I now have two favorite arcas: Radha-Govinda (my ishta-devata) and my 1982 blown-up photo of Radha-Kalachandji. I confess I love Them both equally. Radha-Govinda have the advantage of owning seventy sets of beautiful outfits; They wear a new one every third day. But I can see Radha-Kalachandji more closely, in larger size. Starting at 2:00 A.M., I chant all my rounds facing Radha-Kalachandji while sitting up in bed. I fix my gaze solidly at Kalachandji’s solid lotus feet and on Radharani’s pink benedicting hand and lovely face. After 4:00 A.M. I don’t see Them at all, while I have glances and darsana of Radha-Govinda all day long. We offer Them dhupa arati and three full meals. Krsna dasi, Their pujari, dresses Them expertly. Govinda’s turbans are unique, and Radharani’s dresses are thin-waisted with a form-fitting bosom.
I don’t think it’s wrong to love two Radha-Krsna Deities. Prabhupada had his favorites, like Radha-Rasavihari of Juhu and Radha-Londonisvara. He had special pastimes with both Divine Couples. I had a close relationship with Radha-Kalachandji in Their beginning years in Dallas. I attended all Their aratis, from mangala to sundara. For almost ten years, I have been receiving daily darsana of Radha-Govinda. Certainly I’m attached to Them, and I wrote a series of daily poems over many years where I asserted in the first line, “Radha-Govinda reciprocate with me.” In Ireland I listened to recordings of Rupa Gosvami’s dramas while bathing and drying the Deities every day.
One disciple tells me that she has troubles in her relationship with me. She has put up barriers to loving me. I wrote her, “What is the difficulty?” I suspect she is holding against me mistakes I have made in the past in my devotional path. She makes it hard for me to love her fully. I quoted to her what Prabhupada said to me early in our relationship when I was holding back. He said, “If you love me, then I’ll love you.” These words broke down all my reluctance to be surrendered. I wanted to be his loving disciple. Similarly, if this disciple will come to me in surrender, then we will be happy as guru and disciple.
By contrast, another disciple who lives far away is very affectionate and loyal to me. She takes my advice seriously and submissively. She reads my Free Write Journal eagerly and is grateful for the connection it provides. I’m careful what I say to her because she tries to follow my words. She sees me as Krsna’s mercy and tries to always to please me—an ideal disciple.
I was residing there as zonal guru, and my disciples joined me. I wrote Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta and other books there in the creek-side cabin. In 1986 I resigned from the GBC because of chronic migraine headaches. This meant I did not reside at Gita-nagari. I traveled in an RV with brahmacaris and lectured and wrote. Gita-nagari diminished, but Bhakti-Tirtha moved in, took over, and it flourished again. He had terminal cancer, but he preached and initiated right up to the end. He prayed to Krsna to take the sins of others and place them on himself. He accepted the aggressive cancer as Krsna’s purification. Some were skeptical of his prayer, but many of us were faithful to his condition and his letters to ISKCON. He became the Spiritual Warrior, and we kept faith with him and followed his example. He passed away at Gita-nagari, and a handsome Samadhi was built in his memory. Gita-nagari is under new management and is doing well. They have many protected cows that are giving milk and butter, and householders are building dwellings. Gita-nagari lives on!
I know him mostly from what our Prabhupada has told us. I have found his lectures and books difficult to understand. They are very intellectual, and the English is complex and a little obscure. Prabhupada took his order from his Guru Maharaja as his life and soul, just as Visvanatha Cakravarti recommended one should do in his commentary to Bhagavad-gita. As our Prabhupada dedicated his life to his spiritual master, so I am inspired to follow in the footsteps of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Our Prabhupada has told us the grandfather is more kind to his grandchildren than the father is, so we have a special relationship with Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and we are receiving his mercy.
