Call and Response Special Edition – Conversations With KD May 16, 2020
Taking time to look back and move forward. Conversations With KD episodes are derived from the recordings of KD’s online events from his home during the 2020/ 2021 days of social distancing and quarantine from the onset of COVID and beyond.
“It would be good to try to find a way to relax. I know that sounds very prosaic, but it’s a very big thing. And that means releasing thoughts, feelings, imaginations about the future. It means releasing a lot of the negativity and betrayals and viciousness of our growing up from the past and allowing yourself to be here just a little bit, you know,… you’re not going anywhere. And certainly, in this this particular situation with the virus, we’re not going anywhere anyway. So… it’s a good time to recognize how clearly you see the things that are floating around in your awareness. “ – Krishna Das
Good morning. It’s getting hot out here in New York. I don’t know where you all are, but it’s hot here.
Nina: So, Krishna Das, actually I have one question. I’ll just get it in here while people raise their hands. Last night, on talk with David Nichtern, KD spoke about what a real guru is. Is it possible to go deeper into this topic, especially how to cultivate ability to have a knowing that comes from the heart rather than thinking that comes from the mind? Or as Carl Jung, as per the Carl Jung quote, “Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.” *******
Well, you know, we have to deal with reality, which means we have to deal with where we are at and these ideas if of perfect this or perfect that, that’s not what we’re dealing with. We’re dealing with a big mess of stuff inside of ourselves. We’re dealing with, we can’t find the ground, we don’t know who we are, we don’t know where we’re going. Our feelings are, are at odds with each other, with, with each all the time.
You know, one has to begin to quiet the mind a little bit, or at least begin to pay attention to all the nonsense in our heads. If you don’t pay attention to it, we can never release it. We’re not going anywhere. You know, there’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing to achieve. We shouldn’t see this as an ambitious enterprise, you know? We’re trying to find out who we are. We’re trying to experience a deeper reality within us. And it’s all within us. The guru is within our true nature. The self is within. In fact, they say guru, God and self are not different. They are the same.
So, the real guru is not outside of us, even though he or she might appear in a body at some point if we need that and if we’re ready for that, and if that is what’s going to be best for us. You know, you’ve got to understand, a real guru has no personal agenda whatsoever. They’re only here because we don’t know anything about anything. And they’re here out of compassion for us. And also, they’re here out of the recognition that we are one, we are all parts of one being, little fragments of light that haven’t found their way back home. So, a real guru is available to us to help us find our way home.
You can’t make that happen. You can’t make yourself come home. You can only allow yourself to come home. And that’s, to do that is to learn to trust your heart, and little by little, yyou do experience the difference between thinking, thinking and knowing. Knowing usually comes as a, as a, just a very simple knowing.
Sometimes it’s like an epiphany where we’re like, you know, it’s like a thunderbolt, but other times it’s just all of a sudden, you’d be going through your day and you’ll recognize some reality. Some truth will pop up in your consciousness. And this, this all happens because it’s a natural process, you know, and how we can help that natural process is to do some is to, is to start some regular practice, to find some way to allow the mind, to settle, allow the thoughts to settle.
So, obviously if we’re allowing those thoughts to settle, we can’t be pushing them away. We can’t be trying to crush them. We can simply be releasing them. And once we start paying attention, then we see, you know, what it’s like inside our heads, which is sometimes not very pretty. So yeah, it’s a question of, of recognizing what this is all about.
So, the knowing, and it’s also a question of learning how to trust ourselves. When I started singing with people, there was nobody for me to ask how to do this. You know, I just had to do what I felt I wanted to do and I needed to do, and obviously that’s become my major practice and it’s, a lot of people seem to get some benefit from that, too. So that’s a great thing. But it came from me having a need to do that for myself and trusting my intuition about what I should be doing and how to do what I was doing.
When I first started singing with people, you know, I sang the chants that I had learned when I was living in India, but as time went on, my more natural Western kind of shape just emerged and the music changed and I felt much more comfortable and at ease and in sharing the practice because I wasn’t, I wasn’t singing from the memory of what I used to sing. I was singing from what was coming through me now. And I had to trust that. I didn’t have anybody to… I did have a lot of people to encourage me, but still, there was nobody to really ask about, “How do you do this?”
So, it’s the same. How do you live your life? Only you know. And if we listen, sensitively enough, with sincerity and wholeheartedness, we can, we can find a way to live that works for us in this world. And by extension, that will work for other people as well.
And guru is… some people talk about the “guru principle.” That makes it a little bit impersonal. It’s a very personal, because it’s you. It’s us. It’s our true being. It’s what lives within us that’s who we really are. So, there’s nowhere to go other than within, cause no one to see other than ourselves.
And then, but what that feels like, oh, you’ll find out. Nobody can tell you because your life will get lit up in its own way. And that’s the beauty of all these practices. Everybody’s path is their life. And each person has to live their life. Nobody else’s life. So…
Q: Namaste, Krishna Das.
Thank you so much. Your love is just, it’s blown my heart away and I’m a big fan. Look, I’m even wearing a shirt just like you, but this is my husband’s shirt. We have more fans in the house that want to say hi to you. My husband…
“My husband,” what a funny name that is
So, we are fans and we don’t have really any questions because your music has burned all our questions. There’s so much love. There’s so much truth and so much energy that’s really extinguished everything, but I really wanted to meet you in person. And I was telling my husband the other day that I really want to meet KD and he was like, “Okay, okay.” And this afternoon he bought this ticket. He was like, “Oh no, actually, no, the show is not like…” and I don’t know, I’m not into so much for online stuff. So, I don’t really have any questions though, if I’m wasting everyone’s time… but I really wanted to…
No you’re not and in fact, I want to refer to the question that was just asked. All the things you say that you feel when we chat together, that is the guru. That love, that energy, that feeling of at-homeness, the feeling of goodness in it, that is the Guru, and that is, that is Neem Karoli Baba, that is my Guru transmitting. But that is the Guru, tthose feelings, which are deeper than our normal foam on top of the ocean, kind of, that is, the deeper feelings, and those feelings that would lead us to the depths of our own true nature. So that’s wonderful.
It’s beautiful. So, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. You’ve really lit up our lives and Maharajji has really lit up our lives.
So, thank you. Very good. Thank you.
Q: Hello? Can you hear me?
Yeah. Hi and thank you. I’m just also so grateful for this, for these opportunities to meet you here and on the internet. It’s really nice to be able to do that. Also, I’m coming from Copenhagen, so it’s…
Oh great, one of my favorite cities. I love it.
Yeah. And I just feel like also, just continuing on what you just said and what you just talked with the other girl about, feeling the Guru, because I have, sometimes when you talk about, you know, how the girl never lets go, once he, you know, at the moment he takes your hand and he never lets go, you might forget about it, but he will never, he will never let go. It just touched me so deeply when you’re talking about that. So that’s also, you know, it just makes sense for me and then when you talk about the, that that is the Guru, that feeling is the guru. So just want to share that, but I have a question which is about effort and how, you know, how do we balance effort in our sadhana? Because that’s something that I struggle with sometimes, you know, because some effort is needed in order to, you know, let go and to keep coming back to our center and to keep our hearts open as we can, but it’s, but sometimes I feel that I’m pushing myself too hard in that process, you know. So, because I get very…. about it all and the feelings, and also wanting to know it all right away, you know, and, but I also feel that it’s that longing and that, you know, striving for the answers and for the, for the understanding that makes me do my practice, you know?
