Call and Response Ep. 33 | The Real Guru Is Within, This Happened Because It Had To
“There’s no Guru outside of yourself. Guru is not that body. Guru might be in a body if we need it, if that’s the best thing for us but Guru, God, Self are the same. Guru, God, and Self are One. And nobody’s going to come along and touch you and make it all perfect. You know? Unless somebody comes along and touches you and makes it all perfect.” – Krishna Das
Q: Mahalo, Krishna Das. I wish some of my friends were here to see me speechless. It doesn’t happen often.
KD: Praise the Lord.
Q: Mahalo, in part, for sharing the humanity of the practice.
KD: I’m sorry?
Q: Mahalo for sharing the humanity, the story, because even though the story is not us, so much of what you shared tonight was just for me. To be succinct, I was in not a dissimilar situation where I was teaching and began to be a door to and things were starting to spread horizontally but I wanted to go vertical. I wanted to go deeper. I ran from there, from the whole experience. I ran. I lived in six different countries to run away from it and guess what, I ended up teaching there, too and I was suffocated by my own self. And I have run away from it, as far as I can but I got back to California, which is kind of like my school, and I know I can get lost in love but I also want to find myself in love. You know, I need to get back and I’ve been blessed to have you and a dozen other teachers in my life who’ve been incredibly generous but I’m not from a group or somebody that I can totally let go into. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cry. I guess I’m defrosting from being tough for years. I just, the fact that I’m even asking a question and trusting… I’ve had a long relationship with you, for almost 25 years and I just, the word that keeps coming up is I need to, it’s grace brought me here. I know that it’s grace that brought me here tonight. I came from L.A. I rather wanted to be here tonight. I don’t know how to find the courage or the way back. Practice, yeah. I do it all. None of it matters. I try to surrender with every thought and I’m just blah blah blah blahing. I’m just ready. I feel the ripening and I am speaking it out because I haven’t spoken it to another soul in twelve years. The closest thing to the guru experience that you mention, the place of home and joy and beauty and the longing is nature. Nature has saved my butt in everywhere I’ve lived. If it wasn’t for nature, for animals, for everything that surrounds me that’s alive like that, I would, I don’t know what would have happened.
What do I do without a guru? Something that I can, like you say, hold onto in a way
KD: I guess there’s no hope for you.
Q: Good then I can go have some fun.
KD: I’ll meet you over there. There’s no Guru outside of yourself. Guru is not that body. Guru might be in a body if we need it, if that’s the best thing for us but Guru, God, Self are the same. Guru, God, and Self are One. And nobody’s going to come along and touch you and make it all perfect. You know? Unless somebody comes along and touches you and makes it all perfect.
But until that time, relax. Take it easy. What’s the problem? The things that are happening now, Maharajji put in motion 50 years ago. He didn’t tell me. He didn’t ask me. The things that are happening now might have started in motion a hundred lifetimes ago. I don’t remember. You don’t remember. All we can do is the best we can do and be ourselves and treat people well. There’s not something to know. The one who wants to know is the one who has to go. Now, there’s a t-shirt. Hey.
Alright I said it. Nobody else said it.
I got the copyright.
The one who wants to know is the one who has to go. All right. Let me write that down.
It’s just more self-obsession. Yada yada yada. I want this. I want this. I don’t want this. It’s gotta be this way. I need this. I need that.
But every thought is a prison so we enjoy our time in solitary. We’re all in solitary completely isolated from everybody else in our own subjective universes. An enlightened Being sees through your eyes, sees how you see the world from inside of you, because an enlightened Being is inside of you. He’s the indwelling presence or She’s the indwelling presence within each one of us. So, a fully enlightened being is looking out of your eyes right now and seeing what you need and giving it to you. You don’t like it. He likes the way you complain. Keep it up. There’s nothing to do.
