Thursday, March 8, 2012

Krishna's universal form

My dear Lord Krishna,

I see your universal form. I learn from your universal form. It is beautiful. It is amazing. In it are everything. From the atoms to the planets I see it all. Everything is there in context and proportion. Nothing needs to be added and subtracted. And I am there too. Your form is moving. It is in motion. The planets are going around the sun. The humming bird is drinking from the flowers. The electron is revolving around the proton-neutron nucleus. The bees are drinking.

I see the sun revolving.

I see mother earth. She holds those who trample her and hurt her close to her heart. She doesn't discriminate between the rich nor the poor. She gives all their best, remembering everyone's acts as normal and natural from their perspective.

With it's bright rays, the sun draws water from everything, transforms it into clouds and then distributes it as rain without favor.

And I am there too. I participate in this universe of yours. Pulled between the gravitational forces of the planets and sandwhiched by atoms.

All around me is conflict and chaos in human relationships. And all around me is loving and caring. All these are in your universal form.

There are people being born and people dying. Disease and old age.

All these are within you. You are the sustainer and maintainer of all that is.

There are people driving to work. People putting together the universe. Making it click together. Harvesting the earth. People working for people. Fighting to make things work.
Keeping the machinery of the world going. There are people who can't keep up getting crushed between the teeth of this machinery. Grinding teeth of death.

The machinery must go on, and it does. The machinery of the planets and the universe. It is a force in itself. An unstopping force. Everyone must keep up or be crushed. And we run. We run to keep up and not stay behind. This is the merciless force of time. And You say that you are that as well.

You are this grinding machinery of this universe. Like an airplane engine it revolves mercilessly. Get out of it's way, keep up, or get crushed. And like the planets revolving around the sun, this machinery revolves, taking the seasons, the birds, the flowers and the bees with it.

And we try to stay in touch. We try to keep up. It's tough. So many details to master of your universe.

Shameless as Hitler was

My arrogance is my complete inability to accept that in my previous life I may have been an individual like Hitler or Stalin. I am too arrogant to accept that I was one of these monsters in my last life and that in this lifetime I am getting punished for it.
Can you imagine the kind of karma that someone like Hitler might have? If I had been Hitler in my last life, can you even imagine what I would have to go through in this life? Can you even imagine the kind of life that someone like Hitler would have in this world today if he was reborn? Why am I so convinced that I couldn't be him?

If Hitler had to suffer for the karma of his actions, what would that be like? I would be slapped around every corner. I would be hated by everyone. That would be some pretty deadly karma. No one wants to identify themselves as being a reincarnation of a Hitler or a Stalin. Everyone wants to be the reincarnation of the Buddha.

I have suffered enough in my life to believe that I might be the reincarnation of Hitler or Stalin. Does that sound melodramatic? Does it sound like an exaggeration? Seriously. I see very serious parallels in my life between this Kaliyan character and my life.

I am desperately trying to find a way to justify the suffering that has been mine in this lifetime.

Why is it so unbelievable to believe that I am a reincarnation of Hitler? I'm not proud to have had such a life in my previous life.

It would be shameful to have lived such a life. But what if you were arrogant enough to not feel the shame of living such a life? Hitler was not ashamed to be himself.

Though I have not hurt people the way Hitler has, I am shameless in my own way. I have hurt people I didn't mean to. I have blamed people when it was really my fault. I couldn't accept my own karma and I have spent a lot of the energy of my life in blaming other people for what was really my karma. I have not even apologized to many of these people.

Even today, I feel no shame in neglecting my duties. I feel no shame in living off of others. I feel no shame in not taking care of what I own. I feel no shame in not using my talents to help others. I am shameless. And I feel no shame about being shameless. I should be chained, beaten and whipped. But even that wouldn't be completely adequate for me.

I am shameless. I don't serve Krishna. I don't  feel any desire to love or play with Him. I am shameless.
I will show a smiley face as if to say that I am a good person and I deserve to be looked up by you. But in fact I am truly shameless.

And I feel no shame in not doing the things that I should. I feel no shame about not living my truth. I feel no shame in not living the things that I believe in. And I still feel that the world should respect me.

I'm just a bitter person who can't accept that the suffering of my life was a result of my own karma. My arrogance in this life is such that I refuse to believe that I could have been a Hitler or Stalin in my last life. Such is my great arrogance. Why do I have such a superiority complex that I believe that I couldn't have been one of these two monsters in my last life?
Why am I 100% sure that there is no way in hell that I couldn't be one of these two? 

