Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In The Sun Magazine

I recently borrowed Parvati's copy of independent, ad-free Sun magazine to read on my Long Island Railroad ride to Dharma's. The interview with kirtan wallah Krishna Das made the ride seem short. We spoke to KD at length during Dharma's teacher training (and were also treated to a private kirtan), but writer Alexis Adams really went the whole nine yards.

A few excerpts:

In India people understand that God is within. There are Hindu images associated with God — deities like Krishna, Hanuman, and Kali — but when it comes down to it, these deities are symbols of the divine that lives inside each one of us. Indians are more creative about worship, whereas Christians are generally very tense: there’s only one right way to do it and only one God to worship. Of course, there is only one God in the Indian traditions, too, just many forms to symbolize it. It’s ok to worship anything in any way in India, because there it’s understood that nothing is outside of us. There’s only one God, and we’re all it....

[Neem Karoli Baba's] love was a light that didn’t turn off. I’d never experienced that before. When I was with him, the only darkness was in me. So I stayed in the light as much as I could. And now that he had died, what was I going to do? I stayed involved in music and even cofounded a record label, but I wasn’t ready to chant yet. I had a lot of deep hurt and anger to work through. It took me a long time. One day, twenty years after he’d died, I realized that if I didn’t start chanting, I would never be able to shed light on the dark places in my heart....

I engaged in a lot of self-destructive behavior. The overriding emotion was despair. I believed I had blown the only chance I had to be happy, so it didn’t matter. I didn’t try to hurt other people, but I was hurting myself so badly that the pain spread out from there. I became addicted to freebase cocaine for about two years. Then K.C. Tewari, my Indian “father” and the best friend I could have, came to North America to visit Maharaj-ji’s Western devotees. He was in Canada, and I went up to see him. I’d stayed up the night before smoking freebase, and that morning, when I walked into the room — keep in mind, this is the first time we’d seen each other in several years — he said, “Promise me you’ll give up cocaine.” It was either say no and lose any connection I had with him or say yes and get the help I needed. I never smoked cocaine again.

Read the entire article here.

NOTE: It is a big old time of Das for me: chanting all weekend with Bhagavan Das (the first American to sit at the feet of Neem Karoli Baba) and re-reading the Krishna Das article (he was also a devotee) - plus I'm engrossed in Ram Dass's new book, Be Love Now -which is amazing (he's the most famous of the American disciples of Neem Karoli Baba). Perhaps I'm turning from the Jnana to the Bhakti path.....finally.