Three years later…

I have been quiet for three years now. The reason was I lost the belief that Krishna exist. I haven’t written about it while it happened because it was so intensely personal and I guess unreal. I have been a devotee since I was 17 – who was I when I no longer believed?  I also knew that even though I was lost for now, if I ever found my way back it would be within Gaudiya Math. I love the richness of the siddhanta, the deepness of it, the never-ending discoveries that could be made (which controversy apparently is my preference of finding treasures) and how it triggers the qualities I really like in myself like doing research, writing and using it as a way of personal growth.

Much can be said about losing ones faith, and I don’t think those who believe understand how difficult it is to stop believing. After this experience, words like blooping and the general judgmental understanding by devotees is shallow at best. It was like somebody pulled the ground beneath my feet and I fell… and kept falling for these years. Because I have never become comfortable in not believing. Krishna consciousness wasn’t just a lifestyle, it was also a huge part of my identity. Without that identity, a huge part of what generated meaning and purpose in life fell away. Can you imagine how it is to get your identity ripped away from you? The place you generate meaning and purpose in life? What comes after, that can possibly replace that?

Though I was lost, I have missed my faith all the way through and I guess this is why I’m writing now. May be my personal growth has now entered a phase where I’m beginning to become ready… but for what and how?

How am I supposed to find my way back again? Because I miss. And I miss you devotees. Losing you by turning my back has been a real loss, though I’m the one who did it.

I also know I can’t go back to the person I was before. I’m not a vegetarian anymore, and I will not go back to it. I have developed an interest in astrology, and my north node is in libra, 1st House for those who are interested in it. This is a really difficult aspect, because I have to develop the self, who I am while Libra and the 1st house is counter. North node is also conjunct the Ascendant and Pluto is close by (5 degree conjunction, 1st House).

I have an intense need to figure myself out and how I want to live my life, being true to my values. As of now this is counter to bhakti which require unconditional service to Krishna. And my need is to really develop myself – and slowly and carefully approach the faith again. And what better way than to read siddhanta and writing about it, since this is who I am. But I can’t do anymore deprivation stuff. I don’t have it in me to give anything I don’t want to give. I don’t have it in me to deprive myself of anything. I need to love the bejesus of myself.

There is a very real resistance in my towards doing any service to Krishna. I have to heed that resistance for now. During the last year I have been part of the scouts, and I learned acts of service there and learned to extend myself in ways I haven’t done as a devotee. It has been eye-opening and one way of learning how unconditional service works. It’s just another path that has the same destination.

I need to do what I want to do – and if it happens to coincide with service to Krishna, then good. I literally can’t do anything that goes counter to who I am. There is something within me that needs that space to grow right now.

So I would like to know how other devotees lost their faith and came back. How did it work for you? What steps did it entail – what growth needed to happen and how did you approach the faith again? Please share your wisdom with me.

Sign of life

Just as a well-filled day brings blessed sleep, so a well-employed life brings a blessed death.”

Leonardo da Vinci

A year ago in Vrindavin, Didi told me I needed to listen to as much harikatha as possible. There would come one word to me, she said, that from everything will blossom. But to receive that word I needed to listen to all harikatha that was spoken.

During that trip I was “out of it”, struggling with spirituality and not really there mentally or physically. Then came those words from Didi. That was such a strange thing to say, right? I would receive ONE WORD that everything would blossom from. So I pressed her, what word? But she didn’t know. Just one word? Really?

I put that statement in the back of my head, because you can’t really force something like that and you can’t push something to happen. And one word? Really? As if one word can change me? Well…. okey. I didn’t know what to make of it, but I was open. If she is connected, then it would come.

So a couple of days later, the morning arrived with arti at KBM. Then afterwards I went to the arti of Yogamaya. If you have visited her, she is so beautiful. I told one of my friends this and she said “everybody loves yogamaya”. There is something so attractive about her. I’m not really that attracted to deities, arti and puja, but there is something about Yogamaya that touches me. I ended up sitting there for a while since the pujaris were late that day. As I was sitting there for myself, thinking about Yogamaya, the WORD came to me. I can’t help but think that Yogamaya wanted to give it to me.

