When the cold weather started, we quickly saw evidence of mice in the kitchen. They didn’t come from the basement as usual, they came in through the wall. Maitreya could hear them from his bed. They left droppings in the drawers with the cooking utensils, around the stove and on the counter. They were nibbling on things that had been left out. So, we set traps and caught two of them, which is usually all there is; a single pair comes in. We put them outside and hope they don’t come back. After we put them outside, we had a major cleanup to get rid of what they had done. All the surfaces they were on and all the utensils they had crawled on had to be bleached. All the drawers and closets had to be bleached along with a whole corner of the kitchen.
I woke up this morning at 1:30 a.m. with incontinence. Then a couple of hours later it started again in my sitting chair. I was feeling a little “off” after that, so decided to send a urine sample over to the doctor. This afternoon they called back and said the short tests in the office didn’t show anything in particular. So, they sent it off to a lab for culturing. The test results will be back on Wednesday. I hope it was just a freak accident.
A disciple wrote me some nice news. He said that the popular Dandavats site is now posting my weekly journal (Free Write Journal). This is good news because the journal will get wider circulation in ISKCON. I’m very grateful to Dandavats for considering the journal worthy to post on their prestigious site.
We have heard from a manager of BBTI that they would like to promote the audiobook of Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta in their system. It will be easier to promote the audiobook to ISKCON members and congregations using the BBTI system. In addition, BBTI is also trying to determine if they can make the audiobook available on Amazon’s Audible, which is one of the most popular audiobook publishing sites.
Today I received three new books from my book production team. They are reprints of essays that I wrote in Back to Godhead magazine. They cover the year 1966. It wasn’t my idea to print them but their idea. Now that we’ve got them, and they look so good, we have to think of ways to distribute them. On the back of one volume, it says “PSAs often address current affairs at the time, but which are also perennial issues, from a Krsna conscious perspective.”
Last week, I went to the dermatologist to have the doctor look at my ear wound, which had been open for almost three months and not healing. It was starting to hurt at night, because I sleep on that side. I also had a wart-like barnacle on my left leg. When the doctor said that he said, “I don’t know what it is. But we’re going to take it off right now.” When he saw my ear, he said “That looks like cancer, and we’ll biopsy it and send it to the lab to find out what kind of cancer it is.” The lab report just came back today by telephone. My type is the medium – nonlethal type – but it requires surgery to remove it all. Fortunately, we were able to get an opening tomorrow morning at their local clinic which is only 12 minutes away. The procedure requires quite a bit of time. They remove as much tissue as they have to in order to get the whole cancer out. Then they bandage it up, and I wait for several hours for the report to come back from onsite lab saying whether or not they got it all. If they didn’t get it all, I have to repeat the procedure and wait another two hours. But since it is a local office, 12 minutes away, we can go home and wait in-between. It won’t be a pleasant day tomorrow, but it will be a lot better than the last time we had this done in 2018 at a distant office where we had to wait for hours between procedures.
It was a painful, traumatic ordeal, requiring many shots of local anesthesia. Fortunately, the doctor got all the cancer out on the first round. This left a big hole in my ear lobe, which required 20 stitches to close it up, and the doctor said I’ll probably have a smaller ear. We go back on Monday for them to change the dressing of the wound and until then I can’t bathe. And at that time, they will inspect it for any infection or other problems. Then we are scheduled to go back on Thursday (a week from today) for another change of dressing and inspection. A week from then we go back to have the stitches removed if all goes well.
After the day was over, I remarked to Baladeva that I felt I was in shock. He said to me, just imagine persons who are in terrible car wrecks and have total trauma and damaged bodies whereas I had only a right ear condition.
Because of the right ear trouble, I wasn’t sleeping well all week as I used to sleeping on my right side and it caused me too much pain. And I couldn’t adjust to sleeping on the left side. So fortunately, we got an idea to use a donut/travel pillow, which allows my head to lie on the right side without any back pressure under the ear.
