I See You in My Desire to See You

I shut my eyes to the world.
In the realm of my mind
the two of You, love personified,
swing back and forth
on a flower-studded swing.

I try to ‘see you’, your divine feet,
the signs of the highest divinity on your soles,
the fabric and design of your transcendental clothes,
your most beautiful face,
your divine smiles, your lotus petal-like eyes,
your cloud complexion, Krishna,
your golden face, Radha.
I, whose inner eyes have been blind,
how can I catch a glimpse of You?
What I see in my mind is my desire to see You.

My master’s master’s master’s says:
Don’t try to see Them. Absorb yourself in Them so much
That they come to see you.

En Route to Your Love

I find a route to Your love through the wounds I inflict on myself.            
I walk on the wounds. They lead me to You.                                                  
On each step, a wound deepens, another partly heals.                            
I get closer to You with each step, that’s how I feel.                                
And yet my heart sinks many times in the deep mud of worldly love.    
Each time, with Your grace, I pick my heart up.                                            
I wipe out some sins, as You may please. But it’s not enough to reach my goal.
For I need Your love to find a route to Your love.

My Heart is a Wreck

I’ve loved Hari Hari Bifale bhajan since the time I learned from Yamuna Devi’s biography that this is Prabhupada’s favorite bhajan. But my love for this bhajan is skin-deep. Or, shall I say, my love is unrealized. My love for Hari Hari Bifale is like jnana; knowledge, which goes into the mind, but heart remains bereft of its juice. Krishna pairs jnana and vijnana because jnana alone cannot take us deep enough into the Truth. But when vijnana or realization joins jnana, the truth begins to reveal itself. Vijnana, as I see it with my limited intelligence and experience, demands sacrifice. But before one is able to sacrifice with love, suffering pulls one breath by breath. Krishna, the supreme intelligence personified, knows how and how much to dose one with knowledge, suffering, sacrifice, and realization.

“samsara-bisanale, diba-nisi hiya jwale” is the third line of the second couplet in the Hari Hari Bifale bhajan. It means my heart burns day and night with the worldiness. “Worldiness” carries a different meaning for each of us, from one time to another, according to the level of our transformation. A compassionate saint suffers out of affection by seeing the souls trapped in the world, or due to his separation from God. An old man may suffer because of his disease, loss of his wife, or children. A young woman suffers from loneliness. A married woman suffers because her husband doesn’t seem to be the soul mate she wanted. The kaleidoscope of suffering has countless designs, patterns, and shades. And yet, behind each suffering lurk expectations, desires, hopelessness, insecurity, anger, fear, greed, madness, thanklessness, ingratitude, or different shades of these feelings identified by different names in different cultures and communities.

samsara-bisanale, diba-nisi hiya jwale keeps ringing in my heart like a temple bell. At times, I make efforts to remind myself of the next line “juraite na koinu upay” which means “I have not taken the means to relieve it.” This beautiful bhajan starts like this “O Lord Hari, I have spent my life uselessly. Having obtained a human birth and having not worshiped Radha and Krsna, I have knowingly drunk poison.” I know, both intuitively and experientially, that I’ve wasted away many human births running after various chimeras. I’ve wasted away many human lives by royally ignoring my eternal companions Radha and Krishna. I’ve looked for love in the way a thirsty person looks for water in a desert. I’ve hurt my eternally bruised heart with the coals of falsities and illusions a million times. A thirsty person mistakes mirage in a desert for water. I’ve gone far beyond this, several times, uncountable times. I’ve created dangerous mirages of love in the deep recesses of my heart.

Nothing but the nectar that flows from the divine feet of Radha and Krishna can heal me. In some rare moments this truth goes somewhat deeper than the bottom of my intellect. Most times, the dolphins and sharks of maya make me dance as they like. The lines before “samsara-bisanale, diba-nisi hiya jwale” reveal the antidote and my natural tendency, as I’ve developed in this world, to not take the antidote properly. “The treasure of divine love in Goloka Vrndavana has descended as the congregational chanting of Lord Hari’s holy names. Why did my attraction for that chanting never come about?” The grace of the holy name came to me 4.5 years ago. But, my stubborn mind has been victoriously distracting me during my chanting of the holy name. Krishna and the devotees always knew that this was going to happen. So, they did everything, without intervening in freewill, to help me chant anyway. My determination to chant is their unconditional gift to me.

My titanic-like heart has survived many heart-wrecks. Some I foresaw and feared and some came unexpectedly. I survived because Krishna protected me. He guided me out of them. I’ve not faced wreck of those types in many years; although of other types have been keeping me absorbed. This heart-wreck has given me glimpse of the depth of the meaning of Hari Hari Bifale. “A glimpse of the depth” is an oxymoron. To experience the depth one has to lose themselves in the depth. The spiritual moments are translogical and conflicts can co-exist in these moments.

