BLOG  - JUNE 9, 2020

 

UNDERSTANDING TIME TRAVEL

 

In this material world there is no movement, there is only change and time is the medium through which everything changes. To overcome linear time is to reach a state where the mutable becomes perennial and suffering is forever transcended within the light and warmth of the Absolute Truth. 

 

The following information is based on Vedic teachings. Although the Sanskrit root veda can be interpreted many different ways the significance is one. Veda means knowledge. The Vedas contain original unadulterated knowledge. They are the complete compendium of realized information, handed down by purified beings in union with the Absolute Truth. This pure knowledge stands in contrast to deductive observational reasoning that is ever changing. Anyone who has indulged in mind altering substances, whether it be alcohol or Psilocybin mushrooms can profess to the imperfectness of our material senses. The senses are unreliable in their ability to perceive so-called reality. Those with colorblindness or myopia perceive the world differently than those without such conditions. Who then is seeing reality? This is one of the four defects of the living being whose consciousness is under the guidance of the material world’s energy. The four conditioned defects of material souls are: they have imperfect senses, they make mistakes, they are easily illusioned and they have a propensity to cheat others. One can easily see how the imperfectness of the material sense organs can lead to mistakes. Any time spent around children clearly shows the innocence of illusionment present by their behavior which only becomes subtler and more complex as they progress further through time in this material world. In terms of the cheating propensity, we all have been subjects of, and victims to, such mechanisms. A want to fulfill our material desires is the driving force behind the cheating propensity while fear of death is the underlying foundation from which these lusty desires grow. Our fear of death is directly related to being under the illusion that we and our body are one and the same. In fact we are not the body. We are not the body we inhabited when we were a child nor the body we inhabited five minutes ago. The human body is in a constant state of change and decay whereas consciousness driven by the intelligence has the ability to grow and expand even into old age. Scientists have clearly shown how DNA of the body degrades over time but they have repeatedly failed in their attempts to measure consciousness. This is because we are bound by a world of duality and are attempting to measure something that is simultaneously one with and different from this world. The temporary material manifestation we find ourselves in is built upon a foundational ever-existing spiritual world. Ironically modern scientists call this spiritual world “dark matter” because their instruments cannot detect it, however we are the one’s wrapped in a cocoon of nescient dark matter. We are unable to feel the pure light of consciousness with our materially conditioned senses and so-called scientific instruments of deductive understanding. The spiritual realm is like the vast mycelium network underlying the forest floor; it is unseen yet sustains the life of all living entities due to its information and nutrient transferring nature. In Japan we have read about a certain dying tree that was given fresh life by neighboring trees through a fungi network. Is this not synchronous with the power of positive thinking? Or dare I say prayer?

 

Time is conspicuous by its absence in the spiritual world where everything is pure consciousness. The degree to which one’s consciousness is purified from material beliefs and attachments is the degree to which one becomes aware of the oneness of past, present and future. Our desires create the illusion that time is linear. A material desire is like a goal post we strive for. These desires come in both the gross and subtle forms; gross in relation to the physical body and subtle in relation to the false ego. The bodily desires to eat, sleep, engage in sexual intercourse and defend our so-called selves bind us to the physical world. The desires to be liked, honored, respected or worshiped by others constitute the fuel of the false ego that keeps us bound to the subtle material world. As long as these desires exist we will continue striving forward in time toward them. Therefore material time is like kayaking a raging river while eternal time is like drifting a peaceful lake. 

 

The materially conditioned body may only move forward in time, however through the process of purifying our consciousness, our materially bound body becomes digested until the point it is fully spiritualized. This is the point of pure consciousness and devotion. It is only in this state that we become aware of past, present and future as being simultaneous. If we are traveling up a winding dirt path to reach the top of a mountain, our visibility extends only up until the next bend, however if a birds-eye view is adopted, the entire path—where we have been, where we are and where we are headed—immediately becomes clear. 

 

When one’s consciousness is completely purified of material desires they immediately become a spiritually embodied spark of the Absolute Truth. In this state their devotional activities are perfectly in tune with the will of the Absolute Truth. 

 

