In our out-loud reading we are hearing the talks between Devahuti and her son Kapila, the Personality of Godhead.
Being assured by his transcendental son Kapila, Kardama Muni went to the forest to execute his duties as a renounced sannyasi. He was free from the anxiety of taking care of his wife because Kapila would teach her everything about transcendental knowledge.
Devahuti said to her son, “I am very sick of the disturbance caused by my material senses, for because of this sense disturbance, my Lord, I have fallen into the abyss of ignorance. Your Lordship is my only means for getting out of this darkest region of ignorance because You are my transcendental eye, which, by Your mercy only, I have attained after many, many births.” Devahuti said to Kapila, “My Lord, please be kind and dispel my illusion. Due to illusion, I have identified my body with myself. I have taken shelter at Your lotus feet because You are the only one who can free me from this entanglement and cut the tree of material existence.”
Being pleased within Himself by the questions of His mother, Kapila explained to her the path of the transcendentalists who are interested in self-realization. “The yoga system which relates to the Lord and the individual soul, which is meant for the ultimate benefit of the living entity, and which causes detachment from all happiness and distress in the material world, is the highest yoga system.” Kapila said this yoga system is serviceable and practical in every way. (It is meant for persons in the Age of Kali, women, sudras and dvija-bandhus.)”
The cold weather finally broke. The temperature was almost fifty degrees today. Taking advantage of the weather, Anuradha made lunch early and then went out on her bicycle to get some sunshine and exercise.
Atindra and Baladeva have begun seriously trying to fundraise for the Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta audiobook project.
. . . SDG is feverishly trying to finish up Worshiping with the Pen and prepare for his next year’s writing project.
After lunch I immediately got up from the table and left for the pharmacy in Chatham to get my COVID booster shot. We waited for some time and then had to fill out paperwork. So we didn’t get to see Larry and receive a shot until forty-five minutes had passed. I felt no pain from the needle. I haven’t had any reaction in the past and don’t expect any this time. I know there’s a controversy about taking allopathic medicine, but in our current medical situation we are obliged to take the allopathics.
In March of this year I was still reading every week in The Week magazine. I was curious to see the U.S. and international news. But every day I read it, it spoiled my brain. I didn’t like getting involved with the wars and politics and news of famous persons. It was all prajalpa, and I didn’t need it. I also have the instructions from the spiritual masters that a Vaisnava devotee, if he is serious, should avoid reading newspapers and media and magazines. I took a vow several months ago not to read The Week anymore, and I’m glad I’ve done it. Now I don’t know what’s going on, and some devotees might think this is irresponsible. But I have the instructions of the spiritual masters that a serious Vaisnava should not read newspapers, media or magazines. It is all a world of illusion. He should stick to krsna-katha and caitanya-lila, study books of sastras and keep his mind clean. I have been doing this for the latter part of the year, and I am more peaceful.
My own experience of the year since I gave up reading the magazine is that I’m absorbed in writing. I’m keeping two journals: one is a weekly journal where I tell of events and anecdotes from our ashram and then print excerpts from my books. The other journal, which I began in March and just finished today, is a more private account of my inner life, with excerpts from the rasa literatures of the previous acaryas. I regretted that there wasn’t much directly about Srila Prabhupada, but in the last week of keeping the journal I made a “Prabhupada Revival” and wrote notes from listening to his lectures and from interviews with his disciples, telling memories of Prabhupada.
So the year is over, and this brings me to the question of what will I do next year? I have to write, that’s in my genes, but what? I reviewed the many genres I’ve written in in the past decades, but I wasn’t inspired to take up one of them or a new one. Right now on December 31, I’m thinking that tomorrow I’ll start a second volume of the journal and eventually give it a separate title. It’s up to Krsna whether I can sustain this, but this is how I plan to start the new year.
Some devotees brave the madness of New Year’s Eve and go out with harinama in the evening. But they usually don’t stay ’til midnight because the people get so drunk they become disrespectful and can’t hear the holy name. Hundreds of thousands of fools will gather in Times Square, New York City, and watch the big ball gradually descending to indicate the end of the year, and finally lighting up at the bottom when it’s January 1st, twelve midnight. By then they are totally plastered and irresponsible. It can actually be dangerous as a devotee to be in their midst at midnight.
