Call and Response Special Edition – Conversations With KD April 23, 2020
Taking time to look back and move forward. Conversations With KD episodes are derived from the recordings of KD’s online events from his home during the 2020/ 2021 days of social distancing and quarantine from the onset of COVID and beyond.
Q: Please put some light on how to overpower negative thoughts and anxiety, especially during meditation.
“If you’re meditating, you’re not supposed to be trying to overpower anything. You notice what’s going on and you come back to your mantra or your focus of attention. Where does it say you’re supposed to fight with your thoughts? That’s a misconception. That’s a struggle. Meditation is not a struggle. You just keep coming back again and again, again and again. And you’re training yourself to release those thoughts once you notice.” – Krishna Das
So, that was a half an hour, a half an hour that we didn’t spend as the target of our own obsessive thinking, of our own negative emotions, of our fears, our anxieties, and in the situation that we’re in now, that stuff is bouncing off the walls all day long. So, when we add a practice to our lives, it gives us something to focus on and without recognizing it even, we’ve released so much of those clouds of stuff that are surrounding us in our day.
It’s not necessary to try to manipulate yourself, to have one particular type of experience while you’re chanting. The main idea is to remember to pay attention, to listen, to hear, to allow the chant to flow over you and to allow yourself to flow into it.
This is not a philosophical situation. We don’t have to learn about the name. We don’t have to know all the incredible things that they say about the name, that yogis and saints have been talking about for thousands of years. Not necessary. What’s necessary is to repeat it, to remember, to bring the name to mind, to use the breath, to sing it, to use the breath to say it, to use the awareness to pay attention. Add that to our lives. That’s what we need to do.
And it becomes so obvious in this kind of a situation. This is forced retreat for us. So, we’re faced with all our stuff. So, the need to do practice becomes very strong. So, take this time to cultivate this practice. Do it, do it a few times a day, just for five minutes or whatever, 10 minutes, whatever. Keep coming back to it during the day. When you notice the chat going on in your head, spend a minute with it.
They say that there’s a place within us that these names are always being repeated, are always flowing. And the more you pay attention to the chant and the name, the more you hear that in your mind as the day goes on. You’ll be busy doing something and all of a sudden, there it is. You might actually just notice it, and not even notice that you notice it and then you’re busy with something else. It’s very… the reason it’s such a subtle practice, because even though we think we are doing this, you and me, we think we’re sitting down to sing or do Japa or mantra meditation. We think that we’re doing that, but in reality, it’s the name that’s repeating us. The name goes on repeating us from the inside, moving out, outward, outward, and purifying our hearts as it moves through us.
So, at least that’s what they say.
Q: Are there any religions that teach God is one with you with one or do they all teach God is separate and above?
No, none of the Eastern, so-called Eastern religions teach the God is separate and above us. They, there are some, some religious philosophies that, even in India, that say that you don’t want to merge with God. You want to stay separate to enjoy the bliss of union. If you merge, they say, then you, you don’t have that. But I don’t know if that’s true.
So, no, it’s just the opposite, actually. Western religions usually say that because Western religions, Western culture is based on the ego, on the belief that each one of us is a separate being from all other beings. Our selves are separate. And the Eastern religions, so-called mystical religions teach that yes, on one level, it appears that we’re separate, but when you see reality, you recognize, as my guru used to say, “Sab Ek.” All one, all, one. Many names, many forms, all one.
So, yeah. And mystical Christianity also goes in that direction too. All the so-called mystical aspects of religion talk about merging with God, which is the indwelling presence. Antarayaami, the indwelling presence. It isn’t out there. What’s out there? There’s nothing out there. It looks like there is. That’s what they call illusion.
The mind, the awareness, lights up stuff. Without the awareness, no stuff. And the karmas of each one of us is what creates all the stuff that we see when our awareness lights it up. Like the sun lights up the trees in the morning as it rises.
So, it’s the indwelling presence, which has manifested everywhere because it is everywhere.
Q: I can sing mantra along with me much easier than I can sing it on my own, repeating after you. Can you talk about that?
