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Jesse and friends on couch

Wow, I published this without a title. If forgetfulness was the goal, I’d probably be quite successful.

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As stated in a previous post, my upcoming memoir and my upcoming collection of song lyrics and poetry is now an upcoming work of the two as one.
So, in this post I’ve included both a song lyric and a poem:

The lyric is full of the gloom of winter. It has a pretty and melancholy little finger picking melody which carries it along I think. I hope readers will be able to appreciate it standing alone here.
Yet it doesn’t entirely stand alone, as the poem is a hopeful one of a spiritual Springtime.

As always, I really appreciate your coming by to read. Please leave a comment if your so inclined.     Namaste, jesse

p.s. The photo is from Seattle in my street musician days, back in the 70’s.

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Winter
(a song lyric)

Every day I have to come back
Every day I have to bring myself back
from this love or some other
from my cold-hearted brother
the untrue friend

We spend these years together
We search for God and then He finds us
Yet now you write and call me never
You fill the empty miles on this crowded bus
with all this nothing to discuss
fair weather, fair weather

Every day I have to wake up
Every day I have to shake myself up
from this love or the last
from all daydreams of the past
      the faithless lover

With the innocence of the intimate
in the spring we planted a child
In expectation of the benefit
we believe that nature has smiled
but your heart is never reconciled
and that will mean the end of it.

Every day I have to come clean
Every day I must admit what I’ve seen
of this love and all the rest
No love can pass the test
     the false God

creates the hope that lasts so long
as we dance by the midnight oil
as we sing the traveler’s song
where in the garden of  love we toil
where we grow like dreams in the fertile soil
until the winter comes along

Every day I have to write a verse
Every day I have to fight the curse
of this lie and every one
for the truth that must begun
      for the only one

Only the hopeless have reason to hope
Only the lost can be found
When finally we come to the end of our rope
at the end of the world there is a sound
something to stand on when feet leave the ground
some light in the darkest… where we grope.

Love Like the Spring
(a poem)

208

Baba Ram Singh Ji of Bangalore giving darshan to a four-legged friend

Maybe now Spring will come, now that news of You has preceded
Winter has been left with all the burden
he was given no choice
he could give but little comfort, yet he gave what was needed

We’ve dreamt of you in colors white and true and pure
We’ve imagined You—we didn’t know who You were
when we would go to bed crying from the cold
when we’d wake up, still dying from growing old

Are these the days of old, or is the world yet young?
For all we know, we’re in the dark
just primitives around the fire
all simulation, full of wow and flutter
ending lonely, homeless, reduced to mutter
while the world races along on fuel and spark

When my Master left, I had not yet begun
I stood alone on the hot sand beneath the burning sun
I turned stupidly, confused, and in all directions
not another living soul to understand my objections

When Winter came, it was good to be buried
under the snow so deep, under the frozen grass
until the longing could stir again
But as a seeker I have no skills
I go this way and that; so vulnerable against strong wills
But could my weakness prove to be Your strength at last?

You begged Him to accept that man on the end
who had consumed alcohol and meat, so then
Maybe, for me too, You could put such a request
that could soften His heart—since I can’t pass the test
since I’ve never become strong like the rest
since all my failures, I’ve confessed

Maybe You will appear like the Spring
bringing the sun and the rain in contrast
over the windswept hills of this time
Maybe love will have no choice
but to sing of my pain and loss with Your voice
but to answer with the future and to leave behind the past

 

           

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Stepping out on a limb with this one. Hope you will appreciate it. Had to get it out; it was weighing me down. As always, I am very grateful to my readers. Please comment if you feel so inclined. I’m glad tomatoes are out of season. (:<)>

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Spirituality

It seems like the closer we get to people on the outside
the farther away they are on the inside
I would gather my friends about me
but I can’t bear to feel that lonely

I heard my friend crying out
in the mournful way of the forlorn
and I ran to bring some comfort
but when I arrived, that voice was dying out
and I was greeted with such scorn

Spirituality is a lonesome battle
don’t kid yourself, old son
Spirituality is a bitter pill
don’t look at anyone
Spirituality is a chain gang, man
the worst is yet to come
Spirituality comes as a hypocrite, saying
This is the way it’s done
Spirituality is a blind eye turned
to the dying embers of the sun
Spirituality is an empty park
where the children used to run