As soon as the stores opened up around 10am, I was outside one bookstore and immediately purchased “Art of Sadhana”. The word I was given was ART (which I have written about before, and before, ). Sadhana and spiritual progression is something I have long looked upon as an art, but of course, I keep on forgetting my own realizations. There was no room of forgetting now.

Living is an art form. Spirituality is art. It’s the process of invention, not imitation. There is some rote memorization of verses, but progressing is a way of making this path our own. My path is not like yours. This is what this blog is about. When Didi gave me the order to share my realizations with the world, it’s a process of invention. Its a creative way of working through sadhana, its art. An art form.

But art doesn’t just come flying from the sky, randomly hitting a bystander. It requires work, moving through life and changes. The levels and direction of inspiration changes as life changes.

After my trip to Vrindavin and getting fired from my last job – and dealing with an obsessed psychopath, I just gave up. My whole life I have been pushing myself. My motto has been “never give up, never give in, never surrender” in how I deal with life. But by then I was so exhausted, completely wiped. I was done. With everything. I was done. So completely done.

Being done transformed into apathy. I had pushed myself so hard through life, but the result was so meager compared to the effort I had put in. So I gave up and apathy took me. I have spent so many days with no energy, lying on the sofa where even moving my little finger was an effort.

Then apathy which really is learned helplessness transformed into something more healthy. I stopped pushing myself, I put no demands on myself. Slowly I allowed myself to just BE. It was so healthy and good. It took a long time, but I slowly became a bit bored, which is fantastic. I’m almost never bored, but if I get bored it means I have created enough space in my life. It means that my default feeling of being overwhelmed was retreating. From boredom, creativity can begin to blossom again.

That is where I am now. I am not gone. Writing a spiritual blog where I am supposed to share my realizations can’t be fake. If I have downtime, then that will show itself on this blog. If I struggle then silence will be a companion. Whenever progress has been made in my life, it seems to come in waves. There is a long period of seemingly standstill. Then suddenly things lift and it does so in many areas at once, like a wall has been breached and the wave spill over into so many different areas.

The art of my life required that I learned to not push, to not demand something of myself all the time. It seems like I’m now entering a state where I connect differently. Live my life differently, and it’s a more healthy way of being.

Among his various possible beings each man always finds one which is his genuine and authentic being. The voice which calls him to that authentic being is what we call “vocation”. But the majority of men devote themselves to silencing that voice of vocation and refusing to hear it. They manage to make a noise within themselves … to distract their own attention in order not to hear it; and they defraud themselves by substituting for their genuine selves a false course of life.

Jose Ortegay Gasset



The path of pain

To lead a spiritual life is projected to be full of bliss. If we just chant enough rounds, we will be happy. Surrender, and be free. Liberation is not enough of happiness, we can go even further!

We don’t talk much about the pain which is integral in devotional life. I have come to believe that pain is as much, if not more a part of progressing in bhakti. Usually we frame pain and hardships through bad karma, but what if its part of the process? The necessary component to wreak change in us. Are you able to progress through beneficial circumstances? I’m not. Sure, superficially it’s easier to chant etc. but its not real progress that create lasting changes in me.

We automatically shy away from everything that is uncomfortable, whether it’s physical or mental. We are designed to move towards what we like, what is comfortable and we do everything in our power to avoid pain. But at the same time we are obsessed with our problems. When we talk with confidantes, we talk about our struggles. We focus so much on problems, because we don’t accept it. We don’t accept uncomfortableness and pain. We don’t want uncertainty.

The mind is in a constant flux of accepting and rejecting, and we prefer to focus on the rejection of what causes us pain.

But by choosing a spiritual life we actually seek pain, for moving away from material life brings pain to check us if this is really what we want and may be to remind us that this is no place for a gentlewoman.

I’m being forged in the path of pain. I used to think that because I’m a devotee, I should have an easier time of life. Progress through blissful ignorance. My resistance to pain instead shows how my ego want to enjoy. If I had true servant attitude, I would accept the pain and consider it Krishnas mercy. My resistance shows I am no servant. The pain is there for me to surrender my will to His and if pain is the way to do it, I should be grateful. But of course I’m not.

