Finding Prabhupada…

A very long time ago, while perusing a used book store, I came across an interesting looking book called “The Krsna Book”. Being forever interested in all things India, I snatched it up. And, like so many things in life where we have every good intention of diving right in, the book landed upon one of many shelves with many other books holding ranks in the “next to read” pile, there it sat for many, many years.

While living in Los Angeles, my husband and I would visit the Venice Beach area often, being draw to the Bohemian vibe. There I ran into a Hindu monk. He was dressed in saffron and sported a shaven head with a little pony tail in the back and a curious looking bag around his neck. He was working a booth that was stationed along the board walk there with a lot of other similar vendors. While securing the purchase of a Hindu Calendar we struck up a conversation. I was telling him how I was very interested in converting to Hinduism and inquiring how to go about getting into that belief system and philosophy, when he asked me what was the religion that my family traditionally followed. After revealing to him that the majority of my family had practiced various degrees of Christianity over the years – from active to fallen away – he advised me to follow my family’s religiosity first and then if I was still not feeling fulfilled by that to then look further into Hinduism. So, I took his advice. From that point in time I explored Christianity, Judaism, Wicca and other New Age systems getting heavily involved in all of them, only to be left feeling like I had hit a wall on each respective path. And even though the paths taken merely led me around in circles back to my original starting point, I can see the wisdom of doing it that way. No stone left unturned, as they say.

That was 25 years ago. I have come a very long way, baby…

It was a  little over 3 years ago that I was going through my book shelves looking to see if there were any books that I had maybe outgrown or moved past, so that I could possibly donate them to charity so as to clear up some badly needed space on the dusty old shelves. There it was. “The Krsna Book”. Huh. I had forgotten all about that book. Taking it down off the shelf, I headed into the living room where I love to sit and get lost in reading. I opened it and there was a photo of a little Indian man, very regal in stature but kind of eye. His name was A.C. Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada. A mouthful, but one I would become very accustomed to and then even attached to over the following weeks and months. Opening that book literally changed my life forever and for the better to say the least.

As I read, I remembered the Hindu monk that I had chatted with all those years ago. No doubt he was a Sanniyasi. As I became more engrossed in the Krsna Book, I began to research the author, the philosophy that he taught, the religion that he stood by and everything else that went with his teachings…for I had quite literally stumbled upon the Mother Lode and every word was another stepping stone that was approaching the very answers that I had been in search of for so, so long. And to think that those answers had been sitting right there upon my shelf all along. I was astounded at how that book had followed me from the City of Angels, Los Angeles to San Francisco, home of the Golden Gate Bridge to the chilly shores of Lake Michigan to the Oldest City Saint Augustine, Florida then finally to the home of the  World’s Most Popular Beach in Daytona Beach, Florida. Life is simply astounding, wouldn’t you agree?

The book was the best I had ever read. I just couldn’t get enough. I wondered who this Srila Prabhupada was. I wanted to know more about him…where is he now? Where does he live? How has it been for him and the movement since this wonderful book was published? I just had to know more. So…I took to the interwebz and YouTube.

It wasn’t long until I discovered the horrible truth…sweet and wonderful Srila Prabhupada had died under very suspicious circumstances. All evidence pointed to his demise being perpetrated by the very people whom he entrusted the most…his closest devotees and right hand men. I was shocked. I was horrified. I was incredibly sad upon learning all of this information. But for some strange reason, I was not at all surprised by these events. It also made me very determined to learn as much as I could from and about this beautiful Holy Soul who was showing me the path to True Enlightenment. I then declared in my heart and to the world that Srila Prabhupada would be my true Spiritual Master.

So my journey began and is still on-going. Please stay tuned to this tiny place in cyber space if you would like to see what happens next on this, my very own exciting spiritual adventure

…until next time…

…Hare Krishna!

Is Avatar Anti-Religion & Anti-Military?

I heard an interesting thing on the morning CNN news. The piece started out with this statement: “Reports are saying that Avatar, the movie, is anti-religion and anti-military.” I raised an eyebrow.

I find this statement interesting. For one, I smirk and almost resent that anyone would say such a goofy thing!  The news commentator went on to say that James Cameron defended his latest movie as “spiritual” and not necessarily having anything to do with religion, to which I wholeheartedly agree. I find it typical and somewhat disgusting that mainstream religious rights and lefts would point a finger at what this movie is – a call to be more spiritual and aware of our Mother Earth  and more sensitive to everything around us, especially people. Just like the hubbub that went on when Harry Potter first arrived on the scene, calling it pagan and anti-religious just for the fact that it had an air of the  otherworldly about it. Spells and brooms and potions, oh my! Heaven forbid!

It just really bugs me when this sort of thing happens.

The commentators went on to say that $10,000,000 in revenue speaks very loudly to the fact that people love this movie, its message and connect with it in a big way, something the Christian Churches (especially those who’s head master is stationed in Rome!) must find disturbing, when one takes into account all of those $dollar signs$ that are supporting such a “pagan” flavour.

They interviewed two people on the street. The first one, when asked what he thought about this latest sentiment, said, “I think it is anti-overly religious and overly-military.” Another person, a young Asian lady, commented, “I just think it is an over the top sensory stimulation. Nothing ant-anything about it.” So, there you have it. The folks on the street really are not the ones finding this movie “over-anything.” So…who is it that is behind these statements anyway?

Facts are facts. I read a poll not too long ago that said that people were stepping back away from organized religion and wetting their appetites for enlightenment on a more individual and spiritual path, which does my heart good. People are waking up to their own feelings, their own sensitivities and their own spirituality and beginning to realize that they don’t really need a huge religion in back of them to find their way to a higher source. Don’t get me wrong. I am not out against big and/or organized religion as a whole or for people to find comfort and/or camaraderie behind it. Sometimes that is just their style. I just don’t think that these same religions should cast stones at others who don’t wish to follow the same path as they do. It’s like…”your way is right as long as it is just like my way.” Intolerance.  NOT what Jesus would do.

What comes to my mind is an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants that my grand daughter and I were watching one time. Mr. Crabs had just sold out his diner, the Crusty Crab,  to a big restaurant chain to be pounded and molded into a clone of what they already had going as a national chain of high profile and highly recognizable restaurants. Mr. Crabs sold out and  retired, but the rest of the staff stayed on, as they still needed jobs. Of course, as with all big conglomerates, they have their quirks, like the acronyms and the employee manuals to keep everyone brainwashed, under control and in line. After a while, the staff started getting sick and tired of being told what to think and how to fee, (…yeah, this is a kids show! 🙂 and soon they began to revolt. The little peon manager was seen to be running through the restaurant screaming at the top of his lungs, “FREE THINKER! FREE THINKER!!!”    This is what the Avatar flap I heard on the boob toob this morning reminds me of. I am glad they ran the story. I am hoping that a lot of other folks out there feel the same way about it as I do.

Although, my partner has another spin on it. He says that the reason they are trying to tear down the movie and cast doubt is because of the fact that it is up for Best Picture. Ha!  He’s probably right. There’s always something. He always keeps me grounded. 😉