Call and Response Special Edition Conversations With KD Jan 2, 2021

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 January 2, 2021

“You’ve got to have some courage when it comes down to it. Don’t let anybody tell you what to do that doesn’t feel right to you. Don’t do that to yourself. Listen to your heart. If it feels right? Fine. If it doesn’t? Fine. More than fine. Just listen to yourself. You know better than anybody else what you want to do, and if you’re not doing what you want, how will you get what you want? You’ll always be hungry and never feeding yourself. Desires are not bad. They are not meant to be destroyed. They are meant to be transcended. That’s a very big difference.” – Krishna Das

Thanks for coming today. This pandemic reality of isolation and distancing from other people, on one hand, it’s very difficult. On the other hand, if we pay attention, we can actually feel close to people without the bodies having to be in the same place, and that’s big thing because, in reality, we are all together all the time, and in fact, we are one body.

Maharajji used to go like this, you know. “”Sab ek.” All one.

This is not something that we have to convince ourselves about, you know, or try to talk ourselves into believing. There’s no need to try to, what’s the word, anyway, force ourselves to believe anything. What we need to do is find a way to actually experience this stuff directly. Otherwise it won’t help us in the deepest way.

Our knee jerk reactions to daily life will continue endlessly until we actually find a way to move more deeply into our own being. But that being is the same being, that sense, that very fine, subtle sense of just being here, so to speak, where just existing is the same in everyone. It’s actually where we truly live, but we are so attached to our thoughts and emotions and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, and the programming we received entering into this life, and the programming we have coming from, endless lifetimes of nonsense. It’s not easy for it to wind down.

So, if we feel called to it, we can start paying attention to stuff and start practicing letting go. Letting go is the one thing we can do. Letting go is not pushing away. When I say, “Let go,” like say, you’re feeling like shit, right? Okay. So, “I want to let go of this,” but what are you going to do? You’re going to pick it up and put it over there. Where is it, you know? It’s not something you can grab onto and kill, or move, or dissolve, or evaporate.

But what we can do is notice how stuck we are, and we notice that we are stuck, and in that moment of just noticing that we’re stuck, we’re not that stuck. Of course we get stuck again immediately, but that’s why we add a practice to our lives, any practice, repetition of the name, coming back to the feeling of the breath, any type of practice that forces you to pay attention.

Tightrope walking over a raging fire will definitely make you pay attention. You won’t be thinking about, you know, what that person did to me and what I’m going to do to him. You’ll be thinking of not falling in the goddamn fire. So once we recognize that we are on fire already, then we want to cool that down. We’ve already fallen into the fire.

You know, the Buddha gave a sermon called “The Fire Sermon,” very early in his teaching, and he said, you know, “Hey monks, guess what? The eye is on fire with seeing. The ears are on fire with hearing. The tongue is on fire with taste. The skin is on fire with touch and the eyes on fire with sight and the mind also on fire with thoughts.”

We don’t experience it as being on fire. We’re so absorbed in all that stuff. We’ve been underwater. We’ve never come up for a breath. So that’s the idea. Just start to notice how, when you notice how caught you are or when we notice how caught we are, or that we are caught, even then you just try to come back to the practice that you’ve picked to do.

That’s why the moments of practice are very important, and they do spread out over the day. You know, they stay with us, but we do have to find a time where we can make that dedicated, sincere aspiration effort to pay attention, to come back from dreamland, come back from sleepwalking. Because that’s where everything is. That’s where the guru is. That’s where the self is, the capital “S” self, the true self. That’s where Buddha is. That’s where all the deities are. That’s where love really lives, at that place when we’re not stuck in our stuff. And don’t imagine that just because you’re sitting your ass down for a couple of minutes a day, that all of a sudden you’re going to be, you know, filled with bliss and ecstasy and radiating and levitating around, you know. No. But you do get in the game. You’ve entered consciously onto the path and gradually but inevitably this effort that we make to pay attention and to release and to keep coming back. You see when you’re gone, you can’t make yourself come back. You’re gone. You’re thinking about some other stuff. You’re not here. You’re lost. You’re in dreamland. So when you’re lost and sleepwalking, we can’t wake ourselves up. But the weight of the effort to make, to come back to the practice pulls us out of the dream and we are, “Oh, I’m back.”

It’s not like you push a button in the dream and all of a sudden you’re back. No, when you’re dreaming, you’re dreaming. Just like at nighttime, when you’re dreaming, you think it’s real, you think this is really happening and there’s, you know, there’s no way to wake yourself up in the dream. Somebody has to wake you up or something has to wake you up.

And that something, in this case, is the longing to be free. That generates making the effort to remember.

And Maharajji used to say, “Repeat the name. Repeat the name. Repeat it even if you feel, if you’re angry, if you’re sad, if you’re tired, if you’re depressed, if there’s no feeling at all of any kind of devotional thing, repeat it.”

And one of these days, the real Ram will come and then everything will be all right, but the effort has to be there, and the other thing is, if we’re making any effort at all, if we, if we’re even interested in this stuff at all, this is also a result of our own past aspirations and longing and efforts.

What’s really heartbreaking is when you see somebody suffering, somebody completely lost in their stuff and they have no idea that there’s anything, any other way to live, you know, that’s really, and those people, just like us, when they bounce off the wall, there’s no end to it. It’s all, their minds eat them alive. Their thoughts eat them alive. But we who have some concept of practice, some concept of possibly being free from this stuff, and ending the whole giving ourselves a hard time thing. This is a really wonderful thing. And we should not take that for granted because as difficult as this life might be, and especially these days, life got really difficult, we’re still here and we’re still striving to wake up. We’re trying to remember to remember, and that’s a big thing. And if we didn’t judge ourselves so harshly, how great would life be? Right? If I don’t think I’m a piece of shit, there won’t be anybody out there doing that to me. It’s just me doing it to me.

So, that’s really interesting. You know, if I wasn’t giving myself a hard time, where would it be? And it wouldn’t be anywhere in the universe. That’s the deal. So we’ve just got to keep on recycling our stuff and letting go and trying to be a good person.

You know, I’ve heard lately, I used, I quote Ramana maharshi quite often because he’s one of the most, the clearest, well, he’s one of the greatest saints that ever lived, and the way he explains things is extraordinary. And one of the things that he said many times is guru, God, and self, capital “S” self, are not different. They’re one. They’re the same. So now I hear people going around, they’re saying, “Krishna Das says, ‘We’re all gods.'”

Excuse me, give me a break. This is delusion. And what does that, what are those people thinking? They’re all Gods. That means their egos, their self, their small “s” self, bright and shiny and huge and all encompassing, and that’s complete bullshit. Right?

I get these very nice emails from these grandmothers, Indian grandmothers. “Oh Krishna Das, you should not use words like that. Nobody talks like that. No saintly people talk like that.”

That’s it that’s me. You have to live with it, if you want to. If you don’t, go somewhere where somebody talks nice all the time. I wasn’t brought up that way. Maharajji cursed like a bandit, but he could do that.

One time, he was going off on somebody and the Indian guy next to me was like, sitting there like this, you know? And I said, “what is he saying? What is he saying?”

He says, “No,, I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you.”

Nobody would tell us the way he used to tease people, because it was so incredibly brutal, but so filled with love.

I mean, in India, you know, when I lived with the Tiwari family, they would argue. And they would get angry and they would, you know, at times they would yell at each other. And this was shocking to me, you know. I mean, in my house, you know, where I grew up, “Don’t look at me like that. Don’t talk to me like that.” And here everybody was free to just really just be themselves. Nobody was afraid that the other person would throw them out of their hearts.

That was thing. It was all okay. It was a functional family. I don’t know about you, but I had never seen a functional family in my life before. So, that was a great education for me. That was just liberating. And Mr. Tiwari, KC, would, he would love to get me pissed off. He would say something to me that was, and then he would look at me.

“You will fire upon me now?”

You know, he wanted to fight. He wanted to party. He loved it, you know, and we would yell at each other, you know, like inches away from each other’s face, you know, looking each other in the eye and like screaming. It was so great. I saw that over there. It was so wonderful because it was just so great, so freeing to be able to just be myself a little bit and not be afraid.

You know, there was so much stuff in my childhood, so much anger and so much unhappiness and so much fear. That takes a long time for those programs to even reveal themselves in us. You know, we don’t even notice how we behave and the things we take. We don’t even notice how we see things, what’s behind it, but the quieter we get inside, the more we notice, actually, what we’re adding to what’s going on and what we’re imagining over, what’s going on. We’re making things up in our own minds and taking things our own way, and they may not be that way, but we have no clue at first, but as we calm down a little bit more, we begin to see what we’re doing, how we’re crushing up and twisting up the world.

So practice is so important. Really. It’s just, it’s such a big thing, but it’s a lifetime. It’s not just like a couple of minutes. It’s everything that we do. It’s from practice that we get the strength to be present and to notice what we’re doing and then to be able to let go of it, and it’s through practice, we start to become aware of other people’s suffering. And the fact that almost everything people do is out of their own desire- driven, fear-driven, self centered actions, and that people are just stepping on their own toes, shooting themselves in the foot all the time and they can’t stop, because they don’t even know that we see that it’s possible to stop.