I see how things I thought were beneficial, instead turns into ashes. A relationship that was joyful, turns into something really bad. The heavenly apartment turned hell when upstairs neighbor is a psycopath. A need for change is blissful in the beginning and turns out to be a bad decision later.

That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion.

Bhagavad-gita 18.38

The harder your ego is, the harder the pain to soften you. The softer you are, the easier the lesson is.

What I am learning now is to embrace the pain. Embrace the hardships. The spiritual path is not for comfort, to relax at our position. The pain is there to propell us forward, to destroy the ego, to ensure we move forward.

There is a danger in growing complacent, cozying up to spirituality. If something feels painful to you, embrace it and  process it. Google it, seek professional help, turn to trusted friends. Understand that whatever it is, it’s an opportunity to go deeper into who you are.

The pain is not there to be rejected. It just is.



Every monday I look forward to the recent realizations of Dhanurdhara Swami. He has also written a nice experience of my Gurudeva, Narayana Maharaja. He has what I am lacking in – realizations. His newest post could as well have been written about what I’m experiencing now.

About a month ago, after making a mistake in not only how I was thinking about something, but in how I had reacted to it, and then seeing the anxiety it caused, I had a very strong realization that seemed to correct and complete my vision of the world. I was surprised because I was convinced that I was already seeing the world perfectly clear, but I had one doubt. This pattern has been repeating itself every year, often several times a year, for the last 42 years, since beginning Kṛṣṇa consciousness. I always think that I am seeing things clearly, until some upheaval, big or small, comes along that gives me a newer, more complete vision and with the same certainty as before. I often share this story with others with the background music of Goofy to express how hapless we are in walking the world with a vision of confidence, although destiny repeatedly turns our world on its head again and again.

I think my folly, however, is not unique, for until one’s mind is completely pure, it is the nature of the mind to see the world through a defective lens without even realizing one is looking through it. I think therefore my story should be, in a sense, everyone’s story on the spiritual path. Our natural confidence in how we see the world should be repeatedly shaken by destiny to help give us newer and higher visions of reality even though at the time we are probably not aware that we are seeing things through a distorted lens.

Why do we make God work so hard

I have received a new lens of the world, but it’s a rather grim one. What is the reason for our existence? If we look aside from the religious one but the material reason – it becomes clear. It’s for us humans to take care of each other, cooperation. Yet this world is described as a dangerous place, filled with unknown dangers and evil at every step. We intuitively understands that there’s truth in that, but why is it so? Because of humans.

Sure, we have natural disasters but humans are the reason the world is so dangerous Because we humans view each other with competition instead of cooperation. If we humans had begun helping each other out, caring for each other even if we are not family, then society would become different. If we could accept that a persons flaws without reacting to it and still be there and help within our capacity. Even when we don’t like a person – which probably would be most people over time.

My mother once said to me that when I died she wanted to have my TV. Would you say something like that to a person you love? Yet her dysfunction is nothing compared to a malignant narcissist. It’s being punched into me every day so many times that I am nothing. I have no value. I am worthless and unlovable.

Yet apparently there is still something valuable in me that Krishna wants. It’s the reason for my existence which unfortunately never seem to end.

I have a new lense of the world, but my vision has still not acclimatized. I don’t know who this new person is or are supposed to be. I have been broken, and I am sick of my troubles. Troubles are boring – everybody has them. Which is why I have such problems writing now. I have received a new lense, but I don’t know what to make of it.

Past lives and spiritual struggles

The weirdest blog post I have ever written is the one where I write about how to Recognize spiritual progress from past lifes. It was a blog post that wasn’t me at all, but wouldn’t let me go until I pressed publish. Though I believe in karma and reincarnation, the whole past lives etc. becomes just too new agey for me. There are tons of blog posts I can’t remember, but yet this one I kept on thinking about, because it was so strange to me.

