This is the seventh week of the Journal. We had a nice Radhastami celebration; about thirty devotees, including some new faces, crowded into our ashram. Radha-Govinda came downstairs and were put in a central spot with lots of flowers and a waterfall, but there were so many other Deities, including the Big neem Gaura-Nitai, that my Radha-Govinda seemed too small in the company of the others. I have been spending the last two days studying for my Radhastami lecture, and I suspended writing. Now I have to get back into the swing a bit, especially the free write mode. With the festival and doctor visits and a phone call, I have also neglected my physical exercise regime. Next week will be more interruptions, with medical appointments.
The feast today was only average. The featured “Radha Red” chutney was too spicy-hot. Our guests made up for it by eating big scoops of Breyers vanilla ice cream. In our ashram, the core residents are tired out from missing sleep and working for the festival.
This morning I go to see Ryan, my new medical care practitioner, for an introductory meeting and checkup. Then tomorrow I go to the clinic in Valatie for an ultrasound scan of my kidneys and blood work. These appointments are required by my insurance carrier Fidelis. These activities cause disarray to my sadhana and personal schedule, writing, darsana, etc. (Now I have a few minutes to myself. H.D. Goswami wrote that Krsna’s pastimes in Dvaraka were of global importance, killing leading demons and managing His kingdom. But in Vrndavana, His affairs were private, confidential and pure sweetness (madhuram) exchanges, ultimately with Radharani and His beloved cowherd companions. I prefer the Vrndavana lila to the Dvaraka lila. One devotee wrote to me that he was attracted to Dvaraka and wanted to know how to cultivate Dvaraka consciousness. I told him not to try for it. Krsna is excellent in Dvaraka, but Radha-Krsna are superexcellent in Goloka Vrndavana. Krsna is also superexcellent as Lord Caitanya. With Lord Nityananda, He flooded the world with krsna-prema by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. With intimate associates Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, He tasted the ecstatic mellows of Radharani in separation from Krsna. These are the open secrets of Krsna consciousness to be shared with like-minded devotees.
Yesterday in his lecture, Ravindra Svarupa read from his hand-held electronic device. He pulled up the verse Madhavendra Puri recited at the end of his life. It is a lament that he is in separation, and he cries desperately for the darsana of his Beloved. (One of Madhavendra Puri’s offensive disciples, Ramacandra Puri, heard his spiritual master reciting this verse and reprimanded him: “Why are you crying? You should be happy by meditation on Brahman.” Madhavendra Puri became very angry and banished Ramacandra Puri: “I could not attain Krsna, and now this fool is telling me to meditate on impersonal Brahman!”) Ravindra Svarupa said Lord Caitanya also recited this verse and went into devotional ecstasy. (I tried memorizing a section of the Krsna Book, which was laborious. But here was Ravindra Svarupa reading aloud verses and purports from his electronic machine. I don’t know how to operate such an electronic device, but I could select sections from Prabhupada’s books and read them. But that gets tiring for an audience.)
I met Ryan, the medical man who will be our primary caregiver since Susan retired. He was brief–“I guess you guys want to get out of here,”–but efficient. Baladeva told him I had anticipatory anxiety leading to headaches. We both received flu shots. That took up my morning.
Now in our mealtime readings we are beginning the Tenth Canto, “The Advent of Krsna.” Vasudeva and Prabhupada are making clear descriptions of the transcendental nature of the soul. People who do not know this and who do not think of Krsna at the time of death are condemned to take birth in one of the thousands of lower species of life.
