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 25 2020
“Hanuman is a being that not only liberates us, gives us freedom, but he allows us to satisfy the desires that we have that will be useful to us in progressing in life. It is not a renunciant sannysasi path. This is a path very much in the world, seeing God everywhere in everyone, not just in one little place, but seeing, being in the world and yet not of the world. So, as you do these practices and as you grow, a lot of things will happen, and the main thing is really just to have some humility about the practice itself, you know, to understand that it’s a spiritual practice, regardless of what comes to you in your life.” – Krishna Das
That invocation to Hanuman has a secret in it. Those last two verses have this secret.
Aanjaneya mati paatalaananam
Kaanchanaadri kamaneeya vigraham
Then it goes:
Paarijaata taru moola vaasinam
Bhaavayaami pavamaana nandanam
So Hanuman is always sitting at the foot of this tree, lost in love, lost in Ram.
Paarijaata taru moola vaasinam
Bhaavayaami pavamaana nandanam
He’s lost in devotion for Ram.
Yatra yatra Raghunaatha keertanam
Tatra tatra krita masta kaanjalim
Wherever and whenever Ram’s name is sung or spoken, Hanumanji comes there. Whenever and wherever.
So one time, Maharajji went up to the, he was in Chitrakoot with some devotees and they went up to the top of this mountain called Hanuman Dhara, and the story is that, after burning Lanka, Hanuman flew to the top of this mountain and hit the ground and a stream of water came out, and in that water, he cooled his body down because he’d become very fierce, and he’d just burnt Lanka. His whole body was, his tail was on fire as he flew around Lanka. He didn’t feel any pain, but he was cranked up. And so, he then flew to this mountain and cooled himself.
So Maharajji was sitting there at the spot and he said to Dada, “Dada, this is where Hanumanji came to cool off to calm himself after burning Lanka,” and then kind of under his breath, he just said, “But Hanumanji was always at peace.”
So, no matter what he was doing in the outside world, no matter where he was going, what he was doing, he was always at peace. He was always completely in Ram. So this gives us a sense of direction, because no matter what we experience in our daily lives,, it is possible to always be at peace, to always be existing in our natural state, which is peace, which is love. So, every issue that we have dissolves into that peace, into that Ram, into that love, into that space. It’s vast space, huge, vast presence in which everything is held. This is Maharajji’s big form. This is Ram. This is Hanuman at one with Ram.
So, this is why we repeat the name. This is why we do practice, so that we can release the stuff that catches us all life long, and trying to find some reality within ourselves, something deeper than our normal everyday experience.
Which is why Maharajji said, “Go on repeating the name. Go on repeating the name, even without any feelings of devotion or love, even when you’re tired, even when you’re angry, just go on repeating the name and sooner or later, the grace will manifest. The real Ram will show up.”
So, no matter what else is going on in our lives, we really need to be doing some turning within, or we’ll never be able to let go of our stuff. You just can’t. It’s like trying to pick yourself up like this. It can’t be done. You need some leverage to get up. You can’t pick yourself up just with your own strength, with your hands. You need some leverage. We need some leverage and we get that from training ourselves to keep releasing our knee jerk reactions, our negative thinking, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.
So, lecture over. Some questions, anybody?
Q: I met you once on my birthday was Valentine’s day in 2009 with your guru brother, Rama Giri, who became a wonderful teacher to me. I’m sorry. I’m very emotional. And he left his body and I wasn’t able to be there and that’s been very hard for me, and but you began to do these amazing satsangs on Thursday, which I follow, and it has kind of reactivated me and connected me again, to Maharajji who, when I connected to Maharajji so much happened in my life. I got to go to India. I got to do so many amazing things, but one thing I didn’t get to do, and this is my question, It’s you know, life happened. I was volunteering. I did things. And Rama Giri had said to me, “You need to go meet Siddhi Ma.”
And I didn’t get to meet her. And she also left her body, and I have this, I know that no matter what, Maharajji’s with me and wherever I go, I don’t need to go to India to find him. He’s with me. But if I get to go, when I get to go now that Siddhi Ma is no longer there, who is the next in charge? What has happened? How does it work? Can you just show up? You know?
It doesn’t work like that at all. You have to stop thinking about it. That is the only thing that would make it work. There’s nobody to see. There’s nowhere to go. You don’t get it from somebody. You already have it. You just have to stop destroying yourself with your mind. And you do that. If you’re even thinking about that, you’re already receiving the grace from those beings. Those beings are not identified with their bodies. They were never identified with their bodies. They were never somewhere else. They were always with us and are always with us.
So, you could start being here a little bit more, which is where you are. You’re not somewhere else and you’re not going to be somewhere else ever. You might as well be wherever you are. Because that’s where you are. And if you do wind up in India, don’t drink the water.
