This story describes the seed of my spiritual life, and the soil in which it was planted. You can also find the origin of the name of this blog in here. This writing started as an e-mail to a Yahoo!group called “Exceptional Human Experiences,” but I’m expanding on it from time to time. It takes quite a lot for me to write about this, not the least of which is courage. It’s very personal, and I’ll admit now that there’s stuff I’m keeping private. I’ve learned that not everyone would accept this as bona fide, but what can I say to that? It’s the inspiration for my life, and I think I ought to share it. Here goes:
I am a Caucasian-bodied, American-born, aspiring devotee of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. About 13 years ago I took up what in the West would seem like a strict yoga practice, studying the writings of numerous jnanis (yogis of knowledge), and doing my best to follow them. I started with a book by Swami Vishnu-devananda, and later studied Yogananda, Vivekenanda, and Ramakrishna, to name a few; but predominantly I took great interest in the achievements of Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and I studied the Maharamayana of Vasistha’s Yoga over and over again. I was in college at the time, but I gradually abandoned my schooling (although I did graduate eventually) in favor of the teachings of Indian-bodied sages. I think I read about 100 books on yoga, and I actually had to stay an extra semester in school pick up some needed credits after I failed too many classes in what would’ve been my last semester. Fortunately I was able to take a yoga class for the fifth time, and a class called Eastern and Western Mysticism. I should also mention that I had been a Kundalini yoga teacher and I was also practicing rajayoga following Rammurti Mishra’s book Fundamentals of Yoga.
Shortly after my college graduation, I realized that I could not advance my yoga practice unless I severed my social connections, so I moved from Buffalo, NY, to Olympia, Washington, where I knew just one person with a place to stay. It was my intention to sit my body in some hidden place on the Olympic Peninsula and remain there contemplating spiritual reality. At that point I was convinced that there was in fact no world whatsoever.
I arrived in Olympia on Thursday, September 28, 1995. The next day I went to town to look around. I found my way into three shops. The first was an imports store where I bought a painting of Sri Krishna standing with His flute in front of a cow. Next, across the street was a new-age bookstore, where I found a used hardcover Bhagavad-gita As It Is, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. I had read other translations of Bhagavad-gita, and wasn’t very much impressed with it, and part of the paperback version of this same Bhagavad-gita translation except that I put it down unable to understand it. I took an interest in this one, though, because it was such a scholarly presentation that I thought it would be a great help in learning Sanskrit. I bought that one and later sold them my paperback copy. Next I went to another new-age shop, where I heard of a gathering of healers and shamen (called “Energy Circle) that would occur the coming Sunday.
I went home and started reading Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Sunday came, and I went to Energy Circle. It was peculiar that of the 25 or so people there, most of them thought I had been there before and that they knew me. Of course, I explained that I had just arrived a few days before from over 2000 miles away. When the session began, the hostess (Fran) explained that she would have to end the program at precisely 8:00 pm because she was going back to college (at age 53) and her first day was tomorrow. For the next several hours everyone gave and received a variety of healing treatments. When 8:00 arrived, everyone left, but Fran wanted to talk with me. Two things were notable: first, that she told me the “psychic community” was expecting an earthquake to dump us all into the ocean in the relatively near future; and second, she invited me to live there as her guest, as she had a spare room that would be available for four months. Then I went back to my house and continued to read Bhagavad-gita, along side with Vasistha’s Yoga. (I was sharing a house with 3 others, including the friend I mentioned and two others whom I didn’t relate to at all. In the Northeast U.S. I knew a lot of edible wild plants, but I noticed crossing the country that only a few of them were present in Washington, and I knew I should be able to forage before going to live in the forest.)
Wednesday evening came, and I was having some trouble. I could not understand both Bhagavad-gita As It Is and Vasistha’s Yoga at the same time. I felt like my head was splitting. Vasistha’s Yoga presents the absolute truth by negating all sense perception up to and including the mind itself, stating unequivocally that the “world-appearance” has no existence whatsoever. Bhagavad-gita As It Is presents the absolute truth as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. It appeared that each of these books was the best of its respective class, but I couldnâ€™t discern which to accept as the actual truth. I was keeping a journal of my yoga practice (which I can’t seem to find now), and I wrote in it that night (approximately) “If Krishna is who they say He is, I need Him to appear to me.” I had been remembering the prediction that Fran had told me, and the recent uncertainty that entered into my spiritual life, coupled with the idea that I could die very soon was quite troublesome to me. I was still feeling this way when on Friday (October 6) one of my housemates suggested we all go to the Olympia Film Festival that was happening that night. It seemed like a good time to try to relax a little.
I should mention that we were going to see this movie, “Kids,” which I was told was written by kids about kids life in the city. The line went outside and wrapped around the block. This movie portrayed teenage and pre-teen life as intense sex, drugs, and violence, and it was quite disturbing. When I got home I went into my room and started reading Bhagavad-gita again. That was about 11:00 p.m. I was still reading at around 4 a.m. when I decided I ought to go to sleep.
