Ep. 21 | Longing, Ripening and Dada Vaswani

{Photo by Krishna Das, Auckland Harbor July 2018}

Ep. 21 Longing, Ripening and Dada Vaswani

The other people who met Maharajji talk about is the experience of His unconditional love, as you said once, “His unbearable love,” and my guess is that for many people, certainly who’ve not had the experience of Baba in the body and who maybe don’t have… my guess is when you speak of that, many people wish to feel that, to feel unconditional love, maybe that’s why they keep coming, I don’t know. And so, after a lifetime of doing this and becoming a teacher, what can you say? You know, what can you say to people about having that experience, finding that experience?

“I would say that the more you long for it, the better it is. Period. You have to be where you are. You can’t be anybody else. You can’t be anywhere else. What you can do is look, be yourself 100% and the longing for that love is what brings towards it. Period. End of conversation. That’s it. Nothing else. That’s my only qualification for any of this, is longing. This insane amount of longing that destroyed my life. It destroyed everything I thought I was going to be in life and replaced it with all this nonsense. It was that longing which I brought into this life and when I speak about this love and my Guru and you feel “I want a guru, I want a guru,” that’s a good longing to have because that longing will not leave you until you find what it is you’re longing for. There’s no easy way to get through this. It sucks. Period. I can’t make it all right for anybody but I can tell you that the more longing you have, the better it is. “ – Krishna Das

Q: Hi. Ram Ram.

KD: Ram Ram.

Q: I’m Annapurna.

KD: Annapurna. Annapurna.

Q: The gentleman who asked about finding, looking for a guru, finding a guru, one of the more compelling things that you and the other MTM’s talk about…

KD: Use words, ok?

Q: the other people who met Maharajji talk about is the experience of His unconditional love as you said once, His unbearable love… and my guess is that for many people, certainly who’ve not had the experience of Baba in the body and who maybe don’t have… my guess is when you speak of that, many people wish to feel that, to feel unconditional love, maybe that’s why they keep coming, I don’t know. And so after a lifetime of doing this and becoming a teacher, what can you say…

KD: I’m not a teacher, thank you.

Q: You know, what can you say to people about having that experience, finding that experience…

KD: I would say that the more you long for it, the better it is. Period. You have to be where you are. You can’t be anybody else. You can’t be anywhere else. What you can do is look, be yourself 100% and the longing for that love is what brings towards it. Period. End of conversation. That’s it. Nothing else. That’s my only qualification for any of this, is longing. This insane amount of longing that destroyed my life. It destroyed everything I thought I was going to be in life and replaced it with all this nonsense. It was that longing which I brought into this life and when I speak about this love and my Guru and you feel “I want a guru, I want a guru,” that’s a good longing to have because that longing will not leave you until you find what it is you’re longing for. There’s no easy way to get through this. It sucks. Period.

I can’t make it all right for anybody but I can tell you that the more longing you have, the better it is. So what, I shouldn’t talk about Maharajji because it makes people unhappy? That unhappiness is a good thing. And that’s what happened when I met Ram Das. This longing was the longing I already had for something that I didn’t even know what it was, it got crystallized in a way. It got concentrated. It got super infused and then nothing kept me away from that. And it just worked out the way it worked out. You know, many of you probably know the story but, so, after about a year and a half of hanging out with Ram Das and I recognized that it was Maharajji that was coming through Him, I said, you know, “I want to go see Maharajji” and he said, “Well, I can’t tell you where He is.” He couldn’t even, He didn’t even tell us his name. Because when he left India, when Maharajji, when he was going home, Maharajji said to him, “Don’t talk about me in America.” So of course, all he did was talk about him, but he never said his name. And he never said where you could find Him. But he talked about Him. So I said to Ram Das, I’m going to India. And he said, “Well, I can’t tell you where to go.” I said, “I don’t care, I’m going. I’ll find Him.” And he said, “Ok, ok wait. I’ll give you my friend’s address in Nainital,” which is this little town up in the hills, “and you can write to him and see what happens.”  So his friend’s name was KK. KK Shah. Now, KK had grown up in Maharajji’s lap from the  year, 8 years old, really literally in his lap. Maharajji was like his grandfather and they had the most intimate, sweetest relationship and KK was, also had the personality of a spoiled child. If Maharajji said, “Sit down.” He would stand up. If Maharajji said “Stand up,” He would sit down. Go away, he would stay. Stay, he would go away. Eat, he would fast. Fast, he would eat. That’s the way he was, you know? So, after Ram Das met Maharajji the first time, that day KK was there. He was his translator and Maharajji said to KK, “Take him home and take care of him and serve him and feed him and make sure he has what he needs.” So, Maharajji had given KK this seva or this service to do for Ram Das. So now, I wrote to KK and I said, you know, I would like to come and see Maharajji. So he wrote back to say, “You know, He’s not in the hills at this time, but when he returns I’ll write back to you and I’ll let you know.”

