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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 July 18 2020
“The only answers that you need have to come from you. There’s no shortcut there. You have to listen to your own heart about what you want to do and what you need to do, and then you have to have the courage to go do it, if that’s what it takes.” – Krishna Das
The bottom line is that no matter what the issue is, no matter what the suffering is, the real pain is in the mind, because that’s how we’re reacting to the physical, if there is physical issues, and if it’s mental issues, it’s also the way we react, and the only way to overcome or transcend or thin out or leave behind those reactions is to be able to invoke a deeper place within us, the presence of the love that lives within us, in whatever form opens your heart to that; counseling, therapy, talking; every other kind of assistance one can get. All they do is, they help us to let go. And the greatest help that we can get is to train ourselves, to release the stuff and move more deeply into our own hearts and into our own being.
So, Maharajji always said, “Constant repetition of God’s name, even without feelings of devotion, in anger or lethargy, brings out His grace.”
And once this is realized, then there’s no misunderstanding about anything anymore. There’s no… True faith and true understanding arises. But to reach that point, now, this is me, to reach that point where we actually have that experience, it takes some work on our path, on our part. We have to align ourselves, first with the real intention to overcome suffering, the intention to understand where it comes from, and the practice to build up the internal muscles to be able to let go. You can’t let go of something unless you have something else to hold on to. So, we hold on to the repetition of the Name and to, eventually the realization that brings to us directly, to us, ourselves, within us. We hold on to that and then it becomes easier to let go of this stuff.
So, I guess that’s the deal. See ya.
Q: Hi Krishna Das.
How are you doingn?
Did Maharajji ever speak to unscrupulous teachers and… well, let me… a little background, I received the teachings of yoga for the last three years from someone that I just found out was abusing their power as a teacher among my friends and other, and colleagues and my sangha, and my work now is to separate the teaching from the teacher, I think. That’s what I’m trying to do, and what you just opened with is definitely something I can do. But I don’t, I’ve heard you speak about it before, but I thought it was never gonna happen to me. So, I didn’t really pay attention.
So, your yoga teacher has been abusing his or her position as teacher?
Well, regardless of what kind of abuse it is, if it’s something that doesn’t feel right to you, yoga teachers are, there’s like 40 yoga studios on every block. Go somewhere else.
Like Starbucks. Yeah. Oh yeah. I’m definitely going to myself.
It’s no reflection on you that it hurts, that you were part of that group.
What do you want to know? You did the right thing. You left. So, you leave those people to do whatever they have to do. Some people find it hard to recognize abuse and some people find abuse everywhere. So, it’s really up to you, what your experience is with the situation, how you feel about it, and whatever karmas this person has created, they’ll be living through that for a long time. So, there’s no reason for us to be angry, because anger just destroys whatever we have to offer and whatever’s in our own hearts.
It’s better to develop compassion. Compassion is not making it okay, saying it was okay for that person to do that. It’s recognizing that people who hurt other people are not only hurting other people, but they’re hurting themselves, and they themselves will suffer terribly because everybody has to live through their karmas. There’s no slippage in that system, apparently. So, but when we see how hard it is for us to get through the day without having negative thoughts and angry thoughts and hurtful thoughts about ourselves and other people, we can begin to expand that understanding to see how hard it is for other people to not hurt themselves and other people, and in doing so, creating more suffering for everybody. So then, you know, then your heart starts to soften a little bit and you don’t, you don’t create more karmas from your reactions.
Somebody once said to me, the teaching of betrayal is trust.
Yeah. So, let’s think about that.
What does that mean?
The teaching of betrayal is trust.
That’s the thing I don’t want to lose. I’m a trusting person and I trusted this person and I don’t want this experience to change my heart for people.
Don’t let it. It’s up to you. Right? But it’s work you have to do. You can’t just push it aside and let, “Oh, it’ll calm down. It’ll go away.” No, it’ll stay with you.
So, you have to work with that. You have the Metta practice, the Loving Kindness Meditation is great for this, but remember, you offer that to yourself as well. Right? You start with yourself and then you expand it to other people, and when you, when you start to offer it to this person, you’ll notice your heart start to clench.
So, stay with it for a little while. Don’t push, then come back to yourself and then you go, you offer it to somebody who has always been on your side, who’s always been there for you, physically or not physically, but somebody who you truly trust completely, and who has always been, and you start to offer that to them, and then your heart starts to get light again. And then you sit with that for a while, you experience that, and you allow that feeling to permeate and recognize it, and then you bring that other person to mind again. And then you’ll watch your heart clench.
So, after some time, maybe 20, 30, 40 years, the heart won’t clench, and that means you’ve done it. You’ve overcome. You’ve learned the lesson of betrayal. Because somebody who doesn’t have the issues won’t be hurt by something like that. Like, Maharajji, he used to say, “People come here and try to fool me.” He said, “I go on fooling the whole universe and people come here and think they can fool me.”
So, he wasn’t hurt by people’s stupidity and people who manipulate and people’s greed and anger and all that stuff, because he was, he’s beyond that, but we, our job is to get down into the nitty gritty with that stuff, and really clean it out of our hearts, and then we can never be hurt and we can deal with things more efficiently and see things more clearly in the first place.
Who knows? If you were in a different state of mind, you might’ve taken one look at this guy and walked the other way in the first place. You know? But you were attracted to something in him or her, some shine, something, and you wanted something from that situation. You wanted to be recognized maybe. You wanted to become a part of something.
All of it.
So, that’s how we betray ourselves. So, the lesson of that betrayal is trust, is learning to trust one’s self, right? So, you buried the things that you saw and you didn’t want to see those things. You wanted something. So, you overrode your, whatever things you saw that you might not have overridden in a different situation.
So, the betrayal is your own betrayal, our own betrayal, and the trust is our own trust. So, eventually you really thank this person for being an asshole, and teaching you how to trust yourself. You’ll see how all the different places in your own life, where that behavior was functioning all the time under the surface and you never noticed it before. You’ll start to notice that, and you’ll get free of that. We’ll all get free of that if we do this work, if we do that, if we do the practices and really have the right intention.
Wow. You clarified so many things for me and two of my favorite words of yours, “gradually” and “inevitably.” So, thank you so much. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Oh, hi, Krishna Das. Do you remember me from like a month ago? My mom had passed away and you were very helpful. From Stony Brook. Remember we talked about Stony Brook? Anyway, I’ve been doing much better. Thank you. And that really helped me when I spoke to you last time. I just wanted to ask you though, sometimes so I have, you know, I tend to, if I have like some different kinds of pain problems and I have pretty much managed, and if I make a mistake and I do something that throws me off and I end up in pain again, because like I take, let’s say like I had to take a painkiller for something the doctor prescribed and it ended up hurting my stomach, I’ll start obsessing that I made a mistake, that I should’ve known better and I’ll sort of, you know, this obsession thing, and I know it makes it worse. Is there anything you can suggest, you know, like, I don’t know. I just, I hate when I start obsessing about it when I make a mistake. I mean, I’m only human and these things happen as part of the human experience, to make a mistake, but I get just so like tortured by the mistake that I make. Usually when it comes to something that causes me physical pain, I’m very sensitive and it’s very easy for me to feel physical pain.
You’re also very sensitive to the stories you tell yourself about all that.
You mean, stories, If I take the wrong,…?
The stories you tell yourself about how you’re just a human being, but underneath that you feel like you’ve failed. So, the story again is “I failed. I failed. I’m no good. I’ll never do this right. This is terrible. I’m a bad person.”
It comes from a self-loathing underneath it all. And these are all the stories we believe about ourselves, all the ways we subtly limit ourselves and hurt ourselves. Somebody else might say, “Oh, I screwed my stomach up. Next time I won’t do that.”
And that’d be the end of it. But you go on and on about it in your own mind. So, more practice. Sit some more, learn to calm yourself down. Those are the moments when you need to calm down and let the thoughts go.
Well, what about like, if I’m still feeling the pain as a result of it? That’s what will make me keep doing it? You know what I mean?