I know that.
Yeah. You know, because we’re identified with our bodies, we keep with keep thinking that these great beings are outside of us, because if we’re in a body, then everything is over there, outside, but they’re not in their bodies. Even if they were physically present, they’re not identified with that at all. So, and like Maharajji said, “When you think of me, I’m there.”
So if you think of him or Ma, they are right with you. We just go, “Oh yeah, right. Yeah. Okay. Let me watch some TV.”
So yeah, this is, your work is to be where you are and not to be thinking about going anywhere except finding who you are. You know, being born in the West, we grew up with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and it’s a long way from Mickey Mouse to Ram. Because we were born without, in a completely materialistic culture. Physical reality is the only reality. And who did we know growing up that had any clue about anything in the first place? Basically, nobody, in some ways.
So, it’s up to us to, to get our own shit together, you know. The whole program that you have, that we all have, about going somewhere to get something from somebody, it’s just another way, another thing we do to hurt ourselves and to deny our own light and our own love. And I know because I ran around the world running after these beings for, you know, 40 years. So, I know, and they would just look at me like, “What are you doing? Go away.”
There’s nothing that anybody can do for you that they can’t do, whether you know it or not, or whether they’re in a body or not. That’s not a problem. That’s not an issue for them. And in fact, it’s always said that when a real Saint leaves his body or her body, they become much more available to us because they no longer have any connection to being in one place at a time. They become much more universally available, but our emotions don’t let us feel that.
So, we have to release those emotions. Otherwise, we’ll keep recreating the same drama with this one or that one or this one or that one. So, and only you can do it. Nobody else.
So, yeah, Rama Giri was a great guy.
I didn’t meet him in India. He and the other two Germans came right after I left. They were there that last summer with Maharajji.
Thank you. And come to Sardinia.
Q: Hi. I’m so excited, I get to ask my question.
That doesn’t mean you’ll get an answer.
So, last time during Hanging in the Heartspace, someone had asked a question about self-inquiry and you said dhyana yoga and bhakti yoga both have, it’s just two parts of the same mountain top. The dhyana yogi gets to feel all that after he’s reached there, and the bhakti yogi feels that thing while he’s on he’s on his way. So, my question is…
I didn’t say that. Ramana Maharshi said that.
Yeah. So I started reading the book, “Who am I?” Then I also read Nisargadatta Maharaj, “I Am That.” Another problem is, I am not able to put it in my life. I mean, what to do? ou do every time? There is a problem. How do I ask, “What is this?” Or how do I self-inquire? It’s very difficult.
Yeah, you’re right. It’s very difficult. It’s not for everybody. Ram Ram.
“Ram naam karne se sab pura hojata hai,” is what Maharaji said over and over again.
Don’t think about it. Don’t worry about it. It all leads to the same place. Just take the name of Ram, of God, and enjoy your life. Take it easy. Don’t give yourself a hard time. If you don’t understand something, no problem. We’re not meant to understand everything, and you don’t understand God either. God is not understandable. So, just relax, take it easy. You know, why are you giving yourself a hard time? You don’t have anything else to do? If you have nothing else to do, then just do Ram Naam 24 hours a day, and then see how you feel about self-inquiry. Don’t spend time thinking about shit. It’s no use. Thoughts will never help you.
Okay? Only what comes from within, from your heart, is what’s useful and good for you. So, try to touch that place inside of yourself. And those beings, they taught for the people that came to them, essentially, and anyone who’s drawn to it, of course, but that doesn’t mean that everybody is, that it’s in everybody’s karma to be doing those practices, necessarily. And yes, there are different paths, there are different methods. So, it’s better to, I would suggest you stick with one that you can do, which it’s not too hard to repeat the name of Ram, which is why we’re qualified for that.
Maharajji used to say that, you know, that there’s Ashtanga yoga, but he used to say that we Westerners were qualified for the Panchtanga yoga, the five-limbed yoga. Gossiping, wandering around, eating, drinking, and sleeping. This is what we were qualified for. Maharajji loved that.
So, Ram Naam is easy to do, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not profound. Ok? It’s just as profound as any other practice, if not more. So, don’t think you, you know, it’s just a piece of cake. It’s not very, it’s not the real practice, you know, “I’m going to do the real practice. Self-inquiry,” well, “What is that? I don’t know.” Let me do Ram Ram.
Q: So, okay. So, I stumbled upon kirtan in 2009 at the spring Omega chant, and it has become the first spiritual practice in my whole life to take hold, and I think that’s because it’s fun to sing, and for me to feel like I want to do something, it has to be fun. So… and it grows stronger. It’s not just fun, but that’s one of the things that I think, that’s the thing that keeps it propelled for me.
