How long will you keep pounding on an open door...


.Smile...
.and enjoy
.this lila!

Welcome to

Radha's
Krishna Links

~ Spiritual Enhancement Page ~
Adoring my Beloved Krishna!
Begging for someone to open it?


This page
was last
updated
06.15.09



"How long will you keep pounding on an open door
Begging for someone to open it?"
-- Rabi'a al Basri



.
Due to the bandwidth limitations of
this website, you can now

Download a ZIPPED COPY of this website!
Graphic files are not included, but all of
the webpage texts and hyperlinks are included.
For older Operating Systems, you will need a
program such as Winzip or PKUNZIP
to uncompress these files.



You may skip to the
Table of Contents
but you are strongly encouraged to first read the
Website Introduction





A TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE INDEX PAGE
Website Introduction
"My Story"
How to Surrender to God
Website Conventions

THE TERMS PAGE
Terms Used
Caution

THE LINKS PAGE
Links About Sri Krishna
Links to Krishna Scriptures
Links to the Ecstatic Poets
Links to Krishna Art
Links to Krishna Music
Links About Bhakti Yoga and Spiritual Longing
Links About Madhurya Bhava and the Kundalini Experience
Links to Krishna Organisations
Links to Other Spiritual Resources
Links to Vegetarian Resources
Other Quick Links

THE READINGS PAGE
Recommended Reading
Printed Scriptures
Other Spiritual Books

THE PRACTICE PAGE
Spiritual Practice
Focus: How to Alter Your Consciousness
Some Nuts and Bolts
Additional Information
How to Take Krishna as Your Lover
Physical Manifestations
Focus: How to Turn Sickness into Ecstasy
Lifestyle Choices and the Western Devotee
The Road Ahead
Focus: Who Is the Guru?
On the Spiritual Wounding
Devotees and Abuse
On Siddhis
On Surrendering Ego
Meditation: Transforming Into Union
My First Anniversary
My Second Anniversary
My Third Anniversary
My Fourth Anniversary
Postscript
On Madhurya Bhava
Footnotes

MY BHAVA PAGE
My Madhurya Rasa Experience
Quotes on:
I. The Divine Lover

II. Divine Eroticism and Maturation
III. Whispers from the Bosom of the Beloved
IV. Divine Reality
Krishna's Advice
In Dedication
Credits

RADHA SPEAKS OUT
The Position of Women
Abuse Links
Aggressive War
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
On Sacred Sexuality
On Pursuing Krsna: For Proper Devotion or for the Ultimate "Lay"?
Fundamentalism and Sri Prabhupada
The Mystic and the Greater Religious Community
How Many Krishnas Are There?
The Nature of Love
An Exegesis on the Soul
A Letter to Ego

POEMS OF KAANTA BHAVA
Introduction
The Poems
Explanatory Notes
Radha Instructs Krishna's New Bride in the Arts of Love
Other Kaanta Bhava Links



Adore me only with heart undistracted...
Adore me only
With heart undistracted;
Turn all your thought
Toward solitude, spurning
The noise of the crowd,
Its fruitless commotion....

-- Bhagavad Gita 13.10





In a spiritual life, there are many different ways to practise. Each devotee has their own. My practice is simple and for many people, this is all that is needed. What is most needed for spiritual growth is the desire for the Divine-- and for the beginner, the awareness of an unfilled emptiness within.

First
The fish needs to say,

"Something ain't right about this
Camel ride--

And I'm
Feeling so damn

Thirsty."

-- Hafiz

God enters into you with all that is his, as far as you have stripped yourself of yourself in all things. I have a small area with a picture of Radha and Krishna locked in embrace where I offer water, incense, a lighted candle and fruit. Fresh tulsi (basil) is loved by Krishna. Sometimes I also offer food to a picture of Maharaj-ji and Hanuman-ji when I wish to honour or talk to the person I consider to be my guru. The leavings, prasad, is sacred and a blessing to consume. Cherish it-- the lips of the Beloved have touched it. I often approach Krishna naked, after bathing with continual chanting of His names. I give Krishna everything out of love for Him, even my body. It was during my first such offering that Krishna made love to me. The Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, said: "God enters into you with all that is his, as far as you have stripped yourself of yourself in all things. It is here that you should begin, whatever the cost, for it is here that you will find true peace, and nowhere else."

In offering my body to Krishna during my daily services to Him, my whole body becomes prasad. Why He leaves me alive, I know not; I would consider it the greatest of blessings to be completely consumed by Him.* It is only Grace that allows us to have prasad after our offerings; stories tell of offerings being totally consumed. Many times in my love-offerings to Him have I experienced Him making love to me; sometimes, I only experience the overwhelming power of kundalini and fade from consciousness. Other times, nothing happens at all. Done with intense love and total surrender, the experience is always a blessing. Yet, this is a step not taken lightly-- there is a price to be paid for everything we do and I am willing to pay whatever the price to know Him. Those wishing to experience such a grace from the Beloved must be resolved to pay whatever price is required: you are no longer your own. You have been warned!

"One person cannot do two things at one time.
Brahm is not a thing, a toy that you can play with.
You have to sacrifice something."

-- Maharaj-ji (Neeb Karori Baba)

In corresponding with Krishna's other wives and lovers, I have found that each have had their own paths** to union with Him. There is no secret formula. The primary ingredient is the readiness of the soul to surrender all that she has and all that she is to Him. To take Krishna as lover, you must lay everything down at His beautiful lotus feet. There is tremendous pleasure in just offering the self to Him, and even greater ecstasy within the Lovers' union.

I have been born a Westerner, living within a Western society. This was specified by Krishna: for whatever reasons, I had to pass through the materiality, the various Abrahamic paths, the sensuality, and the suffering. For those born within Sanatana Dharma (the 'Hindu' religion), I would urge real caution in approaching any teacher of Western origins (including myself) unless your primary cultural orientation is Western-- this is increasingly true as India continues to "modernise". The Dharma teaches that you already have the truth within you and you have to stop looking for it outside of yourself. Westerners do not naturally have this approach and the extreme material and sensual orientation of Western culture has served special purposes in the paths of Western incarnations. There is a price for everything in material life: whatever advantages you may see in Western societies come with a heavy spiritual cost. Bhagavan Das, an American who lived several years in India as a sadhu, expressed it this way:

Whatever path is most obvious to you is likely your calling for the present time. Take what you find beneficial from these pages and leave the rest.

I practise japa, the personal quiet practice of mantra-- mainly the mahamantra, also known as the 'Hare Krishna' mantra. There is power in this mantra to transform if it is done with love from deep within. While chanting 16 rounds per day is good, chanting the mahamantra with such depth, such love, and such intensity that just one enunciation of His blessed Name will last a very long time...and will reverberate within my soul like an echo in a canyon. In such deep practice, I rarely make one round. If you chant, do it with all of the love your soul can muster. It is not repetition that binds us to Him but the love with which we chant His Names! Conscious repetition will draw us closer to Him if we do not yet have the intense love for Him that we need. Sometimes the mindless repetition of His name becomes a practice that, as whole, emerges as an amulet in a practitioner's life. This is wrong. Each ennunciation of His name is a portal to His presence. Remembering that and then using His name to enter into His presence will keep japa relevant as a spiritual practice.

I can't forget about love
for more than two
seconds.

I get dizzy if I think about anything
but the way you pant
in my
ear.

-- Mirabai

Sometimes I just chant "Krishna" or "Shyam" for as long as circumstance permits and I am often carried into bliss. Krishna teaches in the Bhagavad Gita that 'OM TAT SAT', "the threefold name of the Eternal Being (Brahman)," should be uttered with any acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity. These acts should always be performed without seeking reward and with faith. Without faith, such acts are worthless (BG 17:23-28). The effectiveness of all spiritual practice is driven by Love, for it is through Love that He creates.



How to Alter Your Consciousness without Using Drugs:

What follows below is drawn from my experience. My bhava comes from the reality I have found and this is how I get to the place that I experience such intense love and intimacy with the Beloved. All of this becomes much more natural once He has made love to you.

Find a quiet comfortable, even romantic place and turn out all of the lights. Light one or more candles and an incense you find very appealing. Offer these gifts to Krishna first. Dress in loose fitting clothes and sit very comfortably before a candlelit picture of Krishna. Make sure all other distractions have been dealt with or removed. Sit straight and be sure your back is straight enough that your lower back has a distinctly natural curve. If necessary, ring a bell or clap your hands while saying His Name, to help to break other distracting "vibrations" or feel in the area.

Take a deep breath and start chanting the mahamantra very slowly. Beads are not necessary for this kind of practice. If it will help, touch the side of your middle finger with your thumb while the index and little fingers are extended on your hands. Rest your hands in your lap while you direct your attention to your chanting. Use one full breath for just one Name in the mantra. Exhale slowly while you chant, in a quiet resting, lower voice. Remember that you're not trying to impress-- you're trying to love. Consciously enjoy each intake or exhale in a meditative fashion. Be present. If your mind wanders, bring it back to one or more of the beautiful gifts in front of You.

As you chant the Names, start bringing up all of the love you are able summon from within your being--as far within and as deeply as you can go. Once you have practised this, you will find that you have an endless supply of love within. Take this love and direct it to Krishna...to His Names, to His picture, to His very Being as you can imagine or sense Him. Give it all as a gift to Him. Be sure to stay in the present moment all of the time that you are doing this.

Do not worry if you don't get it right the first time-- all that will do is distract you from your purpose. Just return your wandering mind to the practice without comment. Focus on what you are doing as a divine gift to the One you love. Keep doing these long loving chants as a practice and the windows of consciousness will start opening. You will start seeing new things and old things in a new way. Learn to draw on that ocean of love dwelling within your being. It is all there right now. As this yoga develops within, you will learn how to apply this divine love to other situations in life. As this happens, you will start changing in unexpected directions. His presence within will become more and more of a reality to you. You will gradually learn to take away the scales of maya...and you can do this all by His beautiful Names.



Of Bhakti yoga, Sri Ramakrishna said:

One who knows that transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world but attains My eternal abode...(BG 4.9) Karma yoga is a practice of offering my acts and the fruits of my labour to Him, regardless of outcome. According to Ram Dass in Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita, this is one of the best ways of freeing yourself of attachment and lightening your karmic load. Krishna discusses karma yoga with Arjuna in chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna closes the Gita with this promise: "Mentally resign all your action to me. Regard me as your dearest loved one. Know me to be your only refuge. Be united always in heart and consciousness. United with me, you shall overcome all difficulties by my grace." (BG 18.57-58)

Practice is important. It is the only way we will finish with samsara. I was once told by a piano teacher in a dream soon after my first ecstasy, "If you want to make music, you must practise" ... and so I do every moment that I am able. I have never had messages to come to me in dreams nor any really significant dreams until my raptures with Krishna. Now that I am open to all that He has for me, they come. I am amazed that so many months after rapture, repetition of His name still opens up new dimensions in my consciousness. My adoration of Him can still raise kundalini fire. My days seem as a dream and so many of my former affections no longer have meaning to me. Attachments fall away as my grasp loosens and I stare slack-jawed into the beautiful lotus eyes of my Beloved.

Once we place ourselves into the hands of a loving Divinity, we will become sensitised to a great many things in our lives and practice. Be patient with yourself and take time to learn what is right for you. Learn to hear the voice of "intuition" in your life and you will learn His will for your life. Your mind is only of limited use in spiritual matters but is always useful in worldly matters. Love is the secret language of the heart.

Krishna said:

The miracle that happened to me has only happened because of my surrender to His will and my desire to completely love Him allowed for His grace to operate in my life. It is surrender-- a passive acquiescence, not submission, which is an act of ego, that brings an individual into being overshadowed by the Beloved. Become the hollow reed for His Life-breath and you will know Him!

I would not have set foot on this earth
if my Lover had not come.

And what would I care for looking at form
if you God had not sanctified all with your touch.

The promise of your lips
tricked me.

Since I heard your name, I have been so eager
for us to embrace,

why, Lord, did you make me stand
in line?

I got my arms around you last night.
What should I tell the
other girls?

He was worth waiting for--
indeed!

-- Mirabai



Some Nuts and Bolts

 * Hare Krishna! * As we go down the path of spiritual development, certain things need to be accomplished to make the way clear to both grow in our love for Krishna and to experience His grace. If we do not do what we can to keep our relationship with our Beloved as open as possible, it becomes much more difficult to grow as spiritual beings and to move on to greater maturity in our later walk with Him.

The importance of naama japa has already been mentioned. If you have not yet developed a passionate love for Him, then chant as often and as long as you possibly can in every moment of your life. Do it as mindfully as circumstances permit. This is especially beneficial while performing mundane tasks or at the odd mindless moments between mindful tasks, such as walking at the market. There is tremendous cleansing in vibrating His names: the very connections of our souls start to ring truer and truer tones as the accumulated corrosion and dirt are swept away by mere repetitions of His name. As our love develops for Him, then japa takes on greater meaning and efficacy. In his commentary on the Kandar Anubhuti, N.V. Karthikeyan writes:

Further enhance your practice by eliminating those substances and influences from our lives which we know will interfere in our connection to Him, such as certain foods, beverages, games, and films. A devotee does not need to be ruthless and condemning but only mindful of what she is doing in honouring the Lord through what she does. In essence, she must examine her life and perform a thorough housecleaning of her soul.

This housecleaning involves not only eliminating those substances and influences we may find spiritually toxic, but also anything that may be addictive. Addiction is a major problem in modern Western societies and is, in reality, the truest kind of idolatry. Rather than opening ourselves to our Beloved and giving Him our feelings and the truth of our conditions, many souls will hide behind addiction to cover the pain of existence separated from Him. Not only is addiction found with substances famous for addiction, such as alcohol and narcotics, but addiction can also infect our use of common items such as food or in sensual experiences such as sexual acts, gambling, or unsuitable media.

Whether or not we can identify anything in our spiritual natures as addiction, 'The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous' can be a useful tool in dealing with the spiritual housecleaning necessary for growth. These 12 steps are also used by self-help groups such as Overeaters Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, Smokers Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, as well as countless others. Instructions are given for a spiritual inventory and the means for removing the influence of the past from our lives. Such an inventory may be helpful in dealing with past traumas and the necessity we have in ultimately forgiving and letting go of harm done to ourselves by less conscious individuals and institutions. These steps also provide a means of dealing with our own harmful behaviours in a constructive way.

Once we grasp the concept that all has happened to us has happened with purpose, we are free of them and any further potential for harming our true selves. Regardless of the tools we use, this forgiveness and letting go is absolutely essential for further spiritual growth and obtaining the blessed wholeness we seek. We can then make amends by participating in the channeling of true compassion through our lives and into our interactions with others. We then become the lights we are intended to be in this world.

I hold the Lion's paw *
whenever I dance.
I know the ecstasy of the falcons wings
when they make love against the sky
And the sun and moon sometimes argue over
who will tuck me in at night.
If you think I am having more fun
than anyone on this planet
you are absolutely correct.

But Hafiz
is willing to share all his secrets
about how to befriend God.
Indeed, dear ones,
Hafiz is so very willing
to share all his secrets
about how to know the Beautiful One.

I hold the Lion's paw
whenever I dance.
I know the ecstasy of your heart's wings
when they make love against the sky,
And the sun and moon
will someday argue over
who will tuck you in at night!

-- Hafiz



Additional Information

For those of us to whom God has made love, please know that there is a natural ebb and flow to both practice and the blessings of practice. Krishna is known to play, withhold, and even test His devotees. Yet, God must always come first in your life. Although a certain knowledge never leaves you, your practice may slip and you may find yourself in greater misery than you could have ever imagined before your encounter with God. If this happens to you, go back to your practice! The circumstances of life may not have changed, but our perceptions of reality certainly have. Along with giving of the certain knowledge of Him, He has provided us with the taste for Him that will drive us back to Him should we slip. Heed the voice of experience.

Wherever I go
His sweet form is laughing inside me.
Tear open these breasts
you'll see a torn heart!
Unless she sees her dark lover
how can Mira
endure her own body?

-- Mirabai

You may find yourself with a world-weariness and a desire for Him so great that you desire death just so that you can be with Him. I have found myself begging my Beloved to take my life. Such has been the longing of some devotees that there was in Mirabai's time a place along the riverfront at Varanasi where devotees could put a blade to their own throats. At times like these, remember that this longing exists to teach us and to fashion our souls so that we become even more desirable for our Beloved. Allow yourself to go through the fire-- yield yourself to what He has for you-- and practise! He knows our plight but lovingly allows us to suffer this exquisite torture to fulfill our greater desire for Him. I suffer this sweet affliction knowing that as soon as I am through with mortality, I shall be with my Beloved!

Refuge in you, Dark One,
you alone
know how to save me.
A girl possessed,
I shamble through the sixty-eight places
of pilgrimage
but haven't the wit to know failure.
Hear my cry, O Murari--
nothing on earth
looks like it's "mine".
Mira gives you her trust, now it's your move.
Spring her from this noose
we call "world".