After our painful trauma in the morning, removing the cancer from my ear (requiring 20 stitches to close up the ear), then it was just a painful day. At night, I woke up coughing and had aspirated some food (vomit) into my lungs which quickly turned into pneumonia. My immune system was already compromised from having a UTI, so the downward spiral went very quickly. Baladeva called the doctor, and based on the low blood pressure and the mild-high temperature and elevated heart rate, they recommended going immediately to the emergency room. At first I was personally resistant, but then after directly talking on the phone with the doctor I was willing to go to the ER. Baladeva and Maitreya were physically unable to get me to the car. So they called 911 and requested no sirens or flashing lights on the ambulance which they honored. We were taken to the emergency room into the trauma section, and I was quickly diagnosed with pneumonia and shifted to a waiting room (three walls and a curtain in the midst of the emergency room passion since all the beds were full). I wasn’t in a real bed, but in an uncomfortable gurney, and that’s where I stayed for 40 hours. Finally, one angelic doctor came and took pity on us and made arrangements for us to get a private room on the best floor which was just Krsna’s mercy because I was completed exhausted and sick. We spent the next three days there recovering under the intense hospital regimentation with nurses coming and going day and night checking vitals and changing antibiotics and fluid bags which were needed to get me rehydrated and to battle the infection. Finally, after several days of touch and go, the doctor announced that if I passed a few tests, I would be discharged at the end of the day. We were finally released back to the shelter and freedom of having darsan of Radha Govinda. It will take me some days to recover back to my usual standard.
A servant, seeing the Lord, was about to go to wake him up. The Lord stopped him and went into the bedroom.
As Sārvabhauma was turning over, the Lord heard him utter Kṛṣṇa’s name indistinctly and felt spontaneous, unlimited happiness.
Sārvabhauma, the best of brāhmaṇas, then awoke, and saw beautiful Gauracandra, the crown jewel of sannyāsīs.
With his mind in confusion, he rose from the bed and in joy offered respects to the Lord. They spend some time in great joy discussing various topics.
The merciful Lord, a great ocean of rasa for all people, pulled from the border of His cloth some prasādam and held it in His lotus hand.
Offering the prasādam in His hands, like a desire tree holding powerful medicine, He said, “After performing your nitya-kriyas, please eat this.” Then He gave him the prasādam.
Standing up, Sārvabhauma quickly took the mahā-prasādam in his hand with great desire. “If one delays on receiving prasādam, what use is all one’s acquired knowledge?”
Saying this, he immediately put the prasādam in his mouth, while his hairs stood on end. The tender-hearted Lord with great joy embraced him in His arms and became blissful.
Both breathed heavily, cried, and perspired while their hairs stood on end. The Lord and Sārvabhauma were satisfied, with hearts inundated in the ocean of bliss.
With eyes lost amidst flowing tears, with bodies lost in the hairs standing on end, they experienced extreme paralysis, because of bathing in the river of prema.
In this way the Lord controlled the best of brāhmaṇas by the rasa of His extreme mercy. Sārvabhauma’s heart became completely filled with the rasa of His mercy.
His great pride vanquished, from that time onward, Sārvabhauma was attracted to the lotus feet of the most merciful Gauraṅga.
In this way, on another day, the best of brāhmaṇas, devoid of pride in his knowledge and with a peaceful mind, went to see the most merciful Lord after the incense offering.
Sārvabhauma, who shone as the chief person in the whole world, a great soul, on seeing the Lord, offered respects and recited verses of praise. In fear, folding his hands, he then spoke.
“O Lord! Please explain to me this one verse. I am afraid to speak about it. I have explained it, but I no longer have faith in that explanation.”
Saying this, he then recited two lines in bliss from the Eleventh Canto of Bhāgavatam. Hearing the verse, the most merciful Lord explained the verse having a most difficult meaning.
Hearing nine meanings of the first line and nine meanings of the second line, totally eighteen meanings, the brāhmaṇa was overjoyed.