At twenty-four years old our Prabhupada first met Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, who immediately told him he should preach to English-speaking people. He repeated this instruction in a letter written just before passing away. On a walk at Radha-kunda, he said to his grhastha disciple, “If ever you get money, print books.” Our Prabhupada carried that out on a grand scale.
All of our Prabhupada’s disciples are grandchildren of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and they regard this with great pride and respect. They sincerely follow the bold Nrsimha Guru and do not compromise with Mayavadi and other sects adverse to Gaudiya Vaisnava conclusions. He emphasized preaching and congregational kirtana, and the followers of his great disciple A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are carrying out that legacy.
We were both obsessed, as usual, with my books. I gave him an outline for the announcement I want him to write about the four books we want to publish in 2020 (in commemoration of my 80th year) and the fundraising campaign to pay for the printing. He gave me excerpts from free writing sessions I did in the early 1990s (I already dictated them into the Free Write Journal).
John showed me his plans for a future book. It will be called Daily Compositions and will be in a different format with different contents than the two volumes of POEMS we have already published. We want more variety. The new book will contain chapters of 1) prose 2) free writes and 3) poetry. We are planning to have this book ready for early July. Caitanya-candrodaya will do the layout design and covers. John gave me samples of the book Lal-Krishna is doing, also ready for early July. It is Meditations and Poems, divided into two parts. He has done a colorful front cover of a Radha-Krsna painting and a more traditional font for the print. I approved the samples and was delighted with how quickly Lal-Krishna meets his deadlines.
We also discussed the two books planned for publishing by Vyasa-puja 2020. One is Seeking New Land and is a story in prose and poetry. The other book is prose and poetry, titled Kaleidoscope. John will write introductory essays explaining them. More about these two books later.
In Caitanya-caritamrta, there are many times where Lord Caitanya advises a person to “chant incessantly” on beads. After He cured the leper Vasudeva and gave him a beautiful body, Vasudeva said he was afraid he would be proud of his good fortune. That was when Caitanya Mahaprabhu told him to chant Hare Krsna constantly in order to remain humble. Another person, Subuddhi Raya, was converted into a Muslim by a man who threw water on him from his pot. Subuddhi Raya asked a brahmana what he should do, and the brahmana told him to commit suicide. He went to Lord Caitanya and submitted his plight. The Lord restrained him from suicide and told him to always chant the holy names and serve Vaishnavas. This instruction was often given by Lord Caitanya, especially to persons who were seeking direction.
Since we are reading daily Caitanya-caritamrta, that instruction sparked something in my mind. I decided to forgo listening to a lecture or reading a book in the afternoon around 5:00 P.M. I would chant some extra rounds beyond the sixteen round minimum quota early in the morning. I put aside the clicker, fingered my Tulasi beads and chanted audibly. I felt righteous and light-hearted. But after a few rounds pressure built up in my head and I developed a headache. I took two pills, stopped chanting, leaned back in my chair and chilled. I was disappointed to find I was so fragile. After the headache I continued to do extra rounds in the afternoon, but silently and using the clicker.
At the end of each chapter of Caitanya-caritamrta, Krsnadasa Kaviraja writes a dedication: “Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.” At the beginning of the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada dedicated the work: “To Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, MY SPIRITUAL MASTER, on the 26th Annual Ceremony of his Disappearance Day. ‘He lives forever by his divine instructions, and the follower lives with him.”
I have just written a new dedication to a book we will publish in 2020:
“To His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who all alone started the Hare Krsna Movement in New York City in 1966. ISKCON has grown into tens of thousands of followers all over the world. Srila Prabhupada is still at the center of the Movement as the Founder-Acarya. His many books are ‘the basis,’ and he said they would remain prominent for ten thousand years. He also asked his followers to write books in Krsna conscious parampara. With his blessings I have been making a tiny contribution to this request for over 50 years. I beg Srila Prabhupada and my readers to forgive my faults and to accept my writings as ‘in pursuance of the Vedic version.’ All glories to Srila Prabhupada and his devotees!”
