Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

ISKCON 50 Meditations: July 21, 2016
By Satsvarupa dasa Goswami   |  Jul 21, 2016

When the Bombs Go Off

Sometimes when I was in Swamiji’s presence at the storefront, an obscene word would come to mind.  It would bubble up from my days in the Navy, where there was so much obscene talk.  It would explode like a bomb into the pure relationship of guru and sisya.  I don’t know if Swamiji always saw it exactly when it happened, but he saw my general rotten nature.  Sometimes when I didn’t have anything bad on my mind, he looked at me and saw that too. 

At times like that, what did I do?  I kept going, bowed my head and reeled with the blow.  I readjusted and told myself, “I am not in the Navy anymore; I don’t have to respond to this.”  The reality with the Swami was more substantial than the past. 

Obscene images were like those bombs and abominable things that poured down on Dhruva Maharaja when he was fighting the Yaksas.  Blood, pus, and bones poured from the sky and oceans, and lions and snakes closed in around him.  They were all illusions, though.  My obscene thoughts were like that.  I didn’t have to succumb.

My father used to say of himself, “My mind is in the gutter.”  That was a favorite expression of his.  So I was brought up to think that everyone’s mind was in the gutter.  When I met the pure devotee, he was a challenge to my entire upbringing.  My mind wanted to revolt against him: “This guy is just another bozo like everyone else.  After all, this is a world of ‘f _ _ _  you’ and he is a part of it.”  So the bombs went off within me, but because the relationship with Prabhupada was true and substantial, and because I was in the safety of his room, it all passed.  Eventually, it didn’t occur anymore, like the many other insanities and bad habits that go away as you take to Krishna consciousness.

You didn’t have to say, “Swamiji, sometimes when I am with you I think bad things.”  He addressed it anyway, “These are the workings of the mind.  Just chant and it will go away.”

Altered states of consciousness from old LSD trips also came up.  We had to face some of it in the kirtanas – fears, hallucinations, uncharitable feelings, hatred, envy, disbelief … We were not able to link one pure mantra to another pure mantra and approach Krishna in the spiritual world.  Ours was bliss punctuated with negative space in the struggle to reach pure spiritual sound.  Prabhupada gave us his assurance, “You can do it.  You can overcome all this.”

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