Their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus.. BG 2.41
aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus.. BG 2.41
Our aim is one, when our sole target is the supreme intelligence of Srila
Prabhupada. To deviate from his supreme intelligence and to take shelter
of any of the many-branched paths of the Bahu-Sakha of multifarious
philosophies, is to lose our resolute aim and intelligence and lose
everything. As Srila Prabhupada writes in this purport, "the highest
perfection of life is called vyavasayatmika intelligence." My pranams
are to him, our Gurudeva and Jagat-guru of the world.
write this for my own purification, trying to preach to myself and also
trying to engage in the loving exchange of revealing my mind to godbrother/sisters.
Some may like it, and some may not, so hopefully some approval is there
from the Vaisnavas. Srila Prabhupada wanted us to write our realizations
even if they are never published. This is a humble attempt.
pending articles- Fooled again, The Size of God, The Odyssey of the Syamantaka Jewel, Isa’s Dream
* Too late for summer of love (a 60's tale)
* Harinam experience
* Ten or twenty years later
* Two chance meetings
* A world in containment
* Maha borrower
* Giant within
Too late for the summer of love
[a 60's tale]
[maha-realizations in retrospection]
This is an old story about lessons from the material energy. It’s about the futility of finding paradise in the kingdom of Maya - Devi-dhama. Some of you may remember where you were in the summer of 1967?
This is a story from the 60’s, which is valuable for retrospective realizations, therefore worthy for telling. Looking back on it all, we can understand clearly that there’s no garden of Eden in this material world, no permanent paradise or lasting peace, only temporary and illusory oasis’s in the parched hot sands of material existence. We may find a situation that seems nice for a while, but it’s just a mirage in the desert. Forget the summer of love and any revolution of love and peace in this world, for the demons will make sure it never happens. Actually this is the arrangement of Maya, Krishna’s external energy, to always put the sand into the sweet-rice, to always keep that dangling carrot out there barely brushing our fingertips, but always out of reach.
So, it was the summer of 1967, summer of love, when we were young and starry-eyed, and thought we were all part of a brand new world, right there in Kansas. All my friends and I thought we seemed to be in this great revolution of the 60’s. We were going to make the world peaceful and happy, stop war, all that stuff. We tuned into the “strange vibrations, all across the nation.” This “vibration” was the Hare Krishna maha-mantra being chanted coast to coast from Hare Krishna devotees in New York and San Fransico. Scott McKenzie was beckoning us to come to San Francisco with “flowers in our hair.” This was the summer Johnny Rivers sung about, “everybody kept playing Sgt Peppers lonely hearts club band…”
So we had this apartment in Wichita KS, which turned out to be a real “art happening.” All my friends were artists and poets. I and one friend got this old Victorian house apartment, in which all my friends came over and hung paintings on the wall, and we had all our artsy nick-naks on the fireplace mantle and window sills, hanging from strings. We painted the walls red and the ceiling black and we had this huge strobe light and black lights, and hung this snoopy-like model airplane from the ceiling which swung back and forth with the strobe light flashing, very “happening.” We had speakers around the ceiling belting out Hendrix and Cohen and Dylan and Donavan, etc. All this fantastic music was coming out from the west coast and England, and we reveled in sound, and in the light show and artsy spectacle. And so, in retrospect, we saw that it was our kaleidoscope euphoric heaven on earth, [we thought], we were looking for the eternal ecstasy of Krishna consciousness but since we hadn’t contacted the devotees yet, we had to settle for the asat euphoria of the 60’s.
That summer, Allen Ginsberg came to town, it was a happening at a bohemian coffee shop in downtown Wichita. It was then that he wrote his “Wichita vortex” poem. He had a chanting and reading on the University campus, where he chanted Hare Krishna with a harmonium, and then read poetry. Some real cool moments. I also had a short poet career of my own – I wrote a few. There were 2 other poets who called on me, and we drove around town for a while, talking of putting together a book of poems. Shortly after that, I was shocked by two sudden tragedies, one poet, JC, was killed in a car wreck, and the other made a vegetable from a motorcycle accident. The double trama was the end of our brief association, the end of a short career in poetry, for all of us. Retrospect realization? It was a realization then and now, life is fragile and unpredictable. Our poems could not save them.