Overjoyed, the great soul praised Him and intensely criticized himself. “I am a fool, a human animal. I could not understand your power, O Lord!”
Profusely praising the Lord, taking a follower of the Lord with him, he went home and there wrote a flawless verse as a letter.
He gave mahā-prasādam which had not been seen by others to the follower, for the Lord’s meal. With joy he sent the follower back, telling him to deliver the letter.
Mukunda Datta, seeing the letter, read it and wrote the two verses on the wall. He gave the letter to the Lord. The Lord, seeing the letter, carefully read it.
“I surrender to the one eternal person, appearing in the body of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, the ocean of mercy, to teach renunciation, knowledge and devotion to the Lord.
“Kṛṣṇa Caitanya has appeared in the world to reveal bhakti-yoga, which had been destroyed for a long time. May the bee of my heart deeply enter the lotus of his feet!”
Reading the verses, the ocean of mercy laughed and tore up the letter with His two hands. All the people, seeing the verses written on the wall, wore them on their throats like a jewel.
The mercy of Gauracandra received from even a moment’s association cannot be described by words. One’s behavior changes. One’s birth changes. One’s karma changes.
The best of brāhmaṇas was a follower of impersonalism (ādhyātma), but by the association of the feet of the Lord, he would not even hear the word “liberation.” Such is the mercy of Gaurāṅga.
One time, when the opportunity arose, in front of the Lord, Sārvabhauma recited a verse from Bhāgavatam and instead of mukti-pade said bhakti-pade in bliss.
Hearing this, the Lord gave another meaning to the word “mukti.” Sārvabhauma said, “This meaning has been anointed with your power.”
Gradually it became apparent to me that I should share my apartment with others. So one day while taking breakfast with the devotees at the storefront, I made a little announcement that they could use the bathroom in my apartment in the morning. By the next day, I had roommates and my apartment had become an asrama.
Everything was fresh and new in those days, and the concept of living in the association of devotees was a happy one. I thought of it as a trade: I was giving up something nice (to live alone), but it would be replaced by something even better (the association of the Vaisnavas). I stepped forward enthusiastically to do what was required. Sometimes, when I would come home from work and find a few devotees asleep on the mattress, I would feel a twinge of regret. The sanctity of my space seemed disturbed. More often, however, the community spirit felt good and we were all close friends.
ISKCON grew into an organization by gradual increments, and nothing was ever forced upon us by the Swami. Everything was voluntary. To the outsiders he would say, “You can see for yourself or speak with the boys who are here with me. They’re working twenty-four hours a day for Krsna. Just see how they’re feeling the good results.” His plan was that people should do things together in a group and he invited everyone to be part of it.
Most of us didn’t come with a deliberate desire to join a group. We went to see the Swami in the informal gatherings in his room, and bit by bit we found ourselves doing the same things together. At first Prabhupada was cooking for himself and eating alone. Then Kirtanananda began to cook for him and a few others, and soon a dozen were meeting every day for lunch. That was the lunch group. And then there was a group who came for the morning classes and a group who came for the evening classes. For the most part, they happened to be the same people. When Swamiji said that he needed help with his typing and editing, I typed and Hayagriva edited—another cooperation. And some came forward and gave him money to pay for his expenses. When he formed his incorporated society, ISKCON, that really brought things together and made his purposes obvious. We didn’t understand it all at once, but gradually, as it built up.
Let us appreciate how Srila Prabhupada is everyone’s best example. Choose our own way to serve him. A successful servant is one who thinks of him intensely while trying to carry out his instructions. Another way of saying it is that a devotee should offer his whole life and whole self to Srila Prabhupada. Decide on how best to do this, and then give all you have as an offering to him.
Furthermore, anyone who gives himself or herself and serves Prabhupada, remembering him in a humble way, will overcome all material difficulties.
