Gauranga: because His body has a golden hue; because He is in the mood and complexion of Radharani (sri-krsna-caitanya, radha-krsna nahe anya.)
Nimai: because He was born under a neem tree, and the ladies wanted to protect Him from evil spirits.
Nimai Pandita: because He manifested Himself as a great scholar and teacher, even in His boyhood.
Sri Krsna Caitanya: His sannyasa name.
Mahaprabhu; in the Panca-Tattva, He is the Supreme Master in whom the other Prabhus take shelter. He is the worshipable Lord for Advaita Acarya, Nityananda Prabhu, Gadadhara, Srivasa and all the devotees (gaura-bhakta-vrnda).
Sacinandana: the bliss of His mother Saci, who is very dear to Him.
The Nilacala Lord: worshiper of Lord Jagannatha and associates with His devotees like Svarupa Damodara, Ramananda Raya, etc.
Deliverer of the people of South India: wherever He went, He delivered the people by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra and distributing prasadam.
For philosophers like Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Prakasananda and the Tattvavadis, He enlightened them by learned discourses. He also taught Rupa and Sanatana in this way. By singing and dancing at Ratha-yatra in Puri, He brought the people up to transcendental ecstasy. In His last twelve years, He spent the time deliriously talking of Radharani in separation from Krsna, in the confidential association of Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya in a little room known as the Gambhira. He underwent physical transformations and entered the pastimes of Krsna.
In Caitanya-bhagavata, we heard how Nimai excelled in scholastic studies. Seeing this, His father, Jagannatha Misra, becomes worried. He thinks that as Nimai grows older He will see the material life as false, and He will take sannyasa and leave home. So he orders his son to stop His studies. Nimai once again takes up His mischievous activities. When His mother delays in delivering His request, He throws a temper tantrum and destroys all the pots and provisions in the home. He even starts destroying the house, breaking down the walls and the door. He climbs on top of pots that have become dirty by cooking. Sacidevi comes and tells Him to come down from the dirty pots. Nimai replies that, “You have stopped Me from studying, so how can I know what is right and what is wrong?” The neighbors come by and sympathize with Nimai. Then Jagannatha Misra arrives and the neighbors implore him that he should allow his son to resume His studies. Jagannatha relents, and Nimai returns to His books with redoubled strength. Jagannatha Misra then has a dream that Nimai has taken sannyasa. He looks very beautiful and is surrounded by many disciples. He sits on the throne of Visnu and offers benedictions to each of His followers. He dances ecstatically and holds kirtana on the streets of Navadvipa with His associates. Shortly after seeing this prophetic dream, Jagannatha Misra passes away. Nimai consoles His mother and continues immersing Himself in His studies. He becomes the leading student of His teacher, Gangadasa Pandita. He establishes an argument, then refutes it, then establishes it again. These are the years of Nimai’s scholastic pastimes.
We are starting to skip Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s twenty-page-long commentaries written for an intellectual audience. Our Prabhupada’s book translations were appreciated by scholars for their authentic presentation of bhakti, yet his purports were written for his devotees, and they are accessible.
Vrndavana dasa Thakura is prolonging Nimai’s pastimes of scholarship. Chapter after chapter, the author doesn’t reveal that Nimai is a Vaisnava. He is the crest jewel of all scholars and no one can defeat Him, but He doesn’t speak of Krsna or lead krsna-kirtana. He does, however, drop cryptic hints to the leading Vaisnavas of Navadvipa that He will soon manifest Himself as a pure devotee. As a reader I have become impatient with Nimai’s disguising Himself. I can’t wait until He reveals Himself as an ecstatic devotee!
At the height of His scholastic pastimes, He defeated the Kashmiri Pandita, a champion scholar and poet. Nimai is just a young teacher of beginner’s grammar, while the Pandita has collected certificates of defeat from all the scholars of India. At Nimai’s request, the Pandita composes 100 Sanskrit verses in praise of the Ganges. Nimai then examines one verse and finds many faults in it. The Pandita is humiliated and unable to speak. That night, the Pandita’s worshipable goddess, Sarasvati, appears to him and tells him that Nimai is none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The next morning the Pandita surrenders to Nimai and gives up his career as “digvijaya” champion.
An entire chapter is devoted to Nimai’s accepting a second wife, the beautiful and highly-qualified Visnupriya. A wealthy merchant bears all the expenses, and an unprecedented, opulent wedding takes place. All the people of Navadvipa are invited, and they are given gifts in charity. The people say the bride and groom look just like Narayana and Laksmi. Everyone swims in bliss.