When somebody gets mad at you or says something that’s really nasty or does something that hurts us, you know, the first thing is we take it personally. We go, you know, we get hurt, we get angry. We go through all our stuff. But after that initial explosion, we might see that this person is exploding out of their own pain in all directions. We just happened to be standing there in their life at that moment. And so we become the focus of all their pain and then you see, and when we see how hard it is for us not to hurt other people and to hurt ourselves and we go, “Whoa, if I’m trying to pay attention and it’s so hard for me, how hard must it be for somebody else who has no clue, no clue that there’s a way out of this?” You know?

So we’re all very blessed, very graced, and very lucky to be any understanding that there is a path at all. That’s just so huge. That’s so huge. Without that, what do we have? Right? You know? And to know about these great beings who have actually done the work, who have accomplished, and have stayed here for us, to show us what’s possible and to show us that it is possible.

I remember one time I was sitting in the back of the temple with Siddhi Ma, and the oldest grandson of Mr and Mrs. Tiwari, who had been my Indian parents, the oldest grandson was getting married, and he came to the temple with his wife to be. No, no, maybe she didn’t come. Right? Not yet. But with all the other cousins, they all came to the temple for blessings. Like, there were 20 of these people between like 12 and 25 and they all came back, because it’s all a big family. They came back into the back with Ma, and we’re all sitting there. I was looking at these kids and there was so much love and affection between them.

I was like, “Whoa.”. And I was just thinking, like, I was just blown away by it.

And Siddhi Ma looked at me and she said, and I hadn’t said anything, she looked at me and she said, “You see Krishna Das? You see? You see what you missed by being born in America?”

Tell me about it. You know, the family life in the West, it’s very difficult, different from the family life in the East, for the most part. These days it’s different than it was back in the seventies, for sure. Because India has gotten cable TV, cell phones and Asian MTV, which they didn’t have back in the seventies. So there’s a whole other world going on there now.

So I looked at Ma. She said, “You see what you missed by being born in America?”

I said, “Ma, what is it? What is it with us Westerners? Why can’t we accept love? Why can’t we love? What’s going on here?”

She said some really interesting things. The first thing she said to me, she said, “Well, what were your parents thinking about when you were conceived?” Okay. Then she said, “What were they eating? What was their diet when, in their lives at that time?” Okay. Sacred cow, obviously, three times a day. That’s all that people ate. And then she said, “Affection was used to control you as a child.” And so love went out the window, because affection was used to control me and control the children. Immediately affection gets us something that you trade for attention, and you trade to get what you want, and that carries right over into all our relationships. You know, , we misconstrue love with desire and business, trying to get what we want from other people, what we need from other people, and that’s not unreasonable. It’s just, unfortunately it doesn’t work, but we never pay attention to that. We go from one to the other, to the other, to the other and we think it’s perfectly reasonable. Well, on one hand, it is. Right? But on the other hand, what we’re looking for can’t come from some other person. What we’re looking for is our true self, the love that lives within us.

One time I was telling Mr. Tiwari, I was telling him about this woman I was in love with, and I was going on and on and on, you know, and he just let me talk for a long time, and finally, when I finished, three years later, he looks at me and he says, “My boy,” he said, “Relationships, they are business. You do your business. Enjoy. Do your business. Enjoy,” he said. Not “Don’t do your business.” That was a big thing. “Do your business. Enjoy.” He said, “But love? Love is what lasts all day, every day, all the time.”

Love is our true nature. Love is always here, but we’ve covered it up with all our stuff and we’re looking in the wrong direction. So practice is what slowly turns us around and moves us more deeply into that love within us, right now. It is not somewhere else. It is not something else. It is not someone else.

Somebody once wrote, “Maharajji is nothing special, but his body fills the universe.”

That love fills the universe. And this is what we really want. This is what we’re looking for every minute of every day of our lives. But if we’re on this path at all, it means that we actually believe it could find it. And that’s a big thing. He said, “Do your business. Enjoy.” He didn’t say, “Don’t do it. Don’t have relationships.” He did not say that, because relationships are extraordinary teaching vehicles. They show us ourselves brutally, all the time, and when we begin to work with that, it’s a very powerful practice.

I’m really grateful to be here and really grateful to be listening to you. And it’s always invigorating. So thank you for that. Well, my first question is, what role do you think your formal spouse or partner plays in your personal spiritual journey?

You mean like my wife?


Well, she steals the covers every night. I wake up freezing and I try to get them back, but she’s got, she’s totally wrapped up in them. So, I have to go sleep on the couch in the living room.

No, just kidding. All relationships really are very much the same, and we’re in relationship to everything all the time, you know, and not just people. We’re also interconnected and with everyone and everything, including the earth, the sky, the sun, people, animals, plants, and in those relationships and all relationships, we can see our stuff. You know? It’s really powerful. Relationships are very extraordinary, extraordinarily powerful practice because we tend to project so much onto other people and onto the outside world, and we tend to just see our version of everything. So, when you have somebody else talking to you out there, they’re also doing that with you.

And so you go like, “Whoa, that’s how that person sees me? That’s what that person thinks I said? Now, wait a minute. I didn’t say that.”

“Yes, you did.”

“Well, wait a minute, but I meant this.”

So, that’s why relationships can be such good practice, because it shows us our stuff. It shows us where we’re tied, where we’re hiding, where we’re afraid and we’re shy, and we don’t know how to communicate. Learning how to communicate is a powerful spiritual practice, how to say what you feel without accusing another person.

Like, you know, “You make me feel like shit.”

Now that’s accusing that person of making you feel like shit. It’s much better to say, “I feel like shit when this happens. What is this about?”

And that gives a person a chance to speak back to you and say, “Well, I don’t know, but blah, blah, blah, blah.”

So that starts communication, and it’s an incredibly purifying practice. It really cleans our stuff. It really shines a light on our stuff, all relationships, you know. But as Westerners tend to really hide in relationships, you know, and we tend not to be able to really use them as practice because we’re hiding from ourselves and we don’t want to see that stuff, you know. Why we get attracted to a particular person? We don’t see everything we bring, all the subjectivity we bring to the moment. We don’t see all our needs, all our desires, that we’re hoping this will feel better. You know, it’s a big mess.

But I remember once when I was in India, many years ago, we were in Chitrakut, I was with Mr. Mrs. Tiwari and another great devotee of Maharajji named Jivanda, who recently also left the body. He was over 95, I think. And he was a wild guy. He was a great guy. So the first morning we arrived, we got there very early in the morning before the temple that we were going to stay at was open. It was still closed. So we sat in the car, outside the temple and right next to us, on the other side of the street from the temple, was this little hut on stilts and it was all closed up. We just noticed it. Right? And then at some point, the flat, the wooden door to the hut opens up, you know, it was only maybe eight feet long, you know, and maybe four feet, five feet, six feet deep or something, and the door opens up and this young woman steps out with a big clay pot, and she walks down the road ,and then she walks back with the pot on her head. She went to get water. And while she was down the road, this young man comes out of the hut, starts chopping some firewood, making some kindling and he starts a little fire and she comes back and she puts the water in the pot and starts to heat it up, you know? And they didn’t say a word to each other, you know?

There was no talking, but it was such a beautiful thing to see how they were just doing what they knew they had to do, what their role was ,perfectly. You know, it was amazing. Of course, the woman was very beautiful and Jivan said, ” Oh, they’re making Sundari chai. ”

“Sundari” means “beautiful.” And he said, “Let’s go get,” and everyday, he looked and me said, “Let’s go get some Sundari Chai,” you know, like this, you know, but it was such a powerful thing for me because, you know, so engrossed in my ,stuff and relationships being so difficult and so full of garbage and so much stuff, you know, just to see these two people doing what they had to do, simply quietly performing their tasks. Then maybe they’d beat each other up later, but we didn’t see that, you know.

I hope I said something that had something to do with your question. Okay.

I had another question too, which was a little bit different than my first one. And this question is really, what are your thoughts on the journey of the soul or like, life after death?

After death? I haven’t died yet, so I really don’t know. I’ll let you know, though, at some point if possible.

There’s so much talk about that. You know, there’s so many writings about that. I think the most important thing I ever heard about leaving the body was that, the only thing you take with you is your state of mind, and this is why we need to work on that while we can. Because at that moment, when we leave the body, we are unable to ,more than likely unable to work on ourselves at that point. So that’s why they always say do practice when you can, because when you’re really suffering it, when you’re in a lot of pain, when you’re ill, when you’re in terrible grief over a difficult situation, it’s very hard to practice, very hard to remember. We’re in it. We’re completely wiped out temporarily, completely by the emotions, the power of the emotions and the feelings that we have, and the suffering. So it’s the same with leaving the body.