At Viraha Bhavan we don’t take intoxicants or even stay up until midnight for New Year’s. We go to bed early and look forward to every day being a fresh start on a new year. Devotional service is never dull. We don’t have to make up reasons to have parties. In the spiritual world, every day is a festival. We try to make every day suitable for saying, “Happy New Year!”
Tomorrow is Ekadasi. Prabhupada was lenient, especially in the beginning. He knew that his Western disciples could not perform great fasts, just as he also kept the japa quota down to a minimum of sixteen rounds. He wanted his devotees to be active in other tasks of spreading Krsna consciousness aside from chanting all day or lying weak from fasting.
Some years ago a sannyasi published a book on Ekadasis. He told stories about the different Ekadasis, their origins, the strictures and the boons that could be gained by following them. For a while some devotees followed these practices, but it never became a rule in ISKCON, and gradually it wasn’t followed. In the scriptures, when it describes that a devotee fasted for the day, it usually meant nirjala, or no drinking even of water, what to speak of food. But in ISKCON most temples keep Prabhupada’s original instructions and fast from sunrise to sunrise, fasting from grains and beans.
In our out-loud reading we heard about fasting in the Bhagavatam. In a purport, Prabhupada wrote that there should be fasting on the two Ekadasis in the month, as well as Janmastami, Rama Navami and Lord Caitanya’s Appearance Day. Prabhupada mentioned the minimum but said there are so many other important days that can be observed, such as acarya appearance days and disappearance days, etc. There is a history in the Bhagavatam of a king, Rantideva, who fasted for a long number of days and then looked forward to breaking his fast. He first fed the brahmanas, and when they were satisfied he fed his family. And then when he was ready to take his own portion, a beggar came to the door and asked for some food for him and his dogs. Finally, when he had only a glass of water left, a beggar came and asked him for that, and he took it. So the saint had to fast completely, although he was on the point of death. But after Rantideva successfully fasted with no eating or drinking at all, the demigods appeared to him, and they were satisfied with him.
Another famous story of fasting is that of Ambarisa Maharaja. He fasted, not even drinking water, for a long period of time, and then it was the time to break the fast. But at that exact moment Durvasa Muni showed up, invited himself to lunch, and expected it to be ready when he returned from his noonday bath. In consultation with the brahmanas, Ambarisha decided to break his fast with a sip of water, which is breaking and not breaking a fast. But when Durvasa Muni heard about this he became very angry and created a demon to punish Ambarisa. But Lord Visnu sent His Sudarsana cakra which burned the demon and chased Durvasa Muni all over the entire universe, all the material and spiritual worlds. He could get no relief until Visnu advised him to beg pardon from Ambarisa Maharaja.
Gopal Campu (a disciple of Vaisesika Dasa) has brought with him his fiancée Kamesi (she is a disciple of Bhakti Bhusana Swami.) They are a nice couple: both like harinama, book distribution and reading Prabhupada’s books.
Gauracandra came to Srivasa’s house again and spoke seriously while all listened. ‘If I give up My mother and go somewhere, all people will say that I have done something contrary to dharma.’
Murari Gupta, hearing these words drenched in nectar, said, ‘One will say this about You, since Your lotus feet give prema.’
The ocean of mercy, upon hearing these words, became joyful, and in great happiness embraced Murari. Murari’s hairs stood on end, and with a joyful mind, he recited one verse in humility.
‘Who am I? A sinful, poor friend of a brahmana. And who is Krsna? The Supreme Lord, full in six powers. Nonetheless, He has embraced me with His two arms.’ (SB 10.81.16)”
Hearing these words, the Lord manifested His power and shone like a thousand suns as He sat on an attractive seat while radiating great effulgence. Hearing the Lord’s words, the devotees, headed by Srivasa, became joyful. Their hairs stood on end completely. They were bathed in rivers of tears. They simply stood there.
Srivasa, who took shelter of His lotus feet, after washing all Gauranga’s limbs with his tears of love, bathed Him again with clear Ganga water.
