Kirtan with Krishna Das

One of my dreams has always been to attend a kirtan with Krishna Das. I don’t know how many hours I have spent listening to his music. It always fills me with a sense of joy and understanding that everything is alright. Krishna Das music has also been the main factor behind many of my spiritual experiences. As I sit and listen to the music I tend to float away and where I end up is always different. Due to this I was eager to experience his kirtan in person. I looked at his website and noticed that he had schedule his yearly heart of devotion kirtan & workshop in New York. I knew I had to take this opportunity. I could no longer wait until he might cross the sea to play in Europe. I booked my flight ticket and headed to New York. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t want to get my expectations up so I’d end up disappointed.

Finally the day was here. I was about to see Krishna Das live for the very first time. I arrived at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew well in advance to get good seats. Luckily I was able to get seats on the front row, sitting just a few meters away from him. The concert started with the special guest Baird Hersey and Prana singing a few songs. It was really beautiful and I was glad I got to experience their music as well. But as they said themselves, we were all waiting for the King of Kirtan. He finally took the stage and sang the wonderful song My Foolish Heart. I could instantly feel the vibration in Krishna Das voice. It touched my very being. After the song he sat down at his harmonium and begun with the Hanuman Prayer. Directly at the first Ohm I felt something. A space was created within me. A space where only the kirtan and my awareness existed. Time and space ceased to exist and I was floating in infinity.

As the kirtan began I started singing along. In this moment I could feel Maharaj-jis presence. Everything else ceased to exist and I could feel only his presence. There was no thoughts that would interrupt. I just kept my eyes closed since I felt that it enhanced the experience. I was in my own cocoon where I took in the experience of God chanting and God responding. But the cocoon I was in was not only mine. It was the space of everyone in the room. With the chanting everything merged into one. There was no separation in the space. It was a hundred times stronger than what I experienced listening to Krishna Das on my stereo. My state of awareness was something beyond that.

The kirtan practice give you an opportunity to forget everything else and enter into your divinity. But it also create an opportunity for practice. As the evening progressed I noticed I couldn’t stay there indefinitely. Sometimes my thoughts came in the way and sometimes my body ached which made me come out of it. The same goes for life. There’s always something trying to take away from your true self. The more we can find ourselves within our divine space, which become so apparent during kirtan, the more joy and happiness we can find in our lives.

The strongest experience during the whole evening was when the band performed one of Krishna Das newer songs called Om Namo Gurudev. As the chants to Maharaj-ji kept repeating I just felt how my heart opened up. Finally I could not hold it back anymore. The tears just started bursting out of me. But it was not tears of sadness, it was tears of joy. I just felt how my life, my existence, the whole universe was a product of the grace of Maharaj-ji. Being able to experience life was all due to his grace. Every precious moment I owe to him. I owe to God. Even though there were so many people in the room I could not hold back my tears, nor did I want to. These were tears of gratitude and I did not want to hide them from anyone.

As the evening progressed I experienced such genuine joy. People were singing, dancing and there was a smile on every person around me. I remember thinking to myself, I wish I could do this every day of my life. If people would know the feeling that Krishna Das create with his music there would be much less sorrow in the world. I felt so thankful and happy that I would experience it again the next day.

During the workshop there were less people which created a closer feeling. People were asking questions to him and with his answers you could sense the authenticity within him. He was doing all of this from his heart. Krishna Das was very honest with his answers, which I really appreciated. He gave you an answers that made you think instead of giving you what you only want to hear.

I especially enjoyed his stories of Maharaj-ji. He was able to create a glimpse of who this wonderful saint was. Throughout these two days what was amazing was that you could actually feel Maharaj-ji. In the voice and the music Maharaj-ji was dancing. With every answer during the workshop you could sense a lot of it came from the wisdow Krishna Das gather during his time with Maharaj-ji.

I left New York with such great experiences and I had learned so much. Whenever I think back of these two days it brings a smile to my face and I can feel Maharaj-ji within my heart.

Thank you Krishna Das!

The hidden teaching of Buddha

One of the core teachings of Buddhism is that “nothing lasts forever.” With this Buddha meant that everything changes and therefore there is no meaning to hold on to anything. Holding on to things will only create suffering since the things you are attached to will someday go away. Your body will decay, you might lose your loved ones or get fired from your job. If you are attached to things and circumstances you will suffer when they go away or changes. Attachment is the cause of all suffering.

“Nothing lasts forever.”

Understanding this is the very essence of Buddhism. To concilate with this truth and hence detach yourself from attachment will liberate you from suffering. But there is also a deeper truth hidden within these words. In these few words Buddha actually described the highest truth about our true nature, the very essence of your Being.  “Nothing lasts forever” can be understood as stated above, that all things will eventually go away, the impermanence of things, but it can also be understood in another way, and both translations are equally true and essential.

The second and hidden meaning of this sentence is that “Nothing” is the thing that “lasts forever.” That “Nothing” is the only thing that is permanent, never changing. So this one sentence delivers two core truths about reality with the same words. It shows that things are not permanent, but it also shows that nothing, or Nothingness, is permanent and unchanging. Of course, “Nothing” is not a thing in the normal sense, since it is truly a no-thing, and that is the very reason why it can never change. Actually Buddhism says that our true nature is “Nothingness” or perhaps more commonly known under the word “Emptiness.” The teaching of the nature of Nothingness is mentioned in many places in buddhist literature, but very few notice that Buddha described the nature of Nothingness in the same sentence where he described the nature of things. Once the student starts to understand the deeper aspects of these truths he or she will start to see that many truths are hidden within other teachings. It’s the master way of showing that everything is one. That the coin always has two different sides, but it is still the same coin.

Our true nature is a state of “emptiness” or “nothingness” and this state is the only state that creates permanent happiness. Emptiness is something that can be experienced consciously. I say consciously, because emptiness is there nonetheless. It is the true state of everything. It is our lack of awareness of it that creates suffering. When you are aware of the nothingness in everything you see that there is no friction at all, because friction can only exist in the world of dualism. For friction to occur, which is the same as suffering, there has to be more than one “object.” There must be someone who can hold on to something. But in the state of non attachment, in the state of nothingness, there can be no friction and hence no suffering. It is a state of absolute stillness and inner peace. There is no-one holding on to anything. You can then see that nothing exists on its own. Everything is part of one seamless, ever-changing landscape and all the parts are in themselves empty.

Nothingness is the same as the state of unconditional love towards everything that exists. When you love everything unconditionally you do not judge any person or circumstance as better or worse than another. You love everything equally, and you therefore experience everything as one. There can be no friction when you love all there is unconditionally. In this state motion stops but yet it continues. You live in the now of what is. There is no time, but yet there is. This is the state of oneness. That which cannot be described, only experienced. The paradoxical experience of Buddha nature. Realization of Nothing. End of suffering.

“Nothing lasts forever” is the only teaching you need, since it holds both the method and the final answer in three simple words. Everything changes except Nothing. Hold on to Nothing and let Everything go and you will be free. This doesn’t mean that you should not involve yourself in the happenings of your life. It simply means that you should not resist what IS. Do not resist change. Do not expect a certain outcome of your actions. Be in the world but let the world be. Let life flow without resistance and be happy.

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