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Gaura Vani was raised from birth in temples in India and the US by his Hare Krishna parents. He plays ancient Indian drums and sings in archaic languages like Sanskrit for the blue-skinned Lord Krishna. And now he’s teaching his three children this same timeless art called kirtan.

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Gaura Vani 0:00
In the vastness of everything, here I am a soul pondering my own existence. This is not your ultimate reality. This is temporary. So the idea that we can fix things for other people is just the folly. And all of a sudden this insane maniac comes into the room.

Avi 0:20
All I know is that it is amazing. Hello and welcome. So happy to be joined by garavani das today, a little bit about garavani he was raised from birth in temples in India, and the US by his Hari Krishna parents, plays ancient Indian drums and sings in archaic languages, like Sanskrit for the blueskin Lord Krishna. Now he's teaching his three children, the same timeless art called cureton. And before we jump into a conversation Gurbani has as offered to start us off with a mantra invocation. So thanks so much for taking the time to be with us today. And I'll hand it over to you. Thank you so much a pleasure to be here.

Gaura Vani 1:15
It's always nice to start with with a prayer because for me at least the the the prayer is pretty much always the same which is please let whatever comes out of my mouth be something more than my ego. And my whatever drama I'm going through, please let me actually be a representative of the highest truth of my lineage of the teachers of the saints. So alright. Oh my god. Gannon Jana Chuck Schumer does my guru Namo Vishnu Krishna breath sty Srimati Bhakti Swami Tina no Mustang go Ravani near vision boss jotted down. Oh, she Krishna che Prabhu she, she blocked. g go.

This particular mantra is calling for the presence of Sri Chaitanya and his associates his friends. There were five friends and they looked around the world. They saw the state of consciousness that the people oppressed, the lack of truth, the lack of honesty, fear, and they decided that this world needs one thing for certain sacred song and sacred dance. And so they would go out into the street, the five of them singing and dancing together. And at the time, India was being ruled by the moguls and it was punishable by death, to sing Hindu songs and public mantras in public. Any expression of anything other than Islam at the time was was punishable by death. So they were taking their life in their hands each time they went out into the streets, but little by little crowds gathered and soon hundreds turned into 1000s turned into millions and soon India was being inundated 500 years ago by this revolution of sacred song. The last line of this mantra says Jai Gorham have different that means blast blast are all the singers and dancers in the party of Sri Chaitanya. And may we be among them. J Rin. J. Go. Favorite song of Sri Chaitanya is a very well known song today. Jai Krishna good. Krishna, Krishna. Rob Okay, I'm gonna do this with you even though we have a time delay here. avi, let's do this. I'll sing and then you say you're ready for this. You say

Krishna. Nice. So all you folks out there in podcast land. When you when you get a chance to sing loudly with this mantra, I'm going to do it one last time. Shan Krishna, do you feel more sacred? I feel more sacred now. No question about it. It's so powerful. Yeah, it's true. So powerful. Gosh,

yeah, mantras, mantras have this way of cutting through, you know, the fog. You know, just before we got on know, there was technical challenges, right. And there's so much stress that comes up around our ability or lack of ability to control anything in our lives. I don't know how you feel, but that's how I feel.

Avi 11:48
Totally, I mean, I think really, where the challenge comes in, for me is like, even just to think that I can control you know, just just forgetting to let go. I don't know why I forget that I'm just on this ride. Like, it's so it's so obvious when I see it clearly that that's what's going on, that I'm on a ride. But I forget.

Gaura Vani 12:13
It's, it's an important thing. Because, you know, we don't want to just sit around and do nothing and just space out, you know what I mean, that's not being yogic or spiritual, that just do nothing, say nothing, think nothing, not activated, not helping, not serving, you know, just basically sitting around space and out of the sky, or something like that, you know, the yoga practice is meant to be like an activated process. So even if your senses are withdrawn, they're activated in that withdrawn state, their focus there, you know, you know, searching, you know, yearning, crying for deepening, you know, so it's not like, we can just do nothing, but then as soon as we get into the world, and try and do something, we come up against the reality that we have so little control over anything, you know, it's a real dichotomy. I think sometimes.

Avi 13:09
Yeah, you know, what I found more is that, like, I like letting go to my lack of ability to really do very much at all, I can do a little bit more, that's interesting. Of how some how it works like that, like, you know, when I, when I really understand that I don't have any control, then maybe I gain a little bit more.

Gaura Vani 13:38
Yeah, I wonder if it works that way, a few few. I think from from my observation and from the lineage, you know, the teachings of the lineage of the Bhakti lineage that I, you know, try to practice trying to represent you know, the ideas that you know, we are that same God substance, we are a part of God. But the problem is, we're only a part we're not the whole, you know, we're just a tiny part. So for a spark of fire, to pretend to be the whole fire is foolish, because as soon as it falls away from the, from the fire, it just, it just goes out and the damp darkness, you know, but the whole fire is generating any number of sparks. And so if we're in harmony with that source, the greater plan than it seems that anything is possible because we're in alignment with the greater plan, the greater wisdom, and then it seems like everything is possible. Oh, my God, things are just like happening. Like practically I'm not even doing anything. Right.

