August 2011

My Dear Atreya Rsi,

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your very nice letter of January 10, 1972, and I am very much pleased by the sentiments expressed therein. It is not so much that because there may be some faults in our godbrothers and godsisters, or because there may be some mismanagement or lack of cooperation, that this is due to being impersonalists, no.

It is the nature of the living condition to always have some fault. Even in the Spiritual World there is some fault and envy — sometimes the Gopis will quarrel over Krishna’s favor, and once Krishna was so much attracted to Radharani that by mistake he tried to milk the bull instead of the cow, and sometimes when the Gopis used to put on their dress and make-up for seeing Krishna, they would be too much hasty and smear kumkum and mascara in the wrong places and their ornaments and dresses would appear as if small children had been trying to dress themselves and they were not very expert, like that. There are so many examples.

But it is not the same as material fault or material envy, it is transcendental because it is all based on Krishna. Sometimes when one Gopi would serve Krishna very nicely, the others would say, Oh, she has done so nicely, now let me do better for pleasing Krishna. That is envy, but it is transcendental, without malice. So we shall not expect that anywhere there is any Utopia. Rather, that is impersonalism. People should not expect that even in the Krishna Consciousness Society there will be Utopia.

Because devotees are persons, therefore there will always be some lacking — but the difference is that their lacking, because they have given up everything to serve Krishna — money, jobs, reputation, wealth, big educations, everything — their lackings have become transcendental because, despite everything they may do, their topmost intention is to serve Krishna. “One who is engaged in devotional service, despite the most abominable action, is to be considered saintly because he is rightly situated.”

The devotees of Krishna are the most exalted persons on this planet, better than kings, all of them, so we should always remember that and, like the bumblebee, always look for the nectar or the best qualities of a person.

Not like the utopians, who are like the flies who always go to the open sores or find the faults in a person, and because they cannot find any utopia, or because they cannot find anyone without faults, they want to become void, merge, nothing — they think that is utopia, to become void of personality.

So if there is sometimes slight disagreements between devotees, it is not due to impersonalism, but it is because they are persons, and such disagreements should not be taken very seriously. The devotee is always pessimistic about the material world, but he is very optimistic about the spiritual life; so in this way, you should consider that anyone engaged in Krishna’s service is always the best person. …

Hope this will meet you in good health,
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Letter to: Atreya Rsi — Bombay 4 February, 1972


For John Thornton

Fellow fugitive
Forgive yourself
And me thereby
Thus we can live
Whatever’s left
Of time for us,
Each day a gift
We take on trust

tatas canu-dinam dharmah
satyam saucam ksama daya
kalena balina rajan
nanksyaty ayur balam smrtih

Srimad Bhagvatam 12.2.1

Translation:  tatas canudinam: with the progress of this age (Kali-yuga), dharma, religious principles; satyam, truthfulness; saucam, cleanliness; ksama, forgiveness; daya, mercifulness; ayur, duration of life; balam, bodily strength; smrti, memory — these eight things will gradually decrease to nil or almost nil

(The following is from a darshan I actually was at)

” Prabhupada: With the progress of the Kali-yuga… . So with the progress of this age, these things will happen…

“Prabhupada: Ksama. Formerly saintly persons and leaders, they used to excuse. Now that, the sense of excusing, “All right, this man has done something, excuse him,” that will decrease.”

Room Conversation and Reading from Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1 and 12 — June 25, 1976, New Vrindaban

“The duty of a brahmana is to culture the quality of forgiveness, which is illuminating like the sun. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is pleased with those who are forgiving.


“Different personalities become beautiful by possessing different qualities. Canakya Pandita says that the cuckoo bird, although very black, is beautiful because of its sweet voice. Similarly, a woman becomes beautiful by her chastity and faithfulness to her husband, and an ugly person becomes beautiful when he becomes a learned scholar. In the same way, brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras become beautiful by their qualities. Brahmanas are beautiful when they are forgiving, ksatriyas when they are heroic and never retreat from fighting, vaisyas when they enrich cultural activities and protect cows, and sudras when they are faithful in the discharge of duties pleasing to their masters. Thus everyone becomes beautiful by his special qualities. And the special quality of the brahmana, as described here, is forgiveness.”

Srimad Bhagvatam 9.15.40

“Prabhupada: This is sadhu. The first qualification is titiksava. very tolerant. And Canakya Pandita has said ksama-rupam tapasvinam. Those who are tapasvis, their first duty is how much he is forgiving. How much he has learned to forgive. ”

Room Conversation — September 4, 1976, Vrndavana

“As far as salvation is concerned, one has to conquer the principles of lust, anger, unlawful desires, avarice and bewilderment. To get freedom from anger, one should learn how to forgive.”