So, my question is, it’s only in the last few months, through listening to Ram Dass talks that I’ve heard the repeated emphasis on letting go of the ego, that somehow that message never got through to me before in all the time.
The ego didn’t let it.
Yeah, I think you’re right. I think you’re right. So now it’s letting it in. And, but lately, since I’ve been aware of this idea, my ego is grabbing me pretty strongly and it’s hard to let go. And so, I’m just wondering like, the fear is if I let go of my ego that I’m not going to be propelled to do like, social activism or whatever my way of contributing to the world is. Like, I feel like that’s through the ego somehow, so I don’t know how to let go of ego. Well, I just don’t how to feel like that’s the right thing to do.
Well, tell me what you, you think ego is.
The thing like, sort of, I guess it’s the attachments to things that feel good, kind of like, you know, yeah.
But some people are attached to things that feel bad.
Right. Yeah, I attach to things that feel good, but it seems like that’s attachment that I’m not, I’m being encouraged not to do.
But yeah. What is ego, though? You’re talking about letting go of it and getting past it and forgetting it and you’re afraid of leaving it, but what is it?
Thoughts and feelings and experience with the individual self?
Maybe. What else?
Separation from others.
Yeah. It’s all those things. Essentially, it’s better not to think about it because it doesn’t serve any purpose. Ramana Maharshi also said this. He said, “When you ask the mind or the ego to kill the ego, it’s like asking the thief to be the policeman. There’ll be a lot of investigation, but no arrest will ever be made.”
So, forget about it. Everything is ego, Getting up in the morning, brushing your teeth, eating, drinking, going here and there, we all do it with a sense of “me.” “I’m doing this.” That’s essentially what the ego is. It’s this illusion that we are this separate feeling of “me.” When you become, when you recognize “I,” the true self, you see it everywhere. You see that you can see individual people, but you can see reality or the true self within everybody because you see it. You’re experiencing it yourself.
So, I would just keep singing and don’t be thinking about all that shit. You know, thinking about it… You can’t think yourself out of a prison made of thought. Can you? Every thought is the prison. You’re sitting there thinking, “Oh my ego this and my ego that.”
That’s your ego. What’s the sense? Right? Do some practice. That’s all. Keep singing. Do what you do. When you do what you do, give yourself fully to it though, as fully as you can, and then you start to notice that you can’t. So, then you work on that; really, really being where you are, really doing what you’re doing, really being with the name as you’re chanting or singing, really doing your social action, really doing what you’re doing a hundred percent and then in 20 or 30 years, we’ll talk about ego again.
Don’t worry about it. You know, Ram Dass gave lectures at that point in his life. When you give lectures, you have to use a lot of thoughts. For some people, that was useful. For some people, it’s not so useful. For some people, it brought some insight, but that doesn’t mean this one button to push that you’re going to make the ego go away, because there really is no ego. That’s what is said. Ego, what we call ego is the thoughts that we become identified with, the input, the sensory impulse inputs that we become identified with. This is… “I hurt.” “I feel pleasure.” “I’m angry.” “I’m this.” We’re identifying with those objects, because they’re all, they’re not ”me.” They’re objects. They’re not self. They’re out there. They’re an object of awareness. You feel pain, you feel pleasure. You experience anger, grief, shame, all those things that we get glued to. So, there are many methods involved that are, that we could use to get unglued from those things. Chanting is one of those methods.
And when you’re chanting, your only job is to chant, and when you notice that you’re remembering something, you simply let go and come back to the sound of the name, of the chanting, what you’re chanting. A millisecond later, you’ll notice you’re still gone. So, you come back again and again, and again. Every time you come back, you loosen up that glue that is keeping us stuck to our stuff. So, the so-called ego, the feeling of “me” gets thinned out over time, slowly dissolved, because you stopped believing it. Well, see, words are so difficult. I said you stopped believing it, but actually that’s not what happens. The thought of me being “angry,” doesn’t arise. There’s just anger. So, you no longer have the experience of “I’m angry.” You experienced anger. See, it’s not like, all of a sudden, you’re beyond ego. That’s all ego. Thinking about yourself in any way, not just thinking about yourself, but locating yourself in space all the time, it’s like triangulating out in a boat in the middle of the ocean. “Who am I now? Who am I? Who am I in relation to that person? Who am I at school? Who am I at work? Who am I at home? Who am I when I watch TV? Who am I in relationships?” This is all self-referential thinking, ego-referential thinking. You can’t stop thinking, but as time goes on, the thoughts come through, we notice thoughts, but there’s no one thinking them anymore.
They just come through and then you don’t have to worry about ego. So, keep chanting and don’t worry. You can’t figure it out. Maharajji said, “It’s better to love everyone than to try to figure it out.”
