARE ALWAYS FULFILLED

If we study the lila, divine activities, of Radha and Krishna as revealed in the Shrimad Bhagavatam and Chaitanya Charitamrita commented on our Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas including Shrila Prabhupada, we will understand that there must be a Lord Chaitanya to fulfill Krishna’s unmet need. Krishna is perfect, complete, and full in himself, so when he wants to experience something, he manifests a situation and spiritual body accordingly.

Saved from Drowning, and a 5 minute video, The Intensity of the Search for Cancer Treatments

Praying for tolerance like the tree photo DSCN7043_zpsovp4l5yn.jpg
I decided to include either a reworked blog, or some written material in addition to videos concerning my cancer healing journey so you can also have something to read and think about even if you don't watch the video. I admit that if you don't know me, or what I am about, my personal healing journey with cancer may not interest you. However, if you or a loved have cancer, or any life-threatening disease, I think you will get something out of this series. Plus, as we are all confronted with the temporariness of our body, and it's inevitable demise, we are all the same boat of having to come to terms with physical death, and if there is any afterlife, or soul, or God.

I will post the links for the videos at the end of my written material as that will motivate me to put them up all on YouTube. Even if they can help a few people, I will be happy. Currently I have great spiritual urgency in my writing, speech, and inner life, due to my facing possible death for the last 3 1/2 years, and now, living alone in Vrindavan accompanied by my Deities and many pictures of incarnations of Krishna and his great devotees, I also surround myself with the holy name, intense prayers for surrender, in lamentation for wasted years of life, and for spiritual aspirations. Adding to my intensity of spiritual purpose is my voluntary, but also forced austerity of a super intense and regulated healing Ayurvedic regiment for cancer.

As a result of all this I can honestly say that my spiritual life is being rekindled, with the hope and prayer that it becomes a blazing fire, so to speak. This comes out gradually in my current Vrindavana Healing Video-Blogs, where to my eye we get to see a gradual transformation. First I will be posting preliminary videos from the first days of my cancer diagnosis from 3 years ago. Though I haven't found much commenting on blogs here these days, I do appreciate suggestions for how best to share these videos I am making.

I'm here to serve you by who I am as a person, as a long-standing practitioner of bhakti, or pure devotional loving service for Radha and Krishna, and Their combined incarnation for this age, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We attempt and pray to serve them, and their servants, like our spiritual masters, like Shrila Prabhupada, and his servants, and servants of his servants. We pray to take our place in that line of preceptors and mentors, and in that way, if you want, to be of service to you, and the family of of the earth that we all share.

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.

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