Karnamrita.das's blog

Ring Around the Rosie: We all Fall Down/Rise Up

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Earth in Hands
Self-realization in a circle
what goes up
must come down
within the Spring leaf
the Autumn falling power
Vedic Cosmology
champions cyclical time
linear time’s a modern illusion
after the light, darkness
begetting again the light
yesterday’s gain
today’s forfeiture.

Month of Kartika—Pure Devotion on Sale for Less

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Yashoda tries to bind Krishna
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.

A Lotus in the Redwoods

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Mt. Tam looks at Bay Area
Pensive on a mountain top
looking through modern civilization
almost covered by smog
adrift in a sea of uncertainty
atomic threats and toxic chemicals

no charted course appeals
provided answers are shallow
all paths appear pointless
unlimited choices dull the brain
walking among the living dead
complacency dressed as a virtue
the status quo bewilders me

Decide to be Happy


To some, the idea in the title of today’s blog sounds too simple, or sentimental to be true, yet I have found that happiness, or sadness, or a host of emotions, are a state of mind, or more correctly, are a result of whether we remember our spiritual, joyful nature, or not. Happiness is a choice we make, moment by moment, by what we focus on, and who we think we are. Many great persons in the world also know the power of our focus. Abraham Lincoln once wisely observed that “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be,” and he was a man who underwent many reverses, and hardships in his life. We all have tremendous power to be happy and to help others, but this power comes from the soul, who is a spark of Krishna.

As eternal spiritual beings our nature is joy, peace, satisfaction, and in relationship to Krishna, everlastingly, blissful celebration. While we live in the world, and strive for various goals, or solutions to personal or world problems, one of the most important components of our success is the joy and spiritual consciousness we bring to life. In spiritual, or Krishna consciousness,

We Love Krishna, Therefore We Are: The Importance of Serving with Affection part 2

Lord Chaitanya appears on Earth
Krishna has a perfect sense of timing. As so often happens in my life, He has helped me in my tiny service. While I was thinking of how to expand my four paragraphs in this second part about affection, I heard a very appropriate tape of a Prabhupada lecture, with pertinent details about feeling that I never remember hearing before: In his travels, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to a town where He observed a brahmana who appeared to be reading the Bhagavad-gita. As he was turning its pages, he was sometimes crying. Passersby were mocking this brahmana’s “reading” of the Gita, since it was known that he was illiterate. Curious, Lord Chaitanya humbly approached him and inquired how it was that he was reading the Gita. The brahmana felt the sincerity of Shri Chaitanya’s inquiry, and answered that he was illiterate, but since his guru asked him to daily read the eighteen chapters of the Gita, he was somehow trying to follow his guru’s order by just seeing the pages. "Oh,” asked Lord Chaitanya, “you are not simply seeing it, since you also are crying." "Yes, Maharaja, I am crying also." "Then if you are not reading, how you are crying?" "Maharaja, I am not reading, but I'm feeling the Gita."

We Love, Therefore We Are: The Importance of Serving with Affection Part 1

Rene Descartes
René Descartes, considered the father of Western philosophy, is most famous for his statement, “I think, therefore I am”. However, devotees of Krishna, informed with the spiritual knowledge of the Vedas, might better say, “I am, therefore I can think,” which hints that often Western philosophy has it backwards. In other words, from consciousness, or from the soul, flow all our abilities such as thinking, speaking, or communicating, etc. Thinking doesn't make us exist, but our eternal nature allows us to think. While rationality is better than merely animality, or the struggle to meet bodily demands, Lord Chaitanya has taught us that the real gift and facility of human beings is their ability to voluntarily love, and specifically to love Krishna or God. Animals express a limited form of love based on biology and receiving physical necessities, yet human beings have the full potential for loving unconditionally--one another and God. Therefore, we might continue to develop Descartes’ maxim, by rephrasing it further to say, “I love Krishna, therefor I am.”

Listen to the Earth: Be a Giver

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A week of rain
with more on the way
a full morning
of sadhana and prayer--
My country spot calls me
favorable for contemplation/writing
secluded place by the creek
inspires many themes to share.

As we prepare for prayer
by remembering our dependence
on our Gurus and Krishna
I prepare for the wetness—

The Day the Sun didn’t Rise

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Finding the light
Today, the sun didn’t rise
I kept waiting, perplexed
the wind howled
rain came in sheets
electric power failed
no machines worked
not even computers
I lit candles
the ancient technology
altar Deities again illuminated
“O Lord, what is going on?”
Going upstairs, my wife vanished
“Such things can’t be happening!”

Transforming the World, into a World of Service--Part 3

The concept of service is an important one since it involves the true constitution of souls in relationship to God. It is the natural religion of the soul, so to speak, and as I have mentioned previously, it is observable in every person to varying degrees. This topic needs to be thought about from many angles of vision, and thus yet another blog. As so often happens, the last part in this series on service, is what first inspired me to write about it, namely some of my early misconceptions about service, and relating to the world and other people. Having taken up the path of bhakti at the young age of 19, I had many misunderstandings, as did many of my spiritual brothers and sisters. Some of our ideas at that time, though well intended, were quite one-sided, and are not very flattering when looked at today. However, my hope and prayer is that my mistakes and immaturity may help you understand Krishna consciousness in a deeper and more nuanced way than some of us. If we don't admit our mistakes, how can future generations learn to avoid repeating them?

Prabhupada’s arrival in America

Prabhupada begins his trip to America
Today marks 46 years
since Prabhupada’s arrival in America
as emissary of Shri Chaitanya
foretold by his chart at birth
he would travel overseas
to establish 108 temples.

Studying his life reveals
a lifetime of preparation
kindling his fire of devotion
realization of the scriptures
practical knowledge with purity
compassionate perseverance to save us.

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