Then one devotee published this on facebook:




śrī-bhagavān uvāca
triḥ-saptabhiḥ pitā pūtaḥ
pitṛbhiḥ saha te ’nagha
yat sādho ’sya kule jāto
bhavān vai kula-pāvanaḥ

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Prahlāda, O most pure, O great saintly person, your father has been purified, along with twenty-one forefathers in your family. Because you were born in this family, the entire dynasty has been purified. [SB 7.10.18]

The word triḥ-saptabhiḥ means seven multiplied by three. In one’s family one can count back four or five generations—to one’s great-grandfather or even one’s great-grandfather’s father — but since the Lord mentions twenty-one forefathers, this indicates that the benediction expands to other families also. Before the present family in which one has taken birth, one must have been born in other families. Thus when a Vaiṣṇava takes birth in a family, by the grace of the Lord he purifies not only that family but also the families of his previous births.


A devotee, although born in a caṇḍāla (dog-eater) family, can purify his whole family for one hundred generations, past and future, by devotional service, whereas a proud brāhmaṇa cannot even purify himself.
[Teachings of Lord Caitanya, ch 2.]


So my point is: by serving the Supreme Lord, one gives the best service to the family, because if one becomes a Vaiṣṇava, pure Vaiṣṇava, the whole family, up to fourteen generations, they become liberated. Therefore tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena. We should not divert our attention for any other service. We should simply concentrate for rendering service to the Supreme Lord. This is the conclusion. [Srila Prabhupada’s Lecture on SB 3.25.44]


Pañca-draviḍa: What kind of liberation does the family get of a pure devotee?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: One who becomes a devotee, the statement is that fourteen generations of his family, past, present and future, become liberated. So what kind of liberation does the family members of a pure Vaiṣṇava get?

Prabhupāda: Liberation means — that is explained by Caitanya Mahāprabhu — to become devotee. That is liberation. To become…. To become a devotee is itself liberation. [break] …will come.
[Morning walk, Mayapur March 17, 1976]

From Upadesamrta: The Nectarean Instructions
by Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada

QUESTION: When a devotee is born in a family, does that family benefit from his or her birth?

SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA: When a great saint, a pure devotee, appears in a family, then his ancestors and descendants for a HUNDRED GENERATIONS each are elevated. When a devotee of the middle stature (madhyama bhagavata) appears in a family, then his ancestors and descendants for FOURTEEN GENERATIONS each are elevated. When a neophyte devotee appears in a family, then his ancestors and descendants for THREE GENERATIONS each are elevated.

Suddenly that blog post for years ago made sense to me. I write a lot about the struggles I have in being a devotee. I have had this belief for twenty years, and still I struggle with even the basics like chanting. It hasn’t made sense to me. If I was a devotee in previous life, why am I fighting an uphill battle where even the smallest progress has been precluded with great struggles and difficulties? The only thing that has remained steady with me is my belief which is rock solid.

The answer is because I have never been a devotee before. I am a devotee because I was in the family of a devotee in a previous life and that person gave me this boon. It makes sense to me now why nothing comes to me naturally spiritually (except the faith).

I have always been certain that this life is the first one where I have encountered an uttama-bhagavata. I have always looked forward to my next life, because I know that things will be so much easier then. I will be born into more auspicious circumstances.

It’s such a relief to finally understand why everything is so difficult for me spiritually.

Slowing down – focusing

I thought things were quickly going downhill after new years. I was receiving resistance in all areas of my life when I needed stability the most. So in desperation I did the only thing I could do – I isolated myself. I just stopped. Of course, other people didn’t stop because I did, so I still had to deal with everything that cropped up. I did – but the rest of the time I just did nothing. I needed stability, and the only stability I could give myself was isolation. Stay at home, do as little as needed and just take care of myself. In that quietness of being I faced some truths. I had tried to be the happy, functional person I was before I was targeted by a malignant narcissist. I realized that person is gone. The person I am now is different, somebody else. I have experienced too much and it’s not possible to go back to her. I gave up and instead understood that I was not in a mentally healthy place, so I allowed myself to be this unhealthy person instead. This person don’t want to deal with people. It’s too complex and I don’t have the energy for it. Isolation is what I want and what I do.