Sit down, let go. Pain, there’s many ways to work with pain and I’m not an expert at that, but ultimately, when you’re really strong in meditation, you recognize the object of awareness, which in this case is the pain and you recognize it as not yourself. It’s an object. It’s an object, like something in the room, like your body is an object also. It’s not you, you notice it. So eventually your center of gravity deepens, and when those objects of awareness arise that are unpleasant, they don’t grab us the same way. They don’t hurt the same way. You know, Maharajji and these great beings, they feel all the pain of all the beings in the universe, but because there’s no ego, so to speak, left in those beings, there’s no one experiencing it. It’s a whole different way of experiencing everything.
So, you’re still very identified with your thoughts and your emotions and your feelings and the pain, and there’s only one answer for that. It’s to sit more.
You mean, meditate?
Meditate, repeat the name, do practice regularly, because until you train yourself to let go of whatever arises in your, in your awareness, in your mind, so to speak, you’ll constantly be re-digesting the same stuff over and over. It’s a beautiful situation because it makes it really obvious when you’re lost, when you’re in dreamland, when you’re not present. “Oh, I’m this and that and this and that,” and all this stuff.
You can’t think yourself out of a prison that’s made of thought. Every thought is the prison. You have to find out who you are and what you are, and that lies underneath your thoughts, underneath your emotions, and it lies underneath the stories you tell yourself unconsciously about yourself, about who you are, and what’s acceptable, and what’s not, and what’s good and bad and all that stuff.
Calm down. When you’re in that, just recognize that’s what’s happening and go, “Wait a minute,” and just breathe.
Let it go again and again.
I guess it’s, I can apply it also, because if I make other mistakes, I mean, that’s the thing I get worried about now, because the whole thing with the pandemic. “Oh, I can’t make a mistake with my health now.” Because everything counts. Like you can’t make a mistake. So, I’m the worst about that now, but if I make other mistakes, I probably would get like that too. So anytime I started obsessing about, “I made a mistake,” just go into the..
Well, you’ll, as you get quieter, as your thoughts get quieter and you develop a little bit deeper center of gravity, so to speak, you’ll start to see those programs running much more often than you think they’re running.
And then you get to let go of them, which is good.
So, if we don’t see these things, we can’t let go. So, on one hand, even though pain is painful, it’s also a wake-up call for you, because it’s so clear and it grabs you so quickly and starts all that stuff going. Right? So, when you notice yourself going, then just go, “Wait a minute. You know, I don’t have to do that,” and breathe.
Just come to your breath. Let your breath relax. Whatever fear it is you have, whether it’s COVID or the atom bomb or Mickey Mouse, just keep letting go. That’s the idea.
That’s why the repetition of the name is such a powerful practice, which is why Maharajji, again and again and again, encouraged us to do that. You don’t have to believe it. You don’t have to know what the names mean. You don’t have to feel anything particularly good or bad or anything. Just do it, and do it when these things are happening.
When you say the name, is it the same thing as me listening to you chant? Is that the same thing as me saying the name? Or is it equivalent to it?
Yes and no. Mostly, yes. Because you’re hearing it, and even if you’re repeating it, where is it really happening? In your mind, right? But you’re using your body, but it’s happening in your mind. So, when you’re listening to it, you’re hearing it inside of you in your mind, which is great.
The only thing is you don’t want to, you want to try to keep, you want to really give yourself to the practice. Let’s put it that way. Just rock out, turn the music up and dance. Do whatever you have to do to overcome the going here, the going there, the past, the future, all that stuff. Yes. It’s perfectly fine to do that.
And that whole practice will deepen and widen and become much more natural for you as time goes on.
Because I don’t know all the names. When you say, “say the names,” I don’t even know what they are. I listen to you all on Thursday nights.
Yes. That’s all there. Everything there is “name.” Ram. Krishna. Hari. Shiva. Om Namah Shivaya. Those are all names. Japa of the names of God, so they say. Whether it’s God or the names of your true nature, there’s no difference.
So yeah, sure. It’s perfectly fine. Eventually you’ll probably get familiar enough that, you know, some time you’ll be walking from the living room to the kitchen and you’ll hear it in your head and you’ll go, “Where did that come from?”
So, when you hear it like that, stay with it for a minute and then it’ll disappear, but it starts coming back, and the practice will pull you gently into yourself as time goes on.
So, it’s very good.
Yeah, sure, take care.
Q: Hi, Krishna Das. You can’t see me because my camera’s broken. I’m so sorry.
Here’s my question. It kind of piggybacks on what they were saying as well. So, I’m going to try to make a very long story short. A few years ago, I took Kundalini yoga training, as by Yogi Bhajan, and I felt very drawn to do it because I had health issues come up again. I’m from New York, too. I had moved to California. I had like health issues. It felt like it would help me with that. I had lost my dog. I don’t know. I just was drawn to it.
I liked the teacher I had, so I trusted him. So, I took it and in the beginning of the training, I got mugged at gunpoint going to the training that morning, at like 6:30 in the morning.
By the teacher?
Not by the teacher, thank God. A stranger.
And in that same period, I had like a situation where my father had this abusive girlfriend. Just a lot of stuff happened at that one time. Now, especially with all the allegations coming out about Yogi Bhajan, I just feel like that whole period kind of created this intense PTSD sort of mess in my life, and like, took me away from myself.
I think what I’m, I’m trying to come back to it now, which is a return to me to, I also play music, like the things I do; playing music, more hatha, which I started 20 years ago, chanting, just more with you and that kind of stuff, and I guess I just was asking if, because I know you had said once that you were in a cult for a couple years. I realized that this was like a cultish situation, and then also just going through the trauma. I did take a training after it with a teacher who I’m really glad I trained with, because I had so much anxiety from everything I had gone through, and she was a Ram Dass student, and also, I think, also with you, had studied with you online. That felt much more grounding to me, much more. Like, I would leave Kundalini and feel weird anyway. So, it just felt much better and much more grounded. So, I’m not sorry about that.
But anyway, I just feel like all of that was just so much to handle and now, especially in COVID and everything, I just feel like I’m sort of in this moment of my life where I’m, I’ve come out of that and I’m trying to figure out what’s forward.
And I also was going to say, I do come Thursdays and I also listen to, I meditate, and I like, see Neem Karoli Baba a lot. I don’t know. So, I don’t know what that is and I just wondered if you had advice on all of this.
Yeah. I don’t know if it’s advice, but certainly. Trust your own heart. That’s the thing. That’s the teaching of the whole path. And like I was just speaking before, the lessons of betrayal is trust. The lesson of betrayal is trust, and betrayal can also mean, not getting what you wanted or not getting what you thought you were going to get, for whatever reason. So, what you have to learn to do is trust your own heart and stay with that and relax into that.
It sounds like you’re doing good, actually. It sounds like you’ve had difficult stuff happen in your life, but that it hasn’t destroyed you and that you’re, you still know what feels right for you. And you’re finding, you’re uncovering even more deeply what feels right for you. And that’s a great thing.
And it’s a rare thing, too. It’s not so easy for people to be in touch with their intuition, and it sounds to me like you are.
So, I just think you need to relax and let life come to you, and let it just go through you. You know, I think it feels like you’re coming through these difficulties very well, actually, and you should trust yourself about what feels right to you and what doesn’t. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
But yeah, you know, distress and anxiety, especially in these days, is the norm. Okay? Whether it’s official PTSD or not, everybody is suffering from tremendous amounts of fear and anxiety.
So, welcome to the human race. That’s the deal right now, and not just us here. Everywhere in the world, it’s like this. It’s really unusual for this planet. So, it’s reasonable to feel some of that, but it’s not required to let it destroy you. And it seems like you’re, even though the lotus grows through the mud, it sits at the top of the lake. Right? And that’s where your intuition is. And that’s where you have to keep refocusing about trusting yourself and having faith in yourself and confidence, and I think everything will be cool.
Yeah. Thank you so much.
It definitely brings you back to yourself. You’ve got to trust yourself.
Yeah, absolutely. You have to. Who else are you going to trust? Even if somebody outside of you, somebody else tells you something and you go, “That’s fucked up,” you’re trusting yourself. And if you say, “Wow, that was fantastic. I’m going to do that,” you’re trusting yourself.
So, it’s not what happens outside. It’s how you feel about what’s happening. That’s what we all need to learn, to trust more deeply than we do, for sure.