I was interested to hear about transmigration. My mind paid attention. I believed in it and wanted to retain it and realize it. Vsudeva was trying to make Kamsa not afraid of death–because we take another body, just as a plant-worm moves carefully from one leaf to another, just as you walk on the street, putting one foot down securely and then moving forward–so the soul changes bodies, according to one’s karma. Kamsa wasn’t convinced by these arguments. Vasudeva made a plan to save the life of his wife. The omen said that one of Devaki’s children would kill him. So Vasudeva said, “Whatever children are born, I will bring them to you to do as you like.” Vasudeva was so truthful that Kamsa accepted his word and let Devaki go free. Where will I wake up after I die? What will I see? I do not know. Higher authorities will decide. I simply desire to continue devotional service. Bhaktivinoda Thakura prayed to be born even as an insect in the house of Vaisnavas. How pure are you, how humble? How dedicated are you to Prabhupada–to guru and Gauranga, to Radha and Krsna, to all the Vaisnavas?
It is 6:00 P.M. Time for me to wind up. I didn’t write enough. What little I wrote wasn’t worthy.
I have finished sixteen rounds by 4:25 A.M., chanting silently in my mind. I received darsana of Radha-Govinda and Tulasi-devi. I followed an early instruction by Srila Prabhupada: “Hear yourself chanting sincerely.” Later on, he added that we should think of the pastimes of Krsna. I didn’t do that this morning; “Just hear” was my meditation. I finished early and have fifty minutes to write before taking a shower. Krsna is the Cause of all causes. An Irish poet asked Prabhupada, “Where does Krsna get His knowledge?” Prabhupada replied, “Krsna is svarat” (independent). He doesn’t need to receive knowledge from any source other than Himself. He is all-knowing (omniscient). Yet He sometimes likes to act equally or subordinate to His loving friends in Vrndavana. I would like to “play and dance and eat with Krsna,” as Prabhupada has promised we can do, but I don’t know if I am qualified. “Out of millions who have reached perfection, only one can know Krsna in truth.” One should not think oneself a great devotee worthy of joining Krsna and His associates in Goloka Vrndavana. “One should think oneself lower than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree. One should be ready to offer respect to others without expecting any respect for himself. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name constantly.” Chanting “constantly,” without offenses, makes one eligible to go back to Godhead. This is the benediction by Lord Caitanya in the Adi-lila. He discovered a verse in the scripture Brhad Naradiya Purana: harer nama harer nama harer nama eva kevalam . . . . “Chanting the holy name . . . there is no other alternative in the Age of Kali.”
I have written ideally about back to Godhead (ananda-cinmaya-rasa) and how to get there. Prabhupada repeatedly writes and speaks that it is possible for his devotees to reach there.
But I don’t know.
Baladeva is filling up plastic bags with throwaways. Tomorrow is the day the County Waste truck comes and picks up our garbage. We are waiting for him, and we give him wrapped up, warmed-over prasadam. The regular drivers are enthusiastic to receive the krsna-prasadam. After leaving us, he drives down the street and stops to eat his lunch. I don’t know who is more happy in this exchange, the garbage man or us.
This morning I have to go again for a medical appointment. I will undergo an ultrasound scanning to see if I have any kidney stones. The ultrasound unit is across the hall in the same building to give more blood, to check on the level of a few meds that they forgot to take last week. More interruptions on my solitude.
The ultrasound was tiring and tedious. I’m just recovering. It rained all morning, and now the sun is shining. I’m all alone in the house. The pen moves slowly. Thoughts aren’t flowing. Vasudeva was true to his word; he brought his son to Kamsa, but Kamsa gave him back. Then Narada visited Kamsa and told him all the secrets of the demigods. Why did Narada tell? He wanted to accelerate events so Krsna would appear as soon as possible. Kamsa killed six children born of Devaki and imprisoned Vasudeva, Devaki and his father, Ugrasena. All these are pastimes of Krsna. They have inner meanings.
Garuda Prabhu lectured on Radhastami at the Potomac temple. I’m sure he did a good job speaking on the confidential subject of Radharani to the thousands gathered in the congregation. We speakers at Viraha Bhavan had a good time too. Ravindra Svarupa spoke on the esoteric verse by Madhavendra Puri, and I recited the Bhramara-gita spoken by Radharani in mahabhava. Saudamani devi dasi spoke on Prabhupada’s comments about an edition of Bhagavad-gita with a picture of Radharani on the cover. Rama-raya spoke on harinama sankirtana in New York City, the only sacrifice possible in Kali-yuga. We had a poster of Radha-Govinda surrounded by hearts. On each heart was printed one of the twenty-five qualities of Radharani.