I stopped going out unless I needed something. Just going to the grocery store was something I put off as long as I could. I began focusing on sleep and creating sleep diagrams. I realized that I was getting too little sleep and it’s impossible to become a mentally healthy person before that part was stabilized. Lack of sleep damages your cognitive abilities – your thinking. What may be obvious for other people, isn’t for you because your brain is sick. It makes you unable to regulate emotions. I found an American researcher who claimed he could cure insomnia. He cured mine and even if I get awaken multiple times a night, I just fall asleep again. I have stopped using sleep medication, I don’t need it anymore. It’s nothing short of a miracle.

I have financially lived beyond my means for a long time. I slowed down my spending considerably, but still I’m using too much. It’s difficult for me and I’m working on it.

I stopped caring what happened to me. I gave up and thought (and still do) I have no future anymore. In doing so something slowly happened – I gave up on the narcissist as well. She can do her worst – I just don’t care anymore. She has no impact on my emotions anymore. Her desperation became just more and more palpable, because she was loosing control over me. It’s more calm now than ever before because she receives no nourishment from me. She tries, but she has lost me.

I began focusing more on my sadhana. I created a sheet to keep track of my japa and gayatri and it made me do more. Every time I have some project that requires a lot of time and energy, I do less. When I have my son, I do less. It takes some time to get back to where I need to be afterwards. It made it easier to track. I’m hoping I get better at adjusting and the time sheet helps me do it.

I found out Tripurari swami has podcasts available on iTunes, so I began listening to lectures every day using my wireless headphones (which I adore). Now I can listen to lectures and do housework at the same time. It’s genius!

By slowing down, isolating – something wonderful happened. I felt happy, relaxed. I don’t know who I’m supposed to become, who a healthy, happy Haridasi is. I still have a way to go. But the one I am now enjoys isolation. Craves it to become closer to myself.

I don’t care who I’m supposed to be. I just want to be alone with my books, chanting beads, deities and hopefully good food. Slowing down has been essential to get to the essence which I still have so much to learn from.

What used to give me pleasure don’t anymore. I keep on trying to extract pleasure from it, but it doesn’t work. It has created an emptiness of joy that needs to be filled, I just don’t know how yet. I know what I want to do, but I don’t understand why it’s so hard.

I want to chant more, read more, study the vedas more, do arti, listening to more harikatha. I want to devote myself, so why is it easier to watch tv? Why is it hard to do what I want and crave? I find it puzzling. But by slowing down I’m making room for these things to work on me. Change takes time, it requires space for it to grow. I’m creating both time and space in the hopes it will slowly take hold.

Gratefulness blossoms in me. I’m lucky that I’m allowed to open up for changes in me to happen. In the unbelievable amount of adversity I receive, I’m still so fortunate. Everything I have received is because Gurudeva accepted me. By accepting me, He forced me to change through circumstances and adversity. I learn something all the time, reach new debts of understanding and how little I actually know. I’m fortunate because I receive so much problems. But it’s only after the storm has passed and I can view the damage done that I see something beautiful grows in it’s place. The storm devastated everything so that some new beauty that is ever more wonderful gets a chance to manifest.


Use your intelligence

“Japa is how Krishna works on you”, Didi told me when I wasn’t practicing and warned me that I could loose all bhakti if I didn’t get my act together. I had never really heard that before. That Nama is how Krishna works on me. I didn’t really (and still don’t) understand it. When I began chanting again, I was asking Krishna “How are you working on me by me chanting”?

So I got some understandings revealed to me, but they quickly passed because… well, I’m fickle like that. There’s a difference between understanding something and realizing something. To realize means that the understanding goes so deep into your heart that it changes behaviour (over time).

Just fix your mind upon Me,
engage all your intelligence in Me.
Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.
Bhagavad-gita 12.8

 I like how the first sentence begins with “just”. Like fixing the mind is something one “just” does. Easy like a breeze…..

 The second sentence tells us how we can fix our mind upon Him – by engaging all our intelligence.

Gurudeva said that he used to discuss the harikatha he had heard with his Godbrothers while doing his chores. This is one way of using our intelligence. Using our intelligence is easy – we all have ideas about how we can render service in a way that suits our personality. We * just * have to do it.