I am so attached to feeling that I am such a wonderful and good person and so should never have suffered the life that I lived. That is arrogance. Where did I develop such arrogance? Where did I get these ideas from? Why am I so sure that I should not be beaten with shoes and sticks and stones in this life? Why am I so sure that I couldn't have been Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini or any one of these in my last life?

I sit around blaming others rather than sucking it up. I am just that shameless.

Feeling the heat of life

It is very difficult for me to digest the arrogance of nations that feel that they are more independent than other nations. I have a very difficult time digesting the self-righteousness of nations that feel that they are a law in themselves. That some how Krishna's laws don't apply to them. That they owe no fidelity to all that is around them that is not them. I am amused by this arrogance really. But I can relate to it.

I myself lived that same belief. I believed that I was independent enough not to have to care about Krishna's laws. And what happened? Reality happened.

I guess I wasn't tough enough to be France, America or Germany. I caved to the pressures of accepting Krishna's reality, man. There was only so much that I could take. I had the truth about the nature of this world pressure fucked down my throat. It sucked. And I wanted to vomit. I really did. I wanted to accept that this world was a positive and lovely place like the guy next to me. I wanted to mark off my territory with a 'no fly zone' so that other people's shit wouldn't plough into my territory. But I found out that life doesn't work that way.

It blows. Life sucks. And I wanted to vomit. The bitter truth about the nature of reality in this world is rough and coarse. And I want life to be sweet and sexy. And life and my wants were totally incompatible. It blew. It sucked. It was rough and a lot of gnarly things to digest.

Maybe that is why I am so amused with nations on earth who feel that Krishna's reality doesn't apply to them. I know they feel the heat. I know they feel the pressure, man. This material world is a hot place. And if you can't handle the heat in the kitchen, the only place to go is out of it. While in this material world, everyone is feeling the heat. Everyone is feeling the pressure. And it sucks.

I suppose I'm not tough enough like these great nations on earth to keep living life without believing in Krishna's laws. But then I realize that arrogance and ego are the most natural thing in this material world. The only way I know to develop a big enough ego to digest all that is the shit that life has to offer is by identifying with matter. And quite frankly, that seems like a much bigger price than I want to pay. I seem to do a fair amount of identifying with matter without even trying to.

I admire all those who create big egoes and enjoy the challenge of defending it. It is a beautiful lifestyle in of itself. It can really occupy your attention. It can really give you a sense of purpose. And I really admire all those who find such great meaning in their big egoes. I really do. I envy you to some degree. It's just that I can't seem to enjoy it as much as everyone else in this world. Which sucks really. I want to enjoy the party as much as everybody else is. 

Letter to Lord Krishna

My dear Lord Krishna,

Please give me the strength to be able to accept my lot in life with equilibrium, both good and bad. And allow me to accept all that which is not my lot in life with equilibrium. And please give me the wisdom to know the difference between what is my lot in life and what is others. 
Please give me the strength to do my duty while accepting my karma, both good and bad. Please give me the wisdom to understand other people's duty and to accept what is their karma, both good and bad.

This is one of the toughest things that I have done in my life. It goes against every notion that I have heard from science, social justice movements, my friends. But I have suffered so much listening to all these other people. Finally, with no other recourse to understanding this world around me in relation to my life, I have come to You. The language that you speak in the Bhagavad-gita makes the most sense to me. It allows me to digest all that is going on in the world around me. It gives me a consistent context through which to understand huge chunks of reality. And I write this I feel somewhat guilty.

I am no one. I am no saint or a self-realized soul. I am just an individual who has suffered greatly while living in this world and is trying to find a way to cope with all that I see and hear. I feel a certain self-righteousness in writing these words. I feel a certain level of pride. I feel somewhat holy. I feel godly in a way. I feel divine. But I feel pretentious as well. I feel like I am trying to be something that I am not. And I know that amidst all these contradictions is me. I won't be able to explain enough of myself to make everyone happy. And I pray to you to help me. Give me the intelligence to not even try.

Thank you.

Feeling the pressure of life

The notion of independence is laughable in this world. While we mine the ground for minerals and we cut down trees for resources, we consider ourselves independent. We plough our airplanes through the sky, polluting it, and we consider ourselves independent. We think we are not dependent on the skies and the space, the sun, the air and the rain.
How did we become independent? What are we independent of?

We consider rich nations developed. We think they are more independent than under-developed nations that depend on them. We think that rich nations are a law in of themselves. That they can afford to feel more self-righteous with their wealth and power than underdeveloped nations.

