On my way up there I stopped at this semi-frozen scenic overlook of the Hudson River Valley. It was a pleasant surprise when I learned that Bald Eagles specifically migrate to Iona Island on the Hudson River during the winter.
After leaving the scenic overlook with a sense of accomplishment, I let the deceptive iOS7 Maps navigation lead me to the wrong destination. Instead of ending up at the giant, hard-to-miss Garisson Institute, it took me straight into somebody's private driveway. The dark night air filled itself with an ominous feeling as I realized that I was in the wrong location. As I began to K-turn out of the cramped area which resembled a mini junkyard with tires and engines littered across the property, I saw a middle-aged maniac in a red flannel shirt flail out of the darkness and attack my car! He started punching my window with full force, and instead of peeling out I cracked opened my window to explain to him I was looking for the Garrison Institute.
The bug-eyed (probably cracked out) maniac began to scream, "OH, NO YOU'RE NOT! GET THE FUCK OFF MY PROPERTY! GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!" He began to flail his arms like a lunatic again punching the hell out of my window, regurgitating the same thing over and over again. I closed my window and backed out of there as quick as I could. After making it back on the road I was extraordinarily glad my window didn't break. A broken window would have been an unnecessarily messy situation probably causing me to miss out on the much-anticipated kirtan. I ended up pulling into a gas station a couple of minutes later to ask for direction the good ol' fashioned way. The cashier's directions took me straight to the Garrison Institute. Of course, the moral of that story, here, is, fuck you Apple Maps.
Tulsi Das says that the name of God is greater than God. He writes in the Ramacharitamanas: "I bow to the Name of Rama... which is unqualified, peerless and a mine of virtues and is the vital breath of the Vedas. The sound of the name of Rama is a beautiful ornament for the ears of the fair damsel in the form of Bhakti (Devotion)... It is like the taste and the gratifiying quality of nectar in the form of emancipation... It is like the bee for the beautiful lotus of the devotee's mind... Install the luminous gem in the shape of the divine name of 'Rama' on the threshold of the tongue at the doorway of your mouth, if you will have light both inside and out..."
As I alluded to in the last kirtan blog, I believe the vibrations of these ancient, resonating syllables have the power to naturally reconfigure your brain chemistry by flooding it with endogenous tryptamines (Serotonin, Melatonin, DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, etc.). I would probably make an effort to link this to some research, but what I'm telling you is purely speculative based on some anecdotal evidence, and besides, it wasn't the point of this particular post.
The real point of this post was to share with you one of my new favorite stories. Towards the end of the night Krishna Das shared one last story featuring his gurus, Maharaji and Ram Dass. Back in the 1970's Krishna Das was living and learning from Maharaji in India, along with many hippies, weirdos, yogis and freaks. One of the students in their living arrangement was alone with Maharaji for a brief moment one day. When the student came back to the hotel room Krishna Das and the other students excitedly debriefed their fellow peer, as they usually did when Maharaji spoke to any of them. They all asked him to tell them what Maharaji told him. The student answered them that Maharaji told him that he should "Meditate like Christ." They didn't understand the cryptic message behind that advice, and neither did the student. The message inspired much commotion and confusion.
Ram Dass then appeared in the room and the group of students desperately asked Ram Das what Maharaji meant when he told the student to "Meditate like Christ." Ram Das didn't know either, and so he went to look for Maharaji in order to ask him that very question. Shortly thereafter Ram Dass found Maharaji and put forth the enigmatic question to the guru.
"Maharaji, what did you mean when you told that student that he should Meditate like Christ? How did Christ meditate?"
Maharaji looked at Ram Dass, smiled, and closed his eyes for a couple of silent minutes, contemplating the question just asked. Maharaji opened his eyes and two tears streamed down his cheeks. He then chillingly answered:
He would lose himself in Love.
That's how Christ meditated. He would lose himself in Love. This wise, meditative advice comes from a guru of gurus. And he's telling you to meditate like Christ. He's telling you to lose yourself in Love.
If that sounds a little too celestial or ridiculous maybe putting it into perspective might help. You see, there's a classic psychedelic story of the time Ram Dass gave his beloved guru, Maharaji, 900 micrograms of LSD. This potent 1960's dose of LSD left Maharaji completely unfazed, and afterwards he told Ram Dass that LSD could have some potential benefits, but that it isn't the ultimate samadhi. He then went on to say: Love was a much more powerful medicine than LSD. Much more powerful. That's the type of Love Maharaji is referring to. A Love much, much more powerful that 900 micrograms of LSD...
If you're unfamiliar with this Ram Dass story, you should go ahead and give it a listen in the video below. Otherwise, go lose yourself in Love.
It's not the ultimate samadhi... It could be useful if you were to take it in a cool place... and your mind was feeling much peace, and you were alone, and you were turned towards God. It would allow you to come into the room and pranāma. You could pranāma to Chirst. [you could come into the presence of the spirit.] You could only stay two hours and then you'd have to leave again. You know it would be better to become Christ than to just pranāma to him. But that medicine won't do that for you. But it will strengthen your faith. Because even to visit a holy man for a few hours strengthens faith.