The “end times” as purported by Christian theologians to mark a moment of rapture for the pious and annihilation for the demoniac should be reworded as “the end of time(s)”. Still, this falls very short of describing the complexion of the Absolute Truth that can be known only by those engaged in pure devotional service. Time will not end for those reaching purity, but our consciousness of time as a linear construct will cease to be. Linear time will become eternal time or material conditioning will completely dissolve uncovering the divine spark within. Jesus spoke of living in this world but not of this world. Similarly we are moving to a time when we will live in these bodies but not of these bodies. A coconut fresh from the tree is still attached to its husk. When it is shaken it feels like a single object, however when left to bask in the light and warmth of the sun the coconut eventually becomes free from its husk. We too will someday be IN the coconut husk but not OF the coconut husk. It is said that transcendental knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. Only through the cultivation of higher knowledge can this shift take place. Knowledge is given from without and from within. From without in the form of the teachings of the spiritual master (see my previous blog) and from within through the plenary expansion of the Absolute Truth, known as the Supersoul, located next to the individual soul within the heart of every living being. This Supersoul is also present in every atom of our universe. Physicists are now purporting a theory of “quantum monism” saying that there is a single unifying force connecting all particles in the galaxy. According to propounders of this theory, through mathematics they have calculated that there are enough microparticles within a single atom to connect with every other atom existing in the universe creating a single mesh network where everything connects with everything else. This is ancient wisdom rebranded and stage one of realization of the Absolute Truth. Stage two entails realizing you have the divine spark of the Absolute Truth within you—Supersoul—and the degree to which you take directions from the Supersoul is the degree to which you can realize level three of the Absolute Truth—The Supreme Personality of Godhead. The process of ascending these three stages is known as the practice of devotional service or Bhakti Yoga. It is the topmost yoga system and has nothing to do with gymnastic exercises or physical feats to improve sex life. As we have discussed, seeking out a spiritual master who has seen the truth is crucial for ascending this ladder, otherwise you are simply illusioned at the whims of your imperfect senses, prone to make mistakes while cheating others in the process. Practicing devotional service is joyfully performed when the nine processes are followed that begin with hearing and chanting about the glories of the Absolute Truth. Therefore no matter your desire, whether it is materially driven or to travel through time, you should take to this process and your life will be successful, for the Absolute Truth is the reservoir of all pleasure. 

 

When our endeavor to approach the Absolute Truth increases in sincerity to see His personal form, out of compassion for us, He dissolves any lingering material attachments we still cling to. True sincerity happens when we desire to be engaged in unalloyed devotional service to the Absolute Truth free from any desire for material gain. We do not lose our personality, but rather our true personality shines through like a lotus flower blooming up through the muck of a swamp. The beauty of the Kingdom of the Absolute Truth lies in its complete unity within variety. This is in contrast to the impersonalist concept of the Absolute Truth that ends where the quantum monism theorist begins. We should take it on Pure Authority that the variety existing in this material world is simply a dull reflection of the self-effulgent variety that exists in the spiritual realm. It is said that in the spiritual world every word is a song and every step is a dance... nothing decays or dies and everything glows with the light of everlasting love for the Creator and His creation. 

 

Hare Krsna! Thank you very much,

Your servant and well-wisher,

- Benjamin 

BLOG  - JUNE 6, 2020

It is only by the grace of my spiritual master that I am able to sit here and convey anything of merit. There was a time not long ago when I realized the dreams I desired in this life were nothing more than wills-o’-the-wisp. A deep existential fear gripped me. I had exhausted all avenues for material sense gratification through relationships, education, athletics, filmmaking, drugs, gambling and even out-of-body mystical experiences. In a moment of complete paralysis I dropped to my knees and begged the Absolute Truth to deliver me to a spiritual master who would be able to help end my suffering. Some might lovingly refer to this as my “come to Jesus moment”… That same day, a friend invited me to Griffith Observatory overlooking the City of Angels. It was there that an unassuming youthful-faced monk operating a book table promoting spiritual wisdom introduced me to the writings of Swami Srila Prabhupada. Initially I was uninterested but made a modest donation and took the books he suggested. Up until that point I was buying a book a day online in a vein attempt to discover the Absolute Truth. Little did I know that my prayer had been answered and my spiritual master had appeared to me in the form of his books.

 

From the time my first memories were forged I always believed my purpose was to lead others. Repeated frustrations stifled my attempts to realize my imagined potential whether in business school, commercial directing or competitive ice hockey. In retrospect, I now understand my body’s energetically sensitive constitution felt the material disingenuity of my peers. However, instead of adopting an attitude of understanding, compassion and mercy toward them I resorted to judgment, jealousy and anger which served to ostracize me from the pack and further harden the shell protecting my fragile false ego. 

 

It has become clear now that everyone’s constitutional position is not to lead or to serve others but to serve the Supreme Absolute Truth who, in one aspect, is positioned within the hearts of every living being as the “Supersoul”. The Supersoul is a localized aspect of the Absolute Truth directing the steps of every living entity. Therefore by serving the Supreme Controller, naturally others will follow based on the level of purity and understanding one has of the Absolute Truth. By watering the root of a tree, automatically all the branches, leaves and fruits receive sustenance, yet any attempt to water the leaves or fruits individually will end in frustration. Anyone desiring to collect followers is slave to their false ego which illusions them from their true self. When we serve others, whether familialy, philanthropically or otherwise, we are still fueling our false sense of prestige which is ultimately unquenchable. No amount of material good deeds will satisfy the self. Those in the mode of passion fuel their false egos through the amassing of wealth, prestige, and material assets including relationships. Those in the mode of goodness fuel their false egos by engaging in acts of charity. Karmically, both of these positions are materially binding because they fuel the false belief that through our own individual endeavor we may one day become whole. This is illusion and is likened to a dream. When you lay down for rest at night your body becomes more or less dead to the material world and you fall into a fantastic state of illusion that disappears the moment you awaken. Similarly, our natural constitutional position of eternal spirit soul—aham brahmasmi—is laying dormant beneath the covering of our material “dream” consciousness. The material world is real to our material senses but false and illusory to our spiritual body because it is ephemeral and temporary. Everything material degrades. Every atom experiences decay over time and every body experiences birth, growth, disease and eventual death. In the material world, energy received from the sun must be absorbed by living entities and transformed into nutrients and then we must eat the flesh of those living entities to sustain our body. In the spiritual world, everything is self-luminous because every living entity is in a surrendered state of blissful union with the Absolute Truth who is also the Supreme Energetic. Therefore there is no need to eat to sustain the spiritual body. Energy is derived directly from the energetic. Conversely, if we were to stop paying the electricity bill, our energy would immediately be cut off. By forgetting to offer sacrifices to the Supreme Energetic we have been temporarily cut off from the superior spiritual energy and instead are forced to deal with the pangs of the inferior material energy. The moment we pay the electricity bill, immediately the energy once again starts flowing. However, because many of us have rusted wiring and faulty components due to lifetimes of being disconnected we must progressively develop our ability to hold a charge. Therefore we need a specialized technician. We require a spiritual master; someone who will provide us with the template for approaching the Absolute Truth. 

