137. Krishna Das RERELEASE - Humanity, Humility, and Hanuman
Dive into this beautiful episode from 2020 to revisit the wisdom and devotion which flows from Krishna Das!
I'm not sure words exist which are the appropriate containers for the gratitude and joy I hold in my heart for Krishna Das. His chants are with me often as I seek to invoke the divine and lift my consciousness as I move through my day. I use his music to infuse the space around me with a higher vibration as I drive, cook, get ready in the morning, grocery shop, etc. His devotional chants go straight to the heart of the listener, setting the stage for connection with a higher Love.
Krishna Das is a worldwide icon and the best-selling western chant artist of all time. He began as a student of Ram Dass in the late 1960s, and in 1970 he lived in India for two and a half years with his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, known as Maharaj-ji. In this conversation he shares his path to finding true Love in his guru and the winding road to expressing that Love which is his guru by sharing his music. Some of the topics we explore include the following.
- His journey to finding love, looking to the external world for validation, security, love, before truly finding it in Ram Dass and then Maharaj-ji.
- The painful years that followed Maharaj-ji leaving the body, and Krishna Das’ pathway to finding his guru again.
- Chanting as a tool to emotional healing and to processing the inner shadows, and the dichotomy of chanting being the medicine he needed to connect to Maharaj-ji but also poisoning him through minefields of ego gratification.
- Shares stories of the mysterious ways of his guru.
- The spiritual dance of releasing into love while tempering the personal will borne of the ego.
One Track Heart movie.
Texts mentioned in the Hanuman conversation: Tuslidas Ramayana - completely rewires brain for love. (“The beautiful chapter” - Sunderkand)
The unvarnished New Testament
Love serve remember foundation
By His Grace
The Near and The Dear
Miracle of Love
Virtual events with KD
Flow of Grace and Chants of a Lifetime
[00:00:19.490] - Kara
Hello and welcome to the Meditation Conversation. I'm your host, Kara Goodwin, and today I am rereleasing my episode with Krishna Das. I met with the incredible Krishna Das about a year ago. It was, I think, November of 2020. And here we are now at the end of October in 2021. And this content is evergreen. And he offers so much wisdom and beautiful insight, and he's just an incredible being. So I just felt that it would be beautiful to revisit these pearls of wisdom that he offers. We talk about Hanuman. We, of course, talk about Maharaji and his music and the role that he is playing. So please dive in and enjoy and do check out Krishna Das. I love putting Krishna Das on just whether it's in meditation or in the car or making dinner, filling my space with his sound, I find very uplifting, and it really is. Sound is so powerful, and it's just got this way of going straight to the heart. So you don't even need to be in a meditative state to really get a lot out of this. And in fact, we talk about this in this episode. He offers this incredible tool that we can all take advantage of all throughout the day.
[00:01:59.380] - Kara
And it's very uplifting and helps us to deepen our devotion and just be in the mystery. So I hope that you enjoy listening or relistening to this episode, and I wish you many blessings. Hello, and welcome to the Meditation Conversation. I'm your host, Kara Goodwin, and it is my honor to have today Krishna Das, with us. So Krishna Das doesn't really need an introduction, but I feel like I should start somewhere.
[00:02:43.110] - Krishna Das
You better tell me who I am. I don't know what to say.
[00:02:47.490] - Kara
So he's a chanting kiritan master. Can I say that?
[00:02:53.610] - Krishna Das
You can say what you want. It may or may not be true, but you can say whatever you want.
[00:02:57.680] - Kara
I don't think anybody will object to that. And so he has a fascinating story. He spent the late 60s traveling across the country as a student of Ram Dass, a great spiritual teacher. And in 1070, he lived in India for two and a half years with his guru, NIM Karoli Baba, who's known as Maharaji. And he's been able to touch the lives of seekers throughout the world through devotional chanting. He's a worldwide icon and the best selling Western chant artist of all time. And in my life you came into view specifically with the chant Baba Hanuman. And I'll get into that later. I have a curious story about that, and I'd love to get some insight from you about Hanuman and kind of engage with you as a teacher in this time. But I want to really get your vibration in here post haste so we can save my story and get to that later. But welcome, Katie. It's such an honor to have you here.
[00:04:01.830] - Krishna Das
Thanks so much. Nice to be here with you.
[00:04:04.210] - Kara
And I just love your story. And I think it resonates so powerfully with so many people because it has running through it this common thread of kind of attaining what you think you want and still not being happy. It seems like before you found Romdas, you had your basketball, College basketball career that you are working through, and then you had your musician. You were doing quite well as a musician. And then you found Ramdas, and you found this new wellspring of joy. I suppose I'll let you tell it. And then you kind of went through it again following the death of Maharaji, where you had to sort of find that joy again after a long journey. Can you tell us a little bit about your spiritual journey?
[00:05:09.970] - Krishna Das
Well, first of all, being a depressed person, I don't talk about joy that much.
[00:05:15.780] - Kara
Right? Yeah. You can use your words.
[00:05:18.700] - Krishna Das
It's one of those words that you kind of like, oh, really? Joy. Okay. Where is that? I talk about love, really? Because joy, of course, is one of the qualities of love, not necessarily versa, vice. I was always looking for a love, but I had a lot of trouble finding that kind of feeling, that feeling of being at home, being at ease and feeling complete and feeling that you were just where you wanted to be and where you should be and you're where you'd always be. Like everybody else, I tried to find it in external things. And even though I was fairly successful at doing some things, although I was kind of neurotic and I wasn't really able to follow through, like with the music, even I was too unsure of myself and too self destructive to really do it in a way that it would be successful, at least in terms of the outside world. I still enjoyed playing, but I get out there and really make it happen. That wasn't going to happen for me. I was attracted to Holy books at an early age. In high school, I read autobiography, the Yogi and gospel of Ramakrishna, Dan and Japanese culture, those kinds of things.