Me too. I can sing mantra along with me better than I can when I’m singing it by myself. These are just the habits of mind, the habits of thought, the vasanas, the tendencies of the mind to be caught up with the habitual way of, of living and of seeing things.
And it’s tamas. It’s tamasya. And it means, it means the inertia. To really turn within, you have to kind of, you automatically, you’re letting go of stuff. And there’s an inertia involved with that. So, when you, when you sit, do the practice, but don’t feel that you have to push all those thoughts away. Even the thought that, “Oh, this is hard you know, by singing by myself like this it’s hard.”
Is that a thought or a feeling, or is it? Yes. Let it go and come back. You’re getting stuck there thinking that that’s important. And even though it might seem to be the way it is in the moment, if you let go of it, where was it? It’s gone.
So, but that comes from our thinking that we have to feel a particular way, that we’re doing this practice and it’s like pushing a bliss button. And if we don’t get the bliss, if we’re not finding the button, we’re doing it wrong. That’s not the case. You can’t do it wrong. Just the doing it is such a big thing. Just be aware of all your stuff. Don’t try. Do the practice, live your life. Do the practice. Live your life. Don’t judge yourself. That’s the program that’s running. You’re judging. You’re evaluating. With no judging, no evaluating, what’s the problem? You won’t find a problem.
So, you’re getting caught in, in identifying with those programs that are running. Let them go again, a million times a second. Just keep letting them go. It doesn’t matter. Letting go is what matters, not what you think about it, not how you evaluate it.
Q: When you first started chanting, were you particularly attracted to particular deities or chants? Did they affect you differently? Has this changed as your practice matured?
Thanks for thinking my practice matured.
Who knows? I was first, one of the first beings that I was very attracted to was Kali, Ma Kali, after I read Sri Rama Krishna’s Gospel of Ramakrishna. He used to sing the Kali and it was amazing. So, I was very attracted to that whole feeling, that whole being able to sing, to chant and feel love and all that. So, one time I was sitting with Maharajji, I think it was just me and him. And I had been practicing this bhajan, this Mira bhajan, this song by Mirabai, this famous, devotee of Krishna, a mystic devotee. So, I started to sing it for him and my tears were coming down my cheeks and I was singing it to him and I finished and I opened my eyes. I looked at him and he goes, “Why are you crying?”
And I went, Oh, I’m crying because I always wanted to be somebody who sang and cried tears of love. And there I was, I finally did it. Next.
Q: How can we get our egos on board with surrender so they remain loyal servants? Or is the ego inherently fearful and deceptive? I don’t know how to detach from my ego without cutting it off.
You can’t cut it off. You can’t detach from it. It’ll never serve your soul because it’s not supposed to. It’s not even real. It’s only a collection of thoughts that we identify with. There is no such thing as ego. There’s something we call ego, but it actually doesn’t exist.
Sri Ramana Maharshi, one of the great saints of the last generation, He said, “Asking the mind to kill the mind or the ego to kill the ego is like asking the policemen, the thief to be the policeman.” He said, “There’ll be a lot of investigation, but no arrest will ever be made.”
So do your practice. Don’t think about it so much. It’s all ego down here. It’s all ego. We’re all on this shore. The other shore is enlightenment. First, we have to get to the boat. So, don’t, don’t, don’t worry about it. It’s not that big a deal. Everything is ego here, everything. Everything we do in our lives, almost everything has some motivation. It’s either based on greed or fear or pride or shame or selfish desires. All our motivations revolve around those kinds of things. That’s the way it is here. That’s what life is, this life, in this world, at this time, for most of us. By adding a practice to our lives, we’re adding another vector, another vibration you could even say, that doesn’t come from our stuff. The name doesn’t come from ego. It doesn’t come from a separate self. These names, these practices, and these names were brought to this world by beings who had totally transcended the illusion of self, who recognized reality, became one with the universe and said, here, try this. So, it didn’t come from our egos, our small “s” selves. Yeah.
Q: Do I feel the physical vibrations in spirals every time you build up a chant enough, or are those vibes just the part of opening up, accepting more and reduce over time?