So, it helps me get that, you know, get that glimpse of that, that beauty inside. And, but it’s also, you know, how to balance that, because sometimes it can feel that I get too intense into, you know, go too intense into it, so it can be, you know? Yeah.
Yeah. Well, that’s your job. Finding what’s right for you. You have to find a way to live in the world in a good way. Your practice, you know, as you do these practices, as you learn more about the spiritual path, so to speak, your life changes and the way you think about things also changes. So, a lot of the things you just said are things, are ideas that you have that will change over time. They will soften. They’ll deepen. You might, they might change completely to another type of understanding of what you need to be doing, but it’s your life and you have to live it and you can live it. That’s the good news and the bad news, you know. You have to do it. So, a certain amount of effort is needed to overcome the inertia of the emotions and, and the not wanting to really wake up, you know, to, to do some practice.
But if you’re trying too hard, then, you know, you give yourself a headache, you know? And you have to find what works for you, and you’re the only one who knows. Nobody can tell you. I could say, “Meditate 20 minutes on Monday, 22 minutes on Wednesday.” But that’s just bullshit. You have to figure it out because you’re you, and you have to find out what works for you, and that’s the good news. You can do that. That’s the whole path… is figuring out what works for you. There’s not another path, it’s not a question of doing it right or wrong. It’s a question of being you and what does that mean in terms of how you go through your day?
So, effort is one way of looking at it, but intention is another way of looking at it. You know, your intention is not to understand this and understand that and figure it all out. Your intention is to be happy and to live in love. That’s the intention. So how are you, how is that going to happen? By cranking yourself up and getting here? No, I don’t think so. So, you have to figure out what works for you. So, you… and the practice itself clarifies as time goes on what you really want, what the longing that you have is. So, it’s all good. Just keep breathing. That’s the main thing.
Q: Going off of what the last question was about, too, I feel like I’m pretty good at figuring out what works for myself and I was watching one of the online satsangs that, you know, Krishna Das, you were doing this past month, and when you were talking about how, when you think of Maharajji, he is there and that’s literally true and something inside me clicked from that day, and it was like, there was nothing to accept or convert, or it was just there and it just is, and even now it is, and I’m, I’m fine with going where I need to go. I’m just having a lot of struggles with family and with roles with my parents. They are, I come from a Pakistani Muslim family and it’s Ramadan. And when I talk to my parents, I feel like they’re trying to convert me. And I don’t know how to navigate our spiritual boundaries. It’s very difficult.
Yeah. Well, there’s no boundaries in spirit. And you can say, “Yes, yes, yes,” to your parents and smile and let them know how much you love them, and you can feel their caring and love, but you don’t have to buy the whole program. They don’t have to know that. You don’t have anything to prove to anybody.
You can let them be who they are, and you can be who you are. Reacting to it is your problem, not theirs. And holding onto what you think is right for you, that’s your program, not theirs. So, they can’t hurt you. You’re only hurting yourself with your reactions and your fear. And the whole thing about boundaries is fear driven, you know, so have more confidence in yourself. Relax. Nothing can hurt you, and let them, you know, do what they ask you to do. How has it hurt you? God’s everywhere. They don’t have to know, you don’t have to prove to them that you’re not getting affected by this and that. You just have to let them know that you love them and you don’t need to give them anything to fight about. That’s not healthy for you or them.
And Maharajji said that while your parents are alive, there is no greater puja, no greater Seva than serving your parents. So how do you serve your parents if you can’t really… you let them know that they are loved and that you’re fine and “yes, yes, yes, all that’s all true, how wonderful.”
And then you go home, and you do some crazy tantric practice, you know. But you don’t, it’s, you know, there’s no reason to throw anything back in their face. And if you find yourself doing that and you notice that, that’s a really, that’s good because those are your issues at this point in your life and, and practice is about letting go of that stuff.
So, they’re showing you a lot about yourself, which some probably, some of it, you probably don’t like very much, which is why you want to set boundaries, but there’s the boundaries, when there’s love there’s no need for boundaries, but with our parents, it’s not always love. There’s a lot of hard stuff going on. There’s a lot of, a lot of difficult stuff that we, that happened to us growing up and that they’re transmitting from their own childhood and on and on. So, you know, it’s a question of having, developing more confidence in yourself, but that’s not something that comes right away. It’s not a button you push.
It’s something that comes from dealing with life in the best way you can, as time goes on. You make lots of mistakes. There’s a lot of things you wish you hadn’t done. Same thing with my parents. There’s a lot of things I wish I hadn’t done, but I did, you know, but as we got older, things got a lot easier and you know, so, you can keep secrets. There’s no problem keeping some kinds of secrets because if you come out like, “Oh, you just talked to Krishna Das.”
So, you can keep those kinds of secrets because there’s no problem with that. There’s no reason to hurt them with your reality. You know, that’s, that’s not right.
And yeah. Wish them all, you know, just send them love and kindness and caring and be their beautiful child. And they’ll be happy. And that’s your job, without giving yourself away. You don’t have to give yourself away, but you can certainly give them what they need from you. What’s the problem? And if there is a problem, then you have, that’s good, then you have to deal with it and find out what it is. You can’t hide from yourself. There’s no way to hide. Everything comes out sooner or later. So, keep your eyes open and see where, see where those buttons are and then try to disconnect them with love.
Q: Krishna Das, here’s the situation. I’m going to speak the question because she’s not fluent in English. She said, hold on, “My son likes to go for meditation retreats. How can I stop him?”
But hold on. So I asked her how old he is and what is he doing and so forth. And she said, “He’s 22 years old. He goes to Myanmar for Vipassana retreat. I want to stop him because he is young and I have only one son and he doesn’t want to get married.”
Well, you know, first of all, the type of meditation that he’s going to is a very good meditation. It’s not a cult. It’s not anything to worry about on that level. It’s a very good practice, a very simple practice, and it’s not dangerous in any way.
So, and he’s 22. I don’t think you need to worry about what he says he wants and what he doesn’t want at this point.
I think probably his ideas about things will change as he gets a little older, and anything can happen. And, you know, your job is not to worry, you know, you’re driving yourself crazy for… because that’s your, that’s your program. That’s what, that’s what you’re doing to yourself. And that’s not helping the situation in any way, and by worrying and pressuring him, you’re only creating a very, more difficulties to overcome.
I understand how important it is to you that he marries and has a family. But what can you do? You know, he’s a young man. You can’t control him. And even if you wanted to, you can’t control them. And I do know a little bit about Indian culture. I know how important the marriage situation, family situation is, but it seems to me, you’re caring more about yourself than your son.
it’s a difficult situation. No question, but what’s the best way to try to resolve it? You can’t, he’s too young, he’s too old to be manipulated and all you’ll do is create more negativity and backlash.
When I was leaving America to go to India in 1970, I was never, in my mind, I was never coming back to America. I gave everything away, sold everything I had, never coming back. But I didn’t tell my mother that. I didn’t tell her. I didn’t tell my father. You want to be a friend to your son, you know. You don’t want to be somebody who he can’t turn to when he needs you. I don’t know what more to say.
She said, her daughter is actually typing in English. “The answer is very good. Thank you a lot. I’m so grateful.”
Q: Yeah, so I was just going to ask, we’ll say that I’ve been really chanting the “Jai Jai Rama Krishna Hare,” which you sang recently, a lot.
It’s actually, “Hari.” Hari. Ramakrishna Hari.