I’ve been wondering offlately if the wreck I’ve been struggling with these days is a test that Krishna has thrown at me to check my resistance, or is it, as it happens during the process of churning nectar, that first poison comes out. Or, is it my prarabhada. It could be an ingenious combination of all of this, as orchestrated by Krishna. He must be doing this to help me transform. A Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, says, “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” Not just need to know but need to learn and then transform. Krishna wants to cleanse my heart of all impurities so that I can see Him, love Him, and serve Him. He’s not a cheap deal. The price that I have to pay to experience the bliss of ever-increasing love is nothing less than my self. For me, I’m most precious. So, this is the highest price I can pay to get Him. He’s the highest possible achievement one can have. So the price of dedicating myself to Him is nothing. But He knows my plight. He’ll accept the price with love.

Yesterday was one of the tough days that I have been living through recently. Tears helped only as long as they dropped. Distracting the mind to other things helps me somewhat. Going out, meeting people helps for as long as I’m not back within myself. I’ve been praying, too. The medicine of prayer goes to the root of the disease. But, have I prayed intensely? Yesterday I did. I cried to Krishna. I said to Him what He already knows. I told Him I can’t open up to anyone as I can to Him. I pleaded for His help. samsara-bisanale, diba-nisi hiya jwale kept ringing in my heart like a temple bell. The evening satsang in the association of Krishnanand Prabhu uplifted my spirit. Krishna must have sent Him for my rescue. Inspired by his devotional energy, I prayed again to Radha Krishna before I slept. I closed my eyes and imagined Radha Krishna enjoying on a swing made of flowers. I was watching them prayfully when they were on the swing. The swing picked speed. Their lotus feet came closer to my heart. I cried. I don’t know when but after sometime I fell asleep. I couldn’t see their beautiful glowing faces. I couldn’t smell the flowers, either. Neither could I see the transcendental signs on the feet of their souls. This took place only in my mind. But, someday, I hope that someday, I recite them a poem while they’re swinging on their flower-studded swing in joy. I pray that that day comes sooner than I deserve. This is my helpless prayer to the eternal lords of my soul. Narottama dasa says, “O Lord, please do not push me away from Your reddish lotus feet, for who is my beloved except for You?”
hari hari! bifale janama gonainu

manushya-janama paiya, radha-krishna na bhajiya,

janiya suniya visha khainu
(2)

golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana,

rati na janmilo kene tay

samsara-bishanale, diba-nisi hiya jwale,

juraite na koinu upay
(3)

Vrajendra-nandana jei, saci-suta hoilo sei,

balarama hoilo nitai

dina-hina jata chilo, hari-name uddharilo,

tara sakshi jagai madhai
(4)

ha ha prabhu nanda-suta, vrishabhanu-suta-juta,

koruna karoho ei-baro

narottama-dasa koy, na theliho ranga pay,

toma bine ke ache amara
Translation:
(1) 0 Lord Hari, I have spent my life uselessly. Having obtained a human birth and having not worshiped

Radha and Krishna, I have knowingly drunk poison.
(2) The treasure of divine love in Goloka Vrindavana has descended as the congregational chanting of Lord

Hari’s holy names. Why did my attraction for that chanting never come about? Day and night my heart burns

from the fire of the poison of worldliness, and I have not taken the means to relieve it.
(3) Lord Krishna, who is the son of the King of Vraja, became the son of Saci (Lord Caitanya), and Balarama

became Nitai. The holy name delivered all those souls who were lowly and wretched. The two sinners Jagai

and Madhai are evidence of this.
(4) 0 Lord Krishna, son of Nanda, accompanied by the daughter of Vrishabhanu, please be merciful to me

now. Narottama dasa says, “O Lord, please do not push me away from Your reddish lotus feet, for who is

my beloved except for You?”

It’s All in the Mind!

The following QnA is based on the Bhagavad Gita!

What’s mind’s role in our lives?

Bg 6.5 — One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.

I’m living my life the way I want. Why do I need to conquer the mind?

Bg 6.6 — For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.
Bg 6.7 — For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquillity. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same.
What do I have to lose if I don’t work on my mind?

Bg 6.36 — For one whose mind is unbridled, self-realization is difficult work. But he whose mind is controlled and who strives by appropriate means is assured of success. That is My opinion.
What mindset helps one advance?

Bg 6.9 — A person is considered still further advanced when he regards honest well-wishers, affectionate benefactors, the neutral, mediators, the envious, friends and enemies, the pious and the sinners all with an equal mind.

What’s the highest perfection one can achieve with his mind?

Bg 6.27 — The yogī whose mind is fixed on Me verily attains the highest perfection of transcendental happiness. He is beyond the mode of passion, he realizes his qualitative identity with the Supreme, and thus he is freed from all reactions to past deeds.