I was a little hesitant to mention my own writing rather than leave the dedication exclusively to Prabhupada, but I thought it was all right since Prabhupada asked his disciples to write. And I ended with ‘Jaya Prabhupada!’ Not only in publishing a book but in all devotional activities we should dedicate them to Srila Prabhupada. He is our direct, worshipable link to Krsna, and we should always offer our services to him.
They live near the Newcastle temple in England. They are visiting us for two weeks. Bhakti-rasa had a health scare this year. The worst part was that for two months it went undiagnosed. He experienced numbness in different parts of his body. He speculated he might have a heart attack or stroke. He took it as a wake-up call and felt he wasn’t ready for the crisis. Finally he saw a neurologist. She diagnosed him as having Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS), where something triggers the immune system to attack the fatty insulation on the nerve channels, exposing the nerves and producing chaotic bodily symptoms. The neurologist said his condition was mild, and he has since stopped experiencing most sensations. But it has left him uncertain about his future. He had been making long-term plans to get a Ph.D. but now wonders if he should just concentrate on the present, with emphasis on improving his sadhana. Bhakti-rasa’s wife, Kirtida dasi, has an M.A. and is employed teaching Hinduism. They have been my disciples for many years and express much love for me. I express the same toward them. Since his health scare, Bhakti-Rasa has been reading all my Free Write Journals, and some of my books. He finds sustenance in them. I am so glad they are here and reconnecting our loving bond.
I had a breakthrough and dreamt about a whole series of recent dreams. I have been away from home (maybe in the Navy) and I have been finding time to write in different notebooks. I don’t remember the subject but assume it’s free writing. Last night I discovered the subject. My persona is searching. I don’t remember what he was searching for, but just the discovery of searching was exciting and illuminating to me. I hope to continue having writing dreams and that the Muse, or unconscious, will reveal more to me. I feel like I am a treasure hunter digging for gold and jewels. Gradually, if I am patient, I may uncover a major jackpot (only if Krsna desires).
We went to the hospital in freezing weather for an appointment with the pulmonologist, Dr. Garcia. At the appointment time the doctor was in the emergency room, and we had to wait an hour. While waiting, two very elderly persons passed us and seeing our saffron and orange clothing, the oldest one remarked, “You look like vegetables. You are a squash, and you are a pumpkin.” When Dr. Garcia was free, I told her my COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)—symptomized by shortness of breath—was still present, but not worse. “Yes, it is chronic,” she said,
meaning it won’t go away. She gave me a new device, a spirometer, which you breathe into to increase your lung capacity. Her records showed that I had received a recent CT scan, which came out well: no cancer. I am still lame, cannot walk, and that will be a permanent issue. We gave Dr. Garcia some of Baladeva’s cookies, and she was delighted. She said they were her “favorites.” She usually eats them all herself. She is pretty, from Puerto Rico, and has a friendly but professional bedside manner. We will see her again in six months. It is good that our condition is stable and not getting worse. She said our physical exercise routine was very important; building the body muscles helps strengthen the lungs. (We didn’t bother to tell her we have canceled all exercises for eight days because of hemorrhoids.)
One has to practice controlling the mind. It is best to do it at an early age, but even later it has to be done. Going to college is advisable to get a better job, but there is an entangling cost to it if you mix intimately with nondevotees and take up mundane practices. These things make impressions. Don’t think they will go away when you get older and become serious in spiritual life.
At 80, I still get involuntary flashes in the mind of my vice-ridden life before I was 25 and met Srila Prabhupada. As soon as possible one should stop illicit acts, or they will return as mental karma even when one is reformed. In this connection, the parents have a responsibility to their children. In childhood, they should enroll their offspring in a gurukula. When the children grow older, their parents should learn how to block dangerous pornography from appearing on the computer. There’s a way to do this, and the parents should not be lazy and not do it. We should engage all our time in devotional service, reading Krsna conscious books, engaging in sankirtana and associating with like-minded devotees. Then there will be a good chance that we can avoid unsavory thoughts.