Still, we were geared up for a summer of love, at least that’s the way we hear it from the pioneers of consciousness expansion out there in California, in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury. Before the revolution, the pastime in Wichita was beer [nothing else to do]. I was sometimes chided by the boys, when they often caught me back home reading Russian literature, [of which I was obsessed with a half dozen Russian writers] while they were debauching at the bohemian bar called “the blackout” [afraid I was getting ahead of them, I guess]. One night someone told me that about 50 people were at the apartment, I went home and saw, it was a spontaneous happening, no invitations, many laying in the grass yard engaging in mind expansion. It was something totally unheard of in KS. But the government did not take kindly to our budding revolution, as our apartment quickly became the first virtual crash pad in KS, and the Feds came and busted everybody, everyone except me and my friend. We thought we might be next, so we hit the road on foot the next day, and hitch-hiked out to CA, first to LA and then to the Haight.
When we got to the Haight, it was a total freakout. We were walking down Haight Street, and I almost bumped into Ravi Shankar, and he was looking around with this aghast expression, looking totally freaked out. It seemed that the upper powers-that-be could not tolerate the summer of love, [love children don’t work hard, don’t go to war] and aid-de-camped the mafia to help spread the use of heavy drugs. All the peace-loving hippies had become meth-monsters, hooked on methadrine, and their long hair spiraled out in all directions, in cork-screw fashion, straight up and out, and all over their heads. They walked like zombies with hepatitis-yellow and vacant eyes. One was sitting on the curb, staring into space. It was an un-nerving, uncanny jolt to our nerves, a truly scary sight for us two fresh mid-western boys from KS. We were ready to get back, “get back to where we once belonged,” back to Kansas, back to mom and apple pie and toto.
Before leaving, we had witness to one last happening, the final night of the Fillmore West, where they had a grand finale of Steppenwolf and CCR and “its a Beautiful Day,” a mesmerizing music and light show. And late at night, it was all over, we had no ride, and we took a long walk back through the scary San Francisco downtown, back to our sleeping spot in the park. The next day, I used my last paycheck to fly us back to KS, back to good old American midwestern sanity.
It was the death of the summer of love and our hippy pipe-dreams, the flower children took a long last toke of poison into their black lungs and the summer died. Over the years, I slowly came into contact with the eternal euphoria, being blessed with some Krishna conscious literature, Srila Prabhupada’s books, and the rest was blissful history. Looking back on it all, such a lesson learned, yet, still so many children will not learn from our tales of the “school of hard knocks,” and they will have to tread the path of “so-called mind expansion” themselves. Some learn from hearing, and some can only learn from the hard lessons of experience. Some won’t learn. But many of us know, we’ve been there, and we met our master and savior. Jai Srila Prabhupada!
A Harinam Experience
was an incredible Harinam experience I had in Denver.
We would regularly go on Harinam in Denver, with Apurva prabhu and
the devotees. One day Madhuvisa came into town. Madhuvisa was known as the
“emperor of sankirtan” in the old days. He and several young gurukulis
were traveling around the USA hitting all the Ratha-yatras in every big
city. Janaka and Nandu were two of the boys that I remember. They were on
their way to LA, and stopped in Denver. And we decided to have a big
Harinam in down town Denver. My daughter, Vrindadevi and her friend,
Devaki, came along for the fun.
the van on the way to town, Madhuvisa gave an inspiring talk on Harinam
Sankirtan. And on the sidewalk, he stopped the party and gave a little
talk. He said that we weren’t meant to be entertainers for the people,
that they had much better entertainers than us. He said that we are only
out there to chant Krishna’s holy name to satisfy Krishna and Him only.
And if we just try to satisfy Krishna, and then the people will
benefit. My daughter told me later that she was inspired by those thoughts,
and it worked for her. Normally, when we first go out on the street to
chant, we are caught up with self awareness, and “I’m the doer”
consciousness. My friend Brajendranandana once told this nicely, he said
that when he first shaved up, and went out on the streets to chant, “his
head felt like it was a balloon, a 100 miles thick.” Then, if we don’t
snap out of this consciousness, then we start thinking our kirtan is
really bad, people don’t like us, and feel self conscious and
talk really worked. We completely forgot our own little selfs, and chanted
in wild abandon. I remember that was one of the most wildest kirtans
I’ve ever been in. The people of Denver would always try to act like
they were ignoring us, but this time you could see their astonishment, and
they couldn’t stop themselves from relishing Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan
movement. My daughter and her friend were dancing around in circles madly.