Srivasa bathed the limbs of Gauranga with pots of Ganga water while releasing water from his lotus eyes onto his limbs because of his prema.
Seeing the happiness, the devotees, agitated with prema, taking shelter of Gaura’s prema, loudly performed kirtana and danced with crazed hearts.
On another day the Lord, endowed with remarkable pastimes, whom Brahma and Siva contemplate, distributed teachings about bhakti along with the devotees. In this way He cleansed the universe completely of despicable jñana and cleansed the Lord’s temple with a broom. He became well-known in the world for this eternally.
One day, some person saw the Supreme Lord coming and offered respects with affection. He spoke politely with sweet words.
‘Everyone says that You are the Supreme Lord, Lord of Lords, with a body of eternity, knowledge and bliss. Will You not deliver me?’
‘O Lord of all beings! O complete being! O ocean of mercy! Trembling in my heart, mercifully deliver me from this most despised leprosy.’
Hearing his words, beautiful Mahaprabhu, with moonlike face, His eyes red with anger, with an apparent grimace, spoke.
‘O sinful, wicked man! You show hatred to My devotees. If I do not save you, is it that I will not save anyone else?’
‘Since you have shown hatred to Srivasa all the time, you will suffer from leprosy in every birth.’
‘In this body one cannot see the prana. But know that the devotees are like My prana externalized.’
‘If in any way one offends the devotees who are dear to Me, he will fall to hell in every birth.’
‘Those who respect the devotees and follow their orders will cross the terrible ocean of samsara.’
One time while they were dancing, a brahmana came to see beautiful Gauranga, but was stopped by the doorkeeper and went away.
Another day, full of anger, he saw the Lord of the Universe on the bank of the Ganga. His face was twisted and his eyes were red with anger.
The brahmana broke his upavita and, cursing the Lord, said, ‘I came to see You once while You were dancing.’
I was prevented from entering by the guard and became sad. I now curse You that Your material life will be destroyed.
Hearing this, the Lord was pleased in His mind. In joy, He thought, ‘The curse of the angry brahmana is a blessing to Me.’
If one hears the story of the brahmana’s curse, one will be free from curses of brahmanas. Intelligent people should hear this story with faith.
On another day, like a playful person arising from sleep, the sun arrived at the horizon, opening the closed lotuses with its rays.
Gauracandra also, in the company of many qualified brahmanas, shone like the full moon.
For a moment, He became full of disturbance and stumbled about with His whole body. With a sweet face, He said, ‘Give Me honey! Give Me honey!’
The action of the Supreme Lord was most astonishing. The golden mountain of Gauranga became like a silver mountain.
He had a plow in His hand, wore blue cloth and was decorated with many ornaments. He rolled His eyes and acted with the intoxication of liquor.
Seeing the Lord, who had assumed the mood of the son of Rohini for a moment, everyone became blissful.
In great joy, Mahaprabhu then went to Murari Gupta’s house with the devotees, who performed kirtana.
Saying the sweet words, ‘Give Me honey,’ holding a waterpot in His hand, He drank the water in plenty.
With eyes rolling from intoxication, the beautiful Lord, who gives happiness, making the house white with His white rays, began dancing.
‘The person who is happy with the words, “I am not Krsna,” should now bring honey and offer it to Me.’
Saying this, the Lord pushed a brahmana with one hand. That brahmana, stronger than a wrestler, fell far away.
Having assumed Balarama’s mood in the morning, the lotus-eyed Lord recovered in the evening and took a bath.
“One evening I went to Swamiji’s room and found him alone. I had been reading a Gaudiiya Math book by Bhaktivinoda Thakura and it stimulated my intellect. So I asked Swamiji, “What does it mean when Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, ‘The darling of Nanda?’ Swamiji explained it.
“Then I said, ‘Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that a person who sees the spiritual form of the Deity on the altar is the true theist.’ I was repeating this to Swamiji because I was impressed with Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s expressions, and also I wanted to hear what Swamiji thought of the slight difference of words and concepts between himself and Bhaktivinoda. I made a few more comments and then Swamiji said, ‘Now go downstairs and let me finish my work.’ I suddenly realized that I had overextended his welcome to me. Swamiji had better things to do other than chat with me about the meaning of Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s language. In obedience, I bowed down and left him alone.