I don’t have complete confidence in the system of my dictating letters to my typist, Jaya-Govinda. I recently wrote a letter to our Nurse Practitioner, Susan, and addressed it to her house address. I expected him to send it back to me so I could mail it out to her. When he didn’t send it back to me, I inquired from him. He replied that he had no record of my letter. I have thrown out her house address, so the letter is lost. This is not the first time this has happened: “lost in cyberspace.” It is unsettling. I apologize to any correspondents who didn’t receive a response from me–but who will read the apology posted in my Journal?
All right; the new semester is underway. Some homeowners already have their scary Halloween decorations in the front of their houses. Small pumpkins are on sale for $1. The next festival is Govardhana-puja. I don’t want to memorize the whole pastime and recite it. Think of something new if you can. The lifting of Govardhana Hill was the first miracle that all the Vrajavasis observed. When it was over, the cowherd men approached Nanda Maharaja and asked him who Krsna was. He has just lifted the mountain and held it over His head for seven days to protect us from the devastating rainfall sent by Indra. On the other hand, in our village dealings, He is just like a seven-year-old boy who likes to be cuddled by us and plays with our sons as equals. Nanda Maharaja replied that he could only tell them what the sage Gargamuni said at Krsna’s name-giving ceremony. Gargamuni stated that, “This boy is as good as Narayana.” The cowherd men were elated and prayed to always stay under the protection of wonderful Krsna.
* * *
Yes, we can do it. I make autobiographical notes. Small pieces. I do not make a whole essay, and certainly not a fictional story. I would ride on a skateboard, except I have no balance. Tell how you came to Krsna consciousness. The Swami moved into my neighborhood. I saw the little paper in the storefront window: “Classes on Bhagavad-gita M.W.F. 7:00 P.M. / Transcendental Sound Vibration.” I was curious, so I went in. I liked the chanting with karatalas, the Swami leading and playing on a one-headed drum. At first I couldn’t understand much of his speech, but as I kept on attending I gradually . . . He was a magnetic person. He had a message, “Krsna consciousness.” He was a guru, seventy years old. I was twenty-five. “No illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating, and no gambling.” I changed my ways and followed him. He had about twelve young men following him. It was the best time of my life. Chanting Hare Krsna with the Swami made you get high. He promised it would. “Boy, I really tripped out on that one!” In autumn we made our public debut, sitting on an old Oriental rug in Tompkins Square Park. We were shy but he was bold, leading us through the streets and leading in the maha-mantra with his bongo drum. He sang nonstop for one-and-a-half hours, then gave a short talk (“and chant and dance in ecstasy”). Onlookers gathered; Allen Ginsberg joined. Then he would lead the singing for another one-and-a-half hours. His health was so strong, his demeanor so virile. We had no indication of the health issues he would face in the future. At this time, we struggled to keep up with him. He walked fast, and spoke and sang strongly. There were no traces of the heart attacks he endured on the freighter that carried him across the ocean from India to America in thirty-five days. He pushed himself like a young man. He had an urgent message in his remaining years, to establish his spiritual master’s teachings in the West. Prominent in his agenda was translating and writing commentaries in English on the major Vedic/Vaisnava texts. He was working single-handedly, but he’d look to his new followers to help.
Writing about Prabhupada in 1966 was effortless. The sentences flowed. It has been written many times, but it still felt fresh to me, and I hoped it was not boring to the readers. Prabhupada says this is the nature of krsna-kathah. Mundane literature gets hackneyed with repeated reading, but one can always find new lights in Krsna conscious literature. The same is true with prabhupada-kathah. In the Chowpatty temple in Mumbai, under Radhanatha Swami’s direction, the devotees all remain silent during mealtime, and one selected person reads aloud from Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta. They have been doing this for years and have heard the complete Lilamrta a number of times.
