Travel Journal#6.12a: Brahmacari Convention
Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 6, No.12a
By Krishna-kripa das
(June 2010, part two, section one)
(Sent from Opatija, Croatia, on July 27, 2010)
At one point, I realized that the purpose of life was to come to higher stage of awareness.
I would go three times a week to argue with the devotees because I was convinced that hatha-yoga was the way to attain perfection.
Some of my friends joined Srila Prabhupada in 1966 when they heard about it in the Village Voice, but I never took it seriously.
The Buffalo temple was in an abandoned railway shack. In the beginning they did not have Bhagavad-gita but just a copy of the translation of Radhakrishnan’s verse 2.13. So three times a week I heard Bhurijana Prabhu explain about how we are not the body. I wondered if this was all there was to the philosophy. Then one day, I heard I was not the body, and I thought, “How profound! I am not this body!”
Once a friend and I were chanting on a bus, and we noticed everyone on the bus became friendly. We saw my friend’s family and they were arguing when we arrived, but when we chanted they became friendly. I thought, “This chanting is very powerful.” Worrying about what would happen if I stopped chanting, I decided to join the temple.
We just have to listen with perfect attention to attain perfection. That is the essence. Nothing else is required.
To chant with attention, we have to be absorbed in the holy name. Our conviction should carry our intelligence.
I asked Srila Prabhupada if it was alright when I am chanting to remember Krishna book. He replied, “No, you should just chant and hear the holy name. If remembrance of Krishna comes that is nice, but we should not try to artificially remember Krishna while we are chanting.”
Our problem is we think we are great, and the holy name is just some sound vibration.
Krishna may be there, but whether our heart is open to receive Him is another thing.
I can say from my experience that if you chant and hear the holy names, considering they are identical with the Lord, everything will gradually develop.
We cannot break into the spiritual world by our meditation: “Krishna may want me or not, but I am coming.”
Krishna is there. We are just trying to adjust our consciousness so we perceive Him. Just as radio waves are everywhere, but with a radio we can perceive them.
Kamsa was so much absorbed in thinking of the Lord that once when his wives approached him. He raised his sword, and angrily shouted, “Krishna and Balarama, You are dead!” They said, “We are not Krishna and Balarama, we are your wives!”
Our first business is to cry out to Krishna, but not in a complaining mood. We chant in a happy mood, but it is not possible to be completely happy in the material world. Try to get a sense of Krishna’s presence as you chant, and the more Krishna reveals Himself, the more you become happy feeling His presence.
Q: When you chant Hare Krishna, where does the sound come?
A: It comes from Krishna. Krishna is descending.
As long as we desire according to the modes, our consciousness is materially affected, but when we constantly desire according to Krishna, the spiritual master, and the succession of spiritual teachers, we become more conscious of Krishna.
Once I went with Srila Prabhupada to a monastery of monks who meditated on the holy name. Srila Prabhupada gave a lecture on the importance of hearing and chanting the holy name. He did not stress meditation.
At nistha, Krishna’s form spontaneously appears while we chant and is not seen as different from the holy name.
Having a little reverence for the holy name is nice. It is not that reverence is only for those Vaikuntha-vasis, the rejects from Goloka Vrndavana.
When the inspiration for sadhana comes from anything other than a natural attraction to service, it is vaidhi-bhakti.
Causes of deviation [numbered entries in the outline below] and what we can do about them [lettered entries below the numbers]:
1. Seeing women as sense objects.
a. being respectful
b. seeing them as matajis [mothers]
c. understanding we are not enjoyers, Krishna is the enjoyer
d. seeing their beauty as part of Krishna
2. Not making time for sadhana.
a. write down a daily schedule
b. have a devotee check in with you weekly.
3. Not having the desire for spiritual life.
a. associating with those who have a desire.
b. praying for the desire
c. reflection and introspection.
4. Not serious about spiritual life.
5. Lacking knowledge.
a. reading books
c. congregational chanting
d. take bhakti-sastri course
e. engaging in the nine items of bhakti
6. No conducive environment.
7. Commit offenses.
a. serving devotees
c. care and attention
d. get feedback from seniors
e. ask for feedback.
f . cultivate friendship with other devotees
8. Previous attachments.
a. chant more and more attentively
9. Thinking that you are doing things perfectly.
10. Bad association.
11. Over eating.
I joined the movement in 1968, and the first thing we called that ladies was gopis. Later we addressed them as mataji as Srila Prabhupada recommended and did himself.
In one sampradaya they consult the horoscopes at the age of five and determine whether or not the brahmacari will take sannyasa in that life. Often they take sannyasa at the age of eight, and thus theirsannyasa rods are very short. Interestingly enough they have had only one or two cases of fall down in 800 years.
Q: (by Prahladananda Swami): You are a brahmacari guru and sometimes young women want initiation, with less than uttama-bhaktiaspirations. What do you do?
A: (by Krishna Ksetra Prabhu:)This is certainly true. There are even those disciples who announce their intention to marry me, which makes it difficult for them to understand it will not happen and for them to accept me as a guru instead of a husband. If I were a marriage arranger, I could do that service for them, but it is not my nature, so I advise them to find agrhastha to help them find a suitable husband.
We have tendencies toward brahmacarya or grhastha life, but beyond that, there is the power of the holy name. If we take shelter of the holy name, whatever asrama one is in, one will be a brahmacari,and if one does not take shelter of the holy name, whatever asramaone is in, one will not be a brahmacari.
acaran dasavan nico
“Narada Muni said: A student should practice completely controlling his senses. He should be submissive and should have an attitude of firm friendship for the spiritual master. With a great vow, the brahmacari should live at the gurukula, only for the benefit of the guru.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.12.1)
the above excerpts from Krishna-kripa das journal can be read in its entirety on Krishnamonk.blogspot.com
with excerpts from
Bhakti Rasamrita Swami (on devotee relationships)
Bhakti Vijnana Swami (on the subtle body)
Krishna Ksetra Prabhu (on peace of mind)
Bhakti Caru Swami (on just offering this life to Krishna)
Prahladananda Swami (realizations)
Candramauli Swami (on association with women)
Jayadvaita Swami (questions and answers)
(With Prahladananda Swami, Yadunandana Swami, Bhakti Rasamrita Swami, Krishna Ksetra Prabhu, and Kripa Moya Prabhu)
Also posted on Brahmacarya.info