But does this mean that it is entirely individual? Is there no definitive view of the lilas and instructions of Prabhupada? Yes, there is a consensus view. The meaning of Prabhupada’s life, according to his faithful devotees, is conclusive. Yet even within the authorized ISKCON understanding and carrying out of the instructions, there are inevitable parties. This party spirit exists even in the spiritual world among the different wings of gopis or among devotees serving in the various rasas. Mother Yasoda and her friends look upon Krsna’s activities from a different point of view than do the young gopis, and the cowherd boys have their own point of view.
So let us work in a party of like-minded devotees for carrying out Prabhupada’s instructions. By taking up the service of Srila Prabhupada which most attracts our heart and to which we feel we can give our greatest efforts, we will enter into association with devotees who are like us. A certain group will gather up from Prabhupada’s writings all he has said about living on farms and they will feel nourished by those instructions while they work on a farm to carry on cow protection and ox power. They will live in a kind of trance of conviction that they are carrying out Prabhupada’s most important mission. What about those who are distributing his books, are they opposed to the varnasrama servants? No, although sometimes in the rhetoric of the party spirit, devotees may sound like that. Let us not be agitated by the party spirit, and neither be discouraged.
Let everyone come together, at least sometimes, and appreciate Prabhupada as the universal teacher. Let’s all draw the same conclusion from his life and teachings—that he is our inspiration, and that this is expressed in many ways.
Sometimes he’s lecturing and he says, “Yes, come in, sit down.” That would be for a hippie who was deciding whether to come in or not, and who would look like he was eligible for sitting down and hearing Bhagavad-gita if he really wanted. He might be on an LSD trip or just not wanting to actually become part of the group, and yet he wanted to check it out—so Prabhupada invited him to step over the barrier and actually become a listener. He might invite him to sit down, but they did not always want to come under the Swami’s control, even to take a seat when he asked them.
The Swami was fearless. He was convinced that his message was relevant and had to be spoken. It was his show, he was in control, but he had to protect himself, especially in the beginning. It is not that the devotees were completely ready to be on his side, so he had to control the whole thing and say, “Don’t disturb, don’t disturb.” He depended on Krsna as he went on speaking the difficult-to-understand philosophy—concepts of Bhagavad-gita and the assertion that Krsna is God. He just went right ahead without watering it down in the least.
You couldn’t understand it all, but you stayed and listened to him. You caught a word here and there, Caitanya, Krsna. Missed a word here and there. I can recall thinking that I did not understand very much of it. It just went over your head and stayed there. Anyway …
We’re in the storefront and there are noises on the street, but we’re sittin’ and listenin’ to the Swami. We like to chant; we like the ringing of the karatalas. Everybody chants together: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. (Whoever heard of such a thing?—that you chant with a one-two-three beat and with brass cymbals? You never read about chanting in any book about Vedanta or Bhagavad-gita or yoga. It was far out.) The cymbals ring loudly, and the door is open and he’s singing.
When the chanting was going on and the karatalas were ringing, that would be more likely to attract passers-by to look in. But it was a time when they really couldn’t disturb because the chanting was so dominant. Their shouts and their remarks couldn’t overcome the chanting. The Swami was more vulnerable when the whole audience was quiet and he was lecturing. But when there was kirtana, it was as if he had the upper hand. And yet more people did gather to look in at that time, and that was part of the adventure of going there. When you chant you are more on Swamiji’s side, you are not just observing, but you are part of the kirtana—you were what people were looking in at. Yet you did it because you wanted to experience the kirtana, never mind the noises from the street.
Prabhupada has a presence in this cabin and on the Gita-nagari acres. (He saw Radha-Damodara a number of times and also gave Them Their names.) This is a good place to think of him. He drank water from the spring outside my door. He thought of Gita-nagari in his last days and wanted to come here to teach varnasrama-dharma. For years he also resided in this cabin in his murti form, and, while our team compiled the volumes of Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta, Prabhupada appeared here in his vani and empowered the writing.
