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.
Call and Response Special Edition Conversations With KD August 15 2020
“Maharajji said, “Repeat the name, whether you feel good, bad, whether you have devotion or not, whether you’re tired, whether you’re angry, keep repeating the name.”
The Name will save you. It’s not your feelings that will save you. It’s the Name that will save you. There’s a big difference, and we don’t even know what that difference is because we are what we are, but Maharajji, when he was leaving the temple for the last time, he said, “I only know two things, ‘Ra’ and ‘Ma.’”
Those two syllables can wipe the destiny from your forehead. This is what we’re talking about. You’re talking about becoming liberated from suffering, free of our ideas about who we think we are, finding out who and what we really are…” – Krishna Das
I have a question. The question is, I have heard Ram Dass a lot of times, and you spoke about karma, you know, most of your calls, and last time when I had a conversation with you, you said, “You have some karma with your sister and your mother,” and we spoke about your picture, with your mother’s picture on the past Chai and Chat.
My sister and I had karma with my mother. That’s what I said.
Yeah. So, I want to ask you, you said you want to clear this from your heart and everything, so how do we, is it like any family we are born in, we have karma with them? And if it is so, how do we clear this family karma from our heart?
Everything that’s in this moment as a result of our karmas. Everything. This moment through the computer, that’s also a result of our karmas. It’s an effect of the causes that created this moment. So, parents are a very big thing. They imprint us with their stuff, which is also their karma stuff, and they provide us with a form, a physical form, an emotional form also, with which we go through our lives. Most people just accept that and don’t even think about it and then they just live their life the way they live their life, but if we’re on the spiritual path, it becomes obvious that our programming, so to speak, needs some tuning up, that there some fault in the code, in the programming code. We need to clean it up somehow, and that means we need to learn to accept it and love it. That’s the only way karma is released: when we no longer react negatively, so to speak, when we break, when our attachment, our identification with ourselves as a person or as a, as an ego that was programmed this way by that person.
So, you know, it’s not as if our parents do anything to us, necessarily. They’re just being themselves, and we take everything personally and we develop a personality around that. Even if our parents have left the body, we’re still here, and we’re actually made up of their bodies and we’re still carrying their programming with us.
So, if we want to be able to love everyone, that includes our parents and it includes ourself. So, but because our parents are so basic to the way we feel about ourselves, and our parents and our upbringing and all the things that happen to us, we need to forgive and release the negative responses and negative reactions that we have in our own heart about it all, and that takes a conscious effort.
But like Maharajji said, through the repetition of the name, everything is achieved. Through the repetition of the name, you will have a deeper awareness of yourself. You won’t be so attached to your reactions. You won’t be so attached to your stories that you tell yourself about yourself, that you don’t like, or the stories you tell about yourself about other people, also.
So, the whole answer to everything is to do as much practice as you can, without pushing it, without getting tense, and to recognize that practice is what enables us to find happiness, to touch the place within us that is already just fine the way it is, but that’s covered up by our emotionality and our programming. So, it’s through the practice, spiritual practice, that we move more deeply into our self, and that allows us to release the energy that’s tied up with those negative emotions.
So, whatever practice you do, you don’t try to manipulate your feelings. You do the practice. “I have to forgive my mother. I have to do 10 million mantras.” It’s not going to work like that. You do your practice and you allow the practice to dissolve the inner turmoils and the inner attachments, and that, the practice gives us the strength to face things into different way and to move through our day in a different way, just by itself. We don’t have to help it. We are the problem. So, the practice dissolves the so-called “ego,” and reveals the beauty and the love that’s within us, but you don’t have to hold on to that because that’s who you are. So, it includes everything in your life and things that were there and that aren’t there now, like your parents may be gone or not, but it includes them too, because they’re inside of you. So, as you soften your heart and release the powerful attachments that we have, we become more loving, naturally, because that’s who we are, naturally.
Sometimes, you have to work on it a little bit with a little direction, like, you know, you can bring your parents to your mind, and you can be in love with them, allow them into your heart. It might be hard for some people because they had very angry parents, damaged parents, hostile parents, violent parents, all kinds of things. So, it’s maybe difficult. So that’s why you don’t have to try too hard, but you have to manifest that love yourself and then include other people in it as best you can. And when you can’t, it’s not their problem. It’s your problem. It’s your issues, not their issues. They’ve done their work already, whatever it was good, bad or indifferent. Now it’s up to us to see them as souls, like Ram Dass used to say, rather than “roles.” And that’s our work. When we see ourself as a soul, we’ll see everybody as soul. So, it’s all, it all works together. The work you do inside changes the way the outside appears to you. And that goes for anything, any part of life. It’s all the same.
Last time, when I asked you a question about my sister you said, “You know, it’s your heart. Don’t try to rush towards her. Just love the part of you which is not able to connect to her and it will be fine.”
And I have spoken to you twice before this call, and on both the calls, you said, “Okay, go check this book.”
What book was that?
The first book you said, about Ramana Maharashi, and the second book, you said about Shirdi Sai Baba and Naneshwar. So, I got those books and I want to thank you again because my sister, she’s a doctor. She was struggling to have, she wanted to have her own clinic for 13 years. Just me getting these books and reading a few pages of it she said, “Just come over at my place.”
And I went there. I don’t know how it worked out now. She got her own place she’s owning, and she’s having her own clinic. It never happened in 13 years. It happened for the first time. Thank you so much for it, and is there any book you would suggest me to read to soften my heart more? I do Hanuman Chalisa and Stavan every morning and every night. I sing along with you.
Good. Good. Read the book of your own heart. Okay?
Okay. Thank you.
Q: Hi. I’m from Mumbai. I also had a question about my parents. I read a lot of Meher Baba, and I have been following him for awile, but my parents don’t understand anything about this and they oppose it a lot. I have a few friends. When I’m with them, everything is very smooth because they are at the same conscious level and they understand what I’m doing and what they are trying to do, it goes like a hundred times faster when I’m with then. But at home, when I’m around my parents, it’s even a hundred times more difficult to keep my sanity around them. I don’t know. I just wanted to know if there is something that I can do.
There’s no shortcuts. There’s no way to speed anything up or slow anything down. You have to work on your own reactions by trying to calm your mind and calm your heart. It takes time and regular practice over time to become comfortable in yourself, regardless of what’s going on outside of you. It just takes time. This is not a game. This is real life. So, there’s no quick button to push to make it all okay. You have to commit yourself to wanting to grow and wanting to not be judgmental about other people and not be judgmental about yourself, but that’s not easy to do. So, one must start with calming the mind down. One should do some, could do some japa, some quiet breath meditation every day, just to get into the habit of letting go of everything and relaxing. That’s the main thing one can do.
Yeah, I am. It’s ok. I don’t mind that they don’t understand it. But it’s just like, when I want to do something, even if I want to read his books or something, they don’t accept this and they start reacting in some ways, and start doing things…
Don’t you know how to hide things from your parents? You have to be sneaky. They don’t have to know everything. And if they’re going to, you know, you can always have a discussion with them.
“So why don’t you want me to do this? What’s the problem?”
Ask them what they think. Include them in the process and then explain to them why it’s important to you. It’s called “communication.” I know it’s a very radical idea, talking to your parents. So, it may be hard. I know it’s sometimes very very difficult, but it’s good work because it also, you have to become sincere and you have to become confident in yourself and you can’t be defensive and judgmental and angry and all the things we are most of the time.