Spirituality is a well of impatience
where we drink our leaders’ poison
Spirituality is a pecking order
where the strongest beast is the one enjoying
Spirituality is a parade of masks
in which, all secrets are revealed
Spirituality is a fairy tale
where the hearts of fools are sealed
Spirituality is the sport of the pompous
of the gurus and the pundits
Spirituality is for the hairy apes
My god, I’ve been there, done it

Aren’t you tired of what spirituality is?
of what it has become?
Aren’t you tired of, even religion being more pure
I thought maybe you were
Aren’t you tired of dying in false promise?
of your brother being your enemy?
I’m tired of spirituality, I tell you
I’m a spring wound tight to breaking for spirituality
I’m a lunatic with hands a’shaking

Get me out of this god dammed spirituality asylum
where no one has a clue!

Think all you have to do
is say God, God, God
Well… I’ll hide it from you
If you want them to think you’re crazy
just tell them one thing that’s true

Spirituality is a firm and stern correction
for reaching out to anyone
Spirituality is the distant echo
of a graveyard full of fun
Spirituality is the common thread
of the burned out bitter ones
Spirituality is perpetual movement
toward nothing ever getting done
Spirituality is at the gates of fear
where the pitiful wailing songs are sung

All I wanted was to love and be loved
How did I get involved with this spirituality?

I heard my friend crying out
in a voice so lost and real
and I ran to bring some comfort
but when I arrived, that voice was dying out
as if, after all, it was no big deal

 

 

Setting My Sights

Setting My Sights

Yes, I’ve been conspicuously absent. I’ve been working night and day to establish our  BlueHome Artworks consignment shop within the New Vrindaban Community.  I started a blog there as part of the online store/website: The BlueHome Blog, where I talk about the value of thinking small, in terms of supporting small and local businesses, artisans making hand crafted products, agriculture, etc. Village economy, really.

So you can check that sight and blog out if you’re inclined to. Here, I intend to maintain my personal stuff, including my writing, my spiritual quest and ponderings, etc. I know; it’s a summer picture I’ve posted, but the current view from our home is a little bleak right now, since we don’t have snow yet—at least not any that’s stuck. But as you can see, it is snowing on the picture anyway.

So here’s my new poem. It does, in fact, contain some of those ponderings. I hope you enjoy it. As always, I invite you to comment if you feel like it.

Setting my Sights

Jesse S. Hanson

My Father is dead but my real Father lives
My real Father is dead but my even more real Father lives
Jesse is gone but then he never was
I never could find him
Just some vague familiarity with someone who always disappointed

Where is my family, my kin?
I wait for them on the shore where the boats come and go
But not them, no
Where are my dogs and my horses?

I don’t see them run and bark and whinny
Over the hills, willy-nilly
Where are my girls, where are my boys?

My songs are dead but my real song sings
My dreams are dead but my real dream waits
For me to wake up
From dead and dying dreams

I have to set out
I have to go on a fearsome adventure
I have to set out across the wilderness with only faith
Since I lack courage
Since I lack vision
Since I lack identity

I’ve always had to cry as the years have gone by
Where are my rolling prairies?
Well, those men have plowed them
Where are my towering hills and splendid valleys?
Those men cut them down, dug them out, they were sold out for baubles
And a plastic future
Where is my beach, my little house on the ocean?
All washed up, built up, soiled, overgrown, weeds and litter

My land is dead but my real land lives
My Father is buried but my real Father lives
My real Father is cremated but my more real Father lives
Jesse is gone but then he never was
I have to go to another land
I will grow weary of this childish tantrum
These sentimental tears

I will become forgetful of all things behind me
Become tired of mourning a life that did not care for me
A home that was not there for me
I’ll set my sights on the unknown distance
Across the ocean of this lost existence

My Father is dead but he’ll be forgotten
My real Father has gone on ahead
My even more real Father is here waiting.