Avi 14:52
I was actually listening to a ROM das talk recently and he was kind of referencing this idea of doing Nothing to do what you're talking about. He's like that that often, like, that's the commentary on like, you know, letting go Okay, like you're gonna do nothing. It's like, okay, I can do nothing. So I'm lying in bed doing nothing, doing nothing. Well, I'm hungry. So I'm gonna go to the fridge and get something to eat. Still doing nothing. I don't have any food. Well, I need to go get food. Okay, so I need to get a job and get some food, but I'm still doing nothing. Like, this concept of doing nothing. I mean, I've, I've tried it. I've tried to do nothing for some time. And we're, we're, you know, I don't know, I'm interested in like, you know, if someone really wants to do nothing like, like, go ahead, like, go for it. Because then what comes out of that nothing, I think ends up being such a doing that's much more pure than this, like speedy doing without any kind of connection, I think with the fire with the, with the divine force,

Gaura Vani 16:05
right. Yeah, I think you bring up an important point. You know, I mean, Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, people who sincerely do any sort of spiritual practice, ultimately, they're worshipping me, even if they don't know it, Krishna says, so, you know, you think you're doing this, you think you're doing that, but Krishna is saying, if there's some sincerity in what you do, ultimately, it's, it's an offering, and I'm receiving it. Because, you know, we're not these bodies, right? We're not these temporary existences, you know, I'm not an American musician, with a family and kids living in Washington, DC. This is just the structure of my body, you know, the material vessel, you know, but the real me is eternal, the real me is connected. So every single thing as soon as we're kind of in alignment with that, it's like Krishna takes the reins like he did for our joonas chariot in this in the Bhagavad Gita, he was driving or joonas chariot. So our joonas you know, we, we kind of, are joonas like, like our, you know, our representative and that story, you know, so we can try and manage it around or we can just ask Krishna, please, you know, better maybe you can take the reins here. And, you know, so yeah, all the doing. We think we're doing we don't think we're doing but ultimately, if we try, even a little bit with a sincere heart to just offer it, whatever we're doing, whether we're think we're doing nothing with it, we do as we're trying to offer it and say, I'm clueless. My thing is a mess, but I'm just trying my best to offer what I got. Then Krishna accepts it. And suddenly we become, like, being pulled by that higher force by that consciousness towards good things towards the right things. You know, even even people's, even people's, you know, mistakes get righted. With, with a sincere heart. It's like, it's like, you know, they're protected, they're held somehow, you know,

Avi 18:17
I think it goes back to what you said, you know, about the invocation and that they're all really, you know, the same thing that allow this, whatever is going to come through me, to not be ego to be to be the higher force, the higher will.

And

I'm interested if you have anything to share for like, how you do that, and also how you might be able to decipher, like, okay, what's what I'm doing right now, what's coming through me, this is more in my ego, versus this is more in connection with, with the divine source and energy. This is Krishna leading leading my chariot.

Gaura Vani 18:57
That's a good question, right? That's an important question. How do we, how do we perceive ourselves? How do we understand that what we're doing is of service and not just, you know, what, what a friend, a friend and a teacher Ravindra sarup, provoke calls the god project. Everybody's on the god project, like, you know, privately, quietly, what I really want is everyone to worship me as God, but I'm not going to tell anyone, I'm just going to try and set it up that way. You know, my little God project, you know? Yeah, I mean, the ego is a tricky thing. You know, you know, in the Bhakti tradition, they have a differentiation, they kind of make a point between ego and false ego, which is an interesting terminology, false ego, in other words, that there is a self and that self is the true ego. So it's not that we're chasing the evaporation of the ego, were chasing the freedom from false ego, to the awakening of the true ego of the true self, beyond the body, you know, beyond the mind, beyond even the material intelligence, you know, it's described sometimes like a coconut, that you have the soul, the soul being the water inside the green coconut, this like, you know, juice this nectar. And then outside of that, you've got the meat of the coconut. And then outside that, you know, so that's like, you know, the mind or something, you know, and then you've got, you know, or the, you know, you've got these layers, the mind, the false ego, and the intelligence that are also and then of course, the body, but you've got these things that are so closely connected, that you almost can't tell the difference. Like, they're all just coconut, but no, they're distinct. Like, there's the brown shell that's just outside of the meat of the coconut. Right. And then there's the, the actual shell, and then outside of that there's all the husk and they're all the same thing. And they're very hard to separate, but they're different. You know, so I, for me, I one thing I've been thinking about lately I've been doing, I've been really trying to focus on my, my, my mala Joppa chanting practice, rising before the sun and chanting in the in the pre dawn hour. It's called brahma muhurta. It's like, it's like, supposedly, like, you know, if you imagine like the best, most kind, organic sweet like whatever killer you know, nutritious food stuff. So if the time of day brahma muhurta the one hour before sunrise is considered that like, the absolute primo kime best possible nutritious food for the self. So in the Brahma muhurta it's a great time to chat. So I've been I've been trying to you know, focus on my mala and, and, you know, I'm just listening chanting Hari Krishna Hari Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, howdy, Howdy, howdy, Rama, Dara, trying to hear the mantra, invite the mantra. And all of a sudden, this insane maniac comes into the room? Like Who the hell is this guy? You know, do this, do that call this guy. What's on the internet? What's this got Whatever happened to that story? It's like, Who is this person? It's not me. You know, that's the mind. And it's like, the mind is so impressionable. And it's catching. It's like catching all this energy from all the places like, sometimes I will just sit in there and I'll hear