“On that occasion, the Swami gave me a little glimpse of the difference between us. He could talk and listen to a young boy who was excited about his first reading of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, or he could be composing Bhaktivedanta purports. Prabhupada considered his time well spent if he could attract someone to Krsna, but it was sometimes embarrassing to see how we foolishly intruded.”
“When I speak of my own conversion, I may also speak for other devotees who joined with me at this time. One thing we all had in common is that we were suffering from material life and we admitted it. Prabhupada said that what he was teaching would bring us freedom from anxiety. We wanted that. Swamiji himself appeared to be free of anxiety, and he was ‘fixed.’ He said that we could do it just by chanting Hare Krsna. We tried it, and when we did not feel much change, Prabhupada would assure us, ‘You will, eventually.’ He told us to be patient.
“But for ourselves, did we experience anything? Yes, undoubtedly; something. I attained release from my bad personal habits and addictions. This was something tangible; I knew for sure. In a more general sense, I also experienced a new meaning to life, a willingness to be part of the adventure of living and hearing from the Swami. To speak psychologically, I would say that Krsna consciousness fulfilled a deep need in my psyche, a desire to be like a monk, someone who would seriously approach a guru. I had perhaps never thought of it exactly in those terms, but I had read about it in novels like Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game and Siddhartha. The idea of discipleship was not entirely strange to me. These are some of the things that the Swami had going for him in his battle against our cynicism—the battle to save souls, to convert us.
“When I heard about the 16,000 wives, I blurted out, ‘I can’t accept this.’
“Prabhupada replied, ‘You cannot? The greatest scholars cannot.’ My doubt aroused his concern. There I was, another ignorant person who could not accept Krsna. Why did not I accept Him? ‘Why don’t you believe it?’ This was another strength of Prabhupada’s—he could answer questions with cool logic, but he was also deeply involved in what he said. He was more involved in his conviction than you were in your doubt.”
The Storefront “Each in our small space, a box within a box. In a small room with a lot of people, we have to maneuver while dancing and moving around. There’s room for everyone. Shoes in the back, smelly. Back to Godhead with many concentric circles on the cover—stenciled, mimeographed copies. A hand-cranked mimeograph machine in one corner. Gargamuni with long hair parted in the middle, looking wistful with his double strand of red japa beads wrapped around his neck. And Swamiji, the center of it all, his pointy white shoes at the door where he left them when he came in.
“Swamiji was a bold performer. He was expert at creating excitement. His foreignness is charismatic—his golden complexion, his yellow tilaka, his shining teeth and lips and eyes, delicate fingers. Nothing showy. Our attraction is natural. He is plain and yet scintillating. His paraphernalia, a pocket watch put up so that he can see the time as he speaks, a glass of water because he usually starts to cough, the nearby sink for throwing apple cores at the end of the evening, the noiseless tape recorder moving from reel to reel, his dhoti and khadi chadar wrapped around his shoulders. He gives a few directions to his followers: ‘Bring this light here. Is this tape recorder working? Where’s the book?’
“He lectures—India, that far away place . . . Swamiji’s India, which he says is spiritual and eternal—sages, yogis, pure devotees. We are simply listening. Hearing about India in New York. ‘Why are you going to India? India has come to you.’
“People look in the big storefront window. Swami holds the audience as people stop and read the sign in the window.
“A fragile, little, transcendental light within the dark world of New York City, the dark world of the universe in Kali-yuga. That storefront with its slightly tilting floorboards; ragged, Oriental-style rug; posters of Panca-tattva, Hanuman, Sadbhuja and the circular Radha-Krsna over Swamiji’s head—that storefront is dear to Krsna. It is compact Krsna consciousness. Everything is here in a small storefront on the Lower East Side.
“I was there.”