[00:07:13.010] - Krishna Das
And I began to understand that there really was something to find and that there were people who found it, but it still was far away from me. It was in the land of imagination. It wasn't real, but it all became real when I met Ramdas. The minute I walked into the room where he was sitting without eye contact, without a word spoken, just walking in the room, I understood. I got zapped with the understanding that whatever it is I was looking for was real and you could find it. It was in the world. That was the thought. It was in the world or not the thought, but the inner understanding. And of course, that actually was the presence of Maharaji.
[00:08:12.450] - Kara
Yeah. Who was not there? Who was in India.
[00:08:15.230] - Krishna Das
In India. This is all inside. Yeah. This was after Ramdas came back from India, I met Marad. Now, a lot of people have a similar experience without even without going to India or without meeting Maharaji physically, even though he's been supposedly left that body so long ago. There are people who experience him every day because he's not a real guru is not outside of you, even though guru Ness might abide in a body for a while to get our attention and wake us up if we need that. But the real guru is your own true nature. It's your own Atma, your own soul. And of course, the guru knows that, but we don't. So a real guru may take a form to get our attention. So the real guru is not outside. I met the guru before I met him, before I was there, and I felt them. I dreamed about them, really, which was crazy, because I had only seen one little black and white picture, and I dreamt about him in 3D full Technicolor 4K, as they say these days.
[00:09:42.930] - Krishna Das
So I had that connection with him. And then I went to India to be with him. And Ramdas was very important to that. Through him, I kind of located that part of myself in a deeper way. That part of myself as a seeker, as someone who really knew what they were looking for, in a sense, knew that they were looking. At least you never really know what you're looking for until you find it. But you might know you're looking. You might know you're looking, and you may think you know what it is, but it's never what you think.
[00:10:29.810] - Krishna Das
That was big. And then meeting Maharaji and being there for two and a half years, he allowed me to stay. He kept me there. He got my visa made for me where everybody else got sent home for some reason at that time. So he kept me there two and a half years. And one day he looks at me and said, okay, you go back to America. You have attachment there. What's going on? You go, did your heart just break? Well, to be honest, after two and a half years of denying a whole part of my being desires and lust and just all the stuff in your emotional reality in India, there's not a lot of room for that. It wasn't for me. I was just fixed on him. I didn't get involved with women. I didn't get involved with anything like that. I only wanted to be with him. It was the full sun shining. Why would you turn away a ton of love? And I wanted to be in that all the time. But he saw that, of course, he knew everything. And he saw that I had a lot of work to do before I was going to allow myself to really rest in that love.
[00:11:58.890] - Krishna Das
And that work is still going on, by the way. It's not a finished job in any sense. And so he sent me back. And then shortly after that, he left the body. So that was very hard for me because I'm a simple kind of guy and I was attached to his body, his physical presence. I don't think of myself as a spiritual guy necessarily in any way. I wanted to be with him. I loved him more than I loved anything and anyone. And I wanted to be with that feeling as much as I could. And then he sent me home. I was planning to come back, but I didn't get back in time. So that was devastating to me. And it led to a long period of the demons in my own heart and the birds of prey and my own desires just feasted on me for a long time. And I wasn't really. I just felt I lost it. I had blown it. I'll never find that love again. And I created a lot of suffering for myself and people around me. And that went on for twelve years, eleven years, 73 to 84.
[00:13:33.530] - Krishna Das
It was a really terrible, painful time.
[00:13:45.030] - Kara
I'm trying to remember. I watched One Track Heart. I loved it. So there is a film out that I do recommend, Krishna Das One Track Heart or One Track Heart, the Story of Krishna Das. Is that right? Okay, something like that. I'll put a link in the show notes. You eventually went back to India.
[00:14:13.350] - Krishna Das
I had been back quite a few times already.
[00:14:16.350] - Kara
I'm thinking with the kind of awakening where there was the festival 84.
[00:14:22.720] - Krishna Das
I went back and I had a very deep experience, which kind of was like, okay, let the kid live.
[00:14:30.630] - Kara
[00:14:31.420] - Krishna Das
So that was very big, great blessing, great, tremendous Grace. And after that, from that moment on, I started to be more introspective about my stuff. I wasn't blurting out so much anymore. I wasn't acting out so much because I saw that it was my own stuff. And all I had to do is look at it and not pretend it wasn't there. If I looked at it and recognized it, then it would start to be released. But if I pretended and avoided and pretended it wasn't there, the shadows in my own heart would continue to push me around. That was Grace. That was tremendous opportunity to really be alive again. Because I was slowly, just really cowardly trying to kill myself in the sneakiest kind of way. You could say.
[00:15:42.990] - Kara
It feels like when you were physically in his presence in the early 70s, you very easily felt this flow of Grace and this flow of love. And then when he left the physical body, I've heard you say as well that you were kind of chasing him because you related so much to the physical body. So maybe, if I remember correctly, it's like maybe you were hearing that he could be seen in certain places in India.
[00:16:14.100] - Krishna Das
Yeah. There were people who actually saw him who met him after he died. I know that's actually a fact.
[00:16:24.280] - Kara
[00:16:26.430] - Krishna Das
So I kind of played Detective and I tried to find them, and I run into the jungle in the middle of the hot season, 120 deg. I'm ready to die just to find them, but I didn't find them that way.
[00:16:46.350] - Kara
So at what point? Because now it seems like through the music, this channel has kind of opened through your heart. And you talked about how Romdas when you met him, I'm sure all the time that you were with him, you were feeling this flow of the guru, like this channel of the guru coming through, which is what seems to be expressing in your music now. And when did you start performing again or start performing chant music.