the heartbeat of America. That's today's Chevrolet.

Why is that in my mind, like, I don't even own a Chevrolet like what is what, why is that in my mind, my mind is holding on to this song instead of mantras my mind somehow or others made space for this. So sometimes it's cool. When you're doing mantra practice, especially Java, you just chant and you watch the mind and you just say, Brother, please, just let it go. Come back to the mantra, let's just dwell in the mantra. So that's one time that I'm able to see like, this is my mind. You know, usually, for me, the false ego comes with a little bit of envy. Or like some negative quality, like I hear a chatter or something. And I'm like, yeah, that's not me. That's not me. that negative energy. Thank you for sharing that you have.

Do you have a monster practice? Do you do a monster practice? I do. Yeah. Yeah, I

don't know. I don't know if in your tradition, you're allowed to share your mantra practice, but but can you share about your mantra practice? Yeah, I

Avi 23:53
will. I have more of the traditional side, but I'll share a bit more of my own like personal side, because I love making practices my own. Oh, nice. To me. So it's like, I love following tradition, but then also like, like, adjusting. Yeah, but the one that's most effective for me, I personally need to do that and have the freedom to do that. And I appreciate that my tradition allows me to do that too. For sure. So, you don't, I mean, in a way, silence is my mantra. So it's like, going back to like nothing, right? Just like the word. Like When, when, when my mind is going and I'm witnessing these things. It's like, my, my allegiance is what I call it, like mantra to me is like, associated with the word allegiance. So like during this practice, like my allegiance is, is to nothing, you know, and the other one I'll share too is just loving awareness. So I am loving awareness. I am loving awareness, and just coming back to it. But, you know, you made me think of, of just this like this yearning and desire that I have to not take my And more importantly, not like the little self, I guess. And the mind, you know, too seriously, it's like it's those moments that happens where like the Chevrolet commercial comes on, in my mind, or whatever the thoughts that judgmental, like spinning things, it's like, just to just like witness really just to witness it and just be interested and not to be attached to it. And what it means about me, right, because that's when it gets like so sticky says like, oh, man, like I'm doing badly. I'm not doing my practice, right? What does this mean about me? It's like, I'm such a desire to just like, have that all go. And to experience this life with more lightness? Hmm,

Gaura Vani 25:44
beautiful. My teacher right enough Swami who wrote a beautiful book called The journey home, I don't know, if you've had a chance to read that book. It's a great, it's about his story as a young man traveling across Europe and the Middle East in India. But he says something, I've heard him say it so many times. You know, he says that, you know, humility, which is encouraged so much in so many spiritual traditions, humility, you know, it doesn't mean thinking less of yourself, like, you know, like being like guilt ridden or down on yourself or, you know, disrespecting yourself or

you know,

you know, having this kind of feeling of like worthlessness or something like that. But humility is thinking of yourself less. You know, so it's like, it's funny, because when we're caught up in serving others, and and exchanging love and giving love and receiving love, I'm preparing for my wife's 40th birthday party, and I found a quote, you know, let me pull it up. I don't want to get it wrong. It's a quote by this guy, George Sand. Probably a super famous quote, but I, I just kind of found it. There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved. You know, and what I like about that, quote, as it also works on a spiritual level, because really love, you know, the action of love of loving is the activity of the soul. You know, that's what, that's what we're doing. You know, we're trying to find ways to remove the obstacles for ourselves, to receive love and ourselves to offer love. It while I'm on it, there's another great little quote, this was really short quote, there's a short quote by Rumi that I also found, which was cool. Love is the whole thing. We are only pieces. That's cool. Are you gonna say, I was gonna ask if,

Avi 28:08
if if for you, like feeling love, connecting with love, being love, if this is something that you've been practicing, and have you noticed that maybe through practicing, it's, it's gotten easier to go to that place, maybe like when you become more of that peace, right to then come back to the whole wholeness of love.