-- Mirabai

 * Trust the Beloved's grace and His arms will always surround you... * Don't concern yourself too much with so-called fundamentals or debate. All of the world's great religious and philosophical traditions have their great debates: Realism versus Idealism, Nature versus Nurture, Catholic versus Orthodox, Protestant versus Catholic, Free will versus Determinism, Sunni versus Shi'ite, Mahayana versus Theraveda, Saivite versus Vaishnava, Dualism versus Monism. The answer is usually both are true, when given enough thought. Dogma is an ego trap. One person's answers may not be true nor even applicable for another. Concentrate on your devotion and the answers you need will come when you really need them. Do not worry about anything-- just do what you know is in front of you to do. Trust the Beloved's grace and His arms will always surround you.

In walking the spiritual path, do not compare whatever progress you make to that of other spiritual seekers. You are doing the best you can according to where you are spiritually. You have not made the same decisions as others since your needs, desires, and karma are completely different. We're all at different places. You cannot compare yourself to others and you cannot point fingers at yourself or anyone else because there are no true comparisons. It would really be like trying to compare apples to oranges.

Just a couple of warnings: do not become so attached to your erotic experiences with Krishna that the experience becomes your prime motivation. Although Krishna deals with all of His devotees with tremendous grace, your connection with Krishna will suffer greatly if you allow this to happen. The Bhagavata tells the story of Trivakra who, as a hunchback woman, provided a service for Lord Krishna. Krishna healed her of her condition and she was seized with kama (lust) for Him. She had Him promise to provide her with satisfaction. After His journey, Krishna visited the house of Trivakra, where He fulfilled His promise not just once, but for three days as she demanded. The scripture then refers to Trivakra as "unfortunate" since "one who chooses sensual objects after having worshipped Visnu, the Lord of all lords who is rarely worshipped, is misguided. This is because the nature of sensual objects is illusory" (Sri Bhagavata Purana 10, 48.8-11).

If the Lord has been gracious to you in the way He has been to me, or you are attempting to attain a higher spiritual state, consider the following advice from Dr. Ramananda Prasad in his commentary to the Bhagavad Gita: "Sublimation of the sex impulse precedes enlightenment (Atharvaveda 11.05.05). One sense organ, attached to its object, can drain the intellect, just as one hole in a water pot can empty the water (Manu Smriti 2.99). One commits sin by engaging senses to sense objects and obtains yogic powers by controlling the senses (Manu Smriti 2.93). Transmutation of the life force of procreative energy leads to yoga [yoga means union with God!]. One can transcend sex by beholding the presence of the divine in the body of all human beings and mentally bowing down to them" (p. 112). When Krishna made love to me, He actually changed my desire for physical sex into a wondrous honeyed desire for Him. Living in the shadow of His love and walking in the winds of the bliss He provides is far greater than any pleasure that I had previously experienced. Yield this aspect of your life to God as you understand God and you will know the truth.

Beware of attempting to raise kundalini without the proper guidance of a qualified guru! Such efforts often end badly; please see the kundalini links for information. Although I did not have qualified human direction, my kundalini experience resulted from His direct touch while in pure loving devotion to Krishna, who blessed me according to His desire and grace. Bhakti yoga is a proven path to union. I knew nothing of these things when they happened to me and, so, did not attempt to do anything with kundalini! Once I received this gift, I became more concerned with properly serving Him as a Bhakta and not as a Shakta! Without the benefit of proper guidance, raising the kundalini energy through the wrong pathways can result in great injury both to body and to one's spiritual being. Kundalini is a powerful gift but one that can easily be subverted by ego. Ego is witty, beguiling, and tricky; it is usually far more powerful than most practitioners realise. The Beloved, regardless of what name you call Him, will bless you as He sees fit-- do not overly concern yourself with these things, especially if you have already been blessed as I have.

The material universe is designed to eventually provide us with everything we desire, bringing us back here lifetime after lifetime. It isn't until the suffering resulting from the sorrows of material illusion (maya) becomes so great that desire to let go develops and we start doing that which is necessary to free ourselves from samsara. When we are truly ready, God provides us with the tools we need to achieve each step of the process. We start this process by letting go of that causing our suffering: desire and the attachment that desire engenders.

Divine Lovers
I am finding that the farther on I go in my relationship with Krishna, the more I see changes in myself and my reactions to life. I am finding, for example, that kundalini no longer rises only in contemplation of intimacy with Him but even in hearing stories of the great devotion of others. The worldly things that used to comfort me no longer do so; yet, I find such sublime peace in hearing the mahamantra and other forms of devotion to the Beloved. I am deeply touched and humbled by the fact that all I do can become a loving offering to Him. I am becoming the trembling petals of a Spring blossum in Krishna's loving hands.

Once kundalini is awakened within you, you may find your thoughts, your bodily reactions, and unconscious movements to have been changed. For example, I became very sensitive to food after my first rapture. Now, months afterwards, I am aware of subtle kundalini currents as a constant reminder of His presence; I often find my hands spontaneously forming mudras while thinking or in meditation. I have not studied mudras and do not yet know the meanings of many mudras but I have seen enough now to know what has been happening. Mudras as well as other spontaneous postures result from the natural flow of kundalini through the various centres of the body. Be careful not use mudras to shape your spiritual energies unless you have been properly trained to do so.

If kundalini continues operating in your life in a significant way after initial awakening, you may find an intelligent presence guiding the work of this creative energy within your body. I am now seeing this energy cleansing the soul-body passageways of blockages that restrict the flow of this energy and my receptiveness to Bhagavan. I find that I must be willing to allow this process to happen if I am to continue to mature spiritually. The more this process operates, the more of the grasp of attachment, ego and past pain is lessoned and the greater my connection to Krishna becomes. This is a truly awesome thing to witness. I take great pleasure in letting go of ego and of control over my body while I feel the loving and overwhelming force of Krishna's shakti surround the body and resonate within. I believe that this would be a very frightening thing for most persons with unsurrendered egos.

Just a word about consumption and spirituality: what we take into our bodies affects the functioning of the body and condition of spiritual life on the material plane. Although Krishna shows His mercy upon all that seek Him, the way is made much easier if we avoid those substances that can cloud our way. A vegetarian diet is ideal although a gradual transition is recommended if you are not familiar with this way of life (please see the vegetarian links on the Krishna Links page). Furthermore, so many of our consumables in the West are so tainted with violence that it can be difficult to avoid taking these energies into our bodies. Seemingly innocent food products may be contaminated in ways many consumers may not be aware; for example, many commercial yogurt products contain gelatin made from animal bones and hooves. Even the energies within factory processed food can affect us. Be patient with yourself as you learn the things that will benefit you, your practice, and the greater world of living beings. Educate yourself and then make the appropriate lifestyle changes. Once Krishna has awakened us, we must do what we can to live consciously.

Periods of extended illness can become proving grounds for spiritual exploration and growth. They can also try the progress an individual is making in giving up ego and attachments to the world. The boundaries between the material nature of being and spiritual realm breaks down, allowing much easier access to other dimensions of being and new realities beyond the familiar. As mentioned elsewhere, it is often possible to access the grace of the Beloved in accomodating physical suffering. At the same time, the suffering imposed upon the body and spiritual being presents a direct challenge to perceived growth, for it is here where individual traits of compassion for others, surrender to the present moment, and kindness are most taxed. The Beloved Himself may be providing a clear view of the devotion and surrender resident within: am I only a fair weather companion or will I follow Him regardless of the cost or the going? Indeed, the answers often come starkly-- outside of the usual bliss of devotional service to Him. This is not an introductory course to divine bliss; rather, this is advanced training designed to thresh through the chaff and cast out all that is unprofitable. Surrender to the realities, for you are becoming more desirable to Him.

Vaishnavas also practise further dietary restrictions that may not be immediately obvious to Westerners. Eggs are considered flesh and, considering the modern "factory farming" practices employed in the West, are best avoided. Read labels to avoid unwanted ingredients. Onions and garlic are considered in the mode of ignorance and should never be offered to Krishna (use hing or "asafoetida" in their place). Stimulants, such as tobacco, coffee, and tea, should be avoided (I have personally found them to increase my level of aggression and to dull my spiritual sensitivities). Many schools of Vaishnavas have fasting days throughout the year that employ differing levels of abstinence. Take these steps as you are led to do so. Be aware that we may also receive contamination through what we see, hear, and do. Above all else, continuous chanting of His Names will lead each of us in the direction we are to go and cleanse us of the impurities of material life.

There is much I do not know. I do not know Hindi or Sanskrit, nor do I know the proper rituals or prayers. Just my simple utterances and a heart full of love for Him have been all I have needed to have found such great blessing. May you find such happiness in your relationship with the One who sears through all illusion to love the you who seek Him.

Link to Vegan Starter Pack



How to Take Krishna as Your Lover

Krishna, by moonlight we ran through the forests, down, down to the shaded glen and there consumated our love...Please read the entire contents of this page, my 'bhava' page, and the website introduction before attempting anything suggested in this section. This process, if you succeed in reaching the goal, is irreversible.

Each of us follows a different path leading ultimately to our destinations with Him. To accomplish this task, the road we all take will be different according to past karma and the proclivities we have. It would not be appropriate, for example, that a great friend and servant, such as Hanuman, should become His wife. No, his proper place is forever service in the bhava of a loving servant. Likewise, how we learn to come to Him, whether through the Gaudiya school or in the wandering way of Mirabai, will differ. It is up to you to follow the light within you and choose what is right for you. Your light is not necessarily applicable to someone else and another's light is not necessarily right for you. This is as it should, all in loving service of Krishna.

In a very real sense, a relationship cannot be reduced down to a formula to be followed in reaching a particular objective. Matters of the heart do not work in this way. Neither does the will of God. What I have included here is simply my understanding of the processes behind what has happened to me. Because we are all individuals and our karmas lead us all into differing paths to Him, no one formula will work to bring an individual to His bed. The best that this section of writing can do is to point out generalities indicating principles operating in an individual's spiritual path. It is Krishna that calls every individual to Him and it is Krishna responsible for leading us to our proper spiritual destinations. Give all things to Him for it is really in the giving of ourselves to Him that we do find our proper places with Him.

Spiritual change for a significant number of individuals is starting to occur at a rapid pace in this world, especially in the West. Divine ecstasy and a new awareness of special relationships with the divine Being is happening for many people. This section hopes to serve as a help in maturing a new relationship with the Beloved. As an introduction to this section, we shall first review a passage in the Bhagavad Gita in which Krishna reveals the nature of His Being to Arjuna. All of these texts are taken from Prasad's translation (3rd edition), although the reader is encouraged to review these texts (and their surrounding context) in a number of differing translations.

The Krsna Yantra, useful in meditation on union with Him

To become a Lover of the divine Being, a devotee must reach a number of stages in an unfolding process. These steps are what I have observed in my own relationship with Him and your relationship may occur or be understood differently. These steps, as I see them, are: be drawn by Him, have the proper preparation, have a trigger for the divine lovemaking experience, release of the individual soul into the divine Being's care, and a reorganisation of the individual devotee's being. Then comes a period of longing, quiescence, and maturation. Each of these stages are briefly discussed below.

  1. Drawn
    Every devotee must drawn by Him into this special relationship. It is not something that can normally be willed or even desired by most people. For me, it only occurred after many years of struggling to know "God" until, and finally, I was able and willing to let go of my preconceptions and allow God to address me in whatever way He desired. I wasn't prepared for a spousal relationship with Krishna-- this was beyond my understanding or knowledge; yet, through my long years of preparation, I had been readied for this relationship.

    My first lovemaking encounter with Krishna was a spontaneous event, occurring at a time in which many of the practices of bhakti were still new to me. Other devotees, feeling the pull of longing and desire for Him, have worked until they were successful in experiencing this blessed event for themselves. While this is often a prestigous goal for many adventurous seekers, do not attempt this unless you really feel the call to an amorous relationship with Krishna. Once you have fallen in love with Krishna, it is obvious to you what kind of relationship you are to have with Him. Other bhavas and types of relationships are equally legitimate.

    If you are a male devotee desiring a madhurya or kaanta bhava relationship with Krishna, you must have the capacity to take the female role in loving Krishna. Even the Muslim mystic, Hafiz, mentions the experience of the Divine Being leaving men confused about their own genders! If you are 'gay', homosexually or bi-oriented, or a transgendered individual, use those energies and passions you have been given for union with Him. These energies are His energies and will safely bring you to Him if you truly desire it for they were never a 'mistake'. Sexual desire, whether it is gay or straight is no different: if you use it to obtain flesh, you will get what you desire; if you use it to gain Krishna, you will gain Krishna!

    Think hard before starting out on this spiritual journey. The rewards are beyond measure but much will be required-- far more than most individuals are willing to pay.

  2. Preparation
    Preparation is whatever experience, practice, and surrender necessary for an individual to enter into a special relationship with the divine Being. This includes regular spiritual practice (although this does not have to be elaborate-- see the earlier Initial Practice section of this webpage), total willingness to go through whatever the Beloved requires of the individual, total acceptance of conditions as they are at any given moment, no preconceptions of spiritual realities, and as much surrender of individual ego as possible. The devotee should also have an increasing consciousness of Krishna as a Being capable of sharing the devotee's life and life experiences in an intimate and personal way. Just the smallest amount of these attributes is enough to crack open the door to the chamber of divine intimacy!

    Preconceptions have already been touched upon in the "My Story" section of the website introduction. Whatever teaching we are given serves us chiefly for the time in which we find ourselves: rarely does it hold true for any great length of time (considering the transcendant character of the soul's journey back to the Beloved). This is so since the nature of material existence is maya (especially so in the time of the Kali Yuga) and the doctrine we receive only serves to teach the soul some higher principle to assist us in achieving the next step in our journey. The surrender of individual preconceptions is especially important if you were born into a Western cultural mindset; you must disabuse yourself of 'orthodox' concepts such as idolatry, original sin, and uncleanliness of sex. All of these aspects of your life belongs now to Krishna and we will eventually find that nothing of itself is truly unclean (for those with a Christian background, see Romans 14:14). If such is presently not the case in your life, you should endeavour to make it so. Although the conditions are difficult in the Kali Yuga, it has never been easier in all of the ages of humankind for souls to go back home to Krishna.

    Once these things have been accomplished, Krishna will then be free to act in your life; Krishna is a "perfect gentleman" in the affairs of the heart. Contrary to what the scriptures might suggest, He never draws people against their wills. People become susceptible to His attractive force once they have been properly prepared and their karmas allow this to happen. We still have the ability to say 'no' at any point in the process.

    Often, to bring this state of readiness about, it is necessary for the individual to go through some sort of brokenness. This brokenness maybe a threat to the individual's life, destruction of ego identity, or removal of all that the individual holds dear. Whatever that is, it is usually a singular event or singular set of events uniquely designed to push the individual to let go control enough to allow the guru or Krishna room enough to act within. Should this happen to you, accept such a thing with gladness, for you are being readied for Him.

    Continue to work those things in your spiritual practice you find effective. Constantly chant His names, even if you don't feel it is effective; as explained earlier, japa truly works. Allow the chanting to dismantle the walls and take down the barriers we have errected between ourselves and other souls as well as between ourselves and God. We have to be vulnerable and we have to trust God with everything. While there is no middle ground, it is a gradual process and we only have to trod a short way down this path before the Beloved is free enough to act within us...and how wondrous are those acts! We don't have to know very much-- just to Love much! With the appropriate Love, everything that is needed comes.

  3. Trigger
    The devotee desiring the divine lovemaking experience must have a mental 'picture' of the devotee interacting with Krishna in a way that is unique and meaningful. This mental picture must be an aid to individual devotion that is so deeply held that it defines the longing and desire the devotee has for union. Just as images and murthis are, in reality, only aids to worship, so too, is this trigger an aid to union with the Beloved. For me, the image of myself as a gopi running to meet Krishna in a secret rendezvous was the trigger-- everything else unfolded quite unexpectedly as He took me and I found myself experiencing a very real sexual encounter! For another of His Lovers, the trigger was Krishna holding and smelling her hair. Whatever is a meaningful symbol for the individual devotee can be an appropriate trigger. For some devotees purposefully seeking the divine lovemaking encounter, a number of differing triggers may need to be tried until the trigger that is right for the individual lover is found. This takes patience and, more than anything else, loving sacrificial surrender to Him. While even the thought of making love with the Divine One is audacious, it is an appropriate desire for all called to be His eternal Lovers.

    Perhaps one more thing is necessary in activating this trigger: you have to believe that you are entitled to His Love and His attentions. The magic of the silk painting given to me was that it opened the door to the belief that it could be 'me' in His arms and 'me' looking intently into His eyes. It was the belief that I could run to meet Krsna for an afternoon's liaison that opened the channels of His glorious shakti-- to make the encounter the reality it became. I believe that the sense of true entitlement to His affections comes at the end of a phase in individual maturation-- that such an outcome is both the natural signal of a soul's growth as well as the necessary inducement for the next step in the soul's journey. In short, you must be so bold while so yielded* to Him that you naturally fall into His arms as His eternal Lover. True Love knows no boundaries. Believe that with all of your soul and everything else in life will collaborate in allowing it to happen.