 

The materially conditioned soul has four defects: they are easily illusioned, they commit mistakes, they have imperfect senses and they have a propensity to cheat others. The spiritual master serves as an exemplar of the Absolute Truth within a fully spiritualized body, and he is not subject to these four defects. The spiritual master—also called an “ācārya”—is a purified spirit soul free from false ego positioning him as a confidential servant of the Absolute Truth. In other words the ācārya speaks the language of the Supreme Controller and translates it to others based on the unique time, place and circumstance in which he appears. Without the guiding light of the spiritual master, we are left drifting through the dense fog of material existence, unsure when we will crash into the rocks and drown. 

 

It has become fashionable for pseudo-spiritualists to believe they can act as their own spiritual master, guru, shaman, etc. because they falsely believe the plenary portion of the Absolute Truth—the Supersoul—is all that is necessary for advancement. This is the equivalent of one claiming that because they are in possession of a gun they are fit to go to war. You may go, but it will be very painful for you and those whom you have a bodily relationship with. We must first be trained properly. This is the purpose of the qualified spiritual master. Their qualifications are that they must be sober and able to tolerate the material urges of the mind, senses, tongue, belly and genitals. This is how we distinguished a bona fide ācārya from a show-boat spiritualist huckster. Because they are fit to make disciples all over the world, ācārya means “general” or “great teacher”. When one has implicit faith in both the Absolute Truth and the spiritual master all pure knowledge is automatically revealed to them. Therefore we should seek out an ācārya and inquire from him submissively. Devoid a humble and submissive service attitude we remain slaves to our false sense of proprietorship and fall into the trap of believing the spiritual master to be a materially illusioned being like ourselves. We must be discriminating—no one is suggesting one should surrender their intelligence—but we must discern sincerely and avoid a spirit of judgement, or we risk capping the cup of our heart off from the mercy flowing from the lips of the ācārya. 

 

The spiritual master’s cent percent purity means their writings and elucidations are directly in line with those of the Absolute Truth. Those individuals feeling unworthy, unable or unwilling to approach such pure devotees directly, due to their conditioned material proclivities, may believe stepping-stone gurus and teachers are required. This is nonsense concocted by the mind in cahoots with the false ego. One should approach the Absolute Truth directly in the form of his bona fide representative: the spiritual master. Lord Jesus Christ was a pure devotee ācārya because he had no material desires and he disseminated the Absolute Truth in such a way that was understandable to the people of his unique time, place and circumstance. The Biblical narrative crystalizes into a cogent teaching of the Absolute Truth when juxtaposed with the teachings of a modern ācārya A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Following Jesus’ crucifixion, early Christianity was propagated by a small group of fanatical followers led by Paul the Apostle, therefore it is widely accepted that secular modern day Christian doctrine adheres closer to Paulinism than pure Christianity (for further reading see: “Jesus Lived in India” by Holger Kersten AND Dead Sea Scrolls/Nag Hammadi Scriptures). Similarly, following ācārya Swami Prabhupada’s disappearance from the planet in 1977, the fanatical Hare Krsna movement propagated his teachings far and wide, however unlike Lord Jesus Christ’s teachings, Swami Prabhupada’s literature was directly from the source. Swami Prabhupada oversaw the printing and publishing of his own original writings. Due to gaps in time and the fallibility of ancient recording and duplication techniques Lord Jesus Christ’s teachings are diluted. Swami Prabhupada said if you desired his own personal association, you should read his books, “there is no difference”. In his books Swami Prabhupada presents scientific step-by-step instructions for reconnecting with the Absolute Truth. His teachings are non-sectarian, meant to augment anyones personal religious or non-religious affiliations. Ultimately there is only one religion: the Absolute Truth which is realized in three stages 1) individual soul 2) Supersoul 3) Supreme Personality of Godhead. We are all made in the likeness of the Absolute Truth, therefore secularism and party feelings are the greatest impediments to spiritual progress that our society currently faces. Swami Prabhupada’s non-sectarian teachings come from ancient Vedic societal times when the world was united under a single religion-science-philosophy. 

 

Required reading for anyone serious about advancing in spiritual consciousness are: Bhagavad Gītā As It Is, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, The Nectar of Devotion and Teachings of Lord Caitanya. If you sincerely take to the process described in these books you can become conscious of the Absolute Truth in six months. This was Swami Prabhupada’s promise. 