So, it’s very useful to try to talk to them. Ultimately, you’re going to make your own mind up anyway. There’s really nothing they can do except yell and scream. So, if that’s what they want to do, fine. You let them do it. What can you do? They probably won’t stop feeding you and they probably won’t kick you out of the house, but you never know. But you have to express yourself and communicate, and don’t just hide, but you also don’t have to push anything on them. But if they bring it up and they say, “Why are you reading this stuff?” You say, “Because it brings me peace. It helps me be better in the world. It helps me feel better as a person. Why don’t you like it?” Not angry, like, “Why don’t you like it?!” But, “I don’t understand why you don’t like this.”
So, but you know, Indian families. Oh my God.
So that’s all, you know, but don’t push anything. If they’re just going to be reactive, then just try to be quiet about it and simple about it, and you know, they don’t have to know everything about what’s inside of you. But you can love them. They only love you. They’re only trying in their way to protect you and do the right thing for you. Their motivation is not to hurt you but to help you, but you may have your own ideas. You’re allowed to do that, although in Indian families it is very difficult. But you do the best you can. That’s all you can do. Okay?
All right. Good luck.
I started chanting some 10 years ago and my first draw was, I heard Hare Krishna on a Pandora station I had made, and I just kind of allowed myself to really listen to it and I discovered that it made me feel happy. I didn’t know why, but it’s just, “I like this. This is nice.”
And soon after that I found you and I started chanting with you and I had a couple of heart opening experiences. Just, you know, suddenly I find myself crying and just for no real reason whatsoever, but I felt that was my kind of opening to Maharajji, so I appreciate that.
My question is, to go back to feelings, especially during chanting, now I’ve heard you say quite often, and you said it again today, that no matter how you feel, whether you feel tired, whether you feel upset, whether you feel good, that you should continue your practice and chant every day, and I understand that and I appreciate that. But one thing is, for me, the feeling of, and I believe this is correct with what I’ve learned, is bhav, this feeling of devotion or a feeling of warmth in the heart. And I kind of connect with that. I’m not sure if this is what it is, but I connect to it, beause sometimes when I’m chanting and my mind takes me away somewhere and I come back to the chant and give myself to it, it feels kind of like the sun has come out from behind a cloud and it’s a kind of a warm feeling. It’s a centering feeling, and I tend to cultivate that or I kind of look for that feeling. I don’t push it and I don’t feel bad if it doesn’t happen, but that’s a feeling that I like to cultivate when I’m chanting, and sometimes when I’m out and about and I see other people, that same kind of feeling comes and then I can be more light and open and loving towards other people.
So, my question is basically, what do you have to say about that? That kind of cultivation of bhav?
It’s all good, but you don’t want to be holding onto it because it is not ultimate reality. It’s a nice feeling. It’s a good, positive feeling. It can come from lots of things, a release of tension, maybe, you know, it even makes you feel good. Letting go of some fear or something makes you feel good.
When I talk about things that arise in chanting, and I say, I don’t mean to push them away and reject them, but not to be attached to them. If they’re there, they’re there. If they’re not there, they’re not there. That’s why Maharajji just said to keep chanting. It’s not important, what you feel, necessarily. It’s not unimportant, but it’s not the thing. Yes. It’s great to feel that loving, wonderful feeling. But what if you don’t feel that? Should you go kill yourself or just go back and go, “Okay. Maybe I’ll try tomorrow. I’ll go watch tv.”
No, you’re trying to cultivate a deeper awareness. You’re trying to move more deeply into your being where feelings will come and go. All feelings. If you hang on to a pleasant feeling, that means you try to push away an unpleasant feeling. It’s the same mechanism. You like one thing. You don’t like another thing. Okay. You can enjoy that. And it’s a great thing. It’s so nice. You feel, “Ah, I’ve got it now. I’m in the right place.”
What do you do when you don’t feel that? You can still repeat the name. That’s the point. Whether you feel it or you don’t feel it or you feel this or you don’t feel that, you keep repeating the name. Because if you can let go of something, not push away… This is a really big point and maybe it’s misunderstood. There’s no reason to push any feeling away, ultimately. It just means letting go of it and coming back to the name. And even when you come back to the name, the feeling might still be there but you’re not feeling it the same way. You’re not holding onto it. You’re not identified with it, which is essentially the direction that we need to be going.
You like this because it makes you feel good. Who are you? You don’t know. So, through the repetition of the name, you will know, and it won’t have anything to do with what you think, the person you think you are who’s feeling that when it happens.
So, it’s an evolutionary technique. You just keep chanting and you might go through like, a desert feeling for a long time. You might have no positive feelings or pleasant feeling. So, you’ll try to manipulate your emotions and look at the right pictures and put the right incense and the right candles and the right music on, and even if you succeed in getting a little hit, it won’t last, but that’s okay. It’s not supposed to last. You’re not supposed to be able to get water from a stone. Water is water. Stones are stones. When you let a stone be a stone and water be water, you don’t get broken hands trying to squeeze it.
So, accept what comes. But if you’re practicing, I mean, in the rest of the day, you might feel good, fine, but when you’re in those, the more concentrated moments of practice, you try to remember to remember the name and not be distracted by pleasant or unpleasant feelings. That doesn’t mean you push them away. You don’t have to push them away. They will not last by themselves. You simply come back to the name and be with the name as much as you can.
This practice takes time and commitment and dedication. This is not a hobby. This is our lives. This is trying to get this life to a place where we become good human beings and care about not only ourselves, but other people. We’re not so obsessed with, “What am I feeling now? What am I feeling now? What have I got now? What don’t I have now?”
Those kinds of thoughts have to go eventually. You can’t push that stuff away because it’s like trying to push a wave away. It doesn’t work. It crashes over you anyway. So why not allow it to, and then it dissipates. That’s what it means to stay with the name as something comes over you and, or as you finally realize you’ve been dreaming about something and the name comes back and brings you out of it again.
So, it’s a practice. It’s a practice. It’s all good and enjoy the good feelings, but don’t try to push away the unhappy feelings. You’ll see the mechanism at work.
Yeah. I don’t try to push away the negative and I definitely do like to feel good, but it’s not so much the feeling good. It feels kind of like a, it’s just like when you sit down to meditate, it’s helpful to take a few deep breaths and relax the body.
I’ll try to remember that.
That’s what I do. So, I take a few Ujjayi breaths and it really relaxes me and it kind of acts as a portal to the meditation, and that’s kind of how this feeling is. It’s not that I’m grabbing onto it and I want to feel it all the time, but when it’s there, it seems to act as a kind of portal to the heart and it tends to kind of open the heart and that’s what I’m kind of asking about. Is that cultivating that opening something to even attempt?
Let’s put it this way. I don’t even know what you mean by “cultivating that opening.” You mean holding onto that feeling? What do you mean by cultivating?
Deepening into it. Feeling it more.
How? What do you mean? Get a shovel? Bang yourself over the head? I don’t understand. What are you talking about?
I’m bringing my attention to it and you know, it helps to get into the chant more.
No. You bring the attention to the name. Bringing attention to it is being obsessed by it, attached to it. Enjoy it. It’ll be there for awhile. It may go away. You stay with the name. That’s the practice, repetition of the name.
Maharajji said, “Repeat the name, whether you feel good, bad, whether you have devotion or not, whether you’re tired, whether you’re angry, keep repeating the name.”
The Name will save you. It’s not your feelings that will save you. It’s the name that will save you. There’s a big difference. And we don’t even know what that difference is because we are what we are, but Maharajji, when he was leaving the temple for the last time, he said, “I only know two things, Ra and Ma.”