“When we walked with Prabhupada, the world was full of excitement and possible danger. We had to be alert with all our senses, completely absorbed in serving him as he so mildly and humbly walked through the world. Sometimes we were awkward and fumbling beside his grace. We always took pleasure in just being there with him, although there was no time for relishing that while we were walking. We were serving him, and we didn’t want our ‘ecstasy’ to get in the way. We were happy to face anyone and anything on his behalf, and therefore, we were concerned that our appearance was neat and our mood surrendered.
“After a lecture, Prabhupada sometimes asked for questions from the audience. When he felt that he had answered enough, he said, ‘All right.’ Sometimes he said it with resignation, almost sadness. He seemed to mean, ‘All right, I’ve tried my best.’ Sometimes after answering many questions, Prabhupada’s utterance of ‘all right’ sounded disgusted. He had just given a wonderful parampara speech, and yet people were raising their hands and asking challenging, doubtful, or crazy questions. He looked out at the audience before him, sensing that they were not asking intelligent questions. ‘All right,’ he said, ‘let us have kirtana.’
“I remember Swamiji sharing an apple with us as the last act of the evening at 26 Second Avenue. When he said, ‘All right,’ it meant we had to leave. It was sad. Although we had just had such a nice meeting, it had to end, just like everything else in the material world. ‘All right,’ those souls who want to can return to their maya in Manhattan.”
“Sometimes, when I come back to my apartment in the middle of the day, I feel peeved if I see a couple of guys crashed out on the mattress. I think I’m working hard and they’re not. But all in all, I wouldn’t trade my former ‘housekeeper’s’ solitude for the association of Vaisnavas.
“Swamiji likes it too, I think, that I share what I have. He knows the devotees use my place (it’s not ‘my’ place anymore. It never was). It relieves Swamiji too, because now people don’t have to use his bathroom. They come over here in the morning.
“In the morning I don’t mind it. It’s nice. I chant japa sitting up straight in my space, and, one after another, devotees come into the apartment and use the bathroom. When they are waiting for the bathroom to get free, they sit with me and chant. It’s a nice camaraderie.
“I don’t expect Swamiji would ever come here, but it’s his place. They call it an ‘extension’ of the storefront.
“Sometimes we have some good talks here. Acyutananda came over once, and he said he is taking to Krsna consciousness because it is the best thing he has ever found. He said he always wants the best thing. Theoretically, he said, if there was something better than this, he would go to that. But this is the best, the Absolute Truth, and Krsna is the original form as the all-attractive.
“Rayram encourages me about my parents’ rejecting me. Hayagriva sometimes uses the place to do editing. (He’s the one that also crashes out the most.) Brahmananda and Gargamuni come too. Everybody comes by. The little French janitor curses under his breath when he sees the devotees. He says the landlord didn’t rent this apartment to so many people. But I don’t care. We just walk past him.”
“Now that Prabhupada has successfully injected the Hare Krsna mantra into the Western world and widely distributed books like Bhagavad-gita, Srimad- Bhagavatam, Nectar of Devotion and Caitanya-caritamrta, some Gaudiya Vaisnavas have started to follow in Prabhupada’s wake. Prabhupada’s movement has given them realization and faith that they too can reach Westerners. They have done so by employing modern luxuries Prabhupada never had at his disposal in the early days—traveling by jet, using email to invite Westerners to come to their maths in India. Prabhupada explained the route, and now there is a well-beaten trail to India and back, and serious devotees to maintain it.
“Some of these gurus are releasing the fruit of raganuga, the esoteric teachings which Lord Caitanya Himself taught only in private to a very few devotees in the Gambhira. Fortunately, Prabhupada has placed some of these teachings in books like Caitanya-caritamrta and the books of the Six Gosvamis, but they are to be read by qualified people and in the right, pure attitude. The word adhikara, or qualification, is most important here.
“The fact is that Prabhupada himself withheld most of these teachings from his books, or rather did not release them in full force, but taught them in indirect ways. There are many, many indirect references and direct references, especially in the Caitanya-caritamrta, The Nectar of Instruction, Srimad-Bhagavatam and KRSNA book.