Here I have listed a selection of websites with Information concerning the Masters of my spiritual Path. This ancient Path has been known by various names down through the course of history, including: Sant MatSurat Shabd YogaThe Path of the MastersThe Way of the SaintsScience of the SoulRadasoami SatsangRuhani Satsang, and many others, depending upon the lineage and culture of the Living Master of the time.

http://www.ruhanisatsangusa.org/ruhani.htm       –a USA based site in memory of Kirpal Singh of Delhi, India [1894-1974](first Sant Mat Master to visit the Western world. Master Kirpal first came to America in the 1950’s.)This is a great site for obtaining Master Kirpal’s books and other media.

http://www.santji.allegre.ca/4-index.html         –USA based memorial site for Ajaib Singh  [known by many of his followers as Sant Ji] of Rajasthan, India [1926-1997] (Gurumukh disciple of Kirpal Singh­) (Sant Ajaib is Jesse’s Master)

http://www.santji.allegre.ca/lifesj/lifesj.html       –this is a page from the previous site, but I listed it here because it contains both a beautiful brief biography of Sant Ji and a lineage of the Masters, going back to Kabir, Who was the first Sant Mat Master to appear in the age of Kali Yuga.

http://www.ajaibbani.org/        – this India based website was created and is maintained by the residents of Ajaib’s home and ashram in Rajasthan.

http://ajaib.com/       a website with a lot of information and material relating to Sants Kirpal and Ajaib as well as Sadhu Ram Ji. It is called” Sant Ajaib Singh Ji Memorial Site”. This site is created by the followers of Sadhu Ram Ji.

http://www.mediaseva.com/        –this website is a great source of the books and other media of the modern Masters. It is run by the devotees of Sadhu Ram Ji.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/53735046/Sant-Ram-Singh-Ji-A-Brief-Life-Sketch  -Not to be confused with sites concerning Sadhu Ram, this is the biography of Baba Ram Singh Ji of Bangalore. Ram Singh was initiated by Baba Somanath, a contemporary of Kirpal Singh. Somanath’s mission was in South India and He had a great many disciples in that area. When Somanath left the body, Ram Singh was twenty two years old.* He then followed and remained under the guidance of Ajaib Singh until Ajaib left the body. He considers both Masters to be His Gurus.

http://www.santbani.hu/      –a website concerning Sirio Carrapa of Ribolla, Italy [1952-    ](Italian disciple of Kirpal Singh and long-time representative of Ajaib Singh­) This is the English version of a site that originates in Hungary. Sirio considers both Kirpal Singh and Ajaib Singh to be His Gurus.

www.santbaniashram.it        –the original Italian website about Satguru Sirio Carrapa

There is a great variety of sites with information regarding Sant Mat. It’s a natural fact that when a true Man of God, or Godman, leaves the earthly plane, there are often a number of successors who carry on the work of their Master. Sometimes there are controversies among the devotees over the authenticity of these successors.

With that in mind, but having no intention of in engaging in controversy, I have noted here only a certain few websites that concern the Guru lineage, as I understand it leading to my Master Ajaib. I will state my personal opinion that I do not believe the issue of successorship can be decided on an intellectual level―”But the Master said this…” or “there is a will…” and so forth. To me, it is purely a matter of recognition. As Master Kirpal Singh used to say, “If your old Friend comes to you in a new coat, won’t you recognize Him?” I pray that with His grace, all the dear ones will find themselves at the Feet of their perfect Guru―their perfect Friend.

The authenticity of other branches: I honestly know little of them. I understand spirituality as a very personal experience, and that, in all reality, we do not choose or find our Master or Guru, but rather He finds us. He leads us to Him. He makes us come to the satsang. He makes us sit and meditate. He makes us do His seva (service). It is all in His Will and pleasure.

Most fortunate are the recipients of the Guru’s undying, unconditional, and all-encompassing Love.

*Sant Baba Ram Singh’s age:
I had previously written that Ram Singh was nineteen years  told when His Master (Baba Somanath) left the body. He was actually twenty two at that time.

 
This is a very nice interview of my friend, Andrea by James Bean on a healthylife.net radio podcast. James is doing some interesting and, I think, productive work spreading the good word about spiritual things, in general, and the ancient and yet, ever current, Holy Path of Sant Mat, or The Path of the Masters, specifically. You can find James at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/SantMat
 
 
 
 
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March 7

 
 
Spiritual Awakening Radio Podcast: My Guest is Andrea Zucchi, from Rome, discussing the teachings of the Italian mystic and spiritual teacher Shri Sirio Carrapa, of the Sant Bani Ashram – Ribolla. For Streaming Audio, go to:
http://view.liveindexer.com/ViewIndexSessionSLAO.aspx?indexSessionSKU=SjryOK1iryeLf%2BXmuDmHYw%3D%3D  

James Bean's Spiritual Awakening Radio Podcast: My Guest is Andrea Zucchi, from Rome,...

