Karnamrita.das's blog

Prayer is Life

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Absorbing ourself in worship
Prayer is my life
it always sustains me
through the day and night,
either in pain or joy
reverses or successes,
I go to bed with prayer,
awakening, I bow down
remembering my gurus
in gratitude for service
amazed at my good fortune.

I pray to offer my day
to beautiful, flower clad, Krishna,
folding my bedding with prayer
drinking Prasad (blessed) water

Nourishing My Roots—part 2--Helping Our Chanting of Japa

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In this blog I share some basics in revitalizing or beginning your journey with japa, which my wife and I taught in a recent workshop in New Vrindavan. One might consider these aids like creating a structure to facilitate our spiritual lives. Although there are no hard and fast rules for chanting, most of us need some material support to facilitate it. The points I am going over are simple but can be powerful if applied. Regarding my japa, I have had to relearn to chant properly by slowing down and really listening, and also learning to not skip beads (my bad habits). There is a tendency after long time practice of bhakti to think that we really understand the philosophy and the basics. I would like to suggest that isn’t necessarily so. In order to discover this, one has to keep a beginner’s mind, and be willing to reexamine one’s foundational practices and assumptions. If this can be done, we may experience some surprises, even disconcerting ones, but they will help us grow spiritually. That is my experience!

Nourishing My Roots—Returning to the Forest, Revitalizing Our Spiritual Practice in Japa part 1

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The blogger

Even though living in an idyllic place in the country, and sometimes working outside, I still need to occasionally visit one of two spots on our property which I have set aside for writing and contemplation. Sitting in a chair nestled in the forest I am embraced by the trees, and sometimes the lovely wind, and feel a type of home coming--at least emotionally speaking. I am grateful to the trees, who as Krishna’s agents have taught me so much about life, and remind me of my insignificance by towering above as the hairs on the Universal Form expansion of my Lord. I find it hard to imagine life without trees—especially old growth trees—though in Kali-yuga, they are becoming more and more scare, seen simply as a resource to feed the hungry appetite of a culture that is consuming the planet.

I don’t look forward to seeing the Earth as a barren waste land (as predicted in the Vedas), a testimony to the godless temperament of the exploitive tendency of humans on steroids—which the misuse of technology facilitates. At least for all of us personally, we can endeavor and pray to check this type of conditioning, and practice seeing ourselves not as master of Nature, but as Her stewards. We can see this as one service to God, and to all living beings. I wonder how world conflicts would be greatly lessened if the Middle East was covered by vast unspoiled forests, rather than desert with great oil reserves?

Krishna Carries What we Lack

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At various times in my life, time seems to go at warp speed, and I feel caught up in the rush of Krishna’s arrangements. Whooooooooooooosh! This happened during and after my wife and my trip to New Vrindavana for the Festival of Inspiration a few weeks ago. As a result I have been thrown off my usual routine of writing blogs which I take as one of my spiritual duties, or a small way I try to give back to my guru, Shrila Prabhupada, and Shri Chaitanya and Nitai, by attempting to serve and help devotees of Krishna, or those interested in investigating the bhakti path. I will share one spiritually rich experience.

The day before we left for New Vrindavan, I had to go to the post office to mail a few of my Blog books, “Give to Live,” (available in July on Krishna.com) to be reviewed, but the normal parking area was blocked by a semi-trailer truck. Thus, I went to the back parking area in the bank lot. After mailing the books I got into the car and backed up with a kirtana loudly playing. I wasn’t used to this parking spot, and didn’t see the curb on the passenger’s side. As I turned the steering wheel to back out,

Neither Here, Nor There--So Where Are You?

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On the road from New Vrindavan to home
a refreshing highway rest stop in West Virginia
sits at the bottom of a ravine with sharply steep slopes
covered by trees, decorated above with deep blue sky
while lazy, puffy clouds, contrast the highways fast pace,
I sit with my wife honoring Krishna prasadam
observing harried motorists park and move to the bathroom
a smile is rare, and they seem neither here, nor there,
apparently disconnected from the moment, and life’s beauty.