Srila Prabhupada spoke against expecting to perceive Krsna’s presence in miraculous ways. For example, in his last days in Vrndavana, he said that he should not expect to give up eating and still continue living in his body. “If I want to survive,” he said, “of course I will have to take something. It is not possible to survive without taking food.”
Srila Prabhupada always expected Krsna’s mercy, and he knew that Krsna decides all events. He did not recommend that his devotees defy nature or expect Krsna to defy nature for them. Rather, he recommended we work for the Lord, just as Arjuna worked for the Lord. It is certainly miraculous that Krsna created countless universes out of Himself and that He effortlessly maintains them. Only when we forget Krsna do the workings of the material world appear ordinary or commonplace. Under the influence of Maya, we look for a “miracle” to revive our lagging faith.
Chant Hare Krsna—then we will see the miracles that have already occurred. Srila Prabhupada is present in this cabin at Gita-nagari, and he appears in what I write. I can take this for granted. If I approach him sincerely, he will reciprocate more.
Prabhupada meditation means being with him right now and always. Yesterday he helped us—and today and tomorrow—especially when we read his books and serve his mission. I am rereading his letters to encounter Srila Prabhupada “as-he-is.” I heard him yesterday on tape, calling us to understand Krsna as the Supreme Truth.
I eat as he ate: the same diet, sitting as he sat, using the right hand as he showed, and wearing the dress and tilaka he recommended. Now I am up at the hour he used for writing. So don’t speak of frustration in wanting to be with him. If you wish it, you are never away from his friendship, his protection, and his inspiration.
As the disciple grows older, his appreciations should increase for how much his spiritual master has sacrificed to raise all his spiritual sons and daughters. Srila Prabhupada’s disciples should learn to appreciate more how their spiritual master created the Krsna consciousness movement and how he dealt with thousands of disciples from fallen backgrounds. How successful he was!
If there were times when you felt ill at ease in the presence of your spiritual master or thought that you were forced to obey, you should accept these incidents in a submissive way and realize that it was all for your benefit. For example, sometimes the gopis complained about Krsna, but that was out of their deep affection for Him. Ultimately, they knew that He was their worshipable Lord, no matter what He did. We should also come to these conclusions about Srila Prabhupada by deepening our relationship with him in a human-like way, and basing it on the imperatives of spiritual life. We must surrender to the guru with love and understanding.
The spiritual master is not only father, but he is mother, friend, and guide in our eternal relationship with Krsna. The feeling of fatherhood toward guru, though, is perhaps strongest. He raised us as spiritual infants and we are eternally indebted to him. Although we may feel that we are going through changes and experiencing growing pains, we pray to remain always as the surrendered and foolish sons of our kind spiritual master.
He is not an ordinary father. As we need our life airs to circulate in our bodies to live, so we need to follow the order of the spiritual master, life after life.
“There is a story about one man, a cook, who bought a nice new pair of shoes. But all morning long he was in the kitchen cooking, so he couldn’t use his shoes. Similarly, all afternoon he was cooking. So what did he do? At night when he went to sleep he wore the shoes. So these shoes (which the devotees had sent Prabhupada in the mail) are so nice, but I don’t know when I shall be able to wear them. So when taking rest at night I shall wear them.”
Prabhupada accepted what we could
offer him, if only we offered it with
devotion. I’m writing this after walking
a half hour around and around this
rest stop, thinking of things to talk about with
Narahari, thinking of how I hardly walk,
and thinking of Srila Prabhupada, how the example
of his life shows
dedication to nonstop preaching even though
he was eighty-one years old. When he had only
a year to go, he was traveling and preaching
spontaneously to many or few . . . ‘I am not
Prabhupada,’ I say, and that’s true, and
I walk another lap, and another, and think,
‘But don’t make that an excuse not
to preach as he did.’ See people,
go to communities of devotees, meet
guests. It means spending your time with
people’s material problems, time I
could use developing my writing and
reading of Prabhupada’s books. I’m preparing myself, I
say to myself, but for what?