I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. I just sing. I don’t know what happens. There’s nobody in here planning like, “okay, I’ll speed up now.”
It just feels to go there. If you think that I know what I’m doing, other than squeezing this little box and pushing a button on the tabla machine, you’re dreaming. But I can do this pretty good cause I’ve been practicing for 50 years. So, I’m starting to get a clue as to what it might be about. The evenings just flow. They have their own flow. I’m not flowing it.
Q: Do I have a fear of death?
Well, I don’t know.
Q: Did you feel the shift after Ram Dass’s passing? an experience that altered your understanding of life?
I don’t feel like Ram Dass really went anywhere. I don’t, it’s, it’s kinda difficult to see his body now. It doesn’t seem to be available, but his presence is very strong. That’s not something new for me. My Guru left his body in ‘73, supposedly, and I feel him all the time. So, what I’m more afraid of the suffering, I suppose, pain. That’s probably what I’m more afraid of. I don’t know about death. I don’t really know what to expect. So, I feel that it’d be harder, the suffering that one might experience when one gets sick and is dying, that might not be fun, but spiritual practice is what you would do anyway to develop the ability to have a good death, a death that wasn’t constricted by fear and clinging to life.
You want to be able to let go if that’s what’s going to happen. And at some point, it’s going to happen and we’re not going to have much of a choice at that point, except to let go. So, spiritual practice is the best way to live and the best way to die. A wonderful book by Ram Dass Mirabai Bush is “Walking Each Other Home.”
“Walking Each Other Home,” check it out. Fantastic
Q: How important is it that you can sing well if you want to lead kirtan?
Why do you want to lead kirtan? Answer that question to yourself first, then we’ll talk about the rest.
Q: Have you met Sri Anandamayi Ma?
Yes. I met her many times in India in the old days. She had a an ashram down the block from where Maharajji’s ashram was in Vrindavan. When he threw us out, we would go to her place, visit and have Darshan. And then we’d come back to Maharajji. He’d say, “You went to see Ma? Did she feed you? No, I feed you.”
They knew each other very well. Very well. Mr. Tiwari had been with Maharajji the first time that they met in this life, and they kind of looked at each other and just laughed, like “that’s you now? Oh my God.”
Q: Which Ramayana do I prefer?
Well, the version of the Ramayana that I’m closest to is Tulasi Das’s Ramayana. And Tulasi Das was a Saint, I think, in the 16th century, the 1600s, maybe 1700s. I’m not sure. And at that time the Brahmins, the pundits were the only ones who could tell the stories because they were the only ones who spoke Sanskrit and the original Valmiki Ramayana which was the first version of the Ramayana, was in Sanskrit.
So they say Tulasi Das was reincarnation of Valmiki, and he retold the story in the vernacular language at the time, a dialect of Hindi called Avadhi, which is supposed to be the dialect spoken in Ayodhya, Ram’s kingdom in the time of Ram. And it’s all beautiful poetry and it’s very open and loving and Ram Dass gave me a copy of this when I first met him, before I went to India, and reading it was extraordinary. It rewired my brain because the story will be going along like this, and then all of a sudden something will happen and it’ll go into a complete explosion of love and go on, and it was just unbelievable, and then come back to the story and move along.
And it’s the kind of love we don’t have the wiring for in the West. It’s not romantic love. It’s not needy love. It’s not business love. It’s what the heart feels when it senses who it is, when the heart finally feels itself, as it is, it explodes with love, it flows with love.
So that’s what this book is about. It’s about the love that lives within us. And it tells a story of Rama, Hanuman, Sita Ram and yeah, it’ll rewire your brain and open up channels in you that you didn’t know existed.
Q: Please share your thoughts about overcoming food addictions, particularly coffee and sugar.
Now the sugar, no sugar. I use Monk Fruit. Lakanto. Monk Fruit is from a Chinese fruit. It’s just as sweet as sugar. No, no Glycaemic index at all. Diabetics can use it perfectly. It’s good for cooking. Good for coffee. So yeah. No, you shouldn’t drink coffee. Yeah. Yeah.