Those two syllables can wipe the destiny from your forehead. This is what we’re talking about. You’re talking about becoming liberated from suffering, free of our ideas about who we think we are, finding out who and what we really are, but on the other hand, that being said, work with what you’ve got. See what, you know, get into it. It’s an experiment. Life is, you know, what works and what doesn’t work? Only you know from the inside. And no matter what I say, it was still comes down to how you’re feeling when you’re doing these things and what you feel is going to be good for you. You have those feelings, so you’ve got to go with them, whatever they are and see what happens. That’s how you learn.
So, the more aware you are, the more you’re paying attention, the more you can actually see where you’re clinging, where you’re not clinging. That’s why the default motion is back to the name. Anything else is something else. So, see what it is and see if it includes the name or whatever, you know. It’s your life. Live it.
Good. That makes a lot of sense. Thank you. Ram Ram.
Q: So, my first question is about Guru Bhakti.
You know, when the guru is working on you. So how to be as dumb as, you know, anyone could be, so as to, you know, receive the bliss, the grace and everything.
When the Guru is working on you, it’s not up to you to do anything. The Guru is doing it all. He’s pulling all the strings of your puppet from way above. We can’t see that. We make up a whole story about our lives, but it has nothing to do with reality. Once the Guru takes your hand, he’s leading you all the time. It’s not up to you to even understand, just to follow the best you can, whatever you can do.
I’ll read you something here, you know. This is from Ramana Maharshi, right?
“What is guru Kripa? What is the grace of the Guru? How does it lead to self-realization?” Ramana Maharshi says, “The Guru is the Self.”
Right away. Forget about it being somebody else. Forget about it being somebody outside of you, telling you what to do. It’s your own true self, already. That’s the guru. That’s who and what the guru is. He’s not in a body. Even if you think it’s in somebody, some “body,” that’s not what the Guru knows. The Guru knows that he or she is you, your true self, not who you think you are. That’s your nonsense. So, that’s the main thing.
“The Guru is both inside and outside. From the outside, He gives a push to the mind to turn it inward. From the inside, He pulls the mind towards the self and helps in quieting the mind. That is the grace of the guru. There is no difference between God, Guru and self.”
Because we don’t know what our true self is. We only know our stories and our emotions and our thoughts. So, what we can try to do is try to turn within and move more deeply within to ourself and like Maharajji always said, “Through the repetition of the names, everything is accomplished.” What more do you want to know?
The concept is quite… it’s the truth. It’s the absolute truth, but right now, the state I am, you know, the mind, it’s right now, you know, will start…
Do some Japa and shut up!
Yeah, I do. I do it every day. That’s why it comes. But that moment?
No, no. When you’re doing, when you finally start to do some practice, that’s when you see what your mind always has been doing. It’s not like it got worse. You’re finally seeing the way things are. So, you have to just have patience and keep doing your practice regularly and over time, the thoughts will recede over time. But if you’re in a hurry, that’s just another thought, another feeling, another emotion. Let it go and come back to the name. This is the practice. There’s no shortcut. I don’t know, there’s just no shortcut. There’s no sense looking for one. It’s your life. Every moment of the day is your life. So do some practice, as much practice as you can without getting tight and weird about it. Like, “I’m doing so much practice,” or “I have to do more practice.” Whatever bullshit story you tell yourself, let it go and do some practice every day and be a good person. The rest of the day look at people, see people, give them space to be themselves, do the best you can to not cause suffering and not to hurt yourself or others and do your practice. That’s the way it goes. There’s nothing more to discuss about it.
This is what that one time, when you know, asked Maharajji, you know, when he asked you, “Okay, Krishna Das, what do you want in life?”
I’m still waiting.
You kept yourself completely prepared. “I’ll give this answer.” You know, so times like these, you know, I just want to know that one moment when it all started, when you completely gave up and, you know, you got yourself surrendered, that one instance.
I haven’t surrendered. What are you talking about? It hasn’t happened yet. I have not surrendered. I still think I’m me. I think I’m still just another schmuck on the street doing what I’m doing. There’s no difference. I’m not better or worse than anybody else. Surrender has not happened yet. And when I said to Maharajji, he says, “What do you want?”
And I say, “I want Prema Bhakti,” which is the state of ecstatic devotional…
He said, “Abhi Nai. Not now. Baadamen (later).”
So, I’m waiting for Baadamen. Right now, it’s not so great, but it’s ok. I’m waiting for Baadamen. It hasn’t happened yet. But it will happen.
Only if you would know how many lives you have changed, you know?
That’s for him to know, not for me to know. I’m just being me. I don’t know anything.
So don’t be in a hurry. Don’t look for one moment. It’s not one moment. That moment happened 40 billion years ago when you were first a soul, and all this, many thousands and thousands and thousands of lifetimes working to get back to God. This is just another one. So, you do the best you can. Don’t be in a hurry. There’s nowhere to go. Why are you rushing? Guru is the Self. Japa is the name of the self. That’s all you have to do. And treat people well.
One last question. I just wanted to know if it, if I’m not entering your private space, I just want to know that, you know, what is the daily schedule like, you know? Like you have constantly the repetition of the name going on?
I don’t have anything special going on. When I remember, I sing. When I remember, I repeat the name, but I don’t know how much that is. It’s not very much. Really, I’m nothing special, but by Maharajji’s grace, when I open my mouth, he sings. That’s all. That has nothing to do with me. That’s his grace. I can’t take credit for that, and yet at the same time, I can’t pretend it doesn’t happen, but I don’t have anything to do with it. I don’t know how to explain it to you. I can’t take it personally. It’s not because I’m so great. It’s actually probably because I’m so horrible that he was able to, his grace shows up. I’m not doing that. I’m just like you. I’m just another schmuck in the street, but he’s not. So, when that grace comes, we all feel it. I also feel it. So, the more I sing, the better it feels, but that’s his grace, not my grace.
Q: Hi Krishna Das. How are you?
So, I have a practical question. I just, I got this mala maybe a month ago, and it’s got this great little picture of Maharajji on it.
Yeah, I see.
I love it. I love it. My grandkids, they play with it all the time. I was raised Catholic, so I worked with the rosary when I was a kid up until I gave up Catholicism. Is there a certain way? I saw something where it said, “Don’t touch it with your pointer finger,” and then I saw the Dalai Lama touching it with his pointing finger and…
Yeah. Well, in the conservative Hindu way, you never touch it with your pointer finger. You go like this.
Do you wear it around your neck. Do you take it off when you do it?
Yeah, you don’t, I don’t wear mine around my neck. I keep my Mala separate. I keep it by the puja. I don’t show it off to other people. It’s nobody’s business.
I don’t really show it off, but I find it very comforting to just kind of have it.
Then you wear it.
Like this, at the edge of the fingers. See this?
Oh, like the tips.
Yeah. Like that.
Oh man, I have arthritis. I think these beads…
That’s good. So do it like the Dalai Lama, like this.
Is that ok?
And then they also said to go, somebody said, “Go all the way around.”
That’s true. You go all the way around, up to the guru bead, and then you turn around and go all the way back, up to the guru bead, then you turn around and go all the way back. You don’t cross over the guru bead.
I want to be going backwards by doing it wrong, but it seems like that the universe wouldn’t really care if it was well intentioned.
Yeah, we’re already going backwards. When we do Japa, we’re going forwards.
I find it very comforting to have pictures of Babaji all over the house. So, I’ll just be doing something in a bad mood, in a good mood, and I’ll see a picture and it’ll, that’s such a great way to remember.
Well, the funny part is you think you’re remembering. Actually, he’s remembering you.
Well, the funny thing is I came across the Be Here Now and I was in college in 1973. I never connected with Maharajji until a few years ago, even though he was in that book, and I know that’s part of the plan, but it cracks me up that he didn’t register on my radar. It was all about Ram Dass. That’s interesting that it took all of these years for me to look at his picture and think, “Wait a minute.”