To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.

Bhagavad-gita 10.10

My intelligence is higher now than it was ten years ago. Krishna gives us the intelligence we need. We have to work on our understandings, and by doing so we receive more intelligence.

So chanting is how Krishna works on us. Hearing and processing is how we can work on Krishna. Krishna can never forget a devotee. Why? Because a devotee constantly chants so the devotee never lets Krishna forget Him. And since one keep on chanting, not letting Krishna of the hook – may be that’s how He works on us. He has to look at us, look at where we are and how we can improve. Make corrections, changes. Either in our surroundings, realizations, karma, whatever.
But it requires both: Hearing and chanting.
Then processing and change.
Equals realizations.

Anartha nivritti (removing misconceptions)

How many times have we heard that we are not the body? I’m so tired to listening to lectures telling me this basic thing. But I only understand it from an intellectual level. I understand that I am this consciousness – which we may or may not call a soul. But how do we * know * that we are not this body?

We are so caught up in living our lives that we do not even recognize even this simple truth. So where does this understanding blossom? In the stage of anartha nivritti. Japa is an opportunity to let our eyes wander inwards – and what comes forward is the body’s desires for… all things material. And we get the understanding that the life we are living is a layer – a covering that so easily catches us. That’s where the stage of anartha nivritti kicks in. Removing unwanted desires is a way of uncovering our real selves which is covered by our bodys misconception. And what is this misconception? In my case I can list the basic things like soda, coffee, chocolate, foods. These things are stopping me from uncovering who I really am.








When our material desires burns away, our understanding that we are not this body will gradually be uncovered. We separate between ourselves and the body’s desires. We come more in touch with who we really are.

When I was in Vrindavin, Didi told me that japa was the way Krishna worked on us. I had to do japa, because that’s where He does his work on me. After the written warning I got (see my last post), I have been chanting every day, so very reluctantly and not wanting it at all. So in the beginning I decided that if I was to chant, Krishna should feel my pain. So I poured my pain into the chanting. Days and days where all I did was letting Krishna feel my pain. I poured it in – and without me really noticing it, my pain was burned away from me.

I mentally screamed at Krishna: “How do you work on me?” while doing japa. I wanted Him to feel everything I was feeling. I wanted Him to drown in my pain while I was doing japa. I did this for what seems a long time, but I guess it’s not for Him (or even me).

I don’t want my life to weaken even more, so I continued doing japa. Now I do my rounds while watching TV and playing candy crush. I think I’m doing better than I should in Candy Crush because Krishna is sick of it.

And Krishna is working on me. Do your japa – it doesn’t matter how. While watching TV or whatever. Do your japa. Pour your pain into it. Let Krishna take care of it. Just do your japa – it doesn’t matter how. Krishna will change you that way. One candy crush game at a time.

Unwanted special favors

When I received harinama in 2002, I got the spiritual name: Haridasi. Of course, I didn’t really know what that name meant. Fortunately one devotee told me: Hari is the form of God who steals, especially He steals the heart of the Gopis. When I heard this I was very moved. I interpreted the name as a way of Gurudeva to tell me that he knew my heart, though I can’t really remember why it had that impact on me at the time.

I have kept my name, and I have really loved that name. I don’t know why – it’s just me.

So like last Christmas, I went to Vrindavin again and to KBM near Seva Kunj, meeting Didi again. But my head was not in the game. I may have physically been in Vrindavin, but I was not there at all. I was not practicing, all I wanted was to go back to my material life which was infinitely more attractive to me. I had lost taste in sadhana, and I had no way to understand how to get back into it. Because I find this material world so very seducing. I love it. I like technology and gadgets. I might even like people as long as I can control who and restrict access to me. I love my little world that I have built. I told Didi this and she warned me that if I didn’t start practicing I could loose all bhakti. I heard her – but it didn’t change me.

So I finally got home – and I still didn’t practice. And what happened? I lost the job I loved, my son is with his father, I will loose all money, and the roof over my head. Okey, it may not be as bad as I portray it, but it can easily go that way. I went into a dark, dark hole and couldn’t recover. Truth is, I see no future for me anymore. I wish someone could just put me out of my agony so I can be reborn in what hopefully will be better circumstances.

