Every step a prayer
giving thanks I still walk,
every breathe a question
when my love will awaken?
*Maharaja told a story of seeing a beggar's intense facial expression and gestures of need and desperation in the middle of a walkway at a busy train station in India. This inspired him in his chanting to call out for Krishna with feeling, expressing his urgent need for Krishna's mercy.
*There is a difference in hunger between a rich and poor man. A rich man's hunger is mild, as his stomach is at least semi-full, whereas a poor beggar is always hankering for a meal and visualizing food. Are we hungry for Krishna, or only religiously chanting?
(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.)
Walls, fortifications, tall towers in the clouds
everything stone, metal, the strongest materials
supposedly for protection, though it also
serves as a prison to keep others from
finding and hurting the self, and keeping you and me
from our true pure soul, instead, confusing, confounding.
Relationships are meant as excavations of revelation
to bring out the real persons, behind the wall,
the more subtle veil, the fog and smoke of
self-deception, the soul plugged into the material
machine, the virtual reality, Matrix-like, forcing us
to believe our dramas, not liking our story, or anothers.
Can I express my truth and experience
so you will understand me really (do you want to?)
without your natural filter, lens or labels?
While blessed to travel the royal path of Pure Love
the journey requires much preparation and stamina
as the road has both roses with hidden thorns and poison ivy—
nor is the road always smooth, or flat and easy going,
in one’s way come boulders, fallen trees, mud slides,
rivers to be forded, mountains climbed, tiredness overcome
temptations passed in alluring beautiful lush valleys.
As I flew to L.A. from Hawaii, I brought a very fragrant flower garland. When I arrived at the Temple, I wanted to personally garland him, but a devotee guard downstairs from his room stopped me. I thought about going into his room anyway, though I was too hesitant and fearful. Eventually Prabhupada came down to give his lecture---it was the disappearance day of his guru, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. I was introduced by the local GBC and gave him the garland. He didn’t seem to really notice me, which upset me a bit. I was able to consider that he likely was absorbed in other thoughts, perhaps of his guru. This was the year he gave a famous talk about his guru where he became choked up with tears saying how we were all helping him serve Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta.
At the airport reception, a huge kirtana was going on with devotees from Berkeley, San Francisco and L.A. We were oblivious to our surroundings and took over the waiting lounge. Perhaps there were over 100 devotees. As we waited the kirtana got more and more wild and ecstatic, which was not what the other arriving passengers were expecting as they filed out of the plane. We were at the top of a ramp with devotees on either side of the pathway. After what seemed a very long time Prabhupada appeared at the bottom of the walkway. Then the kirtana went into warp speed and intensity difficult to describe.
From Sacinandana Swami' newsletter:
Today, I chanted, prayed, sang, and deeply connected at Govinda Kunda. What an atmosphere!
Before me the kund, or pond, and towering behind-tall and majestic-Giriraja Govardhana. A cool breeze moves the leaves of the trees of desire whose arms dance in the wind as if offering arotika to Radha Govinda. This breeze cools my body and mind as well as those of my roommate-a small bat who listens intensely to my japa and singing.
The soul takes on a material body and mind, with an ego that says, “This is me.” The false ego (“false” because we have a real spiritual identity beyond physical forms) or our material “I” defines itself by what it thinks it possesses--what is mine, our “mys”. This “my-ness” is the basis of all problems the soul faces in the material world, including our problems in dealing with other persons, or souls also conditioned by “my-ness”. It is interesting how “my-ness” sounds like minus, since our material conceptions of identity can only exist if our spiritual identity is forgotten (the soul minus its true eternal identity is a forgetful soul habituated to living under the conditions or laws of matter.)
The Bhagavat [scripture]tells us that
both the rising and setting sun
decrease the lives of all, save those
who are endeavoring for Krishna.
In my view the primary challenge for the Krishna consciousness movement is to both preserve and understand the essence or spirit of the teachings, and to be dynamic in our outreach. The understanding I have gained from reading Prabhupada and other Gaudiya teachers is that being a devotee means being a compassionate, introspective, thoughtful, and broadminded person, looking for the good in all, while sharing the truth of Krishna in a way that is accessible and practicable to our audience.