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Blogs

From Murderer to Vaisnava

From a Russian Article

In 1990, in Russia, during the criminal investigation of Andrey Sudarikov, the police was about to close the case due to the lack of evidence of the committed crime.

However, a Bhagavad-Gita As It Is came into the hands of Andrey. Having avidly read the blessed Holy Scripture, Andrey became spiritually reborn and he confessed, to the stunned investigator, the crime he had committed, thereby signing off on a death sentence for himself.

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Appearance—The Exoteric and Esoteric Reasons

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player is needed; works best with Firefox or Explorer; if you are using Google Chrome it will automatically play, so to not listen, mute your speakers.)
Chaitanya and Krishna lila photo ChaitanyalilaandKrishnalila_zps0ffbcc5f.jpg

[reposted from 3-15-14] There are many ways to know a person. One can know a person by guessing what they might, or should, be like, study the person from a distance—say from the Gossip column, Internet, or Facebook— hear about them from others who may, or may not, know them, or we may directly experience the person through a loving personal relationship.

The last way is the best because if we love a person we will discover, and they will reveal to us, all their secrets. It is similar with Krishna. Even though he is both infinite and inconceivable he has the prerogative to reveal himself to those who love him purely and selflessly. In regard to Krishna, and specifically Shri Chaitanya, there is both an exoteric (apparent) as well as an esoteric (hidden) reason for his appearance.

PART ONE, THE CONFIDENTIAL, HIDDEN REASONS:

The closer we come to Krishna the more we will know about him, by his grace. And there are many ways to explain the necessity of the Lord’s various forms and energies. For example, great devotees have looked very carefully at Krishna, and discovered another person, Radha, or devotion personified, who is most dear to Krishna. There is Krishna, and his energies, all of which come from Radha.

And looking even more closely at the Divine Couple, pure devotees have found that Radha and Krishna have combined together to become one, in the person of Shri Chaitanya. Such pure souls, such as the Six Goswami’s of Vrindavan, Shri Krishnadas Kaviraja, and others, have shared their experience with us in their writings, and given us the logic of their love, referenced by the Vedic scriptures.

THE LORD'S DESIRES ARE ALWAYS FULFILLED

If we study the lila, divine activities, of Radha and Krishna as revealed in the Shrimad Bhagavatam and Chaitanya Charitamrita commented on our Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas including Shrila Prabhupada, we will understand that there must be a Lord Chaitanya to fulfill Krishna’s unmet need. Krishna is perfect, complete, and full in himself, so when he wants to experience something, he manifests a situation and spiritual body accordingly.

Saved from Drowning, and a 5 minute video, The Intensity of the Search for Cancer Treatments

Praying for tolerance like the tree photo DSCN7043_zpsovp4l5yn.jpg
I decided to include either a reworked blog, or some written material in addition to videos concerning my cancer healing journey so you can also have something to read and think about even if you don't watch the video. I admit that if you don't know me, or what I am about, my personal healing journey with cancer may not interest you. However, if you or a loved have cancer, or any life-threatening disease, I think you will get something out of this series. Plus, as we are all confronted with the temporariness of our body, and it's inevitable demise, we are all the same boat of having to come to terms with physical death, and if there is any afterlife, or soul, or God.

I will post the links for the videos at the end of my written material as that will motivate me to put them up all on YouTube. Even if they can help a few people, I will be happy. Currently I have great spiritual urgency in my writing, speech, and inner life, due to my facing possible death for the last 3 1/2 years, and now, living alone in Vrindavan accompanied by my Deities and many pictures of incarnations of Krishna and his great devotees, I also surround myself with the holy name, intense prayers for surrender, in lamentation for wasted years of life, and for spiritual aspirations. Adding to my intensity of spiritual purpose is my voluntary, but also forced austerity of a super intense and regulated healing Ayurvedic regiment for cancer.

As a result of all this I can honestly say that my spiritual life is being rekindled, with the hope and prayer that it becomes a blazing fire, so to speak. This comes out gradually in my current Vrindavana Healing Video-Blogs, where to my eye we get to see a gradual transformation. First I will be posting preliminary videos from the first days of my cancer diagnosis from 3 years ago. Though I haven't found much commenting on blogs here these days, I do appreciate suggestions for how best to share these videos I am making.