[00:17:21.910] - Krishna Das
21 years after he died?
[00:17:23.860] - Kara
Okay. How has this started to flow through you? How has it morphed into something that you felt that you had to find outside of yourself that you've been able to tap into and then channel through you to share?
[00:17:45.650] - Krishna Das
Well, let's start the first part of that sentence. In 1994, I was in very bad shape. I was very depressed, very unhappy. Even after the experience in 84, I was still not doing well. And one day I walked from one room to the other in my apartment and I was struck like lightning. And I knew that if I did not start singing with people and it was very much with people not alone in my room, if I did not start singing with people, chanting with people, I would never be able to clean out the dark shadows in my own heart. It was clear as day. It was just this is it. Either you do it or you don't. If you don't, nothing's going to happen. And if you do, you will eventually clear out the dark corners, clean up, light those light up those dark corners which push you around from behind. You don't really see what's pushing you into the things you do. When does. So I understood that chanting was the only way that I had to process this stuff, so to speak. I might add that that doesn't mean conceptual thinking about it.
[00:19:12.960] - Krishna Das
That doesn't mean therapy. That doesn't mean not that kind of processing, although that can be very useful, no question about it. And I've done those things, but this was a little different. This was by chanting, I would be able to clean out those dark corners. I didn't understand the process necessarily, but I knew that this is what was being given to me. And in some ways, I've been prepared for that because I've been singing on and off. I had sung in India to Maharaji with the other Westerners, and I had loved chanting even before this. And I was always chanting. But in America I wasn't doing it except in a small group of friends from the old days. But for me at that time, it was like rubbing salt and a wound. I was so emotional that I'm feeling so unhappy about the whole situation. I had this experience. So I started singing with people at that point. But after about nine months, I realized that this was not good, that I was not capable of chanting in the right way, and that I was going to use the chanting and all the energy and attention that was coming towards me.
[00:20:55.370] - Krishna Das
And it was started to build already very quickly. It went from ten people to like 100 people in a few months that I was going to use the situation to satisfy all my hungry desires because I was a hungry guy. Hungry people have to eat now. Normally there's nothing wrong with that. You have to eat. You're hungry. Eat. Why not? But I was trying to reconnect from my side with Maharaji's presence. He had never left me, but I had pulled my hand away, and I was trying now to find his hand again. And I was not capable of doing that. I was going to be grabbing this and grabbing that with that hand and not grabbing a hold of his hand. I realized it, and the realization got deeper and deeper. And finally I just quit. And on the spring solstice in 95, I decided to go back to India. And I went back to India. And I said to him, Now I started talking to Maharaji and I said, look, this is your problem. I'm singing to people in your name. And if you don't fix this, what's in my heart, I can't deal with this.
[00:22:18.050] - Krishna Das
There's nothing I can do because I'm the problem. You have to fix this. If you don't fix it, I don't sing, and that's the deal. Good night. Every day I wake up in the morning and nothing had changed. This is an Indian alley. And I was in terrible despair because the only thing that I could do to save myself, I was being prevented from doing by my own stuff. And there's no way around that because it's me that's preventing me from doing it. Where am I going to go? And I'm not going to be there to prevent myself from really doing it the right way. I was incapable. There was no possibility. So he had to do something every day in India. And it was the hot season. I was with my Indian family, one of my Indian families. And it was torture and disaster. And every day was more and more desolation, more desperation, and then a few different things happen. Then I don't need to necessarily go into all the details. You can see the movie. Yes, the movie of me. Anyway, finally, at the end of my stage, just before I had to leave, Maharaji actually did something.
[00:23:42.750] - Krishna Das
He actually changed my whole life. Absolutely. There's my life up to that moment, and then there's my life after that moment. And not that the outside was that different. But the inside was different. And there was my hand, and he grabbed my hand. I didn't know where to find his hand, but he grabbed mine. You could say that in a way. And I had a very deep, very life changing experience. And it allowed me to come back and really think as a practice, as an offering, as what I could do to save my own house. So that was a great blessing, a great Grace on me. And the thing was that the practice includes other people.
[00:24:56.710] - Kara
[00:24:57.210] - Krishna Das
Because I had to sing with people for it to work more or less. So other people also get the benefit of my practice. I'm sharing my practice, and they're doing their practice. We're doing it together. So it's a great thing, really.
[00:25:14.890] - Kara
Yeah. It's a beautiful overflow. You've got all this Grace flowing out from you, and not only the people you're playing with, it's impacting, but when you're live, it's call and response. So it's not even just going to see a performance. It is an immersive dynamic. Yeah.
[00:25:38.010] - Krishna Das
But let me just say one thing about what you just said. It's not that the Grace is flowing through me. It's flowing through everybody, because everybody is the same inside everyone's. Atma is exactly the same. Everyone has the same soul outside of the soul is individuality, but the soul itself is one. And when we enter into that space, it's Maharaji who has become that one who has merged completely with the divine, with the universe, with God. So he himself or that soul itself is fluent in everybody. And it's not really me doing it. People say, oh, you're so humble. And I said, no, I know me. You want to pin it on me, that's your problem. But I'm telling you what's happening. You don't have to believe me. But it's that presence that's in everyone that opens up. Yeah. And I'm seeing to be the front man, but that's okay. I don't mind. It's okay. And so it's just been wonderful. And that practice of the repetition of the name, the names of God, as they say, or the divine name, the sacred name, the Holy name. And it's divine and sacred and Holy because it's your own true nature.
[00:27:05.570] - Krishna Das
It's the love that lives within you, us as who we really are. We're calling our own names and moving more deeply into ourselves.
