My Personal Journey
I have recently discovered a writer and thinker so brilliant that I am in the process of reforming my entire understanding of my place in this universe. His pen name is Krishna Chaitanya – his real name appears to be K.K. Nair. Because of his influence on my thinking, I have decided to share some personal aspects of my life, which perhaps will help you to understand why I was so open to the worldview of K.K Nair (aka Krishna Chaitanya); and I am sure many of you have had similar questions and feelings.
Some of you know me as V.S. (Susan) Ferguson. In 1995 I wrote Inanna Returns and Inanna Hyper-Luminal. I spent two years lecturing and met many, many fine and wonderful people. But I came away from the so-called New Age movement deeply disappointed and entirely heartbroken. Surely something was missing.
In the year 2000 I moved back to New York City, where I had lived for most of my adult life. Thus I was there for 9/11. The entire city was in total shock, as was the world. But in NYC an eerie silence hung over the normally noisy bustling city like an evil veil – a silence broken only by the sound of F-16 jet fighters. I was not downtown on that terrible day, but I was near enough to see the smoke and smell the acrid toxic fumes as they drifted into my apartment.
Bizarrely I was living in a building that was next door to one of the funeral homes where the bodies were being brought. My mother was the 7th child of the 7th child and I have always been able to see and communicate with the deceased. Let me assure you that this is not a gift that you should envy or want to cultivate.
On that day 9/11, the spirits of the dead were coming up into my apartment. They were simply looking for someone who could recognize them, who was able to see them. They were bewildered, lost in deep shock as you might imagine. I could see them as severely burned, their bodies covered in blood; some were half recognizable and still in their business attire. I tried to comfort them as much as possible and help them to move on.
For those of you who read my previous website before I began Metaphysical Musing, you know that for many years I was very much involved in the world. I had spent years studying what had gone wrong, the poisoning of our food-air-water and the earth, the seemingly intentional dumbing us down, the unbelievable corruption and greed in governments - the general visible heinous symptoms of the inexorable Kali Yuga. Therefore I was not taken by complete surprise at the events on 9/11 – but I was not prepared, nor could anyone be, for the effect the attacks had on me emotionally, on my psyche. Like so many, I felt utterly helpless.
I resolved to move away from my beloved Big Apple; and as the character Gracie in Inanna Returns headed for the mountains in the Pacific Northwest, I moved into the forest near the Blue Ridge Mountains. In my life I have retreated into Nature at various times and this seclusion has always served me well. Thus for the past 2 1/2 years I have been a virtual hermit seeing and speaking with almost no one. I have spent my time primarily in meditation and reading translations of the Sanskrit texts. To balance this isolation I watched Indian cinema, not just Bollywood, but also the wonderful Bengali, Tamil, and Teluga films.
I am not a scholar and I can tell you that in the beginning reading the translations of these Sanskrit texts did not come easy. There were days I would spend hours reading one paragraph or one page. But over time I became accustomed to a completely different cultural context – meaning different from my own American culture – and the reading became easier. For example, I began to read the Puranas at night before I went to sleep as I enjoyed their story form. I read the more arduous doctrinal texts, such as the Upanishads, the Vedas (Shyam Ghosh’s Rig Veda), or the Shivä Samhita, the Gheranda Samhita, and the Patanjali Yogasutra (Shyam Ghosh) in the mornings, when my mind was hopefully open and clear.
In the past 2 1/2 years I have read (some texts not in their entirety) from: The Mahabharata, 7 different translations of the Bhagavad Gita (which is within the Mahabharata), the Brahma Purana, the Shiva Purana, the Bhagavata Purana, the Vayu Purana, the Linga Purana, the Vishnu Purana, the Skandha Purana, and the Varaha Purana. I have read extensively the writings and teachings of the Kashmir Saivites, Abhinavagupta and Swami Lakshmanjoo.
I read many books on Samkhya including Kapila and The Samkhya Karika of Ishvara Krishna. I became familiar with the teachings of Sankara and Ramanuja and many others. I read extensively into the long history of Bhakti Yoga in India. I also read the brilliant writings of Rene Guenon, Alain Danielou, and David Shulman, which greatly helped my entry into the inscrutable realms of Sanskrit metaphysics.
Even though I occasionally felt sad and frustrated that I had failed to find a living guru, I essentially trusted the God-within me. I seem to have a mysterious marvelous gift in that whenever a particularly obstinate and profound question is eluding me and driving me nuts, I will inevitably find the answer in a book often quite by chance. Perhaps this is just my path based on the fact that I have the planet Jupiter in my ninth house. However this jadoo works, it is always a source of wonder and joy for me, as well as a bit of fun.
Of all the books I have read, none changed my consciousness as powerfully as the Bhagavad Gita. I was reading J.A.B van Buitenen’s translation when my heart and mind first truly opened to this timeless book of verse, for the Bhagavad Gita is a Sanskrit poem. That fine warm summer’s day when at last Krishna’s words began to have real meaning for me, I cried and cried and cried. Even now sometimes when I read a verse, the sweetest tears pool up in my eyes and I am overwhelmed with awe, love, and gratitude.
One day in the middle of a particularly painful struggle for a deeper understanding, I stood in a doorway, crying, looking out into the green forest, and said over and over, “Krishna is my guru … Krishna is my guru … Krishna is my guru …”
So when the writings of the Indian scholar Krishna Chaitanya, aka K.K. Nair, came into my life, I knew that once again … Krishna is my guru.
Occasionally there comes along in this world a mind that does have the capacity to study and comprehend it all! That would be Krishna Chaitanya/KK Nair. I suppose it took me these past years of study to even be ready to understand the clarity of genius of KK Nair. Krishna Chaitanya is his pen name and I am going to call him KK Nair so as not to confuse the reader with Krishna the Hindu deity and hero of the Bhagavad Gita - or the Bengal Saint Chaitanya (1486-1534).