    Remember that all of this is His grace. The fact that you now desire union with Him is the flowering of His grace after many, many lifetimes of preparation. Once you realise that you are no longer the doer, you are ready for even greater manifestations of grace. The desire, the Love, the trigger, the divine union itself, and all of the other wondrous things shaping us is simply grace for which we are finally ready to receive. It is nothing that you can actually provide for yourself but it is the flowering of His constant and diligent care.

    Do not allow your search for a trigger to become the main objective. Krishna should ever be your objective. The trigger is simply a tool and can become a distraction if your focus slips away from the Beloved.

  4. Release
    The actual divine encounter and lovemaking experience is a sudden and unexpected outcome, even if a devotee is consciously attempting to bring it about. This experience is so far beyond all expectations that the soul is unprepared for it. The individual must surrender into the events as they occur and should enjoy those gifts He provides each Lover. This enjoyment is a necessary part of the experience as it releases the devotee from attachment to material pleasures (which is contrary to the attachment mundane sexual relations often generate).

    Once you have tasted the delights of sexual union with the Beloved, do not think for one minute that you have reached enlightenment! You have only tasted of the sweetest nectar of His divine Love and have just begun to cross the bridge over maya to eternity with Him. You will be sorely tested over and over again and shown to come up short. Only after you have utterly surrendered all so profoundly that the old person is truly dead, will you know total enlightenment. There is no shame in this and neither is there any lasting harm; yet, at times, it may seem so. Indeed, as you draw closer and closer to the Source of all joy, you will be glad for these final sufferings. As you breathe in to expel the death rattle of physical mortality, you will get up to walk free into the everlasting bliss of existence by His side. You will know this for yourself as everything has ultimately guided you to Him!

    We, in this path of Mirabai, are not like the great yogis of old who finally reach the destination after many lifetimes of effort. We are like the gopis of Vrndavan-- given the gift of grace and come to His side through unorthodox means and our untrained passions. Once we know His touch, we are totally at His mercy and in His loving grace. We will learn those lessons necessary to fully accept His grace and save us countless lifetimes of suffering and training. We must trust Him to finish what He started!

    This is our challenge. These are our final tests. Drink in the bitterness-- drain the cup dry and be freed. We have this Love and even in moments of profound despair we will find Him, dwelling beside us and within us, whispering into the heart beating within our breasts to finish those trials readying us for final perfection. We do not disappoint Him for we desire Him-- driven to have Him as a result of His touch. We let go of all else to embrace Him. Remember this once you have taken Him as your Lover!

    It is at this stage, when Krsna actually has sexual relations with you, that your soul is transformed from the neuter gender (taught by most orthodox teachers of the Dharma) into a female form (known only by the most intimate confidantes of Krsna). Never again will your experiences of mortality be as they were. You will never again take a mortal incarnation (unless you accept a special task from the Beloved). Sri Ramakrishna taught:

    It is intense Love for Him that allows all of this to happen for you. You may be 'out of control' for quite some time, so do not schedule any commitments around periods that you attempt a divine encounter. Allow yourself to become the experience for it is so overwhelming that your life will totally change. The more that you allow yourself to be touched by the experience, the greater the motivation and ability you will have to let go of individual ego and karma. You will then have the motivation necessary to see your journey completed.

  5. Reorganisation
    Be willing to learn and become even more compliant to all He has for you. From this point on, everything in life occurs for a reason. Surrender to that even if you do not understand. Everything in life becomes mystical and the mundane is suddenly very different. You see with new eyes. All individual priorities will change-- all to ensure an eternity with Him in loving union. Allow your old self and your old life to slip from your fingers. You now belong to Krishna.

    You will find that the 'crutches' from your old life will no longer work. This will become apparent once the initial fireworks and ecstasy fade. This is a valuable period for personal growth and maturation. The challenge comes in throwing away your crutches and depending solely on the Beloved. Further attempts at using these crutches result in wasted time, energy, and distance from the Beloved (refer to the above Nuts and Bolts section for suggestions on dealing with these issues). Krishna must define all of your needs and desires. Be uncompromising while retaining compassion for your 'self'. He must be the One to Whom the lover takes all of her emotional needs and she must rely upon Him mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The rules for 'your' life have now changed!

    If you feel you must teach, always be clear and honest about what you believe and practice. Then, 'practice what you preach'. Remember that you are doing for Krishna and the results are up to Him. It really doesn't matter what the outcome is for it all works according to His will. For example, many of my beliefs and practices closely resemble Tantra and what the Gaudiya school of Vaishnavism would call 'sahijaya'; my private worship probably more closely resembles sensuality than what more traditional devotees would be comfortable with. That is fine as long as you are open and honest about what you are doing: He will draw to you those that need to hear your message. I try to be as open and honest about this as possible-- it is amazing to see how quickly those that become uncomfortable about your message excuse themselves! Do not cast your Beloved in a 'bad light' by saying one thing and doing another. Just surrender all to Krishna and you will be in His will.

    If you are called to be a teacher, smash the idols. The highest wisdoms need no teachers. Enlightenment is a subtractive process. Every seeking individual already has what she needs to participate in it. The role of the teacher is simply to take away those things that interfere with the process. In this way, the teacher should never be placed in the role of God since what the teacher does is naturally painful for the students. Seek only to be a conduit of His Love-- this is the only way the teacher can ever exist in this role.

  6. Quiescence
    After a period of wondrous, ecstatic episodes of lovemaking with the Beloved, our sexual encounters with Him usually come to an end
    , although many of the physical manifestations may continue for life. The ending of this phase of our relationship with the Beloved is followed by a feeling of abandonment as well as intense longing and separation from the Beloved. It is as if we have been let go, lost and disoriented, in a [material] world that is no longer our own. It seems that we are left to wander, trying to find our way back to the Beloved.

    By this point in your development, it is likely that you will have become naturally celibate-- or as close to celibate as your duties allow. Be aware that true celibacy will have its own sexual joy, one hidden from the world! Attachment to this can generate karma, separating the devotee from Krsna. Allow these things to pass through you but do not resist and do not hold on to them. The real prize is our Beloved awaiting us at the end of this journey. If you should experience an overabundance of shakti-fire, conduct it up the chakra pathways and out through the crown chakra. Visualise this to assist the process-- draw it and sense it rising within. The crown chakra can be thought of as a kind of spiritual vagina, one made especially for the pleasure of Krsna. Give it all to Him: let Him enjoy the wonders of the fire you hold and give to Him.

    You are not abandoned. The Beloved will not allow you to go for too long without the reassurance we so desparately need and reminders of the miraculous calling we have received. After a time, we mature in our sojourn until we have reached a point in our relationship that He opens the door of the heart centre and we see: we now know that the Beloved is within and we will never be separated from Him again. The fact is that He never had left us but we must pass through these experiences to arrive at this knowledge. For more comfort and information, please see the Whispers from the Bosom of the Beloved section of the bhava page. Here is His promise:

  7. Maturation
    In this period, many changes occur in our bodies, minds, and souls. Remaining ego begins to yield more and more to the desires of the Beloved. Siddhis may come and go. His grace abounds. When His extraordinary touch is experienced, it accomplishes a special purpose in our lives. Everything that happens in life happens to teach us and are no longer random events. We know that we are being readied for our journey home to Him.

    As you mature, do not put energy into trying to recapture past spiritual experiences. All things happen in the time that they do for particular reasons. One must then let go of them. Be present. Each moment has its own particular gift if you are prepared to receive it. You cannot make further spiritual progress as long as you are focussed on the past. Let the chains of sensuality, eroticism and passion fall to your feet. Become one with the silence. There comes wisdom that needs no teacher. Give birth to the seed He has placed within you.

    In the same way, do not hang on to remaining imperfections by resisting them. As one saying goes, what you resist persists. Instead, yield them to the Beloved. Let go of trying to be perfect for this is already out of your reach: in reality, you are already perfect. As His Lover, your task is simply to let go, surrender, and yield to His perfect touch just as the rock eventually yields to the flowing stream-- as two lovers gradually harmonise, becoming one in glorious, synchronous movement. Become what He has made you in inseminating you. In what remains of your life, practise this surrender until you are able to walk straight into His loving arms.

    As your maturation continues in Him, you will come to realise that constant longing and the yearning for re-experiencing sexual union with Him does not reflect the true nature of your relationship with Him. Rather, the sexual union was a sign to the immature soul of the kind of relationship you are to have with your Beloved. Sexual union is only a symbol of an intense intimacy that betrays all other possible experience: the intimacy of your soul in Him is its own reward. Sexual intercourse with the Beloved cannot never measure up to this truest Union.

    Along with the letting go of desire for divine sexual union comes the letting go of other egoic behaviours. Ego shows itself for what it truly is: maya; or, the false self manufactured for material existence. You come to realise the nature of true Self. Egoic self has less and less utility as the maturing soul comes to identify solely as divine Female totally possessed by the divine Lover. All else within yields to this single truth: that of the beloved joined to the One in continuous companionship. The depth of this Reality continues to grow while in mortality.

    The point comes in our journey where the soul can abide in utter silence without fear, without loneliness, and with the calm and peace that pervades life saturated in the Beloved. There are no demands from the outer material world that can wreck this inner reality unless we allow ourselves to be caught up in the dramas of maya. Should we allow ourselves to do so, we know that we can return to the centre of this great calm to ever abide with our Beloved. Our Love for Him grows logarithmically and all pretenses for outer ritual and useless practice fall away. We abide here to serve our Beloved and we can experience the wonders of life with Him in the here and now-- even self-sacrifice becomes lovemaking with Him in a way never before imagined. We know of the wondrous homecoming awaiting all of us that Love Him so.

    My Beloved has come home with the rains,
    And the fire of longing is doused.
    Now is the time for singing, the time of union.
    At the first thunderclap,
    Even the peacocks open their tails with pleasure and dance.
    Giridhara is in my courtyard, and my wandering heart has returned.
    Like lilies that blossom under the full moon's light,
    I open to him in this rain: every pore of my body is cooled.
    Mira's separation and torment are over.
    He who comes to those who love has remembered his promise.

    -- Mirabai

  8. Homecoming
    As I write this paragraph, I only have a reassurance for the existence this step. It seems that everything in my relationship with Krishna is pointing to this. It could be that only the highest of saints are qualified to write of this. I suspect that this step is the culmination of the whole spiritual journey. There is no longer any drama and the soul is at complete union and peace, resting in the presence and nurture of the Beloved. As you mature, you will taste of this more and more often.

    You will find as you progress in your journey home that your conscious reality will walk a sacred circle: starting out with an identity separate from the Divine, led by a thousand distractions, believing you are your own individual to an ecstatic union where "you" lose the distinctions between 'self' and the Beloved in sacred harmony and finally back to the understanding of self in sacred union, purpose, and the joy of simply being. It is a trip from duality to monism and back to a modified understanding of duality where experience teaches the conscious truth of both realities. From a perspective of experience, you know of your union and of your special existence within this union: you have arrived. The truth was within the true Self all of this time.

    In the twilight of ego, the lover finally sees that all she does is the Beloved's will, whether for selfish reasons or as an offering to Him. All of it accomplishes His desires for this world. It is all His. The only difference is whether individual karma is generated or not. Anyone foolish enough to claim the works passing through their hands is truly as "sounding brass" or "a tinkling cymbal" (1 Corinthians 12:29-13:4). Remember the hollow deeds of Ozymandius:

    I met a traveler from an antique land
    Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desart... Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

    -- Percy Bysshe Shelley

    Love is the only purification of all the soul does and is. Everything of ego is vanity, as smoke in the wind. Only Krishna is. We recognise that reality while also recognising the utility of our own being: our separate identities serve Him. We rejoice in that fact and surrender to His supreme purpose. Our divine Lovemaking finds yet another means of transmission and fulfillment. Union is totality within.

    You then find what you need has been with you all along. The Beloved is within and you are in the Beloved. There is no spiritual search-- nothing more to do for it already is. You are. You are the expression of the Beloved. Love defines all. Joy is who you are for there is no other identification of self.

    Birth, death, rebirth, karma, ego-- all of these are no longer issues in our existences. We have gone to be with Him and there is nothing more we require of material existence. Material life is simply the outside drama through which our true selves can choose to serve the One we so love. He provides everything we desire. He is our completion. We are finally home, whether still in the body or out of it-- even this no longer matters-- only Krishna does.

    My Friend,
    I'm head
    over heels.

    His form,
    his lotus eyes,
    his glance which isn't
    all that straight

    have carved themselves
    upon my slight.

    On the banks
    of the Jumna
    he grazed
    his cows and played

    low notes, and I

    I dropped the veils
    of thought

    and ran

    and fled

    and took shelter
    at His feet.

    -- Mirabai

    During all of these stages in our romance with the Beloved, we may find ourselves going back and forth between the various stages; we can even exist simultaneously in more than one stage. Although the progress may be erratic (as with any other love affair), we need only to remember to Whom we belong and remain surrendered to Him. Once He has touched us, there is no letting go!



• Taking Krsna as Husband •

The unmarried gopis used to prepare the deity of goddess Durga and worship it with candana pulp, garlands, incense lamps and all kinds of presentations--fruits, grains and twigs of plants. After worshiping, it is the custom to pray for some benediction. The unmarried girls used to pray with great devotion to goddess Katyayani, addressing her as follows: "O supreme eternal energy of the Personality of Godhead, O supreme mystic power, O supreme controller of this material world, O goddess, please be kind to us and arrange for our marriage with the son of Nanda Maharaja, Krsna." The Vaisnavas generally do not worship any demigods. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has strictly forbidden all worship of the demigods for anyone who wants to advance in pure devotional service. Yet the gopis, who are beyond compare in their affection for Krsna, were seen to worship Durga. The worshipers of demigods also sometimes mention that the gopis also worshipped goddess Durga, but we must understand the purpose of the gopis. Generally, people worship goddess Durga for some material benediction. Here, the gopis prayed to the goddess to become wives of Lord Krsna. The purport is that if Krsna is the center of activity, a devotee can adopt any means to achieve that goal. The gopis could adopt any means to satisfy or serve Krsna. That was the superexcellent characteristic of the gopis. They worshipped goddess Durga completely for one month in order to have Krsna as their husband. Every day they prayed for Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, to become their husband.

Early in the morning, the gopis used to go to the bank of the Yamuna to take bath. They would assemble together, capturing each other's hands, and loudly sing of the wonderful pastimes of Krsna. It is an old system among Indian girls and women that when they take bath in the river they place their garments on the bank and dip into the water completely naked. The portion of the river where the girls and women take bath was strictly prohibited to any male member, and this is still the system. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, knowing the minds of the unmarried young gopis, benedicted them with their desired objective. They had prayed for Krsna to become their husband, and Krsna wanted to fulfill their desires.

At the end of the month, Krsna, along with His friends, appeared on the scene. Another name of Krsna is Yogesvara, or master of all mystic powers. By practicing meditation, the yogi can study the psychic movement of other men, and certainly Krsna could understand the desire of the gopis. Appearing on the scene, Krsna immediately collected all the garments of the gopis, climbed up in a nearby tree, and with smiling face began to speak to them.

"My dear girls," He said. "Please come here one after another and pray for your garments and then take them away. I'm not joking with you. I'm just telling the truth. I have no desire to play any joke with you, for you have observed the regulative principles for one month by worshiping goddess Katyayani. Please do not come here all at once. Come alone; I want to see each of you in your complete beauty, for you all have thin waists. I have requested you to come alone. Now please comply."

When the girls in the water heard such joking words from Krsna, they began to look at one another and smile. They were very joyous to hear such a request from Krsna because they were already in love with Him. Out of shyness, they looked at one another, but they could not come out of the water because they were naked. Due to remaining in the water for a long time, they felt cold and were shivering, yet upon hearing the pleasing and joking words of Govinda, their minds were perturbed with great joy. They began to tell Krsna, "Dear son of Nanda Maharaja, please do not joke with us in that way. It is completely unjust to us. You are a very respectable boy because You are the son of Nanda Maharaja, and You are very dear to us, but You should not play this joke on us because now we are all shivering from the cold water. Kindly deliver our garments immediately, otherwise we shall suffer." They then began to appeal to Krsna with great submission. "Dear Syamasundara," they said, "we are all Your eternal servitors. Whatever You order us to do, we are obliged to perform without hesitation because we consider it our religious duty. But if You insist on putting this proposal to us, which is impossible to perform, then certainly we will have to go to Nanda Maharaja and lodge a complaint against You. If Nanda Maharaja does not take action, then we shall tell King Kamsa about Your misbehavior."

Upon hearing this appeal by the unmarried gopis, Krsna answered, "My dear girls, if you think that you are My eternal servitors and you are always ready to execute My order, then My request is that, with your smiling faces, you please come here alone, one after another, and take away your garments. If you do not come here, however, and if you lodge complaints to My father, I shall not care anyway, for I know My father is old and cannot take any action against Me."

