Ep. 70 | When the Student Is Ready, The Teacher Will Come

Call and Response Ep. 70 | When the Student Is Ready, The Teacher Will Come

Q: Is it simply just, when the student is ready, the teacher appears, because some of us, I don’t have access to Ram Das except by video and I don’t have access to Krishna Das except every ten years when he comes to Atlanta, so my question is, do you have any suggestions for those of us that live out on the rural area, is it simply, focus on your spiritual technologies and realize that you’re going to be the same person looking in the mirror only with a different perspective?

“You know, the Guru, the issue of a Guru is very, it’s a big story and but, Westerners and everybody, we subtly want somebody to do it for us and whether you have a Guru or don’t have a Guru, nobody’s going to do it for us. We have to do it for ourselves. So, that’s the deal. Nobody can chant for you. Nobody can make you pay attention.” – Krishna Das


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KD: So, yes, you have the mic yet?  Pass it up here. Hi.

Q: Hi. I’m Sarah and I was one of the fortunate few to come up and get a picture and a hug last night and I was wondering…

KD: Did you take a shower?

Q: Not since last week. Boy. So, I’m curious, is the performance or the singing, the chanting that you did last night, does that prepare you for all the wanting and the needing or does it feel like that to you to see all these people wanting just a hug and a picture with you, does that fill up your soul more? Or do you kind of have to prepare for that experience?

KD: No. It’s not like that at all. I feel like I’m sitting in my living room with my family, basically, except for some people. You know, it’s just love. There’s nothing to prepare for. It’s nothing like that at all. And it’s not a performance, so there’s nothing going on. We’re sharing our practice. We’re sharing the moment. And that’s the whole deal. Yeah. Good. You got it?

Q: May I ask a question?

KD: Yes, you may.

Q: Well, thank you for being here.

KD: You’re welcome. I tried to be somewhere else but I couldn’t do it.

Q: I’m here now, formally I live out on the West Coast of our country, about 2 hours West of Seattle almost in the Pacific Ocean.

KD: Wow. Beautiful out there.

Q: I recently, or I hear your message today that we’re here and when you’re, when the student is ready, the teacher appears and I have my spiritual technologies that I’ve been able to access in my rural area. We just got our first yoga teacher about eight years ago in my town because I was too busy to be a yoga teacher myself. My question is this, first, let me confirm with you, I saw a post that my sister sent me about you and it said, and you’ve already used the “F” bomb in here, so I know I can use these words without embarrassing people, but your statement, and I want to make sure it was you who said it, you said, “30 years ago I woke up and saw an asshole in the mirror, and today I got up and I saw the same asshole.” And I wonder, when we don’t…

KD: Sounds like me.

Q: It does sound like you and so, and so, my question is…

KD: But I don’t hate that asshole as much as I used to.

Q: Ok, good, because my exposure to Ram Das was when I was a young hippie girl, started traveling around and people had torn pages out of his book, Be Here Now, and so everywhere I went was these pictures of his, of pieces from his book, and I said, “Wow, that seems really wise, who is that?” “Oh, that’s Ram Das, Be Here Now, don’t you know?”  And so, my question is, for those of us who don’t, is it simply just, when the student is ready, the teacher appears, because some of us, I don’t have access to Ram Das except by video and I don’t have access to Krishna Das except every ten years when he comes to Atlanta, so my question is, do you have any suggestions for those of us that live out on the rural area, is it simply, focus on your spiritual technologies and realize that you’re going to be the same person looking in the mirror only with a different perspective?

KD: Yeah, but you might not hate yourself as much as you do.

Q: You might not hate yourself as much as you do.

KD: You might not judge yourself as much as you do right now. And as far as advice, I would say, “Be here now.” Well, ok. That was cheap, I admit it. It was a cheap hit, but that’s the way I am. Yes, when the student is ready, the teacher appears, but what draws the teacher is the longing in our hearts and the longing is what saves our lives and ruins our lives as well because nothing will ever be enough until it’s enough. So, that longing is what draws everything we need to us, whether it happens to come in the form of a physical being or not is fairly irrelevant, because you’re getting what you need right now every moment of every day. It shouldn’t and couldn’t and wouldn’t be any other way. That’s the bottom line. Whether you’re able to recognize that and learn from it and use it as a spiritual practice, that’s a big thing. So, that’s kind of up to you and if you feel the need for a teacher, when the need is strong enough, you’ll move out of the rural area to where there’s somebody you can work with. Why not? It’s a question of what your priorities are and what’s meaningful for you and also what you can do according to your situation, of course. So, but that’s not a mistake either, your situation. So, you just have to kind of work with it all and be present with it as it all changes, because it’s always changing. Yeah?  Go ahead.

Call me up?