And the young gurukulis, especially Janak and Nandu, were like
transcendental madmen. At times the boys were just running back and forth
through the crowds as they watched in astonishment. There were moments
when it seemed like everybody on the sidewalk, was Krishna consciousness
and in total bliss.
Ten or Twenty Years After
may have a little insight to share. When I was in LA, it was a very
blissful program there, and it still is, as Gauridas will relate
sometimes. Devotees loved to go to the morning program and the kirtans and
association was really nice. There was this older vaisnava there, named
Bhakta Bob. I say Bob, because that was a long time ago, and I forgot his
name. But, he was a really nice devotee and really sincere about Krishna
consciousness. He was getting ready to go to India, to stay and live
there. He was really into it, as he always talked about
Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. I started to notice that it seemed
that I never saw him around the temple, until later in the day. I knew him
well enough to ask him about it one day. I told him about mangala arotik
and how blissful it was, and how I hoped to see him there. He explained to
me that he understood, but he was really getting on in years, getting
pretty old, and he was having difficulty getting up so early and so on and
so on. But, he told me that he was confident that despite any difficulties
in sadhana, that he was confident that he was going back to godhead in his
next life, because he was always absorbed in Krishna consciousness, and he
loved everything about Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.
never really understood where that was coming from, until I started
getting old, and that’s been happening in the last few years. For some
reason, I am also feeling old and worn out, and sick sometimes, and
especially in this winter freezing cold, it is difficult for me to walk up
to the temple. I stay in the ashram and chant and read (and especially I
nerd out on the computer, will talk about that later), and sometimes I
tend to beat myself up, for not doing what I think I should be doing.
Because I know all the bliss I am missing by not seeing the deities,
although I have some very beautiful Gour-Nitai deities right here in the
some of us are not even near a temple, and some of us are near but cannot
always go, for some reason or another. But, sometimes we are much more
harder on ourselves than Krishna and Srila Prabhupada are. Damaghosa is
right is saying that some of us are shell shocked from so many bad things
happening to us and our kids and the movement over the years, and getting
old, it gets real hard to keep it together sometimes, especially when we
feel we are lacking devotee association. It may be, that I do nerd out on
the puter a little too much sometimes, but this cyber association is often
the best thing that’s happened to many of us.
Mahaksa knows too, he may remember that little thing I wrote a while back
about “imaginary friends.” I think that was the title. We sit at the
box, and there’s nobody there, invisible friends. Sometimes it seems
like “arm-chair philosophy.” Sometimes it seems we need to do more
“physical” service, and this cyber space is all in the mind. But then
again, this world web invention has sparked some of the most intense
sravanam kirtanam sessions in our history of Iskcon vaisnavism, sparking
maha realizations all around the globe. Especially those getting on in
years, who do less of the physical, and more of the writing and mentally
hearing and chanting. Yes, for older Vaisnavas, it is a little bit of
arm-chair philosophy, why not?
As my friend Mahaksa dasa would often humorously say, rambling on, just a bit, so will stop here, and ramble on to something else, ys visokadasa
chance meetings and two rare artifacts
This is a story about a very transcendental day with mother Krishna Prema
dasi and Mother Jahnava dasi, and another transcendental day with my good
godbrother Sriman Bhakta Dasa.
Supersoul works in a most mysterious way. He brings us together at the
uncanniest times, with such sheer perfect timing, it seems. Sometimes we
come together with friends or people we’ve never met before, and it
seems like a great coincidence, and then again, we see it as a higher
intelligence, who is guiding us into such seemingly chance meetings. We
are all puppets in Krishna’s hands. I will tell of a most transcendental
day spent with some amazing devotees, who are special Jayanandanugas.
Devotees are the most wonderful and amazing people on this earth.
Spiritual sanga with such devotees is the summit of our devotional career.
We are always hankering for the association of devotees, and I especially
savor those treasured moments of holy association with dear Jayanandanugas,
those devotees who knew Jayananda, and those who didn’t actually
physically meet him, but who love him by hearing.