Right. Sounds good. Thank you so much.
Hi, how are you doing?
I want to, first, I just want to say how grateful I am. I have a two and a half year old son and his mother had decided to do some things that caused me to get emergency custody of him. So, in the long and short, we’ve been in the middle of a court thing for about three years, and I had offered, she had gotten involved with somebody who was abusive and beating her, refused to leave, went to jail, used drugs, so on and so forth, and I made an offer to try to settle this outside of trial because if we go to trial, there’s going to be a lot of things that I’m going to have to bring to the light that I feel like will be hurtful, but it will be true. So, my question really, that’s just the backstory, my question really is based around karma and do no harm.
I’m extremely conflicted like, with that, because I don’t want to hurt her, but I also want to keep my son in a safe and wholesome environment, and so I struggle in that area quite a bit, and it ebbs and flows, and since I started the Chalisa, I’ve found I’ve become pretty detached from, it used to be here, here, you know? And now it’s a little bit over here and I’m kind of just like, watching it, but it still has quite the effect, and the question still poses from time to time, like, is this the right thing to do? Do I just get out of the way? Am I trying, am I trying to control this thing or should I just let it happen? So, I just wondered if you had any insight that can maybe help me let go, I guess, and whatnot, and then, you know…
As long as you feel that what you’re doing, that the motivation for doing what you’re doing is clean and based on compassion and caring for your son, then you should go ahead and fight to the bitter end, if necessary, and you’d probably be helping your wife to deal with the issues that she has that keeps creating terrible things in her life. So, if she has to deal with this and recognize that she’s responsible for the situation. Right now, she doesn’t seem to be taking any responsibility. So, your son’s life is at stake and this is a very important time for young children to have love and caring around them. I’m not saying she doesn’t love him, but anyone who would bring in an abusive drug taker and have him around the child, that’s not a very, that’s not right. That’s not a good thing to be doing.
So, yeah. Read the Bhagavad Gita, get your weapons together and use them. Love everyone and tell the truth.
Right. Right. And I’ve heard that said.
You don’t have to hate her to go through this process, but you need to protect your son and do what’s what you feel is the right thing to do.
Well, and that’s another aspect of the other things is, is that I deal with intermittent resentment.
Yeah, sure. You’re a human being. You should. That’s okay. You notice it and you let it go. Those are normal natural feelings. I mean, who wouldn’t be angry about somebody who’s, about that situation, but also you recognize you had a kid with this person. So, you’re also a part of the, you also share responsibility for the whole picture. So, resentment, you should have some for yourself, too, for that part of you that allowed yourself to get into that situation. Maybe you weren’t in the same state of mind that you’re in now, but that’s okay. It’s still you.
So, you’re a co-whatever. You’re co-responsible for this, along with your wife and everybody else who’s around. So, do your best.
Now, the kicker is this: you do what you do, but the fruits of your actions, the results of your actions are not up to you. So, you can go to court with all your weapons and all your knowing that you’re in the right, and you could still not get the judgment you want. So, recognize everybody in this situation has their own karmas, and we don’t know what that is. Your son, your ex-wife, her boyfriend, you, everybody has their own karmas involved. So, the results of all this in this life or not, it’s not up to us. What’s up to us is to do the best we can in the situation, the best we can do. That’s all you can do. Leave it to Maharajji and do more Chalisas.
So, I just have one other quick question I’m going to ask you. She asks me all the time, “Did Maharajji do that? Did Maharajji do that?”
Just any particular thing. Like, the main thing is “Did Maharajji bring us together?” is the most frequent question that she asks me.
Q: Hi, I’m stuck. I think, okay, I just met you and Maharajji through Chants of a Lifetime, and I really believe that Maharajji brought this whole thing together so I could be with him and meet him. And I really believe that in my heart. So, is that real, or am I losing my mind? Because I read in there where, you know, like he, like it was your destiny to be there. Like he brought you over so that you can learn to sing and chant and stuff, and then come back and teach us like, like I’m able to meet him through you. Anyway, I don’t know. It’s just so beautiful. I don’t even know what my question is.
He’s actively working in my life. Is that what he’s doing?
Yeah. Well, one thing you can say without any doubt is that it happened, right?
Who did it, whether you did it or he did it or somebody else did it, is that it did happen, so more than that, we really can’t know. We can we can trust that. We can say Maharajji did it, but God forbid you guys break up. Did he do that, too?
Well, I think that it’s not so much the relationship is what I’m talking about. I just think that this was my way to meet him, to meet Maharajji.
For sure. If it had happened, of course it was. There’s no doubt that it happened that way, but there’s a, you know, they used to say in India, the Indians used to have a phrase, “He gets his own work done,” in Hindi. You know, “He does his own work.”
He doesn’t need anybody. He didn’t need me to turn him on to get to you. That’s what I mean, you know. You have your own relationship with it directly. If this has happened, if you’re feeling his presence, that’s between you and him. You didn’t need it. It may look like this has to happen for that to happen, but that’s just this. It happened. There he is. He’s there. So, say hi and give him a kiss goodnight, you know?
Thank you. I’m glad to meet you.
You too. And you take good care and I hope it works out with your son. Thank you.
Q: So I have something I’ve been wanting to ask your opinion about for a while, and I’ve held back.
I have lots of opinions. I don’t know if there’s any truth to any of them.
And a bit of it is, a bit of it is a bit nosy, and a bit of it’s a bit related to a general thing, and a bit about me. So, I should probably just get on with it. Right. I guess the general theme is romantic relationships. Okay, so the nosy bit is what you have felt you’ve, I’m trying not to say “gained,” what you’vee felt you have learned through romantic relationships yourself in terms of not just the practice, but for life. And so that’s, that’s me being nosy about you. And then where I’m at is having great longing, like I guess most people do, for that kind of connection, and I can sort of manage that, and trying not to force anything when things can happen naturally, but what I have found was, and this is something I was quite interested to get your perspective on, when I have been, and I’m using the word romantic because I don’t know the other word to use for it, so just, you know, in partnership, if we can say, what I have found is when I have felt, again for want of a better language, a real connection with somebody, I’ve actually felt that’s quite healthy in terms of how it affects the rest of my life. It feels, so my practice feels healthier and work feels healthier and what have you, and when, when there isn’t that connection, I feel that I’m close to maybe drawing on expecting maybe a bit more from practice or the sort of longing then has a ripple effect and effect on other things, and it can be really difficult to sort of manage that energetically. And I don’t know what the specific question is, but if there’s any insight on that, and also, is this just something you live with or the things to deal with that longing?
I know it’s a need and I know some of it’s from conditioning, but as I say, the sort of interesting element is I do find that being in that kind of union with somebody does feel healthy and makes life more balanced. But I don’t know. Is that a delusion and what do you do when you don’t have it?
Yeah. Well, that’s the point, isn’t it? What do you do when you don’t have it? If you’re dependent on anything to make you happy, anything outside of yourself, what are you going to do when it’s not there?
So, you know, Mr. Tiwari, my Indian father, he said, “Relationships are business.” He said, “Do your business. Enjoy.”
And he didn’t say, “Don’t do it.”
He said, “Do it, enjoy it,” but he said, “But love,” he said, “love last 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
It’s not something you get from someone else, real love. You get relationship, you get friendship, you get kindness, you get so many things from relationships that teach us a lot about ourselves and help us become better people, hopefully. But if we, if we become dependent on having that person there to push those buttons to make us feel okay, what are we going to do when that person’s not there? Because that time will come, one way or another. It’s inevitable.
So, but doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy your relationships and give yourself to it as fully as you can, but you know, if you expect water to come from a stone, your hands will be broken, trying to squeeze that stone to get the water out.
So, if you expect love, real love, which is reality, which is God, if you expect that to come from a relationship, how can it? The reason it comes from a relationship with a guru or with a deity is they, that’s what they are. they are that love, but usually we find people who are not exactly that all the time, like we are not exactly that all the time, so it’s perfectly reasonable.
So, if you feel good in relationship, that’s fine. But the more practice you do, the more you move more deeply inside of yourself, you become less needful of having other people there to get you those kinds of feelings.