Be happy. Don’t worry about it. Do what’s healthy for you if you can. Those kinds of addictions aren’t that serious.
Q: There’s a question here, did Maharajji say if Ramakrishna was an incarnation of God?
I’m trying to remember. There was one time where somebody quoted Ramakrishna, I think it was, to Maharajji and Maharajji said, “I don’t follow Ramakrishna. I follow Christ.” So, what can I tell you?
But obviously he was a great being, I wouldn’t know, one way or the other,
Q: Do you think we have to pray or ask for something to God? Or have we been, already been given everything? In that case, we just have to give thanks. Sometimes I feel that pray or ask is a paradox.
It just depends how you feel about things, really. On one hand they say, God knows everything, supposedly. There’s no reason to ask for anything. It all comes to you. What you have and what’s going to come to you is what should come. What doesn’t come was not going to come. Well. I used to argue with Mr. Tiwari about this. We used to argue vociferously. We used to scream at each other about spiritual things.
So, I don’t know, I was having some problem and he said, “No, pray to Maharajji. Ask Maharajji to help.” Because he did that all the time. And he was a great Yogi.
And I said to him, I said to him, “No, I don’t want to ask, I don’t have to want, I don’t want to have to ask him for things.”
And then Mr. Tiwari just with me, “Are you happy?”
And the answer was no, I was not happy. And yet I wasn’t letting myself,… you know, it just depends how your devotion is. Some people feel comfortable in not asking. They have peace with that. Some people are at peace with asking. Either way, it has to be with, you have to pray or not pray the way that you feel is, is, is, is a natural for you, that makes you happy. I don’t think there’s any particular one way that’s right or wrong.
Q: Did Maharajji know Bhagavan Nityananda? Did I meet Muktananda? What will happen when all our current masters leave the body?
Everything leaves the body. Nothing’s going to happen. It’s going to keep going on. 50 years ago, these current masters weren’t in bodies, there were other masters. They might be the same beings in other bodies.
This is not a relevant question. I mean, the main question is then how are you going to deal with your life right now? That’s what’s important.
So, on our way to India, me and Danny, and Rameshwar Das, we were in London waiting for a cheap flight to India, and Baba Muktananda had just come to London from India on his way to America for the first time. And I had had some experience with him previously while I was in America, from a picture of his. So, I had written to the ashram about it in India and they said, “Well, he’s coming to America in the fall. Go see him then.”
But I had left America before that. So, he happened to be in London while we were passing through. So, we went to see him. And we walked into this room, somebody’s house in London, and he looked up and he said, these boys aren’t English. Come here.”
So, we came in and he had us sit down and he asked us to come meditate with him in the morning, like at six in the morning or something crazy like that, you know? So, we had no money. We had, we walked from the other side of London to this house. It took us about three hours. So, then we went home, we walked home. We laid down for a couple of hours. And then we walked back to the house and we walked in at like four or five or six in the morning. And we were ushered up to the bedroom and he was sitting like, naked on the bed with, maybe he had a langoti on, but he was covered with ashes and was sitting on the bed.
Whoa. It was powerful. I went “Whoa” like this.
So, he said, sit down, meditate. So, he gave us a mantra to sit with it. And sometime while we’re meditating, he got up and he went over, came over to each of us, I think. And he stuck his fingers in my eyes. He pushed really hard. I thought he was going to pop my eyeballs out. And then he made this thing on the top of my head like that. Then after some time, it was time to go. And then I think he left for America shortly after that. We only saw him those two times, but he said to us, “Since you’re flying to Bombay, why don’t you go spend a week at my ashram before you go to your Guru?”
He said he knew Maharajji and we should go rest for a while at his place.
So, we did. We flew into Mumbai. And then we took a bus out to Ganeshpuri, and we spent a beautiful week there.
So, one afternoon, I was in this little kuthi that they gave us to stay in up on the Hill. There was nothing there, a small, one little room, one little building and some small kuthis. And I was reading the Gospel of Ramakrishna, actually, no Ramakrishna and his Disciples by Christopher Isherwood. Great book.