You can’t figure it out because it’s not figure-out-able. It’s beyond concepts, beyond thoughts. It’s who’s looking out of your eyes right now. You see me on the screen, but you don’t see what’s seeing. You don’t see the seeing itself. You just see the object, what your eyes are picking up that input. And then the brain is analyzing it and saying, “Oh, that’s that guy.” So, but you don’t see the seeing or you don’t see the analyzing, you’re just experiencing the object of the senses and the object of the awareness in the mind. So, that’s why when you’re thinking, you think, “I’m thinking.” You don’t see who’s aware of me thinking or who’s aware of that thought. So, keep chanting. Don’t worry about it.
Ram Dass went through many different stages in his life and it was an ever deepening process. It’s really a ripening process. It’s not a learning process. And through the repetition of the name, we take our hearts out into the sun to be ripened by that sun of love, of truth, of light, of being. So thinking is not required. Analyzing is not required. Letting go is required. But in order to let go, one must first realize one is stuck. One is gone. So, you’re chanting, “Hare Ram Hare Ram” and you start thinking, “What did Krishna Das say last week? What was he talking about? It was a bunch of bullshit. I can’t believe this guy. I actually went to this thing. What is it? Oh, Rama Rama Ram”
So, when you’re gone, you’re gone, but all of a sudden something happens and you’re back. You notice that you’re gone. That’s a big moment. You didn’t do that. Ego didn’t do that. Your egoistic will did not do that. Like, “I’m going to do that. I’ll do that. I’m coming. I’m going to, I’m coming back.”
No, you were gone. Why would you come back at all, ever, because it’s our true nature; being back, being home, being here. And we’ve spent our whole life somewhere else from here. Right? When you chant, you’ll notice, “I’m gone, now I’m back.” And then you’re gone again. Every time you come back, you’ve made that more familiar to your inner reality, so to speak.
So, now understanding will arise from within about things. You’ll have, you’ll have little epiphanies about yourself and about things you do and about other people. You’ll have epiphanies from inside that don’t require thinking about. They’ll appear in thoughts, so to speak, because we translate everything into thoughts, but the epiphanies come from being more present, being more here and then that understanding comes from within. So, it’s not a question of trying to figure out what’s ego and all that. That can be part of the path for some people sometimes, but not for you at this point. All it does is confuse you and worry you. What’s the use of that?
But you’ll notice that you have a tendency to get worried and confused and that you like to spend time there, even though it’s not pleasant, it’s a habitual place that you spend time. By chanting, continually chanting as much as you can without tension or tightness, the amount of time you spend in those places will reduce. The amount of time we spend in negative states and negative feelings comes down. We don’t notice it because the evaluator is being thinned out, the part that’s always thinking about me, “How am I now? How am I now? How am I now? How am I now?” Gradually, the volume on that gets turned down, but it happens under the radar.
So do you practice, live your life, repeat the name, do whatever you do. Try to give yourself a hundred percent and you know, it’s all ego.
You know, one time I was at Dada’s house. Dada Mukherjee was one of Maharajji’s great old devotees and he was very kind to the Westerners. And so long after Maharajji had left the body, I was staying there at his place in Allahabad for some time, and I guess I was reverencing him a little bit too much. So, one day he turned to me and said, “Krishna Das, maybe I’m a step or two ahead of you on this path, and maybe you’re a step or two ahead of other someone else, but we’re all on this shore.”
We haven’t gone to the other shore, enlightenment, liberation. We’re all over here. Lighten up, you know? So, that’s the deal. All right?
Thank you very much.
One day, we came to the temple and we’re sitting, waiting for Maharajji to come out, and these two old sadhus came down the road, they came into the temple and they were standing there, waiting for Darshan. Maharajji came out and they went up to him and they asked if they could stay for some time, and he said, “Yeah, you can stay, but every day, you sit out in front of Hanumanji’s temple and for three hours you sing ‘Sita Ram.”
“Fine. Okay. Good. Thank you, Baba.”
So the next day they were out there, so the next day we came to the temple and that those two old Babas were out there singing “Sita Ram.” They sat opposite each other. They didn’t have any instruments or anything. Right? So one guy would go, “Sita Ram Sita Ram Sita Ram Jaya Sita Ram.”
And the other guy would go, “Sita Ram Sita Ram Sita Ram Jaya Sita Ram.”
So we’re hearing this go on, you know, in the background while we’re sitting out there with Maharajji, and all of a sudden, after like two hours, they must have gotten bored, right? So finally they started going, “Rama Lakshman Janaki Jaya Bolo Hanumana-ki”
All of a sudden, Maharajji goes, “Sita Ram!” like that.
I never forgot that. I never forgot that.