That’s okay. You know, that’s a very particular murti that’s in Pandarpur. It’s Vitthale, Krishna standing on the rock, and he’s supposed to be a manifestation of Ram and Krishna. So that’s why it’s Rama Krishna Hari. Hari is Vishnu. It’s both forms of Vishnu.
Thank you. I love that. And that’s helped me a lot with, you know, the other stuff that I’ve been thinking about, but I wanted, I don’t want to ask about that today, but I wanted to say, like, I woke up from a dream, after a dream saying “Sab ek…”
And I looked on Google translate, and it said, I think it’s wrongb but it said, “Why are you?”
“Sab ek” is “all one.” And “chit” is consciousness. I don’t know really what that last word is. But “sab ek” means “all one” and “chit” is “consciousness,” you know, awareness, pure, pure awareness. So “satchidananda,” that “chit”.
Okay. So, the question of like, “Why are you?” like, what do you think? Like if you were to ask yourself, “why are you?” because you know, Yogananda, I read, He said, “the purpose of life is to love God.” So, I guess that’s his, “why are you?”
Well, that’s his why, but I don’t know what my “why” is. I’m not even asking. I don’t want to know why. I just want to know what. And what to do and how to do it. Why, you know, why is beyond us. “Why” is all the karmas from millions of lifetimes manifesting right now. Why? That’s why, but we don’t know what those are.
You know, in the Rg Veda, there’s the creation hymn. It’s the oldest hymn in the Rg Veda. And it goes on and on and says, “in the beginning there was this and then this and this and this and this and this and this.” And it goes on for pages. And at the end it says, and you know, “Why, how, why is all this? Why did this happen? Only he in highest heaven knows. Or maybe he doesn’t.”
it actually says that in the creation hymn. So if he doesn’t know, what the fuck are we going to do? Stop thinking about it, Goddammit.
I’ll try and stop, but I can’t promise.
Q: I’m estranged from my adult daughter and I’m really having trouble trying to find the spiritual lesson in that. And if you could just give me some words, that would be great.
I don’t know what words to give you. It must be very painful. There must be reasons why she feels the way she does, and you probably know all of them. I think forgiveness is a big thing, forgiving yourself and forgiving her and hopefully, dissipating whatever anger or hurt or fear or shame or guilt there might be lingering around in your heart. It would be good to try to release all that stuff and make your heart available. And maybe she can come back, back to see you in some way, but there’s no guarantee of that.
The only guarantee is that if you don’t clean your heart of all those things, you will suffer. So that’s your work. You know, I don’t know what it’s, this is not, you know, I have no idea what’s really going on there, but certainly your work has to be to find a way to unfold your own heart, regardless of the way the world responds to that. And in this case, your world might be your daughter. You can’t control her. All you can do is try to work on your own stuff and hope, if you want to hope, that if, if you really can open your heart and make it a place where she could come in, maybe she will. I don’t know, but certainly there’s no way to control another person and make another person do anything. So, we have to take responsibility for our own feelings and our responsibility for being co-creators of this moment, which involves her being estranged from you.
Yeah. I’m just having trouble with accepting it and trying to find peace in my own way without being so distraught every day.
Yeah. Well, you know, it’s not that unusual, to tell you the truth. I hear a lot of stories like that. There are a lot of children who close off to their parents at some point for one reason or another. And they’re doing it out of their pain and you’re also creating the situation out of your pain. So once again, all you can do is try to take care of your end of it and recognize the situation. It’s not a question of, when you say “accept” something, it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden, you’re going to feel good. That doesn’t happen. But when you live with the situation as it is, then you recognize what you can do on your side. If it changes, that would be wonderful. But if it doesn’t, at least you’ve done your part in coming towards the middle, which is all you can do. And part of that is going to be, you’re going to have to accept that this is the way it is at this moment. And then you can start to release some of your emotions about it, and you can then move closer to the middle so that if she’s floating around somewhere in that middle, you make the possibility of meeting. But that’s not, it’s not our job to control other people. We can’t. Obviously we can barely take care of ourselves.
So, do what you can do and you can pray, you know, just pray, not to anything particular or anyone just, just tell the universe, you know, “Please help me. I want my daughter back and I’ll do everything I can to make that happen.”
Q: Hi, KD. How are you today? Hi, so great to see you again. I really look forward to this time. I just, I always feel so overwhelmed with emotion when I hear you speak and just watching the way people interact with you and how you answer the questions.
That bad, huh?
Well, I just, it’s just so sweet. It’s like, you’re so sweet and it just touches my heart so much. It kind of, it’s like what she was talking about, the very first girl that spoke to you. And I often cry when I chant as like, I hear your voice and the, the way you chant is so heartfelt and I’m crying right now. It’s just so overwhelming. And, so yes, I just wondered, like, it feels like it’s Maharajji’s energy coming through and I want to know what maybe what your experience is of tears, of crying when you’re chanting, or maybe what that is for me. I mean, maybe you don’t know what it is for me, but just the whole emotional piece, you know?
So many things. You know, chanting is a very powerful practice. It works in mysterious ways. There’s so many things that have to get released and allowed to leave us, whether negative things, unhappy things, sad things, all kinds of things.
Also, tears can be, basically, you know, when you come into the presence of that love, what else can you do except cry? I mean, it’s just too great. It’s too big. It’s too big a thing. It’s like, that’s my only option is just to let it out. I can’t do anything but cry.
So, but once again, it’s not necessarily about that only, you know, just keep singing. This is a practice, so you’re getting some tears. You’re having a nice little emotional moment. That’s great. Keep going, you know, enjoy it. Keep singing, because you can always let go and go deeper. Ultimately, these practices are going to make you one with the universe, recognize your unity with the whole universe and everybody and everything in it.
So, you can always let go and enjoy the tears, if they’re enjoyable. If they’re not enjoyable, enjoy not enjoying them. Keep singing. Keep chanting. Don’t stop.
Thank you so much. Thank you.
Q: Thank you for having me, you know, when I first heard that there was going to be an online, I kind of, haven’t been doing a lot of this, although I’ve been super grateful for all of the bhakti people who’ve been offering these online programs. So, thank you. But really, I just wanted to reach out to everyone on this call and just say how much I miss being with everybody at the live events and hugging them and chanting and just being together, and Krishna Das, you’re a conduit for the power and the love that we all share together. And I just, I just miss you all and that’s all. And thank you for opening your hearts on this call and showing your faces and having the courage to speak up. It feels almost more intimate than some of the live events that you’ve done. So, I just wanted to say, “blessings to everyone and thank you.”
Q: Okay. So, I know Ram Dass’s first meeting Maharajji and how he described a divine moment or a kind of “burning bush” moment. I personally would love to touch Baba’s feet and experience something magical and believe all the things that I’ve read, but obviously I will never get to meet Neem Karoli Baba.
How do you know?
My teacher told me… well, physically.
How do you know?
My teacher told me to touch my own feet because I’m my own guru. I was talking about the physical presence because he left in ‘73.
It looks that way. You never know.
Don’t be so sure.
So, I’ve been told that if you think of him, you know, he’s there.
And I was going to ask you, can you describe having…
He said that. “When you think of me, I’m there.
That’s what he said. So that must be true. So, you don’t see him.
Can you describe having your own “burning bush” moment with Maharajji? And how important was his physical presence for you?