So, I was reading the part where Ramakrishna takes his foot, and he puts it on Vivekananda’s chest and Vivekananda starts to go into samadhi and then freaks out and pulls back and stops. Right? And Ramakrishna just laughed. So, I’m reading that point, “and he put his foot on the chest” and just at that moment, I kind of swooned and the book dropped from my hands, and I was lying on the bed, and my eyes went up, like where he pushed my eyes, and then I went out the top of my head up into the sky, into the, into space. And I was flying through space. I was going like, wow. And I see the stars and the planets. It was amazing. And then I thought to myself, did I take acid? And then I started to crash. I came down.
So, Baba Muktananda’s Guru, Swami Nityananda, his place was just down the road. So, we used to go there and meditate and everything. When we got to, on our first Darshan with Maharaji when we came up North, finally, as we pranammed to him the first time, a picture of Nityananda fell out of Danny’s book and Maharajji said, “What’s that? Let me see.”
So, he took the picture of Nityananda and said, “Oh, he was a good sadhu, a good sadhu.”
For Maharaji, that means he’s God on earth. You know, when he said someone was a good sadhu or a great sadhu or a real Yogi, that means he’s really something. So, he knew Nityananda that way, anyway. I don’t think they ever met.
Q: I’m curious. What do I think of Zen Buddhism? Has anything from that tradition influenced you?
Oh, a lot. I used to sit, a lot of Zen sitting, before I went to India. One of the three books, I had read three books about this stuff in the old days, before meeting Ram Dass and learning more about India. One was “The Gospel of Ramakrishna,” one was “Autobiography of a Yogi,”and one was “Zen and Japanese Culture” by TT Suzuki. And I was very, very into, into Zen Buddhism and samurai warriors and stuff like that because they were all, there were many spiritual aspects of that. And I had a friend named Fred who used to go to the Zen center in San Francisco and when I visited him, we used to go and sit there. He was like a little Buddha. I remember we came out of the Zen center and were waiting at the corner to cross the street, and when one of those city buses came by spewing diesel fumes, right? And Fred just went…. “Ahhhhh.” He was out there.
But I love Zen Buddhism. I love, you know, I have a lot of Buddhist teachers and I love Buddhist practice and philosophy and I find it very helpful for cutting through bullshit. Very helpful. Very helpful for seeing things clearly seeing your motivations and seeing where you’re caught.
Q: Please put some light on how to overpower negative thoughts and anxiety, especially during meditation.
If you’re meditating, you’re not supposed to be trying to overpower anything. You notice what’s going on and you come back to your mantra or your focus of attention. Where does it say you’re supposed to fight with your thoughts? That’s a misconception. That’s a struggle. Meditation is not a struggle. You just keep coming back again and again, again and again. And you’re training yourself to release those thoughts once you notice. And in fact, this question is after the fact.
Okay, you’re meditating and you’ve got all this stuff going on. Do you know that it’s going on? Yes. So, if you know it’s going on, then you’re not stuck in it anymore. You’ve already come back. And now you’re judging yourself for being stupid and being caught. That’s just more stuff. Let go. You keep letting go. You keep letting go. And that Letting Go muscle continues to function during the day. That’s when those, that’s when you’re full of shit and you don’t know it. When you sit down to meditate, that’s when you realize how out of it we are, how, how completely on automatic, living in dreamland, that we are all the time. The rest of the time, we don’t know it because we’re gone. When you notice, then you’re not gone. Then you let go. You’ve already let go. But then, you’re adding the extra little whiplash to it, the, the other, you know, punch, gut punch, where you’re judging yourself and evaluating, blah, blah, blah, blah. You got to let go of that, too. Meditation means doing the practice, letting go. When you notice that you’re not paying attention, you’re already back.
Don’t stop in the middle and start judging yourself because then you’re not letting go of that. Keep letting go. Things change over time.
Q: Raghu Markus always asks his guests what led them to a spiritual path…
Now we’re quoting Raghu Markus, my very dear friend and Guru brother. I don’t know. When did I start searching?