I am tired in the afternoon. My eyes are heavy, but I want to keep the pen hand moving. When Saunaka Rsi approached his just-expired wife’s body, he uttered, “Krsna is kind.” He told me he was following his deeply-ingrained sadhana–which his wife Kesava also followed–to accept all adversity as Krsna’s mercy. Kesava took her own life. She was too tired of living for years with a chronic debilitating disease. A friend of hers wrote me and asked if Kesava had become a ghost. I wrote back and said, “Definitely not.” Kesava was a pure devotee, always compassionate to a wide circle of friends, giving Krsna conscious counseling and love. Many looked up to her and depended on her. I wrote to her friend that Krsna would forgive her final act and accept her as she was–as His exemplary devotee, possessed of all good qualities.
I have half an hour to go, but what do I have to say? I just dictated a letter to a devotee who wrote to me and said he has a deep love for his “Grandfather,” Srila Prabhupada. He said his diksa-guru has no objection to this. He said his diksa-guru is very busy with projects all over the world (alluding to the fact that his guru has no time for him). He wrote to me in confidence, calling me his “spiritual uncle” and trying to convince me of his singular dedication to his Grandfather. Like his diksa-guru, I also approved and encouraged him in his heart’s desire. He seemed to think I would have more time to listen to him and sympathize.
I was a good Cub Scout. I passed the three stages, Wolf, Bear, etc. I went on to get the honorary title “Webelos.” I took part in an Indian dance at night in P.S. 8. To pass the assignments in the Cub Scouts, all you needed was your mother’s signature. I received a note from my Den Mother, Bernice Jennings, to bring my colored drawings of the flags of 40 nations. My mother had signed my book confirming that I had done that assignment. But I hadn’t odone it. I looked in our family dictionary and fortunately found a page with the flags of many nations. I hastily drew the flags with crayons and brought them to my Den Mother.
Being a Boy Scout was much harder. To earn your merit badges, you had to be approved by a senior male scout. They were difficult to please. I never made it past the lowest stage, Tenderfoot, even though I stayed at a camp in upstate New York for two weeks. One afternoon I was headed for a Boy Scout meeting with Mickey Kelly, who was somewhat of a rebel in school. Mickey Kelly suggested that we skip out of the Boy Scout meeting and just hang out. That turned out to be the end of my career in the Boy Scouts. I quit and never came back. By contrast, once I entered the Swami’s storefront, I never stopped attending. He picked me out of my personal history and changed me from marijuana-smoking, LSD-taking hipster into an aspiring brahmachary-bhakta.
Bold, I surrendered to the Swami. I was disowned by my parents and my entire family. They saw me giving up my Catholicism and lost to the cult.
Just keep writing. Don’t be afraid. You are experienced. Words will come. Steer to Krsna. I am Vaisnava dasa-anu-dasa-anu-dasa. A very small person; a part of Krsna. My size is one ten-thousandth of the tip of a hair. Yet I can be powerful. He handed me the danda and said, “Preach, preach, preach.” Am I doing that now? “Whoever teaches this (Bhagavad-gita) to the devotees is the best servant, and there will never be one more dear.” Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto. “Just think of Me, worship Me and bow down to Me. Surely you will come to Me.” I am in my last years. I am keeping this journal for myself, for my readers now and in the future. I am writing to stay connected to Krsna. In Bhagavad-gita Krsna says, “Just give up all kinds of religion and surrender unto Me. I will protect you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” This is the ultimate instruction. How do you carry it out? Follow nine or one of the items of bhakti: sravanam kirtanam visnoh-smaranam . . .
Fifty-two years as an initiated devotee. I have my link to Prabhupada. He said to Gopala Krsna (who suggested I come to New York to take charge), “Satsvarupa is a perfect gentleman, but he cannot manage.” And he wrote to me, “Although you cannot manage, I keep you on the GBC because you do as I say.” I wrote and asked him was it all right that I read his books three hours a day. He wrote back, “Yes, read as much as you can,” and, “Unless you read, how can you preach?” He encouraged me in my proclivity.