Q: So, in my life in the last two years, I ran into a fellow who is just a pragmatic worker tradesman kind of guy and he talked to me in much the same kind of language that you’re using both tonight and last night about love and so forth, and that it is all within us. It comes out from within us. And he talked to me in the same kind of language that you’re using, but he’s not a recognized Guru.

KD: Neither am I.

Q: And neither are you. But I’m getting at is, isn’t this wisdom like a stream that goes through the universe or something that the universe rises up through, that we can access? Isn’t that the case? Isn’t that what these spiritual technologies are for? And if that’s the case, then do we need a Guru?

KD: I don’t know.

Q: Good question.

KD: Yeah. The whole issue is irrelevant because you’re talking about Guru as if it’s something outside of you and it’s not.

Q: Thank you very much.

KD: Ok, thank you. Yeah. Good.


Q: Hi, KD.

KD: Hi.

Q: My name is Amma.

KD: Amma?

Q: Thank you very much for being here today and blessing all of us. I wanted to ask about your song, your hymn, “God is Real / Hare Ram”.  So, that song has done, it’s, it has ministered to me on many a dark night and I would like to know if there is, if you have a specific creation story about that song and if so, if you would mind sharing how that came to be.

KD: Well, I grew up with my parents listening to Mahalia Jackson and that song is based on an old gospel song, “God Is Real.” Of course, I totally perverted it, like I do everything else. But it just came, you know, I don’t really think about that stuff. It just kind of goes through like Indian food. It kind of comes out of me. But I love that, I love gospel music, you know, so, and it just seemed to work with the Hare Ram, so maybe we’ll sing it to end the evening, daytime, which is pretty soon, I think. What time is it? Yeah, you know, we have a hard stop at 6 o’clock and, this is a temple, actually, and they’re very kind to have people like us in here and they do their worship, they start, we have to be, all our equipment out by 6:45 so it’s, we really have to stop and then if you want to say “hello” to me, I’ll go out into the hallway while everybody cleans off the stage. So, we’re close, getting close to the end. But, we will sing that in a few minutes. Yeah, if I can remember it. Wake up you guys. Get ready.


Spirituality and Modern Politics

Q: Hello there.

KD: Hi. Hello there.

Q: Hi. It’s wonderful to be here with you. I’ve been chanting with you for a long time and your practice that you’ve shared with us all has helped so many, including me, deeply, and I’m wondering, so these days now are quite trying. Maybe not more so than others, but I personally find them very trying as a woman with an eleven year old daughter growing up under this particular, it’s hard not to talk about politics because I am a householder and I’m doing the work that needs to be done raising a family and trying to be as active as I can in the political arena because it feels very necessary. So, I am, this opportunity to be with you, to sit in this sacred space that you’ve created here, that Chantlanta has created here in Atlanta, is really, really meaningful, and I’m just wondering, since you’re here, if there’s anything that you can suggest that we all do to practice. There are so many people that are, I feel like I’m more awake than I’ve ever been, and living here and doing that fully and well, as well as I can at the moment, which has got lots of problems, but still, it’s not so bad anymore and there are a lot of people that are not at all awake and you’ve talked about them tonight and you know, made jokes about Bush and you know, people in our political arena that are really, really shut down and closed to love and as we sort of grow and open our hearts, you know, these, I feel like these forces are coming and clamping down on us more and more and I guess I’m just wondering if you could speak to that and to what, perhaps, you know, how we could help ourselves or how you could help me or how I can help myself move through all that. Chanting is so important to me because it’s individually moved me but it also connects us to each other and when we sing together and sing with you and all that, I mean, this feels infinite and so, it’s about the action of the moment in response to the political arena that I’m asking about.  Thank you so much for being here.