You know, there was a part of me, looking back, that never fit in where I was, never fit in my family. I didn’t know who my parents were. I mean, it was crazy. I couldn’t relate to anybody. I couldn’t relate to the people in school. I learned how to show them and give them what I knew they wanted from me. But there was always that part of me that was trying to find something real. That was just always there. And I think most of us have that, but we, we push it down. We bury it because it’s hard to deal with. It’s hard to, once we take responsibility for recognizing that life as we’re living it is not enough, then we have to find a way to change. We have to find a way to live in a way that works for us. So that’s a big, a really big thing.
Q: How can I get deeper in my spiritual experiences? Yesterday I felt myself leave earth, but it was not long at all before I came back.
Where do you want to go? And why? Experiences come, experiences go. That’s not the end all and be all, these experiences. The experiencer is the one that is real. The awareness within us is our true nature. That doesn’t come and go. That’s always there, no matter what the experience is. You think it was great that you left earth? I think it’s not so great.
Big deal. So you went, you came back. So, that’s going to happen a billion times. You never can go somewhere else because you’re here. You might have a state of mind where you become not aware of yourself in a certain way, but there’s awareness there as well. Otherwise, you would have no experience.
Just be here. Learn to be a good human being. What’s so bad about earth? There’s nothing bad about earth. All the uneasy stuff about earth is within us. Learn how to become a human being, a good human being. Practice developing compassion and kindness for yourself and others. Then you won’t have to waste time going anywhere else and coming back. Up and down, up and down, up and down. That’s not going to stop. Anywhere you go, you have to come back. Might as well be here. Might as well stay at home, especially if there’s TV.
Q: How to overcome suicidal thoughts and overcome the fear of failure?
Once again, just the word “overcome” has a desperateness about it, right? It’s just thoughts. It’s just feelings. They come and they go. There are reasons they come and go. They don’t come out of nowhere, but when you’re here with them, you have the option to release them. But sometimes it’s like trying to push a cloud away. You can’t really push it away, but if you’re just at ease within that cloud, then you’re okay with it. So, thoughts of suicide and despair and fear, we all have that. And especially at a time like this, and it’s not just us, the whole world is in a crazy space. So, even if we feel that, we think it’s only my fault, this is only my stuff, and we judge ourselves for having it, but no. We’re absorbing it. It’s everywhere all the time, now. So much fear, so much anxiety and with good cause really, but still, when it comes down to our inner experience, we can always practice letting go. We can always practice noticing how we judge ourselves for having those feelings.
Ultimately, we have to just slow down, slow down, slow down, and anywhere that you feel you can get help with those kinds of very painful dark feelings, you should try. Counseling, therapy, antidepressants, anything that you need to do to help yourself, you should try. There’s no, there’s no reason not to.
Someone once asked the Dalai Lama about painkillers. “When you’re dying and you’re in terrible pain, is it bad to take painkillers?” they said.
And he said, “No, no.” He said the part of you that reincarnates is not affected by the painkillers in any way. So, there’s no reason to suffer for it for no reason.
So, if you need, if you need antidepressants and anti-anxiety to get through the day and live at ease, there’s no nothing wrong with that. And it might not be forever. It might just be a short period of time, but those are things that you need to speak to a specialist about. And it’s not a bad thing in any way. Do what you have to do to get through the night, whatever you have to do. And that’s what it comes down to.
Q: How do you reconcile Buddhism ideas about how there is no God, you are empty, there’s nothing, and so on?
That’s a complete misunderstanding of Buddhist philosophy. It’s not like that.
Inside that philosophy, certain terms are used just like inside of Hindu, so-called Vedic philosophy, certain terms are used. They’re all describing the same thing from a different angle. So, don’t worry about that stuff. It’s not like that. It’s not like that at all. All one. All one. We’re here. We’re all part of one being. There’s many ways to describe that. Many paths to the same place. Don’t worry about that stuff. Just calm your ass down. Do some practice, whatever it is.
Q: If, if I could go back in time, is there anything I would like to say or ask Maharajji?
Yeah, there is, but that’s for me. Thank you. I would just say “Don’t send me away!”
