Poems to Support our Journey

Karnamrita Das - July 26, 2015 11:20 pm

I am continuing to share those activities and perspectives that have helped me stay the course throughout the years. Here are the best of my free verse poems--perhaps that isn't saying much, but they are inspiring for me. This is one of my favorites, as prayer is my favorite activity, as it lets me feel connected to our Deities and my gurus, and line of teachers. I talk and cry out to the Lord, and pray for all I am worth to improve myself and inspire the devotees in their lives and service. For most of my life in bhakti, I never prayed to make spiritual advancement, and this was very unfortunate. IMO, we must constantly prayer to progress in our affection and service attitude toward our guru(s) and the Lord's of our heart--Shri Shri Radha Krishna, and Gaura Nitai, etc. I can tell you that I feel reciprocation from doing this. We have to remind ourselves of our highest ideals by constantly calling out. It gradually overcomes our other desires as we eventually are always praying and chanting. Prayer is Life



Prayer is my life

it always sustains me

through the day and night,

either in pain or joy

reverses or successes,

I go to bed with prayer,

awakening, I bow down

remembering my gurus

in gratitude for service

amazed at my good fortune.


I pray to offer my day

to beautiful, flower clad, Krishna,

folding my bedding with prayer

drinking Prasad (blessed) water

my necessities all provided

thus the body endures

the soul begins to flourish

each breathe, heartbeat, & step

continue only by mercy,

as everything is His grace & kindness.


Prayer reminds me

I’m always a servant

a tiny, covered spiritual spark,

but my ego inflates my smugness

forgetful of God for eons

and still I’m proud

of my feeble, religious attempt

at waking and rising up—

when selfishness rules me

I return to the holy name.



By prayer I remember Krishna

chanting and hearing His glories,

though stubborn, I’m still blessed

in spite of myself, I call out,

kind and generous Krishna smiles

as I share my life with Him,

I’m saved even by poor prayers

making thousands of attempts

some with heart, other officially

acknowledging Krishna’s love.


Daily intensified prayer

before Radha Krishna Deities

the core of my life

I sit before Them

petitioning through Hare Krishna

praying to be emptied out

freed from sensual demands,

ignorance, illusion, forgetfulness—

waking up to my true nature

cheering others to stay the course.



Lord, please accept me—

more, let me accept you

fully, completely, absolutely,

here and now, now and forever,

let offences past, present, or future

or whatever hinders my progress

toward taking full shelter of you

in loving service, let that be finished

replaced by the constant serving mood

making pure devotion my only food.


I’m Krishna’s eternal part

serving Him and all beings

giving myself by love’s power

yet aspiring for humility like grass

tolerance like the trees

giving respect, not wanting it

knowing I’m always dependent

on His grace and facility—

by prayer, I’m aware, of

my shortcoming, and the Goal.


A glimpse of His mercy revealed

as I plead to chant purely,

hearing one mantra at a time

until I’m totally, unconditionally His

by living, feeling, acting in surrender

being one with bhakti in love,

every day moving closer by prayer

to the blue cowherd, Krishna

the love and sustainer of my life,

a lasting friend like no other!



Karnamrita Das - July 28, 2015 2:29 pm

I am going to post other poems as comments to this one, as I can't see having every poem as its own topic--unless our moderators have another idea? I see these free verse poems as a kind of shorthand to speak about a much deeper subject, though some of my poems are rather long when I was experimenting with the genre. It is my own style of course, though I am sure it can be classified as something or other. This poems gives the feeling I had when I took bhakti, in the middle of the counterculture. I am still in the theme of those thoughts and actions which can keep us on the path, and here, remembering how and why we took up the path, can be helpful in difficulty or life reverses. What was my life like before, and how did I find solace in the holy name and Vaishnava sanga?:


A Lotus in the Redwoods



[some persons caught up in the counter-culture of the late '60's and '70's felt that all materiel prospects were void and society's status quo, a miserable stagnation. Thus, as if in a life and death battle, they intensely felt compelled to search out meaning and happiness on the spiritual quest, appearing as their only hope. This free verse poem, inspired by the months I spent in the redwood forest in Muir Woods in Marin County (near San Francisco, California), condenses the background feelings of my spiritual search that culminated in Krishna bhakti and continues to unfold to this day, some 45 years later. While my mood is currently much softer than that expressed in this poem, the power of my original spiritual search still gives me energy and reminds me of what is required to make radical life changes for a higher purpose. I was so determined to find the real purpose of my life and to make sense of what appeared to be a mad, pointless, world, that I was willing to forgo everything else to be successful on that pilgrim's journey. Unfortunately I don't have the same level of focused and powerful determination that I had in my youth, though I'm inspired to remember the feeling and dynamism of that time of new beginnings. Fortunately, I still have momentum from the scent of the lotus flow I discovered in the redwoods. I continue walking up the bhakti mountain, step by step, guided by spiritual adepts. There is no question of returning the way I came, from the "Valley of the Shadow of Death," as that road is closed to me, due to some unimaginable good fortune.]