Gaura Vani 28:34
I'll tell you, I'll tell you what I'm actually going through right now, I'm realizing how far I have to go. But not in a way that I'm down on myself in a way that's opening possibilities for me to to grow and to expand. You know, one gift that I've been given in my life is music. Now, the technique that I was playing on the guitar today is an open tuning technique that's brand new to me. And so I'm making lots of mistakes. And it's interesting for me, cool for me to witness myself on a new instrument and the guitar, I play guitar fair amount. But this technique is new, and I'm making mistakes. And at the same time, because I've done music for so long in my life, I have a sense of ease. A sense of of of at home notes and music, that even if I make a mistake, I just go next time I'll get it. Like it's alright that I didn't get it this time because I'm working on it. And next time, I'll get it and if not Next time, I'll get it the time after that or the time after that. So this is ease fulness about it. It's like Well, that was a stinker. Boy, I hit the wrong note there. But I don't beat myself up about it because what are you going to do? The music is gone, the water has flowed, it's out it's gone. So the reason why I say that is in my life. It's been a great blessing to Be able to compare other things that I'm striving for in my life to music. And to be able to say, like, Do I have a spaciousness here in my mantra practice that I have in music, you know. And one area that I'm finding that I don't, is my I have, I have basically three teenagers now in the house. So when they were little, they were cute, they were loving, they gave lots of hugs and kisses. And now it's like, they're just teenagers, you know? And I'm watching myself realizing, wow, I don't have the spaciousness and parenting that I have in music, and how do I invite that in? That love in the midst of the chaos in the midst of challenge in the midst of disagreement? That's my edge right now that I'm working on. As far as the edge of love.

Avi 30:56
Saying that resonates strongly with me. I only have a little one still, she's two, but even. Even even that, it's like, it's like I yeah, I, I think that there's a lot of times where I'm not sure if I just did the right thing. Or the best thing I can do.

And

Gaura Vani 31:15
there's a great book, there's a great book, I know, this is not what we're talking about. But there's a great book that's old, it's been published, like republished, like 30 times, or something like that. It's called How to Talk. So kids will listen, and how to listen. So kids will talk, if you ever heard of this book. Now. It really was a game changer for me. And I'm reading it again, for the second time, I highly recommend the book to conscious parents trying to be conscious parents.

Avi 31:40
What's is there like, like, one piece that comes to mind for you that like you've really like a gem that you've really taken from it? Sure. And it

Gaura Vani 31:47
was really about listening, right? So the idea of listening fully, and allowing that reality to exist without trying to control it, but just kind of like holding space for someone else's reality. It's one of the reasons why this book is also used for people like not kid like communication stuff is like to be able to create a vessel that says like, Okay, wow, I don't even let's not even worry about if I agree or disagree with you. Let me just create a vessel here to fully hear your experience in this thing. Without even the dialogue of judgment on it, like, Okay, I'm not even saying that I agree. So it's not like, I'm not like I'm being disingenuous, or something. It's just like, Oh, so you feel this? And, and, and because of this, it makes you want this and, you know, you know, wow, like, That's fascinating. I wish I was able to give that to you, like, you know, so it's all about listening. It's a powerful, it's a powerful thing. I know, we all heard that a million times. I know. But you know. It's a great book. Highly recommended.

Avi 33:02
Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, I want to talk to you more about about parenting and spirituality and like, what what even your children's relationship with? I've seen some videos that you've done, like, alongside, you know, carried on with with your girl, you have three girls, sorry,

Gaura Vani 33:20
I have two girls and a boy, my son is the My youngest is my son, he's a drummer.

And then I have

so a 12 year old, a 15 year old and a 17 year old.

Avi 33:35
So are they into it? Are they like into spirituality? Or is it not cool for them? Are you have you observed them kind of going through phases?

Gaura Vani 33:42
Both all of the above? Yeah. It's interesting. Yeah. I mean, I see I was raised, like, like, in my bio, I was raised by Hari, Krishna parents and my, my parents generation was really strict. They were really old school and like, they were the generation that converted to a new religious practice. And so it was like, not a joke for them or, like, you know, they, they didn't want to be distracted. You know, they really wanted to achieve some spiritual, you know, you know, advancement or enlightenment. And then they had these kids, you know, and we were just like, completely off the wall, you know? So I really tried not to beat my kids over the head with spirituality. But as a parent, you know, you do have to give what you value. You know, you can't just be like, I know nothing. I say nothing. I believe nothing. Do whatever you want. Like, that's not parenting. You got to come in with an angle like you got to say like, in my opinion, this would be the thing to do here. You don't like this guy. He's some of that, you know what I mean? Like, you can't just kids are gonna be they'll be fearful, you know, like, you can't tell the kids like, eat off the floor and find like, you know, you know, they, they need food, they need nutrition, they need to health, they need love, they need to go to sleep, like their structure that's required in parenting, which is very true for spiritual life. Also, it's not that, you know, you can just do whatever you want. There's a structure and that structure creates strength and, and stability and longevity, and a spiritual practice. So I'm really walking that line. I don't know, I'm hoping that I'm doing the right thing, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure. They they do care time. And I'm very grateful for that. And they're very good at it. And I sometimes even hear them doing it with their friends without me. Which is cool. Yeah, but I pray you know, I know that when I was going through my kind of most dismal period as a teenager, my mom did a lot of praying for divine intervention.

