Monday Morning Greetings 2024 #5 – Coming Attractions

January 29th, 2024

The past week we celebrated our 17th annual Puri Yatra. I wish you could have been there especially for Hari Pārṣada Dās’s seminar, “The Joyous Waves of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Poetry”. Needless to say, I was engaged twenty-four hours a day and couldn’t finish a Monday Morning Greetings. It was not that I had a dearth of topics to write about. This week I will share a short synopsis of the topics I was thinking of writing about and then share a previous Monday Morning Greetings.


The Mission of Śrī Caitanya and the Genius of Sanātana Gosvāmī in Presenting It


This was the subject of my seminar. I described the immense challenge that Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī faced trying to communicate to his audience, us, the extreme level of transcendence (parama-daśānta) and the brilliant way he built the frame of reference of his audience in Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta for us to understand it.


The Art of Traction


I once wrote an article about the most famous pick pocket in the world called the Art of Distraction where he showed how to take your attention away from what you were doing or thinking about so that he could pickpocket you.[1] The Art of Traction would be about the opposite, techniques that I learned to take your attention towards what you are doing or thinking, in this case meditating on the holy name.


Substance is Higher than Allegiance


Our Puri Yatra was held at a beautiful Catholic retreat center that was run by just one Catholic priest, Father Ashley. His mood of service and his non-sectarian mood was very impressive. In this article I will explore the concept that more important than the devotional spiritual lineage you belong to is your adherence to its principles.



It’s the Mind!

July 23, 2018

Everyone has their own set of irrational fears and anxieties according to their past experiences, in this life or previous ones, often embedded deep in the subconscious. Mine is travel. I wouldn’t say it is debilitating—I don’t lose sleep over it—but when I travel, I worry unnecessarily. I have to be hours early for a flight. I can understand being reasonably cautious, but inevitably I arrive far before what is necessary. And as soon as my car pulls out of the driveway to leave for the airport, I nervously slap my pockets to check for my passport, ticket, and wallet, even though I checked for these things numerous times before I left. Today, after more than forty years traveling in the Hare Krishna movement, I think I finally came to my senses:


Why all this worry? Am I really the controller? Whether I miss my plane or not is really not up to me. There are five factors of action, and only one is our endeavor, so just do your duty and leave on time, not hours before. The rest is really up to Krishna. He has already decided whether or not you need to be to the next place on time. It is all so basic that it is almost embarrassing.


Thinking this way reaffirmed a realization. It’s the mind! In other words, all our problems are more how we see things than how they actually are.


A personal and classic example: Previously, when coming from the airport to Vrindavan, I would have my driver head directly to Kesi Ghata on the bank of the Yamuna. My ritual was to take a holy bath for purification before daring to begin my undeserved stay in this most sacred of places. One year, while descending the steps of the ghāṭa to bathe, I noticed a big black snake looming on the bottom step. Whoa! Apprehensively, I moved thirty yards further down the river before quickly bathing, still harboring that very dangerous serpent in my mind. While walking back to my car, I looked down to the first step only to see that same black snake sitting in the exact same position. It hadn’t moved an inch! I was surprised. As I wasn’t wearing my glasses, I began to squint to examine the situation more clearly. Then I began to chuckle—it was just a black tire! Just see, a snake posed a danger, but the problem existed only in my mind.


A deeper existential example: The greatest problem or fear is death, because we lose everything including our present identity, but death itself is only the illusion of non-existence. How much unnecessary and unlimited worry do we have to endure due to the mind before we wake up!


Back to my petty anxieties: I am in Sochi. My flight for Vilnius is 11:15 AM, and the airport is 45 minutes away. My host says we will leave at 8:00. I suggest leaving 15 minutes earlier, but my host assures me that it is more than enough time. I naturally start to think, What if… but I check my impulse. Stop this silliness and depend on Krishna. I begin to reflect that the anxiety I have accrued over the years in the process of travel is so much worse than the worst-case scenario—a rare missed flight—which may never even happen.


It is so clear. There may be serious challenges in life, but most of our worries are needless. How much time and energy we could save for a productive and peaceful life if we could only starve those irrational thoughts by neglect. It’s funny, but I suddenly think of one of the most famous quotes in American history:

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”[2]



[1] https://wavesofdevotion.com/2016/05/23/what-i-learned-from-a-pickpocket-about-krishna-consciousness/

[2] Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, in his first inaugural address, referring to the Great Depression the country was facing at that time.


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