 

There is no saying what sort of dark pit I would be decaying in had I not received the mercy of Swami Prabhupada. I am most certainly still a rascal and the most fallen, however through the cultivation of unconditional love and trust in my spiritual master ācārya A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada I have faith the darkness in my heart born of ignorance will soon be extinguished by the torchlight of his transcendental teachings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and to all the pure devotees of the Lord who surrendered everything at the lotus feet of the the Absolute Truth.

 

Thank you very much.

 

Your servant and well-wisher,

-Benjamin

 

 

BLOG  - MARCH 29, 2020

Sasquatch, commonly known as Bigfoot is a remnant human hybrid species connected to a root race of beings known in Sanskrit as “Vānarah” which translates to “forrest man”. The Ramayana details how Brahma, the first living entity, created the Vānarah for Rama, an incarnation of God, to battle the demon Ravana who kidnapped Rama’s beloved Sita. Hanuman was the chief Vānarah and pure devotee to Rama, willing to sacrifice everything, including his life, in service to the Lord. “Taking Brahma's orders, the gods began to parent sons in the semblance of monkeys”(Ramayana 1.17.8). “The Vānarah took birth in bears and monkeys attaining the shape and valor of the gods and goddesses who created them” (Ramayana 1.17.17-18). Genesis 6:4 confirms this, substituting the name Nephilim for Vānarah,"The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown."

 

Genetic testing confirms that around 15,000 years ago admixture occurred between a “primate of unknown origin” (the Vānara) and homo sapiens to produce the creatures we now know as Bigfoot. Akin with flying saucers, giant skeletons and cattle mutilations, collectively this information has been repressed by demoniac forces for the purposes of steering humanity into mundane cycles of birth and death, and away from transcendental Vedic teachings necessary for self-liberation.

 

Modern day eyewitness encounters of Sasquatch mirror the descriptions and emotional characteristics of the Vānarah given in the Ramayana: amusing, childish, mildly irritating, badgering, hyperactive, adventurous, bluntly honest, loyal, courageous, and kind. They also exhibit several of the mystical abilities mentioned in the ancient transcendental literatures such as becoming smaller than the smallest, moving at the speed of mind and complete control over natural forces such as form, weather and time. Hanuman displays his mystical abilities when he makes himself tiny to avoid capture while searching for Sita in Ravana’s palace on Lanka. 

 

Hanuman, free from the material energy, reveals himself to sincere devotees in need, much like Archangels in the Bible. 

 

Like all humans, a Sasquatch or Vānarah can be either pious or demoniac by nature. The Vedas speak of 8,400,000 species of life in the universe. 400,000 of those are human forms of life, with apes and chimpanzees being the lowest forms of human life. Over time, some of the vānarah became demoniac in nature.

 

The following is an excerpt from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.67.3–26 taking place around 5,000 years ago during the age of the Mahabharata, chronicling Lord Balarama’s battle with the demoniac vānanrah Dvivida:

To avenge the death of his friend, the vānanrah Dvivida ravaged the land, setting fires that burned cities, villages, mines and cowherd dwellings. Once Dvivida tore up a number of mountains and used them to devastate all the neighboring kingdoms, especially the province of Anarta, wherein dwelt his friend’s killer, Lord Hari. Another time he entered the ocean and, with the strength of ten thousand elephants, churned up its water with his arms and thus submerged the coastal regions. The wicked vānanrah tore down the trees in the hermitages of exalted sages and contaminated their sacrificial fires with his feces and urine. Just as a wasp imprisons smaller insects, he arrogantly threw both men and women into caves in a mountain valley and sealed the caves shut with boulders. Once, while Dvivida was thus engaged in harassing the neighboring kingdoms and polluting women of respectable families, he heard very sweet singing coming from Raivataka Mountain. So he went there. There he saw Sri Balarama, the Lord of the Yadus, adorned with a garland of lotuses and appearing most attractive in every limb. He was singing amidst a crowd of young women, and since He had drunk varuni liquor, His eyes rolled as if He were intoxicated. His body shone brilliantly as He behaved like an elephant in rut. The mischievous vānanrah climbed a tree branch and then revealed his presence by shaking the trees and making the sound kilakila. When Lord Baladeva’s consorts saw the vānanrah’s impudence, they began to laugh. They were, after all, young girls who were fond of joking and prone to silliness. Even as Lord Balarama looked on, Dvivida insulted the girls by making odd gestures with his eyebrows, coming right in front of them, and showing them his anus. Angered, Lord Balarama, the best of fighters, hurled a rock at him, but the cunning vānanrah dodged the rock and grabbed the Lord’s pot of liquor. Further infuriating Lord Balarama by laughing and by ridiculing Him, wicked Dvivida then broke the pot and offended the Lord even more by pulling at the girls’ clothing. Thus the powerful vānanrah, puffed up with false pride, continued to insult Sri Balarama. Lord Balarama saw the vānanrah’s rude behavior and thought of the disruptions he had created in the surrounding kingdoms. Thus the Lord angrily took up His club and His plow weapon, having decided to put His enemy to death. Mighty Dvivida also came forward to do battle. Uprooting a sala tree with one hand, he rushed toward Balarama and struck Him on the head with the tree trunk. But Lord Sankarsana remained as motionless as a mountain and simply grabbed the log as it fell upon His head. He then struck Dvivida with His club, named Sunanda. Struck on the skull by the Lord’s club, Dvivida became brilliantly decorated by the outpour of blood, like a mountain beautified by red oxide. Ignoring the wound, Dvivida uprooted another tree, stripped it of leaves by brute force and struck the Lord again. Now enraged, Lord Balarama shattered the tree into hundreds of pieces, upon which Dvivida grabbed yet another tree and furiously hit the Lord again. This tree, too, the Lord smashed into hundreds of pieces. Thus fighting the Lord, who again and again demolished the trees He was attacked with, Dvivida kept on uprooting trees from all sides until the forest was left treeless. The angry vānanrah then released a rain of stones upon Lord Balarama, but the wielder of the club easily pulverized them all. Dvivida, the most powerful of vānanrah, now clenched his fists at the end of his palm-tree-sized arms, came before Lord Balarama and beat his fists against the Lord’s body. The furious Lord of the Yadavas then threw aside His club and plow and with His bare hands hammered a blow upon Dvivida’s collarbone. The vānanrah collapsed, vomiting blood. When he fell, O tiger among the Kurus, Raivataka Mountain shook, along with its cliffs and trees, like a wind-tossed boat at sea.