Avi 36:16
When when you say priority, do you mean like when your your mantra, practice, or gear time or another kind of prayer to

Gaura Vani 36:28
another also so yes, yes. Joppa meditation? Yes, get on. But also just really like one of my teenagers slamming the door, I don't know if you're gonna hear that, but just saying to Krishna, you know, Krishna, you are my dearest friend. And I'm trying to reestablish reawaken my eternal relationship with you. And this child, who, you know, I call my son, who is really just a soul, who has been gifted by you for me to try and care for is out to lunch. You know, what am I supposed to do? You have to intercede now, because it's beyond my ability to do anything, I've done, what I know how to do. So now please, you, you take him and you make him your child. You know, I like I write songs in English. I like I like trying to pray in English. You know, I like also praying in Sanskrit and Bengali, and, you know, Gurbani and other traditions, you know, Spanish, I like, I like praying and native tongues. But I also like praying in my own native tongue in English. You know, because there's something about it that makes me more like attentive, like, do I mean, does that what I mean? What exactly do I mean? You know, and not that God doesn't know better than I do already. What I mean, but the point is, like, the prayers really, for me, like we talked about the beginning, for me to become in alignment, for the spark to return to the fire, the spark being me. Like, that's what the prayer is for is like, help me see how you want me to do this, you know, inspire me to do this in alignment with your plan.

Avi 38:27
That is that resonates with me so much that I've heard, you know, Swami satchidananda, say, you know, the highest prayers, that is exactly what you just said, I think, I don't know what's best for me, you know, what's best for me right now. So that's it, I give it to you.

Gaura Vani 38:45
Beautiful. Yeah, beautiful. I mean, there's so many analogies for this material world that we dwell in the world of computer crashes, and, you know, wars and, you know, memes and social media and politics and all this stuff. And one of the analogies is like an insane asylum. You know, sometimes they'll say, a jail, you know, you've got a bunch of people who, because of the nature of our desires, and our heart, God has facilitated us by giving us this space. You ever heard the term rumspringa? Now, so there's like talking about this connecting with parenting, as General rumspringa is a is a is an Amish thing. Another spiritual community dealing with their young people, and the Amish community. I think when you turn 17, I want to say something like that. You go into what's called the room spring, which is I think it means like the devil's playground kind of thing like, and you can just do your thing. You don't have to follow the rules of the committee. You know, you can kind of just like be on the outside, everyone gives you your space to do whatever you're going to do. And you have a certain amount of time where you can work this stuff out, then you have to, at some point choose, am I part of the community? Or am I not part of the community? You know. So in that sense, this material world is like that it's rumspringa, for all of us souls, you know, and some of us are on the way down, some of us are on the way up, but we're all kind of banging around in this kind of, like, you know, roller derby. You know, you know, and, and some of us, we forgotten, we've forgotten that there's anything other than this. So in that sense, it is like an insane asylum. It's a place for people who they just, you know, they can't figure out how to function in society. So there's like a place that allows them to be held in the midst of this kind of freak out, you know, and that's, that's where a lot of us are at right now. You know? So it, is that a

Avi 41:04
valuable intention to maybe make the insane, insane asylum just a little bit more sane, you know, and maybe I can just do that with myself. Because, okay, if I'm insane, if I just work towards a little bit more sanity, is that purpose for my life? Is that enough of an intention?

Gaura Vani 41:22
It's a good question. I mean, I actually, you know, I love this question. Because, certainly, we have to try and make our life better. You know, we can't just say, Oh, this place is crazy. And it's all screwed up. And so who cares, screw the whole thing screw up, I'll do nothing. But you know, I don't want to, you know, let's get a lay here in bed or whatever, right? I might go to the fridge. But like, certainly, as we become in control of our senses, right? in control of our senses, we want to make the world we want to make the life of the people in this insane, place better also. And what starts to happen is through the process of service, we become in control of our runs, that we realize, hey, this guy needs a hand, I also need a hand. And you know, she needs a hand like, we can cooperate and be kind to each other. And what happens is the mind the heart, the spiritual heart begins to remember way, way way. This is not where I belong, you know? So the process of finding our senses and serving in the process of kindness and gratitude and offering love and all these things. Not only does it make the insane asylum better, but it also is what's required for those, what what in the Vedas, they call it, the David Tez, the demigods, the divine entities that govern You know, this, this world and this material universe, to say, let's, let's lift him up out of this, he's, he's ready to move out of this space, let's give him you know, more freedom, more ability, like he's gaining control of his senses, he's coming back into his true identity, his true self. You know, that's, that's the sign of the awakening is to recognize like, I'm not God, I'm not the center of this insane asylum. I'm just a person struggling around with all these other people. Let me help serve, let me try and make this a better place. And in the process, inviting that consciousness in that reawakening to who we really are, you know, they're, you know, at some point, it's like, you go to the you go to your counselor at the insane asylum, and you say, Can I talk to you? I think maybe, I haven't always been here. I think maybe there's a world outside of the insane asylum. And your counselor says, Yes. You know, your name is Avi. And you actually come from your family. And you're like, well, like your minds like, I want this isn't my reality. You know, those are the gurus. Those are the teachers. They say, know that what you're feeling is right. This is not your ultimate reality. This is temporary. This is to protect you because you went through a very traumatic thing like here's, and here's what you need to go back. They these people love you. They want to see you they want you in their lives. You know, I think that's the analogy I've been thinking of. We have to wait, do we have to wait until death? Could it happen now? I don't think so. I don't think we do, I think I think all the bars on this jail cell are really being created by us. You know, and I think we're attached to the false ego. We're attached to you, we're attached to, you know, what we think things should be how we want things. And so those things are kind of CO created by us with, of course, God's facilitation. We have the power to end the thing, but the question is, how, you know, how do we get there?