Shame, guilt, fear, selfishness, greed, anger. These are the walls around our heart. We can take those walls down, those blocks down. This all has to be done. You don’t need anybody to do it for you. Nobody can do it for you because there is nobody. There’s just us here. You asked the mind or the ego to kill the ego. Ramana Maharshi said, “It’s like asking the thief to be the policeman. There’ll be a lot of investigation, but no arrest will ever be made.”
There’s nothing to do.
Q: I really wanted to talk to you in person but I guess I’m not going to have that opportunity. I really wanted to talk to you in person but I guess I might not have that opportunity.
KD: I’m not in person now.
Q: I’m going to take any chance I can get because this life is so darned short, I might not even be here tomorrow.
KD: You might not be here now.
Q: So, I’m not going to worry about it.
KD: I’d better stop.
Q: I just feel so lucky to have met you. I feel really lucky. I’m so happy that I met you. Thank you.
KD: Thank you. You really sound happy. But I got it. Thank you thank you.
I remember one time, I always wanted to sing to Maharajji, right? So, this was before we were chanting a lot. So, I learned this Indian bhajan, this song, this Mirabai bhajan and I sang it to Him and I’m weeping and I’m singing it to Him and I finished, He looks at me and He goes, “Why are you crying?” And I realized, I’m crying because I had the dream that I always wanted to sing to Him and cry, and now I’m doing it. Terrific. You know?
He could see through everything. He saw everything. And He never judged. He just loved us. It’s ridiculous.
Everybody here is here because He brought us together. That’s the way I see it. I’m not asking you to see it that way. But I’m crazy enough to actually believe that. So, this must be what we need. Oh my God.
He used to say over and over, one thing He did say to us all the time… “From going on repeating these Names of God, everything is accomplished. Everything is brought to fulness and completion.” Through this practice of the repetition of the Names, many of the Saints in India, they all say this, even Ramana Maharshi, by the way, who everybody thinks is the big non-dual guy, you know? So, the ladies, like, people who weren’t like intellectuals, they’d say, “Maharajji, you know, I don’t understand this ‘Who am I’ stuff.” He said, “Don’t worry. Just repeat my Name and just forget about it.” It’s in the books. I’m not making that up. The Name is really a big thing. The Name is a really big thing. When I know your name, I can get your attention, right? If I say, “Hey you,” everybody in the room will look. If I say, “Hey Frank,” Frank looks. So, calling the Name, you’re calling within. You’re calling, you’re turning your attention to that place within. There may not be an answer at the moment that you can feel or experience because we’re looking for the answer here in the conceptual world and the emotional world and the thought world, but you call the Name and it’s there. We’re just not able to feel it yet. But through the practice, He says, from the repetition of these Names, everything is accomplished and He didn’t fuck around when He was talking about this stuff. He lied about everything else. He’d say, “Oh I’m going away, I’ll be back later.” And He wouldn’t be back for three months. But about this stuff, He never mislead anybody.
So, this is what I do. I sing the Name as much as I can. I sing, you know, I sing a little Townes Van Zandt, too. A little Wilie Nelson, a little Ry Cooder, a little Steely Dan, but the Name, you know? It can’t be holy all the time for Christ’s sake?
Ok somebody over there?
KD: Hey. Howdy.
Q: So, you know how you said earlier when the people at the temple, they kind of forced you to chant?
KD: Well, Maharajji forced us to chant.
Q: Yeah. When they did that, did that kind of get in your head?
KD: It pissed me off. Totally. I hated every second of it until something happened.
Q: Yeah, until you went oh.
And then did that kind of, when you started thinking about like, “hey I should start chanting and learning how to play harmonium, doing this” for like, the rest of your life or how long you can do it til.
KD: I had no idea any of this was going to happen. What happened between that time and the time I started chanting I wouldn’t wish on a dog.
I might have wished it on certain people, but not on a dog.
Q: But before like they made you like, now that ever happened, you never had a thought in your mind about, you would be like performing…
KD: Oh god no. No way. First of all, I never thought I’d be alive this long. You know? The whole thing was not even possible.