It’s a bit mysterious. Maybe I’ll have a
late burst of outgoing life. It just seems
right that now I sneak as much time
as I can for writing, loving it, not
being ashamed, to walk alone
another lap and think,
‘This is a warm-up for a poem.’
The first lap I was an old man moving slowly,
then I began to swing my arms, striding,
moving quicker. This is a warm-up, but
I’m not sure for what.”
“Every conditioned soul living within the material world has the tendency to cheat others. According to the Vedic acaryas, there are four defects that no one can escape: 1) the tendency to make mistakes, 2) the tendency to be illusioned, 3) the tendency to cheat others, and 4) imperfect senses. An example of cheating is to pose oneself as very intelligent. Although a person may be in illusion by mistaking his self for the body, and although he makes many mistakes, he still puts himself forward as an authority, professor, author and so on. Srila Prabhupada says, ‘He writes books of philosophy, although he is defective. That is cheating.’
The self-realized sage, Jada Bharata, was engaged as a palanquin carrier for King Rahugana. But one day Jada addressed the king:
“‘My dear king, although you are not at all experienced, you are trying to speak like a very experienced man. Consequently, you cannot be considered an experienced person . . . Any advanced, experienced man, considering the Absolute Truth, does not talk in this way.” (SB 5.11.1).
Jada Bharata’s exposure of the king as a cheater is similar to Krsna’s telling Arjuna:
“While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.” (Bg. 2.11)
In both these cases (by Lord Krsna’s arrangement), King Rahugana and Arjuna were posing as learned men, although they weren’t actually so. Maharaja Rahugana’s posing as a king was a similar fraud, but the cheaters may be delivered from ignorance. It is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam,
“ . . . If one carries out the order of the spiritual master in disciplic succession, or the parampara system, he overcomes the four defects. Therefore, knowledge received from the bona fide spiritual master is not cheating. Any other knowledge which is manufactured by the conditioned soul is cheating only.” (SB 3.24.12, purport)
Because of taking on different responsibilities, Prabhupāda used to honor me by allowing me to be consulted when we had to make an important decision for our growing ISKCON. One time, Śrīla Prabhupāda and some of us went uptown to look at a possible new building for our society. After we toured the building, we stood on the street and Prabhupāda asked me what I thought of it. I made a comment about the neighborhood. I felt like a responsible son of the family. I had never had that feeling with my own family.
Prabhupāda made me feel that important things depended on me and that I was expected to do my work and hold up my end of things. He arranged that the maintenance of our society appeared to depend on my service. All I had to do was perform it and my progress was guaranteed. I had begun a utilitarian relationship with Prabhupāda. This was the most solid method of rendering regular service and the most satisfactory basis for exchange, and it was not sentimental. The intimate moments with him were always the essence of sweetness. Sometimes he would call me into his room just to help him sort out some of his personal papers, instructing me to rip up certain things and put other things back into their envelopes. By simply being his instrument for these functions, I would feel entirely satisfied.
One night I found him alone in his room before his type-writer. I had been reading a book about Vaiṣṇavism in which Kṛṣṇa was described as the darling of Nanda. I asked what “darling of Nanda” meant, and he gave me a brief explanation. Then I said that I had just read a statement by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura that the perfect theist sees the spiritual form of the Lord in the Deity of Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Prabhupāda patiently heard me, but after some time said, “Now you go down and let me do my work.” I realized that I was simply detaining him from his more important work of translating the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Still, he considered both personally encouraging us and delivering to us the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as equally important.
What did it feel like to come into Prabhupada’s presence? I remember learning soon after meeting you, Srila Prabhupada, that coming to see you meant surrendering to God and giving up anarthas. Probably everyone wants to do these things at heart, but who could imagine a person who can be trusted so much, who is so intimate with God, that by surrendering to him or inquiring from him, we can become pure? Most people think that’s impossible. I thought that too until I met you.
In my youth, I wasn’t able to surrender to any priest in the Catholic church, at least not the ones I met, and the fact that my family and community tried to force my surrender made it distasteful. I wanted something more.