My Dear Lord Krsna was written in 2010. It is very personal, but it is an objective linear account, not like the “Writing Sessions” which shoot out in every direction, free of preaching and guided only by spontaneous practice writing. These are genuine prayers and stick to that point from beginning to end, each one. I was given a window to write these prayers by Krsna, and it lasted for two volumes. Some of my disciples like these books as among their favorites by me. An excerpt:
“My dear Lord Krsna . . . .
“You are vibhu and I am anu. You are great and I am small. I like it that way. I am under Your protection, like a just-born elephant with his momma and tusked-papa. I am anu, and You are vibhu, like Hercules and his just-born offspring, protected from all Raksasas and enemies. These are awkward metaphors. You protect me even from Death Personified by a bond of eternity:
nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam
eko bahunam yo vidadhati Kaman
“We are Your parts and parcels, eternal and blissful like You. But You are the One, and I am one of the countless tiny many. I wish to be intimate with You and act as Your menial servant.
“You are the greatest, but You like to be loved as a close friend or child in Goloka Vrndavana. You prefer rolling in the dust of Vraja-raja rather than riding on a palanquin bedecked with jewels. I want to play with You in the Vraja forest and have fun. I’d like to sit at the dinner table with You in Nanda-babu’s hall and share a feast and pick out special preparations of spinach and samosa and sweets for Your special sampling. I’d like to see You teasing the gopis and deliver a note to a manjari on Your behalf about where You want to have a tryst with Radha in the evening.
“I’d like to do whatever You ask me to do, and do it enthusiastically, even if it was a laborious task.
“As long as I am a more distant, struggling sadhaka practicing devotional service in this material world, I want to rise early in the morning and chant vigorous japa of Your holy names. I want to associate with Your devotees, treating them as my dearmost friends, and go on preaching adventures with them. I want to have a desire to give lectures on Krsna conscious siddhanta and answer people’s questions about how to apply the philosophy. I want to desire to travel to a place where devotees are gathered and speak to them on Srimad-bhagavatam and share kirtana with them. I want to counsel individuals and help them with their problems. I want to write a daily journal with poems and make prayers. I want to reach readers. I want to overcome difficulties in a good mood and be a happy, willing servant.”
These excerpts from spontaneous practice were composed in the last week in September, 1996 while staying at Manu’s house in Geaglum, Northern Ireland prior to European travel.
“My dear sir, you are pledged to do writing practices. They come from a life of devotional practices. ‘We have many things to learn about bhajana, or worship of the Lord, by following in the footsteps of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami,’ writes Srila Prabhupada. (Cc. Adi 10.100, purport) Especially chant the holy names of God. Retire from material duties and fully engage yourself in the service of Krsna. Oh, we will do this, please.
“I’m thinking of my life and career. Someone asked me, ‘How do you deal with failure, the fact we have not measured up to the standard of preaching ordered and exemplified by our spiritual master?’ I replied by saying we do the best we can and depend on Srila Prabhupada’s compassion and mercy. But I also wanted to say even great souls like Sanatana Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura admitted or felt themselves to be failures. That is their humility. But I don’t want to be deemed a failure by some of my contemporaries for not enacting devotional service in certain activist ways that they deem as successful. Anyway, don’t assert yourself here.
“Here is for free write, but it would be better if you had worthy concerns. One concern is to tend to your service of guiding others. You be with them and speak some classes. Do what you can. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna. Will you go at least one more time to see Radha-Govinda? They are not far away. They will give you Their blessings by inspiring you to pray to serve Them. ‘Please give me that strength.’ Keep the impressions of Their forms in your mind.
“The sense of failure. Madhavendra Puri cried, ‘I could not attain Mathura. I could not reach the goal.’ In writing I could not write concisely or purely with analytical scholarship. In birth I failed; in upbringing I failed; on my own, I failed. But my spiritual master is keeping me in his service and infusing me with sufficient strengeth to follow the basic codes (four rules, sixteen rounds) for a devotee.
“Please render service to Madana-mohan.
“Think of Krsna, the all-attractive. Srila Prabhupada talking on L.A. radio show, 1968. I heard him pause and hope the guy wouldn’t barge in or get rude, allow Srila Prabhupada to explain that we need to know God and our relationship with Him. L.A. radio and here I am, let’s go. Warm up hands. For October 1, out the gate and you’ll go and then . . . . cramped in the van. Hard and harsh words by the victor. ‘I am crass,’ he said, ‘because my father was a boilerman in the Navy for much of his life, and you know the Navy.’ Yes, I didn’t know you were his son and all that.