In those moments I received a mail: “Didi said today that if you don’t follow, then many things will weaken in your life, including your writing.”

It was impeccable timing as my life was weakening extremly quickly. Losing my job was like somebody taking the floor beneath me and I was freeflying, just waiting for the inevitable splat.

This time the message sunk in, and I began chanting again. I did my japa that day. The next day as I was closing in on the end of my rounds, one verse lodged itself into my mind.

The Personality of Godhead said: If I especially favor someone, I gradually deprive him of his wealth. Then the relatives and friends of such a poverty-stricken man abandon him. In this way he suffers one distress after another. Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.88.8

This verse have worried me for quite some time, because it has felt relevant to me. My life has been hard. I have constantly been swimming against the current, but not really been able to make much difference with my circumstances.

This time I have been given a real though blow which I don’t think I will be able to recover from. I have given up now, I see that I have no future. Whatever I try to do, it will not give even the slightest rewards that I think I deserve. And I have worked so hard to try to change my life in a positive direction.

So I began reading about this verse, and I kept coming across these sentences that just screamed – “This is me!”.

When a Vaiṣṇava, pure devotee, tries to be materially opulent and at the same time desires to serve the Supreme Lord, his devotional service is checked. The Lord, in order to show him a special favor, destroys his so-called economic development and material opulences. Thus the devotee, being frustrated in his repeated attempts at economic development, ultimately takes solid shelter under the lotus feet of the Lord.
… Lord Kṛṣṇa says that He takes everything away from the devotee whom He especially favors when that devotee is overly attached to material possessions.


… The Lord said to Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, “The first installment of My mercy toward a devotee is that I take away all his possessions, especially his material opulence, his money.” This is the special favor of the Lord toward a sincere devotee.


I am overly attached to material possessions, I love living in this material world and I don’t want to give it up. So much so that I want material life more than doing sadhana – every day.

Then I came to this purport and (one of) the real meaning of my name was revealed:

Hari, hari means “who takes away all your miserable conditions.” Hari, haran, harati. Harati means take away. He comes here just to give you benediction, to save you from all kinds of miseries. Therefore His name is Hari.


The “servant” who everything will be taken away from her.


If you think this is a benediction – think again. Would you be exhilarated at the thought of receiving special mercy? I’m not. I want material opulence. My name now sounds ominous.
My material life is being ripped away from me, but I keep on clinging to it because I don’t want to give it up. I don’t want to be a devotee. I just want to… you know… say a few hare krishnas whenever it pleases me and believe when it pleases me. I don’t want to live in vrindavin and be a full time devotee. I don’t want to live a nun lifestyle, throwing around the most prized word in the devotee language: mercy. Uttered with a special smile and glazed eyes.
I don’t want to be that person Krishna is forcing me to be. Why can’t I just be me and still belong to Krishna in the way I want. But noo, it has to be on his terms. So if you think you have free will in this life, think again. The only will you have is to go by His rules or not. And if you don’t go by His rules, you will be severly punished. In my case, my spiritual name even forbodes it.
Everything inside me just screams “Fuck that!”. But you know – that would neither be devotee-like or lady-like. But may be I don’t want to be neither, either.

Mercy equals joy? In life?

I have never really understood the usage of the word “mercy”. Mercy is unpredictable. It makes us dependant on something… undefined. We rely on the mercy of Guru and the vaishnavas. Then we have to get the approval from the guru parampara so that they will distribute their mercy. Even bhakti is dependant on mercy, not by our own efforts. Bhakti is even personified as bhakti devi – one more person we have to somehow get this unpredictable, undefined mercy.

“In spiritual life, nothing is a formality.”

This may be frustrating for us, because we like things to be ordered. We want effort to equal reward. But spiritual progress doesn’t work like that. What is mercy anyway?

My life seems to be molded in the furnace of hell. The more mature I get, the more resistance and tougher lessons I receive. But it has the other quality as well, the harsher lessons, the more happier I’m afterwards. I’m more mature, have learned to deal with things better, I have more tools in my toolbox of life. Mercy in the form of resistance and grit.

