Karnamrita.das's blog

Relationships, togetherness

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Relationships, togetherness,
connection, and sharing
are not merely the spices of life,
they’re the foundation of animation
the juice and energy which sustains us
beyond merely existing or maintaining,
the celebration of we, us, our, the many,
pointing us in the direction of selfless service.

Where there is Hate, Let us Sow Love--Love is the Answer part 2

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We continue our discussion of love and hate and their interrelationship, with the idea of sowing love where we find hate. When we feel unloved, and by extension, that life is unloving, we tend to deny the existence of love all together, and thus decry the reality of God. In such pain, it is easier to deny God and think that the Universe has no Source or ultimate purpose than to think that love could exist at all, and that God is merciful and kind. Such persons become cynical and angry. Everyone has their conditioned angle of vision, and we tend to see life as we are, or according to our limited experience, forgetting that we haven’t experienced all of life. Thus we find that some children are taught by their parents and elders to hate other groups of people and see them as the enemy. This perpetuates the world’s conflict and strife, generation after generation.

Spiritual Thanksgiving: Levels of Gratitude

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Although I have written a fair amount about the importance of gratitude, and giving thanks, in honor of the day (which is Thanksgiving on Thursday in the USA), I thought I would add a few more thoughts about it, hopefully from a slightly different perspective. While those of us who are vegetarians find it odd to celebrate our gratitude with a dead bird, many don’t have that sensitivity, and to them, that is food. Without belaboring that point, the general idea of giving thanks is certainly a good thing, especially in relationship to the Supreme Lord. From a religious perspective ordinary everyday gratitude for material facilities, things, and relationships is a step in the right direction. While gratitude isn’t “ordinary”, and is welcome, there are levels of gratitude, which are practically never considered.

Love is the Answer Part 1

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Pure children
With the inspiration of Saint Francis, a great mystic in the Christian tradition, I am exploring his famous prayer since it seems very much in the mood of our great Vaishnava saints and bhakti yogis. I spoke of sowing peace in a recent blog which began my thinking of his prayer. Whereas peace may be a kind of passive, inactive state of being, it requires to be coupled with love to realize its full potential. A progressive idea of love is that love is an action word, or verb, and not merely a feeling, or noun. “Love is as love does,” expresses this idea, and is the basis of bhakti or devotional service, with the additional idea of being part of the soul’s spiritual relationship with God. If it is really true that “love makes the world go around,” or that hate is the basis of many world conflicts, then it is essential to think about and understand these opposite states or energies.

Essential Thoughts and Questions for Life and Death

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Ma and Pa are congradulated for 60 years together

My wife Archana and I just returned from visiting her parents to participate in their 60th wedding anniversary celebration. A momentous occasion for anyone, though even more so when we consider the state of today’s marriages. Our family get togethers are always fun and help everyone come closer together, while gaining understanding, and appreciation for the differences and similarities between us. From a spiritual perspective, any event can be a learning experience, and any person our teacher. All circumstances present an opportunity to think of the Krishna conscious, or bhakti yoga, philosophy in practical terms. We can learn to be more understanding and seek common ground. I share some thoughts in free verse about my experience, in the mood that everyone’s life can be connected to Krishna’s service. Mundane or spiritual is a state of mind, and we have to make the best of any situation and relationship.

Be Who You Really Are!

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Soul taking off body close up
In the face of all our apparent problems, mistakes, and perceived failings and shortcomings, it is absolutely essential to remember our spiritual identity as a soul who is part of Krishna. This spiritual understanding is the solution to all problems and is the success of our life. You aren’t that body—remember? Don’t get so caught up in life as to deny this, or please consider this view if you have never thought of applying it practically. Bodily identification which is created and fostered by false ego—that most insidious and subtle element—encourages us to defend our misconceptions, and thus causes all our conflicts with others and unhappiness. Rather than looking inward, we think we need to add things on to our lives for fulfillment—of course, this is good for the economy!

Being an Instrument of Peace

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Although the perfection of Krishna consciousness doesn’t stop at inner peace, peace is certainly a by-product of our spiritual practices. When I lived in ISKCON ashrams, I was often asked by guests visiting the Temple if I had obtained peace, or shanti. Although those who asked me about peace had what is considered a “high standard of living” compared to much of the world, real peace of mind was lacking. In fact, in modern education, peace and satisfaction aren’t offered as important goals, since the implication of materialism, is that if we have the right occupation, family, and accumulation of appropriate possessions, we will find happiness. Peace seems an illusive goal to some, yet it is possible to achieve through spiritual practice or Krishna consciousness.

I am sure many of us are well aware from living in the world and observing others and modern media, that our current materialistic civilization, which is run by the mode of passion, (raja-guna) promotes dissatisfaction. Why, and what are practical ways to find inner peace?

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

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Govardhana hill of prasad
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.

Spiritual Variety in Universal Oneness

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Happiness
One Source, One Power
Within Oneness, Diversity
Shri Chaitanya’s Special Gift
Everything One, Different
Distant view, One mountain
Up close—form, variety
One sun, infinite particles
All-pervading Spirit consciousness
Indivisible serving soul-units.

Family Life: Giving it up, or making it a success

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Bridging the gap

A classic inquiry that I sometimes receive, which may run through many married devotees minds at times, revolves around how to deal with the difficulties of practicing spiritual life with the hectic demands of a family. Some fantasize that if they lived in the spiritual atmosphere of an ashram, their lives would be much happier, simpler, and spiritual. If you feel overwhelmed in your occupation/job/situation and family, I can empathize with your frustration, since I also had a hectic, stressful work life, with the uncertainties of being a parent. In my experience, there are always difficulties even in the best occupation or family, but an active spiritual life will give you added strength to deal with them and to see your circumstances in a spiritual light. Whether you are a student, unemployed, looking for a marriage partner, or in any type difficulty or even happiness/success, you will gain clarity by taking time regularly for prayer, the holy name, and in general, making a connection to Krishna.

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