“You must have.
“I’m too tired to continue this long.
“Long-johns, and chadar and socks and hats, get ready for colder weather, and you sleeping not outdoors but in a van—not in a warm building. You go to . . . see, it’s for your good to travel down to Italia? I think so. Men pitching hay into the fields. Krsna conscious black man, freed. Man, I’ve seen you before somewhere.
“Radha-Govinda, I want to see You but I’d like to write too. Take a day off or you may never get back here. ‘Yeah, but Kamyavana is so far away.’ ‘Two hours? I’m willing to go,’ he said, under pressure of no way out. Kamyavana headache, monkeys, silas at Govardhana. What if I threw a rock?
“Write clear so you can see later. Krsna, Krsna, He’s knocking on the door. Syamananda (was Seamus)—let him in to prepare the breakfast.”
“You feel humble and unworthy about your writing. It is not as elevated as slokas and Bhaktivedanta purports, but it still is pleasurable and also K.C. You’ve been doing it a long time as service. The specialty of sastra is not to be denied. You should go to it more and more.
“I just read half an hour, from Bhagavad-gita 7.1-2 and the opening verses of Cc. Adi Chapter 7. I can move around freely now in Cc. in the one-volume edition. Become more familiar with it; it’s a great asset. The material body may drop at any moment. How foolish of Aelred to assert that the body has the same status as the eternal soul, and that he is doing God’s will when he indulges in homosexual desires. Even heterosexual desires will entangle you.
“Read Bhagavad-gita. The soul is eternal. We want to get free of this material body. You won’t get pure K.C. except in the scriptures. No other literature or entertainment can bring it. So we ask you to refrain from your tendencies for non-K.C. enjoyment. Srila Prabhupada says we enjoy with senses; we cannot artificially stop it, but the senses must be used in K.C. That means K.C. music—kirtana with holy names and dancing in kirtana and feasting by honoring K.C. prasadam in the right mood. It is fair enough, and a liberal offering. But you want to take it out of K.C. connection? Music and food without Krsna? Or you say whimsically, ‘It’s all Krsna.’ Yes it’s all one, but there are varieties of worth in the energies of Krsna. In the house, it’s all one, but the toilet room is different from the living room. You can say when you enter the toilet, ‘I’ve entered the house,’ but not really. It’s not all one.
“Krsna, I am writing in parampara. It does me some good to do so. This is my warmup for the travel ‘diary,’ where I’ll search my purpose in writing sessions. Yes, I desire to write a book, and yes, I desire to write without conception. Become free . . . in K.C.”
“Hare Krsna. No headache yet. My friends and well-wishers are kind to me. M. trying to make a comfortable seat in the back of the van for when we are speeding. Cook for you, row across the lake . . . inquire from you. The nondevotees don’t care a thing for me. No one would do anything for me unless I paid for it; professional services. That’s the way it is. And what about me—am I rendering loving devotional service to others, to friends, to nondevotees and to God, Krsna? I am hoping to make this a theme when I ask, ‘What is my purpose?’ I feel tired and incapable of giving myself in one-to-one talks.
“Haribol. Ink is rolling thick and black, and this is the express: ‘Wee-whooo.’
“This is the way. The shed is cool, a tang of autumn air but not uncomfortable, snug in Wellies, two pairs of socks and coat and hat and hood. Merton is not my brother, but I do look at some things he writes. Back to Bhagavad-gita and the truths we live by. Aelred’s criticism of Srila Prabhupada and Vaisnava philosophy works in my favor as I go through Bhagavad-gita and accept the truths and feel the weight of their reason, the theology I can defend. The soul is eternal and nonmaterial; the body is perishable matter. Old or new Christian thought is different. We defend and teach soul and body on Vedic terms, not Christian or Greek, etc. We are in our own world and speak Vedic authority to the whole world.
“Plan for Italy: when to arrive in Brescia, dentist, doctor, then temple. Oh, oh, oh, you beautiful . . .
“I think things will evolve in the series of writing sessions. Find some basic operating rules, not decided yet, such as, do we date our writing as I’m doing here? Just a date starts a new chapter, and then you actually do the essence of ‘Writing Sessions’ but put down the time before each one: ‘5:02 A.M., etc.’