You know, on the other hand, it’s also said that there are no dead beings. You know, bodies come and go, but the soul never dies. It just takes another form. So that’s a good thing to remember, especially when we’ve lost someone close to us physically. Like, you can’t see it, but right here behind the camera is a shelf, and all around the shelf of pictures of me with many of my elders who have left the body, and I don’t think there’s many elders left at this point. So many of my elders who I turned to for whatever are not available in the body anymore, you know. They moved on and, you know, watching Ram Dass as he came closer and closer to leaving the body, was such an extraordinary experience.

You know, he was so ready. He was just like a ripe mango, just ready to fall from the branch, naturally. It didn’t have to be pulled or picked, or the branch didn’t have to be shook. He was just ready to go, so open and relaxed and at ease, and there was no fear in him at all, and he was, it was a beautiful thing. It was so radiant. So radiant. It was really great.

There’s a lot of stuff you can read about that. That Tibetans really have a very specific practices about leaving the body and going through the in-between state they call the Bardo, where the, they don’t call that a soul, but where your essence is passes through a number of different experiences as it moves toward getting a new body.

But because we’re identified with our bodies and our thoughts and emotions and our egoistic, small “s” self, which only exists with this body, all those things disappear when this body goes and we’re in a different state, but because we identify so much with this stuff, we suffer terribly when someone we love disappears from this life, you know. And you know, we’re human. What can we do? That’s part of being human, is being attached to this, but it’s not required. And as we deepen our understanding and awareness and deepen our love, those hard edges that define me and you, they get softer and more and looser and they expand, and eventually you have a heart as wide as the world, and everyone and everything is a part of it. So there’s no coming and going from that place, but that’s big time. And that’s once again, not something you have to talk yourself into intellectually. It’s something we must and will sooner or later experience.

So I just wanted to ask you, if you could share about your relationship with Govindas and Radha from Bhakti Yoga Shala in Santa Monica.

You asked me about that. Did you write to me or something like that?

I wrote it on the last satsang,but you didn’t get to that. Oh yeah. I did write you about that as well.

Yeah. I don’t have much to say about it. I know them. I know Govindas for a long time, and Radha. I taught Govindas his first bhajan, his first kirtan, Baba Hanuman, and he’s taken it all the way to the, you know, to the depths of hell. No, he’s a good man. Good man. And yeah, that’s it. I don’t really, you know, they’re part of the greater satsang. I love them very much. And more than that, what can I say? And why do you ask by the way?

Well, you know, I’ve been in Govindas’s satsang for seven years or so. He’s the one that introduced me to kirtan. I’ve been doing a bunch of learning kirtan with him on his harmonium classes. And, you know, he’s like, I feel like he’s my connection to Ram Dass and to Neem Karoli Baba and Hanuman, and just trying to, I guess, keep closer to the community and learn more about our relationships with each other.

Then what do I have to do with it? Why are you asking me for? I’ve known them for a while, I thought maybe you had a fun story from a Bhaktifest, Shaktifest, anything behind the scenes?

Oh, no stories. He’s a good man, a good man.

Maybe any stories about Shyam Das?

Shyam Das was a wonderful being. He’s one of the few people that really stayed in India after Maharajji left the body. He stayed there in Vrindavan and really immersed himself in the Radha Krishna kind of devotional path. It was wonderful. He was a good friend, a good Gurubhai. I don’t really have many stories about him to share with other people. We knew each other very well for a long time. There’s a lot of love there. I was really broken up when he died, but what are you going to do? I’m sure he’s fine, wherever he is.

Thanks. No more questions. Thank you.

Hi, Krishna Das. Happy new year to you and to everyone. Thank you. I very much value your book recommendations. I just finished reading “Sometimes Brilliant,” and it was brilliant.

What a great book.

Yeah, really amazing. And a different version of the power of Maharaji. You mentioned Ramana Maharshi, and I was hoping you could recommend a work from Ramana Maharshi to read because you do quote him often and it’s very compelling, what you have to say.

Well, David Godman has written a lot of books about Ramana Maharshi and they’re really wonderful. But there’s a book by, I think it’s Arthur Osborne, called “Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self Knowledge.” I think that’s the name of it. That’s an introductory book. It tells a lot about his life and his story, and then later on, you can get into David Godwin’s books, which talk a lot more about his teachings and explain his teachings much more there.

He was a great, great, great, great Saint, you know, and he was, it was clear and as pure and as real as you’ll ever find. He didn’t do any business. He didn’t want anything. He was extraordinary and it’s an incredible story. So yeah. You’ll enjoy that. Yeah.

Thank you very much.

Hi. So I actually typed out a question and you’ve actually talked semi-about it already. We’ve touched base on it. I did the Menla Retreat this weekend. I’m still actively kind of doing it. So I was taking a bath this morning and I was out of the tub, you know, totally human and raw and was having a moment of overwhelming, you know, reflection of experiences I’ve been going through and presently I’m going through, and the retreat’s helping me. But I got to a place in my journey in the last year that I noticed, any time somebody genuinely would sit with me and give me space to remind me to be myself, I just, I just wondered… to me, I see a reflection about it because I’m not a sad person. I said, “Does this mean I’m this sad?” I almost feel like choked out by the world, and not allowing that when someone offers it without this dismissive way, this overwhelming sorrow ,and I’m trying to work with it. I was just hoping for a little more guidance of wisdom. What I have gotten to was, it feels deep and cellular and it’s almost like this impermanence of life and death. It’s almost like when you’re so in love with someone and you want to climb inside of them and just know everything about that.

So much, so many things happen to us, you know, that we’re not even aware of as we’re growing up. Some things we are aware of, but many things we don’t know, we don’t know what our parents went through in their lives. What happened to them? What broke their hearts? And we’re not conscious of the atmosphere that we live in as we’re growing up. We’re not conscious, but it’s affecting us terribly, very powerfully. Yeah.

that person you wanted to crawl inside was you, that would be good, but we have a lot of shame and doubt and fear about being good to ourselves and loving oursevles, and we don’t really feel it’s okay just to be me, you know. We’re trying, constantly trying to make ourselves look one way or feel one way or build some house on top of the quicksand that we feel that we’re living in, and we get panicked when that house starts to crumble. We try to make ourselves feel good about ourselves, but without being aware of all the issues underneath, it’s very difficult, you know? So, you can’t brutalize yourself into feeling good about yourself. It’s not a power trip and one needs to look into one’s heart and really try to feel what one needs to do to kind of solve this puzzle of why we feel the way we do about ourselves. You can’t use yoga and meditation and practice to create a “me” that you could like. It won’t work, you know? And I think we try to do that. We’d really try to do that and we’re hoping it will work, but it will never work. And every time it crumbles, we suffer terribly.

Don’t try so hard. Don’t try so hard. Probably you won’t be able to stop trying, but if you notice, “Oh, I’m trying so hard again. What am I trying for? What am I doing?” And you can maybe just kind of notice that kind of tension of trying to be something special. Everything you need is inside of you right now. And nowhere you go can get away from that because you’ll always be there, whether you’re sad, whether you’re happy. Everything we need is within us. And not only is it within us, but it’s actually who we are. So our work is to just keep letting go, releasing all the tension and the anxiety and the fear and coming home again, again and again, in a simple, easy way. You don’t have to breathe yourself into some kind of other planet. All you have to do is be you. Be here. Relax. Take it easy. The fear is the thing that hurts the most, because if we’re so afraid that there’s just a black hole in our hearts, there’s no way we’re going to go in there. But it’s the fear that makes it look like that.

So be at ease with yourself as much as you can. Learn how to listen to yourself as to what you want to do to help yourself. But notice when you’re trying to build a better, you. That’s not going to work.

So what I did notice was Nina and her beautiful daughter last night on the live broadcast. And it was a beautiful reflection, and there was one more mother and daughter, and it was a beautiful reminder of that craving that I feel, to want ceremony and to be seen and the lack of that.

Well, that’s good you see that. These are the programs that are running. Like Siddhi Ma said, this is the result of being born in America, being born into families that have all these issues. But it’s not a mistake. This is the work we need to do for ourselves. So it’s not like it’s being done to us. Don’t think of yourself as a victim. We’re not victims. We are co-conspirators in this moment with everything that we’ve ever experienced and everyone we’ve ever met. And as co-conspirators, we can also change this moment. We are not victims, but it takes reminding ourselves to calm our asses down again, and again, and again, and again, and again. This is the work. It’s not about trying to get something else so it gets somewhere else or have some kind of experience. It’s about letting go and allowing ourselves to be here, regardless of what’s going through our heads. That’s the hard part. Remember just to relax and breathe easy. Don’t change your breath. Let it come and go on its own and be with it. It’s rich and it’s real and it’s always here, your breath, and so that’s something you can always come back to.

 I catch myself not breathing a lot. I just like, yeah, don’t breathe at all, and I’m just, it’s almost like, you know, part of my soul is here and the rest of it’s somewhere else, and I’m tired and I just want to go back to it.