“In the late 1960s, one of Srila Prabhupada’s arrivals into New York was featured in the New York Daily News. They published several photos of devotees surrounding Swamiji at the airport, offering him garlands and dancing joyfully. The headline was ‘Swami, How They Love You.’ Although it was a play on words on the Al Jolson song, ‘Swanee, How I Love You,’ the phrase ‘Swami, How They Love You’ captured the essence. Even the News reporter saw the bhakti.
“This was one of the main features of Krsna consciousness in the early years—devotees loving Swamiji. You can see it in a photo which was included in an early edition of Isopanisad. It shows devotees running down Second Avenue in the middle of the road, barefooted and completely unrestrained. Some of the men are bare-chested, with their japa beads bouncing around their necks. The girls in saris are like the descriptions of the gopis, who were in such a rush that they didn’t comb their hair properly or put their earrings on in the right position. Swamiji had just arrived at 26 Second Avenue, and these devotees are about a block away, north of the storefront. They’re all running south, towards him. Nandakisora is there, Patita Uddharana, Madhusudana’s wife Kanchanbala, and others. Whatever you may say about that photo, you can’t say they were unenthusiastic on catching sight of Swamiji.
“Some of the young girls became so effusive in praising Prabhupada that he restrained them. They used to scream and sigh during his lectures when he reached over to drink water or if he made a facial expression while describing Lord Nrsimhadeva, or if he did almost anything. So one day Prabhupada told Brahmananda to tell the girls (these were several high school girls—Indira, Ekayani, Kanchanbala and Lilasuka) that they should be more sober in the presence of the spiritual master.
“Overflowing affection for Prabhupada wasn’t expressed only in emotional displays but in a willingness to do whatever he asked, and a complete trust in him. Jayadvaita Swami points this out in explaining how the devotees accepted whatever appeared in Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita manuscript, even though it was typed with many errors. One of the mistakes the typist made was to state that there was a ‘planet of trees,’ whereas Prabhupada actually intended, ‘The planet of the pitris’ or forefathers. Jayadvaita Maharaja commented that when the devotees saw this, their reaction was, ‘A planet of trees? Far out! Well it must be, if the Swami says so.’ Of course, we shouldn’t accept typing mistakes, but acceptance of whatever the Swami says is the core of the guru-disciple relationship. Whatever Vyasadeva says or whatever Prabhupada says, we accept. So is it a planet of trees or a planet of pitris? One statement is a mistake and one is the truth, but all we wanted to know was what the Swami actually said. Otherwise, to us, either statement was equally possible or equally impossible.
“In trying to express just what it was like to idolize Prabhupada and be with him, one of his disciples used the expression, ‘We were like little chipmunks in front of him.’ This is a laughable image, but it describes in part what we were like. We were very excited and worshipful in our darsana with Prabhupada.”
“With your hands, fingers, eyes, pick out the dress for tomorrow. Put Them in nightclothes and into bed. Your own head . . . please ask yourself. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna. Just add to it. Ask Krsna to help. In Western language. In ocean . . . you drown . . . God is the strong boat, the carrier, swift deliverer. Trust Him and His process.”
“Hare Krsna. Look up at Radha and Krsna. Maroon-pink words are in colors. His turban, His arms, a metal stain on His stand. Srila Prabhupada is not so cold today. The Deity is so kind to you. Don’t try to squeeze something out of it. You just do each thing as it comes.”
“Pujari, can you tell us, would you like to, what it’s like? I can’t, the feeling itself is not accessible to me. I see beyond it, deeper. The surface … even that is good, being absorbed in putting the earrings on, etc. Today in Bhajana-rahasya I heard things that I am not eligible to hear. Still, the intimate exchanges of Radha and Krsna, even while I prepare Them to stand together. Please accept me, I must ask my guru. I don’t do this puja according to the book or with the devotion of a great lover. I don’t see Krsna as exactly the arca-vigraha. For me, God . . . ah, I am simply grateful.