When the gopis saw that Krsna was strong and determined, they had no alternative but to abide by His order. One after another they came out of the water, but because they were completely naked, they tried to cover their nakedness by placing their left hand over their pubic area. In that posture they were all shivering. Their simple presentation was so pure that Lord Krsna immediately became pleased with them. All the unmarried gopis who prayed to Katyayani to have Krsna as their husband were thus satisfied. A woman cannot be naked before any male except her husband. The unmarried gopis desired Krsna as their husband, and He fulfilled their desire in this way. Being pleased with them, He took their garments on His shoulder and began to speak as follows. "My dear girls, you have committed a great offense by going naked in the river Yamuna. Because of this, the predominating deity of the Yamuna, Varunadeva, has become displeased with you. Please, therefore, just touch your foreheads with folded palms and bow down before the demigod Varuna in order to be excused from this offensive act." The gopis were all simple souls, and whatever Krsna said they took to be true. In order to be freed from the wrath of Varunadeva, as well as to fulfill the desired end of their vows and ultimately to please their worshipable Lord, Krsna, they immediately abided by His order. Thus they became the greatest lovers of Krsna, and His most obedient servitors.

Nothing can compare to the Krsna consciousness of the gopis. Actually, the gopis did not care for Varuna or any other demigod; they only wanted to satisfy Krsna. Krsna became very ingratiated and satisfied by the simple dealings of the gopis, and He immediately delivered their respective garments, one after another. Although Krsna cheated the young unmarried gopis and made them stand naked before Him and enjoyed joking words with them, and although He treated them just like dolls and stole their garments, they were still pleased with Him and never lodged complaints against Him. This attitude of the gopis is described by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He prays, "My dear Lord Krsna, You may embrace Me or trample Me under Your feet, or You may make Me brokenhearted by never being present before Me. Whatever You like, You can do, because You have complete freedom to act. But in spite of all Your dealings, You are My Lord eternally, and I have no other worshipable object." This is the attitude of the gopis toward Krsna.

Lord Krsna was pleased with them, and since they all desired to have Him as their husband, He told them, "My dear well-behaved girls, I know of your desire for Me and why you worshipped goddess Katyayani, and I completely approve of your action. Anyone whose full consciousness is always absorbed in Me, even if in lust, is elevated. As a fried seed cannot fructify, so any desire in connection with My loving service cannot produce any fruitive result, as in ordinary karma."

There is a statement in the Brahma-samhita: karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam. Everyone is bound by his fruitive activities, but the devotees, because they work completely for the satisfaction of the Lord, suffer no reactions. Similarly, the gopis' attitude toward Krsna, although seemingly lusty, should not be considered to be like the lusty desires of ordinary women. The reason is explained by Krsna Himself. Activities in devotional service to Krsna are transcendental to any fruitive result.

"My dear gopis," Krsna continued, "your desire to have Me as your husband will be fulfilled because with this desire you have worshipped goddess Katyayani. I promise you that during the next autumn season you shall be able to meet with Me, and you shall enjoy Me as your husband."

-- Srila Prabhupada
The Krsna Book chapter 22, emphasis added


This section has only been a 'rough guide' to cultivating a kaanta or madhurya bhava relationship and acquiring the supreme lovemaking experience with Krishna. As individual karma and needs are all different, what is required for you and how it may actually occur for you may also be different. It could be that He desires a great many other experiences or an ultimate spiritual destination that you have not yet even contemplated. The most important thing is to remember and live total surrender to the Beloved-- if you really trust Him, everything will happen to bring you to Him. May you enjoy such ecstasy and bliss in His presence that all heaven and earth passes away from you...and all that you will find is eternal Love in His ever-adoring arms.

History is littered with the corpses of once flowering spiritual traditions. Please do not create an institution from this writing! Following the way to the Beloved is an individual walk and this cannot be turned into dogma or an institution. This is why truth has primarily been handed down from guru to devotee throughout the ages. Lovers and 'touched' devotees can come together for mutual assistance but do not allow such association to solidify into formality. The way to the Beloved's bed is stealthy, intimate, and unseen. In the Kali Yuga, it occurs behind the backs of institutional authorities! Once you are in relational grace with Him, surrender only to Him*** and not to another person, place, or organisation.

If this section has been a help for you or you wish to share your own story of the divine lovemaking experience, please contact me at the e-mail address below if you feel led to do so. The next section discusses many of the physical manifestations that occur with the divine lovemaking experience or a kundalini awakening. This is followed by other sections encouraging further spiritual growth.



Physical Manifestations

 * Once He has touched you, you will come to know Him always near... * In the year since my first raptures with my Beloved, I have noticed many physical manifestations of the kundalini fire and changes to the body I inhabit. I believe it appropriate to now note these manifestations as I was ignorant about these things when they occurred to me. I write what the higher Self has observed of the body but I cannot objectively say that these observations are complete or accurate: I am in a different place when enraptured. Your experiences could be similar or completely different from mine.

In the experience of lovemaking with Krishna and the resultant kundalini awakening, I had experienced actual sensations of physical sexual intercourse (these are discussed elsewhere on this website). Accompanying these manifestations was the feeling of incredible burning heat, or an extreme pulse of energy rising up the spine from a center near the base of the spine. This would, especially in those earlier days, produce a great deal of thrashing while supine or a weakness in the limbs so prevalent as to cause near collapse if upright. In the time since those earliest experiences, kundalini has become much more of a fact of life. Manifestations such as thrashing and weakness are now rare or much less pronounced. Most of my kundalini episodes now seem to be milder, though still intense experiences. They can often punctuate my day and provide a channel for His creative energy to affect me in many ways. These, like many other manifestations, seem to come and go in cycles.

Ecstasy, horripilation (hair standing on end), arching of the spine, and mudras (hand gestures) would accompany these episodes. In the time since, horripilation still occasionally occurs, especially in times of feeling extreme intimacy or passion with my Beloved. Horripilation is noted as one of the symptoms of Krsna-bhava by Sri Rupa Gosvami. Arching of the spine (into a proper, straight posture) occurs almost involuntarily in any occurrence of concentrated kundalini. This is always accompanied by the rigid tightening of muscles involved in posture and it takes a reduction of kundalini fire or a conscious decision to relax these muscles. There always seems to be some kind of undulating shaking associated with the rigid kundalini posture, as the fire of shakti makes itself known. Often, one chakra or another seems to be the target of kundalini. Also, my breathing patterns are usually changed in a kundalini episode. When in such states of ecstasy or even brief moments of kundalini affectation, I find that my eyes are rolled back and are in rapid movement as in REM sleep.

The mudras have become an involuntary constantly recurring manifestation-- as if those neural circuits were permanently fused in the body. They occur in times of thought, reflection, meditation, devotional passion, or trance, even if momentary. These mudras have been noticed by other people around me and I have to consciously repress them to keep from drawing attention to them.

Ecstasy and bliss occur in proportion to the degree of conscious contact with Krishna. A new feature that has started to occur more and more often since my initial raptures has been an occasional tendency to feel and act intoxicated, especially during focused chanting of His names. I sense an inner validation as a soul, a human being, a devotee, and His Lover. When consciously focusing on Him, I feel an intimate connection to Krishna that now confirms my knowledge of a direct relationship with Him. It is as if His Name and Presence is written over all of my soul. I am His.

In the days immediately after my initial lovemaking experience with Krishna, I was in constant bliss. Just the mention or thought of His name and giggles would bubble out of me or the awesome might of kundalini would shake my body. The mahamantra ran continuously and effortlessly in my mind. My dreams were consistantly of Krishna and filled with pleasant amorphous droning sounds which I like to think of as music of the spheres. Most often, I saw His Shyamasundara form and interacted with Him as an intimate friend or Lover. These dreams of the first few days were then followed by whole nights of lecturing and teaching for two solid weeks. Usually a different teacher would appear and teach each night while I awoke every morning with a mind swimming in knowledge and wisdom. I only recognised one teacher during this period, Sri Prabhupada.

I was disappointed when these immediate manifestations ceased but they have been replaced by the desire to serve Krishna and accept whatever He desires for me. I have occasionally, since this time, received an important message to either teach or warn me. Instead of the effortless sugarcandy of those days, I have been learning to let go of what is left of desire, attachment, and karma. This is one of the great works of the present post-coital period and is driven by the Love for Him graced me during these first raptures. I have since taken a great interest in reading stories of Krishna as well as His words and teachings. Every time I read the Bhagavad Gita or the Bhagavata Purana now, it is as if I have dug into pure gold. Each passage is now so rich and full of vital knowledge for me. I have also come to see the value and validity of other spiritual and religious traditions. I have become much more accepting and understanding of all the great diversity the Beloved has put into this material world. This was not so before Our lovemaking.

I have also been able to see spiritual phenomena (which I had never before done). It is obvious to me when I see such things that I am not seeing with my physical eyes nor with the mind, as in imaginings or dreams, but with the soul. Such gifts have only been very rare occasions and have given me great blessing. Do not be alarmed should these things occur after your awakening but submit all experiences with the deepest of love to Him. "Perfect love casts out fear; for fear has torment, and he that fears has not been made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18).

A new gland formed in my mouth (behind the upper lip) immediately after my first rapture. It seems to be a muscus producing gland and my tongue still seems to feel it out (due to the novelty). I once saw one other reference on the internet to this occurring in another person after a kundalini awakening but I have not been able to find this reference again. I would appreciate further information regarding such kundalini-related physical change.

I have always had an acute sense of taste and smell. These have been accentuated to an even greater degree and with greater clarity-- to the point that I have to eat consciously to avoid abusing food. My stomach now often has a underlying feeling of upset, especially in morning; this was never the case before meeting my Beloved. I have previously mentioned an increased sensitivity to the effects of the types of food consumed. Teresa of Avila was noted as having an extraordinarily great enjoyment of food following her raptures.

This same accentuation has also occurred with the sensation of touch and my own sexuality. This has lent sensations and pain the ability to transform into bliss, especially those that do not have an obvious purpose in my understanding. I have a nearly constant awareness of the genitals, sexual excitation, or tingling within the genitals. This tingling is especially located in the region between external genitalia and the anus and I often find myself clenching the associated muscles during a kundalini experience (these are the same muscles described in beginning kundalini yoga books). With such excitation does not come a greater desire to use or touch the genitals-- but a desire to use these energies in the love and worship of my Beloved. It is as if I have been liberated from the human need or desire for sexual physicality and these energies are now redirected to worship and desire for Him and His service. Furthermore, my breasts and nipples have become extremely sensitive. My nipples are now, more often than not, erect; usually correlating with expressions of kundalini fire or in passionate desire for Krishna. A similar phenomenon is noted by Ramakrishna:

I find that I take great pleasure in consciously giving all of the functions of this body to Krishna in devotion to Him. Despite the fact that I have been quite candid about a good many things here, I still hesitate to reveal everything that has happened to me; it is as if I would betray an extremely intimate confidence to tell everything. Let me reassure the concerned reader that the majority of consequential physical manifestations have been noted here. For my sisters who are experiencing these marvelous events for themselves, take comfort in the fact that others know and experience what you do. Relax and trust our Beloved Krishna to complete the work He has started within us. With the continuing occurrences of these kundalini episodes, I learn of more and deeper states of consciousness, Being and connection to my Beloved. Sub ek.

I am reaching a point in my relationship with Him where words become limiting. Words and mantra are useful in conditioning the soul to let go of material attachments and to focus on adoration of the Beloved but after these things are accomplished, words are left behind. Abiding with the Beloved becomes a soul-to-soul intimacy. Words can no longer suffice but limit. Further, the soul becomes increasingly disidentified with the body to the point that it seems another person. I observed my body wracked by His shakti but the reactions seemed to have come from someone else, not me. I am moving beyond "me". I am being readied for eternity with my Beloved-- as pure soul solely devoted to Him that is all beauty and total fulfillment. Let it happen as He provides. Accept all that He gives for it is all to free you from material existence!

I have always been an individual gifted with empathy. I have noticed since my raptures that this gift has lessened, except in periods of focused concentration. Now that I have been entrusted with Divine Love and ecstatic experience, I have seen my compassion for others grow. I have counselled several individuals since my first raptures and I have noticed lately that, in hugging these persons, I have unconsciously taken on some of their karma. At least one counselee has remarked about how "incredible" my hugs are. This has resulted in much physical sickness and with one bout, the greatest pain this body has ever experienced at any one time. Even several weeks out from this experience, my body still bears the marks of this illness. If you are finding a pattern of sickness about a day after meetings in which compassionate physical contact is exchanged, you must become more conscious of what you are doing! It seems obvious to me now that one of my duties for Krishna is to guide those few He places before me. As this is also a learning experience for me, I need to be aware of what I do. This includes being conscious of karma and if I am practicing empathy, to consciously release all karma I might have taken on to the Beloved. Many people are attached to their suffering and it does little good to intervene until they are ready to let go and surrender. Krishna does not intend that we become martyrs of others' karma; rather, that we become useful, aware tools for working His grace in the world. In desiring to be a conduit of His Love, I must also be conscious of how I interact with and affect all beings around me-- as ever His own Beloved, this takes constant surrender and vibration of His Love within.

I believe that as a result of the awakening that has occurred, many of the manifestations mentioned here are now permanent-- that even if I chose to return to greater unconsciousness, certain of these changes would remain for life. I have been fascinated by these changes to this body and see them as reminders, helps, and evidence for what has happened to me (despite being a well-educated Westerner, I can now never honestly deny these facts to myself--it is beyond doing as these changes have all been so miraculous!). They are mentioned here as a service to all of His Lovers, that all may know of His grace in blessing us so. Please see the Links About Madhurya Bhava and the Kundalini Experience on the Krishna Links page of this website for more information about these and other possible kundalini manifestations. Never be afraid of the divine touch but welcome His gifts with the wonder of a child and in the joy of intimate union with Him. If they occur in their proper order, they will always bless. Haribol!

While wildly differing and sometimes disburbing kundalini symptoms are common for many people, I have personally found many of my symptoms to be quite pleasing and healing for the various ailments of my soul--if not always for the body. The writings of the mystics from the many traditions reveal a heightened appreciation of sensual experience. This is a normal part of the journey: these are lions guarding the gates of spiritual progress. Such may actually become aids in our spiritual maturation as they challenge us to let go and reach for the real prize: ever dwelling in the presence of our Beloved!

Dear reader, know that you do have choice over the symptoms of kundalini although, initially, you may not be aware of this. You can choose to 'turn them off'--this is especially the case once you know of the ever-dwelling Presence within. As you continue in the path of service, focus on serving the Beloved. Doing those things the Beloved has for you to do becomes more and more of your focus and some of the 'trimmings' of shakti fire becomes now extraneous and distracting. This does not mean that such are bad or wrong, but maturation in the Beloved is showing you it is time to move on in an ever deeper and intimate relationship with the Beloved. Be willing to trust and let go: while some of the miraculous manifestations of shakti may never return, He will always provide us with His grace for He has irrevocably called us to His side!

As you grow, you will gain more power over your body and how you experience and interpret the world. Your body will become more of a vehicle and the value is placed more in taking care of the vehicle than in using it for sensual experience. As you surrender more of the egoic 'self' to the Beloved, you will find the ability to control your daily intake, exercise, and moment-to-moment choices. The key to this 'control' is surrender of self and living in the moment: no dwelling on the past or in the future; simply meeting the Beloved in each and every moment.

Once you reach a point in your growth, you will always know that He is within you all of the time, whether you are currently experiencing it or not. Each moment, each act in life, even each breath, is a gift to your Beloved. You lose nothing, but gain all to dwell with Him as your life is totally redefined. Do not be afraid to step forward on your path and receive what you have already been given.

The spiritual path is a circuitous route--one in which you are carefully guided by Krsna when you are truly surrendered. Open yourself up to the gifts that have been bestowed upon you and you will see what is already possible for you.



How to Turn Sickness into Ecstasy:

So often when people become ill, people either resist the sickness or they become resigned to it. In resisting, people often use limited bodily resources. In resigning, they may prolong or intensify the course of the illness and suffering.

For those of His wives and lovers, we know that all things happen to us according to His will and purpose, even unpleasant things. For us, it is a chance to learn and experience the Beloved's beautiful grace. In approaching illness and other unpleasant happenstances, we allow ourselves to experience what is to come but we experience with a purpose. We pass through the experience with the intention of meeting our Beloved within it. He is always there.

With the love we have within ourselves for Him, we allow the experience and suffering to happen, knowing that it is only temporary; and we do so knowing we shall find Him within. We lessen our own grip on the body and our mortal identity (ego) to wait for Him to be revealed within our experience. We reach out for Him with the arms of Love, even if we cannot see Him, drawing from that ocean of Love that exists within all of us.