Back to? Your soul is right here. It’s looking out of your eyes right now. There’s nowhere to go to get it, but your thoughts and emotions take you away from here. You just have to come back, and when you notice you’re not breathing, sooner or later, you will be breathing again. What’s the big deal? And if you’re not breathing, it will be a whole different experience, won’t it? Try not breathing for a day or two. It’s not so easy.

It’s not. I try sometimes.

I’m sure you do. Just let it come and go. That’s the first thing. That’s a good place for you to really practice because obviously you’re aware of it a lot. So when you notice you’re not breathing at ease, just stop for two minutes, one minute and allow yourself to settle down. Come back to earth. Allow the breath to ease up and then go get stupid again for awhile. And then you’ll remember, “Oh, I’m not breathing.” Come back. Do this a hundred times during the day and it will change your day as time goes on. That’s a really good thing to remember. Remember to allow the breath to breathe. Don’t breathe it. Allow the breath to breathe. Allow the body to breathe as it wants to. Don’t try to stop it. Don’t try to relax. Nothing’s worse than trying to relax. It makes more tension. Just stop, sit down, or lie down for just a minute and allow the stomach to relax and the breath to come in and out on its own, and then go get busy again until you notice, and then stop again, just for a minute, just for a minute. Just stop for a minute. A thousand times a day, just stop for a minute. And those times will become less and less. And you’ll also relax mentally, too, because the breath is very attached to the thoughts and the mind. They work together. So when the breath is calmer and naturally more at ease, the mind will also calm down.

So please, whatever practices you’re doing, you’re free to keep doing them. But add this, where you just relax for a few seconds, a million times a day. Just relax. Don’t try. Just let go and let the body breathe. Cause it’ll do that. You are not breathing the body anyway. The body is breathing itself, and so you can always relax back into that. Okay? And then as time goes on, I think you’ll find new ways of working with the issues that you have, that we all have. But if we’re totally tightened up, it means the issues have got us, totally. So we have to just start from ground zero, just slow down and just tell yourself, “Okay, time to let the body breathe.” And then just for a few minutes, and then that’s all. Don’t try to be quiet. Don’t try to stop your thoughts. Don’t try to concentrate. Just let the body breathe. Okay?

Thank you.

All right. Yeah. That’s your work. Take good care.

Thank you for having me and thank you for having everyone here. My question is, so last summer when I was listening to Ram Dass and know I was also listening about Neem Karoli Baba, and you know, at that time I was not feeling his presence or anything, but recently I read “Be Here Now,” the first 20 pages and after, like for the next three days and even right now, I start, you know, the picture that you have behind him, and even the picture that he has put in the book, I started feeling around, you know, sometimes I would just close my eyes and I would start crying and I would just feel him, and I said to my friend, “Maybe, oh my God, maybe, you know, he’s my guru.” And I always loved Ram Dass, and maybe this is it. And he said, “Oh, but how do you know that you’re doing everything right when he’s not here in physical form?”

So basically my question is, does the guru have to be in physical form? And a guru finds you, right? But the guru, does it have to be in physical form? That is my first question. And second question is, what are you eating right now? I saw you eating something.

Which was the more important question?

Oh, I see. Okay. Just checking there, you know. The guru is never in a physical body.


It looks like that to us, but the guru is never identified with the physical body. That’s why a guru is a guru.


Yeah. Sometimes that a guru will enter into a body the way we get into a car and drive around. We’re not identified with the car, but we drive around and people see the car and we wave to them. So the guru comes into a physical body and says, “Hey, how you doing?” Gets our attention and pulls us out of our stupidity and confusion and sleepwalking and wakes us up, but the guru is never in a physical body, never identified with the physical body.

That’s what I thought, but then he said, “How do you know you’re in the right path? How do you know you’re doing whatever it is you’re supposed to do if nobody is guiding you?”

What do you mean, “nobody’s guiding you?” How could nobody be guiding you? The guru is not identified with that physical body, but he’s identified with the soul, and your soul is with you all the time, and the guru is with you all the time. But we don’t listen, we don’t know where to look and how to look, and that’s what spiritual practice is about, trying to contact that place within., Guru, God and Self, capital “S” self, soul, essentially, are one thing. They’re not different. And the guru knows that. The guru has realized that. We haven’t. So, to look for something outside of yourself, you’ll never find it anyway, and if it’s going to be the best thing for you to meet a guru in the physical body, then that will happen. If it’s not going to be the best thing for you or isn’t necessary for you, it won’t happen.

But in the meantime, what are you going to do? Hide in the room until a guru knocks on the door? No you’re going to live your life because the guru lives within you as your own true nature, as your own self, because there’s only one self in the whole universe, the paramatman, the Supreme self, and that’s within us.

So, when we can calm down and learn to trust our intuition and our own hearts and learn to really follow our deepest yearning and longing, then, you know, we have no questions, because guru is within and that’s all you have to know. Maharajji is here right now. Always. Once he takes your hand, he will never let go, even when we let go of his, which we do like a thousand times a day, but he never lets go. So live in that place. Keep coming back to that understanding and that feeling. And don’t worry about doing the wrong. If you were doing the wrong thing, how would you have been feeling him in the first place? That’s called worry, anxiety, fear. Let it go. Guru’s always with us, but we have to turn towards that place, and to remember to turn towards that place, and that’s why the repetition of the name is so powerful. Okay.? And Maharajji was always repeating “Ram.” Always.

One time, Maharajji was driving Ram Dass crazy, as usual, and so Ram Dass walked up to his tucket, all the way across the courtyard. We didn’t do that. We stayed and waited for him to call us, but this day, Ram Dass went across the courtyard, and he sits down on the ground next to the tucket, and he says, “Maharajji, I want you to raise my Kundalini!” Basically saying, you know, “Do it to me, get it over with, I’ve had enough of this shit. Get me out of here.” That’s what he was saying.

So Maharajji says, “Oh, I don’t know anything about that. You know that Baba down in the south? Oh, he knows that. You go see him. He’ll raise your kundalini.”

And Ram Dass got angrier and he says, “No, Maharajji. I want you to raise my Kundalini.”

He said, “Ah, yeah. Oh yeah, what’s that other Baba who lives over there? You know that Baba? He knows all about that. You go see him, he’ll raise your Kundalini.”

Ram Dass got even angrier. “No, Maharaji I want you to raise my Kundalini.”

Maharajji stands up, throws his blanket up over his shoulder, and he looks down at Ram Dass, and he says, I only know two things, “Ra” and “Ma,” the two syllables of the name of Ram, and he went into the back and left Ram Dass sitting there.

“Ra-ma.” That’s it. That’s all you have to do and you’re in the same place as him. Ram Dass wanted Maharajji to do something, but there’s no Maharajji to do anything. There’s only God and it’s all happening in its own time. Maharajji had so fully merged with God that he has no agenda of his own. Only God is working through him because he’s completely surrendered, merged, become one with, and that one lives in your heart as your true nature. It’s not something else nor is it somewhere else, nor can you find it somewhere. You can only relax into it as time goes on. So that’s why japa is so powerful.

Do your japa and become a good human being and treat everybody the way you want to be treated. Good luck. Okay? Is it a deal?


Okay. Take care.

See you soon, hopefully.

 It seems like there’s a resurgence in Sanskrit, not just in India, but around the world, and the meaning of those words and the loss of translation into English, and there’s a new Gita that’s just been recently launched called “The Gita Comes Alive.” It’s by Jeffrey Armstrong. It removes a lot of the colonized English that was like, Christian language that overlapped into Sanskrit, that there was no correlation directly, and translation is always very hard. But you know, you use some Sanskrit terms quite a bit in the chanting, and the mantras are Sanskrit words.

I have no idea what they mean, though.

You know, some. I hear you, you know. But it’s, at some level, do you think it’s important to, to dig into that? Do you think it’s important to dig into some of those deeper meanings if you’re ready?

If one is so inclined. Sure. Does one need that to drive to the supermarket without hitting somebody? No. Does one need that to be a good person in this world? No. Unless one feels one needs it. If one feels drawn to it, sure, there’s nothing wrong with it, but Maharajji never encouraged us with any of that stuff. He told us to do our japa and to serve people and to really, you know, love everyone, serve anyone, remember God. He didn’t say to become a Sanskrit scholar.


So the Sanskrit mantras that I do, I have no idea how I learned them, even. I don’t know what every word means, but I know what I’m doing when it’s Devi Puja, I know I’m worshiping that love in some form or another. And that feeling of devotional aspiration is very dear to me and it brings me into that loving presence, which is where I want to live. I never learned sargam. I never learned Indian music, which is an incredible science, because I don’t have time. I’m sorry. I’d rather be in love. I can’t be studying these things all day long. It makes no sense to me at this point in my incarnations.