That pastime always makes me smile wide.

Thank you very much,

-Benjamin
 

BLOG  - MARCH 28, 2020

“A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.” - Francis Bacon

 

When I first began analytically studying film I believed the world to be a dark nihilistic place, but over time and through much introspection I eventually saw the divine substrate within. 

 

While an undergrad in the film studies program at Miami University I wrote a paper analyzing “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick. I argued that it was Jack’s repressed homosexual desires that drove him mad and that there was a hidden subtext of sexual abuse against Danny by Jack. Four years later while attending graduate film school, I revisited “The Shining”, this time vowing to go deeper. After watching the documentary “Room 237” I ran the experiment of superimposing “The Shining” over itself in reverse, effectively creating two images in one: a filmic palindrome. The experience of viewing the film was mind blowing, stunning and exhausting. One that paralleled taking entheogens. Each frame was packed with transcendental symbolic meaning that defied Earthly explanation. At the time I naively believed Stanley Kubrick’s intellect to be the cause of such triumph while my friend Aaron thought it was a spontaneous synchronicity of the universe. The truth lies somewhere between our initial assessments. All I really knew at the time was that something about that experience reached beyond the veil of my normal analytical consciousness. The Aquarian in me was always very critical, able to dissect movies in real time, explaining how this angle meant this sort of emotion was to be evoked and how this character beat would lead to this decision and so on and so on. I was a structuralist. When I watched “The Shining Forwards and Backwards Simultaneously Superimposed” (a mouthful I know) I was unable to analyze it like other movies. It was as though my senses were hijacked and something beyond the veil said “don’t blink or you’ll disrupt the download”. Over the subsequent weeks I became fully absorbed in scrutinizing the film frame by frame. My analysis paper for class was due soon, and although fifty pages in, I realized even if I had 1,000 pages I would still only be scratching the surface. I tried explaining this in my writer’s memo to the professor; what I had experienced defied a traditional thesis statement and analysis. I couldn’t figure out where to start. It was as though the film could not be explained, it could only be felt.  Like faith.  Directly in the middle of the movie experiment there is a single non-superimposed frame: the center of the maze. My paper ended up mainly focusing on this tableau as a symbolic representation of the current condition of mankind. 

 

This experiment inevitably led to an exploration of Kubrick’s entire filmography at extreme depth. Kubrick was God realized and imbued all his movies with Vedic teachings. Watching “2001: A Space Odyssey” made me realize the need for a “living resurrection” experience in my life which then happened later that year. Watching “Barry Lyndon”, made me realize the tragedy of my life that would unfold should I continue along the path I was on. Watching “Full Metal Jacket” made me realize that Bhakti Yoga is the spiritual reflection of the perverse militaristic way of training with Sergeant Hartman representing the antithetical guru or spiritual master. Watching “Eyes Wide Shut” made me realize the dream like nature of our reality and the pitfalls of over attachment to family life. 

 

Kubrick used sex and violence as subterfuge to hide deeper spiritual messages that he would plant within the viewer’s subconscious. Christopher Nolan is following suit with films like “Inception” and “Interstellar”. I’ve heard it said that if one cannot look past the nude statues they don’t belong in the temple. 

 

Professors in film school would always stress the importance of a character’s “want” vs. “need” while telling a story. My “want" going into film school was to become a big time Hollywood director, but through Kubrick’s spiritual teachings, my need of becoming a Bhakti Yogi was realized. To be God conscious, we first need to be self-conscious. Each of us has a passion that drives us at a soul level. We are all deep divers by our very nature. I encourage you to take that step into the unknown and explore something at extreme depth. Be a pioneer and reap the rewards of your journey by engaging your gifts in service to others. When service becomes uninterrupted, spontaneous and unmotivated in full knowledge of the Supreme, we rise to the platform of God consciousness. 