[00:27:19.170] - Kara
[00:27:20.730] - Krishna Das
So, yeah, that's the deal.
[00:27:25.330] - Kara
Well, that's beautiful. And I'm so happy that we all get to benefit from your seeking your path, which is just intersecting so beautifully with everybody. And maybe this is a good place for me to allow you to have your drink. And I can tell my story of Hanuman and how you came into my realm. So it all kind of began with the Kachari Mudra, which is the tongue lock for anybody who is listening. I'm sure you're familiar with this, but it's a Yogic practice of bringing your tongue to the back of your throat and ultimately up into the nasal passages. This is just part of my practice, and I don't have it mastered, but I do it as much as I can. And it's known to secrete this taste, this bliss of nectar. And I had read an article about it that somebody like a Swami in India had written. And I thought, okay, I'm going to play around with this and just see what it's like. And I could get my tongue far enough back that I could taste a taste that was unique. And I do this every day. And I'm familiar with that.
[00:28:42.300] - Kara
That's the taste associated with that. And so I was reading Be Here Now, Randos famous book. And I got to the drawing of Haniman, and I had no idea what it was a drawing of. But as soon as I turned the page, I had that secretion of taste in my mouth. And I was like, oh, that's weird. I've never tasted that outside of doing Kachari Mudra. I ended up contacting that Monk in India who had written the article to just say, like, he and I are both part of the Parmhansa Yogananda lineage, author of Autobiography of a Yogi, which she mentioned earlier. And in this lineage, there's no focus on Hanuman Yogananda really focused on trying to bring the yogic tradition into the west. But he didn't focus a lot on Hinduism, for example, or the gods of India. So, again, I didn't even know who this was. I thought I'd contact him, see what he thought. And he suggested that maybe I have a past life connection with Hanuman. He said, Hanaman is beloved or is beloved throughout India and suggested a book that I could read about it. And so then a little while later, I went to the Omega Institute in New York, and I watched a documentary called Mantra while I was there.
[00:30:21.710] - Kara
And you are featured in this documentary. And I was very drawn to you. So I looked you up on Spotify while I'm there. And the first chance on there is Baba Hahneman. And I just played it. And you start chanting Baba Hahneman. And that taste comes into my mouth again with hearing you chant it. I tried reading a bit about Hanuman, and I got lost in the myth. It's very mythical, and there are a lot of names and there are a lot of stories. And it even crosses into, like, Chinese mythology. And it got away from me.
[00:31:10.790] - Krishna Das
It was hard for me to mine started working.
[00:31:14.980] - Kara
Yes, exactly. I know that you have a lot of different chance about Hanuman, and clearly he must be more part of your lineage if he's appearing and be here now as well. And I'm just curious about if you can give a little overview of him and kind of how you integrate and use his presence and what he means to you and anything that you feel to share and enlighten me.
[00:31:53.250] - Krishna Das
Yeah, well, I heard about Hanumman from Ramdas when he came back because he gave me a copy of this book called The Tulsidas Ramayana, which is called the Ram Charda Manasa of Tulsidas. Tulsidas was a poet Saint, the 1600 who retold the story of Ram for the poor people who couldn't speak Sanskrit because they were only the priest could speak Sanskrit, and you had to pay them to do this. So he wrote retold the story in a very different way, same story, but in a completely devotional context. He told the story from what the people of that time would feel with Rom, rather than telling the story from a distance like Belmiki does, which is Valmiki is the first Ram. I end up the Adi, the very first one. So tosidas retold the story, but in a devotional way, and it completely rewires your brain and your heart, because we don't have the wiring for that type of love. We have the wiring for emotional love and physical love, but real love, we don't have that wiring because our culture doesn't provide that. Growing up in a Western culture does not provide that. Growing up in India provides it not that it's used all the time, but it's in the culture.
[00:33:38.890] - Krishna Das
But, of course, that's a whole story in itself. But for you, you should read what's called Sundarkand, which is the chapter called the beautiful chapter in the Tulsi Das Ramayan. And it's the chapter that focuses on Hanuman and what he does and how he helps Ram overcome the demons and the negativity and become victorious over the demon Raven, the demon King. And it's incredible. And the Ramchart Monas, the story goes along like this, and then all of a sudden into outer space, and then at some point, you land, and then you keep walking again for a few steps into outer space, and then, oh, my God, by the time you're done, you don't know where you are. Your heart is just dripping nectar. It's amazing. And then as we spent time in India and got to know who Maharaji, how the devotees saw him, we began to see that everybody worshiped him as Hanuman himself.
[00:34:50.930] - Kara
[00:34:52.850] - Krishna Das
[00:34:54.830] - Kara
[00:34:57.290] - Krishna Das
And in fact, he's seen as an avatar of Honeymoon, a manifestation of Honeymoon. And there are any number of stories about, like, there used to be this decoit in India. It's a name for, like, a bandit who used to steal from the rich to give to the poor. And of course, the government was always trying to arrest him and find him, but he never could be caught. And it turns out he was Maharaj's Davoski, really. And Maharaj used to go to his little village in the jungle. His gang had their own village with their wives and families and everything. And Mahad used to go there, and this bandit was a beautiful singer. And these hymns in India, they're all sun. It's all poetry. Ramayan is poetry and it's chanted. And the Tulsi Das Ramayan is all devotional poetry. It's amazing. So this bandit used to sing recite the Ramayan. And so one day he's sitting with Maharaji and he said, Baba, where should I sing from? Which part should I Maharaji? He said, oh, sing from where? I'm talking to Vibeshan. So in other words, there's a part in the story where Hanuman and Vivishan are having a conversation and he's talking about it in the first person.