For me, his physical presence was ultimately important. At least that’s how it looks to me. How it looks to him? I have no idea. Whether it was, in his eyes, important for me to be there or not. The point was, I was there. So, whether it was important or not, that’s what it was. And of course, in my mind it was very important, because it proved to me the reality of real love, which I didn’t have any clue about really beforehand.
So, the Guru is not outside of you though, you know? Where do you experience all this? Within. So, whatever it takes, Guru will do whatever he has or she has to do to get you to look inside and find the reality inside. And in my case, he had to show up, I guess. We’ll see if what he did was successful or not. Hard to know, but I didn’t have a burning bush moment. I had a burning life moment. My whole life burnt down and, and there I was. I was going to live in India for the rest of my life. Then he sent me back to America and he said, “You have attachment you have to work out, go there.”
He didn’t even say, “You have to work it out. He said, “You have attachment there. You go. You have to go.”
So, I didn’t know what he was talking about, but now 50 years later, you know, or 48 years later, everything that happened to me, all the states of mind I went through, all the horrors, all the joys, all the sadness, all the everything, all the tortures that I went through, that’s what he was talking about. All that was within me. It had to come out of my karmic body, my causal body. It had to come out and it wasn’t going to come out if I stayed in India. So, he sent me home. So, it’s an ongoing relationship and it’s a relationship that gets deeper and deeper. If we want to have those kinds of experiences, we have to, we have to surrender to the path. We have to look at ourselves. We have to clean our hearts. We have to purify our hearts and wait for grace to manifest for us. But we have a lot of work to do to clean our hearts. We’re all full of so much selfishness and so much greed and shame and fear and guilt and attachment that, you know, this is our work, cleaning the mirror of our hearts. That we can do that work is actually already proof that grace is at work for us, but we still have to go through the motions with the right intention, otherwise, you know, you don’t clean the mirror, all you see is dust when you look at it. So that’s the deal.
Q: So, thank you for what you are. And I have a question about, I would like to ask you, in your experience, is there a way, a way to overcome fear. To be afraid?
To overcome fear?
Yes. I wonder if you know a way to overcome fear.
Well, that’s a big question because you have to determine what it is you’re afraid of. You know, people say, “I’m afraid of God,” but that can’t be true because you don’t know what God is. So, you can’t be afraid of God. You might be afraid of letting go because you’re afraid of all the different emotions within, and they’re very powerful feelings. So, I can’t really say. I don’t know. Okay. Fear is something that arises sometimes. If you’re doing practice regularly, every time you do practice, you’re training yourself to let go of whatever arises, whether it’s fear or any kind of memories, or things like that. Your only job is to let go and come back to the chanting or to the meditative practice.
But it’s something you have to train, you know, just like you’re writing, you’re writing now. You had to learn how to write. You had to practice. So, it’s the same with spiritual practice. It’s training. And it has to be regular if you’re going to actually learn how to do it. And so, if you’re in, if you’ve trained yourself to allow the mind to rest a little bit, and then some, then you notice that you’re, you’ve been thinking about something, remembering something, then you let go and you come back. You let go and you come back. That’s training.
So, when something big arises, like fear or a big cloud comes over you, a part of you knows just to let go. Now it may not be easy if it’s a big, strong thing, but it’s a question of developing over time. And also, it can be very useful to try to examine what you’re afraid of.
Where is that fear coming from? You know? Is it coming from an experience you had in the past? Is it coming like, some part of your body, sometimes you can deal with these situations on a very simple level, like a mindfulness level, simple, not easy, where you’re just mindful of the fears in your stomach. So you sit with it, you see, you just be with it. And if you’re aware of something like fear, then you recognize that you are different than the feeling. It doesn’t, it hasn’t destroyed you. It hasn’t killed you. If you’re aware of it, feeling it, even though it’s very intense, there’s still, you’re there. So, at that point, you, you remember to be more present with yourself and you notice the feeling can be an object of awareness and it’s no longer the whole thing. You’re aware of it. And in that way, negative emotions can be very powerful teachers for us because they grab us and they force us to experience very intensely, that feeling.
So, once we get used to this idea and this, the practice of letting go, everything that arises is something just to be let go of. Everything. Until there’s no more letting go. And then you’ve become the whole universe and you’re blissfully happy and living in reality and disgustingly blissful. So, there’s many ways to work with it.
And you know, I would recommend a book by a wonderful Tibetan Lama. It’s called “The Joy of…” What’s it called? “The joy of living”? Nina? Mingyur Rinpoche. “The Joy of Living.” And he discussed, he had, as a child, he was a reincarnated Lama of a very high Lama. And so, from the moment, time he was a child, he was put on a pedestal in front of so many people, and he used to have panic attacks, complete total panic attacks, but he learned to use those panic attacks to awaken. There it is. Look at that. Very good book, very good book.
So, there’s many ways to deal with this and all these practices that we do, they’re training us to overcome these limitations and these experiences. So, everything you do in a practice can help you.
Yeah, you’re welcome.
Q: Good evening everybody. I’m from Germany and good evening, Krishna Das. It’s good to see you again. So, I joined two concerts in Germany, in Berlin and Hamburg. Yeah. I’m so glad to be here again today. And so, I would like to ask you if you have a huge learning, but as weeks through this pandemic, or maybe would you say that there are lessons that we have to learn or we should learn from this pandemic?
Well, we will learn. When you’re dropped into the ocean, you either you sink or you learn how to swim, there’s no option. So, we will learn if we have the desire to overcome adversity, which we all have that desire. We will learn how to, how to maintain a good state of mind through any kind of adversity. That’s the point of spiritual practice, and this situation, along with everything else that it is creating, is creating the need to do that very strongly because we’re locked in our houses and we don’t have a lot of our usual escapes. So, we’re faced with our own bullshit a lot more of the time. So, we have to learn how to deal with it and we will, otherwise we won’t.
So, it’s a question of how, what we want. So, it’s a good time to try to do some more practice and read some good books about this and get to know what the path is about. And you know, also recognize that there’s not a lot you can do about it. There’s no button to push to make this go away. So, you do the best you can in your circumstances. You’re not running your country. You’re not running any country. You’re not running the state. You’re not running the town. You’re in your house alone. So, the main thing you have to deal with is your state of mind. And that will allow you to be more open to whatever arises. And it’ll also allow you to be in a position to help in the best way you can, when that moment arises.
So, in the meantime, you know, but don’t get too intense about it. If the intensity and the anxiety is very defeating, self-defeating. Our job is to keep letting go and relaxing and being, making our hearts available. That’s what we have to do with, you know, if you, if next week you get to be elected the president of Germany, you will have other things to do, but right now you have yourself to take care of and everyone and everything that comes into your awareness. Next week there might be more people coming in. So, and you want to be able to help the best you can. So, you have to overcome the anxiety and the fear and et cetera, et cetera, and take responsibility for your state of mind as best you can, without beating yourself up. Cause that’s, that’s just more bullshit. So, take it easy. Find a way to, you know, let your mind come to a little bit of rest. Breathe, keep breathing, take it easy and keep releasing the anxiety that sneaks up on us from all sides. And when you talk to other people, just notice where they’re at. Like, sometimes I’ll talk to somebody and they start talking politics to me, you know? And I just, you know, I just change the subject because I don’t know anything about politics. I know about chanting. You want to talk about politics, talk to somebody else, you know?
So that kind of thing. Be, try to be true to yourself. You know, don’t let everybody’s anxiety seep into you. And if it does, recognize it and release it, you know? You know, you have that power, but it’s something that has to develop.
