Karnamrita.das's blog

The Problem with the World—Selfishness

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World revolving around me
While there are many ways to frame, or lead into, speaking about the root cause of the problems of the world, or of the country I live in, looking more closely at the concept of selfishness will be helpful. I have often thought that fanaticism is the real enemy of the world, since people’s inability to consider other viewpoints is at the root of most world or local conflicts. To me, fanaticism is a type of selfishness, or the result of a very narrow vision. Both come from bodily identification. My guru, Shrila Prabhupada spoke of selfishness, and extended selfishness. We are all eternal souls, yet we have the power to invest ourselves into matter. So although in the ultimate sense, or spiritually speaking, we have nothing to do with matter, due to false ego, we (the soul or consciousness) become duped or fooled by the illusion of the material world (maya), to think we are a particular body and mind, separate from God, others, and Nature.

Words as a Bridge Between Our Hearts and Souls

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Those who have followed my blogs for some time know that I revisit the topic of writing frequently, perhaps too often! Yet I can’t resist, and I have to explain why, if you will permit me. This is part of my journey of self-discovery and giving, which I hope will encourage you to embark on your own. It isn’t that I feel I have to justify the time I take to write, as it is a labor of love, but I am continually amazed by the whole process of writing, and what it really means, as I try to express myself, and put who I am on the page, as it were. Transferring my energy to the page in some essential way is how I view writing—only I don’t know to what extent, or how this happens, but I know it does. There is value in this for anyone, but to my thinking, especially to the degree that I, or anyone, embodies bhakti, or love and service to Krishna.

I am writing and you will read it in the future; only time separates the meeting of the two. This is one way the present, past, and future can be the same. Amazing! We are two souls who are meeting through the Word, and there is benefit for both of us, ideally spiritually, though also as struggling and thoughtful human beings searching for love and meaning. I am also speaking, as I have often, of the power of intention.

Reflections Our Propensity to Play

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Play
Regular spiritual practice, which includes living a life in goodness (sattva), studying the Vedic scriptures, serving Deity forms of Krishna, chanting the maha-mantra and other prayers, associating with persons of similar interest and inviting saints to our home, help us be in a receptive mood to learn from every circumstance and person we encounter. Then, while living and working, we will be spiritually philosophical, and open to the lessons all around us, which bring the scriptures to life. This means that we become gradually awake and sensitive to the spiritual dimension. Although souls are covered by their material bodies and minds, they non-the-less still have certain tendencies that point to their eternal nature. Of late I have noted with interest the tendency of living beings to play.

The Power of Words to Change our Life

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I have studied many alternative healing methods, yet I feel our healing power is also transmitted through the written or spoken word, through which I personally share my struggles, and successes on my spiritual journey. Our words increase in potency by our purity, sincerity, and surrender along with spiritual backing from our gurus and the merciful Lord. As important as hearing scriptural stories and spiritual philosophy are for helping awaken our sleeping spiritual self, I feel it is important to do so in a very personal way—to put a face on the path of devotion, not one with angel wings, but with warts, shortcomings, and injuries. Learning to be real, or honest with ourselves, and with others, is essential to call our spiritual progress. If we can’t uncover and face our darkness, how can we ask for help, or pray to overcome it? While socially we may feel pressure to look good, we have to actually be good. We may not be good in every way, but at least we can pray to gradually become better human beings, and better spiritual people. Divine life should always inform and guide our humanity, since the perfection of human life is to realize our nature as souls, and our loving relationship with God, who we Gaudiya Vaishnavas recognize as Krishna (in His original, most loving aspect).

A New Day, A New Year, A New Life

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Rising early, with spiritual contemplation
is a real gift to our true self,
though it requires discipline
by going against the world’s current
to stay up late being “entertained,”
pushed to have external focus
busily distracted, acquiring gadgets
not questioning life’s purpose.

Do we own our house, car
computer game, smart phone,
packaged food, or do they own us?