Yeah. Well, when I first met Ram Dass, I also felt it was Ram Dass, because there he is, right there. Right? But after about a year and a half of hanging out with him, it became clear that it was Maharajji coming through him. But then we’re talking about, who is Maharajji and who’s Ram Dass? You know, they’re both the same being, and you’re also that same being.
So, it’s just a question of what we’re ready to see at any particular time. That’s all.
The other thing is, when you see photographs of Maharajji and I screenshot a lot of them. I’d love to make a picture book. There’s so many pictures.
His eyes are often sort of obscured and blurry, and I’m wondering if that’s because of his realization, that you couldn’t capture the actual light in his eyes.
No, actually he was always kinda like squinting like that, you know, because he was seeing this world, but he was also seeing many other worlds at the same time. So, he was always kind of like half here and half gone in some other world.
Yeah. I wondered about that. Do you think if he looked at you with this full eye, he would like incinerate you if you weren’t ready?
Well, actually, definitely. I mean, let’s put it this way: he was in full control of what everyone that he was connected to is experiencing, whether you were in front of him, whether you’re in another town or another country, maybe even another planet. I don’t know. But he was, he said, “I have the keys to the mind.”
So, whatever you’re experiencing is where he wants you to be, what you’re experiencing. But that doesn’t mean you don’t do your practices. You do your practice, and you try to remember to remember.
Well, one thing is awesome, and like you said, I just gave up, from you saying it. I just chant, it doesn’t matter what mood I’m in. And it’s interesting to see how the mood can color the chant, but just chant. Like my granddaughter said to me the other day, because I play in the car all the time, they don’t object. The adults, I don’t play it in front of adults, but she says, “Yati, why do you keep singing the same thing over and over? Don’t you get sick of it?”
Well, the first time I sang in Los Angeles, I did a big thing in Los Angeles, it was part of an Indian concert, a bunch of Indian musicians, and they asked me to open the concert, and so I did, and the next day there was a review in the LA Times, and it said, “And the concert was opened by this guy, Krishna Das, who kind of looks like a dentist,” you know, “and he kept repeating the same stuff over and over again, you know, but it was okay.”
And I thought, “This guy,” you know?
Yeah, repetition is the key. It’s like preparing a landing pad on earth.
That’s really true. What you’re saying is so true, and I’ve only been doing it for a couple years, and I look back at things that I reacted to in the ways, of course, you know, a million, million years, a million steps to go, but it has definitely over time, changing the way you react to the world. So, I can attest. Just like you said, you don’t have to believe it. You don’t have to be all, just do it.
Right. Absolutely. You got it.
Thank you so much.
Ram Ram. Take care.
Hi. My mom is about to leave her body in a few days, and she’s been ill for about two months. It’s been pretty fast. We’re far away from each other. We’re in different countries, and I was trying with my family to get back to her, but it wasn’t happening. It seems very clear, even though it was not what I wanted. I wanted to sit with her physically. I wanted to be with her in this time, and to really just be present with her as she comes into the end of her life, in this body and into her death. And that’s what I really wanted, and it just, because of borders, and the virus, and deep family issues that are coming up where she is at home, it’s just not happened, and so I’m far away physically. We’ve been together virtually, and for the past four or five weeks had, have had this extraordinary connection happen, which I’m so grateful for because there was so much stuff that was getting in the way, and somehow, I’ve been able to be with her. We’ve been able to be together in a very close way from very far away, and it’s been really beautiful, and it feels very, just very precious and very sweet, and I’ve been able to read to her. We read Ram Dass’s, “Walking Each Other Home” together. I’m able to sing to her, and she’s never really been into chanting, but somehow even going through chemo, she wanted to hear it. She still wants to hear it. My daughter is a violinist. She plays for her every day. And so, we’ve had this really sweet, beautiful space, and she’s ready to leave her body, and there’s a real peace between us, and I am treasuring and it’s so lovely. There’s also been, she’s at her sister’s home and there’s a lot of really old stuff coming up with her sister and towards me, and it’s been a lot of, it’s been very, I feel like I’ve been in a fire in that way, and I’m doing my best to be really open because this doesn’t look like what I would have wanted, but to just be really open and trust that it’s what I need, and to trust that this is the best way forward, and to just be open to feeling all the things I don’t want to feel in that way, with her sister. And I trust that, but I guess, because my mom is so close to leaving her body, and because I’m so far away, and I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid of her death, I’m not afraid of that at all, but I’m afraid of being far away and experiencing it far away, and I guess I just, I’m looking for courage.
What more can you ask for? You’re doing great. You know, these are times when everything comes up for people; your aunt’s fears and angers and everything. So, just focus on your mother and let everything else go. That’s good. You know, what more can you do? You’re doing good to stay in touch with her and staying close. Very beautiful. Very good. Yeah.
Yeah. You’re letting her know that you love her and that’s all she needs. That’s great.
I feel some courage now. Thank you.
Q: Hi. In my childhood, I mean, I’m from a Brahmin family, so they like, forced me to read Hanuman Chalisa, and I don’t know how, I just connected with Hanuman a lot more than other Gods. Not that they’re different, but I enjoyed more chanting the Hanuman Chalisa. And then during the undergrad, I was in Jaipur and one of my friends was visiting from elsewhere and he said, “Oh, you know, this guy, Krishna Das, he had this concert, and he played your song.”
And for the first time, I listened to you. And we were smoking hookah at the time and doing all sorts of stuff that people do in undergrad, but this was so weird because you don’t do, like, you know, you don’t listen to, you know, the spiritual songs and bhajans and do like, hookahs, and you know, other sort of stuff. And around that time, I guess I disconnected a bit. I started practicing, also part of the reason, because my dad died around that time and I sort of lost all faith in God, and I was like, no, I tried to be atheist, but like, somehow, I was listening to you. “Om Namah Shivaya” was the song, now I remember. All the time we were just playing that like, all of the time, but I was like, considering myself like to be an atheist and I’m not ever going back. I’d just lost all faith.
Fast forward. I’m in the U.S., and I think in the beginning of this year, I guess I just tuned into, accidentally tuned into one of your workshops and just started listening, and this sadness and this, all sort of emotions that I felt in my heart, and I couldn’t stop. Like, I kept on listening to all the video and all the audio clips I could find you speaking and chanting, and at the time I didn’t know much about you. My friend told me, “Oh, there’s this white dude from Germany and he sings all these nice chants.”
And now, I know, like, I guess you found me or Maharajji found me or, I know like more. I’m in much better shape. I’m much more peaceful now, thanks to you. I had never been so happy before in my life that I’ve been like, since the beginning of this year. What bothers me a lot is, a lot of my, a lot of my questions are already answered by you, and a lot of, many people have already asked those questions, but there’s one thing that is still, I cannot come to terms with is, I became non-vegetarian at some point, which is not allowed in my family, but I mean, my mom didn’t care about that.
You became what? I’m sorry.
Yeah. I tried to find out, I’m sure, sort of sure, there’s a connection between what you eat and how spiritual you are and all of those, but then I’m like, “Okay. My guru is going to love me anyways, like, however I am. So will this matter or not?”
So, I have this ongoing, you know, sort of, I’m fighting myself to like, I don’t, I can’t use this excuse to keep doing that. Not that I’m, like, I am vegetarian from last couple of months now, but I still have this doubt. Like, how do you, you know, what do you think about it? Like what’s your personal approach or what can you say about this?