So, there’s nothing wrong with it. You know, it just doesn’t necessarily work the way we want it to all the time. Or, all the time It doesn’t work the way we want it to, but we can learn a lot from that if we’re paying attention, because that’s the other point of relation. We’re in relation to everything, to everyone in our lives, to everyone on the planet, to the sun, the moon and the stars. We’re in relationship to everything, all the time. So, part of finding ourselves is recognizing who we are in all these relationships.
So, it feels like if there’s someone that you can be close to, for me anyway, I have a healthier relationship to practice. It sort of keeps me a bit in check, and I have seen it in people around me, but the last thing I want to do is start being judgmental, but hey, I’m going to sound a bit judgmental. I’ve seen it in myself and people around me. You can get, practice can become something almost too clingy, too, whereas having something maybe a little, not lighter, but does that make sense? So that you don’t, you’re not just focusing on “deepening my practice,” and my even saying “my practice” feels very attached. Like, I don’t know…
It’s better to be attached to something that’s going to make you really happy than attached to something who’s going to fucking kill you. So, you have to find what works in life. Nobody can find that for you.
Yeah. A lot of people talk about this and that, their practice and their this and that. Well fine. Let them talk, but you have to figure out what what’s going to work for. You can’t sit down right now and merge with the universe completely. So, I wouldn’t worry about that you’re too attached to the practice. And in fact, if you get real happiness from sitting down, and also practice doesn’t mean just sitting down, it means treating people well, caring about people, not judging people, loving those idiots who talk about their practice all the time. You know, when you can do that, you know that whatever practice you’re doing is bringing the right kind of fruit.
But you shouldn’t feel that relationships are a detour from practice. Everything in your life is there because it’s supposed to be there and what’s going to come, is going to come because it’s due to you karmically. What’s not going to come, is not going to come. So, there’s no reason to worry about it. So, be present in the moment and develop. Become a good human being, you know? And don’t think about yourself so much, you know? Because that’s just the ego polishing itself up, even if it’s throwing dirt on itself, which it does half the time when it’s not polishing itself up, it’s just throwing dirt, it’s the same thing, more ego stuff.
The love that you’re looking for lives within you as who you are. When you find that you’ll find it everywhere, and until we find that, we’re on the path towards that. So, whatever brings you closer to yourself, that’s what you should do, and only you know what that is. Nobody can tell you.
And you know, Maharajji was married. He had three children. It didn’t seem to stop him. So, but that was the karma of that body. You don’t know, we don’t know what our karmas are until they arise in the moment.
So, Ramana Maharshi said, “What’s going to happen is going to happen. What’s not going to happen is not going to happen. So, the best course is to just remain in the present moment, in the silence of the heart.”
So, but can we do that? No, because we’re hungry. So, you have to recognize those hungers and try to provide food for yourself. If you eat the wrong food, you get sick. If you eat the right food, it feels good. So, you have to find out how to feed yourself. I think that’s part of the issue here. I wouldn’t worry about if you’re doing too much practice, or you’re too attached to the practice.
You should be, you know, it should only be like that, that you’re too attached to practice, that’s all I can say. But you’re not because you’re not. So, don’t worry about it. There’s a lot of issues when we, when we start talking about what we need in our lives. There’s cultural issues. There’s how we were brought up, which affects so deeply how we feel about ourselves and what’s possible for us, what we are going to allow, not what’s possible in terms of karmically, but what can we allow ourselves to do and to be? We’re very constricted by our cultural upbringing. It causes a lot of pain.
So, the quieter you get, you’ll notice that more, and then you’ll be able to overcome it and let go of it more. So, everything you do, you’ll be doing it. So, there’s really nothing to worry about. You just have to learn how to trust yourself more and go for it, whatever it is. Go for it. That’s all. Don’t piss around 10%. Go 110% for what you want. If it turns out that wasn’t it, then you go 120% for the next thing. There’s nobody keeping score except you. So, you know, just try to free yourself from the things that we do to prevent ourselves from really being happy, because we’re so good at it. We’re so good at preventing ourselves.
Okay? Thank you. Nice to meet you.
Q: Hello, Krishna Das.
Hey, how you doing?
Good. You’re looking well.
In the book, Love Everyone, there’s a mention of a time when Maharajji went, as they say in Australia, on walkabout, going around the highways and byways of India, meeting people, having experiences, and my impression is he was doing it in order to be able to understand the lives of ordinary people better, and I may have been completely wrong, but that is my question. Did he ever talk about those experiences?
You mean when he disappeared from people and just was cruising around? There’s a line in this prayer called the Vinaya Chalisa; “Vinaya” means to petition, to beg, basically; that says, “You wander about like a God satisfying the needs of those you meet.”
That’s what he did. He didn’t need to figure anything out. He’d already become it all.
I had that impression.
Yeah. So, his only job was to distribute blessings wherever he went, which is what he did.
Okay. I was sort of pre-programmed because I’m a huge fan of people like John Steinbeck and Jack Kerouac who traveled around for the experience of learning, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t the same for Maharajji, but might as well ask and find out one way or the other.
Nothing that applies to the behavior of human beings can be applied to him.
He had no motive other than ultimate compassion. He traveled only to distribute alms to people, only to relieve suffering, to take the burden off of people. Everyone he met got blessed. He had no needs, not to learn, not to grow. He’d already done all of that.
Well, if I had one wish, I’d wish there were more like him, as selfless as he was, who didn’t try and commercialize it or weaponize it, or, he just did it for the sheer goodness of it, because it was the right thing to do. So, I guess that’s why so many people are drawn to him.
Well, you can become one of those people.
Working. Thank you very much.
Q: So, now what? I don’t mean to sound, I know I’ve heard you speak for about how it really has to do with what’s in your heart and being really present and really into chanting or praying or connection with Spirit and God. But I have noticed that a lot of your songs and chants are in here, but not in, in its entirety, except for maybe that Chalisa and I’m struggling with actually how to incorporate this into a practice. Mostly I catch myself feeling foolish in stumbling through words, and then I’m just feeling kind of rudderless, you know.
I’m really not sure what you’re asking.
I know, right. I wrote it down. Let me see if I can get it to the actual question. I would like to incorporate these into my practice, but I’m not sure how to, and I would like to learn more, but I’m unsure where to go for direction or guidance.
Well, the reason that so many of the things I do are in that book, is that Siddhi Ma asked Mr. Tiwari to put the book together. So, he made the first version of that book. He picked the prayers and stuff for the first compilation of prayers to be done in the temple every day. So, since I learned so much from him, a lot of the same stuff that I do is already in the book. Over the years, they added other things as well.
So, every day and twice a day in the temple, they read that whole book and they chant that whole book in Sanskrit or Hindi. And it’s a very powerful practice, but they know what they’re chanting. You don’t. So, read the translations, which are in there. That’s why that book was made with English. So, if you want to make that a part of your practice, I would pick a couple of the different prayers that appeal to you and read them every day as part of your practice, the English. You can’t learn Sanskrit from a book. So, I would definitely, and that way you get the benefit of the meaning of the chants, which are very powerful and it’ll help you develop the devotional concepts in the mind, which is what we don’t have as Westerners, and if you want to read something else, you could try to find the Ramacharitamanasa, which is the Ramayana of Tulasi Das. Have you heard about that?
I’ve heard you mention it.
There’s actually a PDF you can get free online. You can find that, but maybe before you read that, why don’t you try to find a book, it’s called the Ramayana by William Buck. So, you get an idea of the basic story of it before going to the Tulasi Das, which is a devotional take on the story. It’s very different than the actual. Not different than the story, but it’s told in a different way. So, read the one by Buck so you get a good version of the story and then go back and read the Tulasi Das and in the meantime, the Hanuman Chalisa is in that prayer book that you have. So, that’s a good thing to read once a day or twice a day. And yeah, just see what appeals to you and just add it to your practice. Don’t, like I said, don’t try to, don’t obsess about trying to pronounce all those prayers correctly. It’s very difficult. So, it’s best to have an idea what they are.
Absolutely. I appreciate that. Yeah. Thank you so much.
Q: How are you doing, KD?
Okay. How are you?