Avi 45:26
What I see is, is one of the biggest challenges, obstructions towards getting there is, is the amount that we're influenced by, by other people. Like, we're we are social beings, this is, this is how I feel, we're very much social beings, and what's our board doing around me is going to influence me. I mean, that's what led that realization is what led me to live at the ashram, for sure, once I saw that, I was like, really, I'm going to be influenced by will, whoever I'm around, therefore, put myself in the best environment I can possibly do. But so during this, understanding that and then realizing that during this time, like, it seems that so few other humans that are surrounding us are taking on the attitude of, of maybe some of the things we're talking about of, of letting it go to God not being stuck up in the mind not being in this other kind of ego place, trying to control all of that. It's like, I don't think many of us have examples of human beings that maybe have gone to that desk and said, I can come out of the, like living in the insane asylum, but not being insane anymore, right? Like, we don't have a lot of examples. So therefore, that makes me consider that, like, in this point of time, perhaps, in order to create the shift really requires some leadership, which is in a different kind of leadership, like it just a leadership of the self to. So I don't know, I just, but that that's what I see a little bit and that that gives me some purpose to like, okay, like, that's what the time is requiring this uncomfortableness, because it's so uncomfortable, to have a different set of priorities and all the people around you and be living my life. It's it feels lonely. It's frustrating. It's overwhelming all that.

Gaura Vani 47:18
Yeah. You know, everything you said is right. Everything you said is true. I feel like one important piece to answer that is this question of where we place our faith. Because we have to have faith that there is a higher consciousness to this reality. And that if we are in alignment with that higher consciousness, then we are moving ourselves and our communities and our families and our countries and ultimately the world and ultimately, the universe, in the right direction. And if we can't have that, if we don't have that faith, we will ultimately be very lonely and desperate. You know, there's a quote by Einstein. It's a bit of a long quote, I don't want to read the whole thing. But he says, the most important question you can ever ask is if the world is a friendly place. And then he talks about how you know what happens if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, like where that takes our consciousness. And then he talks about, if we decide that the universe is neither friendly, nor unfriendly, it's just kind of like, you know, like, you know, playing dice random Gods is playing dice, the none of it matters. It's just whatever random chaos and what that does. And then here's the last part. But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, this is Einstein, right? Like the father of like, you know, modern atomic science. Then we will use all our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives. So what I get from that is he's saying, if we can have faith, that there is a consciousness surrounding us, and that we are, can be in harmony with that. Then these challenges, they become not insurmountable. They become part of the lesson like part of the wisdom like this is taking us somewhere. This is empowering. For us, like, you know, these challenges are like, Whoa, interesting. What have I learned from this? How have I grown from this? You know. And ultimately, just to touch on this one point, because it's so important that you made, yes, we only have any level of control, if at all, over our own heart, our own intentions, our own aspirations, our own desires. And one of the things that I've been thinking about recently is, instead of pushing those out to others, how come this guy didn't do this? Why did that guy say this? How come most people never do this? It's like, well, what am I doing? Have I been able to rise above that? Have I started to speak in love? Have I started to be grounded and kind and thoughtful? have I taken criticism out of my lexicon? Am I looking to help others and not hurt? I like all the things I wish for others to do in the world. Am I living up to that standard? Not with guilt or anxiety? But just honesty, like humility? Like, am I able to do that? And if not, what can I do to up the ante and like, let me move it to the next level myself.