Be Sincere

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Although conventional Christian wisdom teaches us that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” this slogan has only relative value to try to motivate us to make sure we are on the right path. This idea, as far as I can tell, grew out of the concept that one has only one life to obtain salvation, and if one gets it wrong, then eternal suffering in hell will be the consequence. I have often been told by well-meaning preachers that while I might be sincere, I could be sincerely wrong! Fortunately for all souls, God is infinitely more merciful than to give us only one lifetime to walk the path of ultimate righteousness. How many chances do you give your baby to walk?

We read in the Bhagavad Gita, 6th chapter, about the fate of someone who takes to yoga or spiritual practice, but then gives up due to worldly mindedness: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: ‘Son of Pritha [Arjuna], a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil.’” [Bg 6.40]

The Most Joyous Time of the Year?

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It is said that Christmas time
“is the most joyous time of the year,”
which seems to be a double edged sword
with some trying to be kinder and generous,
while others feel bad, and become depressed
that they’re supposed to be happy, but feel miserable.

While it is doubtful that Jesus
was actually born on this day
it is still a spiritual celebration of
Divinity’s appearance in the world,
so when it becomes materialistic
it loses its joyous nature, becoming a shadow.

This is a lesson for those involved in bhakti

Who is the Cause of My Suffering? Part 2

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[continued from part 1] In this wisdom story, the bull and cow were fully conscious beings, representing Dharma (religion personified) and the personality of the Earth, to teach us valuable lessons about the real principles of religion, and how they are maintained and lost. Thus the king, who was a pure devotee of the Lord, was able to converse with them. Upon stopping Kali from beating and injuring the bull, he began an instructive discussion with the personality of religion, or Dharma the bull. After telling the cow and bull that as long as he was king, they need not fear further mistreatment, he spoke to the personified Earth, and then inquired from Dharma:

“O chaste one [the cow], the king's good name, duration of life and good rebirth vanish when all kinds of living beings are terrified by miscreants in his kingdom. It is certainly the prime duty of the king to subdue first the sufferings of those who suffer. Therefore I must kill this most wretched man [Kali] because he is violent against other living beings.

Who is the Cause of My Suffering? Part 1

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Who to blame?

From a spiritual perspective, this isn’t a very helpful question. While it is true that part of the beginning of spiritual life is to question why there is suffering, looking to only blame others misses one of the most empowering perspectives: taking personal responsibility for our life. (Accepting responsibility for one's suffering [BG 13.21* ] doesn't mean that one considers oneself an independent actor [BG 18.13-14* ], rather a devotee learns to act in this world as a service to Krishna, detached from the fruits of action [BG 5.10, 18.57* ] Even for good psychological health, blaming others or things for our suffering or problems is only a stage of healing (not a place to live forever). Two main types of people seek counseling, those who assume too much responsibility for their life (used to be called neurotics), and those who blame others for their problems, or character disorders. Of the two, neurotics are easier to treat. Without taking responsibility (in a balanced way) for our life and our reactions to what happens to us, we may remain stuck in anger or resentment, or consider ourselves a helpless victim of circumstances.

Being Receptive to Receiving Krishna’s Blessings

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I have the pleasure of being in touch with a number of Krishna devotees online, and I hear about their struggles, doubts, and difficulties. This blog is a general response to the suffering, or challenges experienced by devotees, since anyone with a material body has them—they only differ in intensity and how they are dealt with. As a popular adage intelligently teaches us, “It isn’t what happens to us that determines our success in life, but what we do with what happens to us.” I do my best to address various concerns, yet there is always more to say, or a slightly different angle of vision. Although I may repeat myself, “Repetition is the mother of learning (or skill).”

Thus I am again gently reminding you that our attitude, faithful outlook, positive expectancy, and peaceful, spiritual certainty changes our world. We could also add that to change our world we must change our self, which is brought about by spiritual practice (which includes prayer), and associating with saints and positive people. Change is difficult, yet that is what spiritual life is about,

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