Q: Do you do yoga at all? It doesn’t look like it was your important to your Guru. It could help to live better until we die.
Yeah. One of the things Mahrajji said with about Asana practice, he said, “Don’t do headstands.”
He told us not do headstands unless you’re eating a very pure sattvic diet. He said the impurities in the food will go into your brain. But he never said not to do Asana practice. For us, it basically fell away when we got there. We were home, you know, we were exactly where we wanted to be. And we also felt we would never leave. And we didn’t meditate. We didn’t do asanas. We sang. We chanted, we chanted to him. We chanted on our own. That was the expression of being home and happy within his presence, in that love.
So, I do asanas. Yeah, because I’m old and I can’t get out of bed in the morning. So, I definitely have to do some Asana practice, pranayama and those things. Those are good for the body, very good for the body, and they have the ability to clean some of the inner channels, the inner winds. There’s a lot of very subtle things about pranayam and practice. Most people aren’t aware of all that. Basically, it’s just glorified exercise for most people, but it does calm your ass down a bit, which is a good thing. So, you can do.
Q: How can one cut down on compulsive behavior and exert some will or let the divine will exert itself?
There’s two ways to go. The way of surrender and the way of… bhakti or jnana, so to speak, surrender and wisdom. If you’re on the path of surrender, then it’s not your problem. The problem belongs to your guru or your, your divine, your deity. If you really surrender, which nobody has, almost nobody, surrender is actually the goal. It’s the path and the goal.
So, Hhere’s where it Ramana Maharshi says: “Surrender to him or her and abide by his will, whether he appears or vanishes, await his pleasure. If you ask him to do as you please… ‘remove this for me to take this away, take this compulsive behavior’… If you ask him to do as you, please, then it’s not surrender, but a command to him.
You cannot have him obey you and yet think that you have surrendered. He knows what is best and when and how to do it. Leave everything to him. His is the burden. You no longer have any cares. All your cares are his. Such is surrender. This is Bhakti. Or inquire to whom these questions arise. Who is having this compulsive behavior? Who can’t stop eating this or that and drinking coffee, and maybe doing worse things to oneself? Dive deep into the heart and remain as the self.
One of these two ways is open to the aspirant. Neither way is easy. Both ways take serious commitment and serious practice.”
So, compulsive and obsessive behaviors can be very destructive to ourselves, but even so, we can do practice. We can add that to our lives and that can’t help but help us. That’s got to help us as time goes on. Once again, using your personal will to try to overcome very destructive behaviors is very, very difficult.
We all need help. AA is great for those kinds of things, because you get into a group and you start talking and sharing your weaknesses with people and you kind of get a feeling. You see everybody’s got the same problems.
So, there’s no quick answer to that. There’s no ready, no button to push to make it all okay. This is your life. This is what you’re dealing with. If you’re on the path of devotion, you try to offer it to the guru, offer it to God and try your best to keep releasing again and again. You can’t just stop that stuff. There’s a reason we do those things to ourselves and without uncovering some of those reasons and releasing some of that negativity, it’s very hard to change those behaviors, very hard, but what else are you going to do? Except try and try everything you can, every way, every path, every teacher, every method. Do whatever you feel is going to help you. Commit to doing that. Commit to trying to solve that issue.
There’s so much judging ourselves for falling in the hole again, you know. It happens. We’re like that. So, there’s all kinds of stuff. It’s the stuff we do and then the stories we tell ourselves about the stuff we do, piling the shit on. Very difficult stuff. Five minutes a day, do some practice. In that five minutes you won’t be hurting yourself. So that’s good. That’s not nothing.
Oh, Journey to Enlightenment. This is a book about, someone’s asking about this book. It’s a book about a great Tibetan Rinpoche Saint, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a fantastic book written by Matthew Ricard, a Frenchman who became a great disciple of his, of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. There’s even a movie called Brilliant Moon. Brilliant Moon by Matthew Ricard. It’s a movie and a book. Very good.
That’s what I read. I love to read the stories of the saints, biographies, autobiographies, to see how they move through their lives, what they did, how they dealt with people, how they manifested. That’s the stuff that I love the most to read.