[00:36:31.410] - Krishna Das
Yeah. And then he just kind of fuddled the guy's mind up and he kind of forgot about it still later, which Myraji did. He would tell you something and it was like planting a time bomb. Because when you were with him, it was like being in a dream and you're in it. You're enjoying it fully, but you're not aware of yourself in the same way. So some things would happen. And then, like two days later or a week or later or 20 years later, you remember something and you go, oh, my God, did that really happen? For instance, in my case, one day I was sitting with my Haradi few Indian devotees and one of my guru brothers. And my guru brother had one of these books, a spiritual book with him. My heart said, what book is that? And he said, It's called The Ashtava Gregita, which is this nondual text Adwit. Absolutely the most nondual. There is nothing. There never was anything. No one in here, that kind of stuff. So my heart says, oh, yeah, what does it say in that book now? My heart used to always go like this. And we thought like, Are we getting busted?
[00:37:55.400] - Krishna Das
What are we getting busted for something? He knew everything. So are we getting busted for something we did something we're thinking about doing or something we're going to do in the future? So when they said, Boba, what does it mean when you do that? And he went like that. And then he said, Many names, many form. All one, all one. Sub X all one, all one. Okay. So now he says to Baloram, he says, well, what does it say in that book? And Ballerance says, Sub Ek. All one. Maharaji goes. He looks over at the Indian people and said, These boys know everything. And then he reached into this charcoal brizzer for heat that gives off the heat. He took out some ash and he goes like this. I open my mouth, he puts the ash on my tongue and on my head and it does the same thing to Baloram. And he says, These boys are my disciples. Now, that happened in 1071 or two, sometime in the 80s, the late 80s, I was in my apartment and I noticed my diary from India. And I opened it up and I'm reading and I read that story about that.
[00:39:24.790] - Krishna Das
I had completely forgotten that ever happened.
[00:39:29.090] - Krishna Das
How do you forget, because my hard you never talked about. He used to say, I make devotees, not disciples. And he never talked about disciples, really. And he never wanted I mean, he never accumulated stuff or anything. He was like free as the wind. But he said that, and I totally forgot that. How can you forget something like that? Right, right. But it's because when you're with him, you're in this dream, this dreamlike state of love and bliss and happiness, and you're not holding on to anything. There's no, like, conceptual grabbing on stuff. And almost 20 years later, 15 years later. And then we began to see that the devotees worshiped Maharaji and saw him as Hanuman, and that Maharaji himself was always repeating the name of Ram. His tongue was always moving. He wasn't talking, you could see. So the name is always going on inside him. He's totally merged with that name. And the name of Ram. Hanuman is called Ram Das, servant of Ram. And his lineage is the lineage of service, loving, devotional service. And just as Hanuman served Ram, he accomplished everything for Ram. Anything that Ram needed done, Hanumman would do.
[00:41:13.590] - Krishna Das
He was just stuck. So we began to realize that we are in that lineage of Hanuman. And we learned the Hanuman Chalisa, which is this long hymn townuman. We came to the temple every day and we'd be given a little book. Where is that book? Somewhere little booklet, yellow booklet, cheap little printed yellow booklet with a flying monkey on it. And I had a hundred of these in my room, you know. And then one day I actually asked, what is this? And I said, oh, it's him to Honeyman. I went, oh, wow. So I thought if we learned this, we could sing it to Maharaji, and then we'll find a way to spend more time with him.
[00:41:59.110] - Kara
[00:42:00.970] - Krishna Das
And it worked. It totally worked. Of course, it was all his Lidl, but it would totally work.
[00:42:09.430] - Kara
I was just thinking, and where did that idea, where did that seed get planted from?
[00:42:15.350] - Krishna Das
[00:42:17.150] - Kara
[00:42:17.790] - Krishna Das
So he used to say to us, Who's Hanuman? And we'd say the Pat answers, oh, he's the servant of Ram Myers. Say, Ram queswas breath is the connection we have to life, the body, the physical, without the breath. And the prawn breath is also Prana life force. So without the breath, there's nothing here in this carcass, right? No life, no awareness, nothing, no consciousness. But the pram is conscious energy. And this is Hanuman. It connects us to reality. It's the breath of God, the breath of reality. And there's a beautiful book called The Unvarnished New Testament, which is a translation from the Greek, which was written down 100 years after Jesus. But it was one of the first things that was written down. There was some Aramaic version, I think, first, but it wasn't well known. But the Greek made it. The Gospel is well known. And the Word and the Gospels. Now, this is long before so called Western civilization, which is called the Holy Spirit, is what it's called. The Word in the Gospel says breath, Holy breath, really not spirit, breath. Anuman and Christ are the same. They are manifestations of that breath that connects us to real love.
[00:44:20.470] - Krishna Das
We call it divine. It pretty sanitize. It it's not sanitary, it's messy. It includes the whole universe, the up and the down, the good and the evil, the dirt and the beauty. Divine love is everywhere. It's all of us. It's our true nature. And this connection is Hanumman. And it overcomes all obstacles, all difficulties, makes everything possible by allowing us to overcome our limitations and merge into that breath, that sacred breathing, that breath of love. And Ram once asked in the Ramayan, it says, how do you see me? And he said, well, when I identify with the body, I serve you. When I identify with the soul, you are the whole and I am a part. But when I really know what's happening, you and I are one. So honeymoon has it all at the same time. It's a unique BM.
[00:45:33.110] - Kara
So thank you for sharing that. That's so beautiful. And I'm wondering that really gets to the heart of who Hanuman is. Do you have anything to share about how you engage with him? I know you do through chanting, but is there like the breath you mentioned? Is there like a pranayama that's associated with invoking Hanuman or not?