KD: I sing. That’s what I do. Everybody does what they do. I sing. There was either this or pump gas. That’s what I do. You have to find out what you do and I mostly read the sports pages. I kind of get to the front page, I start at the back of the newspaper. Actually, online, you just go right to the sports section. These times seem trying, but you know, World War 2 was trying, the Korean War was trying, the Vietnam War was trying. There’s wars right now where people can’t eat, sleep or do anything without bombs getting dropped on them. So, it is trying for sure and our job is, you know, there’s that beautiful line, I don’t know if Gandhi really said it or not, but in the movie “Gandhi” that was really nicely done, the British had done something so unbelievably horrible, they’d slaughtered all these people, and Gandhi’s cohorts came to him and they said, you know, “Guruji, now, now we can do that, now we can fight. We can. Now, they’ve done this. Now, we’ve really, now we can fight.” And he said, “Yes. We can fight. We can fight against our anger.” So, that’s the deal. You know, we want to, let’s give ourselves a break and say we want to do good in the world. We’d like to make it a better place to live. At least two minutes a day when we think about it. But, we’re not capable of not reacting and every reaction creates another reaction.  Plain and simple. We want to do good but we don’t know how, really, we don’t even know what that means, ultimately. Right now, we can’t get through the day without getting angry at someone or turning away from someone or hurting someone or not giving someone what they want. How are we going to change the world when we can’t change ourselves. Not to say that you don’t do whatever you can do, whatever you want to do and whatever you need to do to make it, your life better and the lives of other people better, but you have to deal with reality, which is that we don’t, we can’t even deal with our own shit. How are we going to deal with anybody else’s? But that’s why we’re doing practice, I think. That’s why I’m doing practice. To become a better person, a better human being and that means, less reactive, less a slave to my own negative emotions, that’s, and it’s a long haul. And you know, you know, I’ll tell you this, but I don’t know what you’ll think about it, but back when Maharajji was in the body, somebody came to Him and there was all kinds of terrible things going on and this guy said, “Oh, Baba wouldn’t it be great if there was a great king of the world like Janaka.” You know, in the old days, Sita’s father in the old days was King Janaka, who was not only a king but He was an enlightened being. He was called a Raja Rishi, a Saint King, and He ran His kingdom in a great way. So, this guy said, “Oh, wouldn’t it be great if there was a king like Janaka.” And Maharajji said, “There’s a king much greater than Janaka.”

So, we don’t see the whole picture. Not by any means whatsoever. We see our own limited little version of it and even within that, we have a hard time creating or allowing for goodness to arise, so all we can do is the best we can do. Everybody. We’re already doing that, by the way. You’re doing the best you can do. I’m doing the best I can do. It may not be very effective but it’s the best we can do and that can be better and then that’s the best you can do. It’s tough stuff. Because if you do any action, the key to any action is your motivation. Ten people can do the same thing and have ten different results from the same action based on what they were really feeling inside. They could have been unconscious of what their real motivation was. For instance, coming to visit a Saint in India, many people come to see Saints, and in the old days especially, there weren’t doctors, so whenever a yogi was around, people might have believed that that yogi had powers to cure people’s problems or help them get jobs, you know they have siddhis, powers. So they would come to the saint for that. But very few people would come to a saint out of love only. And if, when they did, that’s what they would get. So, it’s interesting. And Maharajji said, Dada, like I told you, was really one of Maharajji’s wonderful and great devotees and Maharajji would be seeing people all day and Dada would be busy and he’d come into the room and he’d see that Maharajji would be sitting there for like, six hours, people coming and going, and nobody gave Him a break to pee, you know? So, He’d get… “Everybody get out,” and then he’d take Maharajji to pee and Maharajji said, “Dada, Dada, people come here out of their own desires. Nobody really comes for Me.” Interesting, huh? Very interesting. Motivation is the whole thing. The secret agenda we have inside that we’re not even aware of most of the time and as we become aware of those agendas, then we can let go of them, then we can work with them and see them and clean it up, but if we’re not aware, what do we do? We just keep bouncing off of each other all the time.


KD: Oh boy, ok, come on.

Q: Who do you follow in sports?

KD: Huh?

Q: You talked about how you look at the sports page, so who do you follow in sports?

KD: I don’t know if I’m going to tell you. I have my secrets. It certainly ain’t the Hawks. Hey, look, I’m born in New York. I’ve got the Knicks. It’s like a disease. But I can’t get away from it. Yes, m’am.


Q: Krishna Das.

KD: Yeah.

Q: I want to offer my salutations to you from the bottom of my heart and for being my own hero for the last one year. I just got back from Kainchi Dham. I’ve been to all the different ashrams in India ever since I was in college days, came to this country about a quarter century ago. I listen to your bhajans, kirtans, since a year back and I heard your google talk. It’s easier for me, coming from a tradition of the Hindu religion and but, it took me you, to understand the significance of the ecstasy that you offer yourself, that you’re doing now, traveling around the world for your singing and when I listen to your Hanuman Chalisa and all the different kirtans, I genuinely feel the grace of your Guru, and the love that I experience when I listen to your bhajans and kirtans , the Hanuman Chalisa, at least so far, I have not found in any of the rendering of anybody else that shows the grace of the Guru and you make a lot of difference to a lot of people. And sometimes I don’t think even you realize the power you have, and all I can tell the people here is, when I went to Kainchi Dham, I had a gentleman who’s from Colorado, who’s 30 years, both of us had miracles happening and I can’t attribute to anything and I just want everyone to know, I get the glimpses of the love you’re talking about with Maharajji. And, I get it being with you, too. I just want to let everybody know that love is all we all need. Nothing else matters in this life. And I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

KD: Thank you. Your check’s in the mail. Next question.


KD: Give her the mic because she’s a very important person. A VIP.

Q: Thank you. Hey everybody. Thank you so much for being here, also.

KD: Was I here, I guess I was.