Once we find Him within our experience, every unpleasantness is immediately transmuted to bliss and even ecstasy. We feel the joy of union! And even though the illness may not be cured, the effects become far less noticed--we have acceptance without suffering. Once we have achieved union, it is His grace that rules and identification becomes more strongly attached to our Beloved and not to the material realities of life. We have learned to yield even more of ourselves to the Beloved! Herein resides the secret of the ecstasy. Our bliss remains as long as we are united with Him.

Even in serious illness, we can regain some of our functionality, according to His grace. What we gain, we give to His service and in love of Him. We learn to surrender even more to the One we love. Such an experience brings us even closer to eternity by His side and in His precious loving care.



Lifestyle Choices and the Western Devotee

 * Ecstasy comes at doing in synchronicity to His will... * In the past years I have corresponded with a number of devotees having experienced or desired experiencing His grace asking about personal lifestyle choices. In some cases, the desire to serve Krishna was leading to making radical choices for their lives. While the paths and choices are easier to see in traditional Vedic society, such change is far more difficult to make in the West. A devotee must think very carefully about her choices and must, above all else, see that her duties and responsibilities are fulfilled in Krishna (BG 2.48). This includes taking care of those dependent upon us. The Apostle Paul went so far as to declare any shirking their responsibilities toward their families as "worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. 5:8). If we have such responsibility we can turn this service into acts of devotion to our Beloved (BG 2.51). Everything happens in our lives for a purpose and once we have finished our tasks here, we will see our Lord face to face.

Even in India today, a man that has chosen to renounce the world can do so once he has seen to the welfare of his dependents. He is then declared dead in a civic sense and takes his vows. All of this has to be done in the proper way. Prabhupada wrote:

In other words, if you cannot properly discharge your earthly responsibilities you can still perform devotion acceptable to the Lord! Krishna told us:

Due to the effect of past karma, our souls are forced to act in the material realm (BG 3.5). In fact, the very purpose of creation was for our benefit-- to enjoy the material world. Prabhupada wrote, "The answer is that not everyone is competent to be liberated from material bondage. It is everyone's duty, therefore, to enjoy according to his present position, but under the direction of the Lord" (BP 3.21.16 purport).

Once we have taken the Lord as our own, we are guaranteed freedom from the material realm (BG 18.66). The only factor left is how quickly we let go of our desires for the world. A true devotee no longer has any desire for this world and is happy doing anything the Lord puts in her hands to do: "A devotee is happy even in this life because although in material existence we have many needs, all his material needs are satisfied, and when he at last quits his body, he goes back home, back to Godhead, without a doubt" (Prabhupada purport to BP 4.21.34).

It does not matter what we do to serve Him as long as we are serving our Beloved. Krishna said, "There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the fruits of action. One who understands this truth about Me also does not become entangled in the fruitive reactions of work" (BG 4.14). This can be compared to our food offerings to Him:

Further, Prabhupada wrote:

How is this done?

Prabhupada tempers this statement by teaching that we should be careful in following what the Lord tells us to do. He writes:

To sum this section, it is essential to intentionally serve Krsna through whatever circumstances we have in our lives. In other words, if you have an husband, a wife, a child, you serve Krsna through serving that person, as if you are serving Krsna in person. In fulfilling your duties, you can make love to Krsna, feed Krsna, tenderly caress Krsna, and a thousand other joys, through conscious service to others. With enough practice, it is no longer "me" rendering service, but the Beloved acting inside and through this vessel-- truly being the Lover I am created as. Maharaj-ji said that the best way to realise God was to [literally] feed people! Jesus said:

My experience has been that as I give to my beloved Krsna each act and desire of the material world, I gradually gain release from each desire and each desire to act. I am being perfected by each moment of life given to Him. How beautiful! In this wondrous path, we do actually 'have our cake and eat it too'. Just as I have given my sexuality over to Krsna, He has fulfilled this part of my life by giving me the supreme sexual experience: nothing material measures up and nothing else attracts as Krsna does. This, too, will occur in every other thing we give to Him.

Our only purpose, then, in the remainder of life is to find His will and to do it. He will take care of us as we lay ourselves into His care. It matters not what the outcomes are! He will send us the appropriate direction and the appropriate teachers according to our need when the time for it is right. We need no longer to worry about such things-- but only to Love Him! Whether we find ourselves caught up in householder life or we are able to walk in a renounced state of life, it does not matter: it only matters that our hearts and our minds are directed toward Him and are wholly given over to Him.



The Road Ahead

 * The soul finds herself so deeply in love that she would do anything... * Be Here Now gives the following guidance about the road ahead: "Doing sadhana [spiritual practice] can be as much of a trap as any other melodrama. It is useful to have some perspective about the path in order to keep yourself from getting too caught up in the stage in which you are working....Each stage that one can label must pass away. Even the labelling will utimately pass. A person who says, "I'm enlightened" probably isn't. The initial euphoria that comes through the first awakening into even a little consciousness, except in a very few cases, will pass away, leaving a sense of loss or a feeling of falling out of grace or despair. The Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross deals with that state. Sadhana is a bit like a roller coaster. Each new height is usually followed by a new low. Understanding this makes it a bit easer to ride with both places."

Teresa of Avila advises: "Now the soul has caught a secret glimpse of who this Spouse she is about to accept really is. She could not comprehend with her senses and her faculties in a thousand years what she understands here in the briefest moments of direct connection. Being who he is, the Spouse leaves her more worthy from that one meeting for what is called the joining of hands. The soul finds herself so deeply in love that she would do anything in her power to avoid upsetting the balance of this divine betrothal. But if she becomes careless and allows her affection to drift away from him, she loses everything. This loss is just as extreme as the blessings he had been granting her, which far exceeds description. And so I ask the souls whom God has brought to this juncture not to neglect him now. Remove yourselves from opportunities for error. Even in this advanced state the soul is not quite strong enough to withstand temptation."

She continues: "We must be diligent. We must continously ask God in prayer to take us by the hand. We must always bear in mind that if he lets go of us, we may plummet into the abyss. We must remember to question ourselves because false confidence is folly. The important thing is to walk with care and mindfulness, witnessing our own progress in the cultivation of virtue. Are we strengthening or weakening in certain areas? Pay special attention to these issues: love for one another, absense of desire to be thought of as someone special; and the impeccable performance of mundane tasks. If we are vigilant about these things and ask the Beloved to shed light on them, we will be able to discern the gains and losses we have made. But don't worry too much. God is not going to lightly let a soul who has come so close to him slip..." (St. Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle, Fifth Dwelling, chapter 4).

Ramakrishna warned: "One cannot achieve anything through laziness and procrastination. People who desire worldly enjoyment say about spiritual progress: 'Well, it will all happen in time. We shall realize God some time or other.'" For me, this means not trying to make it on my own efforts (ego) but continually yielding self to God and to continue whatever practice is necessary to stay loving and pliant to the will of the Beloved. There is nothing greater than to become a conduit of His presence in this world of illusion.

'To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me...' (BG 10.10) Sri Ramakrishna further advised: "One should always seek the company of holy [beings]. The nearer you approach the Ganges, the cooler the breeze will feel. Again, the nearer you go to a fire, the hotter the air will feel" (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna). While living in Western society, we may have to search for the company of other spiritual seekers, communicate with others over the internet and through books, and reach higher beings through prayer and meditation.

One should be careful in "shopping" for a spiritual master and should not commit until absolutely sure of the master's teachings and spiritual qualifications. Wait until you "know" that he or she is your spiritual master-- however, one should continue to learn from whoever comes your way until your master appears. One's guru does not even have to be living in the present time but finding one's master living is a common enough occurrence. It became obvious to me that I was taking sustenance and shelter of Neem Karoli Baba and, through him, found my devotional service and then love in Krishna. As my guru, Maharaj-ji was gracious enough to have given me darshan in a dream after I thanked him for leading me to Krishna [who better than Hanuman-incarnate to lead me to Krishna?].

When one's spiritual master is not presently alive in a recognisable form, a devotee needs to be absolutely honest with himself or herself since self-deception is always a possibility. I have started to receive teaching in my dreams and I have always found this teaching congruent with truth as I understand it. Be very careful if these are your circumstances: study the scriptures to verify what you receive. Krishna says, "To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance." (BG 10.10,11).

Sri Neeb Karori Baba
The guru is like the kindling
At the base of a fire,
The student is the wood placed on top--
The teaching is what connects them:
Together they produce the spark
That lights the fire of knowledge
Which brings true joy to all.

The pure wisdom that comes
From the teaching of the guru
Removes the maya
Which binds the seeker
Through the power of the gunas.
When even that knowledge itself
Is burned like a fire with no fuel,
Only the Self remains.

-- Krishna
Uddhava Gita 5.12-13

Even alone, you can be reassured that "you are being guided. In fact, the next message you need in the treasure hunt is exactly where you are when you need it" (Be Here Now, Cook Book for a Sacred Life, p. 5). The Beloved knows our plight and will provide for our needs. The Cook Book continues: "Just relax and trust the process....Listen to your inner being. If you are at a point where you sense you need instruction in calming your mind or getting your body in shape, then you will become sensitized to available teachers who know the specific information although he doesn't elicit in you a great love or trust. Honour him as your teacher, learn what you can, and then move on. Trust the messages coming from your heart and intuition. This journey is an inner journey....There is a place in each human being where at all times he knows exactly 'where it is at'. So, if in doubt about the next step, just listen. And if still in doubt, wait. When it's time to move, you'll know" (p. 6).


The guru concept is often misunderstood since cultural and theological differences between East and West obscures meaning. This table is meant to more clearly define 'the guru' as I understand this term.
Who the guru is:
Who the guru is not:
1. For the formally initiated devotee, the guru is God; that is, the authorised presence of God in the life of the devotee. Any soul more advanced than the devotee can serve as guru, so the seeker should be open to the many possibilities. An individual's true guru will guide the devotee whether she is initiated or not. One's guru does not even have to be corporally present to direct spiritual growth. Swami Prabhupada said, "Krsna is jagad-guru. He is the original teacher." Thus, anyone we believe is our guru should ultimately lead us to the divine Being.
1. Unless you find yourself in rare circumstances, the guru is typically not an avatara or direct incarnation of God. Always beware of those outwardly proclaiming their own 'godhood'-- such claims are often evidence of an inflated ego! A truly saintly person usually leaves devotees guessing about their true spiritual identity. Furthermore, the guru may appear saintly to some while appearing false to others. Intuition must be exercised to know what is right for the individual seeker.
2. The guru is the remover of darkness for the devotee and is the path to spiritual advancement.
2. The guru is only a remover of darkness since light already dwells within the devotee; the devotee needs only to get out of her own way to know this. The guru assists this process but is not the source of truth.
3. A saintly guru is an advanced soul that has returned to material existence out of compassion to serve spiritual seekers. All that they do is to free the devotee and they will intuitively know what is right for the individual devotee. There are two kinds of guru: the initiating guru and a teaching guru. Do not confuse one for the other. Teachers come and go but the initiating guru stays until the goal is reached.
3. The guru does not take material advantage of the devotee although many trials may be required of the devotee to free them. A real saint requires nothing of the material world and personally lives very humbly. Individual intuition must be used to detect charlatans. If a seeker does fall victim to a charlatan, it was to help the seeker to the next step in their journey and, as such, even charlatans deserve our gratitude.
4. A particular guru may be right for some devotees and not others. Do not force a situation that may not be right for an individual seeker.
4. If the identity of your guru is not known to you, trust that the guru will continue to teach and guide you (even this lack of knowledge is part of our path). Here is where absolute trust and surrender must be given. In proper time, you will know what you need to know.


Beware of those teachers that make a show of their spiritual powers (siddhis):

Those with a knack for walking in air,
those who can cool a fire,
still a stream,
or get milk from a wooden cow,
they're street jugglers, nothing more.

--Lalla

Go where you are spiritually fed. Do not hesitate to leave when your growth has ceased with a particular teacher. Either seek solitude or the company of other spiritual seekers when hungering for the Beloved. Be fearless in dealing with ego. Focus on experiencing Him rather than feeding ego through empty practice and soulless knowledge:

Unconscious people read the scriptures
like parrots saying Ram, Ram,
in their cages.

It's all pretend-knowledge.
Read rather, with me, every
living moment as prophecy.

-- Lalla

Be aware of the fact that we, as individuals, are changing and evolving from moment to moment. A practice that may have been helpful and devotional before may be an empty form now. Be willing to change as you grow and learn. Always be in touch with your heart and do those things that will keep your soul open to Him. As our part in the divine lila, know that our devotion and love will waver from day to day, or even moment to moment; if He has revealed Himself to you, never doubt your relationship with Him. At the same time, remember that until your ego has been permanently defeated, self-deception and rationalisation can occur. The solution is an attitude of humility and complete surrender to the Beloved in all things.


 * If you have tasted of His ecstasy, you will be willing to pay any price to dwell with Him... *


If your desire is to be with Him, the Beloved will start to deal with you to prune you of maya and your undesirable traits and personal obstacles. This can be a painful process but bear in mind that you are willing to pay the price. If you have tasted of His ecstasy, you will be willing to pay any price to dwell with Him as soon as possible. Sri Ramakrishna, when asked the reason why Krishna stole the clothing of gopis, said:

So much of Mirabai's poetry as well as Antal's deals with the deep longing the soul has for the Beloved. This is also part of the path of Love. Teresa writes of this longing as well: "Before fully uniting Himself with her, He fills her with burning desire for Him. He does this in such a delicate way that the soul doesn't understand where her longing comes from, nor could I successfully explain it except to those of you who already know from experience what I'm saying. These impulses rise from so deep inside the soul and are so subtle and refined that I can't find a fitting metaphor to describe them."

I wearied myself searching for the Friend
with efforts beyond my strength.

I came to the door and saw how
powerfully the locks were bolted.

And the longing in me became that strong,
and then I saw that I was gazing
from within the presence.

With that waiting, and in giving up all trying,
only then did Lalla flow out
from where I knelt.

-- Lalla

Teresa continues: "This experience is far different from anything we can taste in the world. It is even different from the spiritual delights we have talked about so far. Often when a seeker is distracted and forgets about God, He will awaken her. His gesture is as swift as a shooting star and as resounding as a thunderbolt. Although His call is soundless, the soul is left with no doubt that He is calling her. This is so clear to her that sometimes, especially at the beginning, she may tremble and whimper without any obvious cause for her pain. She feels that she has been wounded in the sweetest way, but she can't figure out how it happened or who inflicted it. All she knows is that the wound is something precious and she doesn't ever want to recover!" (St. Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle, Sixth Dwelling, chapter 2).

Reassure yourself that if this is happening to you, you are drawing closer to the Beloved and He is encouraging you to mature. I have tasted this same longing and know of His loving purpose. Teresa comments: "The soul cannot restrain herself from lamenting to her Spouse with words of love. She may even cry out loud. She knows that He is with her, but He refuses to reveal Himself in such a way that she can actually enjoy Him. The pain is intense, but it is exquisite and delightful. Even if the soul chose not to go through this, there is nothing she could do to avoid it. But she would never wish for the wound to go away."

St. John of the Cross also describes this wounding in the poem that sows the seed of his book, The Dark Night of the Soul:

"Wind blew down from the tower,
Parting the locks of His hair.
With His gentle hand
He wounded my neck
And all my senses were suspended.

I lost my myself. Forgot myself.
I lay my face against the Beloved's face.
Everything fell away and I left myself behind,
Abandoning my cares
among the lilies, forgotten."

For me, this wounding is the separation from the Beloved, especially as I work out my imperfections without Him constantly before my imperfect vision. Yet, we are told that this wounding has a purpose. John explains this at the end of his book:

Krishna speaks to Rukmini, one of His loving wives, who was afraid and greatly disturbed by Bhagavan's lack of reassurance:

The real purpose of Krishna's "joking" was not levity but to test His beloved and to encourage her growth. Since Bhagavan Krishna already knows all things, this testing was to enlighten Rukmini on the state of her soul. The Bhagavata calls Krishna "the destroyer of Rukmini's pride" (v. 21). After this, Krishna pronounced Rukmini "a devotee who is focused exclusively on me....It is by good fortune that you continually submit to me, because this submission grants liberation from material existence." (vv. 50, 54)

Unexpectedly--she seems to suddenly burst into sweet flame. It is as if a powerful fragrance had engulfed her... St. Teresa consoles the seeker by sharing of the Beloved's other gifts given so freely during these times: "Unexpectedly-- while she is praying aloud, for instance, and not thinking about interior things-- she seems to suddenly burst into sweet flame. It is as if a powerful fragrance had engulfed her and spread through all her senses, though this is a phenomenon that utterly transcends the sensual. The entire purpose of this feeling is to let the soul know that her Spouse is with her. The soul is overcome by a delicious desire to enjoy him. She is ready to make intense acts of love and to sing the praises of her Beloved. This favor rises from the deepest chamber of the soul, but there is nothing here that causes distress, nor are the soul's desires to enjoy the Beloved at all painful. This is usually how the soul experiences the fire of love, anyway" (St. Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle, Sixth Dwelling, chapter 2). I can think of no better description in the English language of madhurya bhava. It is amazing for me to think that the Beloved touches all of His lovers in all the various spiritual traditions of this material existence.