I’ve been vegetarian since 1967. I used to be on the basketball team in college, and when I quit college, when I quit the team, I stopped getting free hamburgers. So, then I became vegetarian.
Maharajji didn’t encourage, didn’t insist on anything. He only insisted on love. If you ask somebody else, you’ll get a different answer. Some people would say, “You must be vegetarian. How could you not do that? You’re harming other beings,” they say with great anger and great right righteousness that harms you. They don’t seem to mind that.
So, it’s up to you. Whatever makes you happy. There is some type of connection between what you eat and your, the state of your mind. Some foods are rajasic. Some foods are tamasic, and if you want a calm mind, it helps to eat more sattvicly, but the way life is these days, it’s very complicated, very difficult. There’s so much stress.
What Jesus said is also true. What comes out of a man’s mouth is more important than what goes in, so how you treat other people, how you’re with other people, is much more important than what you eat or don’t eat.
That being said, for instance, you know, I heard a story. One time, way before I came to India, there was another westerner who came in the early, not the early sixties, but maybe mid-sixties. He came from England and he spent a lot of time with Maharajji, and one day, Maharajji said to him, “The state of mind you want to achieve, you can’t because you ate eggs in this life.”
So that’s interesting, but that must be a very particular state that he was trying to reach. Right? I’ll take any state. I’ll take even, well, I might not take, nevermind. Somebody will get mad at me. I’ll take New York. That’s where I am, you know, but I’d rather take Uttaranchal, but I’m in New York.
To some degree, it’s important, and in some degree, it’s not important. It’s really up to you and what makes sense in your life. Many Tibetans eat meat, because traditionally up in Tibet, they had no vegetables. Nothing grows up there. But now there’s a big movement among the Tibetans that they should become vegetarian now that these other things are available, and so many of them have, but on the other hand, there’s some people that say that meat is necessary for their health. You know, I don’t think it’s the most important thing in life, what you eat. I think is much more important what you do and how you treat other people and how you treat yourself.
So, I don’t think it’s worth obsessing over, but if you are obsessing over it, that means you’re not comfortable with what you’re doing. So, maybe do something else for a while and see how that seems, how that feels to you. If you can’t forget it, then change it for a while and see how you feel. There’s no reason to be thinking about it all the time. It’s better to think about a million other things.
So, but once again, “Ram naam karne se sab pura hojata hai. Bas ho gaya.” That’s what the main thing is. Right? Turn your mind to that as much as you can. Turn your heart to that as much as you can, and things, other things will change in your life.
My daughter was not raised as a vegetarian. At that point, actually, in my life, I did eat fish, maybe even a little chicken for about a year in the eighties, and then I stopped, but my daughter looked at this piece of fish on her plate and said, “I can’t eat this.” And then she became vegetarian. She was eight years old.
So, you know, it’s not the biggest problem, but on the other hand, you’re supporting a whole, the slaughtering of beings, which is… Jesus, that’s not… who wants to see that? You know, there’s this place when you drive across country in America, you drive through the Midwest and there’s these huge cattle farms where there’s hundreds of thousands of cows waiting to be slaughtered, and it’s like driving through a cloud, a dark cloud. It’s so intense. They know what they’re, they know they’re about to get slaughtered, and they there’s fear. There’s anguish. There’s anxiety. So, by eating meat, we’re, without even wanting to, we’re supporting that whole culture of slaughtering animals for our sake, when it’s really not necessary for our health. There’s many other ways to get protein.
On the other hand, so, we’re killing vegetables. They’re beings too, but they’re not supposedly as high on the ladder. There’s a saying that says, “When you die, you get eaten by what you eat.” By what you’ve eaten, you know. I don’t know, it’s not the biggest worry in the world. There’s a lot more things that we can do to help ourselves and help others without thinking about our diet all the time.
Ram naam bhajan karo.
The more practice you do, these problems and these questions have a way of dissolving on their own, and you wind up feeling a little bit more peaceful about things and at ease about things.
I do it more or less every day now.
If you, I read this somewhere, if you allow your ego to dictate to you when you do practice and when you don’t do practice, how would that ego ever dissolve? You’re allowing yourself to be ruled by the very part of you that you would like to get over. Right? So, that’s why a little discipline is important.
So, I would say if you feel, this is totally up to you, but if you feel like it and you take a vow to yourself, not to somebody else, that you will do Hanuman Chalisa every day, let’s say for 40 days, just make something up yourself, and then you use your will to allow yourself to do that, and that way you’re overcoming the vasanas of your mind, which are saying, “Okay, I feel like it, I don’t feel like it.” If we allow ourselves to be ruled by, “I feel like it, I don’t feel like it,” how will we ever get past that? You know what I mean?
Okay. Thank you so much.
All right. Good talking to you.
Q: Hi, Krishna Das. Do you remember last week when you were helping me figure out how not to look up the ex-boyfriend? Okay. I never looked him up. It was very helpful talking to you. I want to respond to the other caller who has a, like, he sees you as a guru. You’re explaining to him, you’re just another person.
I don’t know that he really saw me as a guru. I wasn’t really responding to that.
I mean, I think at this point, people are starting to listen to you, but I, you know, you’re very smart. The wisdom that you give out is very helpful. I mean, it helped me out and, but I think it’s, I wanted to respond to the viewer that also, your humanness and you’re so relatable, and it makes people want to listen to you more, because you’re saying that, and people just really identify with you.
That’s all part of the program. I’m just sucking people in.
I’m starting to get your secrets. Okay. But this is what I wanted to say, is that I actually, I’m an author of books, and I help women in different situations, in relationships, but one of them is to how to detach, and I have been struggling with that, which is why I turned to you because you helped me out when I listened, and I have women who’ve written to me and they’ve said I helped them from not committing suicide, and they look up to me now, like, I’m almost a little bit like a guru, but I’m in the same situation where I am openly sharing that I’m struggling with this very thing that I’m an expert on. I’m still a human being and things happen. The pandemic came and it put me in a vulnerable position. I couldn’t use my regular tools and I needed some extra help. I turned to you, and you gave me great wisdom, and then it completely helped, and so I added to my arsenal of tools to “not contact lyour ex-boyfriend.” Okay. But I guess I just wanted to share that. It’s, you know, you could be like a healer, but you could still be a human being. I just wanted to, I don’t know, put that out there.
I’ve tried to be everything else, but failed.
But you are really helpful. I just, that’s why people are starting to…. Like they need people to help them, and they get it. They start to…
Everybody needs help. Everybody. We all need help. I need help. Everybody needs help. Satsang is very important. Satsang is the group, you know, those of us who are on the path and trying to find a good way to live, we all need help, and there’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help and advice and somebody who will commiserate, certainly. That’s easy. As far as being a guru, that’s because just people don’t understand what a guru really is. Guru is guru. Guru is someone is realized, who has become one with the universe, who’s just, it’s inconceivable for us here, in this world to, and I mean, in this world of our minds and emotions, we can’t imagine what it’s like to be free, really free, and free to be love, real love, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s something you can’t explain to anyone.
I tripped and happened to fall into one of those beings, and that’s the only reason I have any clue about who and what a guru might be. So, I know for sure, I can say that, you know, even to say, “I’m not a guru,” sounds so weird, because it’s not even something, that’s like a ridiculous thing to even have to say, you know. We’re just human beings here on earth. We’re trying to do the best we can. Some of us are a little older than other people, either karmically wise or this body-wise, and so, we have experiences we can share, like you share your experience with people and help them. So, that doesn’t mean you know everything/
And so that, you know, and certainly, you know, I don’t know everything. I hardly know anything. So, I don’t even know what I don’t know. That’s how bad it is.