Yadubara and Visakha’s film Hare Krsna! The Mantra, The Movement And the Swami Who Started It All won awards. Viewers cry tears. I just received a DVD. Watch it again. They omitted mention of SPL in the credits at the end of the film. They said it would appear in a future version. But it must be very costly to change the film. Be satisfied that the book is in print, and if it sells out the BBT will publish a second edition with editing changes.
Fifteen minutes until Ekadasi lunch. We will honor baby potatoes, spinach, a broccoli soup, and potato chips with sour cream. It is not a sense-gratification meal. Just Baladeva and I will be present. We are still hearing “Prayers by the Demigods for Krsna in the Womb.” There is not much action. It is heavy philosophy, but if you listen attentively, it is rewarding. The demigods speak uttama-slokas, exalted language in praise of the Lord.
The ultrasound people called and said I had kidney stones in both the left and right sides. I have to go back for X-rays. If the stones get stuck or infected, they say it is worse than the pain a woman experiences in child labor. This is not something to look forward to. Jayadvaita Swami says, “As the sages say, if it’s not one thing, it’s another.” Getting X-rays is just the start. This explains the frequent occurrences of UTI (urinary tract infection). There are four miseries everyone goes through: birth, death, disease and old age. I am experiencing a couple right now, and the “final exam” is ahead. The scriptures advise us to be sober and tolerant. The changes are “due to sense perception like the changes in seasons from summer to winter.”
(Right now there are big agricultural trucks passing by close to my window, about one every three minutes. They are carrying corn silage from the field to another destination, where they will store it in pits for the winter. The truck motors are huge and noisy. It continues day after day, disturbing the peace of Stuyvesant Falls.)
Linda, the wife of my disciple in Italy, had a sister who suffered a stroke and passed away on Radhastami. I wrote Linda a letter counseling her to take shelter of Krsna’s instructions on the immortality of the soul in the Second Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. But Linda was so upset by her sister’s departure that she had a serious epileptic fit and is now sedated in the hospital. I wrote her another letter urging her to return to normalcy, and to take up the responsibility of her family life. Her husband and son miss her.
Susan, our Nurse Practitioner for seven years, just retired. She wrote us a sweet note thanking us for having confidence in her and for bringing her many “goodies” which Baladeva baked at home. I encouraged her to do the things she likes to do without the pressure of seeing many patients. “As a monk, I advise you at this time in your life to give quality time to your spiritual path.” (I noticed that sometimes she wore a small golden crucifix around her neck.)
I had a serious fall. I was in the bathroom, preparing to use the toilet. I pulled my pants down, but before I even opened the toilet seat I lost my balance and fell down to the floor with a crash. I was tightly wedged between the toilet and the wall and had no leverage to stand up. I tried, but I was stuck. After five minutes, I heard Baladeva’s voice: “Are you all right?” I answered loudly: “NO!” He came in and lifted me off the floor. He said he was in the kitchen and hadn’t heard any noise. But Krsna-dasi, who was in the pujari room, heard a loud crash from the second floor. I was not aware of any physical injuries (except for a scrape on my elbow), but I was in a state of shock. I had a funny, dazed sensation in my head, and was shaken. Baladeva told me John Endler had arrived, but I had him wait until I chilled out. Baladeva said, “You have four strikes,” referring to the fact that I had fallen down four or five times. The feeling of shock lasted for a while, but I wanted to see John. I knew he had good news. He had written three new prefaces to my poems in the volumes of EJW–and they were good. He had also typed up many of my poems. He is now going to put them in loose-leaf books for my review. He is so passionately involved in my book POEMS/From Every Day, Just Write, that it is an inspiration to work with him.