“In traveling situations, you will not get much time at all sometimes, and it will appear as a travel diary entry—where you are and what’s happening. Then go off into whatever comes. The more you write, the better you will get at it. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna.
“(Writing fifteen minutes; go fifteen more.) Glad day. Adventures ahead. Headaches too, delays, and maybe worse. Krsna protects in any case. He will . . . Even if you have a car accident, it’s under His control. Whiplash, pain, abandoned, awkwardness, on your own, mistreated, no treatment for headaches, etc.—whatever it is, it’s Krsna working to bring you to Him. That’s the real thing—not safety in this world, or reputation, even publishing is not an end in itself. But Krsna bringing you to Him, and you responding. Believe He is working on your behalf. In Brhad-bhagavatamrta, the Lord tells Gopa-kumara, ‘I was waiting for the opportunity to bring you to Me, back to Godhead.’ That means the Lord doesn’t force us. He honors our desires. So, you better show Him you are sincere and want to leave this place. Show Him you want to please Him, want to use your life and self in service.
“Manu said I’m going into enemy territory, using writer’s skills to preach K.C. philosophy, convince people, catch them off-guard, etc. Why should Mayavadis have all the fun, and devotees write only as scholars? Yeah, well said. Give ’em hell, give ’em fun. Be truthful. We’ve got the goods.
“Okay, ten more minutes. You see how you are out of shape, and to write even half an hour is a big chore. But the more you write, you will get better at both: 1) freeing up expression, and 2) finding themes and conclusions. They go together. Hip-hop hooray, Barcelona bars, old jasmine or just Pop trumpet player, black man in the nightclubs, castanets, the flamenco, the dance for tourists and sailors. A column statue in honor of C. Columbus.
“Those memories are of no good account. The theme, the lake Erne, the birds, the time of year and time of life. Inner man has a right to live. How is this coming out? It is just you in the shed, pounding heart, beating mrdanga in warmup sessions before you hit the road.
“We’ll park in the yard at the Belfast temple, and I’ll write what comes. Lecture what comes in Srimad-Bhagavatam. You speak, and the Lord lets your reading and training come out—spontaneously you reach some conclusions, just as you do in writing.
“Krsna Krsna claus. This Trust is for what to do with my writings after I’m dead. Publish them, that’s all. It sounds good. Hare Krsna comes straight from Krsnaloka. When a headache comes, you can’t write like this. Make hay while the sun shines. Gather it in. Relax muscles in your neck, but tighten grip on the pen with thumb, forefinger and wrist. Rest. Krsna is Supreme. We are marginal, but spirit. Grand Canyon is just a crack.
“Lord, I hope the October sessions flow and make good reading and good self-guidance. The wildest poems don’t neglect sukuta, although it is bitter-tasting. A sannyasi should write books and describe Krsna. He has to be perfect in Sanskrit and meter and a pure devotee authorized by Krsna and the Lord in the heart—no false motive. Then he can write transcendental pastimes of Lord Krsna.
“My writing is below that, but I do have basic credentials of following guru, etc.”
“All glories to the chanting of the holy names! I intend to give a class to disciples here on Saturday, with all selections on chanting Hare Krsna. I’m already into ‘motivated’ reading to prepare for classes. This is typical of the travel life. It’s a way to experience random reading in Srila Prabhupada’s books—which are like a sugar tree. And it will dip me into Srimad-Bhagavatam, which I want.
“Even if you can’t surrender to Krsna, you can at least chant the holy names. Of all the orders of the Lord, it is the most important. So it comes first in our day. I can preach this. Some devotees recently admitted to me they are not chanting their sixteen rounds. So at least I’m doing my own, numerical strength. I have no desire right now to increase the quota—to twenty, twenty-five or thirty-two—but would very much like to improve the quality in those two and a half hours or more that are dedicated to chanting. It’s hard because other thoughts need to be put aside and you concentrate not so much on thinking but on the japa-yajna, of uttering hari-nama and hearing it with your ears.
Okay write, soldier. Don’t be afraid that it is too profuse and not centered. It can be edited away later. You need to get beyond that concern. Writing because it helps you, you do it as service. This process of free writing does provide the best you can do—writing into the unknown. Do what you are able to do. If it’s too much, it can be removed later. You must swim into it as much as possible. Books for the masses.
“Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare.
“I can edit myself, but I don’t have time. I need to go on writing the next book. This is the way. Haribol.
“So, on Saturday I hope to tell them ‘Chant Hare Krsna and your life will be sublime.’ Or at least, ‘You promised. It’s the most important. This comes first, and other needs and priorities in your life should follow it.’