So, another funny story, that was probably in the middle of the summer by, towards the very end of the season; October, Novembe. The kirtan wallahs did their big puja, which was at the end of all these months of singing, and then the next day they were all leaving. So, everybody was out in front of the mandir singing and dancing and all the kirtan wallahs had their instruments, you know, and their clangers and bangers. So, these two guys, these two old Southwest, they had nothing to bang on. Nothing. So, they ran into the kitchen and they brought out pots and pans from the kitchen and they started banging on the pots and pans. When Maharajji saw this, he was like an enraged monkey.
He got up, “Get up, get out, get out!”
And like in about a minute and a half, these two guys were gone. You know, they were gone down the road. The minute they’re gone, Maharajji laughs. He goes and he starts singing over and over again. Nobody knew, I couldn’t make out what he was singing over and over and over. And we’re all sitting there looking at him. He’s just too happy with himself, you know?
So finally, I said to the Indian guy next to him, I said, “What is he singing?”
And he got all embarrassed. He didn’t want to tell me. I said, “What is it?”
He’s singing, “You banged the gong and I threw you out. You banged the gong and I threw you out. You banged the gong…” for about 10 minutes.
He sang that, “You banged the gong,” the secret mantra. Hare Rama.
Q: So, I was hoping we could talk about the tradition of kirtan, because I feel like if I’m going to love kirtan, I want to know, I want to love the place and the environment and the people who kind of like, you know, originated it. So, and as a musician, I wanted to know, is there anything like, offensive that I might have to look out for? For example, if I mixed certain names together or something like that? That’s like other than the tradition of it?
Be really careful of human beings. That’s the only thing you have to watch out for.
I have no idea about any of the things you just asked about. I don’t know anything about the tradition. I don’t know anything about where it came from. I don’t know how it started. I don’t know who does it. I don’t know who doesn’t do it. Maharajji said do it, so I do it. That’s it.
And as far as mixing the names, you know, it depends who you ask. You know, there’s ultra conservative, right-wing hindus, you know, kirtan wallahs, and there’s ultra liberal left-wing kirtan wallahs. One group mixes it all up. One group says, “No, this is the only way.”
You just have to listen to your heart. That’s the most important thing. And remember, this is spiritual practice. You’re not singing to people and you’re not singing for people. You’re doing this for the sake of your own heart, your own soul, and whether the people come or don’t come has nothing to do with it. It’s not a career.
People ask me all the time, “Well, how do I start my career in chanting?”
I said, “How the fuck do I know?”
Sorry. How do I know? I just started singing and this all happened. There was no plan. So, whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. So, you have to take care of yourself. You have to nourish your heart. So, if you think chanting is going to nourish your heart, fine, but don’t get into it like, you know, you’re going to become a great kirtan performer because you might, and then you’re finished. Then your ego will never die. It’ll just keep getting bigger and shinier and bigger and shinier. And then you won’t have a clue what life is about, nor will you ever find any real happiness or love. You would just be a big, shiny, fancy performer, which is great. You want to be Mick Jagger? Be Mick Jagger, but you don’t have the chant to be made.
A lot of people champion, because they don’t know how to write songs. They can’t write a poem or a song in English. So, they say, “Okay, I’ll put some mantras together. I got some nice chord progressions. That makes me a kirtan wallah.”
Good luck. You know, on the other hand, every single repetition of the name is powerful. No matter how you do it, no matter what your motivation is, no matter how deluded you might be, no matter how greedy you might be, no matter how desirous of fame and money and everything else you might be, every single repetition of the name will bring fruit. But how you plant is also important. It’s a seed. Just like a tiny little seed can have a huge tree in it, so the name, every repetition of the name has reality in it, has God in it, has real love in it, but it has to grow and it depends on how you plant it.
So, all that being said, what’s most important is that you follow your heart, you really listen to what’s important to you and you find a way to nourish that part of you. I think that’s a better way to look at it than to worry about what you should and shouldn’t do because there’s no end to people like me who will tell you all kinds of stuff.
And another thing, like for the source, I learned a lot of mantras from like kirtan artists. Is there like a source you would say like a way you learned that, you probably learned that just from hearing it around India, right? Like that’s how you learn the chants and the mantras?
Well, at first, yeah, but then the longer I was in America, the less the music reflected what I learned in India. It more reflected the Western chord progressions that I was really, that I grew up with that were more emotionally powerful for me.
It’s not about Indian music. That’s a whole scientific study that is a lifetime’s work, and it’s amazing study. If you’re a musician, you might find a lot in that. You might really love that, but that’s a real discipline, you know. That’s really something that takes a real commitment to learn. The Indian science of music is extraordinary.
For learning the chants though, like the names and the mantras?