[00:46:06.670] - Krishna Das
From Maharaji? With Maharaji, it's about low. He never told us to meditate. We said, how do we find God? He said, serves people. So he never encouraged us to do practice for the sake of our own spiritual enlightenment. He encouraged us not to think about ourselves. But you ask a question like that that's based on the fact that your ego thinks it's going to get itself enlightened. And what Ramana, Maharshi said about that, asking the mind or the ego to what's the word? To kill the mind, so to speak. It's like asking the thief to be the policeman, right. There'll be a lot of investigation, but no arrest will ever be made, right?
[00:47:08.280] - Krishna Das
And you see, that's the issue with Westerners mostly. Well, everybody one of the big issues about spiritual practice is that suddenly and not so suddenly, it's our egos just trying to shine ourselves up. And to merge in love means to dissolve into love, not to carry a big shining ego and jump in. You can't dissolve that way. And so that's one of the things that overall these years, it's almost 50 years now since I met Rhonda. It's what, 53 years? So overall these years, I could be wrong, but my understanding of things is a little different than it was when I thought I was going to do it. Yeah. And in fact, one time I was speaking to Siddima, who was my heart. It's great to go to? And I said, mom, you know, should I meditate? And she said, well, what do you like to do? I said, Should I meditate or should I can? She said, well, what do you like to do? To think that something I like to do would be good for me. My mother never told me that. And then she said, Krishna Las in 40 years with Maharaji.
[00:48:28.710] - Krishna Das
Not once did he ask me to meditate. He asked me to serve everyone, love everyone, and to remember God, which is the repetition of the name doing the Jumpah, which you do without. Well, it's a whole story, but you do it with sincerity, but you're not trying to accomplish some state of consciousness with it. You're remembering God, you're remembering the name. You're tuning to that place inside of you, which is connected, which is that breath, the Holy breath. So she said, not once did he ask me to meditate. And in fact, he said that the more subtle States of consciousness cannot be precipitated by the personal will. So you can see right away how difficult it is for us to really have an accurate sense of direction, so to speak. Most of the things of what we do basically shine ourselves up a little bit more and add more on. Instead of releasing and letting go and merging and attempting to merge into that love, you can't bring your suitcase with you into the love. You got to leave your shit at home. But we keep on grabbing more stuff in more suitcases and filling them with more stuff.
[00:50:15.870] - Krishna Das
I don't think it's better than robbing banks. It's definitely better than creating a lot of negative karmas. But the humility that's required to sit in the presence of love is something that we have already within us. And the more we cover it up with, the harder it's going to be to uncover it. So it's an interesting situation.
[00:50:53.210] - Krishna Das
On one hand, we're actually trying to make ourselves into a version of ourselves that we could love because we have so much self loathing. There's so many stories we tell ourselves about ourselves that we don't like. So we want to make ourselves shinier and more beautiful and higher and bigger and better, and so we could love ourselves. So the motivation for a lot of this practice is really self hatred. What could come out of that? That's so what could come out of only more self hatred.
[00:51:33.670] - Krishna Das
So to find a way. So enchanting practice. For instance, it is meditation. Enchanting practice. You repeat the sound of the name. You listen to it when you notice that you've been pulled away by your thoughts or emotions or fantasies or imaginations. You come back and you develop this strength to let go again and again and again and come back to the sound of the name. And it's a letting go process. It's sneaky, because when you chant and sing, you don't think you're meditating, so you don't have to worry about developing that ego, which is a big one. I'm a meditator. People go on like that. Yeah. So big deal.
[00:52:25.990] - Kara
Yeah. It's beautiful. It's like a back door.
[00:52:41.490] - Krishna Das
It's a trapdoor that most people don't realize is there. And they get burnt in their own house by their own desires, by our own desires and fantasies and stores, and we don't realize there's an exit. All I have to do is go for it. But even if we were told, we don't understand what it means. What do you mean, a trapdoor? What do you mean? It's under the rug. What do you mean, what's under the rug? The ground is under the rug. So we don't understand. And that itself is a karmic predicament. What arises in our brains, in our awareness, what we Grock and what we understand about life and its possibilities is also very much not determined. But karmically presented and something might arise, but we don't really get it. And so it just goes away. It's like things people used to say to me in the old days, but now, 30 years later, I go, oh, that's what they meant, because I just wasn't ready to. I wasn't ripe enough. Right.
[00:54:06.310] - Kara
But when you speak about Karma and you say that if you're not ready for it, it just goes away. But then the nature of Karma would be that it will return so that you can ultimately may occur in different forms.
[00:54:26.610] - Krishna Das
Most people think we don't really. First of all, it is said that no one but a fully enlightened Buddha or a fully enlightened being can understand or can see the reality of Karma because they say we've had millions of lifetimes, millions of interconnections with millions of beings. And to see it all, only a fully enlightened being can really see it. But people think of Karma as fate. But it's not fate. Actually, it's Karma. If our own actions didn't affect our lives, then there would be no possibility of being free, attaining enlightenment or liberation. In other words, it's all determined and there's nothing you can do about it. So I might as well drink, drink beer and what you can do, which you can do if you have awareness and it won't bother you. But not everybody does. But so it's exactly the opposite. In other words, it's because of Congo. It's because if we plant this seed now, this will grow. You don't plant the seed. It won't grow.
[00:55:50.860] - Krishna Das
So that's freedom. That's the ability to free ourselves. And that is Karma, too. It's not predetermined faith up to one point of it has brought us to this moment. What do we do right now? We have a lot of options. Some of them we don't even notice because we're not ready to notice. But the ones we do notice, the options we have. If we plant those seeds, then things will change in that direction.