Thank you so much.
Q: Krishna Das, I just want to insert a little question that was actually asked a long time ago, but it’s related to what Fabian was asking. And you just mentioned, you said we have to exercise our letting-go muscle. She wants to know how would you recommend that you can do that. Can you give some instructions?
What else can I say? Sing, chant, repeat the name. The Name will help you with everything. Sing by yourself, sing quietly, sing in your mind. When you’re chanting, you can’t be worrying. So, you have to overcome the tendency to allow your mind to eat you alive by letting, letting a practice into your life. When you’re singing and chanting, your whole job is to release the anxiety and the fear, and that is the exercising of that letting go muscle, so to speak. So do practice. Do some chanting. Chanting will help you. Practice will help you. And the chanting practice will help you. Chant along with the CDs chant by yourself, chant in the shower, chant in the bathtub, chant in the kitchen, chant in the living room, chance standing on your head chant, whenever you can chant, because when you’re doing that, you’re not worrying, you’re doing something else. You’ve added another vector into the moment and that vector exists to allow you to let go of all the negative emotions.
Q: Hi from Australia. It’s getting cold here. It’s getting to be autumn, winter. So nice to hear it’s getting warm over there where you are. Yeah, I met you last year in Fremantle and Perth. A bit about myself; I like dancing. I like painting , I like watching standup comedy, especially Garry Shandling.
I love Gary Shandling.
I wanted to say that when I was 28, I found a guru and I went to India and I had a great time. And then like, sort of, 10 years ago, I deeply went into addiction and I gave myself a hard time because my life was falling apart and I judged myself.
I said, “How can I go into addiction?”
And it’s like a behavioral addiction. And I can’t go into the detail here at this moment in this forum. But yeah, it was just like, I had a guru on my, you know, I still have a guru and I’ve got the great creativity. I’ve got the painting, I’ve got the dancing. And so why do I have to go back into that?
And then I started some 12-step program. And again, my critical mind was judging the program. They’re talking about God, I’m not into God. And so, I was like, ripping the program to pieces. Although I know this 12-step program would help me. So, I just notice a lot of judgment in me about myself. And then now going back to the painting or stand-up comedy and all this, this really helps me to be in the moment.
But, you know, I don’t know. I mean, I’m critical mind is really making it hard for me to, to progress somehow or to be natural or to be relaxed.
Well, it’s all part of you not wanting to really be here. You know, the, the intellectual, evaluative, judgmental mind is what’s keeping you stuck. You’re also addicted to your thoughts. You actually believe what you think, and that is your way of hurting yourself because you’re not allowing your heart to blossom and to open up.
So, you’re going to keep doing that to yourself until you’re tired of it enough to stop. There’s no way, there’s no other way, no answer for that. You’ve got to find, it’s got to be, you’ve got to say, “Fuck this. I’m just gonna, I can’t believe this bullshit anymore. My heart is dry as a desert. And if I don’t figure out a way to get some water in there, I’ll die.”
It has to be real to you. It’s not real now. You’re hardly alive. You know, you just keep beating yourself up and then beating yourself with beating yourself up again. And then you beat yourself up for beating yourself up.
It’s all programmed behavior. It’s all emotional issues that are unresolved in your, in your being. So, if you don’t look at those issues, they’re going to keep beating you up. And as far as addiction, there’s only one way to stop: stop. Next. Never do it again, ever, not even in your wildest dreams, will you ever do that addictive behavior again.
That’s how you stop. There’s no other way. “Well, I’ll do it on Fridays only. For the rest of the week, I’ll be cool. But on Fridays, I’m going to party.”
That’s not going to work either. You have to stop totally. And you have to find the strength to stop, which means you have to recognize that it’s only you that is, that is soiling your awareness and soiling your life. Everything that happened to you is now carried within you and all those programmed behaviors, all those stories that you tell yourself about yourself, that you believe immediately, those are the things that are killing you. And right now, they’re winning.
So, it’s up to you. You have to say, “Fuck this,” you know, “enough of this.”
And nobody can do it, except you. The reason you go to a 12-step program, which are very useful, because you surrounded, we’re surrounded with people who are going through the same thing that we’re going through, but you’re too proud to surrender to that. You’re too proud to see yourself as somebody who needs help. And so, you suffer from pride as well. And that’s a big, a big thing to surrender to that. Whether it’s God or yourself or the program, all those other human beings who are suffering in that room, you’re too proud to be, to be a human being with them. So, good luck.
Really. Good luck. I wish all the best for you.
Thank you so much. And thank you everybody who was able to speak before me, because I had only the courage to speak up because of other people speaking before me. Thank you so much.
Q: I wanted to ask about purification in relation to charting practice because I just, I literally just sort of discovered, I just discovered you.
Who am I? Tell me.
So, I’ve been meditating for, in the Tibetan tradition, for a long time. And I was feeling like I needed something more devotional. And so, I found, somehow found my way to, to your work through Sally Kempton. And when I first heard the “Sri Ram Jai Ram,” it sort of stopped me in my tracks, actually. And I thought it was, I think I’ll start chanting it. So, I’ve been working with some of the videos and things that you have. One of the things that I found was that it makes me feel fantastic. And, but then afterwards, I’m getting, I believe I’m getting a purification coming up, in a sense, that I’m getting material from the past few hours afterwards coming up. I’m not unfamiliar with the whole idea that that would happen, but I’m surprised how powerful it was, to be honest. And I just wonder if that experience of it.
Well, obviously, if something powerful happened to you when you heard the chant, that’s a big thing. That doesn’t happen for everyone quite that way. So, it sounds like you have a very strong connection to, karmic connection to that, to the chanting.
I’m kind of surprised. I’m quite surprised.
Yeah. Well, it works like that. But once again, it, anyway, so it does shake things up with you. It rattles things. Definitely. And but once again, don’t forget that the intention of doing the practice is whatever arises, you let go. So just because you stopped chanting doesn’t mean you have to stop letting go. You’re stuck chanting. And so, then when, as these things arise, you’re allowing them to eat you up and that’s not necessary. They all also are objects of awareness, which you can release the minute you notice that they’re catching you.
So, when you’re chanting you can enjoy the practice and it can bring wonderful feelings. But it is a spiritual practice. So, as you’re moving in, you’re kind of brushing against the walls of your heart, which is releasing the stuff that you’re, that you’re experiencing when you stop chanting. But if you had the opportunity, once you notice these things arising, why don’t you just sit down, sit down again for a couple of minutes and start the chant going again, but not to push that stuff away. You don’t want to push anything away. You just want to release. So if you start to chant, going in a simple, easy way, not like, you know, let it just, you know, and then allow yourself to kind of land again in the chant and release those things as they arise.
And the whole path is about releasing those, those Karmic impressions, whether they’re from this life or another life, it doesn’t really matter.
Yeah, I’ve experienced these things coming up after powerful meditation sessions. It’s like the light draws out some of the dark and then you just have to let it go. But I hadn’t, I haven’t really got any experience with chanting, and I suppose I was just thinking, is this the same process?
Yeah. The only thing that is kind of interesting, because some of your songs are so, chants are so catchy, particularly the one I mentioned, that it’s incredible how it just runs in the back of your mind.
Like day and night.
It’s running everywhere all the time but we’re just not aware of it.
It’s a completely new field for me.