So about a month later, or a month or two later I got a letter back saying, “Maharajji,” he still didn’t say his name, right? “Maharajji has returned to his temple in Kainchi.” Aha, I have a place. “And after some days I was able to see Him. As you know, Great Saints do not encourage the devotees to come to them. But their doors are always open.” Great! And then the next line was, “And if you’re traveling in India, you can come see Him.” Fantastic! Here we go, right? Not exactly.

Many years later, KK says to me, “Did I ever tell you what Maharajji said that day?” I said, “No.” He said, “Well, I came to the temple with, now there were three letters, my letter and two other guys, I came to the temple and I came into the room where Maharajji was and I put the letters on this bed next to Him and I sat down on the floor and I began peeling an apple and cutting it into small pieces to feed it to Maharajji.” He used to buy these very soft apples because he had three teeth, so he’d cut them small. So he was cutting the apple. He was feeding Maharajji the apple and Maharajji was talking to these other people in the room and He looks down and He sees the letters and He says, “What’s that?” And KK said, “They’re letters from students of Ram Das. They want to come see you.” “Nay. Tell them not to come. What do I have to do with this?” And He goes back to His conversation.

Now, see the play right? KK got very upset and he began to pout because Maharajji had given him the job of helping Ram Das, so to speak. The seva. And now Maharajji was interfering with the very work that He gave KK to do and this was unacceptable. So he began to pout and he stopped feeding Maharajji the apple. And Maharajji, and he looked down like this. Maharajji said, “ KK what’s the matter?” And he, KK showed me, he tried to push his head up like this. KK would look away. Then he’d let go and he’d put his head back down like this. Finally, Maharajji said, “Ok. Say what you want. Tell them what you want.” So, what did he write? Ok? What did he write?

He’s not going to lie. He’s a good devotee. But he wrote, “As you know, great saints like Maharajji do not encourage the devotees to come to them but their doors are always open. So if you’re traveling in India…” My whole life hanging on a thread. Oops.

Or so it seemed, right?

But I, great… all I thought was “I’m going.” I was going to go, I didn’t care what happened. So, I had that longing, that pushed me. Everybody has that but we kill it mostly because we don’t believe we can ever really be happy. We don’t believe we’re worthy of love. We don’t believe we can be loved and we can love. Fully. And so we kill that longing. We try to numb it, numb ourselves down with everything we do.  That’s why the stronger the longing is, the better it is. You know that Rumi poem, you must have heard “Love Dogs”? I’ll screw it up, but you know, it’s like “A Man is Crying ‘Allah Allah’ and his lips grew sweet with the praising… and this cynic walks by and says, ‘ why are you calling out, have you ever got a response?’ and the guy thinks “he’s right and he quits singing.’ And he goes to sleep and he has this dream where the guide of souls comes to him and says, “Why did you stop calling out?” And he said, “Because I never got a response.” And he said, “ The calling out is the response.” You see. He said, “You hear that dog moaning in the distance, calling out for its master? That’s the connection.”

We think we’re doing it. We think it’s up to us. We think when we call out that’s the first thing and we’re waiting for a response. The calling out is the response of the longing that comes from our own soul, our own Being. That’s the chanting. So, when you say the Name right once, which means you’re fully there, completely immersed in the longing, in the presence, then of course the real Ram will come.

It’s not like it’s not here already but we don’t see it.

That longing, it saves our, it’s the only thing that can save us and on the other hand, it fucks up our whole life completely because nothing will ever be enough, no matter how much we try to fake it, we don’t know we’re faking it. And we’re good at faking it.

That’s ok. Go ahead, fake it.