KD: This just happened because it had to. I don’t know. And if you think I had a plan, oh thank you for thinking I might, you know, be that terrific but there’s not a possibility… I had no plan at all. I was just trying to live, you know? And I started singing, really, because I had to. I just wasn’t going to make it, you understand? I was depressed. I was suicidal. I was completely screwed up and nothing was happening. And I had this epiphany that if I did not sing with people, I would never clean out the dark corners and the shadows in my own heart and I understood that it was only from those shadows and those dark places that all my suffering was coming. It wasn’t coming from the outside. So, either I did it or I didn’t do it. It was up to me. So, and the only reason, you know, I used to play this one stringed instrument (ektara) that was about it, you know? But then it wasn’t loud enough in the room. Too many people were coming. So, I got the harmonium. And I had taken piano lessons when I was eight years old, so I remembered enough to play a chord or two. It just all happened naturally. There was no plan that I would know of. I mean, somebody else might have had a plan. But nobody told me or asked me.
Q: Right. Now I’m actually learning how to play the tablas right now.
KD: You’re learning how to play the tabla? Great
Q: I’m learning. I like it. It’s a lot of fun.
KD: It is. It’s wonderful. Let me know when you’re really good and I’ll fire him and we’ll go on the road.
Q: That won’t be for a while.
KD: I’m not in a hurry. Another 20 or 30 years is ok.
Q: I’m glad you’re doing, I’m glad that you were put on the path to start chanting and doing shows and stuff because your chants and your music they really, like every single chant has a message and I really like it.
KD: Thank you. Can I tell you something and I would never say this, but I’m going to say it?
Q: Uh oh. Ok.
KD: I’m glad, too.
Q: That’s the most important thing, is that you’re glad too.
KD: Thank you. If I, not in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined that I would be able to do anything that was actually good for me. I’m telling you. So much darkness and so much unhappiness in my life that this could happen is just…
Any more answers out there?
Q: I have a question. It’s not about spirituality or Ram Das or Maharajji but is it true that you passed on being a member of Blue Oyster Cult?
KD: yeah, kinda. I was at Stony Brook and I was a, it was my, well, I don’t know how many years I’d been there but I finished about one semester. So, I was older and then there were these high school kids learning how to play their instruments and they were hanging out with a friend of mine who was an art major who was also a musician. So, they knew I was a singer, because I used to play guitar and sing. So, he put us together and we rehearsed a few times, we were going to try to be a blues band at the time. But they were just getting into smoking dope and I was just finishing with it so it didn’t really work. And then I transferred and went somewhere else to school for a while. And they became the Soft White Underbelly. That was the name of the band. And then, about a year, or two years went by and I had met Ram Das. I was on my way up to New Hampshire to spend the summer with him, but I had to drive, I drove down first to Stony Brook on Long Island to go to a Jimi Hendrix concert and after the concert, the producer, their producer, this guy who I knew from school, came up to me and said, “You know, we cut a record” Remember records? “We cut a record but the guy who replaced you in the band can’t sing in the studio. Would you come back and do the vocals? We have a tour lined up and everything.” You know? This was my dream. I mean, you know. Somebody’s handing you… here, you wanted it, you got it. But the thing was, I had met Ram Das and I had met Maharajji inside and there was nothing that compared to that. And I had my two dogs and my cat and all my worldly possessions in my car already and I was driving up in the morning and he was expecting me so I just said, “I can’t do it.”
And then they got somebody else, who’s still the singer, so…
Can you see me singing, you know, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”? I can see it.
I thought they were a great band. They really had a… Donald Buck Dharma, the guitar player, really melodic beautiful lines even though it was hard rock, it was very beautiful lines.
So, look, now what, look at the karma, look at Maharajji, what a sense of humor, right? I get to do just what I wanted to do then. I get to do it sitting down. I don’t have to have to jump all over the stage and take all kinds of drugs to stand up. I can just sit here and have a good time with everybody. How great is that? Fantastic.
And if I had gone that way, I’d be dead. No question.