“This notetaking . . . Belfast trip starts it off. As if Geaglum were my home. It’s only recently been so. Giving up the imaginary idea that because I have residency in Ireland, I should physically stay here. I will come back here, but I need to travel. So, there’s no home base but writing pads and a moving pen.
“Krsna, Krsna. Tell them I chant in the morning. I don’t have much taste, and I don’t have any ability to stay attentive or prayerful, mantra by mantra. But I do it and know it must be done early, under the best circumstances. Sit by candlelight in the room before others are awake.
“The mind is plan-making. I do make an effort to slow down the scheming and worrying and plan-making. No note-taking during japa. Put the worries aside and turn to chanting as your only shelter or solace. With me, I often get headaches, so I want to get in ‘good’ japa as early as possible. Plus, other daytime activities will be demanding. So, chant early if you can. But chant at any time.
“There’s no home base for chanting and reading and writing. Then you move to a place where preaching is favorable. For me, that means going to where disciples are. They need to hear the importance of chanting and obeying, etc. . . . Travel to those places and chant Krsna’s upadesa with them.
“Write quickly, this is also your time. Krsna left for Mathura, entered Mathura, left Mathura. O Lord, I desire to be Your pure devotee. Please help me. The Lord says in His form of Lord Caitanya in Siksastakam, ‘Dear Lord, You appear in Your holy names with all potencies, but I am so unfortunate I commit offenses and don’t have a taste for chanting.’ Krsnadasa Kaviraja writes that if we hear Lord Caitanya’s verses on hari-nama, lamentation will go away.
“Krsna. Cripes! The world is getting worse in Kali-yuga. The filth is all around. Freedom to sin. Governments sin. Bad reactions come down on everyone. The only hope is to chant the holy names—it should be done loudly so that others may hear. Lord Caitanya was told to do this by His spiritual master—you know the section in Adi-lila. He praises the chanting so the Mayavadi followers of Prakasananda can hear it.
“I need to hear it and practice it. Got to end this one, but may be back again soon.
“Keep trying to go beyond the conception of writing to make a book or worries of performance. Just keep going for gut and best expression. Admit what comes into the mind. Go deeply, confess and write the world and the sastras in the back of a van. That space is tiny, but from there I can go all over these three worlds and follow devotional creeper back to Godhead.
“Written Yesterday in Temple Room:
Please allow me to remember You
and be free of doubts and fears
I pray at Your lotus feet.”
“In a few days I’ll have to pack up all my belongings, including the pictures from the altar, and finally on the last morning put Prabhupada in the wooden box, and off we go to Belfast. I am writing this in the hopes that I can achieve immortality in play. I read Churning the Milk Ocean. Churning the milk mustard, hacking the milk, playing the fool, the foolscap writer . . . The Catholic School of Lapsed First Communion. You get a new middle name when you get your holy confirmation orders. You never went further in the Church for priesthood or marriage, and you won’t receive extreme unction, either. You’ll get the K.C. version of those things, which is just as good if not better. No karma, better life. No love of Krsna pure and unalloyed, then no ascent to the divine lila. Come back in another womb packed in airtight bag, if you don’t get aborted. Have you committed so many sins?
“Now you are enjoying pious results. You can eat food offered to the Deity, but they cook it for you. Because you are a sadhu and an old-time devotee of Srila Prabhupada, you get treated very nicely. But if you don’t perfect it, you get treated roughly in the next life.
“I wrote to a young woman that she is complacent with youthfulness, and that’s why she’s not chanting her sixteen rounds. But I am complacent in old age, and that’s why I’m not pushing myself to the limit and beyond in order to broadcast the holy names and do my bit to spread K.C. Oh, I am doing my bit, but one could do better. Complacent.
“I wasted a page writing a nonsense poem and printed it. I asked to be forgiven: ‘You can’t win them all,’ we used to say. There’s a lot of good in that book (Churning) and some lapses too.
“Man, man, man, I‘m starting this on time . . . Monk playing alone in a studio, does and re-does the takes on his solo of “‘Round Midnight.” Says, ‘I’m gonna start again.’ And finally they say, ‘Thelonious, are you going to start now?’ He talks to white guy in the studio. He is taking precious time in the studio, trying to come out with a passible edition of “‘Round Midnight.” Give him a break. Let him play it until he’s satisfied he’s got it right. (Never.)
“All right. This is the way it goes. I’m not a piano player. But we can write nice books.”