But what man is a law in himself? And what nation is a law in themself? What corporation exists for themself and by themself and is truly independent?

We consider those who are dependent on us a burden. But we are all a burden on each other. We are all bearing the weight of each other while living on earth. I have to bear the snobbery of those better than me. I have to bear my own insecurities in relation to them. They burden me with how beautiful, handsome, rich, popular and loved they are. I feel the pressure. And it hurts.

And they feel the pressure of having more than others. They feel guilty. They wish the world was more fair and they regret that it is not. They didn't choose to be born more beautiful and with a natural ability to attract others. They didn't create the inequality of life. They are trying to survive it as much as I am. And it sucks.

And without accepting the notion of karma, all we can engage in is mudslinging on each other. The rich feel righteous about their hard earned money. And the poor feel righteous about their pain.
Rich nations feel righteous about their hard earned power through their economic, militaristic and political wheeling and dealing. And poor nations feel righteous about the indignity and inhumanity of their pain, poverty, degradation and suffering. There is a whole media enterprise and academia industry that thrives on making their careers off of the indignity and inhumanity being suffered in the world. Don't think they are without motive.

It is a tough tough world out there. And we are all in the midst of it, playing different roles.
Corporations feel self-righteous about holding unto their profits. They feel good about hiring top lawyers to battle patent turf wars. And other corporations that are falling behind feel self-righteous about cutting corners because life is not fair. How are they, who are weaker, supposed to battle it out in a world that is not fair without cutting corners?
And then there is the media judging bigger from smaller and weaker from taller feeling self-righteous about seeing the truth. 

We take sides and we justify ourselves taking sides. We justify our biases because the world is not fair. We support women over men or men over women.

So who is independent? Who is independent of public opinion? Who is independent of economic crisis? Who is independent of political change or the impact of political change? Who doesn't feel the heat of life in this pressure cooker called earth? Apparently we all do. They are calling that global warming.

We are all coping with the pressure and burden of life in our own way.

Rich nations suffer from guilt. They shield their eyes from social responsibility. If the world believed in karma, it would be easier on both the rich and the poor. It would be easier for both the powerful and the weak. Karma is not the panacea for all the problems of the world. This material world is to be neither hated nor loved. It is as it is.

No nation is independent from another as much as no human is independent from another. All corporations in an industry affect what happens to the industry. And the state of the industry in turn impacts the corporation.

Karma allows everyone to enjoy and suffer their lot in life without feeling the need to justify it to everyone. Karma allows us to accept personal pain without holding everyone around us responsbile. Karma goes against all notions of social justice. And at the same time it is the ultimate social justice because it says that man can never divide and conquer this world to satisfy everyone all the time. Communism tried and failed miserably.

I don't have the answers to everything. I too feel the pressure of life as all others do. And I am responding to that pressure in my own way.

Life without karma

There is a lot of pressure in the world. And without accepting the notion of karma it is very hard to digest all the pressure in the world coming from all ends. Without accepting the notion of duty it is very hard to simply focus on doing what you need to without worrying about the world. It is very hard to not feel guilty for being insensitive to all that is happening in the world.

There are many careers being made in the world of corporate advertising. And there are many careers being made in the world of journalism and social non-profits. The corporate advertisers want to make you feel guilty for not matching up to some pre-conceived notion idea of what you should be. Perhaps you should be fatter or thinner or whatever. And the journalists and social non-profits want to make you feel guilty because some where someone has suffered and you should feel that it shouldn't have happened. At the end of the day know that they too, are just doing their duty. They are trying to survive just like you and me.

So we are all sandwiched between these pressures. We are sandwiched in our awareness. And it hurts. And sometimes it feels like ignorance is bliss. Sometimes knowledge and awareness really cramps our style. Without seeing the world through the eyes of spirituality and acceptance, the more sensitive we are to the world, the more difficult we will find to maintain our equilibrium amidst of all the pressures of life. The more reactive we will get. And the more we will increase our own and others suffering.

If the imposition of will of one person on another is violence, who does not commit violence? Who does not commit pain on another?
Economics works in such a way that if no one can afford a house at a certain price, the price will go lower. So by buying a house at a certain price, you are, in one way, doing violence on all those who could have afforded the house at a cheaper price (when the price went down).
By taking a job at a certain salary level, you are in essence taking the job away from another individual who is willing to do the job at a cheaper price. You are in essence doing violence on that individual's family. 

I didn't create the violence in living in this world. It came this way. And those people feeling that all violence at all times can be eradicated indefinitely are misleading the public. 