I remember the different times I offered dandavats when I saw you. Those obeisances were never a mechanical act for me; they were my surrender. Why could I suddenly bow down to someone? Prabhupada, it was your potency. When I bowed down to you, I felt something. I had faith. And the more I did it, the more faith I felt. That was your potency, that you could create faith in someone who did nothing more than offer you obeisances.
I also remember you smiling when we sat up from our obeisances. What were you smiling at? Maybe you were amused at our combination of earnestness and foolishness, at the combination of our purity and gross anarthas. But I know you were pleased.
But you also listened to what we thought we were doing and how we thought we might continue. Then you would state your priorities. “These standing orders at the colleges are very important.” “Work on Back to Godhead magazine.” “Concentrate on such and such service.” You would emphasize to us what was important to you and we would take that order, feeling resolute, knowing what we should do to please you.
We could never convey to others how purified we felt after being in your presence, Srila Prabhupada, or how directed our lives had suddenly become. These things were beyond our expression. We knew we could only act them out through our service.
Remembering these feelings now, I feel bathed by your presence. You recognized us, me, and we felt happy. You made Krsna real to us simply by giving us an order to follow. Ten or fifteen minutes of association and we were ready to follow you for life. That is your potency, Srila Prabhupada, to give us service as the most congenial form of intimacy.
I haven’t made deep progress with this one, but even the daily attempt is a valuable exercise. My “talking” becomes more private as I admit things I know I’m doing, and as I admit uncertainties. Even those things I claim to be certain about myself are now open to examination. It’s private because I admit things I would never say publicly, even in writing. People might misunderstand. But at least before Krsna and Prabhupada, I have to admit that I really don’t know what I’m doing. If I’m wrong, I pray to them, “Please reveal it to me. Put me on the right path. I can’t go there by myself.”
If I get stuck at this point or become doubtful about the use of self-examination, I open my repentance envelope, and read the card where Prabhupada states, “Not only should one give up his past bad habits, but he must always regret his past sinful acts. This is the standard of pure devotion.” (Bhag 6.2.27, purport).
I get specific. It is like looking into confidential files kept on yourself, files you don’t usually open even for your private use. “And You know all this about me, Lord.”
No doubt I go very easy and gentle on myself, but I look ahead to a time when this part of the prayer session could be bathed in purifying tears.
Nārada Muni explains the nature of dreams in the Fourth Canto, Chapter Twenty-nine of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He says that we see things in dreams which we have never experienced because we actually experienced them in a previous lifetime, in a different body. Events in dreams are strange for another reason, according to Nārada, because they are mental combinations of different experiences. For example, we may have seen gold and also a mountain, so in a dream the mind creates an imaginary combination whereby we can see an entire mountain of gold.
Dreams are therefore actual experiences, replayed from past lives, and also imaginary concoctions. While sleeping, the mind suddenly comes up with such experiences, just as a bubble suddenly appears from the bottom of a fermenting liquid.
It may also be said that the dreaming mind indicates what we were in the past and prophesies what we will become in the future.
Nārada Muni (and Śrīla Prabhupāda in his purports) further states that a devotee is sometimes shown all his material desires at once in a dream. Śrīla Prabhupāda writes, “His recorded desires are fulfilled in a dream.” This indicates that, by Kṛṣṇa’s desire, the devotee sees his material desires and then is done with them without having to act them out bodily and suffer the karmic reaction. If he can dream and reflect his material desires, the devotee can sometimes be done with them forever.
The concept of dreaming is also used as a metaphor or analogy for explaining Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The phenomena of dreams provide a strong proof for the transmigration of the soul. Thus, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes in a purport:
The example of a dream is very appropriate. Due to different mental conditions, in dreams we are put into advantageous and disadvantageous positions. Similarly, the spirit soul has nothing to do with his material nature, but because of his mentality of lording it over, he is put into the position of conditional existence.
—Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.27.4, purport
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.