I now have a sharp ache in my tailbone from the fall in the bathroom. I hope it’s just a bruise. By mistake I gave John my binder of Free Write Journal, Weeks 1-6. I should have given him my binder of poems with a few prefaces to volumes from EJW (Volumes 4-10). I will have to wait a week to straighten it out. Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu (from across the street) was in the hospital with a pulmonary disease, but he’s getting out. Two old neighbors with their aches and pains. I have an appointment for next Monday to get X-rays for my kidney stones.
Krsna has appeared to Vasudeva and Devaki as Lord Visnu in the prison of Kamsa. They recognize Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and offer Him prayers in awe and reverence. They both fear that Kamsa will come and kill him. Devaki requests that He please change His form (into a baby) so she can hide Him. Visnu tells them they were His parents in two previous incarnations, and that after this lifetime they would go back to Godhead. He then orders Vasudeva to take Him to Gokula, and He assumes the form of a baby. We are hearing this appearance of Krsna from the Bhagavatam in our mealtime readings. (On Janmastami I already presented the evidence, on the authority of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, who researched “many scriptures,” including the Hari-vamsa, that Krsna was actually born from Yasoda. He appeared simultaneously as the four-armed Visnu to Devaki and as the beloved child of Yasoda, who never knew Him as the Godhead. Yet Yasoda’s position is higher than Devaki’s. This is the “inside story” which is not always told in recitations from the Bhagavatam.)
We read out loud for an hour a day. It takes me more than an hour to finish writing a page for the Journal in my notebook. Presumably I could write more, but my brain won’t provide me with thoughts or descriptions. I manage to fill enough pages for a free write journal, one per week, but it isn’t easy. I stick to the bones, and it is not necessarily a brilliant record. One volume of EJW is titled Choosing to Be Alone. John Endler, in his preface, writes that my solitude is not self-indulgent or escapist. I am trying to bring everyone into that quiet place where we can access Krsna and glorify Him. The next volume is Sacrifice for the Bhagavatam. At this time I was emphasizing reading over writing–“but the writing self will also come along.” There was discussion of reading techniques and theological insight. The poems in these volumes dance independent of the prose themes, but they also play off them.
John came by today, the second day in a row. He usually comes only on Friday. When he comes back next Friday, he’ll bring a big collection of poems I haven’t seen in twenty years, and some more prefaces written by him. I’ll have to read the poetry carefully to make sure it’s worth publishing. We’re expecting the readers to consume so many poems! I need to put aside my journal-writing time to read all the “new poems.” I was so intensely prolific in my last week in Ireland that John will be bringing hundreds of pages.
N.G. says write anywhere, in a café, in a cemetery in New Orleans–get out and just write. I don’t go anywhere. I just sit in my comfortable chair with a pain in my tailbone. I goofed off in high school trying to please the unruly ones. I received mediocre grades and couldn’t qualify to enter the good, free city colleges. I finally graduated from Brooklyn College and entered the Navy for a two-year hitch. I then lived with little money on the Lower East Side as a hippie, and then I met the Swami and did as he said. I am still following him fifty-two years later. I would like to follow him in the next life. But I don’t want to go through birth in the womb and live twenty-five years as a ne’er-do-well before I meet my pure devotee spiritual master. Can’t I join him right away in the spiritual world? Or go to where he is and serve him in preaching?
Prabhupada lecturing on the Bowery in 1966. He says you can’t force one to follow a spiritual process. You have to experience a higher transcendental pleasure. He quoted the verse on making progress: adau sraddha– first comes faith. “Oh, they are speaking on Bhagavad-gita. Let me hear.” Then tatah sadhu- sango: associate with a saintly person. Next, ‘tha bhajana-kriya: Under the influence of a sadhu, you follow the rules and regulations of bhakti. Later, nistha: your faith becomes firm and fixed. Further on, ruci: you develop a taste for Krsna consciousness. Finally, bhava: ecstasy, the first stage of love of God. The rare soul reaches prema, pure love of God. From sraddha to prema, the long road of bhakti.
