Ep. 17 ~ Grace in The West

How do we, in the West live the way you speak of? The way we all want to in our hearts? We need money in this culture… We can’t walk around, as you said, with a wraparound, shoeless and in the East you can.  So…. it’s so difficult, how do we compromise in the West? Or, how do we recover peace in the West when we strive for the Eastern culture?

“Once, I was having a dream, I had this dream where I was being reincarnated, I was coming back to a body and I was heading right for India, right for India, and at the last minute I made a left turn and wound up in New York. But, I was impelled by my karmas. This was the place where I would be able to fulfill the things I needed to do. The hungers that I was, in another culture, I might not have been able to get what I needed to have in order to complete certain karmic desires. So, it’s not a mistake that we’re here. But it would be a mistake to try to do it like the Indians do it. We can’t, we’re not born that way. We have a different psychological shape. Very different. But we’re still, we’re no different from anybody on the planet anywhere, inside. So that’s all the same, it’s just the outer shell is different. We have to find a way to look at that and see what that is. Work with it.” – Krishna Das

Q: Hi. Being in the Western Culture, being brought up here, and the Eastern Culture, how do we, in the West live the way you speak of? The way we all want to in our hearts? We need money in this culture to pay bridge, go over the bridge, to get on a bus, so it’s, it is a lot of monetarily, a lot of monetary things that we have to provide for. We can’t walk around, as you said, with a wrap around, shoeless and in the East you can.  So, how, it’s so difficult, how do we compromise in the West? Or, how do we recover peace in the West when we strive for the Eastern culture?

KD: Well, first of all, we’re doing it. This is it.
Q: Is this as good as it gets?
KD: I didn’t say that. I said, this is it. This is our attempt at doing that. We found our own forms, you know, people in India, believe it or not, they have to eat, too. They have to work in the fields. They have to find jobs, they have to support their families, you know, not everybody, and these days, sadhus don’t really get supported the way that they have been in the past. So, it’s very different, but it’s essentially the same. We’re human beings, we all pretty much want the same thing and we all have different karmic shape that we have to come to terms with this life. Once, I was having a dream, I had this dream where I was being reincarnated, I was coming back to a body and I was heading right for India, right for India, and at the last minute I made a left turn and wound up in New York. But, I was impelled by my karmas. This was the place where I would be able to fulfill the things I needed to do. The hungers that I was, in another culture, I might not have been able to get what I needed to have in order to complete certain karmic desires. So, it’s not a mistake that we’re here. But it would be a mistake to try to do it like the Indians do it. We can’t, we’re not born that way. We have a different psychological shape. Very different. But we’re still, we’re no different from anybody on the planet anywhere, inside. So that’s all the same, it’s just the outer shell is different. We have to find a way to look at that and see what that is. Work with it.

I once asked Siddhi Ma, “Ma should I meditate?” Because I was doing a lot of these meditation courses with Tibetans and learning all these practices and enjoying it quite a bit. I said, “Ma should I meditate?” She said, “In 40 years with Maharajji, not once did He ask me to meditate.” And then I said, “Well, should I meditate or should I sing?” And She said, “Well, what do you like to do?” It never occurred to me that what I liked to do might be good for me. That’s not what my mama told me. But you see how subtle it is? You know? In her mind, chanting, meditation, no problem, same. In my mind, it was different because it was hard and must be good for me, and chanting was easy and must not be good for me. I was doing that to myself. Then She said, “Maharajji said that, ‘the more subtle states of consciousness, we can’t do that ourselves. We can’t make that happen with our own personal will, with our own personal effort. You can’t do that, you can’t push a button and enter into the deeper states.’” Like, “Ok, I’m going to do it now.” It doesn’t work that way. But She said, He told Her to continue to Her japa, repetition of the Name, that the Name, repetition of the Name would ripen Her. Ripen us to be ready to, for those things to naturally occur. The Name is a big thing. It just sounds like another whatever, but it’s a really Big Thing. I don’t even pretend to have a clue what it’s about but you read these books, you know, and you read some of these things They say about the practice of the repetition of the Name, some of them say it’s the only way for human beings to actually accomplish anything in one lifetime at this time, in this age because you’re planting seeds and the seeds stay with us. So, I don’t know, it’s kind of like what they tell you in Catholic school. You don’t have to take it on faith. You should never take anything on blind faith, just because somebody says so, try something and see what it feels like to you. That’s how you find out. If it doesn’t work, fine, do something else. Anybody tells you it’s the only way, look for the closest door and get the fuck out of there because, you know, anybody says it’s the only way, they’re just selling something. There’s no only way. And there is an only way. The only way is to go into your own heart and see what’s there and throw out the garbage and leave what’s pure and beautiful, which is our true nature. How are you going to do that? There’s a million ways to do that, but chanting is the only way.


Suggestions for your practice: Hungry Hearts Chant & Door of Faith Album
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Hungry Hearts Chant
Made especially for you. This recording is a 7 min 11 sec loop of  the chant. This track is FREE and available for download in our digital library (thats where we offer other free stuff too)  for you to use at anytime.

Door of Faith
An unusual recording, a departure from the call-and-response (kirtan) style, the deep longing to connect with his guru that comes through makes one feel as if you are listening in on Krishna Das’s personal puja offerings. Also included is Bernie’s Chalisa/Gate of Sweet Nectar.  Find out more in our online shop.

 


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