 

The Bhagavad Gita says, “Only the ignorant speak of devotional service as being different from the analytical study of the material world. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both. One who knows that the position reached by means of analytical study can also be attained by devotional service, and who therefore sees analytical study and devotional service to be on the same level, sees things as they are.” (15.4-5)

 

Thank you very much,

- Benjamin

BLOG  - MARCH 27, 2020

 

Before I sat down to write this, I was experiencing some serious personal resistance. I had eaten a hearty serving of prasadam for lunch, yet my mind was still fixed on the thought of eating more. “The sense are so strong and impetuous, that they forcibly carry away the mind of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them.”(Bhagavad Gita 2.60) I needed a higher taste. In my heart I knew I should sit down and write, but my mind had other plans. Carl Jung said, “That which we need the most will be found where we least want to look.” By choosing the path of our inverted desire, we are choosing to make a short term sacrifice for long term gain. Tapasya is a sanskrit word which means to voluntarily accept some unpleasurable thing. Like all things religious this can quickly become fanatical, however we all make daily sacrifices and accept some measure of unpleasantness to produce material results. Spiritual life is no different. In this day and age the only recommended form of sacrifice is the sankirtan yajna which starts with hearing and chanting of the holy names of the Lord. The size of the chanting congregation and the purity of the individuals involved all play a roll in the potency of the sacrifice. Yet these pail in comparison to the mercy of the Lord which may only descend, it cannot be obtained. If our intention is one imbued with love, the Lord will reciprocate. We see large sacrifices in their nescient stage across the globe in the form of concert venues. The age of Aquarius is characterized by using technology to advance spiritually. Technology is not the antidote but rather the vessel, just as a syringe is not the medicine but the injection device. The utilization of material infrastructures and technology to spiritualize our sense inputs will increase over the coming years. 

 

The same choice of two paths will not change. Technologically will give more options to the budding spiritualist as well as the fixed materialist. This is free will. We are all on spaceship Earth, but what we choose to do along our respective paths is entirely up to us. Like flying on a plane; once in the air, we are not allowed off the plane but we may choose what to do within the cabin. Right now we are facing “social isolation” in the wake of the Coronavirus epidemic. We may choose to spend our days scrolling the doldrums of Netflix for that missing link movie that will finally make us emotionally whole, or we can put down the Apple remote and go inward.

 

2 Chronicles 15:3-7 says, “For a long time Israel had been without the true God, without a priest teaching, and without law. But when in their distress they returned to God and searched for him, he let himself be found by them. In those times no one could travel safely, for there was much unrest among all the inhabitants of the lands. Nation was being crushed by nation and one city by another city, because God kept them in disorder with every sort of distress. But you, be strong and do not become discouraged, for your activity will be rewarded.”

 

The opulence, excess and naïveté of the past decade is done. There is no going back to it. The coronavirus is not a blip on the radar but the snowball beginning the avalanche. We should all take shelter of God. The Lord says, “Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, and a predominant rise of irreligion - at that time I descend Myself. To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.” (Bhagavad Gita 4:7-8) Sometimes the lord advents himself or specially empowers his servant as in the case of Jesus Christ, Moses, Muhammad, Buddha and Prabhupada. 

 

Extreme focus takes isolation. In the purport for mantra 10 of the Sri Isopanisad, Prabhupada gives 18 points for cultivating knowledge. Point 17 states: “One should develop a liking for residence in a secluded place with a calm and quiet atmosphere favorable for spiritual culture, and one should avoid congested places where non devotees congregate.” There are several instances in the gospels where Jesus seeks solitude and areas of serenity to deepen his connection with God: 

  • “At once the Spirit sent [Jesus] out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” (Mark 1:12)

  • “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35) 

  • “When Jesus heard [that John the Baptist had been beheaded], he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” (Matthew 14:13) 

  • “Once again, Jesus went out beside the lake.”(Mark 2:13) 

  • “Jesus went out to a mountain side to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him.” (Luke 6:12-13. See also Mark 3:13) 

  • “[Despite Jesus’ plea that his miracles be kept secret] the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16; see also Mark 1:45)

 

Many have never faced the level of isolation we are now confronted with. We have a choice to see it as a hinderance to our material identity or as an opportunity to increase our attraction to God. Will we go inward in an attempt to hear Supersoul (Paramatma) who dwells within our heart, or will will continue to search out external things that give us ephemeral pleasure? If we can see our current time as a gift of extreme mercy we are liable to make a quantum leap in our spiritual progress and understanding. In the past, many people were forced to engage in mundane material activities out of a perceived economic or familial necessity. However, now that there is a mandate to avoid social gatherings, many are able to skirt the negative social pressure interactions that inhibit the growth of our spiritual creeper.

 

The word “sin” is an ancient archery term which means to “miss the mark”. Every time we interact in the material world on the mundane level we are “sinning” in the sense that we are missing the mark. The degree to which we miss the mark consistently is the degree to which we are materially entangled. This is karma. Isolation by itself will not burn off bad karma, but when combined with proper diet (lacto-vegetarian), cleanses (kitchari), scripturally prescribed fasting (Ekadashi days), reading of scriptures, and chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, we can begin to break free from the entanglements that previously bound us to the material world. 