I'm here to serve you by who I am as a person, as a long-standing practitioner of bhakti, or pure devotional loving service for Radha and Krishna, and Their combined incarnation for this age, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We attempt and pray to serve them, and their servants, like our spiritual masters, like Shrila Prabhupada, and his servants, and servants of his servants. We pray to take our place in that line of preceptors and mentors, and in that way, if you want, to be of service to you, and the family of of the earth that we all share.

Shri Advaita Acharya—Teaching the Secret Bliss of Servitorship

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
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[Depending on where you are in the world, today, or here in India, to morrow, is Sri Advaita Achary's appearance day. So I am reposting a blog from 2012, and will post my first two Vrindavana Healing Video Blogs in a few days to test the water of interest.]“I offer my respectful obeisances to Shri Advaita Acharya, whose activities are all wonderful. By His mercy, even a foolish person can describe His characteristics.” [Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi-lila 6.1] Shrila Prabhupada, my guru, and the founder/exemplary teacher of the Hare Krishna movement, referred to the bhakti scriptures as “the science of God.” This term is amply demonstrated by the appearance days of various incarnations or expansions of Godhead. Shri Advaita Acharya is one such expansion of God, specifically of Krishna, whom Gaudiya Vaisnava’s see as the fountainhead or Source of all incarnations—or we could say, the Source of our conception of God which is in relationship to the material world. Within this tradition Shri Advaita Acharya is famous, and celebrated for His compassion, as it was His pure prayers for Krishna that caused Krishna to personally appear (as Shri Chaitanyadeva) for the deliverance of suffering humanity. Specifically, Shri Advaita is the cause of the material creation and is considered an expansion of Maha-Vishnu, that aspect of Krishna who maintains and sustains the material world.

Introduction to my Vrindavana Healing Video Blog series

Karnamrita with Master Nahar Singh Vaidya photo Karnam with Master Nahar Singh Vaidya_zps3ksreijl.jpg
A few days before I left for India, some of my dear friends, the Gopals, allowed me to speak at their home for a gathering that I asked for, in order to seek the blessings of my larger extended devotional family. It will be in two parts, and is a big longer than what I have called my "Vrindavan Healing Video Blogs," which are usually no more than 13 minutes. This series is how I keep in touch with my family and the larger family of devotees and friends, in which I share how I am doing, along with the realizations, experiences, and thoughts I am having living alone in Vrindavan, and doing what has turned out to be an extremely difficult healing protocol, and yet full of grace and blessings, not the least of which is from the prayers of the devotees, my family, and those near and dear to me! Now I share it with you if you would like to accompany me on my healing journey which has so far, at least in India, spanned 2 month with approximately 8 more to go, though it may be longer which I will continue in my home in the USA. For my cancer healing journey in general, I have been sharing it here and on Facebook, for over 3 years.

CHRISTMAS ALL YEAR LONG

As a child, Christmas was a time of great anticipation and excitement. Until my teen years that is, when it became more and more a source of disappointment—but that’s a story for another time.
Christmas, a time of giving and receiving, of goodwill for all mankind, is experienced all year long in devotional service, and it is certainly true of the prison ministry service. It is Christmas every day! And there is no disappointment, no letdown, and no hype about it: it is the real deal and it brings me the pleasure and satisfaction I have been hankering for all my life!

ADVENTURES IN MONKEY HEAVEN—VRINDAVAN JOURNAL, DAYS THREE, FOUR, & FIVE

 photo Monkey and devotee_zps89zqtj1i.jpg (From last month, as I am now in my sixth week living in Vrindavana, but I'm trying to set the ground work for my video blogs) Hard to believe it is already the sixth day here, but time flies wherever we are. Eventually, I am sure I will be looking more at weeks and months, though naturally each day and moment is what we live in, as the present is all there ever is. I have acclimatized to being here. No jet-lag to speak of even in the first few days. The stopover in Finland for 12 hours helped, and spending that time with gracious devotee friends, who shared delicious prasad with me. The fact that I was able to sleep on both flights was also essential. I’ve settled into a temporary routine of going to the temple and taking my meals at the MVT restaurant, and sometimes at the restaurant where I live, until my treatment begins when I will be cooking all my own meals.