Yeah. Ram. That’s all you need. What else you need? Yeah. Krishna, Kali, Shiva. You don’t need any more than that, but they’re all out there. So, you can listen and grab whatever you want to grab and make it your own. No problem. All good. But you should do it with awareness. You should recognize that this is your practice, your spiritual practice. If you use it, you know, we all have desires. We’re all hungry. Many of our desires, we’re not even aware of, but as power comes to us, it naturally allows us to fulfill a lot of our desires. Now there are desires that are good for us and there are desires that are not helpful.
Hanuman is a being that not only liberates us, gives us freedom, but he allows us to satisfy the desires that we have that will be useful to us in progressing in life. It is not a renunciant sannysasi path. This is a path very much in the world, seeing God everywhere in everyone, not just in one little place, but seeing, being in the world and yet not of the world. So, as you do these practices and as you grow, a lot of things will happen, and the main thing is really just to have some humility about the practice itself, you know, to understand that it’s a spiritual practice, regardless of what comes to you in your life. Try to keep that feeling of the practice as being an offering to your own, your deepest self, you know, to these great beings, to God or whatever that means to you. Try to keep that around somewhere. It might not be that easy at times, but you’ll see.
You know, when I started, I started singing with people in August, 1994 at the Jivamukti Yoga School in India. And… in India? In New York. And after six months, I quit because I saw very clearly I couldn’t do it right. The reason I started to sing was because I wanted to reconnect from my side with Maharajji. I felt I had let go of his hand and I wanted to, I needed to reconnect and this was the only way that I knew that I could do that, to chant with people. But after some months I saw no way.
“I can’t do this. I’m too hungry. I want too much stuff. And it’s all coming to me and I’m going to use the chanting to satisfy all my hungry desires, and that it’s going to hurt me and it’s going to hurt other people, and it’s not what I, this is not why I started to do this, tried to do this.”
So, I quit because I could not do it in what I considered to be the right way. And it was very hard, but I just had to stop. And then it was a long, a long story about how I started again, but I did start again obviously. But I did, I had to take, there was a real check I had to make because it wasn’t… as people started coming, as that energy started to be generated and people were attracted to me. I saw that I was just going to gobble all that energy up and use it for myself and that wasn’t what I wanted, really. What I really wanted was to reconnect with Maharajji deeply in my own heart. And so, I had to stop.
So whatever it is, keep your eyes open, try to keep a little humility and humbleness and recognize that chanting is a spiritual practice. Your motivation has to be that you’re working on yourself, but it can be enjoyable of course. And you can express yourself and have a good time. But if that’s all it is for you, then good luck. You’ll see as time goes on.
You take care. You all right?
Yeah I’m all right.
Keep in touch with me. If you want to talk about it more sometime we can talk. Okay?
Q: Yeah. Thank you so much. This has been like the most amazing forced retreat, as you put it. Yeah. And I have a question about an issue that I am kinda like consumed with. The issue with the house which you’ve talked about several times. And “oh, housebuilder, you have been seen, you shall not build the house again.” that issue.
Are you in construction?
I guess, I mean, my question is I am trying to understand the concept of the house and every time I try to understand it, it sort of eludes me. You have talked about the house being “who we think we are.”
I didn’t talk about that. That was Sri Ramakrishna, a Saint in the 1800s, and he talked about that in reference to the way the repetition of the name works. He said, “Every single repetition of the name is a seed.”
Just like a tiny little seed can have a huge oak tree in it, right? There’s potential. There’s potential. There’s Shakti. There’s energy in that seed. So, every repetition of the name is a seed. So, he said those seeds of the repetition of the name get blown around and they land on the roof of an old house in the jungle. And they get stuck between the tiles on the roof. And he said over time and seasons, wind, rain, snow, whatever, those tiles start to break up. The clay tiles, they get soft, and at that point, the seeds of the repetition of the name, that you did, start to take root, and the roots grow, and they destroy the roof of the house and they keep growing and they destroy the walls of the house. Ramakrishna says that house is our conventional sense of self, the ego that houses who we think we are. It’s made up of stuff and it was created out of causes, our desires to exist, to have things, the karmas that we created that force us into acting this way and that way and liking this and not liking… all the stuff of our daily lives… of “me,” all the stuff of “me,” that’s what that house is. So, through the repetition of the name, that sense of “me,” which is different from somebody else’s sense of “me.” My sense of “me” is me. Your sense of you, is you. Your sense of me is “you,” right? You’re “me” is you. My “me” is me. So that sense of separate self is destroyed through the repetition of the name, and what’s left is the real self, the true being, which is vast as space, and it doesn’t feel like something else. That feels like who you really are when that when you have that experience. The walls separate the inside from the outside. Me from you.
So, does that mean there’s no longer a difference between like, the small “s” and large “S” self?
No, it means there never was a small “s” self. It looked like that.
So, the illusion of the small “s” self goes away.