That last reading, it’s from the teachings of Ramana Maharshi. I don’t know exactly where it’s from. Oh yes, I do. It’s from a book called Padamalai , which is by a disciple of Ramana Maharshi named Muruganar and it’s on page 20.
Q: What’s the connection between Hanuman and Green Tara?
Well, I don’t really know, however, some of the Lamas that I’ve spoken with and Tibetan practitioners have told me that they feel… Bob Thurman, for instance, he, he feels that Hanuman is a form of Chenrezig Avalokiteshvara, Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion. And of course, Tara is also a manifestation or an embodiment of that, is that same being and another form of that same bodhisattva of compassion, a female form. But there’s a lot more about this. There’s 21 different aspects of Tara and I don’t really know them all because it’s not my, what I’m immersed in most of the time.
The thing about, “do I do yoga at all, it doesn’t look like it was important to my Guru…” You know, Maharajji didn’t teach like that so much. Like he never told us to do practice for the sake of our own spiritual advancement, so to speak. When we asked him, how do we find God? He said, “serve people.” When we asked him, how do you raise Kundalini?
He said, “feed people.”
So, he was bypassing this whole egocentric, “I’m gonna find my way to enlightenment” kind of thing, because neurosis can take over so quickly with our practice. It’s ridiculous. You start competing with yourself and judging yourself and evaluating, “how am I doing? Well, yesterday was a great meditation today really sucks, I can’t do anything.”
Ego, all ego, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. He didn’t encourage that. He didn’t not encourage it, but he didn’t encourage it. He said, “don’t think of yourself.”
When I was going to kill myself. He said, “You can’t die. Worldly people don’t die. Only Jesus died the real death.”
Because why? Because he never thought of himself. He never. In that being there was no “me” anymore. The planet of me had been dissolved and there was only God, only one, only love, only truth, only reality.
Somebody wanted me to tell the story about Dada, Maharajji’s disciplee, Dada Mukherjee.
Dada was an incredible being. He was a communist economics professor. In India, Communism, it’s more of an economic philosophy. It’s not really the same as in China and Russia. It was different than that. And he was really just immersed in Maharajji so much. It was incredible. So, in 1989, we came to Allahabad to stay at the Khumba Mela at a sadhu’s camp, a yogi’s camp, and we got there early so we could spend some time with Maharajji, ah, sorry, with Dada at his house, Dada’s house.
So, after a few days, that Baba sent one of his disciples to lead us to the camp because there were 20 million people and it would be hard to find it if we didn’t know where it was. So, this youngish, younger sadhu walks into the house so full of himself. It was horrible. And he was disrespectful to Dada, who was his elder. And, you know, he was just radiating bullshit. And Dada thought this was the Baba that we were going to see. So, he, he was like, he grabbed my arm and he took me into Maharajji’s room and he closed the door behind me, behind us. And he goes over to this cabinet… old kind of aluminum cabinet and he reaches down underneath and gets a key. He unlocks the cabinet, he opens the doors, he reaches down on the back shelf, way in the back and he pulls out something wrapped in this funky, old, dusty newspaper. Right? And he looks at me and he unwraps it. And it’s this cheap aluminum water pot, lota, kind of rusty and dusty. He holds it and he looks at me.
He says, “Krishna Das, do you see, do you see?” And I said, “No Dada. I don’t see.”
“Do you see, do you see?”
And now I’m beginning to freak out a little bit. I said, “No Dada. I don’t see.”
He said, “This is what Maharajji left for me the last time he was here at the house, before he left the body. This, he left this, he left this, do you see?”
I said, no.
He said, “You don’t have to shine,” and then folded up the paper again, put it on the bottom shelf, locked the cabinet, closed the cabinet, locked it, put the key back there and left me standing there.
You don’t have to shine.
How much of our life do we spend trying to shine, either in someone else’s eyes or our own eyes? We spend so much time shining up this meat puppet, trying to attract things we want things, we think we need, trying to get healthy, to avoid being sick, even. So much time shining ourselves up.