The translation of the Gita that I like the most it’s by Christopher Isherwood and his guru, Swami Prabhavananda, I think his name was. Isherwood really is a great writer, a great wordsmith and a lot of the so-called Christianized versions, like of Juan Mascaro’s Gita, the Penguin Gita, that’s kind of not in there, and a lot of the words are very clear and specific. You know, it’s a nice, good translation. I like it. And there’s another book that’s hard to find. It’s called “The Yoga of the Bhagavat Gita” by Shri Krishna Prem, who was an Englishman who lived in India his whole life, and became like, a sadhu, and had a little temple up in the Hills, and was like, an extraordinary being, and he wrote this book. It’s a teaching about the Gita and it’s extraordinary, really fantastic. But other than that, what I read mostly is the lives of the saints, you know, how they lived, what they said, how they went through their days, and try to get a feel of what life looked like to them, from how they acted, the great yogis and the great Rinpoches, the great Lamas and the Sufi saints and Kabir and Rumi and Hafiz and the great Christian saints, Saint Serafin of Sarov. That’s what I like the most.

But yeah, on some level, if you’re going to use those words, it’s a good idea. You have some idea what they’re talking about, right? No question about that.

Yeah. What I found in a lot of yoga studios that is exploding in the west, they throw around a lot of terms. Most of the time they don’t know anything, and so it’s almost more of a service to people to maybe use some Sanskrit words and have that more in a conversation, like “soul” and “atma.” You know, they’re similar but different. You know, I found the deeper understanding of what that is. So that’s some thoughts.

Yeah, I agree. I mean, but what are you going to do? Yoga is big business and people are going to do what they do. It’s better than robbing and killing.

Sure, sure. Yeah. Just conversation.

Yeah. Good. So, I’m interested in this book. Which one? What’s the name of the book and who’s it by?

It’s called, “The Gita Comes Alive.” Jeffrey Armstrong.

Isn’t he a Buddhist scholar? Jeffrey Armstrong?

No, no, no. No, he’s a Sanskrit. He’s a, he’s a Bhakta, but it’s done with, instead of all the commentary, it’s just the reading of the conversation and it has the Sanskrit above in English, but he will put in Sanskrit words where there is not a real clear word for word, so you get a little bit more expansion of the meaning. Very helpful. Again, you just feel like you’re more in the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. And…

You realize that whole conversation happened in a billionth of a second. It was, you know, open up, close down. That was it.

 And we’ve read the Mahabharata this past year. Reading the Gita in that context is so helpful. I don’t know how you can go without the epic.

Yeah. I love the Mahabharata. It’s extraordinary. I mean, it’s an amazing story.

Blows the mind.

And it’s so poignant the way the different sides developed and how some of the greatest beings on the planet had to fight for the bad guys, because they had eaten their food. They had been supported by them. So they karmically owed them. Like Bhishma, you know. Very interesting stuff.

He’s one of my favorite characters in the whole plot. Unbelievable. It’s amazing you said that because that’s exactly, as you were talking, exactly what I was thinking is Bishma laying on the bed of arrows.

Yeah. He says, Arjun make me a pillow. So Duryodhana goes to find a pillow, and Bishma says, “Not that kind of pillow. Arjun!” A hundred arrows and he lies down on the pillow of arrows. Whoa. And then he waited. Nobody could kill him. He could only leave at his own, when he wanted to. So he waited for the perfect moment, when the sun was in the right position and boom.

Amazing. Amazing. Well, thank you. Maybe we’ll have coffee or chai at a diner on Long island sometime.

Yeah, in Great Neck. What do you call it? The Landmark Diner is a good place on Northern Boulevard.

Okay, Namaste. Thank you so much.

Ram Ram. Be well. The Gita Comes Alive. I will remember that.

Hey, thank you. It doesn’t really express everything that has been helpful to me over the years of being with what Love Serve Remember Foundation is doing, and all of you who were with Maharajji. This week in the Hanging in the Heartspace, you had a fairly deep question about suicide, and I don’t want to bring this whole thing down, but this is about the only place I know where I could maybe discuss. I’m not really looking for the answer. I think that would be asking way too much, but like most of the people, or maybe all the people on this call, I’ve had a lot of instances of grief and loss in my life. That makes me one of humanity. Two years ago, the most recent event was the suicide of my brother. And there were only the two of us and he was 10 years younger than me. And he was not making a cry for help. In fact, he never talked. He was rather unreachable, but he was the most lovable creature on the planet ever since he dropped on the planet. All through high school, people were just attracted to him because he was basically so lovable. You know, he’s a football player and all that stuff too, but so I’m thinking God is, whatever name we want to use, is so much bigger than I can comprehend or that any discussion would cover. You mentioned that it’s a serious thing to have interrupted, perhaps your, the Dharma of your life, but what I’m feeling, and I just wonder if this resonates at all with you, is that for my brother to have been the person that we did know, and to never reach out for help and to be so intensely miserable for so long that he just took his own life, done, I just feel that God has to have way more compassion for that than even any of the rest of us. I look at that and think, I wouldn’t wish my brother to be existing in that level of misery, unspoken unexpressed a minute longer than he did, neither would I wish the suicide, of course, but I guess it’s a comfort to me to think that God welcomed him, even if he did something that interrupted his journey. Does any of that resonate with you?

You know, nobody knows. All we have is our own version of things. We can’t know what another being is going through, really. We can only get some clues and imagine a little bit about what a person is feeling. We certainly don’t know what happens after a person dies. We don’t know why a person suffers the way they do in this life, and why another person doesn’t. This “God being somewhere to greet him.” This God is always here. We’re just not paying attention. I mean, that’s a nice way of comforting yourself, but you can also comfort yourself and say that God was always here and we’re just not paying attention.

Why a person does that and why another person doesn’t, it’s way beyond our pay grade, you know? Yeah. All we can do is be with that person, who’s still a person. That body is gone, but the being, the soul is still ,present still somewhere here. So we can resonate with that person and send that person kindness and love and caring. And we don’t want to lay anything on that person just because they’re not visible, physically visible anymore. We just want to love them and send them the best that we can send them. And that’s the best we can do. To try to understand why, nobody knows why. I mean, they say only a fully realized being can understand all the workings of karma and why we’re born into this family and why we’re born into that family and why our parents saw themselves a certain way, and why we absorbed that. The “why” is always beyond us, you know.

Even in the Rg Veda, which is the oldest scripture in Indian religion, there’s a hymn called The Creation Hymn. You want to think about why? Right. Okay. So this goes, “In the beginning, there was this. And then this happened and then this happened,” and it was like pages and pages of, “and then this, and then this.” And then after all these pages, it says, “and only he, and highest heaven knows why.” And the next sentence says, “or perhaps he does not know.” Right? So all we can do is love, sweetheart. That’s all we can do. And that’s the best thing we can do in any situation, love that person and wish them the best we can, and stay with him, keep him in our hearts and pray that his next birth is easier, and if we don’t believe in another birth, then whatever, just that his soul comes to rest and is at ease wherever he is. And don’t be concerned with why, you know. Everybody has their reasons for doing the things they do. And another person we’ll never know, you know, from the outside, and the best thing for us and them is to just hold them in our hearts and be with them in love as best we can.

That sounds right to me. Thank you.

You’re welcome. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Hi, how are you? Let me see. Well, her question just made me think of the two high schoolers I mentioned before that had been killed when I was in high school. I went and chanted for them at their grave, and somebody told me that helped release them. I don’t know if that’s true, but I find pennies and I feel there’s some release and I definitely don’t understand it, but it’s a strange thing this life, I guess, the things that happen in this world and all the suffering. So my question was about, it was about the Hanuman Chalisa. I find it a very powerful practice, and I guess I’ve been in a number of different groups where they teach that. They teach the Chalisa, or they teach mantra chanting, like bhakti as a form on the spiritual path. But many times there’s no conversation about yamas and niyamas, and I guess my question is, did Maharajji ever talk about, you know, that there are yamas and niyamas? Like, once you come on the path and if you’re chanting the Chalisa, you know, “every line,” he said, I read, “is Mahamantra.” So it’s really powerful. It has power in it, you know, and awakens your own inner power. So I don’t know, I think there should be some responsibility then with that. So I guess I was just wondering if he ever, if Maharajji ever talked about that, like ahimsa. You mentioned earlier what Jesus always said, or at least what they teach. Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Far as I know, he didn’t talk about those things that way. He told us to love everyone, to serve people and to remember God, and if you’re loving everyone, you can’t be creating negative karmas. There’s no question if you look around. First of all, for those of you who don’t know yama and niyama are the, in some ways you call the ethical rules of how to live in a good way and not to create negative karmas and suffering. And there’s a whole list of them, which I don’t know, but it’s easy to see, if you look around, that people’s neurosis, people’s selfishness and self-centeredness easily rips off the spiritual practice and makes people shinier and more egoistic and more self-centered, and this is a lack of the yama and niyama, which is essentially how you should behave if you’re not full of yourself and not full of egoistic craving and egoistic preening, which is what happens a lot on the so-called spiritual path. People decide they want to be on the spiritual path and they do some meditation and all that energy goes into their stuff because they have no awareness of that. So on that level, learning a little bit about ethical behavior…

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama talks about that a lot .That without becoming ethically correct, which means kind and caring, then you really can’t progress because everything you do will just feed your ego. So one has to have some self-awareness about those things.