Q: In Atlanta, visiting us, on behalf of everyone, the same thing. I just had a quick question about if you are a seeker and you, whether you’re looking or you’ve been waiting for a Guru or a teacher, can you share what that process is? I don’t even know if that is really a question. I don’t really know how to frame this because I’m sure there’s a lot of us out here that are in that place but we don’t really know exactly maybe what to look for or how to even look for it or maybe even, I don’t know, I don’t know how to ask. I’m trying to frame the words but..

KD: So you’re talking like about how to look for a teacher in a person or just what to look for in life and stuff like that?

Q: A teacher in a person and if that’s even necessary, because part of me feels like we are our teacher, you know, life experience is our teacher and I agree that it’s not in a person per se but there are people around us and experiences that we, or things that we experience that teach us if we’re paying attention. I think it’s more about being open and being aware and listening.

KD: Ok, but that takes some practice and so, we need to learn some methods. We need to kind of expose ourselves to the path and learn about different methodology like she was talking about her spiritual technology, whatever it was. We need to explore our minds and our hearts and those technologies, those methods, that’s what they are for. It’s not possible to pick yourself up like this, you know.

Q: But I’m talking about beyond that.

KD: Beyond

Q: Beyond that, because someone asked some questions earlier about this subject. You said that the teacher will find you.

KD: Yeah.

Q: So…

KD: A Guru finds you. Teachers you can look for. Teachers are advertising, you know? You can find them pretty easily and see if it works for you. Gurus don’t advertise. I’m sorry. Real gurus don’t advertise. They come to you, if it’s, you understand that an enlightened being, a real Guru has no agenda of their own whatsoever. The only reason they’re here because we are suffering. So, if they’re here for that reason and you’re suffering, if it was the best thing for you, you would meet that person in a body. If that was what was what you needed at this point in your life or lives, to meet someone like that and that was what was going to work for you, that’s what would be happening. If it’s not the thing that’s going to work for you, why even long for it? It doesn’t work like that. So, to want to be looking for that, I’m not saying you’re doing this, but to look for that and you wind up short-circuiting your own heart because what you, you have to find, you have to, we have to learn how to trust our own hearts, how to trust our own intuition, how to respect and be aware of our own feelings and the multiple, the different feeling that we have about so many different things, to sort out what’s really important to us. That’s what life teaches us. And if at some point we’re, it would help us to meet somebody like that in a body, the body will show up. You know, Maharajji used to tell stories about other Babas. “Oh, there was a Baba who lived in that place. He was a good Baba. He did these things.” “You know, there was a Baba who lived there.” So, after He left the body, Siddhi Ma and some other people got in cars and they drove around to some of these places and they get to the place and they find out that Baba had just left the body. And then they said, “Well, what was He like?” And they described Maharajji perfectly. And then they’d go to the other place.  And they’d say, “We’re looking for this Baba.” “Oh, He just left the body.” And, “What was He like?” And they described Maharajji perfectly. So, these Beings can do anything. If it was right, if it was what was best for us, they’d be sitting in our lap or we in theirs. So, you have to take responsibility for your life in a joyful way and say, “This is what I’ve got. This is what’s supposed to be here. Let me deal with this. Let me find out what this is.” You can’t be waiting around for somebody to hit you on the head. It doesn’t work like that.

Q: And you agree with the “don’t wait.” And that’s why I’m posing this question because I feel like there are a lot of people out there that are waiting for something or someone. And I don’t think it’s about that. I think it’s about taking what you are, being in the presence of and learning from that itself.

KD: That’s true. Very true, but I’m waiting. I know He’s going to come back. He didn’t go anywhere. Once they put me away, He’ll show up. So, yeah. You know, the Guru, the issue of a Guru is very, it’s a big story and but, Westerners and everybody, we subtly want somebody to do it for us and whether you have a Guru or don’t have a Guru, nobody’s going to do it for us. We have to do it for ourselves. So, that’s the deal. Nobody can chant for you. Nobody can make you pay attention. We have to do that. Maharajji never told us what to do. He never told me to go out and sing with people. If He had told me, I might have done it and then I would have probably not done it. And I would have had a whole story line about it. “Ah, He told me to do it. I don’t want to do it. It’s just not working.” I had, I didn’t start singing to people until I had to because I was up to here in the water and if I, and singing keeps me here. If I don’t sing, I drowned. So, I keep singing and I can breathe. That’s the deal. I have to sing. I’m not doing this because I like it or I want to. I have to. I do like it but I have to. This is what I do to keep me where I need to be according to my own miserable life.  So, when your life gets like that, it gets easier, you learn to follow your heart. That’s the whole thing. That’s the whole thing. Trust. Learning to listen and trust your own heart and that’s not easy. But it doesn’t matter because God is Real.  This song is God is Real and you’re not.


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