On my way to and from the Northern California Redwoods, I stopped in San Francisco, which is basically my hometown. I spent 14 years of my life there. In general I don’t feel particularly nostalgic for this town I grew up in, though I do have a fascination for my past. Why? I see how it has shaped me psychologically and the negative feelings and resentments from my childhood have caused me quite a bit of difficulty in my spiritual practice. It is a two edged sword, first helping me come to Krishna, and then presenting "issues" or attachments to be purified. It is funny how the motivations and consciousness that brought us to Krishna have to be transcended in time to call our spiritual progress.
Living in the country has really made the seasons much more alive for me. Yet this year in particular I have become powerfully aware of the deep feeling of spring. For this whole month there has been a perceivable change in the earth that I felt---a kind of knowing from a feeling level. The loud and excited chirping of the birds is an obvious physical and observable sign that something big is changing.
This morning I was listening to one of Prabhupada’s first lectures in New York City where he described the four miseries of life (birth, old age, disease and death) in a different way then I am used to. He described them as the 4 difficulties or the 4 imperfections. The word imperfection really got my attention. (Funny, because I have listened to these lectures many times.) I have noticed over the years that everyone has their gut level attractions and repulsions. From my material or false ego vision, I always notice physical imperfections, and frankly I greatly dislike them.
I have been working in a close friend's New Age store for the last 3 months in Winston-Salem. After having been semi-retired for the last four years without working outside our home, I realized I needed more interaction with others. My desire coincided with their need for someone to run the store while they were traveling to India for pilgrimage. They had a need, and I had a need. I expressed it to them, and then we could see Krishna behind this perfect arrangement.
The “Law of Contrast” is very important for all of us. Thinking of those greater than our self can help us to realize our true position, as tiny and insignificant. We all have a little bit of “Isha” or controlling power, yet in comparison to the many powerful people on this planet what is our position? Then there are the devas, and the Supreme Isvara, Lord Shri Krishna.
The story of Lord (Lord means a type of controller) Brahma (considered by Hindus to be the engineer of the universe---he is called the creator god, but he really is putting together the supplied ingredients for planets, stars and all the soul's material bodies) going to visit Krishna at Dvarka, India 5,000 years ago, is one of my favorite stories for reminding me of my insignificance.
I think of this story when I am confused with other Karnamritas. I get email for Karnamrita dasi the singer, and I get asked if I wrote the biography of Gaura-kishora das Babhaji, or other books. I am reminded of my dear friend Dr. Garuda who has to distinguish himself from another Garuda who is active on-line.
So which Karnamrita am I? That is a great question with superficial and deep answers. Who are any of us?
"Each person is an eternal soul forgetful of their spiritual identity who has a unique life story and conditioned identity. In the course of providing them products (many of which are spiritually based), I get to have a glimpse of their life's history, by relating to them very personally and asking them questions."
Today (Thursday December 27th) is the disappearance day of our Prabhupada's guru, Shrila Bhaktisiddhata Saravati Thakur (also called "Prabhupada" by his followers). This is one of those important days to remember such great personalities, our glorious predecessors. He was the son of Thakur Bhaktivinode who was the pioneer of Krishna consciousness in the West.
This topic came from a verse and 2 of Prabhupada's purports in the Shrimad Bhagavatam 3rd Canto, chapter 27, texts 15 and 16.
"The living entity can vividly feel his existence as the seer, but because of the disappearance of the ego during the state of deep sleep, he falsely takes himself to be lost, like a man who has lost his fortune and feels distressed, thinking of himself to be lost."
This year the store is not doing all that well---at least compared to last year at Christmas. So that requires some adjustment for the owners. Kindred Spirits is a service to the local community which includes seekers, yet it is also a business through which devotees earn a living and give to the BBT book fund. Success in business requires a sort of sixth sense to know what people want, a pleasant personality, and of course the karmic tendency to run a business and attract "laxmi" or money.
I am working at some dear devotee friends New Age store [one of whom blogs here---Dulal Chandra], learning the ropes so they can travel to the holy Dhamas in India next month. I haven't been able to come here much since I get home late and sometimes still have phone counseling sessions to do with my wife. I see that there has been plenty of action in the last week, with nice blogs by Navasi, Rasa, Gopi, and Nityananda Chandra, which are attracting a good audience. I know our readers on Connect are in good hands, being nourished with thoughtful and Krishna conscious blogs with discussions.