“This stuff you’ll be writing in October? It’s just a way of saying I’m happy, do appreciate the protection of Krsna in ISKCON. But also I want to be deeper. Want to use my time better. Practice prayer-reading of Bhagavad-gita.
‘I am tapa of tapasvis.
‘and heat of fire
original flavor of earth
seed of all beings.’
“Feel mystic insight in ordinary things. Remember Him. In taste of water, God supplies. What about sufferings and running around? You do it as service to Him.
“Hold Gita close to you. Keep reading.
“Krsna Krsna Krsna, give it all. Rainy, hard work in the van. Last-minute things get loaded on Sunday, eh? Jam it in? Neat compartment? O Lord, the rain rolls across the lake and green land like horizontal, and then blows in a fit, a gust, and you hear it whistling when it finds a whistle to blow, like on the roof or a piece of the house. This shed.
“And as it does so, you think of all of your possessions. You think all of your possessions can be taken away, all your pens and fingers. A common thief could do it. He could appear to have such power over your life as to take all goods out of the van and then kill you or leave you half-dead, an ignorant but desperate and violent strong-bodied crook. Leaving you dying. But then you have time to accept it as an act that wasn’t really done by the crook but by fate, by God.
“This is warmup. Learn to write more than your own life-concerns. You go to imaginative flight, K.C. theme or a van in you with a bent fork, bent back. He walks over the wet fields, holds his dhoti up so it doesn’t get soaked by thistle grasses and tall weeds of rye and whistles in his brain. H.K. tune of fiction, and his heart beats in tune. He asks, ‘God, please be real to me. We are all Your tiny, imperfect servants.’ The preachers are pleasing Him. We are moving around for that purpose.
“Don’t act selfishly for self-aggrandizement. Don’t inquire into people’s lives like Ramacandra Puri did. Oh, tell yourself what to do and what not to do, but can you reform?
“This is river-bottom view of Geaglum, Radha-Govinda dressed nicely, rain ‘comes down like gopis’ tears,’ he said. Who said? I think my master said.
“Chilly weather. I’ll be a good boy and man. Massage my spiritual master and hear him on tape—‘Write even one page of BTG. Don’t write nonsense literature.’ (New Vrindavan 1969, lecturing on Narada’s instructions to Vyasa).
“One page glorifying Krsna. Krsna Krsna, I am inside the movement in this body.”
“These are nice to look at, and lead to more. Reading no more than fifteen minutes in Bhagavad-gita and my eyes grow heavy. But I did pay attention: the material energy comes from Krsna, but it doesn’t cover Lord Krsna although it covers the jivas. The nitya-baddha jivas can’t know God. One who surrenders to Krsna can easily cross over the material ocean. Then why don’t the leaders surrender to Him? Best leaders do, but four kinds of duskrtinas never do, even if they pose themselves as intelligent.
“Krsna allows us to write and make sense, beauty, logic, illogic, fun, prose hops, honesty, reason, krsna-katha.
“I cut my chin shaving. M. blackened his hand when electricity ran through it. We were saved by Krsna from something worse.
“Drink your water and let the breeze and sunshine come in these two small windows of the eight-foot by five-foot shed. It is big compared to the van. Roar off with massive engines. Get messages and send them back.
“Hells Angels headquarters in Manhattan. Stop. Stop. I don’t need all the details. Krsna will tell us sex is for propagation in marriage, not otherwise, and He is the strength of the strong when used to protect the weak, not when used for exploitation.
“My purpose is to obey my spiritual master’s order. Taking it easy because of propensity to get headaches. That doctor won’t see me now. Try this or that method. But who can say what will help? Krsna may want you to be this way. Within these bounds, you find your room to do what you can.
“Van contains a symbol—we work within tight limits. We are boxed in the body. We are bound. Live with it and see what it teaches you. As old Christian monks said, ‘Stay in your cell and your cell will teach you how to pray.’ So, may the van teach me how to read and write. Lecture on the verse. Improvise at that time, too. What to say will come to you. Inspiration will come too because you are listening daily and reading. It will come out in right shapes and be satisfying to others.”
“Practice, lad, practice. Reading is good when you see the truth Srila Prabhupada speaks and you value it. Doing it in B.G. and Cc., but it is equally there in S.B. The Supreme Lord is the predominator. Those who don’t surrender to Him are mudhas, naradhamas. The logic and authority of sastra need to be preserved in my head. (Don’t needlessly read other books.) A goswami controls his senses. One must be a goswami to be a spiritual master.