My question has to do with something that I believe is a Ram Dass story, actually. I think that the way it goes, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that he was with Maharajji and there was some issue in a city nearby and there was, I don’t know, I’m not sure exactly what there was, a starvation, there was maybe some death, there was, you know?
It was Bangladesh.
Okay. So you’re familiar with this story. Why did he say when, when Ram Dass was trying to go help, you know, why was Maharajji saying, you know, kind of like indifferently, “Don’t you see it’s so perfect,” type of thing?
I don’t think anything Maharajji ever said was indifferent.
Okay. So then maybe that was the wrong word. Was his response, was his response like, a “Can’t you see it so perfect”?
Okay, so then, can you expand on that? Like, what did he mean by that?
I can’t expand on it. It’s something he said. It was perfect the way it is, and it was not probably wouldn’t be in Ram Das’s best interest to go there either, so he, he prevented that from happening.
Okay. I see.
There’s no way to understand why Maharajji did anything or did not do anything.
The mind can’t go there. He sees everything and he knows the past, the present and the future of every being in the universe. So, if he says something, it means because that’s the way it is. Whether we can understand that or not is, there’s no doubt, we can’t understand it. We can only either accept it or not accept it according to how we feel.
But you use the word “indifferent” as if it meant he didn’t feel for those people. That’s not, couldn’t be the case. It’s not possible, since the only reason he was here is compassion in the first place. For everybody.
So whatever the reason was, it wasn’t in the best interest of anybody for Ram Dass to try to drive there with the Volkswagen bus, which is what he wanted to do.
Yeah. So, Ram Dass wanted to do that and Maharajji’s response was saying, really speaking to it being as it is. Things are as they are and they’re perfect as they are.
There’s a reason the way things are and Ram Dass’s emotional desire to go help at that point was not the best, in the best interest of anybody. That’s all I can say.
I get it now. So, like the way, the way his response was still, you know, I don’t want to like interpret his response the wrong way. It wasn’t that he didn’t care at all about it, because he cares about everybody, obviously. He’s Maharajji. But his response was more so to get Ram Dass to reconsider going there.
That’s one interpretation. You and I, we could make a million interpretations of it and we’ll never know exactly why Maharajji said that.
So, make one that makes you happy and live with that.
It’s not, it’s not so much that I, it was just a confusing thing. Like, I know, that story and his response to that made me, it made me wonder.
There’s a lot of confusing things, things that the mind can not wrap itself around. There was a couple there who had been together a long time and they wanted to get married. So, they asked Maharajji to marry them. And he said, “No, Krishna Das will marry you.”
I went, “What?” So, you know, I thought, “What, are you kidding?”
So a couple of days later, we stood out in front of the Hanuman temple and I said a few prayers and said, “Okay, you’re married.”
So shortly after that, they left India, went back to New York and then after some years, the guy started to get sick and he developed a very bad disease and he needed a heart and lung transplant and his wife, who now was his ex-wife, she developed cancer and she fought it for seven years and their son….
So, the first thing that happened, the guy died. Six months later, their son died of an accidental overdose of heroin, and six months later, the mother died. So, within a year, all three of those people died, and I remembered Maharajji not marrying them, and I thought, “He did that on purpose.”
He did not change their karma. He, by not marrying them, he made the decision, if you could even say that, he allowed those karmas to unwind and come to fruition by themselves and then I’m sure he did whatever he could do to make it as easy as possible, but obviously there was a lot of suffering there. But he could have changed that, because he could do anything, but he didn’t. Not that he couldn’t, but he didn’t. And if he didn’t, there was a reason for that. And whatever reason it was, it was compassion for them.
So, it looked pretty bad. They suffered. They all died. But in some way, we can’t understand it, but in some way, my feeling is that somehow that was what was best for them, that they worked out… whatever karmas those were, they had to be lived through. They couldn’t be avoided, and the best thing for them is to have to go through that in this life and get it finished with. So, he allowed that to happen.
I can’t explain that to anybody. And in fact, I had to take it out of the book “Chants of a Lifetime” that I wrote, because the editor couldn’t understand that story. I told, I tried everything I could to try to explain it to the editor, but I realized I couldn’t explain it to them so I might as well take it out because when you really know something, you can explain it. So, since I don’t really know, I couldn’t explain it.
But it’s my belief, from having been around Maharajji and having seen the things that happened, that this was the best thing. This was what was required for them, let’s put it that way, in order to move on.
Of course, this is based on reincarnation, which, obviously he lived in that reality.
Yeah. That’s so that’s so interesting, you know, and that would almost make you wonder, why he would, not necessarily put the burden on you of marrying them, it’s not your, nothing’s your fault, but you know…
Because he knew there was no burden. I couldn’t marry them. I couldn’t do anything for their karmas. So, it was just for fun.
Yeah, you don’t, you don’t feel any like attachment or you know, sympathy or… It’s out of your control. You just were there.
Yeah, I just did what he said. I can’t bless anybody. I couldn’t even bless my own foot.
You’re funny. No, I appreciate you expanding on that.
Yeah, here’s the funny thing. Okay. There’s more to that story. So, some years later in the 80s, we had met a young Baba in India, a very beautiful young Baba, and we brought him over to America and we got to the house where he was going to stay, and when we got to the house, the woman whose house it was told this Baba about this guy that I told you about, whose name was Ed. Sudhama. Maharajji had named them Sudhama.
And so, the Baba looked at me and said, “Tomorrow morning, we’re going to go visit this guy.”
We called them and let them know we were coming. We drove into Queens and we knocked on the door. It took him 20 minutes to crawl to the door. He couldn’t breathe. He needed a heart and a lung transplant. I mean, it was horrible.
So, we came in and the Baba sat on the couch and me and Sudhama sat on the floor and the Baba asked me to sing Hanuman Chalisa. So, I sang Hanuman Chalisa and Ed was mouthing the words cause he couldn’t breathe, but Sudhama was mouthing the words. And we sat there for a little while and then me and the Baba left.
Later that day, Sudahma called me and he thanked me for coming, and he said that he felt Maharajji had come back to him after so many years of feeling lost, and the next morning he was dead.
Wow. Wow. That’s intense.
Yeah. So now Maharajji named this guy Sudhama. Sudhama was Krishna’s boyhood friend, and the story goes, as I remember it, which is probably only partially correct, that one day Krishna and Sudhama, they were out with the cows, because Krishna was a cowherd boy, and they were out with the cows and it started to rain and they took shelter in a tree, and lying on the branches of the tree, they fell asleep.
Sudhama woke up and he was hungry. So, he ate his lunch, but he was still hungry and Krishna was sleeping. So, he stole Krishna’s lunch. He ate Krishna’s lunch, which is not the best thing to do. You don’t eat God’s lunch without his permission, you know. But Krishna woke up and he never said anything about it, but because of that selfish karma, later on in life, Sudhama became blind and poor, and he lived in a little shack with his family and he was, they were all suffering terribly, and Sudhama’s wife kept ragging on him and said, “You know, Krishna is a king now. You know, you grew up with him, go see him. He’ll help us. Ask us for help.”
And you know, Sudhama didn’t want to go. He was still, you know, he’s like a very poor man and Krishna is a big king now, but his wife basically gave him some parched rice, which is a very, very simple thing, a very simple food, poor food, and sent them to see Krishna.
“Don’t come back until you’ve seen Krishna and asked Him to help us.”
So, Sudhama makes his way to the palace, I think in Dwaraka, it was. He sits out front with the beggars and Krishna comes out of the palace and is walking down the row of beggars and he Sudhama and He says, “Sudhama! I can’t believe you’ve come. This is so great, after all these years! Come with me, come inside. Let’s have something to eat. I’ll show you around.”
And they spent the afternoon together. And at one point, Krishna says to Sudhama, “Did you bring me anything from home? Anything at all?”
And Sudhama was ashamed, so he didn’t bring out the rice. Right? He says, “What do you have there? What would you, do you have any, you have, oh, we used to eat this when we were kids! It’s just so great. Yeah!”
And he ate the rice. So then after a while, Krishna says, “I have to go do my stuff now, you know, I’m a king. I don’t have a lot of free time, so you have to leave now, but come again, come again anytime. I’d love to see you.”