“O moon of Gokula
I hear of Your pastimes with
gopis and how the manjaris
are serving Radha so carefully
with no thought for their
own satisfaction . . .
And You allow me to touch Your Deity form.”
“The pujari asked devotees going to India if they would buy things for him. He wanted candrikas for Radha, and, if possible, always more full sets, outfits, dresses—whatever you want to call them—matching kurta and dhoti and top-piece for Krsna (just right to the pattern), and skirt and blouse and cape-piece for Radha, and necklaces. That will satisfy me. I waited for thirty years to worship Radha-Krsna, and told her. ‘Oh, is Gaura-Nitai for beginners? Are you insinuating that?’ No. No.”
These are excerpts of spontaneous writing practice done on two separate occasions at the Krishna-Balaram Mandir guesthouse in Vrindavan in September 1993.
“I wrote a note to Baladeva, who is an old encourager/in my writing tasks. He brought me colored pens and a drawing pad. I told him my inner critic is saying, ‘You write too many books, and your views are changing.’ His reply:
‘I don’t think it is up to us to decide whether you write and print too much. That job is up to the Vaishnavas of the future. But even if they give you a rating of fifty percent, half of two hundred books is better than half of one hundred books, so please keep writing and hope for the best.’
loudspeaker and at the same time,
the ‘blues’ singer-lady emoting
‘Radhe, Radhe’ on her P.A. loudspeaker.
And I with some ghee.
“Devotee wrote me that Madhu said
When it’s time to leave Vrindavan
I always feel I haven’t used
my time well. I seem to be deliberately starting
out that way. I don’t get into histrionics,
so I wave it away—
the call to disciplined studies
rasika talk and tapes
and what to speak of prayers to
Kamyavana, Vrnda-devi and Yogamaya.
“Well, brother, better brace yourself
for the influx of ISKCON folks. Vrindavan is not a solitary place, but ISKCON gathering-ground
at a time in my life when
I’m averse to that.
He’s carefully explaining Bhagavatam
in a foreign tongue. She’s leaving long spaces in-between
her sad song, Rad—he.
I’m lucky if I can read twenty minutes
at a time.
And turn to the gray, heavy sky. Go ahead, rain,
it’s all right with me.
I can close the windows.
If I get a sudden bang on the head
I take it as a warning
to smarten up.
“Trying to think of things to do to avoid writing. You think whatever you do won’t come out right. It’s good in one sense that starting writing is always hard. Makes me aware I need to ask Lord Krsna’s permission. I can’t take it for granted. There is an endless river of expression, confession, teachings we can write on, but tapping into it is not easy. Or is it?
“O Supreme Lord who controls all the universes, help me get a little control of my mind. During the mangala-aratis, my dissatisfaction went up. I couldn’t control it and I couldn’t taste nectar. No need to remember the details, but it wasn’t pleasant. Sometimes up and sometimes down. What is the use of getting attached even to tasting the higher spiritual if you know it will be followed by a dip?
“A distracted soul cannot look at the Deities and see Them. He sees only the messages from his own mind—what people are doing to him and saying about him. He sees trivia and fragments of recent ingestions—from newspapers, rumors, or the past.
“The pigeons line the roof wall of the gurukula building. They preen, turning their heads around and digging their beaks into their bodies in search of comfort; then they fly off. The wall is corroding.
“I should not care for any nondevotees’ theory of what is the best art in writing (although I can learn from them about honesty and how to hold a reader, to capture the truth, to give yourself wholly and be lucid). I should listen to preachers and Vaisnava poets as to how to write in Krsna consciousness. But then I still have to come back to what’s best for me and how to do it. As Prabhupada says, it’s like eating. You know yourself how it feels.