Simple Profound Truth

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Sitting in the quite sun room
joyfully bright after dark days
clouds, rain, even a late frost
killing leaves or plants too tender;
afternoon fading sun, trees gently sway,
thinking of our sharing time together
trying to give you a good read
wanting to attract creative energy
the “Cita” or reservoir of wisdom
akin to Jung’s collective unconscious mind.

Yet I don’t have to fabricate
extraordinary stories, events, actions
I only have to observe and remember,
praying to uncover the veiled message

The Holy Name Carries our Life

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At our monthly “japathon”
six hour japa opportunity
sitting down with devotees
power of combined focus
like buzzing bees chanting
our primary spiritual practice
potential to go deeper
the beginning and end
recalling, calling to, Krishna;
alas! but I struggle
to rise above sluggishness
yet chanting keeps me
Krishna pushes me on.

O Guru/ Radhe, Krishna
allow me to become
a real devotee servant—
forgive me, help me:
forgive my failings/faults
help me rise higher

Finding Treasure at the Garbage Dump

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For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me." [BG 6.29-30] Surrounding the land fill, as I prepare to dispose of some waste products from our throwaway society, a small mountain range grabs my attention, displaying sensational rocky cliffs, and providing a strange contrast to my business at hand. As I put on my work gloves, before I begin my tossing, I look down in the dumpster to find an extremely stained, beat-up set of couches, once someone’s prize possession, now waiting to be squished and compacted. This has given me a dramatic commentary on the material world of impermanence and transformation! Looking up into the sky I see a beautiful sight: huge puffy white clouds gently floating by in the deep blue sky, seemly closer than at home due to this higher altitude, yet feeling more powerful and thus prominent.

No matter how many times I see clouds, I am in awe of them, and I wonder, especially today, how to share my inspired vision. Although clouds are in everyone’s experience, many wonders can be lost by narrowly focusing on our pressing needs for living, while being oblivious to the larger context of life which surrounds us. Yet to me, clouds and the wind which moves them, are really inconceivable, reminding me of the Supreme Law Maker. (Sky and clouds in an old children's song, are colored like Krishna and Balaram.) Science may be able to describe the mechanics of the wind and clouds, but certainly not how they seem so esthetically pleasing to me, or the brilliance of this system to distribute water. To top of these thoughts, higher in the sky and directly overhead, are turkey vultures, one of the largest birds I know of, enjoying their gift of flight, beckoning us all to soar in our unique contribution to the world, and for the glory of God.

Could You Know Your Soul, and, In Pursuit of God, Joyfully Embrace Problems? Part 1

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With or without spiritual life, we will experience the miseries of the material world such as disease, old age, the death of our body or a loved one, seemly untimely. Unexpected stuff happens—guaranteed! Our car is totaled, we are injured, our house burns down or is submerged in water, or someone steals our possessions. People disappoint us. Leaders act inappropriately or give up their spiritual practices. Someone who inspires us dies. Relationships go sour. Chronic diseases plague us. Money is scarce, or we may experience any number of problems—and after we have dedicated our life to becoming Krishna conscious! Such events may make us question our connection to bhakti or to Krishna and we feel discouraged or depressed, as human nature tends to blame God for our suffering. Thus, it is essential to be conversant with the scriptures and note the apparent reverses suffered by great souls, and how they go through them and depend on Krishna throughout. In fact, they are teaching us how to live in all circumstances.

Could You Know Your Soul, and, In Pursuit of God, Joyfully Embrace Problems? Part 2

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One of the original and great motivational speakers in the United States, and the father of “positive thinking,” was Rev. Norman Vincent Peale. He tells many interesting and instructive stories concerning his responses to people who approached him for help and spiritual counseling. One person in particular he recalled so poured his heart out complaining about the countless problems he seemed to always encounter, that Norman considered he needed a profound teaching example. The man expressed that if only he would be free of his nasty problems, then surely he would be happy. At a certain point, Rev. Peale told him that he knew a place where the people had no more problems, and he enquired if the man would like to visit there. The man replied with an enthusiastic “yes.”

They drove silently for 15 minutes, and pulled into a long driveway. “Here my friend,” said Norman, “is a place where the people have no more problems.”

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