I have to say though, that when I went into, when I met you the first time and I went and 2000-, it was 2014, turning it into 2015, that December, and I saw Ram Dass, and I remember the thing when you stand online at the very end and he blesses you.
Yeah, the Mala Ceremony.
And he’s staring and he was like, looking at me. I do have to say, because I’m not like, I’m not a big, I can’t explain it. Like, I don’t practice that. I wasn’t, I never even did that, so I was like completely new to it, but that was like this, it really was a surreal, out of ordinary spiritual experience, and I have to say that, not only that, but that year, that following year, like my whole life, I don’t mean, recovery life changed. I don’t mean it like that. I just mean all these wishes and desires came true in that one year, but of course, it didn’t last.
I just mean, it was a little bit like, like super magical, I have to say. So, I didn’t know. I didn’t even want to go back. So, I said, “What if I go back and I look into his eyes again, and the next year is not like that?” I just wanted to leave it the way it was, you know? But, so I have to say, I mean, in a sense, like, I do think there’s something about him now.
Yeah. Well, you know, he had a stroke in 1997. Was it? Or in 1999? 1997. And for all those years, he really had to step up his inner work, and he did, and he had to overcome pride, and he had to be helped to do everything. It’s so hard to accept help from people, and he needed care 24 hours a day, and it was really hard for him to accept that at first, but he did overcome pride, and he could let people help him, which he needed, and he just did, he just overcame so much stuff in those last 20 plus years, that by the time he was ready to leave the body he was shining like the sun. It was a beautiful thing, really beautiful.
I always used to tease him. I’d say, “You’ve finally become who we thought you were 40 years ago.”
He would laugh. You know, it was beautiful thing, how he ripened so sweet. What a beautiful thing.
You know, Ram Dass used to be very nervous about what he was going to say when he would give a lecture, what he would say to people, and he was always afraid that it wouldn’t come, and what would he say. So, I said to him, “Look, you just go out in front of the group, and you say, ‘we will sit in silence until someone has something to say, and then see what happens.’”
He hadn’t finished talking before there were like 40 hands up. It was so funny. He just looked at me. So, that’s okay. We could sit in silence.
The most important thing is practice, is to remember to remember. That’s what practice means. It’s not like, “Practice, practice!” It’s to remember to remember, to remind oneself that one has to turn within in order to, in order to become less reactive to the stuff that happens every day in one’s life and inside one’s own head. So, it’s not going to happen unless we remember to remember, and that memory, the remembering gets deeper and we, that what we are trying to remember gradually comes more into focus, which is our own soul. It’s not somewhere else. You can’t find it out there. It’s within us. But on the way to get to that place, all our stuff is arrayed, preventing us from moving, coming back home to our own hearts. So, that’s, when the stuff becomes, you have to deal with it. If you see it, you have to deal with it. And it’s not so easy at all. A certain amount of courage is required, really.
Maharajji, one time I was in Bombay with Maharajji, and he was at a devotees house, and we would spend all afternoon with him, and I would sit on the floor. He was on the bed, and he would sit this way. He would sit that way. He would lie down. He would stand up. Sit down and sit up, turn over. All of a sudden, he looked at me and he said, “Courage is a really big thing.”
And there was an Indian devotee there. He said, “Oh, Baba, God takes care of his devotees.”
Maharajji just looked at him, and he looked back at me, and He said, “Courage is a really big thing.”
And I thought, “What’s going to happen?” You know?
How old was I? I was 25 at that time. That was Christmas, 1972. If I had any idea what I was going to go through in the next, almost 50 years, I might have run to some other planet. I never would have agreed to go through this shit. But luckily, it wasn’t my choice. And sometimes it took lot of courage just to get out of bed in the morning. But here we are.
Q: You said something so interesting. I have a couple pictures of Neem Karoli Baba, and he’s doing this with his head. He puts a few fingers on his head. It just makes me smile, just looking at that. The other participant asked you about having pictures, and you said, “You’re not looking at him, he’s looking at you.”
And then, but when you said that, she kinda kept talking and could you just share, add some color, say anything more? It’s very mysterious and wonderful, and I’m intrigued.
I remember one time we were sitting with him, and he looked at Parvati, and he said to her, “Why do you love me?”
And she said, “I don’t know.”
He said, “You love me because I love you.”
So, who is saying that? Right? Who is, who’s saying, “You love me because I love you.”
That’s love talking, itself. Love is first. We can’t remember love. We’re lost. When love remembers us, we feel it. And so, Maharajji said, “Once I take a hold of your hand, I never let go. Even when you let go of mine.”
But because we think we are who we think we, we’re locked in that world. He’s not in that world. He knows what comes first, and God comes first. Love comes first. We’re lost. And when love remembers us, that’s when we know which way to turn. We automatically turn towards it. So, when you happen to gaze at his picture, you think, “Oh, now I’m thinking of him,” but that’s because he’s thinking of us. At least that’s my strange view of life.
Yeah. Thank you.
I remember once, a long time ago, this famous photographer wanted to take pictures of Ram Dass and the group. So, we all sat down in like a row, cross legged. We sat like this, because the guy said to us, “Okay, do what you normally do.”
So, we just sat down, cross legged and closed our eyes, you know? And he was like, he took some pictures, then he said, “Well, what are you all thinking?”
And everybody spontaneously broke out with their mantra, right? You know, like all 10 of us.
“Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram!” “Om Namah Shivaya!”
And it was like, so funny. The guy just didn’t know what to think. I think he packed up his camera and ran away. I saw those pictures many years later, somewhere. That the guy’s name was Norman Seef, I think, something like that.
I remember, I went to Toronto for a 10 day Kala Chakra initiation with the Dalai Lama, and I’d been there for about two days, and Nina called me, I think it was, and she said Vanity Fair magazine wants to take pictures of you for their music issue. Once a year, they do this music issue. So, Vanity Fair wants to take pictures of you, and they want you to come back to New York like tomorrow.
And I said, “I spent 4,000 lifetimes getting enough merit to be here with the Dalai Lama and they, and I’m supposed to go to New York for Vanity Fair? No way.”
So, they couldn’t believe it. And so, they finally agreed. I’d be back like, in a week and they said they’d have their photographer call me. So, I get a call and it’s the assistant of this big photographer.
“Oh, hello. So-and-so wants to speak to you. Would you hold the phone?”
I said, “Yeah. Okay.”
So, the guy gets on, I don’t remember his name. He gets on the phone, and he says, “Ah, yes. I’m thinking of shooting you. I know where you live and there’s a monastery near there. I’m thinking of putting you in robes and shooting you at the monastery.”
And I said, “I don’t wear robes. I wear t-shirts.”
And then he said to me, “Nobody ever questions what I want to do. What do you…”
You know, and I said, “Well, okay you speak to me later or something.” I say, “I’m going away tomorrow. I’ll be back on after the weekend.”
So, we were driving down to Yogaville, and the road we were on goes up like this, like a hill, and at the top of the hill you can get cell signal. Then you go down the hill and then there’s no signal, so you lose the call, and then you come up again. So, we’re driving along, and the photographer calls me again, and he said, “Nobody ever questions what I, how I want to dress them.” He said, “Even the Dalai Lama didn’t question how I wanted to dress him.”
This is as we’re up on the top of the hill, and as we’re going over the hill, I said to him, “Did you ask him to wear a t-shirt?”