Srimad Bhagvatam 1.9.27

” And ksama. Ksama means forgiveness. Suppose I have done some wrong… [break] …but there is no forgiveness. Ksama-rupam tapasvinah, people is advised, especially those who are following penance and austerity, yogic principle or devotional life, they should learn to excuse. In our dealings, there are so many faulty dealings between ourselves. So if we take everything very seriously, then it is very difficult to live.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.2.1 — San Francisco, March 18, 1968

From Reflections May 2010

Question: You described a lack of forgiveness as one of the symptoms of anger. When someone hurts us, it can lead to feelings of anger and an inability to forgive.

Forgiveness seems easier to apply if the other person changes their behavior and possibly acknowledges their hurtful behavior. However, such a change may not happen immediately so how do we relinquish anger and forgive a person who may even continue to repeatedly hurt us in the present without feelings of remorse?

B.T.Swami: Forgiveness does not mean that we turn ourselves into a punching bag so that others can continuously throw blows at us, nor does it mean that we become a doormat for others to walk over and wipe their feet. People should certainly remove themselves from a position in which they function as the target of another’s attacks.

Forgiveness does not mean the following:

• We feel that the person or people who hurt us should be allowed to continue.
• We feel that what they have done was not really so bad after all.
• We suggest that we were actually wrong instead of the other person.
• We have forgotten the wrong.
• We are totally free of the pain.
• We are ready to act as if nothing has happened.
• We are ready to associate fully with the person.

Forgiveness does mean the following:

• We are not going to allow the person who hurt us to continue hurting us by constantly holding onto them or their actions. The more we hold onto the anger associated with the event, the more we allow the person to repeatedly assault us.
• We no longer want to keep living in the past.
• We are ready to live in the present by making healthy choices that are not clouded by past negative influences.
• We are ready to be loving always, not only when someone else acts favorably.

In other words, forgiveness is something we mainly do for ourselves so that we can personally free ourselves from various stagnations because  such stagnations can affect us physically, psychologically as well as spiritually.

If another person chooses to be continuously obnoxious, we do not want to allow their nonsense to impose itself upon us in any way. We want to be fully free to act in the spirit of love in spite of the environment or the person’s actions. The spirit of love entails knowing what is actually best for us as well as knowing what is best for the other person’s spiritual well-being.

When we hold unhealthy anger, it normally means that we want to retaliate or we want to see the person hurt. Consequently, we must ask ourselves, “How much harm or pain must the person experience before we can release them from our psyche?” Their feelings of remorse or lack of remorse should not really dictate or impose upon our own life.

“Entrepreneurs are looking to urban farms and rooftop gardens as an alternative to traditional farms. While start-up costs are higher, these efforts could pay off with long-term environmental benefits and better tasting veggies.”

So this is a video on the Wall Street Journal that I have been beating my head against the wall trying to post on this blog.  I hit the Popup player and tried both the Link and Embed code, both directly into the post and also through the Add Video but nothing worked so you will have to go through the link below to see it.

(If anyone familiar with WordPress can figure out how to get this into a post, please let me know how)

Wall Street Journal’s ‘s Monika Vosough reports.

I did use the Share feature to post it directly to this blog’s Facebook page and that worked fine, which was the first time I had ever attempted that.  It will show up double posted there because it takes the automatic feed from the bog, plus I posted it  using the Share feature  from the original WSJ  story itself. Which FYI this blog also has the Share feature so any post you see here can easily be shared other places, should you so desire.

So one failure, one success, about par for the course in the material world.

The tribal wisdom of the Lakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that, “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.”

However, in government, education, and in corporate America, more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse’s performance.

10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.

11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.

12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

And of course…

13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Executive summary : All the poems that have been posted on this blog are now available  at Madhava Gosh’s Poetry Anthology

Long winded details:  Bhagavad Gita is the Song of God, not the Essay of God. It is poetry, as is much of Sanskrit based scripture.   Sometimes it seems amongst devotees that analyzing it is more important than appreciating it. Of course as devotees we are all struggling to make some advancement and the ideal platform remains as  goals. What are those goals?