Well, it’s not, you’ll find that it doesn’t, it’s no different than any other practice if you approach it in a certain way. There’s a, within us, there’s that space that is filled with the silence, which is reality. And that silence expresses itself in the form of sounds. And some of those sounds are called the Divine Names, they call them in India. So, you’re becoming aware of that place in you where that’s always going on. So, all you have to do is keep a little part of yourself just with that, regard and whatever arises, let it go and stay, you know, but it has to be done, it should be done, with an ease. It shouldn’t be like this holding onto it. Okay? Just easy, you know, just, “Ah, hi. Okay? Like that.
When it first happened, it slightly annoyed me, actually, because I thought, “No, I’ve got, I can’t get, this is stuck now.” And then I thought, you know, like an annoying, not an annoying tune, but just, you know, but then I thought, “Well, hang on, aren’t you supposed to have this running anyway? So, I might as well just accept it.
Yeah. Yeah, that’s good. Just live your life and allow this presence within you to arise, you know. It’s awareness. It’s purity of being, and it’s always there, but we’re not aware of it. So, you become more aware of it at times, less aware of it at others. It’s all good.
Yeah. Nice to meet you.
Q: I don’t know if you remember me, but I used to always wear a flower in my hair. And so I did that. And then a couple of years ago at Bhakti Fest, I was the one that said I didn’t really want to be a Barbara Streisand where I find love late in life, but and we laughed and you said you’re done with dating actresses.
So, I’m trembling and I’m gonna, anyways, so, it is what it is. So, I know, hang in there with me… I know that I’m allowed to be too much or take too much space on stage or in the bedroom, right? Like, I have a catalystic nature. I don’t do it on purpose. I’m not trying to. And I also know that I’m 49 and this is a really special year for me. I just graduated from my five-year scheduled midlife crisis, and I feel like I was ready to debut myself again when the quarantine hit, which is great. Because I feel like it’s just more dress rehearsal for life. What’s coming up is, so I had a Kundalini awakening about 17 years ago and I did not know that’s what it was. I just knew it was another weird thing that was happening to me because that’s what my life has been like. I didn’t know for about eight years that that’s what it was. Somebody named it. And I was like, “oh my God, I get it.”
And then there was a period of years of people saying they could help me, but almost every facilitator either was afraid of me or rejected me or wanted to get into my pants and massage my Yoni because that would somehow enlighten me. It’s just been a long journey and coming back home to my childhood place where my family is, I thought I could heal that and I couldn’t quite heal it. They are very Christian and when I mentioned Kundalini or anything, they like to just say it’s demonic.
So, I’m very aware that I’m a sister from another planet or another something or other, and the final frontier for me has been the psychological aspect of not believing all that bullshit and letting it be okay that I might be somewhat alone, even though I’m not alone with spirit.
So, my question earlier, it started out different than what it is now. And to top all that off, since I’m just giving you the whole picture, my mom was very disturbed, so it’s just been a journey. And I realized, red’s always been my favorite color and it’s your assigned color or whatever you call it. So, I guess I haven’t chanted in a long time and it took me years to get back to yoga because every time I would do something, it would trigger symptoms that were, sometimes made me dysfunctional in the “make rent and do things.” I’m so much stronger now. And I’ve been feeling such a call to come back to chanting and such. And I’m just grateful I’m on the call right now. I’m not sure what my question is anymore. It’s just strange being, I don’t want to sound like I’m being sorry for myself or a victim. It’s just strange being so different all the time. And I think I’m finally starting to understand it. And I, I think that’s, I don’t know. I’m just curious.
Well, first of all, it seems like you’re on the same planet as the rest of us, mostly.
I’m here, but I don’t feel from here.
Well that that’s, that’s your program. That’s okay. And yeah, it would be good to try to find a way to relax. I know that sounds very prosaic, but it’s a very big thing. And that means releasing thoughts, feelings, imaginations about the future. It means releasing a lot of the negativity and betrayals and viciousness of our growing up from the past and allowing yourself to be here just a little bit, you know, just now without any… you’re not going anywhere. And certainly in this this particular situation the virus, we’re not going anywhere anyway. So, it’s a good time to recognize how much… it’s a good time to recognize how clearly you see the things that are floating around in your awareness. So, what you just need to kind of do is to just relax and allow those things to exist without pushing them away or trying to kill them or trying to, you know, and as far as your parents, you know, that’s very difficult.
You know, as far as I know, Maharajji used to talk to us about Jesus and we used to go like, “What the fuck? We’re in a Hanuman temple with this little Baba wrapped up in a blanket and he’s talking to us about Jesus?”
But when he talked about Jesus, oh my goodness, what a feeling. How much love and peace and space and beauty and depth of feeling. It was so amazing. And when he said that we should meditate like Christ. So, we asked him, “How does Christ meditate?”
He said, “He lost himself in love. He lost himself in love. He’s one with all beings. He never died. No one understands.” He lost himself in love.
So, you know, when you’re with your parents, be a good little Christian girl. Give them what they want. Why not? Why do you have to hurt them? If you are hurting them it’s because you’re trying to get them back for hurting you. And that’s not the best thing to be doing for yourself.
It’s actually so I, I don’t speak with my mother and I do speak with my dad and it doesn’t come up. He doesn’t try to hurt me. Ironically, it’s my older sister that sort of is in charge of the family and has that charge and wants control and I just let her have that.
Wish her well, and don’t believe a word she says.
But you know what? I keep finding this good little Christian girl inside of me.
And I know they’re wrong.
No, you don’t. You don’t know. You hope they’re wrong but you don’t know yet because you don’t trust yourself yet.
There’s fear in there. That fear is a program from your childhood. That’s how the church controls people.
I’m going to burn in hell for eternity, even though I know that’s not true.
But you don’t know that’s not true. You hope it’s not true.
Oh, God. That’s horrible. Yes. It’s true that I’m still hoping it’s not true.
It’s not true. Don’t worry. It’s not true. But you don’t know that yet.
Oh God. That’s horrible.
Yeah. No, it’s not. It’s wonderful.
I’m putting that in my stand-up comedy.
Okay. So, you know, Pete Holmes? You know who he is? He grew up as a born-again, Christian, he and his wife. And he’s a, he’s a stand-up comedian now. Check him out.
He deals a lot with that stuff too. He talks about that sometimes.
So, like I said, take this time to let your heart find a little rest, recognize that there’s fear in there. If you don’t recognize it, you won’t be able to let it go, if you don’t recognize it, it pushes you around. It’s a shadow that pushes you around from behind, which is what it’s been doing your whole life. So, you have to let it go and you will, but you have to see that and let your heart unwind. Just breathe. Be yourself, open up, relax, take it easy. Feel the pain and feel the fear. And then let it go again and again and again, and little by little it’ll leave you alone.
I believe you. I believe that. And I’m so glad I got on this call because I stupidly reached out to someone that said they could handle helping me. And they basically literally said, nobody else needs this kind of support. You’re too much. You’re taking too much space. And I was like, okay. Thank you. I, you know, that reflection has been done, but you’re not afraid of it. And I feel like I can find my sweet spot and I appreciate that so much.
Good. Well, keep letting go. When you sing, when you chant, chant with an ease of heart, don’t try to kill yourself with it. Don’t try to beat yourself up with it. Just relax. Take it easy.
You can relate.
Of course, I can relate.
I can feel it. Yeah. Okay.
Take care. Bye-bye
Q: Hi KD.
Oh, hey, how are you?