“There is no omission or lacking in Prabhupada’s presentation of the books. He did not teach, in any detail, of those intimate exchanges between Radha and Krsna that could possibly be construed as erotic by the materialists. He therefore purposely eliminated any descriptions of adorations and embraces that the unenlightened might mistake as a kind or ordinary sex exchange so prevalent in the movies and relationships nowadays. Ubiquitous sex is a major occupation in twenty-first century life, and unless one is very purified, it could easily be confused by what Radha and Krsna experience in Their parakiya forest pastimes. The actions of the Divine Paramour Couple cannot be mimicked.
“One time Prabhupada entered the temple room in Boston and bowed down before a picture of Radha and Krsna. (It is not that we had no pictures or Deities of Radha and Krsna, or that we did not talk about Them.) Prabhupada said, ‘We are not going to boycott the gopis.’ At this present moment in Boston, however, he remained on all-fours before Their picture, and all the devotees in the small room also remained gathered around him. He then rose and began talking about the picture even as he ascended the vyasasana. He gave an example of caution in approaching these intimate topics.
“Prabhupada gave an analogy about a cow in a barn at the time a fire occurred. Although the cow was saved from the fire, she became became so traumatized by the blazing hay and boards, that for the rest of her life she was scared stiff anytime she saw the color red, what to speak of seeing a fire. Prabhupada went on to say that her condition is similar to ours. We have become so traumatized, or so indelibly impressed with material sex life, that whenever we see spiritual conjugal union (raganuga, parakiya) we reason, ‘Oh! There it is! Sex life, that fire!’ We immediately revert to applying the sex scenario that has been impressed upon us through so many different lifetimes—this sensual, sexual act of thinking, feeling and doing that ends in orgasm.”
“Someone may see the title of these writings, My Relationship With Lord Krsna, and think I am proud. They might think it’s a sahajiya book and that I’m writing about my rasa with Krsna in Vrndavana. Just the use of the word ‘my’ may seem less than the modesty we expect of a Vaisnava when he speaks of his personal life. But this book isn’t puffed up or sahajiya. I do have a relationship with Krsna, my relationship. Everyone has. I’m a tiny soul (anu) who has a personal relationship with Lord Krsna, who is happy about that, but who is also bewildered about what to do next.
“I almost want to deny my relationship with Krsna out of humility. But perhaps that kind of humility is not so healthy. What kind of humility is it if we say, ‘God doesn’t love me. He has better things to do than to care for me. He seems to have forgotten me because of my poor service.’ Better that we own up to our relationship with Him and love Him for ourselves.
“I am determined to advance in Krsna consciousness. That determination can become selfish or unbalanced. Therefore, we need the association of devotees and the spiritual master’s guidance. Selflessness in Krsna consciousness is a rare gem. We are not meant to lose ourselves, but to give up material selfishness.”
“The one saving quality in this age is faith in the guru. May we never doubt him even though others may do so. With that one quality of strong faith in the guru, it doesn’t matter so much if we lack the other qualities of a Vaisnava. The qualities will eventually come to us. But if we lack faith in the guru, then whatever we have gained will be ruined. This is the conclusion of all Vedic scriptures.
“I have always been blessed with undoubting faith, as have many ISKCON devotees, in Srila Prabhupada. I pray to sustain it. I may deepen, mature, reconsider, and that’s not unfaithful. But I will never leave the lotus feet of Abhay Caranaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. As Govinda dasa says, bhajahu re mana sri-nanda-nandana-abhaya-caranaravinda-re. Taking shelter of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami means taking shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna. May he keep us there despite our foolishness. And may we teach this to others.”
“What is the difference between theoretical knowledge and realization? Realization has to descend as a shakti on the practitioner. Lord Krsna taught Brahma everything in the catuh-sloki of Srimad-Bhagavatam, but is that jñana or vijñana? Vyasa knew that same knowledge, but not until Narada told him to meditate did the Lord reveal Himself and His energies to Vyasa in his samadhi. Similarly, Rupa Gosvami learned directly from Lord Caitanya, but only when the Lord empowered him did it become realization. Similarly, Sanatana Gosvami heard from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, yet Sanatana begged that the knowledge become realization. Sanatana said, ‘The conclusions that You have told me are the ocean of the ambrosia of truth. My mind is unable to approach even a drop of that ocean. If You want to make a lame man like me dance, kindly bestow Your transcendental blessings by keeping Your lotus feet on my head’ (Cc. Madhya 23.121-22).