“Read and be formed—by this. Submit the powerful mind to this. Hare Krsna. And in Cc. we read that Lord Caitanya is the Supreme Lord, but He has taken the body of a pure devotee to relish the conjugal rasa.
“In Gita we read 7.14: The jivas are unable to overcome the illusory energy because it is willed by God. Only Krsna or His representative can release them. He can do it easily. The process of devotional service helps to free one. Are we (the average ISKCON devotee) free? In the process of becoming free. Some more than others.
“Why are you writing, and what is its form? Why doesn’t it have a more recognizable form?
“You mean Sheridan Baker’s form or a newspaper writer’s form is K.C. and not just writing what comes honestly? Why favor the one? I like this one, and K.C. truth comes out. It’s more ‘modern,’ flow, tapping, and can have the effect of going straight to the gut and heart of a reader.”
“Head clear but fragile, he writes books on Krsna and Prabhupada. Someone suggested I write for nondevotees.
“M. putting in rear windows in the van. Bold attempts. He knows what he’s doing. Expert handyman. But he almost got electrocuted yesterday.
“What else? The ink runs. This is my little COM computer world. I don’t hear from others, and they don’t hear from me—unless by chance they read a GNP book (which most do not). Operate on ether waves—send out your message.
“Guard eyes against the sun. The warmup says we are going to write now what happens. (Sounds like a creature with big teeth and claws gnawing on part of this shed.) Bright sunlight can be followed quickly by clouds and rain here. And then again sun and rain. And yesterday a complete rainbow over Inis Rath—it began at one end of the island and came down on the other side of blessed Govinda-dvipa. Rainbow is proof of the ethereal. It’s a bridge of colors, purple to blue-green to yellow and orange and red, as far as I could trace it. I am not God. Krsna is God. I’m a little speck. A little speck. Heck. The Bhagavad-gita draws me to it. Twenty minutes I read around midnight, and now another twenty or twenty-five minutes of decent reading. One who knows Krsna and serves Him with love is very dear to the Lord. Krsna (Vasudeva) is everything, is ultimate knowledge. Mahatma is rare.
“He doesn’t divert his attention to anything or anyone else. O Krsna, I better be careful in what I hear or read from nondevotees. If they were not thinking of serving God or Krsna when they composed their music, then how could they lead me to Him? You could make a case that they were praising God in their own way, although they didn’t know He is Krsna. And you could say that because of their desire to create beautiful music and their austerities in attempting it, it was awarded by Krsna. And an advanced devotee can hear the music and make the connection to Krsna—because he sees Him everywhere.
“But he wants to please Krsna. One great devotee chanted Krsna’s Names while throwing dice in jest. The sense of hearing or seeing is not so important, but the life (atma) within. So link it to Krsna.
“I read how Krsna can award all desires, and His devotees don’t go to the demigods. He allows you free will, even if it’s not best for you. But then you have to get karma. For His devotees, He brings them to Him and substitutes the taste of His lotus feet for the paltry sense grat.
“Annie Dillard, on writing, said, ‘Don’t keep it for later; spend all, each time you write.’ I like that. In these writing sessions I give what I can. The October book is different, but this one deserves love as much. Learn to always do it, the art of writing. We seem to be on the lam, the way cops and customs people and toll collectors stop us and break our train of thought.
“My purpose is to go see Dina, go to the dentist and doctor—facing ancestral past.
“The truth is wind blowing and sun shining in this world. It’s a reflection of the spiritual truth which emanates from Sri Krsna and which we can’t perceive at present.
“Be good and you can go there sometimes, to the trailer where S.P. stayed? Where’s that? You mean the one where I stayed? Yes, that’s true. Bob Dylan and the Beatles.
“Some blackberries still shiny on the bushes. Redberries—like cranberries? And some blueberries I don’t dare pick. Don’t know if they’re edible.
“Krsna is teaching. I’ve got to stay awake. The easy day here, and then inside to start S.P., and you know you get the first signs of vise-like pressure in the head, and you’ll take a pill and lie down, and it will come down, vise will ease off.
“You see? It’s gonna be okay. Oh yeah? You have to die; write something nice. But I have no theme, and the pressure of outer events will be so demanding I couldn’t write, even if I had a structure.
“Not true. If you were obsessed, you could dovetail it, as you did in Photo Preaching. Work with photos, work with a list. These are structures. I have the structure of ‘Work with these travel events.’ Work with the diary as a starter, but get beyond it. Get it? New York hip:
I don’t know.