Avi 51:21
I love this so much. I love it so much. And I think the point that, that even I hear Einstein making too, is to ask the question, What effect does this have on me? Right? Like, what effect does it have on me to see it as a good benevolent universe? What effect to bad universe to accommodate? What effect? Because why? Because the most important thing is for me to focus on me what because that's what we need for for everyone. Right? And what you're, what I hear you saying is that this, this habit, this tendency to be so focused on what everyone else is doing, and what's wrong outside of myself. That is, if there's anything that's maybe wrong, that's the thing that's wrong, the most, right, that's leading to all of these things that don't really look good for us, is human beings not taking the time to go inside and really investing? Like, you know, because I think maybe it has to do with the fact that like, going back to like the Ember analogy, like, we're just a little Ember of the fire, and so then, but we can see the fire too, so we can see or more of the fire. So does it really, it's not as maybe enticing of a game to just focus only on my little, my little Ember, I want to be in the big game. But being in the big game, and focusing on that is actually, you know, detracting from the quality of the big?

Gaura Vani 52:50
Well, I do feel that our awareness of our limitations is part of the honest dialogue with the with the universe with Krishna, to say, like, my son is now a teenager, it's outside of my ability to control. Now, please, you give me the intelligence to see what to do, how to do what you want me to do. You know, there's a prayer that my mom taught, maybe she would chant this, I don't know, it's a prayer written by the same name, but we don't talk or who is interesting, because he lived in a very challenging time. He was a court magistrate, which means like, basically the highest level you could get to in the, the, the British Raj, when they were in India, of a native person. You know, they wouldn't promote them beyond a certain point, because there was like, racism, all this stuff. So he was the highest level of possible promotion in the judiciary for a native person. And he would write sacred poetry at night and he would pray and he would pray in English and he would pray in Bengali and Sanskrit because he had been educated at these British schools like he was like, fully well rounded. And this beautiful prayer it says, My dear Lord Krishna, although I forgotten you for so many long years in this material world From today, I am a sole surrendered on to you. I'm trying to be your sincere and serious servant, please engage me and your service. From this day, I am yours. From this day, I'm yours.

You know, I think I think there's an important point that you're touching on and and, you know, I'd like to highlight it. We don't have control over others. It's not that there's something we could do to gain control over others. We don't have control, we barely have control over our own heart. So the idea that we can fix things for other people is just a folly. All we can do is be an instrument of God's grace, starting with our own lives. And let God do God's work through us. We cannot fix the world's problems we can't, can fix our own problems. You know, so it is a folly, you know,

Avi 55:42
we can only do our little part and, and, and back to the faith, and thinking about the effect of what is the effect of a human being having faith? How do they operate in the world? Right outside of all religions, or anything? Anything? so interesting to me is like, how does it a human being moved through the world that has total faith that sees the unfoldment is perfection, that surrenders to the, to everything being beyond that person? How does that human being moved through the world? And to me, that human being moves through the world really, really well? And the world might be a better place. If I mean, who am I not to trust? Who am I to doubt? Right? Like, that's where the ego gets stuck. I am not in control of the universe, right? Like, who am I to think I know what is best and what it what, you know,

Gaura Vani 56:38
there's, you know, Cogito ergo sum, I think, therefore, I am Cogito ergo, assume that's that, you know, the, I think it's the cart, famous philosophical kind of like examination. How do I know I exist? Because I can observe myself thinking, do I exist? I think, therefore I am. Right. That's how I know that I'm actually a thing. I am a person like it because I can observe myself wondering if I'm a person, right? So it's like, so there's a from the back the tradition, there's another way of seeing that. The fact that here I am observing myself. And yet I'm held in a space that is beyond my ability to grasp, I, there's a universe outside of myself that I have no frickin clue how it works, or what's going on. That means that I am being beheld by another higher consciousness that is observing me. Right, that that higher observer is just like, Cogito ergo sum the other way backwards. Now, something beyond me is holding me therefore something greater than me exists. So like you're saying, faith, you know, there's this movie called Dr. Strange. It's like, it's like a comic book movie came out a few years ago guy in a cape, and Cumberbatch and marvel. Yeah. So he goes to the Himalayas and meets his guru. Did you see the movie? Yeah. So I was going through a really kind of, like, dismal period, like, I wouldn't want to say, like, dry and just not not feeling awakened and nourished by my spiritual practice, at this time when this movie came out. And I just remember going to the movie, and I was traveling a lot at the time. And traveling as a musician takes a lot out of you, you know, just energetically, it's hard. So I just remember I was sitting there in the movie theater, watching this movie. And there comes the scene where he gets like, the initiation from his like, you know, and his, his bald, white Himalayan guru. And, and he just has this vision. And if you remember the scene, but it's worth checking out, like, it's like, you know, descriptions of, of the, of the vishwaroopam, the, the universal forum and the Bhagavad Gita. It's like, mouths and heads and eyes and things devouring themselves in the universal pattern. This is like super wild, like, you know, 3d like imagination of the universe in some kind of wild, artistic way. I was just watching that. And I just thought, this vast, like, mind boggling presentation came out of one artists or a group of artists mind. And I thought how vast is existence if this insane thing came out of one guy's brain, think about how much more vast everything is, then this little moment that I'm witnessing. And in that moment, I thought and in the vastness of everything, here I am a soul. pondering my own existence. And then I thought the fact that I exist is such a frickin miracle in, in the vastness of everything, the fact that somehow or other, I'm here thinking about consciousness and the vastness of everything, that is an incredible miracle. And then I thought, if I can exist, who the hell am I to say that God can't exist? You know, I exist. What? Like, you know, you know, dust space dust some? What the heck am I and I exist? Who am I? To say any what doesn't exist? This one teacher he's a he's a black belt in Okinawan karate, he's he's also a version of a sannyasa, like a renunciant. In our community in the Christian community. His name is Chuck Swami. He says, some people see pictures of Durga, you know, and and Vishnu and nursing and Lord Shiva and all these personality, these arms and heads and eyes, and they think, really, like really does not exist. He says, look, all I have to say to you is a dog can smell 10 million times more than you. Can you even imagine what smelling 10 million times What You can smell is like, No, we, there's so much out there. We're just so myopic.