I don’t think you have to memorize lists of things. You just have to see. Look at yourself and see what you’re doing, and hopefully you have the grace to see where you’re being very self-centered and how you were using the spiritual path to satisfy our, all our desires, which is not what it’s for necessarily, although desires might get satisfied on the way.

It’s very easy for our neediness to appropriate what looks to us to be the path, and we start using it to. Shine ourselves up. So more than that, I don’t really know, but if you’re dedicated to becoming a good person, a good human being and treating people well, which includes oneself, then there’s work you have to do in order to be able to do that. I don’t think it’s just enough to go “Ram Ram Ram” for a few minutes a day and think that you’re going to become enlightened. One has to take a look at oneself and see how one is spoiling the moment with one’s programs and one’s selfishness, and be honest with oneself about those things. And when one does spiritual practice, have some humility about it and allow the awareness that comes with that when you see yourself, to allow that, to allow you to let go of those things and become, let your heart open more, but it’s not easy because everybody hears their own thing. “Let your heart open,” means a billion things to a billion, different people. So it’s really difficult to talk about these things and get a message across. Like I said earlier, I quoted Ramana Maharshi and now everybody’s running around saying, “We’re all gods,” you know. Excuse me? That’s what I’m talking about, and like what Alan was just saying before, the real meaning of some of these words, is not easy for us because we are so immersed in our self-centeredness. It’s very difficult to figure out how to even recognize that.

So all those things being true, Maharajji said, “From repeating the name, everything is accomplished”.

So go on doing your practice. Repeat the name and pray for grace. And that’s what I say. So I’m not a big scholar. I’d rather be in love than read about it. Although reading about it’s not bad sometimes.

Yeah. I guess just as a corollary or connected to that, like when people aren’t nice in these spiritual groups, how do you not get upset by it? I mean, I say Metta and I say “Ram,” and I try to remember to say, “Ram Ram Ram.”

When you’re doing Metta, you’re not trying to change somebody. You’re trying to love them as they are. You’re not trying to make them some other way. What’s to be upset about? You’re feeling the love. When you’re offering the method, you’re feeling the self, the kindness and the compassion and the friendliness of offering loving feelings towards people. It has nothing to do with how they accept or not accept. Your Metta is your Metta.

Now, what effect it has on other people in their immediate daily lives, we don’t know, but that’s not our business. Our business is to make the offering. It’s an offering. When you make an offering to Maharajji, you don’t sit around and wonder, “Does he like it? Did he take it?”

The very first time I was in the room with him, we gave him our apples. We heard you bring apples. So we brought apples and put the apples down next to him. And he took them and threw them to the other people in the room. And I went like, “He didn’t like the apples.”

And he immediately turned to me and he said, “What did I do? Did I do right? Did I do right? What did I do?”

And I said, “I don’t know.”

He said, ” Did I do right?”

I said, “I don’t know.”

He said, “When you have God, you don’t need anything.”

I wanted him to need my apples for him. I gave my apples to him, but he wasn’t identifying with being him. The apples just went to the rest of the room, to the other devotees there. He himself didn’t need anything. So when you make the offering, you make the offering. It’s not your business, our business to figure out what he did with it, or didn’t do with it. Same with another person. That’s not our job. We’re not running the universe. We’re not even running our own universe, you know. We’re just like completely screwed up. So we make the offering. That’s all we do. That’s all we can do. And that’s a huge thing. Making an offer. Of kindness and caring about people. That’s all. Whether they respond or levitate up directly to God in a minute, you know, that’s not our business.

My business is making the offering and that’s plenty. That’s humongous. That’s the biggest thing anybody could ever do is make an offering like that. But you do what you do, but the fruits of your actions are not up to you. The results are not yours to create or run the show. You do what you do, that’s enough.

And the people who were murdered when you were in high school, did you ever read that letter that Ram Dass wrote to the parents and that young girl who was raped and killed up in Seattle? It’s one of the most beautiful things. It’s very intense. Very intense. I mean, it’s a serious dose. This young girl was raped and killed in an early age, and the parents wrote to Ram Dass, and he responded and it’s one of the most beautiful things you could ever imagine. So I’ll try to read that. We’ll try to get it up there. It was very beautiful, the way he responded and why things happen. We don’t know. We can never know. Really, all we can do is offer our hearts wish the best for everyone. And certainly prayers and practices that you offer to people is also a wonderful thing.

But as that guy said, you take the splinter out of your own eye first. Then you can take the splinter out of somebody else’s eye. You know, if we want to help other people, we can’t be needing so much help ourselves, because we’ll grab all that. We’ll take all that.

When I started chanting with people, I had to quit because I saw that I couldn’t do it, that I was going to use all this stuff coming to me for my own sake, to feed my own hungry desires, because that’s what I am. That’s who I was at that point. And it horrified me because that’s not why I was doing this. I was doing this to find Maharajji’s hand again, which I had let go of. Not that, he never let go of mine, but I let go of his, and now I needed to find his hand, and I was not going to be able to do that because I was distracted by all the stuff that was coming to me and I was hungry and I needed to feed. So I quit. I couldn’t do it the right way and it wasn’t going to even work because I was doing it the wrong way, and I was being prevented from doing it by my own stuff, by me. So where was I going to go to get saved from me when I’m everywhere. There was no escape. So I quit.

And I said, “You have to fix this. You don’t fix? I don’t sing. That’s the deal. Good night.” You know?

And he fixed it. Not right away. He made me suffer for a few months, but then he fixed it and I was able to come back and sing again. So do what you do and really do it. Don’t care what anybody thinks. Don’t care whether the universe responds in a way you think they should or not respond. That’s not your business. Take care of yourself. Clean your house. Clean your room. New sheets on the bed. A place where you can lie down in comfort, and from that place of comfort in your own heart, that will emanate to everyone, all directions. You won’t have to do anything. It’ll happen naturally.

Maharajji did nothing, but the whole universe danced to his tune, dances to his tune, because that’s the way it is when we transcend our personal version of stuff. It’s so liberating. The whole universe dances. And then we have to take responsibility for our stuff, you know? Not responsibility, that’s not the right way to say. We have to see how our programs push us around. We all have these programs, and they’re always running, no matter what we’re doing, whether we’re sitting, chanting, singing, standing on our heads, serving people. The programs are still running and that’s okay, but as time goes on, we become more aware of those programs and can let go of that pushing that we feel from inside that pushes us to do stuff, to try to get stuff and be a certain way. it’s oppressive, and loving other people, caring about other people and not thinking about ourselves all the time is a really big thing.

But once again, it’s not in our power to stop that. It’s only in hour power to notice and keep the repetition of the name going and the prayers and the Chalisa and the good wishes for the world and ourselves, and the change happens gradually, you know.

How can we know why things happen to other people? We can’t even take care of ourselves properly. We’re just babies. So someday we’ll grow up a little bit. That be nice. Meantime, we have to get our diapers changed. We can’t even change them ourselves. Anyway. Okay. Yeah.

Did we find that yet?

Yeah. I put it in the chat. It’s called, “A Letter to Rachel.”

Yes. To Rachel’s parents, actually, right?

Yeah. The URL says that yes, it’s for Rachel’s parents, but it says

It’s very intense, but really read it, and then read it again, and then read it again, and then read it again. It’s a very powerful response to very tragic and painful event. But it’s a very real response, a very true response. But it’s intense, very intense. But once again, I consider it to be the most useful perspective that one could have in a situation like that. It’s not an Uplevel, it’s not a spiritual bypass. It’s a spiritual, if you want to use that word, way of being with it, in a way that is positive, and frees us from being destroyed by the power of that negative karma, and in so doing transforms it into a situation that is livable with, we can learn from, and the suffering, it doesn’t go away, but it’s like seeing something from a thousand miles high in the sky, seeing something on the earth. It changes your perspective, not in a bypassing way, but in a real way.

Hi there. I’m actually in the UK in lockdown.

Very good. How you doing?

I’m okay. Thank you. My question actually touches upon the relationship with the spouse that you discussed at the beginning, but I’d like to refer it to parenting. And I just wanted a little bit of advice, really. I understand about relaxing and letting go and finding balance in order to see oneself, but I often feel lost because I’m navigating these external demands, worries, distractions of having children, and even though I know that if I thrive, they thrive. However, when they suffer, I suffer. It’s just really hard. And I wondered if there was a little, I don’t know, magic recipe for not feeling this push from the outside or this pull that is just so distracting, because I’m trying. I want to be my best self and I want to be my best self for them. However, I’m scared a lot. And the other day they were messing around and I was so proud of myself because I didn’t interfere. I didn’t helicopter. I purposely made an effort to let it go. And then one of them ended up getting a concussion, and now I’m beating myself up about that. So, if it’s flow, not force, why did that end up in one of them being, having a head injury?