[00:56:21.670] - Kara
[00:56:24.310] - Krishna Das
So Karma is really the explanation of how enlightenment occurs, how that moment finally arrives where we recognize our own true nature, because it's a result, because our actions in previous lives and the actions in this life and maybe in future lives have prepared us to have ripened us to a point where that awareness can arise.
[00:56:56.420] - Kara
Right. And I love that because it's bringing into it, it's shining a light on even the opportunities that are the opportunities that are being presented that we might see as challenges. Because so often it's like, oh, that's bad Karma. We kind of associate Karma with negative things that are happening or justification for why we're having bad luck or simply just cause an effect. But I love that. Like that planting the seed. There's an intentionality with that.
[00:57:31.940] - Krishna Das
Absolutely. Yeah, sure.
[00:57:33.390] - Kara
Which brings a lot of maturity to what could be seen as, like, a haphazard, like, oh, I'm at the mercy of my.
[00:57:43.160] - Krishna Das
Yeah. No one's at the mercy unless you say you are, unless you feel right. But everybody's acting all the time, every action, every thought is Karmic impulse, too. So those of us who say we're at the mercy, we keep planting those seeds and of helplessness in ourselves.
[00:58:09.050] - Kara
Which when you look at it from that viewpoint, that's still empowering to recognize that because it is, oh, I'm taking action even just by laying on my back and going, oh, God, the universe is having its way with me again. Yeah, that's beautiful. Thank you. So can I just ask one more question? And I know we're coming up to let me just say one more thing.
[00:58:36.640] - Krishna Das
As far as the chanting goes and the repetition of the name, which is what I do, Tre Ramakrishna said that every repetition of one of these names has power as Shakti, just like a seed of a huge tree, tiny little seed holds a huge tree inside of it. That potential. So every repetition of the name carries that kind of Shocky, that potential to blossom and Bloom and grow. So every repetition of one of these names carries that. Now the effect might not be immediately apparent. Just like you plant the seed of a tree and it's not a tree right away, but you know what you're planting. And so the fruit of that planting will come and must come. There's no doubt about that. There's no iffiness about that. You plant the seed, the result of that seed will come of that planting will come. That's why they say it. And they also say that these names, these sounds are actually the sound form of God. They're the sound form of what's? Beyond form. There's beyond form, the one in which we all live. It's beyond name, beyond form. It doesn't this Krishna says, you can't cut it, but these sounds, which we call the names, are the form, the vibrational form of that.
[01:00:19.790] - Krishna Das
And so that lives within us as our own soul. So to speak. And so through the repetition of the name, we move more deeply into that place. Not outside. There's nothing outside.
[01:00:36.350] - Kara
It's like an activation or something within something very much. Yeah. That's beautiful.
[01:00:46.130] - Krishna Das
Okay, I'm through.
[01:00:48.230] - Kara
Can I ask you one?
[01:00:49.270] - Krishna Das
[01:00:54.150] - Kara
Well, I've heard you talk about how Maharaji was with a family. Correct?
[01:01:02.550] - Krishna Das
Yeah. We didn't know that, though.
[01:01:04.190] - Kara
[01:01:05.550] - Krishna Das
We didn't know until after he left the body. There were some of the old devotees that knew, but it wasn't public knowledge because he never went home. He was on traveling all the time. Yeah. Anyway, you go ask your question.
[01:01:20.820] - Kara
What was the question you mentioned earlier, too? There wasn't really an organization. There were no temples to him in India. He was all of service and didn't carry it. Didn't have like an organization or anything. But out of this great master came forces that created massive waves of awakening here in the US, being you and Romdas and others as well.
[01:01:51.930] - Krishna Das
[01:01:53.470] - Kara
[01:01:54.760] - Krishna Das
Larry Brilliant, who led the eradication of smallpox in India. 500,000 women, children and men and babies every year died of smallpox. 500,000 in India and in Africa. There were more. It was eradicated. Maharaji sent him and blessed him and blessed the whole procedure. And they eradicated smallpox. Wow. That's humongous. There's a great book about that called Sometimes Brilliant.
[01:02:25.610] - Kara
[01:02:26.610] - Krishna Das
By Larry Brilliant. Oh, it's worth reading. He's a great writer. Wonderful book.
[01:02:31.100] - Kara
Up and down my own.
[01:02:34.630] - Krishna Das
It's a great book. Not to mention Steve Jobs, who died with a picture of Maharaji on his wall right next to his bed and Miracle of Love by his pillow. He went to India to meet Maharaji, but he had already left the body, so he stayed in the temple. And while he was in the temple, things happened in his head about the computers.
[01:02:59.960] - Kara
Wow. I know he has a very mystical background. Yeah. Wow.
[01:03:07.590] - Krishna Das
[01:03:08.670] - Kara
Yeah, absolutely. So he's been gone for almost 50 years now.
[01:03:15.170] - Krishna Das
[01:03:16.080] - Kara
Almost 73 is my math.
[01:03:20.970] - Krishna Das
Right. 40 years, I guess. 83, 93, 2000 and 313, 47 years.
[01:03:29.340] - Kara
Yeah. Wow. And we lost Ramdass last year.
[01:03:34.770] - Krishna Das
We did. Where did you go?
[01:03:36.400] - Kara
Well, it was the body. Good point. Good point. Yes. So I'm wondering about the legacy of the Maharaji lineage and how that's carrying on. Now, has there been an organization that's been developed or. I know you have community, and that community is growing. And Rom Dust used to have a lot of retreats in Hawaii and things.
[01:04:03.210] - Krishna Das
Yeah. Rom Dusk and I did those retreats together. But the community is the human race as all beings. There's a few organizations like the Love Survey Member Foundation, which keeps Rondas teachings available and put something up, make them available online and does some projects around all that stuff. But there's no organization that represents my Haraji. He had a blanket, and when he left Kinshi, he dropped the blanket, actually.