Avi 1:01:37
That's why I feel that, you know, based on everything you're saying, essentially, like celebration, and gratitude is appropriate. Those are the word that appropriates the word that comes to me too. It's like this situation. All I know, is that it is amazing. It's amazing. And it is a blessing. It's a gift.

Gaura Vani 1:01:55
Yeah, it's again, we should gratitude, gratitude. You know, that's what kurtsan is, is the expression of gratitude, you know, in song and in dance, you know, just crying out the name of our beloved and whatever language you want, whatever language you choose all the languages any language, you know, you know, oh, Krishna, oh, rad, ha, you know, thank you and bless me and help me and protect me. And I'm here for you. And you know, from this day, I am yours. It goes, why what other responses there for all the gifts that we've been given? That's it, feel the response? Should I sing another song should I do?

Avi 1:02:39
I was gonna say, but before that, I would just wanted to ask if you can share if people would like to see more content from you, I know you have a Patreon,

Gaura Vani 1:02:49
I would love to. That would be great. Thank you so much. Yeah, so for those who don't know, Patreon is a platform that helps artists and other teachers, other creative people to connect with their, their people out there. And in the old days, we would find a king or, you know, you know, some sort of royalty or something, who would be like, I love what you do, let me be your patron. But you know, in these days, you know, it's, it's hard to find that patronage. So Patreon allows folks like me to connect with people as individuals and get the support and encouragement. And what I do is I put everything that I do on Patreon, I'm, you know, I'm trying to talk with everyone putting videos sharing songs, and music and whatever I can up on Patreon so that people can get in touch with me, we can we can, you know, know what's going on new music opportunities. So that's patreon.com slash gore avani. And g au ra VI. And, yeah, I am so grateful for anyone and everyone who would be willing to become a patron.

Avi 1:04:03
I'll put that in the show notes too, of course. Is that, are you finding that to work that's set up to work pretty pretty well for you. You like that setup? It's alright, you know, it's all right. I mean, you know, what's cool

Gaura Vani 1:04:15
about it is it was designed by an artist, you know, so, so it's a little artist friendly in the sense that they're trying to think of it you know, but um, you know, we you know, it's all a work in progress. Awesome.

Avi 1:04:38
Well, thank you so much, brother. And thanks, everyone for listening. And we'll we'll finish with the with the music for the beautiful music. Love it.

Gaura Vani 1:04:46
Nice. So I'll sing I'll sing us out here. Yep. Yeah, well, thank you, you know, talking with you, it's been tons of fun and you're you know,

You're a cool guy. And you're you got great ideas and great questions. And you know, I hope that whatever we spoke about, in some way was was a blessing for you. And for the community on your podcast. We can

Avi 1:05:14
say it's totally a blessing for me. Yeah, yeah. I love it. I love doing this. It lights me up. Yeah, we had some technical issues in the beginning was really throw me off, and I appreciate you right away. You're just like, well, we're not in control. Yep.

Gaura Vani 1:05:29
Well, you know that what's cool about that is it. It gives us a topic, we didn't know what we were going to talk about. And then we knew exactly what we were going to talk about, and not being in control. That was perfect. You know, there's a there's an example which was trying to be receptive. We're trying to be humble, we're trying to be in the mood of service. And a challenge became a gift. Suddenly, it went from being an embarrassment to being a great this is a subject that's so important that we get to share about what a blessing

Avi 1:06:03
that's, that's what I'm working on talking about like seeing more work you have to do is like for me the work is really seeing the challenges and the suffering as opportunities. Like mentally I can understand it, but to really believe that that's what I'm working

Gaura Vani 1:06:18
on right. And to find that spaciousness Rama Rama Hari Radha Radha Ramana. Hurry moving, never woman. Moving Rod rod rod rod. Bye, JJ. JJ rod rod DJI DJI. Thanks for listening. If you've enjoyed this content and think others might as well, please feel free to share and subscribe.

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