What was the thing you said?

I was trying to exert flow, not force and trying, despite my instincts to protect them, I tried to take a step back and then one of them sure enough injured himself before my eyes and it just made me really sad that I would try and be against my nature, which is to be over-protective, trying to just, like you said, relax, breathe, let them be.

Yeah. But do the right thing, also. We don’t have to do it with fear, but you can do the right thing. Not that you aren’t doing the right thing. I’m in no position to judge. Things happen, of course. But it sounds to me you’re really overthinking this stuff way too much. Really. Way too much. Way too much.

Don’t think so much. Follow your heart. Protect people who need protection. If you’re really paying attention, perhaps those situations will arise where you’ll just be there, that you can jump in at the right moment. Just be. You’re a mother. Be a mother, and don’t worry about being this or that. Do what you have to do. You sound like you’re constantly holding yourself up to some image of what you think you have to be. And you’re trying to adjust your behavior based on your own judging of this image that you think is what you’re supposed to be. What if it’s not what you’re supposed to be? What if it’s just a trip you’re laying on yourself?

Just relax. Take it easy. That doesn’t mean letting everything happen. You still have to protect and take care of the people you have to protect and take care of, but you can do it with more awareness and less fear. I think the fear is a program that’s running from somewhere, other else from something else.

You know, you take care of people. Feel what has to be done. Like you overrode your feeling with your mind and somebody was hurt. Why you would override your feelings I don’t understand. Do you think it’s not spiritual to have feelings like that? That’s bullshit. Be a mom. And then when they’re 17 and they don’t like you anymore, it won’t make a difference what you did. That’s going to happen anyway. Do what you have to do. Don’t try to be spiritual and don’t try to do everything right. There is no right. Be you at a hundred miles an hour, which is caring and loving and super aware and protective. What’s wrong with that? It sounds like you short circuiting yourself out.

I don’t understand. Why? Don’t. Don’t do it. Be engaged fully. Don’t be sitting back, judging yourself, thinking about what the right thing to do is while your child gets hurt. Be there. Protect. Be, you know, be a hundred percent there, and then you’ll notice you can’t be. You keep wanting to be somewhere else other than where it’s happening. Get over that. Spiritual means being where you are and dealing with things as they arise as best you can, not longing to be sitting in a closet with your eyes closed while your kids are burning the house down. That won’t work, you know. Be a mom. Nothing better in the world. Except you think that there’s some other place to be, and there isn’t. This is your life. Live it 110%. Everything changes. When you’re a mom like this, there’s no time to sit down and calm yourself down. There’s always something to be doing, always something to be engaged in, but you can be present in that.

You don’t have to be panicked. If you weren’t looking for some place to go to get away from it, you’d be able to be much more present. You know, Mark Epstein, the Buddhist psychiatrist, talks a lot about parents who hate their children for being there and grabbing their attention all the time. And it’s almost like, “Oh no.” Endicott I think was the name of that British psychiatrist who wrote about that. I think it was Endicott. And you know, people would say, “Oh, how dare you talk like that? You know, mothers don’t hate their children.” Are you kidding? Of course they do. They resent their children. Many of them at times. Why not? It’s natural. Not all the time, but there are times where you would rather sit down and watch television and you’ve got a screaming, hungry kid and you have no time for yourself.

So if you want to work on, with that so-called spiritually, stop trying to be somewhere else. Be where you are. If you weren’t so busy fighting with yourself about trying to get away from all this, it would be much more easy to be with what’s happening. And deal with your issues about it all too, by being aware of them. Nothing’s off limits. Every feeling we have as human beings is workable with, is understandable, and it’s okay to have it because it’s there. But if you deny your feelings, you create tremendous tension in yourself. So it’s okay to be upset that your kids are ripping off all your time, but they’re also your kids. And you asked for this. You got it. Now be with it. Don’t try to get somewhere else. That’s not going to work. It’s not healthy for you. And it’s not healthy for the kids. Be a hundred percent engaged and you’ll try to be at ease. There’s no place where you’re going to be able to slip away for five minutes of quiet because your mind will be destroyed anyway. You couldn’t be quiet, you know, even if you went on a three-week retreat right now and the kids were covered, you would be a mess for three weeks. You know, that’s not what you’re doing right now in life, retreating. You’re mothering. That’s what you’re doing and do it the best way you can.

And then you’ll be doing the next thing the best way you can. And you’ll be doing every moment the best thing you can. There’s nowhere else to be except where you are. And this is what life has for you, right? This is your guru. Everything in your life is your guru. Respect it and treat it well, and be aware of how hard that is to do and how conflicted we are about that.

“I don’t know how this happened. I want better…”

We know how it happened. So now this is what it is now. So be with it. All we can do is the best we can do. That’s all. Perfection is some dream. There is no perfection. This is your spiritual path right now, everything in your life. Trying to be somewhere else is an illusion. There’s nowhere else. You’re here. Deal with everything in your life the best you can. There are no mistakes. This is not a mistake. This shouldn’t have happened to you. No, of course not. This is the way it is. You haven’t made a mistake. This is not bad karma. If you could only be free to meditate or wander around in India, everything would be much better. Not true. Absolutely not true. Absolutely not true. That’s just deluded fantasy. There’s no reality at all, you know. That’s just another way of you not being present. So be present. Be with it. All your kids and you deserve the best. So give it your best. Give yourself your best.

And when you’re in love, you don’t even want to be anywhere else. So love means just letting it be as it is, and allowing that wanting to run away thing, allowing that to go away because there’s nowhere to run, and your life as arranged that became a really neon sign reality, nowhere to run nowhere, to run nowhere, to run nowhere, to go ever anywhere. And of course in this time of pandemic and isolation and lock down, everything is a billion times more painful than it would be under normal situations.

So recognize that it’s not all you, with the tension and the fear and the anxiety and all the emotionalism. It’s not all your own. It’s the whole world. And we’re participating in that, all of us. It’s not just our own stuff. It’s everybody’s stuff. It’s a huge web of fear and pain and anxiety and worry, all those things that we’re locked into on a vibrational level, and it makes everything worse. So recognize that and say, “okay, fuck it. I’m not going to get caught in it. Relax. It’s not all my own stuff,” but we take it as our own always, you know, so take a few deep breaths and get back into the battle.

Everything I say to all you, I’m saying to myself as well. I hope you understand that. Yeah, I’m really talking to me and my own stuff too. I have the same issues everybody has. So I’m very thankful that you show up to show me all my stuff and how to deal with all my stuff, shit loads of stuff, endless shit. Loads of stuff. What am I going to do? Where am I going to go where it’s not going to be? I’ve been in India. It was there. I’ve been other places. It was there. Everywhere I am, it is. So you stop running away from it and you start to just be with it. And your practice is to be with what’s going on. Don’t try to find a quiet place to practice. Okay? You won’t find it. If you do find a minute alone on the couch, just breathe, but don’t run away from stuff to find a quiet place. It doesn’t work. It’s a delusion. The quiet place lives within you as your own nature. It’s your own space, but it’s full of stuff right now. It seems full of stuff. It’s always bigger than this stuff. It’s as wide as the sky and everything’s inside of it, but we identify and get caught with the clouds and the stuff inside. And we don’t know how to see the sky. We don’t notice the sky around everything. So we get very reactive to all the stuff in the sky.

And even when we do see the sky, we try to hold on to it and push everything else away and don’t let anything else come into the sky, but it’s already there. We don’t have to hold on to the sky. It’s already here, always. So everywhere you go, you are, and every reaction and every interaction, and every relationship, with your children, with everybody.

So just stop trying to get away from it because there’s nowhere to go.

Hey, Krishna Das.


My question is, I’ve heard you talk about meeting the old Baba in the jungle.

He just left the body by the way.

Oh, he did?

Yeah, he was over 200 years old.

He said to you, “Ishta Shakti,” is how I’ve heard you say it.

“Iccha.” “Iccha” means “desire.”


Iccha Shakti, , the power to get your desires, or “willpower,” is what that means.



And so, do you have any like, specific advice on that, on how to work on that part of us? Did he give you anything, you know? Did you, I’ve heard you mentioned standing on one foot, like joking, so that’s, that’s stuck in my head, but yeah. Any other specifics?

No, he didn’t. No, but what he showed me, I saw myself in another way. He showed me that inside myself, and I saw that, what I was doing to myself, how I was tripping myself up, how I was afraid to kind of get out there and go after the things that I myself wanted. I wouldn’t let myself do. I put chains around my own feet. It was just a weird thing. I wasn’t using my willpower to get what I wanted in life. It was very strange. I mean, it was an amazing, I had no idea until he showed me that. And just seeing that was enough to change everything. So just recognizing that, trying to see that in yourself is, if it’s the case for you, is enough.