“These qualities of a devotee, twenty-six in number, are listed as follows: (1) kind to everyone, (2) does not quarrel with anyone, (3) fixed in the Absolute Truth, (4) equal to everyone, (5) faultless, (6) charitable, (7) mild, (8) clean, (9) simple, (10) benevolent, (11) peaceful, (12) completely attached to Krsna, (13) has no material hankering, (14) meek, (15) steady, (16) self-controlled, (17) does not eat more than required, (18) sane, (19) respectful, (20) humble, (21) grave, (22) compassionate, (23) friendly, (24) poetic, (25) expert, (26) silent. “

Srimad Bhagvatam 4.20.16

Since poetry hasn’t seemed to me to be a lifestyle in ISKCON, I have tried in my own limited way to open a door to it. On writing poetry sites you will hear the same thing over and over again, a variation on, “The best way to learn about writing poetry is to read good poetry.” So I have tried to send out a steady stream of what IMHO is good poetry.

My hope is that those seeing it will at least become comfortable in the  presence of poetry  and it won’t seem alien. Hopefully it will help some come to the platform of writing poetry, or at least making their prose more poetic.

Over the years I have posted a lot of poems, 249 to be exact.  I tried to manually make an index of the titles on a Page on my blog, but there were some quirks in the WordPress word processor so I always seemed to have some difficulty in posting links and eventually the chore of keeping the thing updated slipped a little and in no time I was so far behind I abandoned hope of catching up.

WordPress came out with a new thing. You simply put the shortcode [*archives] in a Page and it automatically lists all the titles in your blog in chronological order. (Actually, it did it also in this post, so I had to insert an extra character in the shortcode (*) to make it not function so if you use this drop the “*”)  That was great  because I wanted to have an easier way to look through older posts without tediously backtracking through a few posts on a screen at a time.

But I also wanted to be able to do it with a  category and periodically sent in requests to WordPress to make it so. No dice. It has become more sophisticated because now you can filter by date, but still no filter for category.

I was able to export all the poems (the Export feature does have a category filter) and popped them into a new blog. Using [*archives] I now have an index solely of  poems. When I post on my blog, I use a Press This to easily it add to the anthology.

So if you are interested in reading some selected poetry, you can at Madhava Gosh’s Poetry Anthology.  The Page with the index can be linked to in the header of this new blog or by clicking here. There is also a link on the Poet’s Poetry page in this blog.

I even made its own Facebook  page as that seems to be the way people view the world anymore. So welcome aboard.

Excerpted from a much larger collection here.

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
~Mark Strand, “Eating Poetry,” Reasons for Moving, 1968

Science is for those who learn; poetry, for those who know. ~Joseph Roux, Meditations of a Parish Priest

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason. ~Novalis

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing. ~John Cage

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. ~T.S. Eliot, Dante, 1920

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. ~Plato, Ion

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. ~Leonard Cohen

Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary. ~Kahlil Gibran

There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either. ~Robert Graves, 1962 interview on BBC-TV, based on a very similar statement he overheard around 1955

Poetry is what gets lost in translation. ~Robert Frost

Imaginary gardens with real toads in them. ~Marianne Moore’s definition of poetry, “Poetry,” Collected Poems, 1951

“Most poems are never finished,” (I was defensive). He sighed: “No, most poems are never started.” ~Dr. Sun Wolf

He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life. ~George Sand, 1851

Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition. ~Eli Khamarov, The Shadow Zone

Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted. ~Percy Shelley, A Defence of Poetry, 1821

Poetry is the key to the hieroglyphics of Nature. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

It is the job of poetry to clean up our word-clogged reality by creating silences around things. ~Stephen Mallarme

I am looking for a poem that says Everything so I don’t have to write anymore. ~Tukaram

You can’t write poetry on the computer. ~Quentin Tarantino

Poetry is perfect verbs hunting for elusive nouns. ~J. Patrick Lewis,

A poem should not mean
But be.
~Archibald MacLeish, Ars Poetica, 1926

A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses. ~Jean Cocteau

Poets are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge of the mind, because they drink at streams which we have not yet made accessible to science. ~Sigmund Freud, quoted in A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations by Alan L. Mackay, 1991

To be a poet is a condition, not a profession. ~Robert Frost

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits. ~Carl Sandburg

Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth. ~Samuel Johnson

I’ve written some poetry I don’t understand myself. ~Carl Sandburg

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth. ~Jean Cocteau

The poetry of the earth is never dead. ~John Keats

Poetry is frosted fire. ~J. Patrick Lewis,

If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average. ~Derek Walcott

A poet dares be just so clear and no clearer…. He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring. ~E.B. White

The poet… may be used as a barometer, but let us not forget that he is also part of the weather. ~Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination, 1950

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful. ~Rita Dove

A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep. ~Salman Rushdie

Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them. ~Dennis Gabor

Your prayer can be poetry, and poetry can be your prayer. ~Terri Guillemets

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