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Reflections at the Japa Retreat 2

Friday, 26 September 2008 / Published in Poetry / 2,667 views

Moving Temples within Krishna’s Temple of the Holy Name

Offering respects to Prabhupada, Sacinandana Swami, Giriraja Swami (who are teaching) and all the Vaishavas who have taken up the holy name as their life, joining together for a week to go deeper.

Inside the Temple of Krishna’s
multicolored Lights
sit Krishna’s many moving temples
chanting and hearing the Holy Names.

Inside these bodily Temples–within the Temple
the soul sits in his heart seat
covered by layers of desires and attachments
from countless births crystalized into
the bodily machine of blood, guts, bones, organs.

These fortunate souls trying to wake up
from their forgetful dream of being the center
of life and the universe, by taking up the chisel
of the holy name, to the shapeless, ever-changing,
plastic stone slab they thought defined them.

Beginning to wake up from the dream
of forgetfulness from Krishna, inhabiting a fool’s paradise,
coming together to also wake up from another dream
that they understood what the holy name was,
thinking they were fully engaged to their capacity.

Reflecting on this as I sit by the river
in the beauty of the external, sleepy energy of Krishna,
I am covered by a Harinam (holyname) shawl
as this is fitting because the
Holy name of Krishna is all there is!

According to Baladeva’s commentary on Vedanta
every Sanskrit word is a name of God–
Shri Chaitanya taught this returning from initiation,
in his grammar lessons he showed every word
meant Krishna–our goal to see him everywhere.

Also, in explaining his shiksastam, Chaitanya
taught that God has many names
since people have many desires–as many
desires as there are, that is the number of
his names–“As they surrender, he reciprocates.”

We can have whatever we want as
the world is fueled by our desires, attachments,
but is this the end of life?–or do we as
souls have a nature and relationship to God
which is the perfection of our longings?

Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta taught that the only
worldly scarcity is the lack of Krishna consciousness,
so as our soul becomes uncovered we
will see that everything and every creature
is dancing to the will of Krishna.

The Vedas say that the wind is blowing out
of fear of him, the sun is shinning out of fear
of him, and so every material object
is resting on his will, taking their shape
and nature according to his guidelines.

And further, as we walk down the
dirt road and observe the bugs biting us,
or crawling, or birds flying, animals
moving–all are existing due to his will,
truly chanting to him in their own way.

As Haridas Thakur replied to the questions
of Chaitanyadeva, when we chant and hear
the echo, that is actually the chanting of
the unmoving living beings, so as we
take the name to awaken, we can share that.

As we fill the day with chanting and
remembering Krishna, we can have a glimpse
that within the 14 worlds there is nothing
of value, save the Holy name, pastimes of Krishna
and serving the Vaishnavas who embody the teaching

We read the Bhagavat, serving those
devotees who are considered the book in flesh,
as we make friends with and share our heart to
our pears; and the overflow of our spiritual
taste is sharing it with others.

The hope is that they too will be transformed
by the holy name, and become mad (after Krishna);
as we watch them wake up and surpass us
we are happy that gurus, the Vaishnavas,
and Krishna are pleased–that means success!

I am happy I took this time to reflect
as there is still time to finish 64 rounds–
but then I was interrupted from my revelry–
the Unexpected brings my wife holding her
gut, in agony, in need of medicine.

She spoke of a splendid morning of chanting,
and then Krishna put her in his left hand
of pain and distress; as I was dispatched to
the drugstore, and I remembered I forgot
to feed Giriraja and Shalgram—O!

So I felt partially to blame for my wife’s
suffering–as we are one–and Krishna serves
many purposes—I saw my fault, my wife saw
hers, and we both experienced the different
kinds of mercy Krishna gives his devotees.

As I drove to the drugstore on my mission,
to my left passed a funeral procession,
and I laughed at this obvious reminder
that we can go at any moment,
whether at home or at a japa retreat.

We all have to appreciate our tenuous
and temporary material plight—where we
can be kicked out at any time; so today
while we have a sound mind and health,
let us take the holy name as our life and soul.


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