Krishna Das joins Dr. Robert Svoboda and Paula Crossfield to discuss chanting practice, the Guru’s grace, and Hanuman.
In the conversation hosted by Paula Crossfield, Dr. Robert Svoboda welcomes his friend Krishna Das to the Living With Reality Podcast to share stories about their encounters with Great Beings, most notably Neem Karoli Baba, Vimalananda, and Anandamayi Ma. Weaving through this focused and delightful conversation, Krishna Das and Dr. Svoboda open up about their personal singing practices, their relationship to Hanuman, and offer guidance on how to tell if someone is a true saint or Guru. Discover more Krishna Das on the Pilgrim Heart Podcast.
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Singing, Karma, and Freedom
Krishna Das and Dr. Svoboda discuss the singing and chanting of Sanskrit mantras as a practice for coming to God. When we are engaged in almost any activity, even down to our thoughts and speech, we are acting within karma, which will produce a reaction down the line that we will have to pay for in one way or another. Dr. Svoboda recognizes singing and chanting as karma-free, because if you are doing it properly, it is the Deveta (the divine) singing through you.
“I could be having a very bad night, but the people who came to sing with me could be having a great night. It has nothing to do with me at all. Maharajji transmits through me. He uses this meat-puppet to transmit, and I just try to get with the program, stay in harmony, and not interfere.” – Krishna Das
Take a deep dive into the practice of singing and chanting on Ep. 68 of the Pilgrim Heart Podcast
Grace of the Guru (8:53)
Dr. Svoboda and Krishna Das share stories of time spent with their Gurus and teachers when they were in physical form. Even though they have since left the body, both Krishna Das and Dr. Svoboda still feel them palpably within their lives. It is through grace that they were able to meet such Great Beings, and it is that same grace which allows their continued felt presence.
“Grace is always here. Grace is actually the presence of the Great Being. When you become completely, totally aware of that presence, this is the moment that grace can flow through.” – Krishna Das
Krishna Das further explores grace and Guru in Ep. 80 of the Pilgrim Heart Podcast
When the Saints Come Marching In (36:00)
How do we know a true Guru? How can we tell if a person is actually saintly? Vimalananda, Dr. Svoboda’s teacher, used to say that you should make it a point to go to any saint who comes to town, albeit you should expect most of them to be rather diluted, or conmen, so the best thing to do is to sit and still your mind as much as possible. Does your mind easily become still, or does it become more agitated? Is it directed more towards the divine, or towards worldly things? Check in with yourself. Someone might have a very good effect on one person, and not at all a good effect on someone else. The personal effect that a being has on you is more important than the title of saint, or what other’s think of them.
“Guru is not outside of you, ever. Everyone comes from a lineage at some point, and has, on some deep level, a connection. Whether or not it’s the right thing for one to have a physical Guru, that’s up to the Guru. When you understand that the only agenda that a real Guru can have is compassion, kindness, and helping; then if it’s not happening the way you want it to, it’s still for the best. That’s a hard thing for people to digest, that they need to look at their lives, and they need take their whole life as their teacher, as their Guru.” – Krishna Das
Join Duncan Trussell, Dr. Svoboda and Raghu Markus in a conversation around karma and the Guru on Ep. 322 of Mindrolling
Hanuman and Prana (44:41)
Dr. Svoboda and Krishna Das share their relationships with the Hindu deity, Hanuman. While Krishna Das knows Hanuman through his relationship with his Guru, Maharajji, and the unconditional, all-encompassing love and selfless service that poured out of him, Dr. Svoboda takes a more energy-based, scientific, and Ayurvedic approach to understanding our relationship with the force that is Hanuman.
“Vimalananda always emphasized that Hanuman is prana (energy). He is the prana running the entire universe, the prana that is running you, the very prana that is the supreme reality in mobile form; and he is all of these things simultaneously.” – Dr. Robert Svoboda