“Walking back and forth on the roof, chanting. Using your time well in Vrindavan. A devotee with not much experience in Vrindavan writes that he’s going to a different parikrama place every day and taking his time so he can appreciate it. He says he also bathes in the Yamuna daily. And he does practical service, cooking for the devotees. Someone told him that it is beneficial to serve and please the devotees in Vrindavan.
“Do I disbelieve it? No. I have heard the same doctrine and I believe in it because it’s brahma-sabdha. Vrindavan is the land of immense benefit and costly reactions to offenses. That’s why I’m not pleased with my mind. When I’m with the devotees I tend to think others are in the same dilemma. If I write, it may help us. We are all in this together.
We read together the beginning again
The rain had just stopped
and was pouring down the eaves.
(Now as I write this the toot
of the Radharani Express, 5:00 P.M.)
While he read Visvanatha Cakravarti
I was watching a hawk
partially concealed on a leafy branch.
He has orange feet. He
keeps lifting his white plumage.
(Earlier I saw a brave chipmunk
teasing that hawk.)
The gopis did sankirtana.
Lord’s mercy comes in names
to whomever He decides
to give it to.
They chanted Gopi-gita.
We didn’t talk much. I
thought, ‘Whoever hears a
tape of this reading will notice
the parrots of Vrindavan and
the rain left 0ver pouring off
As I write I see my Godbrother
Kundali walking the long roof
chanting japa and probably thinking.
Maybe he sees me writing
this poem. Say it’s for him.
“This pad attracts me to write in it. The sun is out and it’s 6:00 P.M. It rained for hours.
“O parrots, you screech
And I do too.
But you keep at it and I have
a deeper purpose.
I’m a complicated human.
Drat! Wish I were a sweet child of Jesus, I
mean a child of Hare Krsna love
and philosophy (siddhanta).
“An ample and firm
enlightened student or
master sannyasi preacher
breathing fire and
muscles to preach.
But an honest-to-God
“Wish I were a snowflake of eternal goodness. Bah! Why don’t you talk straight?
“You should wish you were Srila Prabhupada’s secretary again. It’s January 1974, and you are ready to live for him. Or it is August’ 74, and you are traveling in America selling his books.
the trouble is
is the world,
is this headache syndrome
your attachment for breezes—
caress in the chest, the world of
Imagining and writing.
You a mad poet
born in New York City.
You a corporeal disease
A wound of karma ghost,
shaking off dreams
like the crow shakes off
merged in this instant
Sun after rain and
can’t find Radha-Krsna
in your heart.
You a sad case
but not hopeless.
Your guru will save you yet.”
“Freer. According to the theory of free writing—but I can’t submit to it words like ‘switchblade.’ I censor them, afraid the typists will be taken aback. It’s too awkward to write in a separate book, and words come too quickly . . .
“I restart . . . I know your kind. Then why not try to be a word artist, a goswami of the pen? You are so hip you realize what everyone realizes? You are central (but small) star in the whole universe? You have an arrogance but keep it undetected?
“Why, oh why
do Clark bars shine
and O’Henry’s grime
why do they fall in love?”
“On the rippards, ole’ boy. Be prepared for any storm to the ship of your life. Hurricane Edward or Betty can roll in overnight and you are in the grip of a catastrophe. A brother said, ‘I always see some good in it from Krsna.’ He spoke from experience of being defamed and scorned. Said, ‘I need more purification than most people.’
“No doctor can cure
no past can alleviate
no word as sweet as that
from above, no warning as certain . . .
“In the trash can of rhetoric go so many words. I can go through them later with a silky finger, but don’t get cut on the glass or turds. . . . who knows what you will find in the garbage?”
“Brace for guitars and cigars
we are going through hell,
here comes the surf
and photos in newspapers—
I avoid the worst by
wearing an eye mask—
But the rabbit’s closed eyes
don’t mean he’s safe.