The belief, the glue that held you identifying to every thought, feeling, emotion and experience was dissolved, so the thoughts may come, but they just float through like clouds. There’s nobody thinking that. You’d no longer think, “I’m thinking this. I’m really sad today. There’s sadness.”
It’s a whole other ball game because you’re not, you only think you’re who you think you are.
So, like just another way of putting it, there are no longer any separate waves. There’s just one vast sea?
No, the waves may be there, but what is the nature of those waves? Only ocean. There was never anything in a wave that wasn’t ocean. Ever. It’s just a temporary thing caused by what? Wind or a motion in the ocean. That’s the cause of the wave. Once that cause is removed… And even when the wave is there, the wave thinks, “Wow, I’m a wave,” and it’s gone.
So, where we are, we think we are waves. Krishna Das is a wave. You’re a wave, and we identify with that, but really in this wave there is nothing but ocean. There’s nothing but real self or reality or the one. But you think you’re you, and I think I’m me. So that thinking you’re you is what’s destroyed, eliminated by the repetition of the name, the belief that you are this thought and that feeling and this and that.
Okay. Yeah. That’s great. Like, so there’s no, there are not going to be any more houses built because there’s no ego construct.
In that case, that was what Buddha said. You see, you can… this is all philosophy that I have no experience in, but you can recognize that there’s nothing but ocean, but still be in the shape of a wave. Right? Waves can be there even though we know there’s only ocean in the wave, but what Buddha was saying, no more waves even, that’s final enlightenment.
So, the structure is eradicated.
Probably something like that. Some limitation, limiting form. You know, and Maharajji said the same thing in his way. You know, one time Ram Dass was very upset. Maharajji was driving him crazy, basically. He was angry. He was sad.
So, he comes up to the tucket where Maharajji was sitting by himself and he said, “Maharajji I want you to raise my Kundalini.”
All right. He goes, “Oh, wow. No, I don’t know anything about that. What’s that? You know that saint down there in South India? Oh, he knows all about that stuff. You go see him, he’ll raise your kundalini.”
Ram Dass got angrier. “No, Maharajji, I want you to raise my kundalini.”
He said, “I don’t know. What about that other one? You know that yogi over there? He knows all that stuff. You should go see him. He’ll raise your kundalini.”
So, Ram Dass got angrier. “No, Maharajji! I t want you to raise my Kundalini.”
So Maharajji stood up. He looked down at Ram Dass and he threw his blanket over his shoulder, looks down at Ram Dass and said, “ I only know two things, ‘Ra’ and ‘ma’.”
There’s no one there doing anything. There was no one there thinking anything. All there is, is Ram. Nothing else. There’s only ocean. All these paths describe the same thing in different ways. Now that you understand, forget it.
Okay. Thank you.
Q: Hi. Okay. I also want to thank you for all this online. I’m here every Thursday and Saturday, and I’m curious. Several times you’ve mentioned the online Lamas. So, in your forced retreat, is there anything you can share with us about what you’re finding online?
There’s so much out there, boy, so many teachings available. You know, in the 800’s, there was a, what they called the second Buddha, Padmasambhava in Tibet. He was actually Indian, but he went to Tibet to bring Buddhism there and to solidify the Buddhism there.
And he said, “When iron birds fly and horse carts…“ what is it exactly now? Something about “horse carts to run without horses” or something like that? “Dharma will go to the west.”
That was in the 800’s. So, Dharma is definitely moving to the west. Probably because a lot of us were exposed to it in previous lives. Now we’re demanding that it come to us as teachings to help us.
Also, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, another wonderful, wonderful Lama… so many wonderful Lamas and teachers from the Tibetan tradition and the Theravada tradition. Really extraordinary.
Q: Namaste. So, my question is related to, I think, ego again, or related to what the person asked earlier and now, so somethinghappened to me. I’m in a group and I shared something in this small group about going to Mount Shasta, which I find very powerful here in California. I just discovered it pretty recently. And then I was told that I wasn’t allowed to talk about it because the Guru hadn’t talked about it before. So, I was like, I think censored and I got really upset. And I know, I think that that’s ego to get upset because I’m thinking I’m “me,” but I just have had a hard time getting over it and I’m just not going to that group anymore.
And I’m trying to just release it though, right? Because I’m like, just upset by it, irrationally. And I’m chanting the Hanuman Chalisa and passive meditation someone said. But I guess my question is, how do you let go? Like, you know, it’s ego and like I’m doing chanting and meditation, whatever…
It’s all ego. Your chanting and medition is ego. It’s all ego. It’s a thought, it’s a feeling. Let go, come back. Just keep letting go. You’re not letting go. That’s why it is still around. You just keep letting go. “Ah, I’m stuck again. Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram. Oh, here it is again. Hello, goodbye. Hello, Goodbye.”