“Heterogenerous unconscious should be allowed to flow in the unconscious — the Self, they call it. It will be all right. Tell him to give me the tip how to write inspired in October, even though you are pressed by outer events. The outer events are occasions for ‘inner’ writing—learn that. Get to seeing the K.C. in your heart.
“David Hart McDonalds. Memories book flows. Music of my soul. Lie down at ease and hear Grieg or Schumann or Panini, electric harp, sheep in mist, Ireland, tin whistle, Russian accordion, like harmonium of Aindra and Visnujana. And we watch the men marching into Red Square playing accordions strapped around their shoulders. They look like soldiers coming home from the war. The Belfast Tomasco padayatris. And I sat at several desks, wrote my own walk.
“Put log on stove at Saranagati
Remember you played pen and typewriter,
A Poor Man Reads the Bhagavatam?
I remember. That’s over? Perhaps. Don’t faint.”
“Head not clear, but I want to write. Home. Going home. It doesn’t matter what you write when you do genuine writing sessions. What matters? . . . Some effort to be true and to reach K.C. that is honest or true—or the lack of K.C. The truth. With me, I’m so programmed to reach K.C. and to know that it is the goal—so even when I fail, fall short, it’s still within the context of K.C. (And I follow four rules, sixteen rounds every day.)
“It may be that a failure is even better than an apparent success. How is that? Because it is honest. You are always a failure in the higher sense, so why not admit it? Hare Krsna. You chant at least the holy names on the page, so they will say, ‘He has written Krsna and Caitanya several times. That’s all right.’
“Give me this, give me that, new pens and gloves, etc. And when dessert ‘only,’ some sweets in the form of small balls, I hanker, and we all know it, for something more substantial like an apple crumb pie and whipped cream. Here in Ireland, here on this page we are accustomed to this kind of confession. But we stop short of lurid sex because I’m a guru and a devotee. Don’t need to rub my nose in it. One could say, ‘Then all your honesty is invalid. Because when you recall something X-rated, you don’t tell us.’
“That doesn’t mean my honesty is invalid. I try. Give you some good stuff and leave others out.
“I risked coming to the shed even with a little headache. Because I wanted to write. Good. This is your discipline for October too. Try to say something each day. If it’s too hard to write with a pen on some days, you can talk. Pick up a Dictaphone, and speak. Speak travel data and any thoughts and feelings. Don’t worry, ‘But it’s increasing the volume of the book.’ Please don’t bother about that. I have to keep telling you that.
“I like colored drawings. Poems are something else. You don’t ‘have to’ write anything. It’s all gratis. It’s all your self-expression.
“By his grace I am writing this. Even if the headache gets worse. I got my afternoon session in. Tomorrow morning 9:00 A.M. I speak to the devotees, say I don’t know anything about the holy name except what’s in the scriptures, and I will speak, however, what I know. I will address the problems some have to chant sixteen rounds. Rock-bottom. We may also consider improving the quality. Even if you do chant sixteen rounds every day, when we discuss it, it will underline the need for you to do it, so you appreciate it and never fall below that.
“Sixteen rounds and four rules.
“You load sixteen rounds
and whaddaya get?
Another day older
and deeper in—
attraction to the habit
of hari-nama diksa vow.
“I promise I will
never abandon it, sixteen rounds and whaddaya
get? Infinite mercy and freedom
from laws of karma—liberation.
“Keep going a full half hour and then quit and go back in . . . The weeds are blowing. We will be gone from this peaceful place.
“No turning back from our decision to move, travel, vamoose. We are off. Yes, you have a yearning to remain in this quiet place and write like this each day. But it’s good to get out. Within one week I’ll have three disciples’ meetings, one here in Geaglum, one in Belfast, and one in England.
“That’s pretty good, Guru-ji.
“Get out and try and you’ll have adventures to write, even if it’s the inner adventures which are scratched by enduring the outer ones. What can you write on a late-night ferry?
“This silver pen. I keep wanting to give it up, but it has a nice feel to it. Why don’t you stay with it? Each pen can help you in its own way. Best result of writing sessions is to get me attached to (liking) the feel of the pen in the hand and the habit of writing. I like the shed. We will have no shed in the van but learn to adjust to confined space. Rest your head and hear the music in earphones as best you can. Kichari. No big desserts. Send tapes out, your life is what it is.
“Hare Krsna protect us,
We know the real thing.
God not vague
but coming in Gita
and learned sages’ love for
transfer to me and you.