 

When I was in my first semester of graduate film school, an older student told me the program would not teach me anything I couldn’t discover on my own but that it would buy me the time necessary to learn on my own. Fast-forward to my last semester in school… I was attempting to rewrite a screenplay where Sasquatch was the main device. It was my only class so I had ample time on my hands to explore the topic. During my research I discovered that many of the sightings took place when the eyewitness’ were in a “liminal” state of mind, which is to say their awareness was somewhere between conscious and unconscious. Without getting into the irrefutability of the creatures existence (see 10.67 of Srimad Bhagavatam), I will say that it provided me the impetus to begin exploring deeper levels of my own psyche. Because I had been gifted the time, I was able to explore altered states of consciousness through entheogens, meditation, diet and fasting. And to make a very long and somewhat disturbing story short, this put me on a path that led to me to surrender to God.

 

Point 18 that Prabhupada gives in Sri Isopanisad Mantra 10 is: “One should become a scientist or philosopher and conduct research into spiritual knowledge, recognizing that spiritual knowledge is permanent whereas material knowledge ends with the death of the body.” 

 

Time is our most valuable resource. See this time you’ve been given as the ultimate gift and use it wisely. 

 

Thank you very much.

 

Your servant and well-wisher,

-Benjamin

 

 

BLOG  - MARCH 26, 2020

 

Today was a relatively relaxed day dedicated to studying the scriptures. 

 

I made the decision to take food from Govinda’s yesterday evening which upset my stomach but led to a personal breakthrough in terms of how to detoxify my body. Forrest—a recent roommate—informed me that Peacock Pose (Mayurasana), if held for a certain number of minutes, could completely detoxify ones body should they take in poison. (Peacocks eat snakes which lends to the symbolic symmetry behind this.) Even though my poisoning was self-induced I knew it was Krsna’s mercy and therefore an opportunity to put Peacock Pose to the test. Initially I could not hold the pose for more than a few seconds, but with the help of a belt wrapped around my upper arms I was able to hold it at increasingly longer intervals. After each time I could feel toxins burning up in my system that produced heat in my upper body and belching, like an engine burning off gas. Ayurveda understands a fever to be your system burning off accumulated toxins (ama) which the pathogens feed on. This is different from the allopathic understanding that your system is attempting to “kill off” the pathogen through excessive heat. Through a fever, the accumulated Ama is burned at a faster rate which can clear the channels of your body, allowing for the circulation of vayu (air). Without proper circulation of air in the system, the immune system is heavily hindered. This is why the Coronavirus is particularly deadly to those whose bodies are subject to out of balance doshas; their build up of accumulated toxins manifest symptomatically as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other ailments linked with a downtrodden immune systems.

 

In Hope This Meets You in Good Health Prahladananda Swami writes, “As far as eating is concerned, it is important to understand that what we can digest and assimilate counts far more than what we eat. In Ayurveda, what we can digest is called ‘food,’ what we cannot digest is “poison,” and what helps our digestion is ‘medicine.’’’

 

This formula can be applied to all facets of life, from the content we ingest through our eyes and ears to the people we associate with; we are an accumulation of what we take in through our senses and the intentions motivating our decisions. These mental impressions, recollections and psychological imprints are known in Sanskrit as “samskaras”. The analogy given is that of a film reel, where each film cell picture is an individual impression or memory. The goal of spiritual practice is to replace all mundane impressions with spiritual impressions. Once a film cell is filled with a spiritual impression it is there forever, however the mundane impressions fade over time. Good news for the budding spiritualist. 

 

Over the past five thousand years we have seen the complete fragmentation of religion into countless sects. Currently that splintering of spiritual identity is reaching all the way to the individual level; many believe their mind and ego to be their own best spiritual master. This is a reactionary perversion to the secular dogmatism that has plagued the planet for the past five thousand years. The physics axiom “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction” holds true here.

We are each a unique part and parcel of God (one point for the snowflake generation!), however we cannot manufacture our own spiritual practice and be successful in the long term, simply because we are not taking direction from the highest authority. Mind altering substances, spirit guides and shamans may help one find the path however once one comes in contact with a pure devotee of the Lord the path of least resistance is to directly approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead through his bonafide representative. When we humbly submit ourselves and render devotional service to the pure devotee, only then can we be happy and at peace. They will help us realize Krsna within our hearts, separate from the concoctions of our mind and ego. 

 

Spiritual peace does not mean inaction, or meditating on the void or impersonal “bright light”, but rather being engaged according to our individual nature: doing what fills our own soul’s cup, in service to the Supreme Soul within our heart. The neophyte is prone to confuse the Supreme Soul with the musings of their mind and imagination. Over time, if they adopt a humble service attitude, these misgivings will slowly give way to self-realization. In the purport for text 4.10 of Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Prabhupada lists the three stages of material attachment to the material world that we must rid ourselves of: negligence of spiritual life, fear of spiritual personal identity, and the conception of void that arises from frustration in life. 