MY ANGEL She is originally from Germany, a disciple of Kavichandra Maharaja, living in India since 2001, and married to a devotee from Jaipura. She speaks fluent Hindi, English, and of course, German, has done the Hodal treatment I am embarking on, and thus knows its ins and outs. Out of gratitude and kindness she mercifully helps other devotees doing the treatment. I would be hard pressed to imagine doing all the purchasing by myself and knowing how to take the medicines, though directions are in written form. Such a kind-hearted, humble, and giving devotee, with a fine sense of humor. A joy to be with and so helpful. I am indebted to her—certainly I can see her as an agent of Shri Radha, as are others who have helped me like Mahadevi and Kusa Matajis, Prema Prakasa and more. In fact, the whole trip has been practically flawless—and even yesterday’s unexpected, startling encounter with a fury, tailed, red-butted resident of Loi Bazar, turned out much better that it could have.

MY AUSTERITIES The yogis undergo austerities, and we experience driving to Loi Bazar from near the Krishna Balaram temple. Although the other 3 lady devotees where enthusiastically chatting and laughing as if this trip was no problem and the most natural thing in the world, to me (Mr. Tough Guy—not!), going over the rough road and potholes gave me the feeling that my brain was bouncing off my scull! Bong, bong, bong!

AVERSION, INSIGNIFICANCE, CRITICISM--VRINDAVAN HEALING JOURNAL DAY ONE AND TWO

Vrindavan Journal photo IMG_3314_zpsdgx3ubnc.jpgI have been living in Vrindavan for the last 5 weeks of an eleven month stay doing a very intense Ayurvedic/Homeopathic treatment. I had to set up a household as I cook for myself and have to deal with the cold and terrible air quality, some mornings near 500 (0-50 is considered good air quality). If the air was this bad in the US they would likely close everything and tell people to go out as little as possible.

I wear a surgical mask when I go out, which people think is amusing. However, according Government statics, over 150,000 people died last year from the polluted air--and the air quality here is almost as bad as Delhi. I wrote this and another blog during the beginning of my treatment, but then found that took too much time. Thus I have been posting video blogs of about 10 minutes, which I'll post after the second written journal. Today I am working Volume 9, and plan on posting them all gradually, so you can see them in real time. I hope you find them as interesting as I do in posting them. I speak and about my treatment, challenges and reflection on living in Vrindavan, and still facing the possibility of death which has been with me for the 3 years since I have known about my throat cancer. Living in Vrindavan has intensified this, due to both the outer environment, and the spiritual feeling here. The cancer was kept at bay for nearly 3 years with alternative treatment, but has just begun getting worse, and thus my treatment here.

We often find pairs of opposites combined in the Gita, Bhagavatam, and other scriptures, in verses that recommend us to be equipoised in the face of all dualities. In the combination of attachment and aversion, attachment has in the past seemed to me to be the greater problem. However, after my first day in Vrindavan, and on my drive from Delhi to here, aversion is my bigger challenge, and is a significant “in my face” opportunity to miss the dhama or inner Vrindavan. Additionally, it takes some days to make the adjustment to living in India because flying here is like being dropped from one world into another practically overnight. Thus, I have been advised to be patient as some people can’t handle it and leave.

APPRECIATING KṚṢṆA AND HIS DEVOTEE

To write about the devotee who corresponds with me is an honor and a humbling effort as I do not believe myself worthy to write and discuss Reverend Rambhoru. She is gracious, patient and has a heart of pure gold. Our very first connection by mail was of a familial tone and nature. Her letter was written to me as though I was a longtime devotee. This began a teacher/friend relationship over three years ago. Not so long, but spiritually and soulfully enriching.

I HAD AN INTERESTING DREAM LAST NIGHT and MY PRAYER FOR DIVINE HELP

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I HAD AN INTERESTING DREAM LAST NIGHT. I was able to fly and was looking at all the sights of the planet. It was fun, but I wasn't very satisfied with the experience. Then as I was attempting to help someone in a seedy part of town, I was captured and injured. As my new master was putting me in a cage, he freed the former resident of the cage to make room for me, who happened to be my wife. I awoke as she was telling me the rules for living in the cage.

I relate this dream to my wife's difficult health throughout our marriage, and how now it is my turn. At the same time, one of the important ideas, while keeping death in mind is to know what is truly important. I also need to keep a good sense of humor and laugh a lot. That is very healing. I feel such gladness and gratitude for the outpouring of love, affection, and support from my friends, as I try to share the lessons I am learning. It's rather overwhelming even as I drink it up as the most valuable healing elixir of shared love. I am a rather mild mannered, introverted type, but inside my emotions can be raging.

At this point, I am feeling a great deal and pray to reciprocate with the kindness, love, and prayers of the devotees. And now, I am getting ready for yet another installment on my healing journey, my next adventure to live in Vrindavan for all around healing—physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual.

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