Maharajji said, keep lying. Keep singing the false Name. Don’t stop. One of these days, it’ll come out of you the right way. You have to keep calling out. If you don’t do it, what will happen? Nothing. And of course, the Name, chanting the Name is only one of the many practices and anything can be a practice if it’s done the right way, if it’s done with awareness, with intention. The trick is to be able to give yourselves and give ourselves 100% to it. And we don’t do that.  I remember the winter of ’69-’70, Ram Das and I and others were up at the Lama Foundation all winter, and we heard about this New York artist named Herman who had gone to India and learned to meditate and had come back and was now living just down the mountain from the Lama and so a group of us went to see him and I sat in the back of the room and everybody else was talking. I was just listening and stuff and then we were leaving a couple of hours later and I was the last one out the door. He grabbed my arm and he looked at me and he said, “You, you have to find out why it is that you can’t give yourself 100% to whatever you’re doing.” You ever see, like, in a taxidermy shop, you know? The squirrel on the wall? That was me. He nailed me to the fucking wall. It was unbelievable. I can remember that feeling right now. That was 50 years ago.  He got me perfectly and from that moment to this moment, I notice that I’m not giving myself 100% to it so then I recommit again and again. I come back. It’s… so at one point, I would assume that I’ll come back and I’ll never leave. We’ll see. It’s a nice fantasy.

Q: Ah Krishna Das, I want to say thank you so much for coming out to LA. Our mutual sister, who we were going to actually fly to Atlanta with, Geeta…

KD: Oh yeah, Geeta. Lovely. We had a great time.

Q: To come and see you , so thank you so much.

KD: Are you a disciple of Dada?

Q: Exactly. Dada talks about, when you talk about ripening the soul, He talks about the ego and once we can start to diminish that I think that’s where the ripening process begins. So before you answer that, I just have a request, either today or tomorrow, if you can sing “God is Real” because I have watch it about 50,000 times and I just can not get…

KD: So you know it by now. Give it up.

Q: I want to hear it from you. I want to hear it from you.

KD: This is the weirdest thing. I want to tell you, for some crazy reason, every place I’ve been going the last month or so, people have been asking me to sing “God is Real.” After like, years. I hardly ever sang it. Everybody wants… what’s the deal here?

Q: I think I’ve been sharing it all over social media so that’s why.

KD: Terrific. So, Dada Vaswani, who left His body last year at 100 years old was one of the greatest saints I’ve ever met. This man, there was nothing in there but love. It was extraordinary. And he was so kind to me. The first time I met him was in Chicago and this guy Jeremy who made the movie of me, you know? Whatever it’s called. One Track Heart.  Yeah. He was in Chicago shooting and he knew the people where Dada was staying. So we went over there.  And so I sang for Dada and he just sat there. He was in a wheel chair at the time. He was 96 maybe at that point or 95.  And after I was finished singing, this Indian guy goes “Oh Dada, when Krishna Das sings it makes me dance…” and Dada kind of opened up his eyes. He looked at the guy and said, “When Krishna Das sings, it brings my mind to peace.” Very nice. I thought, that was very nice. Thank  you.

But so then last year, a year and a half ago, he would come to New York and he would ask me to come and sing at his talks and he would always, he would talk first and then he would sit on the side of the stage and listen while we sang. So the last time I saw him after we chanted, we went over, I went over there to see him and I was sitting on the ground in front of him, and he just looked at me and he said to one of his people, he said, “Go bring those books for Krishna Das.” And she said, “Dada, they’re all the way on the other side of the room in the hallway” “Yeah, go get them go get them.” So this woman goes off to get the books for me. And he just sat there and he was looking at me and smiling, just looking and smiling, like 15 minutes went by, right? And another one of his devotees said, “Dada, Krishna Das is sitting here but you’re not talking.” And he looked at her and then he looked back at me and he smiled again and he said, “Ralph Waldo Emerson was a very great yogi and he wanted to meet this other guy in England,” I forget who it was, “and he took a horse carriage and then he took a train and then he took the boat and then he goat to England and he took another train and then a carriage and then he walked and he got to this other guy’s, this great saint’s place in England, this yogi’s place in England,” and this was in the 1800s, “and they went in and they sat for an hour together without a word being spoken and then Ralph Waldo Emerson left and walked and took the train and took the boat and went back home.” And then he looks at her and he looks over at me and he says, “Krishna Das and I have said everything there is to say.” That was the last time I saw him.

He was so beautiful. God.


That there are Beings like that, it’s inconceivable. We slog around in our miserable lives and there are Beings like that in the world. And we are like that. But we don’t see that. It’s extraordinary. Kindness. Kindness.

 


 

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