I mean, it was close enough this way.
There’s no doubt if I had gone that way, it would have been long over.
Q: Ok so I have this really complex deep relationship with the Krishna Consciousness and Judeo Christianity and a lot of conflicts in my mind about like the Torah and Abraham and all these different personalities, you know, like Covenants, blood shedding and all these things. I grew up Catholic and I got into ISKCON about 16 years ago. I started chanting. And I’ve never had a drink since. But I’ve been constantly dealing with these thoughts about the Torah and you know, Israel… all these different things, like concepts that I was raised with, and just grasping and clinging and thoughts taking a hold of me and all this guilt and shame
KD: Well, you’re Catholic.
Q: Yeah, a lot of like, warring in my mind. Is there a way you think you could possibly guide me to kind of a peaceful resolution with some of this?
KD: Well, you’re never going to figure it out. As long as you’re in that realm, there’ll always be more thoughts and more questions and more messages, more… It’s just the way it goes in that realm. So, you just kind of have to ask yourself, you know, what do you want? You know?
And if you want peace of mind, then you simply relax. Let go of those thoughts. They do not matter. They are not real. The world does not depend on you figuring it out. The universe is going along wherever the hell it’s going without your help and with your help so, you really don’t need to know the answers to those questions. You don’t really need that. But this is our predicament. We’re stuck with our stuff, to some degree. So, you have to practice letting go. And there’s a lot of fear in letting go of the stuff that we’ve been raised with and the stuff that we believed over the years and the times that we’ve been hurt by our beliefs and by, and mislead by our own misbeliefs, so to speak, you know? It’s not easy.
And you just need to give yourself a lot of room to be you.
Maharajji, He didn’t lay anything on us, you know? I mean, He’s what I go back to for the bottom line.
He didn’t teach us anything other than allowed us to enter into the room where love lives.
You know? He let us in the room.
We took ourselves out and then He would just let us back in. Again and again and again.
He didn’t try to change us. He didn’t try to brainwash us. He didn’t make us believe anything. He just loves us. Endlessly.
That’s hard to accept sometimes. Because we don’t love ourselves.
We’re all so programmed, you know. We have so many programs running. And we believe everything we think, you know? That’s kind of the definition of insanity. Believing everything we think.
There’s no reason to believe everything you think.
No reason at all.
What do you feel? Ask yourself, what do you feel in your deepest heart? What do you long for? And go for that. And forget about all the other stuff. It’ll be there anytime you want it, guaranteed. It ain’t going anywhere. But what do you want for your own heart? How do you want to live your life? How do you want to go through your day? How do you want to treat people? How do you want to be treated? What do you want in your life that’s not there? You know? Be you. The problem with a lot of spiritual paths is that we get the idea that we need to be something else, other than who we are. It’s not possible. Not possible.
We’re already, everything we need is inside of us. So…
We have a lot of fear.
We all do. A lot of fear about letting go. We’ve been told a lot of stories about what’s in there and what to worry about and the stories themselves are what keeps us locked out of our own hearts. The stories are not true. But we believe them.
And that belief and that fear keeps us more locked up.
The stories we tell other… ourselves about ourselves. Which never stop.
So, you let it go. You know? Just keep letting go.
And get involved in your life in a different way. When that Baba in the jungle looked at me and said, “You need willpower,” I recognized that yeah, there’s just my life. It’s not like spiritual life and worldly life. There’s just me here. What do I want? And why aren’t I getting it? People are only too willing to lay their shit on us, you know. Lay all their misbeliefs on us and shame us into believing that we’re not worthy as we are. That we’re not worthy of love as we are. And that’s complete absolute bullshit. A hundred percent.
Buddha said, “In this whole universe, there isn’t one Being that’s more deserving of love and affection than ourselves.” Not one.
Not one Being in the universe more worthy of love and affection than you and me, as we are. As fucked up as we are. Nobody’s more worthy of love than you and me. But we don’t believe that. Maybe a little bit. That’s the deal.