And then we went down and lost the call and I never heard from him again, you know. And then, that wasn’t, they weren’t finished with me. So, then I left for England, and they sent a photographer over to the, we sang at the St. James Church, I think it was. Yeah, I think. I’m not sure. And there’s no real stage there. It’s just like a raised platform with steps. So, after the kirtan was over, the photographer and his assistants and his crew, they all come up front, and they put these candles on the steps in like a V-shape, getting closer and closer as they get to the top of the steps, and they had me sit on the top of the steps with my harmonium, and they took the shot from down below. It looked like I was a pimple on the ass of a cow or something. It was the funniest thing I ever saw. The candles were huge, getting smaller. And I was at the very top, like a tiny little pimple. It was hilarious. So, they couldn’t use that. It was no good. Vanity fair declined it.
So, then I was in Germany by that time. So, the guy comes to Germany. He comes all the way to Germany and he finds me in this, way out in the country, doing this workshop in this place, and it’s haying season. They’re cutting the grass and I have hay fever like nobody’s business. So, I’m sneezing. My nose is bright red. I can’t stop. My eyes are dripping. So, the guy calls me, and I come out to meet him and he pulls the car into a field, and he opens his trunk, and he pulls out a blanket. Now this guy doesn’t know anything about anything.
He said, “Yeah, so we’re going to go down to that where that Creek is, that stream is running. We’re going to go down there, and you’re going to sit on this rock and wrap yourself up in this blanket.”
I just went, “Oh, for Christ’s sake. Okay. Let’s get this over with.”
So, we go down across the road, down into this where the stream is, and there were a lot of clouds in the sky. It was going from cloudy to sunny, to cloudy, to sunny, like that. When it was sunny, it was great, but the minute the clouds came out, the mosquitoes would rise up, and they were about this big, and they would, they’d be circling me and they’d be dive bombing me while I’m trying to sit there for this photo, and then the sun would come out and they would disappear again.
So, he took some photos, and they all looked like this, you know? And Vanity Fair didn’t use anything. All that shit. They must have spent $50,000 to get a photo of me and they never used it, and they wanted me to leave the Dalai Lama and take a photo. How crazy is that? This world is so weird. So weird.
Q: I have a question about doing practice. Practicing, when it comes to removing myself from people, because I feel like I, it’s hard for me to be with people at times when I feel very ungrounded, and I feel like I would rather be separated and practicing instead of in front of them, cutting them apart in my mind, and judging them and condemning them and making them “other.” And it kind of feels like I don’t know what the most loving thing is to do. If I stay there, if I stay within a situation with people where I, from my own insecurities and cutting them apart in my mind and making them, as I said, making them “other,” and just judging all these things within. If I remove myself from the situation and I’m practicing alone, it doesn’t feel very loving to the people who are experiencing reactions. And I just wanted to know if you could speak to that.
Well, sometimes you need to back away from people and get your shit together, and that can be useful, and there’s nothing wrong with, you know, listening to your heart and following what it’s, what you feel you need to do. But at some point, you will want to try to find out why you’re threatened by other people and why you have difficulty holding onto a sense of a confident, open, relaxed sense of yourself. So, this, these are your own issues, your psychological issues that, that you have already. So, as a temporary technique, you can remove yourself from people, but there’s no way to remove yourself from people forever. So, you can you remove yourself from people and calm down, and that’s good.
I removed myself from people by hundreds and hundreds of miles when I was younger. I didn’t want to be around. I had taken a bunch of acid and by the 10th trip, I didn’t have skin left and I could feel everything around me. Everything. I could feel people and everything, and because I was so insecure in myself and had no confident shape, so to speak, I was very threatened by the interactions with people and other people’s minds. But mostly it was the way I saw it, not the way it really was, but it was my own fear that I was projecting out there and seeing in the world. And I did, you know, spend a lot of time alone. I got over it when I stopped doing acid.
If you’re smoking dope and stuff like that, I would suggest you stop for a while, because that isn’t helping you. It’s making it worse. It makes you paranoid. It makes your mind anxious and makes your mind tumble ahead in all directions, and you have no, and you lose your center completely. But even so, I mean, that happened to me even without drugs, because I was just very, kind of neurotic, you know. I probably still am, some people would say.
However, what you need is more love. Period. Where are you going to find it? That’s the problem. If you keep on trying to protect yourself, you’re never going to grow. And if you don’t protect yourself, you’re always going to feel threatened and you’re always going to be uptight. So, you have to calm down and you have to look at yourself and see what’s really going on.
You know, “What’s going on? Why am I, what is this? Where does this come from?” You know?
One of the things in my life was that my mother was a space invader. You know, she didn’t honor my borders, my boundaries. She just blasted through them. So, I always had, I had a terrible problem with establishing boundaries in my life, in between you and me. You know, I would feel I had no boundary and that I was at risk at all moments. You know? So, over time though, you know, in many years growing up and thinking about it and working on it in many ways, you know, that’s not the biggest issue anymore, but it might be an issue for you, and it would be good to address that, more or less directly as you can, because it’s not going to go away by itself.
You’re not going to be able to drug it to death, you’re not going to be able to meditate it to death, and you’re not going to be able to avoid it. So, find a way to deal with it, and find a way to be kind to yourself. You know? Be kind to yourself. Why not? Why? Why be in fear? Why be harsh with yourself? Why be tense? Why hold yourself in? Be kind to yourself. Be kind to other people. Because it ain’t going to hurt you. The fear of being walked over and abused and betrayed, that’s a fear. It may or may not happen, but we have a fear of that happening. So, that keeps us very reactive inside, very on guard all the time.
You know, there’s no one quick answer. You know, it’s your life. This is your life. This is your work. This is your path. Your path is your life. Don’t try to find a spiritual path over there, or over there, or behind a closed door. This is it. You’re it. You’re the path. Now, what do you want to do?
So, it’s up to you. Find what works for you. If you’re fooling yourself, you’ll figure it out. Little by little things will loosen up, and the way we meet every moment, we’ll be much more at ease over time, much more open and relaxed, and we allow each moment to come to us without having to fit in a little mold that we can deal with. It’s the whole thing. So, practice. You know, ripen yourself through practice, little by little, and communicate with people, too. Don’t hide. Communicate. If there’s something going on, try to have the courage to deal with it, you know, with a person just like you. Everybody’s afraid, man. We’re all fucked up. Nobody more than anybody else. It just looks that way. So, share that. It’s not, it ain’t going to hurt you, and it might show you that there’s life out there somewhere.
But yeah. So, all good. It takes time. It really does. It’s a ripening process. You don’t have to understand it. You don’t have to make it happen. The seeds we ourselves have planted are continually ripening into this moment. So, let’s plant the seeds of what we would like to see in this moment, who we would like to be. You can be who you want to be. That’s the thing. You have a vision in yourself, of yourself, of who you really are, who you want to be, what it looks like to you. That’s who you are, and you can manifest that in the world. It takes some skill and some practice, but it’s certainly possible. And yeah, I wish you well.
Q: Namaskar. She, my mother says, you’re so humble and you have so much humility. And even though you say you’re not a guru, but you are a guru, she thinks. You’re guru of the guru, I’m being told to say. And she’s just saying, you know, maybe the newcomers are going to be misled and not understand how evolved you actually are.
I thank you. I appreciate your sentiments. But the problem is, I know who I am.
She said she’s just watching out for the newcomers. She just wants to make sure.
Yeah, those newcomers are already 400 years old. They’re not newcomers. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you. This is a big thing that you are teaching. Your humility is bigger than anything else.
Oh, I’ve got so much humility. It’s amazing. I know. It’s incredible. Huge amounts of humility.
But your newcomers may not think of you as a guru, and they need to, because you are teaching some Gurudom stuff. It really is. I’m trying to hold their attention. That’s all.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, KD. Thank you.