Pensive on a mountain top
looking through modern civilization
almost covered by smog
adrift in a sea of uncertainty
atomic threats and toxic chemicals--

no charted course appeals
provided answers are shallow
all paths appear pointless
unlimited choices dull the brain
walking among the living dead
complacency dressed as a virtue
the status quo bewilders me
worldly recommendations disappoint
sensual thoughts and desires frustrate
dogs chase their tail repeatedly
smashed dreams and vain hopes.




In the midst of random chaos
where calamities surround me
indifference threatens my survival
out of my bleeding heart
a lotus in the redwood forest
revealing a divine purpose
now covered by madness,

Nature’s order reveals The Law
a reason for doing and being
beyond the fast track to dying
yet death impels the wise
on the path of lasting Truth
the Secret of joyous living
awakening the mystic journey
finding meaning in misery
leading to the soul’s home.




Hidden force guides me
a script long ago decided
the spiritual path emerges
when all other doors close
Krishna’s holy name empowers
ten thousand lasers drill
cracking miles of concrete illusion
causing the soul to shine
blessed by gurus and sages
forced to surrender, then choosing
going forward or lost again
staying in Krishna’s embrace
He carries my lacks
preserves my progress
everything serves the goal
the quest of Divine love.



Karnamrita Das - July 30, 2015 4:48 pm

Not really a poem but an idea I came up with and then found this "Just Because" statement that went with it. In any case, I think there is some wisdom here, and it was enlivening and for me, "fun" to do. Just Because


Just because something is

doesn't mean it should be.


Just because a poem is written

doesn’t mean it’s good.


Just because I have a manuscript

doesn’t mean it should be published.


Just because I don’t like a universal law

doesn’t mean it isn’t good, or I can break it.


Just because I own something

doesn’t mean I should keep it.


Just because it’s a cool techno gadget

doesn’t mean I need to buy it.


Just because I want to be humble

doesn’t mean I don’t need appreciation.


Just because I have a thought

doesn’t mean it is, or isn’t, useful.


Just because I become infatuated

doesn’t mean I should act.


Just because I have a feeling

doesn’t mean it has to define me.


Just because I had a painful childhood

doesn’t mean I can’t rise above it.


Just because I have a habit

doesn’t mean I shouldn’t change.


Just because changing is difficult

doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying.


Just because I don’t believe in myself

doesn’t mean I can’t, or shouldn’t.


Just because a goal seems lofty

doesn’t mean I shouldn’t endeavor.


Just because its’ always been done that way

doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done differently.


Just because I can’t see a way

doesn’t mean there isn’t one.


Just because I’m a “night person”

doesn’t mean I shouldn’t rise earlier.


Just because spiritual practice seems inconvenient

doesn’t mean it isn’t important for my soul.


Just because I have material desires

doesn’t mean I can’t make spiritual advancement.


Just because my heart seems like stone

doesn’t mean Krishna’s holy name can’t melt it!


Just because the Deity appears silent

doesn’t mean He doesn’t care and notice.


Just because my prayers aren’t answered

doesn’t mean praying isn’t good for me.


Just because I don’t know the answer

doesn’t mean there isn't someone who does.


Just because doing the right thing isn’t popular

doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.


Just because watching TV is entertaining

doesn’t mean it’s a valuable use of time.


Just because my room is always messy

doesn’t mean cleaning it isn’t helpful.


Just because someone else is neglectful

doesn’t mean I should be.


Just because I see a fault in another

doesn’t mean I am better.


Just because I notice someone’s shortcomings

doesn’t mean I don’t have at least the potential for it.


Just because someone has blind spots

doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of respect.


Just because I can do something easily

doesn’t mean it will be easy for another.


Just because I think in a certain way

doesn’t mean others are wrong who don’t.


Just because my kindness isn’t returned

doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be kind.


Just because my gift isn’t noticed

doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be charitable.


Just because my love isn’t understood

doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be loving.


Just because there is more to say

doesn't mean more should be said.


Just because I have written this list

doesn’t mean the list is finished.