Monday Morning Greetings 2019 #40 – I Tried, I Failed, I Entered

October 7th, 2019

My deadline is nearing for this week’s Monday Morning Greetings. I have to admit defeat. There is no way I will be able to complete what I started this week. The expression “hit the ground running” means that after you arrive in a place, even before settling in and unpacking, you begin your work immediately. Well, when I arrived in Vṛndāvana I “hit the ground running”, as immediately I had to attend to people visiting. That, combined with my jet lag, upended my regulation. Not being able to finish this week affirmed the factors necessary to garner the realizations and maintain the focus necessary to do Monday Morning Greetings every week, which I consider one of my most important services:


  1. I need sufficient early morning chanting to purify my consciousness so that I am able to garner a realization to write about weekly. If I don’t then one may or may not come.
  2. I need a regulated life that allows me to rise early so I can concentrate on writing without distraction.
  3. I need time for deep focused study.


By next week I should be in gear. Here’s what I will do instead for this week. I will share with you the first paragraph of the article I was writing called “Identity Holy Fix”. I will then reprint an entry written twenty years ago that describes entry into Vṛndāvana, which I think is still quite relevant today:


From this week’s aborted journal:

Entered Vṛndāvana yesterday for a prolonged stay for the forty-third year. Naturally strolled out today among the vrajavāsis to get a few necessities, but mostly just to mingle with my very old vrajavāsi friends. Pandey, the old perfumer, sits peacefully in his scented oil shop. I walk in to say hello. No matter what I say, even small talk, he is always preaching. He hasn’t changed in forty years.


“To renounce the senses and mind, that is easy. What is difficult is to give up the ego.”


An old Journal on entering Vṛndāvana:


October 6, 2000


I entered a myriad of signs lining the path exiting the airport, held by various drivers searching for their pick-up. I wasn’t sure if the message announcing my arrival had reached Vṛndāvana, so I was anxiously searching for my name. What a relief to spot the smiling face of Gopal, our vrajavāsī driver!


All of my entries into Vṛndāvana have been similar: the feeling of unworthiness, the grime of my long journey representing the contamination of a prolonged stay in America, the instant relief of a yamunā-snāna (bath), and the happiness of seeing my old vrajavāsī friends.


The water at Keśī-ghāṭa was deep and flowing swiftly. It was five o’clock and the sun was beginning to set in the west, sending a reflection of yellow light through its waters like a pathway cutting diagonally to the base of the ghāṭa where I was sitting. I carefully entered her waters, and facing the shimmering golden pathway, I reflected on the natural beauty of Vraja. After chanting my gāyatrī, I waded like a child in her soothing waters. Home at last!


After five minutes Ramesh, my auto-rickshaw driver, calmly pointed to the last step of the ghāṭa, about twenty feet to my left. A large snake sat there with a fish in its mouth. I don’t know how to describe my reaction other than that I tried to remain calm and dignified, but I still somewhat panicked. Quickly placing my hands two feet above me on the steps, I swiftly kicked my right foot up onto the first step of the ghāṭa and vaulted myself out of the water—or, I should say, tried to vault myself out of the water. I floundered and fell back in. I finally made it out and quickly moved up a few steps to where I had placed my things. As I looked to my right, about ten feet to the other side of the snake, I saw a sādhu calmly washing his loṭā. He was smiling and gesturing to me. He was laughing and flapping his right hand, which obviously represented to him my panic in getting out of the water. He laughed and laughed.


The vrajavāsī children, who were the only other people there and had been sporting blissfully in the Yamunā when I arrived, were also amused; their cunning smiles and laughter representing the anxiety and carefree hearts of young, simple children.


I looked at the sādhu again and heard, “Baba!” I couldn’t exactly hear what he was saying, but I intuitively understood him very clearly. “What are you so afraid of? Don’t you realize that Krishna is in everyone’s heart?”


As I walked up to the top of the ghāṭa and turned right to find my rickshaw, I looked back. The sādhu was still laughing and flapping his right hand. I also began to laugh and enjoy the fun. We maintained eye contact, both laughing until I drifted out of sight. By Krishna’s mercy, I had entered the dhāma.



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