Q: I just want to thank you again, KD. Thank you for everything. You are the door to the universe of Maharajji for me. You are the door to that galaxy, to that universe. I just want to thank you for everything, KD. You are the Hanuman of that Ram, and I can never repay the debt to his monkey. Thank you for everything. Thank you so much.
Q: Hello, Krishna Das. It’s so good to be with you today. I really resonate with opening up into my larger self and having that awakening, and how that battles the dual side of the betrayal and the strong ego influences that have happened while I’ve been in this body throughout my life, on this earth. My soul understands and screams for that freedom of understanding consistently. So, I can feel into that space, particularly when I’m alone, particularly when it’s quiet, and the peace and love flows freely. My ego though, especially relationally, especially in more intimate relationships, not just for instance with my husband, but family of origin, the closer relationships screams of betrayal, and it feels like an internal push and pull between the freedom I know and understand, and the ego wanting the justice, the perceived safety, and so I feel physically in my body, a struggle. I worked a lot through the mental processes and can hold that. But physically, I feel that this can feel like a struggle with my health and in my body.
My ego says, at my age, at 50, now this is too much. Change must be now. My soul says, are you kidding me? This is why I’ve been here so many times. I’ve come in this life, in this body for this. It has much more patience, love and a greater time knowing that this is my karma. This is what I’m here to discover in this life.
With that I would appreciate any insight and encouragement to try and hold patience with that process as it goes on, because it can feel so tiring physically and has my ego, and my experience has depleted me, actually physically, with my health. As I gain freedom, that health balances out more, but the process, I would so love to hear any insight and encouragement you might could help with this for me.
You still seem very identified with the stories you tell yourself about yourself.
And you divide it up into, “This is ego, and this is not.”
It’s all ego. All of it. We’re all on this side. Only they’ve gone to the other shore. We’re all over here. It’s all ego. Spiritual work is ego.
We’re using our will to move ourselves in what we think is the right direction. So, try to be with things as they are right now. Right now, the past doesn’t exist, and the future hasn’t happened. All we have is now. All these stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are based on some past that’s gone and some imaginary future that may never show up. You’re here now. Take it easy. What’s the big deal? You’re here. Whatever happened is gone and what’s going to happen, isn’t here yet. What we need to do is find a way to be here now with ourselves and everything in our lives, because everything in our lives is here, right now.
Practice is important because it liberates us from those stories that we tell ourselves. Now, there’s a reason that we tell ourselves those stories. It kind of protects us from chaos in a way. It protects us from fear of the unknown, and it protects us from, it gives us a way to control things. We keep constantly putting things in their place, right? You know, it’s a technique that’s only partially effective, but it’s a technique that we use to survive. But right now, what’s going on? This moment.
So, we always have the option to release ourselves from those stories, but we need to practice and develop the strength to do that. So, when we repeat the name, when we chant, or when we do quiet repetition of the name, or watch the breath, our only job is to just come back. That’s all. Once you recognize you’ve been involved in some storyline or some dream or something, you’re actually already back. So, you come back to the name again, the sound of the name, not what you think it might mean, not what you want to happen, not what you need to happen, not some imagination of what it’s going to feel like when it’s finally okay. You simply let go and come back with no demand that it be any special way. That’s not easy, because we’ve been battered by the waves for so long that we were always in a defensive mode. So, it takes a little practice to kind of unwind those gut reactions and those gut stances that we make, you know, but there’s a reason we making those stances. It’s not that they’re wrong. They’ve worked to get us this far. Okay. Enough. You know, it’s like, they always use the image of when you take a boat across a river, you leave it at the shore and then you go walk, you don’t carry the boat with you.
The thing about practice is that it’s not conceptual. So, it takes a little getting used to to release, to let go of whatever story you’re telling yourself, or even the context in which you’re doing practice. Like “I’m doing practice in order to get strong.”
Well, that’s because we feel weak, or we feel like we don’t have a vote, or we feel we’ve been betrayed and taken advantage of. All those things.
Breathe. Open up. Relax. Take it easy. Take some deep breaths. Calm the body. Sleep. You don’t have to meditate sitting up. Lay down. Relax. Be comfortable. Let go. Practice letting go. And the reason we add a mantra, for instance, to the day, is that it gives us something to come back to when we’re gone. Otherwise, we’re just gone all the time and we don’t even know it. Right?
Work on being kind to yourself. Work on giving yourself the space to breathe and to feel okay. It’s our inherent nature. Okay-Ness is already there inside of us. It’s just buried. So, there’s many ways to allow that to manifest, you know, to uncover that, many different ways of opening that space up. But whatever it is, when you have a practice period, whether it’s two minutes, three minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, for that time, when you catch yourself organizing and collating and arranging your experiences, you just let go and come back. You just let go. You can always let go.
It takes a little getting used to, because nobody in my life, growing up, ever let go of anything. It was hold on for dear life and then hit somebody over the head with it. So, it takes a while to feel okay about letting go again and again, and that’s what, the least we can do for ourselves, and at first it’s the least, but it becomes the most. Breathe. Relax. Take it easy. Just, you know, make a safe space for yourself where you can just release. And then that space will expand and include, and nobody who walks through it will be a threat, because there’s no, there won’t be anybody there to react. There’ll only be spaciousness there, and everybody will be welcomed inside of that.
And check out Sharon Salzberg’s work.
I have been familiar with her.
So, the Loving Kindness Metta practice is the one I’m talking about. This is a really key practice for us Westerners, really deep, powerful. So yeah, it’s all good. You just have to let it be and don’t worry. Be happy.
Yeah. I’m working on it.
That’s what this great Saint, Mehere Baba, used to say.
“Don’t worry. Be happy.”
And I used to say, “Fuck you,” you know, because Iwasn’t ready to be happy.
You know, it’s not that easy, but it is, you know. So anyway, I wish you well.
Thank you so much.
Take good care. Thank you.
Q: Okay. So, Krishna Das, the question is, “How is Maharajji the answer to all of your perceived problems?”
Just good luck. That’s all. Because he’s a presence, a love beyond my stuff, and he is that vast space in which we all live. He is like the sky in which everything exists, is held by the sky. The clouds come. The clouds go. There’s trees, there’s people, there’s pollution, but the sky holds it all without judging. It holds it all in this extraordinary open space of love and presence. That’s who he is. There’s nothing outside of him. There’s no place else to be. He is It. He’s become that, and just like all the great saints have become God. They become that presence. So, for me, there’s nowhere to go where he isn’t, because he’s everywhere. He’s in me, outside of me, all over the place, and that’s my experience. It’s not wishful thinking, although it is wishful thinking, but it happens to be true.
So, when we talk about a guru, we’re not talking about a person, a guy or a woman like you and me, we’re talking about a being who has become like that, this vast space in which we all live, but we don’t experience it because it’s covered up by our stuff. So, as we release that stuff, we begin to sense it in a deeper way.
So, and that vast space is called the Self with a capital “S,” the soul, “Soulland” as Ram Dass used to call it. That’s who Maharajji is. So, because I met him and because I was with him, but, you know I felt him before I ever met him. You know, when I met Ram Dass, I felt Maharajji, and then for the year and a half that I traveled around America with Ram Dass a lot, He was, Maharajji was everywhere with me. It was amazing. He was just always there. When I actually saw him physically for the first time, it was like, very confusing. How does this huge, vast presence fit inside of this little guy with his blanket? It was like, how does that work? I don’t get it. It was really like… but I got used to it.
Okay. Thank you.
Okay, everybody, the therapy session is over for today.
Anyway, it’s great, great seeing you all. Thanks so much for hanging out.