“Chant the holy names
chant the holy names
and again, chant the
Today is the day you speak to a roomful of disciples—on the Beda-kirtana pastimes (Cc. Madhya, Chapter 11), and you promised to go out marching at 5:00 P.M. in Vrindavan town. Yes, I will, yes.
“The dragon of despair
The snakes and other things that pass through my mind. Captain,
can we print this or
is it too raunchy and insulting to the U.S. Navy—will people object
and get us into trouble?
Please decide, O Captain, before your term of office is up—
who gets the spaghetti
and who is court-martialed
in a narrow passage and . . .
That’s old memory.
“You will chant.
Do the dance of
petty truths and concerns of the mind.
Ever so gently
“the thoughts of the mind
and resound in the sound
of hari-nama awhile, awhile, there’s no other cure for
what ails ya—
“Even Dr. Bronner’s Soap
doesn’t know this and better
it’s not advertised there—
The Peace Formula,
your spiritual master’s teachings,
the Vedas, Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Please let me return
back to Godhead.
“She asked, “At the exact moment you realize your rasa, could I come too?” Ha! Don’t worry about that. Keep your head on straight. Don’t misbehave. Don’t crave exotic mantras of the last stage . . . I agree with you, Dr. Bones . . .
“I too have a solution,
a salt-free friend who can
see ’em coming and call out—
Get it in the face.
With your permission, (I won’t
use Your names here) I shall now disappear
(hiding my activities).
“I had to laugh because I don’t believe a person like that can go into hysterics. But you should pray for his reform and for all wise guys and jerks and sadists. ‘Pray’ means do some good for them.”
“When you say how long and how many times (will I travel back and forth, how many years until I die)—would you want an answer in numbers? Six, four, two, would that help? I don’t think so, although it helped Maharaja Pariksit and Maharaja Khatvanga. You just go on what you know.
“There’s no one to help you rhyme
or rather you pick up everyone’s
list and time and Wisdom.
Mother Theresa, Lao Tsu, and
I concede. The noise is too
terrible in my brain.
So be it.”
“The helicopter paused and coughed. The Andes survivors thought,
‘We lived through everything else, and now we have to die in our rescue plane?’
“Mimic the grave. Beatitude the dove. Mickey the mouse.
“I is cruisin’ on low speed and don’t know why exactly or what the benefit is—This is who I am—I see myself different than perfect sastras—I admit it in dangerous airspace—now if I surrender, and I do, you’ll know at least it’s something true and not empty reading of a book.
“But there’s something to be said for simple ‘idiotic’ acceptance of what is read in the perfect books. I’m not going to start classes nowadays, but when VIHE starts I’ll have to start going to both parts of the morning program.
“And the flight of this session is descending. It was a little freer. Your discussion bibulated, I admit. You’ll be a good boy and write more intellectually, reflectively, but you need this. I agree.
“And I look forward to much freer expression in the months ahead in Hawaii.
“Give deliberate misinformation to keep them off your trail so your inner life can prosper.
“Put it in your will. Put it in your biography. Elude the truth of sparrows—and the fate of the bee who was eaten (alive or dead) by ants. You saw it on your bed and flicked the larger corpse onto the floor.
“I will not subscribe to an expensive book club and get a free, handsome, two-volume set of Alice in Wonderland. I don’t even need new shoes.
“‘Buckle your seat belts. We are approaching a landing. When your plans call again for air travel, please turn to Free Writing Flights. We do thank you and have a good day, wherever your final destination is. Goodbye, good birds, and Hare Krsna.’
“So saying, the pilot shut his mouth. He is the higher energy, and the plane is the inferior—he pushes the buttons and switches just right, and we land soft as a velvet bump, forgetting our friend, or at least not acting for the applause, landing safely on the U.S.S. Kearsarge, in the grass on the tarmac, engines in reverse, stewardesses calming down. Now you can stop and go to japa. Don’t thank your old captain, it’s just his job.”