 

I can remember initially taking to spiritual life after a long young adulthood of believing the world was a nihilistic, atheistic place where bad things happen to good people and so on and so on… I was frustrated when my plans at success were stifled and that what I would have to sacrifice to get there wasn’t worth the pain. Instead I turned to books. Slowly, through my studies in film and subtle energy I began to suspect there was something more. A substrate underlying everything that we couldn’t see, like the mycelium hidden from the eye of a hiker but that connects everything beneath the forest floor. After having a massive awakening at the hands of another type of fungus, I took to a spiritual path but fell victim to the conception that “the All is the All”. I falsely believed the Supreme Truth to be impersonal. This pushed me away from all meaningful relationships in life that gave me satisfaction and the human life its flavor. Like a desiccated apple core I became tasteless, dry, putrid and toxic. 

 

They say that the loving relationship a mother has with her child is the closest thing we can experience in the material world to the pure loving relationship with God that is the culmination of all spiritual striving. It was through my mother and father’s unconditional love and support that I was able to finally see the beauty in a personal loving relationship with God. I can never repay them for what they have done. The best I can do is give them something eternal. Everyday my gratitude increases. I know the unique opportunity I have to serve the Lord is extremely rare. Our mission, to systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large, requires the utilization of all asset at our disposal. This includes the bodies we inhabit and the minds which occupy them. Together we will form transcendental tapestries of unique personal auras. We will color the planet in spirituals hues and give shelter to the fallen conditioned souls. We will rise like a lotus amidst the muck of material existence. God is pulling all the strings, pushing all the pedals and driving all the gears. We need only surrender to his will. 

 

As the Proverb says, “A man’s heart diviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” 

 

You have nothing to fear for you are already on the path. 

 

Thank you very much. Hare Krsna. 

- Benjamin

BLOG  - MARCH 25, 2020

I have decided to begin blogging about my experiences and realizations. My astrology application said it would be a good day to begin a new project, therefore it provided me the impetus. 

    I read the first three chapters of the Bhagavad Gita today. Arjuna did not surrender to Krsna until he was at a total stalemate, stunned by his material attachments in the form of his family members pitched opposite him on the battlefield. Similarly, we are seeing Maya in the form of the Coronavirus pandemic create a stalemate to the global economy. For the first time in the history of New Dwarka the temple has closed its doors completely, however the restaurant is still open (for takeout orders only). I have a feeling that this is just stage one of a total paradigm shift. The astrology echoes it, beginning with the Saturn/Pluto conjunction back in January. The Book of Revelation mentions pandemic, war and pestilence. I feel a war is coming and will start between India and Pakistan just as Prabhupada predicted.
A twenty-seven year war, over trade most likely. The United States should be fine given the plentiful amount of natural resources. It will be a good time for spiritual infrastructure to spring up on our homeland as the rest of the world battles over dwindling resources. 

    Sylvia Browne (who predicted the Coronavirus back in 2008), also predicted that various religions would come together to create a “global interfaith coalition” that would actively work together to help feed, clothe, house and spiritually nurture anybody in need. She claimed pyramid-shaped buildings called Healing Centers would pop up, where people would be able to do everything from wash their clothes to get legal advice for free. (This seems extremely plausible. And something that has come into my heart.) Healing Centers would also develop ‘Dedication Schools’, where people could take courses on spiritualism. 

    This is certainly in line with Prabhupada’s vision and the first purpose of Iskcon, “To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.”

    It is my assertion that there is a need for inconspicuous interfaith preachers who quietly practice Bhakti Yoga while rising the ranks of the respective religions they were born into.
Similar to how America’s founding fathers did through the Masonic Lodge. Prabhupada wanted us to be gentlemen. To dress like gentlemen. To act like gentlemen. He did not want us to draw attention to ourselves in a negative way. No foreign culture has ever been able to foist itself peacefully upon another with success. By dressing like middle easterners and Indians, we are ostracizing ourselves from the nescient believers. “Let not the wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action. They should be encouraged not to refrain form work, but to work in the spirit of devotion.” - BG 3.26 

    In his book Ego in the Enemy, Ryan Holiday scribes on the unsung heroes of history who quietly went on about their business seeking no public adulation in return, yet were the main contributors to major shifts in world history. It is the duty of the devotees to give shelter to all those looking to advance spiritually. Great generals of history preferred the textbooks and strategizing under candle light to the lime light. In the Sri Isopanisad under Mantra 10 it states, “One should not pose himself as a religionist simply for name and fame.” 

 

    December 22, 1972—in a famous letter of Prabhupada to Karandhara, he says, “This is     
    the duty of the leaders to bring up this voluntary spite and to fan it so that Krishna
    consciousness becomes an ever-fresh experience.” Prabhupada asks, “Where are these
    big, big leaders?”…”No!” He said, “The Duty of the leaders is to inspire the devotees
    and create ever-fresh opportunities for surrendering to Krishna.”

-Taking Care of Krsna’s Devotees (Niranjana Swami)

 

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

 

Vision - noun

  1. The faculty or state of being able to see.

  2. The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom

 

There is much to be positive about for those who are seriously pursuing a spiritual path and very little for those who are not. As the material infrastructure continues to erode, we can choose that which is eternal or that which is temporary and therefore fear-inducing. 

 

Thank you very much. 

- Benjamin