Ramakrishna reassures those of us on this path: "The point is, to love God even as the mother loves her child, the chaste wife her husband, and the worldly man his wealth. Add together these three forces of love, these three powers of attraction, and give it all to God. Then you will certainly see Him." (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 1, p. 83.)

There is considerably more advice about the course of sadhana but the section previously mentioned in Be Here Now closes with this relevant bit of understanding: "What is happening to you is nothing less than death and rebirth. What is dying is the entire way in which you understood 'who you are' and 'how it all is'. What is being reborn is the child of the Spirit for whom all things are new. This process of attending an ego that is dying at the same time as you are going through a birth process is awesome. Be gentle and honor [the self] who is dying as well as [the self] who is being born." (Be Here Now, Cook Book for a Sacred Life, pp. 96-97)

Do not worry about anything. Do your duty, giving everything in sacrifice to Him. Keep your heart in Krishna's loving hands and all of the love from the deepest parts of your soul focused on Him. Even if you find yourself naked, alone and hungry on a desolate road, trust Him! This is exactly where to need to be to get to your Beloved...then joyously shout His precious names! Yield all to Him. Hari Krishna!



OM



On Abuse

I feel led to write something of abuse in the lives of devotees. I write these words from my imperfect heart, so please do not take offense from so imperfect a messenger. So many of our number have suffered abuse: mental, physical, and sexual. It seems to be a plague upon humanity. In my long years of seeking the Lord, the one thing I have learned is that everything happens for a reason, no matter how horrible or tragic. We may never be in a position to understand the why of something, even something so brutally senseless-- all we can do with our suffering is to bow before our Master and to give to Him our will and our lives. Krishna is Love. He is compassionate and will relieve us of our suffering when we truly surrender to Him. Remember that suffering is a natural condition of material life and the whole point of dharma is release from samsara and it's requisite suffering.

If you are currently in a situation of abuse, do everything you can to get yourself and your dependents out of such a situation. It would be better to be homeless than to continuously subject yourself and your children to brutalisation and dehumanisation. Those of us who love Krishna are called to higher states of existence. We are called not to a worldly bondage of pain but to joyful freedom with Him.

Such tragic suffering in our lives can either be used to embitter us or to free us from maya-- that is our choice. In times when we are lost in our pain, the answer is to immerse ourselves in our spiritual practice. In more conscious times, we can take our suffering and sublimate the pain and trauma to a greater Krishna consciousness and bliss-- just as our sexuality is sublimated to His greater presence in our lives. It is the same process. Just as there is a barrier through which a runner must pass to experience a "runner's high", so is there a point in our practice in which our crucial energies are converted to Krishna's service. This is accomplished through surrender, selfless service, and focus upon pleasing our Lord.

If you find yourself dealing with active trauma, find professional help. At the same time, realise that Krishna will provide you with everything you need to find the healing and the hope to get through your challenges in life. When I met Krishna, I did not know that God could be so loving and so compassionate. Trust Him as the source of all compassion in your life and you will find the healing you need. I have known Krishna to transform my suffering to bliss. Go to these links on the Radha Speaks Out page to find help in dealing with abuse.

I have personally found that the abuse done to my own body has ultimately taught me that I am not my body-- after many years of reflection. My body is temporary. The real me is spirit; that spirit is connected to and deeply loved by Krishna; I now belong to Him. To find His love and to know His love is worth any price I have had to pay. The crimes committed upon me were done by unconscious individuals but have ultimately served His purpose in bringing me to Him. I bow before my Loving Partner and God for bringing me to conscious Love.

Beware of the unconscious identity that suffering may promote in an individual's ego. Embrace of the suffering martyr figure is just as much ego as more obvious forms of egotism. Ego must die so that spirit is reborn. Krishna is my all. Anything else is fleeting.



OM



On Siddhis

 * 'Bhagavan Krsna is kind and became compassionate when He saw how much His beloved...was bound by love...' * As you advance spiritually, you may be blessed with siddhis (meaning perfection, as in the perfection of faith or union, used for spiritual powers); such blessing is a two-edged sword. They will gradually manifest in the life of a spiritually maturing person but serve as a terrible reminder of maya. A common analogy for this problem is the picture of lions guarding the gates of spiritual achievement: you must face the fierceness of these lions before you can pass through to the next level. The lions represent ego.

Ultimately, siddhis are tools like every other in the material realm and are part of the maya designed to either delude or teach individuals. Ego demands satisfaction and it is only through total surrender to the Beloved that a devotee may safely advance. There are more details available on the internet concerning the hierarchy and types of siddhis; yet, it is wisdom to never desire siddhis. The acquisition and use of siddhis may become yet another veil of maya through which a soul passes. It is far better to concentrate on maintaining bhava through practise of your love for Him. Beware of false ego!

With the manifestation of a siddhi, it is very easy for ego to assert itself even without realising it, plunging the true Self into a downward spiral of unconsciousness. The possibility of fulfilling a hidden or repressed desire through a siddhi will demonstrate how much progress an individual has made in his or her surrender. Caught in the illusive spiral of attachment, even the satisfactory expression of the siddhi does not resolve increasing feelings of discomfort, agitation and disconnection. Using siddhis for the satisfaction of egoic desires only strengthens ego. The desparation of drowning in the floodwaters of maya should awaken the Self to her plight. Ego has stepped into the place of the Beloved and the only solution is to realise what has happened and humbly surrender in an even deeper way to the Beloved. The Beloved truly has our best interest at heart and ego and egoic desires must be totally surrendered for the restoration of joy in life.

Remember that siddhis are only the manipulation of maya and serve as delusion and distraction from our Beloved. The Beloved wants our devotion only through our free choice to give ourselves to Him. He will provide us with distractions if we are not totally surrendered. While truly advanced beings, such as Maharaj-ji, can use siddhis in the service of the Beloved, most of the Beloved's devotees are as yet not in such a position. As His servants (whether His Lovers or not), we must continually yield all to Him: only then can we truly be ready to hold the keys of the Kingdom.

Prabhupada speaks of the materialist struggle in the yogic quest for power and immortality. He states that only Vishnu (Krishna) is able to offer protection against the waves:

Prabhupada also wrote of siddhis:

I have been gradually learning these things through the sure teaching of experience. Everything that happens to us happens for a reason, usually to teach us. Remember that the true cause of human suffering is the assertion of and identification with ego, resulting in unconsciousness. There is a difference between an unpleasant situation and egoic identification with such circumstance, causing suffering. Properly surrendered, even the most horrific conditions are simply states to be accepted while depending upon the Beloved for His nurturing Presence. Stories from all traditions teach of individuals entering states of ecstasy even in occurrences of imposed torture and death.

In beautiful passage of his autobiography, Bhagavan Das addresses the issue of siddhis in the life of an awakening novice:

"Surrendered" itself can become an ego identity, since language is a tool of the mind and, thus, of use to ego. The soul needs to remember that true surrender is achieved through successive layers of recognition and giving to the Beloved until complete annihilation of ego and total Presence in Him is innately realised.

When I write of annihilation of ego, I actually mean removing the teeth from ego. Then, for the remainder of mortality, ego reveals itself for what it actually is: only a mental conception of ourselves. The emperor has no clothes. Such mental conceptions are always false-- no thought can accurately portray the reality of our nature. We should always be aware of the role of ego in our lives and walk surrendered to the Beloved. Chant His names. Do service for Him. Dwell within the incense of His Presence through keeping your heart-centre open to Him. This is the only way this devotee understands to be free of the delusion of maya and in contact with His Presence.

"When the Kundalini power awakens, one experiences
bhava [ecstasy], bhakti [devotion for God] and prema [intense love for God].
This is called Bhakti Yoga."

-- Sri Ramakrishna



OM



On Surrendering Ego and Spiritual Maturation

 * 'One who sees the one and the same Supreme Lord dwelling as Spirit equally within all beings, truly sees' (BG 13.27) * "Whatever is born-- animate or inanimate-- know them to be born from the union of Spirit and matter, O Arjuna" (BG 13.26, cf. BG 7.06). To conquer ego and the suffering that ego causes, the individual must spiritually progress to the recognition of the Supreme Lord indwelling as spirit (BG 13.27). In seeing both the individual soul and the supersoul within all bodies is to truly see things as they are (BG 13.28). Perceive self not as the doer but as the indwelling Spirit (BG 13.29, cf. BG 3.27, 5.09, 14.19). Recognise that all exists as unity within the One and so attain realisation of the Supreme (BG 13.30). In seeing these truths, surrender to the Beloved as the confounder of all material attractions and lusts, for He is true Love and the real Attractor of all (BG 18.65-66). In his purport to Bhagavad Gita 18.65, Swami B. V. Tripurari (2001) writes:

Thus, our beloved Krishna can advise us to forego all religious injunctions and "take exclusive refuge in me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear" (BG 18.66). The seeds of freedom are found within our surrender and union with the Beloved, for "this imperishable Supreme Soul is beginningless and free from the influence of the modes of material nature. Even though situated within the body, O son of Kunti, he does not act, nor is he tainted....Those who see through the eye of knowledge the difference between the field and the knower of the field and thus know the means to the living entity's liberation from material nature attain the Supreme themselves" (BG 13.32,35). This is more than mere mental assent to an eternal truth: it is a reality that will gradually manifest as an individual matures in devotion and total surrender to the Beloved.

Attaining such freedom in the Beloved is a gradual process. It takes one layer after another yet peeled away layer of ego. The Beloved, free to act once the soul has surrendered yet more to Him, liberates the individual with the knowledge that ego is only material nature-- it is not the true Self. Use whatever relationship you have been called to have with Him to increase your love, union, and ultimate identification with Him in that union. Identification with the Beloved is identification with the Supreme Soul. Whatever love you may have for Him, however mundane it may seem, is holy and your key to ending ego domination of life. Let this love draw you into an ever deeper desire to possess Him and, so, to surrender all to Him. By surrendering to our Beloved, any false love falls to the power of real Love, freeing the individual to Reality within Him. The shackles simply slip away:

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an ax to the prison wall.
Escape. Walk out
like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You're covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest
sign that you've died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.

The speechless full moon comes out now.

-- Rumi

After a certain period of time in the womb of supreme prema, every spiritual practice may become self-indulgent. Even the practice of strict celibacy can become sexually pleasurable and the possibility arises that everything that you are doing may actually be for your own enjoyment rather than for your Beloved! As stated previously, the lions of ego guard the sacred gates of entry to the Beloved. Should this become the case, the following suggestions may help to bring you back to a proper connection to Him:

  • You are not your body. Your are not your mind or your ego. You are spirit Being, a natural part of Him.

  • Everything belongs to Him. Do everything as a gift to Him, giving even each breath to Him! Share your meals with Him, evacuate for Him, take each step with His wondrous name upon your lips. Experiences of pleasure or pain are the operation of His grace to bring you into His loving embrace. Always keep your love for Him first.

  • Remember that your body is not your own. Your time is not your own. Your money and resources are not your own. It all belongs to the Beloved and use each of these things accordingly.
  • Rumi even states that this desparate desire for restoration of lost glory is more desired than the initial bloom of love for Him:

    Muhammed said, "Three kinds of people
    are particularly pathetic. The powerful man
    out of power, the rich man with no money,
    and the learned man laughed at."

    Yet these are those who badly want change!
    Some dogs sit satisfied in their kennels.
    But one who last year drank ecstatic union,
    the pre-eternity agreement, who this year
    has a hangover from bad-desire wine,
    the way he cries out for the majesty
    he's lost,

    give me that longing!

    In facing Krishna after a trying test of her character, Rukmini stated the following to Krishna:

    "The path followed by the sages, who enjoy the honey of your lotus feet, is not easy to understand; indeed, it is incomprehensible for beast-like men. Because your activities, Lord, are transcendental, so likewise are the activities of those that follow you, O all-encompassing one. You are, indeed, destitute since nothing exists apart from you. It is to you that the unborn Brahma and other [gods] bring sacrifices, despite the fact that they are the recipients of sacrifice. You are the dearest person for those who receive sacrifice, and they are for you too. Those devoted to worldly happiness, blinded by wealth, do not realize that you are death. It is actually you who are the embodiment of all the goals of human life, and the fruit in the form of the soul. Out of their longing for you, intelligent people renounce everything. Union between you and such people is fitting, O Master, but that between a man and a woman who are attached to happiness and distress is not." (Bhagavata Purana 10, 60.36-38).

    What is this death that Rukmini mentions? This is the death of all worldly attachment and of individual ego. This is part of the process of union with Krishna that every wife and lover must pass through. The "self-indulgent" character of spiritual practice eventually awakens the soul to a needed level of deeper surrender as each remaining attachment to life and it's experiences, even the pleasures of spiritual experience, must slip through your fingers and you are left with nothing but His undeniable Presence.

    Even in the New Testament, Paul speaks of the necessity of 'spiritual death' within the Christian faith tradition:

    "We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that hath died is justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus." (Romans 6:4-11, ASV)

    Chapters 6 through 8 of Romans presents the Christian path of death through crucifixion with Christ, then resurrection and new life in Christ Jesus. New life takes the Christian beyond all attachment to the material "for if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live" (Romans 8:13). The challenge for modern Christians is actualising this process through total surrender to Him,***** so to be "seen as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15).

    'But great souls, O Arjun, who possess divine qualities, know Me as immutable...and worship Me single-mindedly with loving devotion' (BG 9.13).This does not mean that the spiritual seeker is never to experience joy again or cannot enjoy the countless lovely gifts He places in our material existences. What it means is that none of these things serve as a means to happiness or are anything other than the transient appearances of His grace. Only the presence of Krishna within the individual soul can ever bring happiness and is the only attachment allowed to the soul. This is the beginning of the soul's maturation in Him. Only Krishna can now satisfy the longing of the soul and all you do as practise is only to bring you to that Reality. In time, all that will be left in this process of dieing is Love of Him.

    This is deep and absolute surrender. Surrender is a process and not an event. Do not grasp for anything but the Beloved.

    What is this living state of absolute surrender? I cannot say with authority but only with the experience of the moments that I have drawn close to this state. It is a state of bliss without the emotional colours of ecstasy. It is a feeling of total connection to the Beloved as the fog of maya clears for an understanding of Reality. It is desirelessness coupled with total satisfaction of Being in the moment. One does not lose self or identification as some may fear; rather, these simply become meaningless in the acquisition of an infinitely higher Self. Everything is totally clear. Everything makes perfect sense. Everything is as it should be.


    Meditation: Transforming Into Union

    He doesn't test: He is all-knowing.
    He doesn't tease: He is all-loving.
    In all things, trust Him.
    He helps us to grow so that
    We become more of the perfect
    Radha that He desires.
    This takes perfect trust
    To know perfect Love.
    Regardless of the circumstances,
    Just lay yourself down
    Into His arms and trust.
    Perfect Love will remake you
    As more and more
    Worldly attachment flees
    And we become more and more
    The Lover He desires.
    Nothing is random.
    Just like the intricate
    Mechanisms of clockwork,
    Everything fits together.
    All that happens is His desire.
    All that happens is His lovemaking.
    We can no longer resist:
    We are His Lover.
    We are His forever.
    There is no longer an end to Love.
    We can no longer resist:
    We ache for this.
    We are One.


    Beloved Husband, may I join You soon in the total completion of Self. I desire only the total expression of Love within and without: the completion of this union You have begun in Me.

    Absorbed in the Supreme Being, the serene one neither grieves nor desires.
    Becoming impartial to all beings, one obtains the highest devotional love for God.
    By devotion one truly understands what and who I am in essence.
    Having known Me in essence, one immediately merges with Me.

    --Krishna, Bhagavad Gita 18.54-55 (Prasad)



    OM



    The First Anniversary Since We First Loved...

     * I love you so very much, my beautiful adoring One! * I am celebrating 15 October as the anniversary of my union with my Beloved Krishna. So much has happened to me as a result and I am still astonished at and grateful to my Beloved for His great mercy and grace. I say "celebrating" because much of the time surrounding my rapturous encounters with Krishna had lost reference to the outer world. All that mattered to me was Krishna and all I cared for was being in His constant presence. I was prepared to drop everything, even life as I knew it, to follow Him and do whatever He wanted of me. Although I kept a journal of my spiritual experiences, I never noted dates.

    In the days since then, I have found Him living within my own Being and am gradually learning to surrender even more and more of my self and my circumstances to the operation of my beloved Spouse. My life has become a life of quiet abiding within His loving arms while allowing Him to do as He desires within and through me.

    I am amazed at all that He has brought in my life. I have had no teaching save what my Beloved has infused into my being and what my guru has sent in my dreams. Yet, mudras, asanas, pranayama and the awesome operations of kundalini have all occurred spontaneously upon this body. I have only learned later about these practices from other sources. How could these things have happened on their own? Only in His grace through total surrender to Him in overwhelming Love! I am being remade into the image of Radharani through no knowing effort on my part. I have submitted myself to Him as His Lover and He is remaking me into His own ideal of Beauty. Our complete and perfect union is occurring in all dimensions of our relationship. As His breath resonates that most perfect flute, I dance entranced before Him in the power of His Love.