So, Sudhama leaves and being blind, he makes his way back to the village where he lived and he’s walking down the lane to his house and he’s feeling next to him, which was this rickety old fence made of brambles, right? And he’s pushing against something hard and smooth. And he’s thinking, “What is this?” You know, “This is my house. This is my, the way to home. This? I don’t remember this.”
And he comes to the gate, which was this old rickety wood gate, and there’s the solid metal thing there. And he’s just standing there like, “What’s going on?”
And his wife and kids come running out and his wife said, “Look, you must’ve asked Krishna for help. Look what he did. He turned our hut into a palace.”
Look at the story with Maharajji and Sudhama. He was lost. He was feeling lost and afraid and separated from Maharajji, and at the last moment he felt everything came back to him. Maharajji gave him that name, you understand? So, he knew what was going to happen. He knew what he was doing. Don’t think he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Yeah, I understand. I appreciate that story. It’s something else.
One thing I do regret is that, that young Baba who we brought to America, he said to me, “Take care of his son, Sudhama’s son.”
And I was, I was too shy to reach out to him. And then one day I was on the subway in the city. I met him when he was a little kid. I was honestly on the subway in the city and I swear to you, his son, Jesse was on that train because his son used to cut school and do graffiti on walls in the city. And I looked at this kid, he was about 16 and he had a backpack and I saw it was filled with those bottles of paint and, you know, I was on a subway car in New York City, and I really wanted to say “Jesse?” but I didn’t say it. And he got off at the next car and he was dead within a month. I had a chance to contact him and I didn’t do it.
Did he see you?
Yeah. He saw me. I had a feeling he recognized me, but like I said, you know, people in subway cars don’t look at each other in New York.
Yeah. I know. I know. If you can remember subways.
Yeah. So, think about Maharajji behind all those, all those many different things that happen. He said he knew the past, he knew the future and everything he did was designed to relieve suffering in the best possible way for everybody involved.
So even Jesse had to die. The boy. And there was nothing I could do.
Yeah. I appreciate you explaining that remark that he made about it being perfect, too, because that was really something that I was hung up on in understanding, and self-admittedly I don’t know, like, I, I don’t feel, I know this probably is the oddest thing that you’ve heard, but maybe it’s not…
I doubt it.
But I don’t feel a super attachment to Maharajji per se. I find it more to like, Ram Dass’s teachings, which obviously are from Maharajji and, you know, same thing with Hanuman. I don’t know if I necessarily feel that attachment. I definitely love, like I said, I needed direction, big time, on my path, and I wouldn’t be here today in the condition that I’m in, which is you know, much better than I would have been otherwise, having not been able to find Ram Dass and yourself and from everyone to, you know, even the Zach Leary’s and everybody else has been really instrumental for me, but there are those things that I get caught up on. And you know, I guess, have you had anybody that’s made that remark, too? About not really having…
Yeah, and when you say “attached,” you mean “attracted” really. You’re not attracted to… Those are just outer forms anyway. They’re all the forms of your own true self. So, I think you’re also not attracted to your true self. You’re thinking a lot. And you’re identified with your thoughts. You’re identified with all these stories you tell yourself about yourself and about what you think and what you believe, and you seem to be very involved with that level of being. So, that’s life, you know. Sooner or later, you’re going to get fed up with trying to think about things and you’re going to want to let go of those thoughts, and that’s when you’ll start doing some practice or that’s when you’ll dedicate more of your, you’ll be more sincerely doing the practice.
Whatever. It’s up to you. It’s no problem.
Yeah. Yeah. I hear that because my practice is lacking in the way, you know, in reciting the Chalisa and that kind of stuff. That’s lacking.
“Constant repetition of God’s name, even without feelings of devotion, in anger or in lethargy brings out his grace.”
He said that. That’s what he said.
So, you’re in that category, “even without feelings of devotion,” he was covering you.
Whew. That’s a good thing.
Once this is understood, that the constant repetition of the name will bring out that grace from within, then you start to really go for it. Right now, you don’t really believe it.
It’s almost like there’s no room for any non-believing or non-trusting of his presence and stuff like that.
Yeah. Once this is realized, when you have that experience from within that, then there’s no room for any…
Well, it’s more like, misgivings is like, doubt, really. It’s more like doubt. But anyway, you should write that on your wall. You should write that on the bathroom. You should write it on your mirror.
It’s already a note on my phone.
It should be your mantra for a while, until it until it clicks something inside of your head. Because right now your thoughts are eating you up alive. Which is most of us. That’s where we live. So, in order to free yourself of that, first of all, you have to believe you can be freed of that. And there is another thing; once you realize you can be freed of that, then you go, “Oh, what do I have to do? How do I do that?”
Can be freed of my thoughts, you’re saying?
No, freed of being eaten alive by your thoughts. Everybody has thoughts. You don’t stop your thoughts.
Yeah, I know. I meant those thoughts.
Yeah. Any thoughts. You don’t stop them. They come there, but you don’t believe them necessarily.
And you mean specifically the attachment to the self, more so? Or am I getting too caught up and distracted by it?
Let’s just keep it simple right now. You believe everything you think and your center of gravity is on that level of thinking. In order for that center of gravity to deepen, you have to do some practice to train yourself to let go of thought and emotion and come back to the breath or the Name. But right now, you’re not even sure what practice is for, ultimately, really. You haven’t had that experience of doing a practice and feeling what happens when you do it right and do it well, with sincerity and wholeheartedness. So, this is a good, this is a good thing to keep rattling around your brain, the saying, and you’ll think about it. And one day you’ll go, “Oh, wow. Yeah. Right.”
And then things will change.
Awesome. Fantastic. Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
Q: Thank you, Krishna Das. I mean, first of all, I want to express my gratitude. I was in the Shift course and yeah, it’s been really impactful. And my question has to do with something that you said there and, you know, I have it in big letters in my notebook. “Love everyone, serve everyone and remember God.”
So, the situation that I’m dealing with is, we put my mom in a retirement home last week, and “we” is me and my brother. She has dementia. She was living in this beautiful mansion. She has private care givers. My brother and I were her first line support and we got exhausted. So, we put her there and she’s been having such a hard time. There’s moments where she’s clear and she understands why she’s there. But then there’s moments where she’s just calling me, “Please take me home.” And her suffering is, you know, it’s breaking my heart and I felt really guilty since that happened. And I’ve been wondering, it’s a little bit related to Justin’s question, you know, about right action and suffering and which choices do you make? Because the choice that my brother and I made, the impact is that she suffers more than she would if she were at home, which is an impossible situation. So that’s yeah, that’s my question. And my dilemma.
Yeah. My father had Alzheimer’s and finally his wife couldn’t do it anymore. She was getting sick. Her immune system crashed. She had an infection in the heart, the lining of the heart. So, she had to put him in a home. And there were times when he would say, “Get me out of here.”
But most of the time, 95% of the time, he didn’t know where he was in the first place. It’s the way it is. You know, you can’t kill yourself. There’s no benefit to her, really in the long run, to be home, if it’s killing you. She wouldn’t want that really, but she doesn’t have her wits about her. So, she’s not able to make a decision based on what’s best for everybody. One thing I can tell you about care places is that you need to have an advocate there as much as possible because they need to be kept on the help. The care workers seed to be held accountable for what they do. And they do as little as they can for the most part. So, you have to be there to advocate for her as much as possible. So, your work is not over, but at least you and your brother won’t be destroyed by the situation. What good is that? You know, you made it, this best decision you could make. And so, it’s not easy. For sure. It’s not easy.
Yeah. It was just, I was also wondering from the perspective of karma, you know, what am I creating?
Nobody knows. We don’t know. All we know is what we’re feeling right now.
You just didn’t, you’ve made the decision based what you felt you had to do. So, you will also live with the karma of that decision, whatever it is, good or bad or neutral, you know, there’s no sense worrying about it. You did what you had to do and, and that’s that.
So, there’s no sense bringing up the past, which is gone, and trying to chew on it until you ruin your teeth. You know, it happened, let it happen. Now the future was the best we can do now. So just try to be, do the best you can now also. That’s all, it’s no big deal.