KK Nair died in the early 1990s. If he were still alive today, I would be writing him letters of gratitude because it is KK Nair’s enormously huge understanding of not only the ancient Sanskrit texts, but also of all western thinking as well that has opened an entire new and extremely exhilarating door for me.
KK Nair/Krishna Chaitanya is published by Clarion Books in New Delhi India. But many of his books are now difficult to come by. I hope this is soon remedied. It seems to me that hundreds of innocent seekers might have been spared the pain and emotional scars of imperious cults if they had read KK Nair’s understanding of the Bhagavad Gita and Krishna himself in KK Nair’s final book, The Betrayal of Krishna, Vicissitudes of a Great Myth.
The book jacket from Clarion publishing house gives us some insight into the accomplishments of this great man: one of the most original and stimulating minds, India’s nearest approximation to the Renaissance man, the author of nearly 40 books. KK Nair wrote a five-volume philosophy of freedom for which he got a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship and which has been compared to the works of Thomas Aquinas, Herbert Spencer, Whitehead, and Teilhard de Chardin; a ten-volume history of world literature in English and several Indian languages, among many others. The accolades go on, but suffice to say KK Nair possessed a rare and highly exceptional breadth and depth of intelligence.
In his book The Betrayal of Krishna, KK Nair/Krishna Chaitanya says, “the entire meaning of the Gita can be regarded as being revealed in that moment when Krishna asks Arjuna to become the efficient cause (nimitta) of the doom of Duryodhana’s vast armies.” In other words, Krishna asks Arjuna to be the instrument for ridding the world of evil.
“Its profound meaning is that only man can act on the plane of history for its divinisation; deity can only inspire him; man is free to accept or reject that inspiration; when he accepts it he becomes the partner of God, his active agent and not passive tool, for realizing God’s design which he too need accept only after the most through critical assessment.” [p.412-3]
We do indeed all have Free Will. We can choose to work with and for the God-within – or we can ignore the Source of everything and our own essence and continue to spiral down through the Cycles of Time in the mechanistic automaton (yantra rudhana) of our gunas, the small personality self with its myriad of compulsions.
Of course first we have to realize that there is a particle of the omniscient Creator within us – all of us. This is not an easy task here in the Kali Yuga where we are hard pressed and manipulated from all sides stay busy, to work only to consume more and more ephemeral nothings, and to be continually entertained in a completely shallow manner. There is very little encouragement for any of us to find the time think as individuals, to quietly contemplate the universe and our relationship to it, to spend hours, even days in solitude and meditation.
But unlike temporal pleasures, the rewards of solitude and meditation are enormous and lasting.
Over the past 2 1/2 years I have had many trials. I certainly would not say that this has been an easy time for me or that the realizations and experiences I have achieved came effortlessly. But they did come!
I don’t think it is of much value to share my exact experiences with you because yours will be different. That is as it should be. But in the context of understanding KK Nair’s statement on the meaning of the Bhagavad Gita, I want to share with you something that I believe happens to all who walk deeply into the inner worlds.
At a certain point in your inner experiences, along with the glorious visions and sublime subtle bliss, one does feel what many have called the Void. You give up your sense of the personal temporal identity-self and hold your consciousness in a place of utter Peace. This state of being can be said to be without qualities (nirguna). There is only the eternal imperishable (akshara).
After many exalting, enlightening, blissful experiences I would always come around to the same thought: “Ok, now what?”
You may laugh, but I am sure I am not alone in this.
You see there is snare in mysticism. I sincerely believe that I could go on creating amazingly blissful experiences in my consciousness until I leave this world. I would merely be allowing that which I have always been and always will be to express through me. The God-within-you is always there in your heart, always – or you would be dead. This is revealed to you when you allow it.
However the Void is emptiness and Being should not, in Becoming, end up as a kind of annihilation into Nothing. As KK Nair points out, liberation should not move towards self-extinction and an excuse for doing nothing.
Therefore, in line with the thoughts of KK Nair/Krishna Chaitanya, we may come to understand that the purpose of Life is not to escape it, not to realize the God-within and then leave the troubles of this world. We are not here to pursue escape from Hamlet’s slings and arrows of outrageous fortune – but rather we are here to see what we will do when the hounds of darkest hell are biting at our heels ... and without attachment to reward.
What would an eternal all powerful being do when cloaked in the Veil of Forgetting and the solidification of matter? What choices will we make? Will we blame others and as perfect victims follow the path of weakness interminably whining, weeping, and bewailing our fate? Or will we as KK Nair says, after “the most through critical assessment” accept God’s inspiration and become “the partner of God, his active agent and not passive tool, for realizing God’s design.”
Perhaps this universe can be understood as the Creator’s master poem, the ultimate work of Art, a weaving of waveforms, sound and vision, a grand cosmic film with you and me as actors on the stage of the temporal illusory hologram. Will we play out our character with tenacity, courage and conviction - or be washed away in a sea of toxic consumption and mind numbing comforts that leave us bored, fat and empty?
More to on the excellent works of Krishna Chaitanya/KK Nair to follow …
The Betrayal of Krishna, The Vicissitudes of a Great Myth
Krishna Chaitanya (KK Nair)
Clarion Books, 1991, New Delhi India
The Mahabharata, A Literary Study
Krishna Chaitanya (KK Nair)
Clarion Books, 1985,1995, New Delhi India
The Gita for Modern Man
Clarion Books; 1st edition 1986, New Delhi India
My sincere heartfelt thanks to exoticindiaart.com and their online bookstore!
William Shakespeare - from As You Like It
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
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