Hi, I’m good. How are you? Not much. I have a question. I was listening in last week and because of my work at Auschwitz for 20 years, where I first met you, I’ve been working with forgiveness a lot in my life. My dad was the only survivor of his whole family. And for me to forgive in the greater sense, forgive Germans, is, it’s a big deal, and I’ve gotten there on little wisps of occasion. I mean, I can forgive someone for spilling coffee on my brand new whatever, you know,
It depends what that whatever is, you know?
Yeah. Even if it’s like my favorite shawl or my, my antique book or whatever, you know, but to forgive somebody for killing a lot of people who were all in my family, and last week you said, and I wrote it down because it really was meaningful to me, you said cultivate forgiveness. And if you can’t forgive, recognize and do the best you can. Remember saying that?
Not really. It sounds like me. So let me, let me tell you something that happened to me in Auschwitz, one of the many things that happened.
At some point, I recognized that if I had been born in Germany at that time to a family of Nazis and brought up with that belief system, there was no way you could prove to me that I wouldn’t do just what they did. There was nothing in me that was innately any better than anyone of those people, but because of my karmas and my good luck so far, I didn’t get brought up in a belief system that caused so much suffering.
So, it’s not that I can forgive those people. It’s not even my job to forgive, because they’re going to pay for those karmic actions, regardless. There’s no way around that. Karma is, what’s the word. It, it doesn’t get erased for millions and millions of lifetimes. It’s always there. Sooner or later, you will live out the results of your own actions in one form or another.
So, and that doesn’t make me happy that they’re going to suffer at one point in my life. It might have, but it doesn’t now because I recognize that they are victims just in their own way. Because they will deal with this. They will burn in fucking help for this. There’s no question about it. And they will suffer in the same way that they made other people suffer.
So forgiveness is not my job, but recognizing the situation as my job as best I can. And that takes some of the energy of those of that out of the, out of the balloon, you know, it deflates the balloon a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. The thing was that I used to walk the first few days, my first time there, I was walking around and it was so beautiful at that point in November, the trees were all multicolored. The grass was green, the sun was shining and I, I, I was screaming at the sun. How dare you shine on this place you out.
Can you, I don’t want, you know, like, like this. And then once again, at one point I went, it’s your nature to shine on everything and everyone exactly the same. That’s a tough one. I’m not the son. I can’t do that, but that’s what the sun. And that’s, what’s called unconditional love. And that’s what we’re aspiring to, not for our own sakes only, but for the sake of everyone who needs warmth, which is every being in the universe, so
powerful. And Bernie forced me to go. I had no intention of coming.
Yeah. So yeah, I know forgiveness is not, we’re not, it’s not our job to forgive. It’s
forgiveness will arise. I believe from recognition of the situation, which is this poor kid is born in the fucking family of Nazis. What is he going to do? He has no option. He is actually taught. This is the way the world is. Why would he doubt that? Right. Like we don’t doubt our experience. We don’t doubt.
Oh, I’m very liberally minded believing in rights of everybody. We don’t doubt that that’s, what’s real. And we think it’s even better than other things. So did they, so that’s hard. And it’s just an ongoing process of coming back and recognizing that we’re all, we’re all working out our stuff the best we can and know, and some people.
Go around creating more and more climbers for themselves. Negative karma and, and it’s hard. It’s very hard. Many many, many years ago I was working as a psychotherapist before I met Bernie. And I think he did. But I had a client once whose father sexually abused her for many years. From being a very young girl until her, her adolescents really.
And when she first came in, her whole goal was to forgive her father. And after months and months and months of sessions where this was the goal. At one point I sat there and I, and I, I don’t know where it came from, but I said maybe even job is not to forgive. Maybe it’s to heal and maybe you can heal without forgiving.
I don’t know where that came from, but her body just relaxed. Yeah. Her whole energy shifted. And I thought, oh, I’m onto something. Maybe just those same people. Can I make an appointment? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. That’s why I’m calling you and asking you a question,
but, you know, but then, you know, everything that I read the goal is about forgiveness. I mean, I got it with this woman that I’m not forgiving was the healing place for her. I don’t think forgiveness is an act of will. That’s that’s forgiveness is a recognition of reality. I think ultimately, oh, and the reality is that all our actions come out of our own karmic imperative, some very negative, some very positive, but all of them are programmed behavior.
And the only vote we get is how we deal with each moment that arises. And for most of us, it’s just knee jerk reactions. But through practice, we are hoping to get a vote to not w actually be present in the moment and, and not just, you know, have that re knee jerk reaction. So forgiveness arises like, you know, like, nevermind, but it just arises.
And it arises naturally because when, when you’re in love, when you recognize that we’re all part of the same beacon, but actually it’s not here, you recognize that it comes from within then, you know, would you be mad at your foot? You know, you know, is it hard to forgive your foot for when your trip, you know, you’re, it’s a part of you, so all right.
Do better next time. So yeah. Forgiveness is not an act of egoistic will it’s it’s it’s a fruit of recognition of the way things are. I think that’s beautiful. Yeah. Oh, thank you, Katie. You’re welcome. Nice to see you. Good to see you too. Take good care. You know, I, I just also want to say it’s amazing what an intimate tool this huh.
It’s really very touching. Yeah. And it’s great to see everybody’s faces were in a big group in an auditorium. I can’t, you can’t really see people’s faces when they’re crying. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Bye-bye
so, Gabriel was not able to get his audio working, so he wanted to know his question was about actually Dr. Larry brilliant. And the questions were, do you know him? Did he meet Maharaji? Did Maharaji give him a special blessing to eradicate smallpox? Maharaji yes. You should read his book, which is called sometimes.
Brilliant. Yeah, there, it is definitely read his book. Gabriel. It’s an incredible great book. And it talks about he, he goes over the whole, the whole history of how it happened. He was just a hippie, you know, he was the doctor who came to America to India with the hog farm. He was the hog farm doctor and.
One of the hog farmers and his wife was with Maharaji and she, she got him to come and he stayed and anyway, it’s an incredible story. Yes, he was Maharaji Maharaji said to him, smallpox will be eradicated because of the dedicated work of, of of the healthcare workers, dedicated Seva. And he had him hap make that happen.
There is Gabriel.
So, it’s an incredible book and it’s a great read. He’s a good writer.
What do you think, what do you think Maharajji would say about today’s epidemic or pandemic and or how would he look at this? And I mean, I’m really conflicted between the stay-at-home orders. I understand why it’s important, but then I think about all the people that suffered with smallpox and you know, that pain that went through. And I’m just wondering what Maharajji’s words would be, I wonder if you could channel that. And I just, I just read the book, Larry Brilliant, Sometimes Brilliant, amazing book, and I noticed that. Maharajji had these different effects on different people. He took the strengths of people he met and he kind of like intuitively knew like, “KD, you want to be a rock star? You go chant,” type of thing.
He didn’t say it. But that’s what you got out of it. “Ram Dass, you’re a professor, a teacher, go teach” and, and his thing. And then with Larry being a doctor to do so much good, and all of you have done so much incredible good work for humanity today. There’s definitely a connection with Maharajji there that is amazing. And so, I’m just wondering what, how do, how do we look at this pandemic in Maharajji’s eyes, if you could channel that, because it’s difficult.
That’s above my pay grade.
I always ask you those questions.
But you know, we don’t understand what these situations really are. We don’t understand why they arise and all we can do is the best we can and trying to heal people and protect people from the disease. But you know, in India, smallpox was actually a form of Kali, the goddess Kali, because she’s a manifestation of the destructive aspects of nature, but not… destruction and then reconstruction, so to speak. So, one of those destructive aspects is disease, and there’s a form of Kali called Shitala Devi, which is a form of smallpox actually.