Q: Namaste. This goes back to one of your Chai and Chat programs a little, actually. In one of the session you actually mentioned this book called “The yoga of the Bhagavad Gita” by Krishna Prem.
We can’t really thank you enough. I’m so grateful for you mentioning that.
Yeah, it’s a great book.
Yeah. So, my question is back to that. You know, in your search, when I hear about your story and when I, you know, read about it, there is a sense of longing, but you know, the journey to search, you know, finding, looking up. So, did you feel, or are you grateful or thankful that you have stumbled across some books that really changed you?
And if you could share them, I just want to know what they are like.
Yeah. Gospel of Ramakrishna and Autobiography of a Yogi were game-changers for me, both. I read them at the very beginning of my interest in this and then just a little later this book, the Yoga of the Bhagavat Gita, by Sri Krishna Prem, Ram Dass read that out every day, out loud, we were up in the mountains on a long retreat in the winter of ‘68,-‘69 or ’69-‘70 maybe. And every day we’d read out from that book. It was life-changing.
Yeah, just phenomenal. The book is phenomenal. You know, the second part of my question is every time you mentioned your Guruji, I see a sense of longing. It feels like, I don’t know what it felt for you, but the only thing I can closely imagine is like the poetry of Rumi. I feel the longing. Well, what was it really like to be in his presence in silence? You know, how much are you really expressing that out in the form of chanting or through words? What was it really like?
Everybody had their own experience of him, every single person, because he was, he wasn’t a teacher, he was a Siddha, is a Siddha, and he, for each person, he showed them and gave them just what they needed. So, for some he was this, for some he was that, for me, he was like someone who just loved me in a way I could never even imagine existed. You know? And obviously, he knew everything about me and still loved me, which was a big thing. Never judged me, always blessed me and saved my life so many times. So, yeah.
Thank you, Krishna Das.
Yeah. Read the books about him and you’ll have your own experience. Yeah.
Q: Namaste, Krishna-ji. Thank you for everything you do. I grew up in Mumbai, but I live in San Francisco and we never practiced yoga growing up in India, but I’ve been practicing Hatha yoga in San Francisco.
Like a good westerner.
I know. You have to come to the West to learn about the East. But I study under Stephanie Snyder and she always starts the class with a chant, but that’s, that’s the only thing I knew about it, and only in the last one year I’ve become really, knew more about the concept of kirtan and chanting and, to a point where I want to start practicing, like having a formal, like, practice around chanting and I’m really kind of struggling. Like, how do I start with that? Where do you start? Do you have any recommendation for like, a good process to start, like during the morning or evening or start with a certain prayer or certain time?
No, I don’t have any advice for that. My advice is to do what you feel like doing. Start with the prayers that you like.
And feel, you know, find your own way into it. That’s the whole thing. You can sing along with the, chant with the records, the CDs if you like. Or on the iPod or whatever. The idea is to just do it. It’s to be repeating the name, that’s the important thing in whatever way you can, as often as you can, with as much sincerity as you can.
Constant repetition of God’s name, even without feelings of devotion… you see, we’re not, it’s not our job to feel devotion. It’s our job to repeat the name. In anger or lethargy, that brings out his grace. Once we recognize this, then everything changes. Right now, we don’t believe. We hope maybe it’ll work. And so, we do a little practice and we go back to the TV or whatever, but at some point you kind of begin to really understand that this practice of the repetition of the name is going to completely change your life and open yourself up to new things. And once you recognize that, then you really go for it.
So, the point is you have to overcome those vasanas in the mind to do it, because there’s a million reasons not to do it. So, you have to get through that. It’s like breaking through a forest. You have to, you know, you have to, because the tendency to tamas is unbelievable, or rajas. And to get to pay attention and do some practice is a very difficult thing.
Do you also practice some sort of asanas or rotate between asanas and chanting?
I do asanas every day. I’m 90 years old. I want to be able to sit up straight. So, but asanas are for the body. People make all kinds of claims about asanas. Hatha yoga practice was actually to purify the nadis and open up the inner channels. It’s not even a physical exercise, the way we do it in the west, but it is good for the body and pranayam is good for the body, and also to try to open up those channels for the flow of energy and for the prana to circulate because prana is the mind also. So, if it’s circulating without blockage then there’s peace and calmness and depth, but it takes time, it takes time. But the repetition of the name is powerful, is the most powerful practice.
Thank you. Thank you, Krishna Das.
Q: Hi Krishna Das.
My question really is about my work. I felt quite dissatisfied with my work, which was in sales for the last few decades, and before that I worked as a dance therapist. And then, when I worked as a dance therapist, my sister died and she died a bit of a traumatic death, and somehow I kind of took it personally in a big way. And I felt I can’t do my work. I know nothing. Like, her death had kind of shook me up so much that I thought, “What do I even know if I can’t help her?”
And recently few people have come into my life who’ve said, “Oh, I talked to you years ago and really helped me.”
And it’s really surprising because now I’ve done this course with you and I’m opening up more. And so, there’s some information coming from the universe about that there’s actually something I could, I could give it a shot and you know, like it’s about me. Everything’s about me, the movie of me and what is the safest way to make money. And there’s also my heart where I’m figuring, “Is there something where I can help others? And would that make me also happy? And why not go back to that time where I was so shaken up and actually deal with it?”
Why do I think I have to know everything if I work with people?
Well, there probably won’t come a time that you’d know everything. There’s no one that you need to ask these questions to, except yourself. The only answers that you need have to come from you. There’s no shortcut there. You have to listen to your own heart about what you want to do and what you need to do, and then you have to have the courage to go do it if that’s what it takes. Sometimes, if you find something that you really feel like doing, you can just go ahead and do it and it doesn’t feel like a big deal, but as far as helping other people, that’s tricky. We can wish other people well, but really one should not get identified with being somebody who helps other people. It’s a slippery slope. You know, we have enough of our own issues to deal with before trying to take on other people’s issues. So, if there’s something you can share with people that helps them take care of themselves, well that’s great, but don’t try to become somebody who has answers for other people, when we don’t know who the hell we are in the first place. You know?
So, I think, you know, once again, it’s really up to you. I mean, you have to process all this, these changes in your life and how you feel about things and the trauma that you went through when your sister died and the effect that had on you. And if you have to still release some of that, those issues around that, you know, and get some, a little bit more peace of heart about it all. And then I think you’ll feel better about whatever you do. You can remember God while you’re selling a perfume.
How did you know?
It’s God selling God perfume.
I’m selling perfumes.
I got lucky, but you know, all you need to do is remember God, repeat the name all day long. Everybody who comes to you, “Yeah, here do you like this? Here, try a little of this.” And “Ram Ram Ram” going on inside. And then you’re helping somebody, not only to smell better, but feel better because your vibration is including them. And you’re not making a big ego trip about being somebody who helps other people, which will eventually weigh you down and bury you.
I think there’s also a bit of a problem with me because I speak normally German, and so now I’m trying to express myself in English. I wasn’t really so hung up about helping others. I was more hung up about shying away from a challenge and taking the easy path, like the lazy pass. So that was my concern.
They want to take the hard path! take the hard path! Why should I make my life easy?
God forbid I should have a little peace.
No, I mean, okay, great. Yes. Yeah, but I mean like also my parents, of course, discouraging me to do anything which would make me more powerful than them. So, there’s a lot of subtext and narcissism. And then the children being kept low, being pushed down and me wanting to naturally grow instead of, instead of shying away all the fear now. So these things, I, I think also it’s good to be playful and I take to heart what you said. I want to let that sink in. I’m very grateful. Thank you.
Take your time. Be at ease. You know, you don’t have to figure this out, this life.
Just take it easy.
Be at ease of heart. Okay? Take care.
Thank you very much.
Q: My question is, I have a very, very dear friend. We’ve been friends for 30 years. She’s like a family member really at this point, more than a friend. And she’s always been a little bit on the fringe, both of society and in what she believes. She’s been a big conspiracy theorist as long as I’ve known her. For the most part, they’re pretty harmless. You know, things like the government puts fluoride in the water as a mind control for all of us, you know, things like that, and you can just sort of ignore it and move on. But since all of this has been happening, she’s kind of really gone down the rabbit hole and thinks that, you know, all of the coronavirus stuff is being totally blown out of proportion. We’re being lied to. She won’t wear a mask. And so, I have a lot of anger. I know I can’t control what she thinks and what she believes, and I know I can only control my reaction to it. We were able to have a big talk last week and I did tell her, you know, my frustrations and that I’m sad and frustrated, that she’s going this direction, but I am still struggling with feeling angry with her and I’m not quite sure how to get over it. I have a feeling the answer is going to be constant repetition of the name.