I was always talking to Krishna Prema dasi on the Internet about Jayananda,
with emails and IM’s, but had never met her or knew what she looked
like. Then, right before Christmas, I told her that we were going to
Florida, to be with our daughter for Christmas, and maybe we would see her
there. I wasn’t really serious about a meeting. But there was a slight
premonition in the back of the mind. Perhaps we would meet there. I had
this feeling that somehow Krishna Prema dasi and I would somehow meet in
Florida. But I forgot about it until that day.
We got to Florida, and we had not gone to the temple yet, and it was after
lunchtime. We decided to go for lunch prasad.
But we were kind of late, and when we got there, it seemed like it was all
over. But we went around to the back and there was still prasad on the serving table. Just then, a young lady devotee came up
and wanted to serve us. She was serving us prasad, and she was saying how she had traveled like 5 hours to get
to the temple, and how she hardly ever came to the Alachua temple, but
somehow happened to come on this occasion. I put two and two together, and
I got this feeling that this was the person whom I suspected, and I asked
her name, and she said, “Krishna Prema dasi.”
I was flabbergasted. We both gave an exuberant “Haribol.” We went to
take prasadam, and she
introduced Prtha (my wife) and me to a very senior Srila Prabhupada
disciple, Jahnava dasi. We had nice prasadam
and nice conversation and then went to see Jahnava’s home to see her
Radha Krishna deities. We had a very ecstatic kirtan
and I was really blissed out in that kirtan,
as Jahnava led the chanting. After being talked into it, I put some licks
on the mrdanga, though I was
never expert in mrdanga, somehow
the beats were transcendentally right on time. Afterwards, Jahnava dasi
showed me a very rare spiritual artifact, or tadiya,
which is an object in relationship to the Lord or his devotees. It was the
original notebook of Jayananda’s, in which he wrote,
One must approach one
has realized the truth.
we approach one who has not fully realized
truth then what good will that association do?”
is the penultimate succinctly profound message from Jayananda Prabhu. Yes,
the sanga of fully realized devotees is the most valuable thing in this
material world. A moment’s association with Krishna’s pure devotee
cannot compare to all the wealth in Solomon’s coffers. I was blissed out
to come into contact with that association of Jahnava and Krishna Prema
and the holy tadiya artifact of Jayananda.
day, my daughter, Vrnda Dasi, and I went to Madhuvisa Dasa’s house,
which was nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills in California. I never
had a reason to go to his house before, but this time there was some
reason, and we came unannounced. I had no idea that Bhakta Dasa was there,
with Madhuvisa. This was a pleasant surprise for me. We three talked
awhile and the conversation came around to Jayananda. I said how I somehow
always felt like Jayananda was my guru, I suppose like a siksa
guru. Bhakta Dasa said, “Jayananda is everybody’s guru.” I didn’t know then, how prophetic Bhakta Dasa’s words
were. Jayananda was more of a regional hero in California and New York
City at that time. The rest of the devotee world didn’t fully know his
wonderful and glorious story, how he left us a glorious life, vividly
imprinted in the hearts of his godbrothers, written on tablets of fond
memories, with indelible images of golden deeds and sweet words, his
example shining like a lighthouse beacon in a dark stormy sea of Kali.
Bhakta Dasa’s words were prophetic in how Jayananda’s story would be
told by several biographies some day, how the world of devotees would
realize his saintliness, how he would shine as the perfect disciple of
Srila Prabhupada, how he would teach the world by his exemplary
life, how he would be siksa guru
for generations of Krishna bhaktas
into the future.
Then Bhakta Dasa did something very special, he had a fragment of Lord
Chaitanya’s original gumpsa,
or garment, of which he procured a small fragment from the Radha Raman
Temple in Vrindavan India. All paraphernalia and clothing of the Lord is
non-different from the Lord, and so Bhakta Dasa took me and Vrnda inside
the house, to the altar, where the garment fragment was gorgeously set
within a frame, and he touched the garment prasad
of the Lord to both our heads, and we felt great bliss.
Oh, how great is the spiritual potency of holy tadiya
or garments of the Lord, or tadiya
articles used by his dear servitors, as the Caitanya-caritamrta says in
Devi, the most exalted system of worship
the worship of Lord Visnu.
than that is the worship of tadiya,
anything belonging to Visnu.”
These are some of the past articles-
World in Containment