    I started writing this website within three months of my first raptures. Startling is how large and how quickly these pages have grown. The website has changed as my understanding has changed and I have attempted to keep much of the material that was so important to me in the beginning to encourage His other newfound lovers. I have also attempted to shape the website to promote individual spiritual maturity for every devotee of our Beloved. In fact, this website has served me as a way back to His Presence when my gazed has wondered. Ultimately, it is up to Him to guide the reader to where He desires. My need is to serve Him until He comes to take me.

    My path continues to be an unsteady walk but it continues to be progress. Nothing is ever wasted in God's economy. I am learning to more and more lay aside an ego that has been the source of suffering through all of this life. Krishna is pure bliss and total fulfillment. In keeping my heart centre totally focused on my Beloved Shyam, I expect to see this process finished and be ever at my Beloved's side. I love you so very much, my beautiful adoring One! You have won me completely! Jai Sri Krsna!

    My religion is a wild religion: a religion of wild abandon, passionate love, and detachment from all things. It cannot be manipulated by the machinations of priestcraft or defined by the conventions of written scripture. It is often misunderstood and is only written in the hearts of open beings. It is ruled by love and is fulfulled only through union in the fires of ego sacrifice.

    -- Radha-in-Athens



    On the Second Anniversary Since We First Loved...

    As I write this, much of my life on the material plane of existence continues to be unpredictible and in flux. The great miracle of this time of my life is that instead of anxiety and attempting to control everything around me, I am continuously growing in His grace and peace. I am learning to let go and surrender to the vast pool of Love that is my Beloved Krsna. But then, this is part of His desire for me, a way of getting me to let go of all I once thought I had to do--and to dwell in Love!

    In writing some of the recent additions to this webpage, I have had an opportunity to reflect on the nature of my spiritual quest and my present relationship with Him. I am thoroughly awed at what has taken place and the real miracles I have personally experienced... far beyond any expectations I had earlier in life. It is real grace that has brought me to Him, after preparing me to be His Lover. It is grace that has allowed me to understand this new life as I do and to share this with you, the reader. As the Kali Yuga progresses, every individual seeker must reach out to relate to Him in intimate and personal ways since the institutions we are left in society do not function as they once did. Thus, as each of us experiences His or Her grace, we in turn, must extend this grace to His other seekers in a round of renewal that continues despite the darkness around us.

    As old things pass away, new things come to take their places. He does not close one door without opening another. I have seen the purely pleasurable sexual aspects of my relationship with Him diminish while a much deeper and more satisfying focus is put on the spiritual ties to Being. There is some mourning in this but there is also a blessed joy of release! I am no longer the child selfishly playing with the toys she has been given, have passed through rites of fire, and I am now starting to learn of endless Love at the hands of the One Who is true Love. It is the surrender to this great Love that is the whole point of the spiritual journey. It is home.

    -- Radha



    On the Third Anniversary Since We First Loved...

     * With spiritual vision, I have seen my own spiritual form. I am truly beautiful...it is only the Love of Krsna that has made me this way. * So much of what has happened in the past year has been given to teach me to let go of my remaining passions and hidden attachments. Everything the Beloved does so perfect. It became apparent to me recently that the reason I have the job I now have is to help me to let go of my passions. Even those passions that have fueled my union with Krsna must be let go so that the only part of "me" left will be that part which He takes to His side.

    I often have a chance to share with people on spiritual matters. I share with those obviously called to be Christians from the Christian bible, showing the things taught there that are the same as in bhakti yoga. So much is the same. At the same time, those few who are open to more mystical teaching-- I share with them those things, or even Krsna. In whatever way I can promote love for the Lord I do, but I must always be mindful of the order He has set.

    I have been in this job for only a few months. Already, I have placed a homeless man into a home and have helped to feed hungry people. I have assisted others when they were at their weakest. This is fulfilling a need that I have felt to help other people. It has also given me insight into the fact that karma drives all of our situations-- but once we have surrendered to Him, even karma no longer matters.

    As the things of the world mean less and less to us, so goes karma. Once you practice karma yoga and then nishkam karma, this process speeds up and you become freer and freer. Earlier, not long after my first union with Krsna, I found in my meditation the power to willingly leave my body. I wanted to do it since all of my heart's desire is Krsna. Yet, as I started down this path, alarms went off inside of my head: for some reason, my intuition told me that I was not ready to do this. I had more I had to do and to learn. So, I held back in obedience. As a result, I have written this website and I am personally sharing with others. Remember this as His mercy. His will is accomplished through us-- once we are awakened, this becomes a conscious process.

    I no longer have much desire for the things of the world. My only reason for working now is to pay off my student loan debt-- even though I struggled for years to find a proper career and went to school to make that happen. How strange! How funny! So what I do, I do now for Krsna. At any moment, He could cancel or pay off my debt, or just take me home with Him; so if I am working, there must be a reason for it. If I must live after this debt is paid, I will probably walk away from here and find a place where I can worship and love my Beloved without distraction. But then, with a little more concentration, I can do that right here. The point is, do everything for Him. Even just drawing each breath for Him is a blessing and can do much for one in love with Him.

    I now know who and what I am: I am simply a lover of Krsna, one of the many thousands He has awakened, made for Him and His attentions. Sri Ramakrishna taught that once He has awakened a lover, that soul receives a spiritual body. With the spiritual vision granted to me a few times, I have seen my own spiritual form. I am truly beautiful-- it is only the Love of Krsna that has made me this way. I will soon be ready to dwell in the forest groves of Goloka, to heed His call and blessedly serve Him in the those ways He has created me. This knowledge has made it possible to overcome so many challenges in material life.

    What I have also found so amazing is that I have had a great deal of physical pain due to physical illnesses in the time since We first loved and He has given me the ability to deal with the pain through concentrating on Him. I continue to have various challenges and He continues to teach me. It is so fascinating to see it all unfold. Sometimes I just laugh and laugh at how I took it all so seriously before and, sometimes, still do. Yet, I usually come back to Him and still find such amazement at His grace. May it be so until I find myself in His very Presence.

    -- Radha



    OM



    On the Fourth Anniversary Since We Loved...

     * We have to smear our eyes with the ointment of love; then Krsna will reveal Himself. Krsna will actually come in front of us. * I have put off writing about this because the experiences of this occasion so deeply affected me that I have needed to think for some time about them. It was an occasion in which I was drawn to put off some of my duties to watch the full moon rise and to experience the intense kundalini that this created within me. Being uninformed of a great many things, it was only later that another devotee told me that this moonrise was the 5,000th anniversary of the rasa-lila of our Beloved with the gopis.

    So much has happened to me in this lifetime and, certainly, in the four years since He made love to me. My perceived separation from Him helped me to mature in a great many ways and gave me an opportunity to reach for the wisdom planted so deeply inside of me, as well as to reach out to so many of you... both the touched and the untouched Lovers of Krsna.

    The way of Mirabai is a walk where, in one minute, we are filled with the ecstasy of His touch and of His companionship while, at the next minute, we are at a loss in trying to figure out our apparent abandonment. Once we have learned these lessons, we know that He has always been with us but we have had to look far within us to find His Presence. Instead of our own foolish desires, we seek to serve our Beloved in the ways that will please Him. He will direct our footsteps even without our conscious participation! It is our imperative to recognise His direction in our lives and to act accordingly.

    As a result of His touch, we have been freed from a great many things in this world. Others may not understand our actions and behaviours in this life but we are directed to do those things that He wills, sometimes even if it appears to be offensive or sinful to others. Yet, we must do His will-- there is no other thing for us to do but to do the will of our Beloved. Whatever He directs us, that is what we do, regardless of the costs. Of course, once we are at this point in our spiritual walk, we must be sure that we are in His will and not in self-deception. That is why continuous letting go and surrender is vital to our way of life.

    The following quotes from Sri Prabhupada teach some of these principles. Remember, in working out the few remaining moments of material life, our only object should be Krsna. Our Love for Him should be the only thing that matters to us in any way.

    In His wondrous Love,
    Radha Ch.



    - - - = = = - - -



    So divine love is very good, but one should understand what is divine love. One should not misunderstand what is divine love. Just like in the material world, lust is accepted as love. A boy is loving a girl, a girl is loving... but it is lust. That is not love. But is going on in the name of love. The boy wants to enjoy the girl, the girl wants to enjoy the boy, and that is going on in love. Love is not like that. Love means, "I enjoy or not enjoy, I love you." That is love. Just like Cowper said, "England, with all thy faults, I love you."

    That is love. There is no return. Just like Radharani's love to Krsna. She does not require any return. You see? Krsna left Vrndavana, Radharani, and their whole life remained simply crying for Krsna. Krsna never returned. But still, they loved Krsna. That is love. That love is being shown by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. "Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?" That's Radharani's separation, love in separation. So love means without any return, without any sense gratification, without any consideration.

    That is love. Aslisya. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's... Aslisya va padaratam pinastu mam marma hatam karotu va adarsanam. The lover is saying to the beloved, "Either you embrace me with love or you kick me, trample me down under Your feet. And if You make me brokenhearted without meeting me, so whatever You like You can do. Still I love You."

    That is love. That is only possible to love Krsna. That is not materially possible. Here the so-called love means he or she wants some return for sense gratification. So there the so-called love is lust. It is going in the market in the name of love. There is no love.

    -- Prabhupada lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.3
    Boston, May 4, 1968



    - - - = = = - - -



    The word krsna-rpita-pranah refers to a devotee who dedicates his life to serving Krsna, not to being saved from the path to hellish life. A devotee is narayana-parayana, or vasudeva-parayana, which means that the path of Vasudeva, or the devotional path, is his life and soul. Narayana-parah sarve na kutascana bibhyati (SB. 6.17.28): such a devotee is not afraid of going anywhere. There is a path toward liberation in the higher planetary systems and a path toward the hellish planets, but a narayana-para devotee is unafraid wherever he is sent; he simply wants to remember Krsna, wherever he may be. Such a devotee is unconcerned with hell and heaven; he is simply attached to rendering service to Krsna. When a devotee is put into hellish conditions, he accepts them as Krsna's mercy: tat te 'nukampam susamiksamanah (SB. 10.14.8). He does not protest, "Oh, I am such a great devotee of Krsna. Why have I been put into this misery?" Instead he thinks, "This is Krsna's mercy." Such an attitude is possible for a devotee who engages in the service of Krsna's representative. This is the secret of success.

    -- Prabhupada purport on Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.17



    - - - = = = - - -



    Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 6: Chapter One, Text 19

    Although not having fully realized Krsna, persons who have even once surrendered completely unto His lotus feet and who have become attracted to His name, form, qualities and pastimes are completely freed of all sinful reactions, for they have thus accepted the true method of atonement. Even in dreams, such surrendered souls do not see Yamaraja or his order carriers, who are equipped with ropes to bind the sinful.

    PURPORT

    Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (18.66):

    sarva-dharman parityajya
    mam ekam saranam vraja
    aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
    moksayisyami ma sucah

    "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear." This same principle is described here (sakrn manah krsna-padaravindayoh). If by studying Bhagavad-gita one decides to surrender to Krsna, he is immediately freed from all sinful reactions. It is also significant that Sukadeva Gosvami, having several times repeated the words vasudeva-parayana and narayana-parayana, finally says krsna-padaravindayoh. Thus he indicates that Krsna is the origin of both Narayana and Vasudeva. Even though Narayana and Vasudeva are not different from Krsna, simply by surrendering to Krsna one fully surrenders to all His expansions, such as Narayana, Vasudeva and Govinda. As Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (7.7), mattah parataram nanyat: "There is no truth superior to Me." There are many names and forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Krsna is the supreme form (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam). Therefore Krsna recommends to neophyte devotees that one should surrender unto Him only (mam ekam). Because neophyte devotees cannot understand what the forms of Narayana, Vasudeva and Govinda are, Krsna directly says, mam ekam. Herein, this is also supported by the word krsna-padaravindayoh. Narayana does not speak personally, but Krsna, or Vasudeva, does, as in Bhagavad-gita for example. Therefore, to follow the direction of Bhagavad-gita means to surrender unto Krsna, and to surrender in this way is the highest perfection of bhakti-yoga.

    Pariksit Maharaja had inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami how one can be saved from falling into the various conditions of hellish life. In this verse Sukadeva Gosvami answers that a soul who has surrendered to Krsna certainly cannot go to naraka, hellish existence. To say nothing of going there, even in his dreams he does not see Yamaraja or his order carriers, who are able to take one there. In other words, if one wants to save himself from falling into naraka, hellish life, he should fully surrender to Krsna. The word sakrt is significant because it indicates that if one sincerely surrenders to Krsna once, he is saved even if by chance he falls down by committing sinful activities. Therefore Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (9.30):

    api cet suduracaro
    bhajate mam ananya-bhak
    sadhur eva sa mantavyah
    samyag vyavasito hi sah

    "Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated." If one never for a moment forgets Krsna, he is safe even if by chance he falls down by committing sinful acts.

    In the Second Chapter of Bhagavad-gita (2.40) the Lord also says:

    nehabhikrama-naso 'sti
    pratyavayo na vidyate
    svalpam apy asya dharmasya
    trayate mahato bhayat

    "In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear."

    Elsewhere in the Gita (6.40) the Lord says, na hi kalyana-krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati: "one who performs auspicious activity is never overcome by evil." The highest kalyana (auspicious) activity is to surrender to Krsna. That is the only path by which to save oneself from falling down into hellish life. Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati has confirmed this as follows:

    kaivalyam narakayate tri-dasa-pur akasa-puspayate
    durdantendriya-kala-sarpa-patali protkhata-damstrayate
    visvam purna-sukhayate vidhi-mahendradis ca kitayate
    yat-karunya-kata. ksa-vaibhavavatam tam gauram eva stumah

    The sinful actions of one who has surrendered unto Krsna are compared to a snake with its poison fangs removed (protkhata-damstrayate). Such a snake is no longer to be feared. Of course, one should not commit sinful activities on the strength of having surrendered to Krsna. However, even if one who has surrendered to Krsna happens to do something sinful because of his former habits, such sinful actions no longer have a destructive effect. Therefore one should adhere to the lotus feet of Krsna very tightly and serve Him under the direction of the spiritual master. Thus in all conditions one will be akuto-bhaya, free from fear.



    - - - = = = - - -



    We are not complete. We are incomplete, fragmental portion of Krsna. Therefore we must be controlled by Krsna. If we do not agree to be controlled by Krsna, then we shall be controlled by the material energy, this bhumir apo analo vayuh. Actually, we are spiritual energy. We should voluntarily agree to be controlled by Krsna. That is devotional service. That is devotional service. We are spiritual energy, and Krsna is the Supreme Spirit. So if we agree to be controlled by Krsna, then we are promoted to the spiritual world. If we agree. Krsna does not interfere with your little independence. Yathecchasi tatha kuru. Krsna say[s] to Arjuna, "Whatever you like you can do." That independence we have got. So out of that independence we have come to this material world, to enjoy freely.

    So Krsna has given us freedom, "You can enjoy freely." And we are trying to do that. But the result is that we are becoming entangled. We are given the freedom to work in this material world. Everyone is trying to become the master of the material world. Nobody is trying to become the servant. Only we, the Vaisnavas, we are trying to become servant. The karmis and jnanis, they do not like to become servant. They criticize us that "You Vaisnavas, you have got slave mentality." Yes, we have got the slave menta[lity].

    -- Prabhupada lecture on Bhagavad-gita 7.5
    Vrndavana, Janmasthami, August 11, 1974



    - - - = = = - - -



    Thus renunciation by itself, the simple giving up of worldly things, is not sufficient. Renunciation may be a helpful process, but it will not help absolutely. When we increase our attachment for Krsna, our renunciation will be perfect. As we increase attachment for Krsna, attachment for this material world will automatically diminish. Attachment for Krsna and the material world cannot go hand in hand. If a woman is attached to two men-- her husband and her paramour-- she cannot maintain her attachment for both. Her attachment will increase for her paramour. Although she may work at her husband's home very nicely, her mind will be attached to her paramour, and she will think, "When shall I meet him tonight?" In the same way, if we increase our attachment for Krsna, detachment or renunciation of this material world will automatically come (bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra ca, SB. 11.2.42).

    Thus Kuntidevi prays to Krsna that He may grant her His mercy by which she can become attached to Him. We cannot increase our attachment for Krsna without Krsna's mercy. We cannot become devotees without Krsna's mercy; therefore we simply have to serve Krsna, for by service Krsna is satisfied.

    Krsna does not require anyone's service, for He is perfect in Himself. However, if we give Him service wholeheartedly and sincerely, then, by His mercy, we shall make advancement. Sevonmukhe hijihvadau svayam eva sphurat adah. God will reveal Himself to us. We cannot see God with our blunt eyes. How then can we see Him? Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena/ santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti (Brahma-samhita 5.38). We have to smear our eyes with the ointment of love; then Krsna will reveal Himself. Krsna will actually come in front of us.