I turned another page, and it was blank, in the middle of the book, and the next page had a very large “108″ in the middle, with nothing else there. I turned another page, and I noticed that wherever I looked I could only see the name “Krsna” with three dots, one each under letters ‘rsn.’ I gazed into the center dot, as I thought “truth is one, but wherefrom these three dots?” as my mind took to a spiral and dove into that center dot. That moment I looked up and saw Krishna standing there (in that “painting” that I had bought in Olympia), in full form, smiling and blowing on His flute. He laughed at me and said, “So you think you’re a yogi? You want to know what Samadhi is?” In a flash, where I seemed to pass through billions of lifetimes, everything was suddenly gone. What else can I say about that? Suddenly I remembered Krishna, who seemed to take hold of me and bring me back to Him. Then He said, “prema,” which I had never heard before. Prema means “love of God.” Immediately I felt like I, the soul in this body, was stretched like a wire wherein all the love between God and His devotees was flowing. I won’t try to say what that felt like, but it makes me cry even now. After so much time, I was face to face with my beloved Lord. Tears are streaming down my face as I write now.
I had asked days earlier if Krishna was God, and He had more to show me. For the full duration of the brahma-muhurta period, from 4 a.m. until dawn, He gave me a lesson from the Bhagavad-gita, teaching me the same truths He gave to Arjuna. His body took the form of all of my loved ones; He demonstrated full control over time, moving it backwards, forwards, back again, changing what had just happened, and so on. He showed me directly how He effortlessly creates the world in front of me at every moment, exactly according to my desires and merits. By His mystic potency He automatically does all this for everyone. In one moment He would induce me to chant His names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare,” which cleared away every trace of material desire, and then He would induce me to stop and my former desires would flood back in making His transcendental form disappear into the painting. I would then remember Him and what He had taught, taking to His name with desperation, and He would reappear in His full splendor. As this was going on, I noticed what I can only call a “door,” the same size as the “painting” that had the number 108 in front of it. I observed that as I chanted this Hare Krishna mahamantra, I was being drawn towards the door, and that approach stopped when I stopped chanting. I felt like there was a countdown of sorts as I was rapidly burning up karmic reactions that had not yet manifested, future lifetimes were disappearing. I remembered the billions of mundane lifetimes I had lived, and thought that I did not know what was on the other side of the door but that whatever I knew from all those lives did not apply there. I could feel spiritual ecstasy practically bursting through that doorway, but I did not know what was on the other side. I got the sense that when I went through, Krishna was going to wash away the whole scene in devastation, and I thought this was the earthquake/deluge that I was warned about a few days earlier. I remembered my mother, and Krishna told me that if I went through the door, I will have avoided death and I would not have been born. He clearly said, “your mother will not have known you ever existed.” Suddenly I was bewildered as I realized His unlimited potency, and I became afraid. I was not prepared for this.
With that, His transcendental form again faded into the painting, and I desperately wanted Him back. I took to His names with renewed vigor, and as I did this, the corner of the painting combusted. As I chanted, the fire moved down from the upper-right corner consuming about 20% down, but then it reversed. As I tried to apply the knowledge I had just acquired, the painting alternately burned and ‘unburned,’ repeatedly. I knew I wasn’t going through that door just yet, and as my mind plunged into materialistic thoughts I became terrified of Krishna, and I tore the painting up in a fit of panic, and pulled a tapestry of Lord Buddha off the wall. I held firm onto a principle relating the spiritual and material worlds, which I called “The Opposite Rule,” but I pulled my bedcovers over my head as I cowered, terrified of Krishna with His inconceivable potency. (I later learned that Srila Prabhupada said it this world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world, which was a better way of saying it, since in my conception there was the sidenote that opposited wasn’t exactly what it would seem. I guess that’s due to the “perverted” quality.) I heard Him say to me, “Always chant My names, and get some association of My devotees.” I remembered my family and wished for their spiritual well-being, and He said, “Just name your children after Me, and your family will all come to Me.” The last thing He said was that He would be back for me at the end of this life, and as a clue to remember He said the painting would be whole then.
The next morning I remembered nothing from that night. I did not know what happened to the painting, but I gathered the pieces and put them in a box. I was unable to find the cow’s nose. Over the next few years I had frequent deja-vu feelings, and with them I remembered little bits of that night with Krishna. There are still many things I haven’t told about it, partly because I cannot make any sense of chronology. I do not think I was in this world for much of it, and when I try to describe those experiences I run into paradoxes that make no sense in words. Krishna had given me a choice to come to Him immediately, or to take as much time as I liked. I asked to live at the border of material and spiritual life for a while so that I could clearly understand what I was leaving and what I was entering, and He obliged. That’s about where I am now.
Another thing Krishna told me was that to learn more about Him, I should read Srila Prabhupada’s books. (I can probably keep remembering various other things from that night as long as I sit here typing, but it’s too late at night.) I don’t care any more about any of the old teachers I had studied such as Maharshi, Vivekenanda, etc. I take them as dangerously misleading, per Krishna’s instructions. I’ve got to bring this message to an end sooner or later, and I think that’ll be about now.