And if you read in the book, you read that there were certain villages that they went to where they would not allow vaccination because they worshiped the goddess. And so, what they would do, the doctors did, is they left the village and at night they’d creep back in the village and they raided the head man of the village. They held him down and inoculated him, and then he sat up and said, “Well, this must be the goddess as well. Now everybody get inoculated.”
So, we see it as a purely physical situation, but it’s also, in a sense, like a negative entity in a sense, like a demonic entity. And so, there are many ways to deal with that. That’s why the Lamas, that’s why all the saints are doing so many prayers right now, to regenerate Bodhi Chitta, kindness and compassion and positive vibes to allow a change to happen in the world.
Whereas the doctors go ahead and do their thing, whether it’ll be successful or not isn’t always up to them. The success of those situations might come from a deeper level. So, prayers and puja and practice at this time, it’s very beneficial for everybody in the world.
I also believe that’s true about prayer and puja, and I saw something on Facebook where somebody posted that same idea of this entity. And if everybody around the world at 11:00 AM, and then at 11:00 PM, if they’re up, just did a prayer and meditation about healing, that it would travel around the earth and it would help.
Without a doubt, thought helps or hurts depending on what it is. And those group meditations, who knows? Maybe they are very helpful, it’s better than going and robbing banks and getting COVID from the safe deposit boxes.
So, you stay in touch with Larry then?
He’s a good guy. I’ve seen some of his videos on YouTube. He’s got some good things to say. so thank you for your time.
Q: Can you talk about Sita? Mata Sita?
Well, just like fire and its heat are not really separate things, so is Ram and Sita. Sita is the goddess. You know, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about Sita in the west. A lot of people project their misunderstanding onto the Lila of Sita and Ram. “Lila” means “play” or “drama,” so to speak, and the drama of Rama and Sita and Lakshman and Hanuman, et cetera, that was a drama played out by the positive forces of the universe to destroy the negativity in the form of a demon named Ravana.
So, in the story, there’s a lot of things that are misunderstood by people. It’s a long story, but anyways, Sita is the goddess and She and Ram, as Ram says to her, “The secret, the secret of our love, the depth of our love is known to my heart alone.”
So, it’s only God that knows reality. Of course, that God lives within us, but we’re not aware of it, but that is so.
There’s another version of the Ramayana called the Adhyatma Ramayana, and there’s this part where Rama and Sita and everyone, they’re back in Ayodhya, in the kingdom where Ram became king after destroying Ravana, and they’re sitting around and Ram says to Sita, He said, “Here’s Hanuman, perfect in every way. He’s completed all these tasks. Do you think he’s ready for the truth? I think he’s ready for the truth. What do you think?”
And Sita says, “Yeah, I think so.”
So, then Ram says, “Okay, Devi, tell him what’s happening.”
So, then Sita begins to tell Hanuman the reality of how things work.
She said, “This whole Lila, this whole show, Ram being born, me being born, being exiled from the kingdom, wandering in the jungle, me being kidnapped, finding me, killing the demon, liberating me, all this… I’m the one who did all that.”
Sita said that. “It’s my show. I did this show. I’m the goddess. I’m the Shakti. I did this. Ram, He does nothing. He never comes or goes. He’s beyond the beyond. I’m doing everything.”
So, it’s very far out, very far out. So, you know, Sita Ram and Radhe Shyam, the male and the female are really like fire and its heat. They’re not different. They appear different, but that’s just our minds.
And yes, in the story, at one point at the end of the story Ram asks Sita, She has to go into the fire. The fire has to bear witness to her purity because she was in this demon’s house for a very long time. And someone, some of the people in his kingdom said, “Well, she can’t, you know, who knows, we can’t, we don’t know if she’s pure anymore.”
So Ram says to Sita, “Go into the fire and prove your purity.”
He knows she’s pure, but actually in an earlier part of the story… Ram and Sita were only alone two times in the whole Ramayana. Once was when they were married. And the second time was while they were wandering in the jungle. Lakshman went out to hunt and Ram and Sita, they were alone. Ram sent Lakshman away. And then he says to Sita, “Hey, guess what? Look, I’m about to do a big thing here. There’s about to be a big show here. You have to disappear. You can’t be here because it’s going to be horrible.”
So Sita leaves. Her leaves her. She goes away leaving only her body and an Apsara, a heavenly goddess comes in and takes over her body. So, Sita is actually never even kidnapped. Only her body was kidnapped by Ravana. And then when Ram asks her to enter into the fire, that’s when the real Sita comes back and the goddess, the Apsara leaves, but people don’t understand that.
And they think Ram is a bastard. He has Her going into the fire. It’s not like that. This is called Lila. Human beings cannot understand Lila. Period. It’s just beyond the conception of the intellectual mind. Lila is the play of God, what the universe does to purify itself and clean up the suffering and negativity, and it takes very, very different forms. Krishna had his Lila. Ram had his Lila. The other avatars and great saints have their Lilas. Human beings cannot understand Lila. So, it’s very misleading to look at Lila as if it’s, as if we understand that, as if it’s what it actually looks like to us.
So, that was probably more than most people can actually make sense of. But that’s the story.
Q: Hi. I wanted to ask you, Sharon’s been teaching a lot about patience right now and…
Q: We’re all patients with somebody, some doctor.
I’m curious what you have to say about cultivating patience.
Well, it’s a nice to have it, you know, and especially with oneself. We’re very impatient with ourselves. Because we’re always judging ourselves. We live in that whole world where we’re always evaluating everything we do and how other people are treating us and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, patience is a wonderful thing.
But it’s something you don’t do with your own will, like forgiveness. It’s something that arises from practice, so to speak. It arises from the recognition of what the path is about and what we want out of life. You can’t make yourself patient, but when you practice and you train yourself to let go of all kinds of anxiety and fear and that kind of stuff, then you become more spacious and you allow things to be as they are and that’s patience.
So, it’s not something you do. It’s something that arises as a fruit of real practice. It’s a fruit of that. So that’s like, you know, it’s not something you do with your personal will. You can cultivate the four immeasurables, you know, kindness, compassion, equanimity, and joy, but you don’t create them with your will. You cultivate them with your will. They arise as the seeds that you plant through your practice?
No practice. No seeds. No grow.
Thank you, Love.
Okay. So, I think Jenny, did you have a follow-up question?
Q: Hi. I just I just wanted to ask about the, the mantra, Baba Hanuman, because I’m, I’ve been really drawn to it for awhile. It’s what brought me to you and to this practice and it really, it just brings me so much joy and peace. And I was wondering, how do you experience that? Do you have more affinity to different mantras?
Well, you do, so that’s good. Follow that, trust that, get into it or whatever. You know, that’s all of them, you know, sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. But for me, you know, all the names bring me to the same place. And that doesn’t mean that one doesn’t bring me more easily than another necessarily at certain times, but you know, it’s all good. But trust your heart, go with that. Immerse yourself in it. Don’t stop, you know, all the time, just keep going.
All right. Well, wonderful to be with you all, really. And let me just read you one poem as we go. It’sa poem from Rumi and translated by Coleman Barks.
One night a man was crying,
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
“So! I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”
The man had no answer for that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage,
“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing you express
is the return message.”
The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs no one knows the names of.
Give your life to be one of them.