So in this way we are all burdening each other by our existence. The resources in this world is limited. And by living we are consuming resources that could be in other people's mouths. People try to white wash this truth in all kinds of ways to avoid these ugly facts. But it is not we who made the world ugly. It came this way.

This is the nature of the material world.

I wish I didn't feel the pressure of this world. This world is a prison. And we have to live out our sentence in it. We have to live out our prison sentence in the pressure cooker of the world. And it sucks. We came with our karma in it. And we have to do our time. And everyone is coping in their own way. Some show the pain of the pressure and others don't.

A life without pain is a life without pressure

This world is a pressure cooker. Pressure makes the world turn. Some people are more sensitive than others. And the more sensitive and aware you are of the world, you are likely to feel more pressure than others.

The pressure in the pressure cooker is tight and hard. On one side there is the pressure of advertising from corporations. On the other side there is the pressure from journalism in terms of social justice. There is pressure being added from both sides on the common man. In the middle the common man is cooking between the conflicting messages. And in between all the common men are the ones that are the most sensitive that are feeling the pressure the most. They are quaking and cracking between the pressure of the diammetric forces between corporate advertising and journalistic morality. They feel that someone should be doing something about it. And those that can't swallow that resentment, accepting this is the nature of the world, end up reacting to it. People will tell this individual, "You can't change the world, just do your duty." And those that can't swallow the notion of duty, suffer.

The popular rhetoric is that change is inevitable in the world. And we are told to pick sides on which way things are going to change. We label ourselves as liberals or conservatives and pick a side. And we join the political global tug-o-war. We push or we pull to make our side win. We try to do our part to tip the balance on the side that we think should be favorable. 

The pressure on the world is increasing. It has been increasing. It will keep increasing. Pressure keeps getting tighter and tighter. The more sensitive things that can't bear the pressure break in the process. And that which doesn't break, becomes stronger.This is known as survival of the fittest. There is nothing good or bad about it. It is the way the world has always been and will always be. Nature produces differences in all living creatures, not humans.

Communication is the top valve of the pressure cooker. Every once in a while, through all the pressure, communication happens. Communication in the system is like the drinking bird taking a sip of water. Without the water the colored fluid in the drinking bird keeps rising and rising. It functions like a pressure cooker with high heat under it. The colored fluid keeps rising and rising until it makes the bird tip. Finally when the drinking bird takes a sip of water, equilibrium is reached.  The bird is upright and rocking again.

So this sipping of water by the bird functions like the top valve of the pressure cooker. It cools down the system. It decompresses it. This process is communication. When everyone in the system agrees upon the paradigm and understands the pressure cooker the same way and has similar expectations, then harmony happens. But this is idealistic. Things rarely operate this way in the Western world.

In the traditional East there is the notion of duty. The notion of doing your duty is almost like being a professional. The professional does his duty. He is not worried about what the whole corporation is doing. He simply does his duty. He executes his profession as well as he can, not worrying about the whole world.

In a corporation, the notion of duty is that you are a cog in the wheel of the car. The CEO is the driver. And let us say that you are supposed to function as the head-lights. Well since your job is to function as the head-lights, your eyes are on the road. And you see an up-coming car. And you know that your job is to provide the light for the car. But unfortunately the driver is not paying attention to the road because he is fiddling with the radio knob. So what do you do? Do you freak out for the love of the car? Do you do what it takes to avoid an accident? Do you try to signal the CEO even though your job is only to function as the head-lights? Should you feel that "someone" should be doing something about it? Do you impose your own morality that 'accidents should be avoided at all costs' on the car? Or do you do your duty as serving as the head-lights?

To feel conflicted in the midst of all of those questions while you see an up-coming car while you are racing down a road, is called pressure. Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra felt all these conflicts. And the instructions from Krishna try to put everything in context for him so that Arjuna doesn't feel conflicted. Krishna tells Arjuna to just do his duty.
As long as you are doing what you are meant to do to the best of your abilities, even if a collision happens, you are not responsible. Social morality will disagree with this. Social morality will say that no one should ever get hurt. But this is wrong.

Pain is inevitable in this world. And you cannot avoid it. You have to be able to digest the heat of pressure. You have to focus on the job at hand and swallow the rest. It is tough. You may feel that you are being insensitive. People will accuse you with all kinds of things. But all you can do is your duty. Pain is sewed into the DNA fabric of this world. It is the source of growth. Without pain there wouldn't be any worthwhile realization or maturation. There would only be cliche superficial wisdom.