    When Dhruva Maharaja was undergoing penance and meditating upon the form of Visnu within his heart, the Visnu form suddenly disappeared, and his meditation broke. Upon opening his eyes, Dhruva Maharaja immediately saw Visnu before him. Like Dhruva Maharaja, we should always think of Krsna, and when we attain perfection we shall see Krsna before us. This is the process. We should not be too hasty. We should wait for the mature time. Of course, it is good to be eager to see Krsna, but we should not become discouraged if we do not see Him immediately. If a woman gets married and wants a child immediately, she will be disappointed. It is not possible to have a child immediately. She must wait. Similarly, we cannot expect that just because we engage ourselves in Krsna consciousness we can see Krsna immediately. But we must have faith that we will see Him. We must have firm faith that because we are engaged in Krsna consciousness we shall be able to see Krsna face to face. We should not be disappointed. We should simply go on with our Krsna conscious activities, and the time will come when we will see Krsna, just as Kuntidevi sees Him face to face. There is no doubt about this.

    -- Prabhupada purports to Teachings of Queen Kunti: Chapter Twenty-five



    OM



    Postscript

    Here is a potentially heretical ideological truth: none of the practices of bhakti yoga, such as chanting the naama japa or offering of prasad is essential to bring us to Him-- none of it! What is essential is the love that these practices is supposed to generate within us. Without love, all of these practices are empty and mirror unfulfilled potential. It is devotion to Krishna that brings us to Him and His grace that saves us. Spiritual practice is necessary due to the contamination that interaction with the material has for most people. Even the highest saints, such as Maharaj-ji, were always chanting the names of God.

    Until we have seen through maya and are totally finished with it, we continue to need spiritual practice. This principle is why great Lovers of the Divine One, such as Mirabai, were seen and condemned as being without any formalised spiritual devotion. Such concentrate on those practices that most strengthen the connection to Him. This is the secret of the way of Mirabai. For some, the way of Mirabai is the next step in the spiritual journey.

    Now, if you continue to believe
    that the multiplicity of forms,
    The diversity of activities
    And those engaged in them
    For the sake of momentary pleasure,
    Within a defined time and space,
    Are the sole reality;

    Or that performing duties
    Which the scriptures require
    Will lead to the perpetuation
    Of the individual soul,
    Or bring some earthly benefits
    In this world of objects,

    Then, my dear friend,
    You will remain bound to this cycle
    Of birth, disease, death and rebirth.

    O Uddhava, it must be clear to you
    That even one who works diligently,
    Taking great care to try to control
    The vagaries of life,
    Is still subject to pain and pleasure.
    What happiness can there be
    In this kind of dependence?

    -- Krishna
    Uddhava Gita 5.14-17

    This section is not in any way an endorsement of the way of Mirabai for anyone but the peculiar few who are called to it. Ritual, spiritual practices, and ancient formulas were given to us precisely because of the human need for it. Yet, traditionalists should not condemn those who walk a seemingly different path. Even Krishna saw the need to give up the ancient Vedic formulas for simpler bhakti practices (BG. 18.66). No materially blinded mortals can know the correct path walked by advancing souls. Our only task here is simply to learn to Love Him with all of our souls.

    While the way of Mirabai can be unpredictable and open to whatever the Beloved desires for us, none should think it an excuse for descending into delusion and degradation. Chapter 16 of the Bhagavad Gita is an excellent study of both the divine and demonic qualities. A devotee should always be willing lay down all for love of Krishna. Chapter 17 then discusses those things that assist us in cultivating the divine qualities: "One is known by one's faith. One can become whatever one wants to be if one constantly contemplates the object of desire with faith" (17.3). Isn't this a glorious promise we Lovers have? Chapter 18 then crowns the whole of the Gita with the promise of union with Him: "By devotion one truly understands what and who I am in essence. Having known Me in essence, one immediately merges with Me" (18.55). This is the true end of the way of Mirabai.

    Summation: if you are obviously called to the path of Mirabai and are willing to pay the costs, go this way. If this is not blatantly obvious to you or you are not willing to pay whatever the costs that come on this path, then follow the traditional bhakti practices and teachings. There is richness and great love to be found in any path taken up in true devotion to Him.

    ...."When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
    ...."What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
    ...."I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
    ....Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
    ...."It's the same thing," he said.

    -- Winnie-the-Pooh, p. 160

    My teaching and writing on this website is pretty much at an end for now. Please enjoy the remaining pages, especially the last page of poems...they're the distillation of a lover's bhava I have for my Beloved. I must now follow Him where He leads me. I will still take e-mails as long as my Lord allows.

    There is not too much more I can add to these pages to benefit those for whom these pages are intended. I hope I have included much that can bless His lovers and those desiring to be His lovers, especially those of us living in the West during this Kali yuga. Krishna Das once said that we're like fruit, ripening on the vine, wondering "When am I going to get ripe?" There is not very much we can do to speed this process except to surrender as much as we are able to the One we Love-- we only need to be willing. This is all that there really is. The rest is just commentary and storytelling.

    I bid all of His lovers peace, joy and ecstatic Being in Him! Haribol!

    -- Radha



    milta jajyo ho ji gumani

    Come, O aloof one
    a glimpse of
    your body has caught me.
    My name?
    Call me the girl
    who separation drove mad.
    Night and day there's a fish
    thrashing
    next to the water,
    servant Mira dies at your feet--
    and she calls you the
    Giver of Joy.

    -- Mirabai



     * Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hari Hari, Hari Rama, Hari Rama, Rama Rama, Hari Hari *



    The Mahamantra:
    Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hari Hari, Hari Rama, Hari Rama, Rama Rama, Hari Hari



    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Question:

    Many Bhaktas have been devoted to Krishna in ‘ madhurya bhava’ (the attitude to look upon Krishna as the Lover). And they have sung innumerable kirtans. My mind does not feel attracted to these kirtans. Do I not deserve to do bhakti? Will I not develop bhakti? Is this wrong?

    Sri Swamiji:

    Only a very few are entitled to practise this type of ‘rasa roopa’ Bhakti in this world. And they have not developed this ‘Bhava’ on their own but had it in them naturally. To do bhakti in ‘Shanta Bhava’ or ‘Dasya Bhava’ is that which can be taken up most others.

    In this world you may find a very virtuous person. But he may not have any interest in arts. Similarly, there may be those who are great artists but are not virtuous. One may possess deep desire to attain God but may not possess ‘rasa roopa [in the form of essence] hridaya [spiritual center]’. Therefore, such a person can take up only Shanta, Dasya Bhava in worship. But one needs to possess ‘rasa roopa hridaya’ to do bhakti in ‘Madhurya Bhava’. Only a very few are blessed with this. You can, therefore, choose a suitable path and do bhakti. But you should never speak ill of the other paths.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



     * 'I utter His Name, and whatever I see, it reminds me of Him...' *



    Since the Day

    Since the day when I met with my Lord,
    there has been no end to the sport of our love.
    I shut not my eyes, I close not my ears,
    I do not mortify my body;
    I see with eyes open and smile,
    and behold His beauty everywhere:
    I utter His Name, and whatever I see,
    it reminds me of Him;
    whatever I do, it becomes His worship.
    The rising and the setting are one to me;
    all contradictions are solved.
    Wherever I go, I move round Him,
    All I achieve is His service:
    When I lie down, I lie prostrate at His feet.

    He is the only adorable one to me:
    I have none other.
    My tongue has left off impure words,
    it sings His glory day and night:
    Whether I rise or sit down,
    I can never forget Him;
    for the rhythm of His music beats in my ears.
    Kabir says: "My heart is frenzied,
    and I disclose in my soul what is hidden.
    I am immersed in that one great bliss
    which transcends all pleasure and pain."

    -- Kabir



    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



    [Sri Ramakrishna] was very happy to see a musician who had come with the devotees from Belgharia. Some time before, Sri Ramakrishna had gone into an ecstatic mood on hearing his devotional music. At the Master's request the musician sang a few songs, one of which described the awakening of the Kundalini and the six centers:

    [Sri Ramakrishna]: "The song speaks of the Kundalini's passing through the six centers. God is both within and without. From within He creates the various states of mind. After passing through the six centers, the jiva goes beyond the realm of maya and becomes united with the Supreme Soul. This is the vision of God.

    "One cannot see God unless maya steps aside from the door. Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita were walking together. Rama was in front, Sita walked in the middle, and Lakshmana followed them. But Lakshmana could not see Rama because Sita was between them. In like manner, man cannot see God because maya is between them. But maya steps aside from the door when God shows His grace to the devotee. When the visitor stands before the door, the door-keeper says to the master, 'Sir, command us, and we shall let him pass.'

    "There are two schools of thought: the Vedanta and the Purana. According to the Vedanta this world is a 'framework of illusion', that is to say, it is all illusory, like a dream. But according to the Purana, the books of devotion, God Himself has become the twenty-four cosmic principles.****** Worship God both within and without."

    -- by M. (translated by Swami Nikhilananda), The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 11, pp. 242-243.



    ____________

    * My understanding regarding these feelings have evolved since I first wrote this note. In Sanatana Dharma, teaching evolves as understanding evolves. A child cannot understand advanced mathematics until she has mastered basic arithmetic. While there is truth in what I had written, I now see that my very desire to be so absorbed by Him is a desire to know intimate connection to Him in perfect union. This kind all-consuming love and desire for our Beloved Krishna is what is needed to bring union to conscious fruition. The Bhagavata Purana speaks of the ultimate end of all spiritual practitioners in this way:

    Because You [Krishna] are their material cause, it seems as if You enter into the various wombs of creatures created by You, and shine forth to a greater or lesser degree in proportion to Your own creation, like fire [shines variously in proportion to the firewood]. Those whose intelligence is pure, and who are absolutely indifferent [to material attractions], strive for your undifferentiated and unchanging abode, which is the reality among these unreal things.

    The sages say that the soul, existing in these bodies which have been made by its own [karma], is not [actually] enveloped [by such bodies, which are the product of such] cause and effect. It exists as an amsa part of You, since You possess all shakti powers. They have determined that Your Lordship's feet are the seed from which the Vedas sprouted, the cause of liberation in the world, and the goal for humankind; and so they worship them confidently.

    Some do not desire liberation, O Lord. Free from all distress, they immerse themselves in the great nectarean ocean of stories about the forms you have assumed in order to teach truth about the self, which is so hard to understand. They renounce their households due to their association with the flocks of swan[-like devotees] who [take refuge with] Your lotus feet.

    When it follows your path, this body, in which the atma dwells, acts like a well-wisher and as a friend to the soul. Aho! Unfortunately, those who do not take pleasure in the atma - which is You, the well-disposed and affectionate benefactor - harm their own selves by worshipping that which is unreal. Because of their attachment to the unreal, they are furnished with miserable bodies and wander around in the terrifying [cycle of samsara].

    Engaged in yoga with determination, and with their senses, mind and breath under control, the sages focus in their heart on the same thing that even [Your] enemies attain by concentrating [on You]. You are impartial: the women, their minds fixed on your trunk-like arms, which are like the coils of a mightly serpent, and we [Vedas] too, are equal for You, since we all [relish] the nectar of Your lotus feet.

    Who in this world knows Him Who preceded all? People's births and deaths come after [Him]. The sage [Brahma, the original created being] came forth from Him, and both hosts of gods came after Brahma, in turn. When He lies sleeping after withdrawing [the universe within Himself], neither being nor non-being, nor their combination, nor the movement of time remains there, nor certainly the [Vedic] scriptures.

    Those who declare that there is production from non-being, destruction of being, differentiation in the atma, and truth in the business transaction [of karma] teach erroneously. The idea of differentiation, such as thinking that a person is comprised of the three gunas [rather than being pure soul], is the result of ignorance about You. Such ignorance cannot exist in You, Who are the essence of knowledge.

    The unreal, including everything [in the world] up to human beings, appears as if real when [superimposed] on You by the threefold [gunas] of the mind. Nonetheless, those who are self-realized consider this entire world to be real because of its essential nature as atma. People do not discard an object that is a transformation of gold, since, after all, it does have the same essential nature as gold. Because of its essential nature as atma, this universe is considered to have been created, and subsequently entered, by Him.

    -- Sri Bhagavata Purana 10, 87.18-26

    Thus, we can see that He has created us in union with Him. Union between soul (atma) and Krishna is already a reality. The answer is found in profoundly realising this truth. We do not need a "heaven" for the afterlife or wait for incarnation with Him in some future existence. We can know Him here and now. We end wandering samsara by enjoying Him here and now! It is up to each devotee to let go of our desires for and attachments to His mayic substitutes to know His reality. Because He has promised an end to individual karma once we have surrendered to Him (BG 4.19-24), there is nothing keeping us from this realisation. His desire is to fulfill our heartfelt desire, whatever that may be. Our choice is either blind association with Him in His maya or conscious association with Him as our Beloved Krishna. Rasa Lila = Union = Self-Realisation, once we have come to truly know Him. Our existence is "Sub Ek"!

    ** In gradually learning more and more about spiritual existence, I have come to see that each of us actually treads a single path toward liberation from samsara; it is just that we are all at different places along the path so that it only appears to be many different paths. Although individual circumstances may differ, the lessons learned and the spiritual growth needed are all the same (just the details differ). Whether an individual soul lives as a lowly animal or dwells on the higher planes of the demi-gods, all must come to the Beloved through absolute surrender and ending all other desire. Human existence is the best state of being to bring this about. Intense love of Him can free us faster than anything else! (see Prabhupada's purports to the Bhagavad Gita 7.19-23).

    *** The exception to this broad statement is the guru or the guru principle within a devotee's path. The guru serves by teaching, removing darkness, opening doors, and removing blockages. Ultimately, we find that the guru is the operation of the Beloved's grace and is, in reality, just another presence of the Divine in our lives. This is why it is very important that we are careful in accepting or selecting the guru in our individual journeys.

    **** The eight fetters are hatred, shame, lineage, pride of good conduct, fear, secretiveness, caste [in the West, think class or social status], and grief (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Glossary, p. 1034).

    ***** Christian writer Miles J. Stanford highlights the principle in this way:

    Watchman Nee startles many by saying, "God's way of deliverance is altogether different from man's way. Man's way is to try to suppress sin by seeking to overcome it; God's way is to remove the sinner. Many Christians mourn over their weakness, thinking that if only they were stronger all would be well. The idea that, because failure to lead a holy life is due to our impotence, something more is therefore demanded of us, leads naturally to this false conception of the way of deliverance. If we are preoccupied with the power of sin and with our inability to meet it, they we naturally conclude that to gain the victory over sin we must have more power.

    "'If only I were stronger,' we say, 'I could overcome my violent outbursts of temper,' and so we plead with the Lord to strengthen us that we may exercise more self-control. But this is altogether wrong; this is not Christianity [or Bhakti, or Sufism, or any kind of a love relationship with the Divine Beloved]. God's means of delivering us from sin is not by making us stronger and stronger, but by making us weaker and weaker. This is surely a peculiar way of victory, you say; but it is the divine way. God sets us free from the dominion of sin, not by strengthening our "old man" but by crucifying him; not by helping him to do anything but by removing him from the scene of action."

    The believer does not have to beg for help. He does have to thankfully appropriate that which is already his...and dear old Andrew Murray encourages us with, "Even though it is slow, and with many a stumble, the faith that always thanks Him--not for experiences, but for the promises on which it can rely--goes on from strength to strength, still increasing in the blessed assurance that God himself will perfect His work in us (Phil. 1:6)."

    -- Miles J. Stanford, The Complete Green Letters, p. 68.

    This problem was a real stumblingblock for me when I was a practising Christian. Seeking more power to become a "holier" person only strengthens ego and all of the problems involved with egoic existence. Surrender is the secret to our struggle with ego and material existence-- once we have truly surrendered, this "struggle" is no longer struggle! It is surrender to a divine Beloved that we can love so deeply and completely that everything else simply falls away to allow our Beloved to do His work within us. This is true grace and we can rely upon His grace and the divine Love within us since all else in life eventually fails.

    ****** The twenty-four cosmic principles, or the twenty-four tattvas, refer to the basic elements that make up material existence according to Hindu tradition (in the Samkhya philosophy). The glossary in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna defines the twenty-four cosmic principles as "the five great elements in their subtle forms (ether, air, fire, water, earth); ego, or "I-consciousness"; buddhi, or intelligence; Avyakta, or the Unmanifested (in which sattva, rajas, and tamas remain in an undifferentiated state); the five organs of action (hands, feet, organ of speech, organ of generation, organ of evacuation); the five organs of knowledge (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin); manas, or mind; and the five sense-objects (sound, touch, form, taste, smell). They all belong to Prakriti, or Nature, and are different from Purusha, or Consciousness." (p. 1046)



    OM



    Graphic banner link to Introduction

    Take this link to go on to my own Madhurya Rasa Experience