There’s no practice to do. I wasn’t even doing any practice cause I was not, I was hiding from myself, you know? And the other thing I saw was that there wasn’t worldly life and spiritual life. It’s just life. One thing is not better than another thing. It wasn’t like, this is the good stuff, and this is the bad stuff. Everything with the world and desires are bad and everything with the so-called God up in the sky, which is God knows where, you know, is good. No, it’s just my life. And I was fucking it up. I wasn’t doing anything, you know. And if I didn’t use my will… and the other thing I saw is that if I wasn’t using my will in the world, that it meant that I wasn’t even able to use my will for so-called, in spiritual practice, either. My will was being compromised by my, whatever, my fears, my anxieties, my self doubt, whatever it was. And that was carrying over into everything in my life. Not just like daily life, but singing and chanting and meditating. I was crippling myself all across the board.

So that was a big thing to see that. Yeah, it was a very good blessing to get. Yeah. It was like, I thought, it was like, “This is beneath me,” you know, these things, and “I just want this,” and I was like, “Wait a minute.” You know, it’s not like that. There’s only one life, your life. That’s it. And everything in it, is in it.

Don’t be judging some things better than another thing. “Spiritual things are better and, you know, getting laid, is not good.” No, that’s bullshit. Go after what you want. That’s the only way you’ll know if you want it or not, or if it’s really what you want. You’ll always find that, no matter how good or bad something is, it doesn’t last.

Anyway, the only thing that’s going to last is who you are, the love that lives within us. Everything else is temporary. It’s not bad. It’s just temporary. It’s not what we really want, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have it. Why not? When Tiwari said, “Do your business, do your relationship. Do your business.” Enjoy. But don’t think that’s everything because it reveals itself as never being enough anyway, and it reveals also to us that we think those things should be enough.

“If I find the perfect relationship, I’ll always be happy all the time. I’ll always feel bliss.” You know, it’s not like that. The only thing that’s bliss is your true nature. Everything else is okay sometimes, you know, not okay other times. So don’t be afraid of jumping into life. That wouldn’t be good. That’s not healthy. If you don’t jump into life, you’re not going to find who you are, which is God. You’re not going to find love if you’re not jumping in. If you try to protect yourself, you’re putting up a wall around your heart and you won’t be able to feel if that wall’s up. You know, I’m not telling you to go out and be stupid, but I’m telling you that for me, I had to go after the things I wanted and not pretend I didn’t want them. That was not helpful. That was hurting myself. And I was pretending I didn’t want them because I thought they weren’t holy, they weren’t spiritual, they weren’t good, you know, and that was not the case. They’re just what they are.

And next victim.


All right.

Thank you.

Try to get lost. One second. Try to get lost. Go ahead. You know, try it. You won’t, it’s not possible. You’re always there. You’re in it. You know, you can’t get lost because you’re always here wherever you are.

“I’m lost.” Who said that? “I said that.” Where are you? “Right here.” Okay. Next.

You know, the fear of losing yourself is what stops us from getting into our lives, so to speak, but you can’t lose yourself. Where could you go where you won’t be? And if you’re not honest with yourself about your desires, and if you don’t feed those hungry desires that are useful to feed, how will you progress? You’re pretending you only live from the neck up. What about the rest of your body? You know, it’s not there? Last time I looked, it was there. Doesn’t work the way it used to, but that’s the way it goes when you get old. Good luck. Okay.

Happy new year. My question, very quickly, it hearkens back to the young lady who spoke about discovering the guru and the guru is no longer in his body, or trying to find a guru, and for me that I have a tremendous distrust of my own mind in terms of, if I hear a message, how do I know that that’s me or my higher power, so to speak, speaking? My question is, how do you navigate that process of trying to connect with the higher power or Maharajji, per se, and not misinterpreting messages from my own will in terms of what I think I should do?

I have no idea what you’re talking about, “messages.” You mean like, so you get a telegram or something, or an email from God. Is that what you’re saying?

No, just, you know, like if I decide that I want to do something or buy something or change my career or something, how do I know if I’m not mistaking that message from my own will speaking as opposed to, you know, I’ve had other friends who say like, “Baba wants me to blah, blah, blah,” and I have a distrust of that.

Well, that you should. Baba doesn’t want anything other than you to be happy. So you do what you want. That’s how you find out what you want. You’re not getting messages from the beyond. You’re the message. You live your life, the best way you can.

Do what feels right to do. If it turns out it wasn’t right, you learned a lesson. Next. There’s no messages. There’s no guarantee on that level that what you’re going to do is going to be whatever, you know. It doesn’t even matter. Just live. There’s no messages. Your life is the message.

People write to me all the time and say, “I have a message from Maharajji.” I say, “Thanks a lot. Keep it”. You know? I don’t want to know. He doesn’t need anybody to give messages. He just moves you to where he wants you and that’s the deal. He doesn’t ask. He doesn’t have to. It’s all done in love. Nobody can tell you anything.

You have to trust your heart, trust your intuition. If you want to buy a new keyboard, buy a new keyboard. If that puts you in the poor house, you’ll learn not to buy another keyboard next time. It’s not that you need to have a message beforehand. That’s just fear. That’s just your own fear of life, of living, you know, that’s the way you trip yourself up.

You’re not using your will. That’s not useful. That’s very destructive even thinking about things like that. Those people got a message from God, God bless them.. You know? I have no idea what they’re talking about. So you live. You live. God lives within you as who you are, the love that lives within you.

That’s what you want. But we look outside all the time. We get very busy and we forget to recognize our true nature, because it’s not easy. But to stay at home because you get this message like, “Oh, I’m afraid I shouldn’t go out today.”

Really? You know? I’m like that. If somebody tells me to sit down, I stand up. You know, KK was like that. You know, Maharaji would say, “Stay here.” and he would go home. Maharajji would say, “Go home” and KK would stay there. Maharajji would say, “Eat.” KK would fast. Maharajji said, “Fast.” KK would eat.

And nobody could be closer to Maharajji than KK. Just live, man. And be honest with yourself about these issues and try to recognize where that fear is and how it pushes you around and try to release it in any way you can, whether we want to talk to somebody and get some counseling and therapy about these issues, that we can’t quite grip, and practicing letting go. This is all useful, but I have nothing to do with messages from anybody.

Maharajji doesn’t leave messages. You know, even Siddhi Ma, sometimes she would start to tell me to do something or not do something and she would stop. Like one time we were on our way to Bhadrinath, which is a very long and difficult journey through the mountains, and you know, if you go two feet off the road, on one side of the road, you would fall like a thousand feet into this valley. So it gets pretty intense. So she was about to tell us, she said,” It’s a very dangerous journey. You should do Hanuman Chalisa all the way. Nevermind. You’re covered.” You know? It’s like Maharajji said, ” Ap!, they’re covered. Don’t tell them to do anything.”

So you’re covered, you know, but you don’t feel covered. So it’s up to you to find out why and to learn how to release that fear. You don’t need messages. Just listen to yourself, listen to your heart and do what you want.

That’s the last thing Maharajji told me, “do what you want.” So I that’s been my practice and yeah. Did it take me to some weird places? Oh boy. Yeah. That’s the X-rated version of “Chants of a Lifetime.”. It will never be written, but here I am, I’m doing what I want. Now. All I want to do is chant with people and sing, and that’s it. How it got to that place, I have no clue, but I went from what I want, to what I want, to what I want, to what I want. Here we are.

So you’ve got to have some courage when it comes down to it. Don’t let anybody tell you what to do. That doesn’t feel right to you. Don’t do that to yourself. Listen to your heart. If it feels right, fine. If it doesn’t, fine. More than fine. Just listen to yourself. You know better than anybody else what you want to do. And if you’re not doing what you want, how will you get what you want? You’ll always be hungry and never feeding yourself. Desires are not bad. They are not meant to be destroyed. They are meant to be transcended. That’s a very big difference. That’s when you realize that those desires for certain things will never satisfy.

So you get over it, and it stops meaning the world to you. And on the other hand, it’s up to you to figure out how to get through the day. What I just told you is pretty much what I do for myself. I don’t know that that’s right for you, but whatever it is, you have to learn to listen to your heart and trust yourself and take responsibility for yourself and not be swayed by other people and their versions of things, not even your own mind, because your own mind is all full of fear. And your emotions are full of fear and frustration and longing. So one has to do what one can do to work with that stuff and to release it and not to beat oneself up for being somebody who wants to beat oneself up.

That’s a good one.

Yes. Yes. There’s that.

I think you got it. Okay.

Okay. Thank you. Thank you.

Thanks for coming again. And I appreciate everybody showing up and just remember, this time is very hard and the tension in our heads is not all our own personal tension. It’s the whole world, and it makes everything worse during this and harder to deal with in this period.

So, you should just try to chill as much as possible and just relax and let go and be as good to ourselves as we can and not try to figure everything out right now because it’s very difficult. So this is very intense time. Just keep letting go and try to be good to ourselves. Okay. Ram Ram. Take good care. Namaste, everybody.




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