It gets you in a place because you have self-righteousness. You don’t like to be told what to do. You trusted this guru and now he’s pushing you around, son of a bitch. You know, you have anger. You know, all that stuff. That’s why you’re not letting go of it. So, it’s all cool. Notice it, let it go. It doesn’t matter. It’s all stuff.
Everybody has their rules. That’s why I don’t go to those places. I’m incapable of following rules. That’s why we had Maharajji, because he was the rule. There was no rules anywhere in those days. You could do anything. He used to say, “When you come here to the temple, you should feel like you’re coming to your grandfather’s house.”
Everything is given. You don’t have to do seva to eat. You don’t have to be a good little boy or girl. You came to be with your grandfather and you should feel like that. And that’s the way it felt. That’s not the way the world usually works, because that wasn’t the world. That was Maharajji-ville. That was Soulland, as Ram Dass said. That was, that was a real thing. Everything else is just a good try. So, it’s all good. Don’t worry about it. If you worry about it, that’s holding onto it. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.
Q: Hi, Krishna Das. I just want to thank you so much for all that you offer and your humor, and I have an attachment question, a relationship question. So, if I were to immerse myself fully in this practice, would it matter the path that my partner is on?
You’ll know when you immerse yourself fully.
I wish your partner luck, too.
Thanks so much.
Q: Hello. So, I have another tradition question.
I have another evasion of an answer.
For gurus, I’m curious how the label gets on them. Like, did they walk around saying “I am the guru,” or do people around them to say, “Oh, he must be the guru”?
What’s that? There’s this old blues song called “Don’t Start Me Talking,” I’ll tell everything I know.
A real guru is a real Guru and a real Guru is not different than you, but he knows it. They know it. She knows it. You don’t. A real Guru is the same as your own true self, is the same as God, is not different. They don’t have to advertise. They pull the devotees to them from all parts of the world, all corners of the earth. They don’t have to use telephones. They don’t have to send messages. They live with within us as our own true nature, as our own soul. That’s a real guru.
Now that doesn’t mean a real Guru can’t be on a billboard, too. They can do whatever they want because they don’t want anything. That’s the one quality that a real Guru has. They are only here for our sake, out of compassion for us poor people who don’t know what is going on, who don’t have a clue. So, they keep a form, even though they’ve gone beyond, they keep a form for us to see so we can be reminded that there is love in the world. That’s a real Guru. Everybody else is a teacher, even if they call themselves gurus, they’re doing business, not that that’s bad, necessarily. It really, it’s up to each individual to have their own experience, which is why I was talking to you about humility earlier. This is very important. It means being open to experience, but it also means trusting your own intuition about things. Humility isn’t weakness. It’s seeing things clearly, and it’s also listening to your own heart about things. So, you might meet a lot of beings that call themselves gurus. It might feel good. It might not. Whatever it does, you have to go by your own intuition about something.
Sometimes gurus are in a lineage. There are lineages that go back thousands of years, where a being is initiated by his guru or her guru and is designated to carry on that tradition officially. So, they are known as the guru.
You know, I don’t even really know all of what you were asking. You know, the name, the word “guru” can be used by anybody, that label, “guru.” It doesn’t mean that they are fully enlightened beings, necessarily, and it doesn’t even mean that being with them could help you. Only you know if it will or won’t. You have to listen to your heart. You can’t allow yourself to be emotionally manipulated by either the teacher or the satsang around the teacher, because they will definitely try to keep you there, make you feel like you can’t live without them, et cetera, et cetera, which is just a load of shit.
So, try not to get caught in that if you can help it. And those are nice surf boards on the wall there.
When you get into one of those cults, just get on one of those boards and ride out about 20 miles into the ocean and don’t come back. Okay? All right.
Boy, sometimes I talk like I even though what I’m talking about. Don’t get fooled, okay? By me.
So, just remember what Maharajji said, “Go on repeating these names, whether you’re happy or sad or have devotion or no devotion, whether you’re tired, whether you’re angry, go on repeating these names. From going on repeating these names, everything is accomplished.” He said this. Everything is accomplished. You don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to analyze it. You don’t have to work it out. You don’t have to do anything. Just keep repeating the names as much as you can, and then he said, “Gradually the grace will be will manifest.” You will feel something real. In this ocean of insanity and delusion and suffering, something real will actually manifest in your heart. It has to happen. He said it. It has to be. So, no matter what you’re feeling, no matter what we’re stuck in, because we all get stuck, the idea is to have some regular practice going on so that your stuckness doesn’t last so long. And that’s what happens. You spend less and less time in negative states of mind. It doesn’t mean you don’t live life to the fullest. It just means you don’t spend so much time in self-hatred and self-loathing and greed and shame and fear and anxiety and selfishness. This is the fruit of the repetition of the name. This is the fruit of Maharajji’s grace, which is available to everyone all the time.