[01:04:37.050] - Krishna Das
And he said, Now I'm getting out of central jail. And he dropped the blanket and drove off. So there's no organization that can claim to be doing Maharaj's will. Even Siddimah, who took care of who was his great devotee. She also left the body two or three years ago. Now. She never lived in the temples. She took care of the devotees and the temples and just made she saved my life so many times, she never started an organization. In fact, if you ask her for her blessings, she said, what are you asking me for? Asked Maharaji. I have nothing to do with it. Anybody who says that they're carrying on his work, other than serving other beings, it's just in trouble, just making up lies. He just walked off the stage, and he might have walked on the stage already with another body. No one knows he's so beyond the understanding of us humans. But his lineage or his, you could say his blessings are continually to be offered to people through many different people and many people doing good works in the world. Yeah, for sure. But there's nothing to join. There's no one place to go where you can sit around and be stupid, thinking of meditating and being a good boy.
[01:06:14.770] - Kara
Well, if people are inspired by you and they resonate with what you're talking about and want to immerse themselves more, what would be the best first step?
[01:06:31.390] - Krishna Das
Look in the mirror and imagine you are the most beautiful being in the world and that you are worthy of love. And then go out and see every other being the way you see yourself and treat others the way you want to be treated. That's nothing else you have to do. And if you can't do that, then do some practice. Kind of calm your mind. There's nowhere to go. This is it. This is Earth. We're here. We need to take care of each other the best way we can and be kind and compassionate. That's the best we can do. And for those who are called to other ways of serving. Hannahman never thought of himself. He never thought of himself. He only was here to serve Ram. And who is Ram? Ram is your own true essence. So Hunterman is here to remove the obstacles in your heart to finding out who you are. Because when you find out who you are, you'll know what the universe is. To treat other people the way you want to be treated, that's the best thing we could ever do in this world. And that's not easy.
[01:07:57.950] - Kara
Right. Simple words and get caught up in the moment, and that can be very difficult.
[01:08:09.290] - Krishna Das
Yes. People think, oh, I'll do spiritual practice and I'll achieve a state and I'll be good. But, you know, it's not like that.
[01:08:19.950] - Kara
Yeah. We need that grist in the mill, which is life.
[01:08:25.730] - Krishna Das
Exactly. Yeah. We have plenty of it.
[01:08:29.310] - Kara
Yes. We have so many opportunities to Polish ourselves.
[01:08:34.790] - Krishna Das
[01:08:37.070] - Kara
Well, this has been a great blessing. Thank you so much. Thank you for your time and for your service. And I will leave notes about all the little treasures that you've suggested throughout.
[01:08:52.800] - Krishna Das
Great. Thank you.
[01:08:53.890] - Kara
Thank you so much.
[01:08:55.970] - Krishna Das
Also, I'll tell you, there's a book about Maharaji that just become available. It's called Divine Reality and it's an ebook and it's on my website. It's available for free as a download and any different PDF, Kindle, whatever else, ebook form. So you can just go there and download amazing stories about Maharagi. Just amazing.
[01:09:21.150] - Kara
I was going to ask if they I just love all of the stories of the remarkable things that he was able, the seeds that he planted or the things that he knew or the things that manifested.
[01:09:35.330] - Krishna Das
Yeah. And on my website, I think I have all the books listed about him. Another great book is called Love Everyone by Parvati Marcus. Phenomenal. She got all of us to give our journals from those one particular period with Maharaji, and she put it all together. So you're like in one Day with Maharaji and everything that happened. It's an extraordinary book. Really great book. So that list is on. And there are two books by Daughter, who was one of my hardest, greatest by His Grace and the near and The Deer and, of course, Miracle of Love by Ramdas. And all Ramdas books and this Divine Reality as a download.
[01:10:24.450] - Kara
Yeah. Thank you.
[01:10:25.210] - Krishna Das
Enough reading there for the next 20 years.
[01:10:27.050] - Kara
Yeah. Right. And you have regular offerings as well for people.
[01:10:34.850] - Krishna Das
I don't know how regular they are. They're kind of unusual.
[01:10:39.270] - Kara
Regularly timed, I should say.
[01:10:41.570] - Krishna Das
Oh, yeah. I've been singing every Thursday night with people. And then every other Saturday, usually we have a Zoom question and answer thing. Thursday nights are free, but there is a charge for Saturday because we do have to eat.
[01:10:57.940] - Kara
[01:11:04.210] - Krishna Das
I have two books. I wrote one about the Honeymoon Chilisa called Flow of Grace, and the other one is called Chance of a Lifetime, which is I just did an audiobook, so that should be out in January.
[01:11:18.210] - Kara
Oh, that's good to know.
[01:11:20.220] - Krishna Das
Yeah. And that's the story.
[01:11:22.690] - Kara
Oh, beautiful. And I know you normally would be touring, and we're recording this in 2020, which news flash for anybody listening to this in the future, 2020 was a beast.
[01:11:35.890] - Krishna Das
I hope there is a future.
[01:11:44.810] - Kara
But I think I saw you're doing. There are some online. Have they moved some of the festivals and things?
[01:11:51.830] - Krishna Das
Yeah, I've been very busy online. There's a lot of things. If anybody is interested, you can please go to Krishna.com. And somewhere in there there's a list of events and different things that are offered. I've done a few different courses with different groups that probably are available online. They're all pretty good. They're not bad.
[01:12:14.990] - Kara
So you're are very humble.
[01:12:18.230] - Krishna Das
I know. Me.
[01:12:22.950] - Kara
Oh, wow. Well, thank you again. Thank you so much. What a blessing!
[01:12:28.350] - Krishna Das
Thank you. Thanks for asking me.
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