What are the signs of a steady mind?

Bg 2.56 — One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.

What’s the result of making our mind steady and attaining the stage of trance?

Bg 6.19 — As a lamp in a windless place does not waver, so the transcendentalist, whose mind is controlled, remains always steady in his meditation on the transcendent Self.

Bg 6.20-23 — In the stage of perfection called trance, or samādhi, one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one’s ability to see the Self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the Self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.
Where should we engage our mind so we advance spiritually?

Bg 6.10 — A transcendentalist should always engage his body, mind and self in relationship with the Supreme; he should live alone in a secluded place and should always carefully control his mind. He should be free from desires and feelings of possessiveness.

Bg 6.11-12 — To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kuśa grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should be neither too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogī should then sit on it very firmly and practice yoga to purify the heart by controlling his mind, senses and activities and fixing the mind on one point.

Is it really possible to steady the mind and fix it in the Surpreme?

Bg 6.33 — Arjuna said: O Madhusūdana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady.

Bg 6.34 — The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Kṛṣṇa, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.

What do I need to do to make my mind steady?

Bg 6.26 — From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.

Bg 6.35 — Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa said: O mighty-armed son of Kuntī, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.

Self-Realization

What are the different ways people try to realize the Self?

Some people try to realize the Self by empirical, philosophical speculation, while others by devotional service. (BG 3.3)

What are the stumbling blocks on the path of self realization?

Attachments and aversions are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization. One must follow the principles that help us regulate these emotions. (BG 3.34)

What should be the consciousness of the person aspiring for self-realization?

Although Krishna is the ultimate creator, He’s not affected by His work; He doesn’t aspire for fruits of actions. Whosoever understands this truth doesn’t become entangled with the reactions of his karmas (BG 4.14).

Krishna is the supreme. He is not bound by activities and their results. A person who realizes the greatness of Krishna becomes attached to Him, and therefore, doesn’t have material expectations.  Moreover, such a person realizes that when God doesn’t expect results, how we can have expectations. We are only a small part of His creation.

The liberated souls in the past acted with this understanding. So we have success stories/case studies. Krishna advises us to follow their footsteps. (BG 4.15)

What practices a person aspiring for self-realization should adopt?

  • Use intelligence to purify oneself
  • Control the mind with determination
  • Give up the objects that gratify the senses
  • Become free from attachment or hatred
  • Eat in moderation
  • Control body, mind, speech
  • Become free from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, false proprietorship. (Krishna is the ability in humans, he is the creator of everything, and therefore, we should be humble in our mind, body, and speech.)
  • Become peaceful
    (BG 18.51-53)

What’s that knowledge that facilitates one to become situated in the Self?

The transcendental knowledge about devotional service, about Krishna is the purest knowledge. It situates our awareness in the self. This is the perfection of all types of knowledge. This knowledge is eternal. Moreover, it gives joy and bliss. (BG 9.2)

What are the qualities of a self realized person?

Krishna has stated the traits of liberated souls in the Bhagavad Gita (BG 5.20):

A liberated person doesn’t become excited when he accomplishes something. He doesn’t  lament when he loses something precious. This person is self-intelligent. That is, his intelligence is fixed in his original self. He knows who he is, why he shouldn’t be attached to his activities or their results. Nothing can bewilder this person. He knows the science of God! He understands his actual, eternal position, so the temporary pleasure and pain don’t bother him.

How Can I Stop Creating Karmas?

BG 3.9:

  • Perform duties that are prescribed according to our skill and nature.
  • Perform those duties for the Lord’s satisfaction.

If we don’t perform our activities as a sacrifice to lord, they create new karmas and bind us to this material world.

When we offer our prescribed activities to the lord, we become free from the bondage.

BG 3.34:

  • Don’t let your attachments and aversion control you. If you do, they will become the stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.  That is, as long as we’re have material attachments and aversions born from our false ego, we would never be able to see the Self; who we are, and we won’t be able remain in the awareness of the self consistently.
  • To control attachments and aversions, which our senses experience when they come in contact with the sense objects, we should follow the regulative principles under the direction of a bonafide spiritual master.

BG 4.14:

One who understands that Krishna, the creator, the king, has no duty to perform, nor he desires any results of his actions, such a person doesn’t become entangled reactions or results of his actions.

Krishna creates universes but remains aloof from it.

BG 4.18:

One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.

BG 4.19:

One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every endeavor is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker for whom the reactions of work have been burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.

BG 4.20:

Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities, ever satisfied and independent, he performs no fruitive action, although engaged in all kinds of undertakings.

BG 4.36:

Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.

BG 4.37:

As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities.

BG 5.3:

One who understands that he is an instrument of karmas, and to be free of them, he who makes Krishna the center of his thinking, feeling, willing, and doing, becomes free from the material bondages, that is, he becomes liberated.