“When you gain realization and attachment (asakti), then you don’t notice whether it’s cold or not. You don’t find satisfaction in long spells of tamasic sleep. You don’t notice what clothes you are wearing. You always think of Krsna and serve Him and weep.
“It’s like the difference between thinking about quenching your thirst and actually drinking water. We can therefore conclude we are thirsty and unsatiated. We only repeat what we have heard. But we have faith.
“Can we attain realization by keeping company with those who have realization? Yes, to some extent. But we have to practice and one day, in some lifetime, attract Krsna’s mercy.
“On this last day of Karttika, I want to make this prayer: ‘O Goddess of the month of Karttika, I praise You with flattering words and beg the following boon from You: May Krsna, knowing me to be Yours, give me more mercy’ (Utkalika-vallari by Srila Rupa Gosvami, text 20).”
“Everything in the universe happens by God’s will (including time passing and the cock crowing). The demigods act in obedience to that will. By the will of God, jivas are born and live out their karma in prosperity or ruin, joy or sorrow. Without His sanction, the tiny jiva is unable to do anything. A follower of Saranagati surrenders to this will. It doesn’t take perfection in devotional service to attain surrender; it’s the first step. Only the stubborn fools continue to resist or think that there is no divine will.
“Still, it’s a big first step. If we totally resign to surrender, then that surrender can deliver us to the further stages of devotion. ‘You are my protector and maintainer. Without Your lotus feet there is no hope for me. No longer confident of my own strength and endeavor, I depend solely on Your will’ (Saranagati 3.4.6 – 7).
“Who is in touch with the great God? Who knows for sure how He operates in all things great and small? He who has faith and experience. Direct realization is rare. He who knows vasudeva sarvam iti is a mahatma. What am I compared to such a realized saint? I am someone who has sinned recently, but who repents it and realizes that the true taste of Krsna consciousness is better than playing it safe within religious codes. I am someone who has received the mercy of perfect Vaisnavas and yet hasn’t gone far with it. ‘Bhaktivinode is most poor, and his pride has been leveled. Now he lives or dies, as You wish’ (Saranagati 3.4.8).
“(The day is closed in with fog. No valley or mountains or blossoming trees, only white air in a wall. The birds’ melody goes on. And someone with a power saw. This is my 10 – 11 A.M. time. I’m not afraid of it. I dot my periods at the end of a sentence. Drink hot ginger tea.)
“Some bird, I’ll call it a wood cuckoo, is punctuating his three notes, and another sounds like a woodpecker rapping, or maybe it’s a telephone ringing. I’m listening from my hooded sweatshirt. I’m crouched in my mind, ready to spring. Don’t want to speak beyond what is actually happening with me. But then . . . You’ve got to make a run for it.”
Writing Sessions at Castlegregory, Ireland, 1993Start slowly, start fastly, offer your obeisances to your spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. You just drew his picture with your pencils. He appears carved out of wood…
I found I had hit a stride in my search for theme in writing, then began to feel the structure limiting me. After all, I had given myself precious time to write full-time; I wanted to enter the experience as fully as possible. For me, this means free-writing—writing sessions with no predetermined shape, theme, or topic…
This volume is comprised of three parts: prose meditations, free-writes, and poems each of which will be discussed in turn. As an introduction, a brief essay by the author, On Genre, has also been included to provide contextual coordinates for the writing which follows…
A comprehensive retrospective of poetic achievement and prose meditations, using a new trajectory described as “free-writing”. This volume will offer to readers an experience of the creativity versatility which is a hallmark of this author’s writing.
Stream of consciousness poetry that moves with the shifting shapes and colors characteristic of a kaleidoscope itself around the themes of authenticity. This is a book will transport you to the far reaches of the author’s heart and soul in daring ways and will move you to experience your own inner kaleidoscope.
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expression.The reader is invited to discover his or her own spiritual pilgrimage within these pages as the author pushes every literary boundary to boldly create something wholly new and inspiring.