I find it reassuring that mercy is not dependant on my effort, because I suck at it. But my sincerity is there, my desire is there, just not very bloomed. So I receive so much challenges so I don’t stop because I may just end up being very happy and content with my life.

This is a descending process, not an ascending one. Which means that my effort will not make me progress (though of course it doesn’t hurt). It’s a descending process.

There is a story about Guru Nanak. He was very fond of payasam and he vomited. So on this day he gave it up. After vomiting he told himself, “This happened because I have such taste for this preperation, so eat it now! Eat it!”

The devotees attitude should be, “I am unable to control my limbs, I have no capability to control my organs. The Lord must help me.” This is the correct process. Gur Nanak’s approach was a long procedure because it was an ascending process, not a descending one”

Sri Guru-vani, Sri Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaja

I’m allowed to sleep now, so I’m going back to being a functional human being. Furthermore, I’ve gotten a job as a Linux Technician which I absolutely love (and is absolutely challenging and frustrating in the beginning phase).

So what is happening? I’m becoming so happy, so content because the tide has turned. But the influx of feelings is tiresome. When I got the apartment I live in, I was so happy and loved it. Then it turned to hell when I was not allowed to sleep. Now I have gotten a job I absolutely love. Will that experience also turn into hell?

“If we want to enjoy the pleasures of this world, we will suffer, because all diseases will come”.  Sri Guru-vani, Sri Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaja

I’m thoroughly enjoying myself (even though I’m being so very challenged). I truly enjoy living. When I’m not being tortured, I love my life. I keep on molding my life until I become so very happy. Then there’s setbacks, then the tide turns again. For each challenge I overcome, the more happy I become. But am I turning my mercy unto material enjoyment?

God created this world, so why shouldn’t I enjoy it? I love this new job. Why can’t I think that God gave it to me because he wanted me to improve this world this way? I believe God wants me to enjoy it while I’m still His. I don’t see this enjoyment as bad. I see it as a reflection of his mercy, which he can take away if he wants. Isn’t God using this world to improve us and the people around us? Why wouldn’t He put us in a position where we do this – even on the material plane.

The first was when I developed the opinion in 1993 that a significant majority of people in charge of ISKCON were downright phobic of real Krishna consciousness, unless it was forced into the most starched, pressed, shaved, and bleached/dyed robes; Xeroxed and stamped bona-fide by GBC resolution. I realized they would never really embrace and support a personality like mine, which expresses itself without conformity to uniforms and bureaus. They would always keep me in the curtained corners of the rooms reserved for  “dissidents,” “sahajīya” and “gopī-bhāva club members.” Vraja Kishore

What made Srila Prabhupada an enlightened being who at first was married with an ayurvedic medicine business? Gurudeva was a policeman before he joined Kesava Maharaja. I can’t help but think that one of the reasons they stand out is not (only) because of their surrender, but their unrelenting creativity of personality. Spiritual surrender requires being creative in navigating life and our spiritual quest. It means we keep on trying to improve our lives, and it makes us happier in the long run – even materially. But that material quality must not trap us, it somehow have to live side by side for a long while with our material life. Living the grihasta life.

I realized they would never really embrace and support a personality like mine, which expresses itself without conformity to uniforms and bureaus.

This sentence describes me so well. I don’t conform. I think for myself, not just blindly follow and accept. Will organizations always have troubles with these individuals, and not harness their strength? There is strength in numbers, even when they are deviating. Strength in numbers mean controlling others. But those with creativity will always try to break those limitations put upon them. Gurudeva did when He preached about manjari bhava – openly and unapologetically. By breaking limitations one becomes happier – and receive resistance for it. People will always try to put them down. Mercy will zero out the problems.

I’m still not at a place where I’m equipoised about all the things that is happening to me. I crave for stability in my life, but it seems like Krishna has other plans for me. I have to use all the creativity I have to strive for balance. It’s easy to see the mercy when things are good and I enjoy life. It’s also then I can see the mercy in the bad times. And somehow I just seem to climb to higher places of happiness each time.