Just write freely, in the early morning. Baladeva has started putting Laksmi-Nrsimha to bed at night. He takes Them out of bed in the morning (4:00 A.M.) and puts on Their paraphernalia. I am going to ask Krsna-dasi to make Them a comfortable sleeping pouch. Baladeva’s devotion to Laksmi-Nrsimha is touching. He sings the Nrsimha songs before starting japa. The first thing he sings after turning on the lamp is, “Radha-Govinda, Radha-Govinda, Radhe.” Our morning program is compact but potent. I finished sixteen rounds, leaving me fifty minutes to write. But the blank page stares back with a challenge. N.G. says if you are on, “go further.” I’m not even on. I so regret my falldown. I am sorry that four years after the falldown was disclosed and the GBC gave me some restrictions (like no more initiations and living low-profile), she wrote a 38-page letter describing our relationship in intimate detail and sent it to some GBC members. A GBC committee was assigned to deal with me. Under their guidance, I wrote a letter of full confession and posted it on the Internet for wide circulation. I advised those disciples who had lost faith in me to seek out another guru. But for those who still considered themselves my disciples, I would remain their spiritual master. New restrictions were placed on me by the GBC committee, and I retained a deep scar of shame. Writing about this too much may disturb the other party or my still-faithful disciples, so I won’t “go further.” I pray that Prabhupada and Krsna will forgive me, and the affair won’t block my spiritual progress.
Just accept the moment. I have forty minutes alone, and I want to write. The people who read this Journal regularly are my close friends. Dhanurdhara Swami writes an essay on a Krsna conscious topic and posts it every Monday. I post my Journal on Friday. We are both committed to our writing and want more readers. I haven’t yet read Dhanurdhara Swami’s Monday column, but I want to start reading it, so I have asked for a copy. He has left the U.S. for the year. He will visit a few countries and then settle down in Vrndavana and give lectures. But I think he will keep posting his Monday column. And I will stay in Stuyvesant Falls, turning out my Free Write Journal.
I am receiving a guest today for lunch, Kirtan-rasa. Baladeva is preparing veggie burgers and French fries, mainly to satisfy young Gopala-campu, who has come taking two days off from New York City harinama/book distribution to fill in for Bala and Krsna-dasi, who are attending the Philadelphia Ratha-yatra.
You can write for half an hour before starting physical exercises. I could probably increase my longevity by exercising more. All the experts advise this. I am a “couch potato.” Except for twenty minutes of exercise, I sit in my comfortable chair. I go downstairs for lunch on the automatic chair-lift. I can’t walk except by holding onto another man’s hands for support–or by pushing the four-wheeled carriage. Dr. Nitai-Gaurasundara gave me permission to do only one set of exercises in the morning when he saw how keen I was to write. So maybe I am sacrificing a few years in order to write more. It is my sadhana. I can’t stop it. It is like deep lines engraved in a stone.
I stare at the blank white page for a long time. And then I write only a short paragraph. It’s a slow process. But “little drops of water wear away the stone.” By keeping at it, I gradually accumulate the pages. I wish I could pour out like a volcano. Maybe gradually a more sustained fire will come. For now, I’ll gradually accept the short paragraphs and steer to Krsna and the Vaisnavas. Nanda Maharaja was deeply impressed by Vasudeva’s prophetic powers when he advised Nanda to return to Gokula because there might be some disturbances there. It didn’t require mystic vision for Vasudeva to think in this way. He was painfully aware of Kamsa’s atrocities and the danger for babies in Vrajabhumi. But when Nanda Maharaja returned to Gokula and discovered that his son, baby Krsna, had just killed the demon Putana, he insisted on believing that Vasudeva was a great yogi and prophet. This we just heard in our mealtime reading. And because Putana offered her (poisonous) breast to Krsna, she was elevated to the spiritual world, where she became a nurse of Krsna.
Immediately after breakfast we are going to the medical unit to be X-rayed to discover more about the nature of my kidney stones. Then I think in my next appointment I may see a doctor and hear what they intend to do.