Well, that’s the answer for everything, but it’s hard to do that. I’m not sure why you’re angry. You know, anger is, anger seems to come from fear. I think it might be a part of you that is, in your interactions with her, you might, there might be a lot of fear around her craziness, you know, that you really can’t talk to her. She doesn’t hear you. You can’t really reason with a person who’s locked into that worldview. So, there might be some fear there around that. So, you get angry as a defense mechanism.
So, you need to soften that with love. That’s all. And sit down and recognize that you love this person, surround them with love in your mind, and when you notice that you’re that just starting to judge and you know, and then you’re also, when you do that, you’re also so calming your own heart down at that point, too, which is very useful because we get angry at people because they’re not doing what we want them to do.
Well, really. You know well, who said they’re supposed to? Let them be who they are, but we don’t have to get destroyed by it ourselves. So, yeah, there’s a lot of people who have those beliefs these days and the isolation and the general level of fear and anxiety in the world is huge. It’s everywhere. Everywhere you look, there’s nothing but fear and anxiety. So, it brings out the worst and in people who are already halfway there, so to speak. So, you know, wish her well in your heart. That’s all you can do. And then wish yourself well that you shouldn’t be affected by that, by fear and the, I’m missing a word there, but by the fear that you have about her being so illogical and so unable to be reasonable in your eyes. So, just try to forgive her for her craziness, you know. Let her be her, and you be you.
Yes. Thank you. That’s very helpful. Thank you.
Okay. Take care.
Q: Hi KD.
Hi. How are you doing?
I’m great. How are you? I have two questions cause I’m reading through the Miracle Of Love with my highlighter and just loving it. So, one of my questions is, someone already asked it actually, about just to be in the presence of a being like that, like a being like Maharajji, what was there first of all, was there like a realization of, “Oh my goodness. This is like unbelievable. I can’t believe I’m witnessing right now.”
Was there one thing in particular that in your own experience when you were around Maharajji, even if it was knowing that he was in two places at one time, that just blew you away, that was, because I’ve been trying to imagine, how would you even feel to be an in the presence of someone like that?
So that’s the first question. The other question is a bit more nosy. When I’m reading through the Miracle of Love. I’m trying to imagine, was there one, was there any, or a number of these shares from you in that, in the Miracle Of Love book?
No, I’m actually not in that book.
Oh, wow. Okay.
Ram Dass and I were angry at each other, so he didn’t ask me to participate.
No, we went through a lot of years together before, we didn’t speak for about 10 years.
Oh, wow. Yeah. I’ve been reading some of them thinking. “I wonder if that one was KD. I wonder if that one was KD.”
I don’t think my mother’s stories in there, is it? Maybe somebody else told it. I’m not sure, but yeah, so I don’t think I’m in there. Could be, but I’m not sure. The real feeling, for all of us, I think, basically the feeling of being with Maharajji was having come home. You know? “Wow. We’re home. We’re right where we belong.”
This is, you know, it’s something that your heart just kind of goes, “Okay. Oh, right.” And you’re just where you want to be, where you’ve always wanted to be. You don’t feel like there’s anything to do, any place to go, and you also feel like you’re going to be there forever. Which one physically didn’t happen. Heartfully, it did happen. That’s our home base. So, all of us who were there and everybody who he touches, and he touches everybody or anybody. Just because he’s not physically present doesn’t mean, probably not physically present, doesn’t mean that he’s not touching people. When you’re reading about him, He’s there. He said, “When you think of me, I come.”
He said that. He doesn’t lie. He felt I talk. He speaks the truth. “When you think of me, I come.”
So when you’re reading about him and feeling him, you’re feeling him, but you don’t believe that. It’s very hard to actually go like, “Oh,” because you expect bells and whistles to go off and you know, and the rainbows to appear and trumpets to blare in space. No, it’s not like that. It’s the simple, sweet presence. It’s oresence. It’s being. You already know what it is and that just gets deeper.
And for you in your early twenties or your late twenties, whenever it was, you were there with him, meeting him or being around him for the first time in India, what was there one thing that was, that you remember your first memory of, “Wow, this is like,” almost like more than the feeling, but also the seeing as well?
Well, you know, I had been hanging out with Ram Dass for about a year and a half before I went to India and I felt Maharajji all the time. He was huge. He was everywhere. He was like the sky, everywhere. When I first walked into the room where his physical body was, I was like, “What is this? How does all that fit in this body?”
It was very, it was it was like, “What? How could this be?” You know? I mean, “How does this work?” to see him physically alive, because I was feeling them in New York and California and New Mexico. So, what is this guy? “Who’s this?” you know, really, it was like that for about a minute. And then, then I was gone into the whole thing. I totally lost it. So, but that was the first moment I saw him. I was like, “Wow, how does this work? How is he everywhere if he’s here?”
It was interesting.
Wow. Well, thank you so, so much just for all that you do. Thank you so much.
Q: Okay. My question is, when, you know, when we get sick, we go to a scientific yogi we call a doctor and the doctor prescribes this, perhaps antibiotics for a certain amount of weeks and a certain amount of repetitions that we have to do and can guarantee results. So, we’d do it with a religious mindset. So, from every book I’ve ever read, all yogis usually go down and say to do the constant repetition of the name. So, what I would like to know is your highest level of knowledge in the why of the constant repetition of the name.
Why to repeat the name constantly?
Underneath your thoughts and underneath your emotions, underneath everything you see and feel, and touch and taste and smell, there is presence, being, awareness, and the expression of this awareness is the name of God, because that awareness is God. So, the name is a way of starting to focus on that presence or on that beingness, or even love that lives within us as who we truly are. So, that’s why it’s very difficult for us to actually, when constant repetition of the name is happening, we’re actually not doing it anymore. We’ve actually tuned into an atmosphere, so to speak, or a vibration around our true nature.
These names are the names of our true nature, our soul, and so according to our personalities and our likes and dislikes and our karmas, one or other of the names will be resonating within us already. So, it’s a question of uncovering that place within us where that’s going on, or tuning to that place within us where that’s already going on.
The real name can never be spoken. It’s beyond words and concepts. It’s beyond vibrations. St. John of the Cross wrote that “In the beginning, the father uttered one word. That word is his son. And he goes on, uttering him forever in everlasting silence, and it is in silence that the heart must hear. This silence is the true name. It’s true being. So, the names that we repeat are, like Maharajji used to say, “Go ahead, repeat your lying ‘Rama Rama.’” One of these days, you’ll get it right once. Boom. That’s it. So, we’re practicing. We’re trying to tune ourselves to this place within us that is who we are already in there, so to speak, in there.
So that’s why they talk about the constant repetition of the name.
Nice. So, it’s in accordance with the natural order of the universe. Last thing I just wanted to relate. I’m a programmer, a computer programmer, and I learned about how electrons control the light that turns on and off the programs. So, to me, I’ve been repeating Ram’s name for awhile and what came to me is that Ram is actually an order of electrons that actually go to your brain and heal everything in a natural order, according to what really exists out in nature.
You could say that. Sure. You could say that. There’s a lot of ways to describe it, the situation, or the path, really, and whatever works for you is the best thing. But that’s a, that’s a nice one.
Thanks. And I appreciate your time. Thank you so much. That’s all I had.
Okay. Bye bye. Well thanks for coming and hanging out for sure, and I appreciate everything. And constant repetition of God’s name, even without feelings of devotion… See, it’s okay not to feel anything when you do it because you’re looking for one feeling, but it’s really something else. So, but without doing it, nothing will happen.
So, constant repetition of God’s name, even without feelings of devotion, in anger or lethargy or whatever else you’re feeling, the repetition will bring out the grace from within. So, we’ll see you next week. Let’s see what happens. Namaste.