Newsletter by Krishna Kshetra Swami, Issue #13 – May 10th, 2020
WHERE THE DEITY IS, THERE IS THE DHAMA
While we are deprived of the possibility to go to temples, we can worship Krishna in His Deity form at home. As Srila Prabhupada would often say (paraphrasing), “There is no restriction in the worship of Krishna. We can always worship Krishna, in any circumstances.”
I am rereading now Sivarama Swami’s Nava Vraja Mahima. You might know that he has written this amazing book of eight volumes. The subject is the glorification — mahima — of Nava Vraja, New Vraja-dhama, in Hungary. In essence it is a guide map for Vraja-mandala parikrama, but specifically in New Vraja-dhama. At the same time Sivarama Swami is constantly referring to Bhauma Vrindavana. I am reading this with a particular motivation: I am going to speak on an online conference about pilgrimage and I am going to speak on the New Vraja-dhama parikrama. The point Sivarama Swami is emphasizing in the introduction of his book is that wherever Krishna is present in His Deity form, that place must necessarily also be the holy dhama. It must be a kind of an extension of the holy dhama.
This is a very nice meditation. Many of you are having Deities at home. Here we all are sitting in our various enclosures in locked down mode, but if we have Krishna… Even if we don’t have a three-dimensional Deity, even if we just have a picture of Radha and Krishna, maybe a photo of the Deities from the nearby temple, it is also a form of the Deity. Where the Deity is there is the dhama. We can meditate on being in the dhama as we go about our activities with the effort to center our activities on the service of the Deity, on the service of Krishna.
—From an online sanga with Krishna Kshetra Swami on April 18th, 2020
THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE
jagannatha swami nayana-patha-gami bhavatu me
O Jagannatha Swami, you are one who goes on the path of the eyes. Let it be so that You may be the goer on the path of my eyes. In other words: may I please see you!
When devotees feel separation from the Lord, there are many intense feelings and all kinds of tears. Very intense… Intense emotions. There is a long history that goes along with this, and through it we understand that he is Jagannath.
Jagannath means jagat-nath. Nath means the Lord, master. And jagat means the universe, literally that which is constantly in flux. That Lord of all that is in flux. He Himself is not affected by the constant changes in the universe. He is in control. The world may be in flux, fluctuating and uncertain, because it is the world of uncertainties. But there is one certainty. That is the Lord, the Lord of the universe.
Jagannath is a very nice name for the Lord, because we could also say, “Lord of Ljubljana, Lord of Slovenia.” Somebody would say, “Lord of this or that religion, tradition.” Some people will think the Lord is for themselves;some will say, “We worship the Christian God,” others will say, “We worship the Islamic God,” and so on. So, people get the idea that there are so many gods.
There are also atheists who look at this sectarianism and say, “Well, it is all very silly. There is actually no God.” But the reason for their atheism is probably that limited conception of God that they heard about from some sectarian theists. Whatever conception they have heard about is a very limited one. And when they hear about this limited conception they think, “No, that is not for me. I don’t believe it. Too small. If that is God, then no.” So, they reject and proclaim, “I am an atheist.”
So it is understandable that many people are atheists. The conception of God that had been delivered to them is so narrow. Nobody really needs a narrow God. We all want God to be expansive. Actually, the word brahman means expanding. That which expands. Even an impersonal conception of God –
brahman – is an expansive conception. What to speak of the semi-personal conception of God – paramatma – who is present in every single heart. And not only there. Also present in every single molecule’s atom. So small within every atom that the paramatma could be traveling within the atom. As long as we are sitting here, speaking, the paramatma is still not getting from one side to the other, at the speed of light. Just try to imagine!
So, that God, that is getting expansive, but all of that is still just paramatma.
Paramatma is a kind of functional form of the Lord. He is present, He is conscious of every nook and corner of the universe, but beyond all of these is jagat-nath, the Lord who is beyond all. Who is that Lord? What is so wonderful about Him? Well, it starts with the fact that He has such big eyes. He sees and as He is seeing, He is smiling. Sometimes I think He may be also even laughing. He is laughing at all our foolish attempts to be lords ourselves.
—From a lecture by Krishna Kshetra Swami in Ljubljana, Slovenia on June 17th, 2019
When I was young I felt some kind of impulse that I had to do deeper searching for a higher purpose in life. I didn’t have a very clear idea; I thought vaguely of joining a monastic community. While I was in the university, I wondered why I am not feeling happy, rather disturbed and unhappy. I made a little psychoanalysis of myself. Homegrown psychoanalysis without help of a life coach or a psychiatrist. I concluded that the root problem in my life was fear, and the root cause of fear was the fear of death. That I could understand.
One day at the university I saw an advertisement for skydiving… It was quite exciting. You could get full training, two hours, and then you went on the airplane and you would jump out, three times. I thought: “I have fear of death, and I have another problem, fear of heights. So, maybe what I must do is to face both. Face the fear! And if I can face it, I can overcome it… If I survive! And if not, problem is solved!” So, I signed up.
There were five of us who signed up and came to the local airport. They trained us, they told us how to land, how not to break bones, and then they took us into a small airplane without doors. Pretty exciting! They brought us only about 1000 meters up, as we were beginners. I spend weeks before this meditating about what am I doing. It gave me a deeper understanding of fear. It is an anticipation of something terrible that is going to happen, and that anticipation is the main problem.
Long story short, I survived the jump as you can see, even though my parachute did not open properly. I didn’t know that until after I landed: the trainer and others came running toward me asking, “Are you okay!?” Here is a little lesson to all of us in regard to learning and remembering. In this case I was remembering how to land. It was a very simple instruction. You never know, you might need this. You have to squeeze your knees as tightly as you can together and at the same time you have to bend them a little, and the moment you land you roll to the side. That was what I did, and it worked, even though I went 10% faster than I was supposed to.
The point is the memory. When we need to remember something important for our life, we will remember. When our life is at stake, when it is critical, then we can remember very well. It is an interesting function of our memory that has a lot to do with what we regard as important. What do we regard as more important than our own life?
If we can apply it to our Krishna consciousness… What is Krishna saying in the Bhagavad-gita, Chapter 8, about memory?
yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail. We want to remember Krishna at that moment. And for that we are preparing.
—From a lecture by Krishna Kshetra Swami in Dubai, UAE on December 12th, 2019
about our weekly online KrKSangas.