Dear readers, I’m currently in the process of compiling a selection of my songs and poems, with the intention of creating a volume that will include both. However, the songs to choose from vastly outnumber the poems—I’ve been involved with the songwriting much longer. Consequently, I’m in the process of writing poetry, to help the balance. Happily, I’m in a poetry writing mood.

So I wanted to share my newest poem here, for the words, which is about my spiritual practice and is in memory of my great Friend and spiritual Master, Ajaib Singh.

Thanks, as always, for coming by to read my blog. I welcome your comments.
                                     Namaste,   jesse s. hanson

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the author's spiritual Master, Sant Ajaib Sing (Sant Ji)

 

 

for the words
         
–jesse s. hanson

How can I go forward
how can I be quiet
with a mind that will not
I close my eyes but the words fall from my ears
and will not stay inside
I’m so afraid of my imminent destruction
the awful risk of spiritual failure
I’m afraid of being driven from Your love
onto the featureless plain, alone
where no conversation with a friend of God remains
where no one sings and all songs are in vain
A most insistent, utterly silent voice is calling out in mourning
in anxious petition
In such uncertainty I scrabble about
unable to focus
on trembling hands and knees
grasping
for the words
that could catch Your ear
bring Your attention to me here 

I can’t speak for fear of losing something
I can’t be still for the hope of seeing someone
I’ve lost all fascinations
but too late
too late, too late, too late…
Don’t let it be too late
Ajaib,  strangely wonderful, mystical lion
I’ve no recourse but Your good graces
I’ve haunted this place behind a million faces
and still, no one recognizes me
though I’ve appeared again and again with my relentless longing
although I’ve married their sons and daughters
fought beside them in their wars and died with them
filled their skies with my crazy raucous laughter
and then filled their bellies with my fetus
looked into their eyes, playing the infant
I’ve learned their ways, holding their faith
lost my way on their bitter streets
fell beneath their heavy feet
to return without their sympathy
I’ve lost all fascinations
but now my back is old and weak
and will not stand for dedication
to Your purpose
to Your perfect words of love

so… You repeat them in me
until I’m stronger
Having said it
having asked it
I lie down in exasperation
and dream a dream of realization

Across the glamorous sky in perfect silence
the moon in pallid dream reveals the course
the stars in all their brilliance cannot match her subtle bloom
flower of the night
keeper of the secrets
long held by the lovers and those inspired
to seek the distant truth within
O gentle light, so wan and thin
under which to weep for boys and men
whose character is never spent in vain
by whose delicate form my heart is soothed again
Ignite a pale spark of my resolve
a reminder, after all
What else is there to do
out on this trail of incarnations
I’m going to leave, for now, ambitions
concerns and dangerous missions
release them to the earth below
forget the things that I remember
and remember that I’ve come here searching
for words that tell no story
words that speak the truth
in the stillness of silence
in the music of unborn conscious spirit
no clinging now
no owning
no question how
no thinking
collecting words in mental silence

 

 

 

I’ve just finished two wonderful and remarkable books: My Father’s Blood by Amy Krout-Horn (the new) and Ali and Nino by Kurban Said (the old) . In all sincerity, I think both would be appreciated by a great many readers. Excellent material to kick off a new year of reading. I would have to say that both are examples of Spiritual Fiction, as they explore the realities of beliefs and practices as they relate to the practice of a spiritual life in the face of so-called “real life”. Below are my reviews, as posted on goodreads.com.

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog. Please comment if so inclined–even if only mildly inclined–no problem.      jesse s. hanson

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3550640

jesse hanson‘s review

Jan 04, 12  · 
 
5 of 5 stars
Recommended for: anyone
Read in January, 2012

Relations
A review of Amy Krout-Horn’s autobiographical novel, My Father’s Blood

It’s difficult to sufficiently express the connection I felt reading Amy Krout-Horn’s autobiographical novel. As her self-portrait style character of both European and Native American descent comes to identify more strongly with her Lakota ancestry, I am reminded of the phrase—the prayer—All My Relations. I am aware that those words have a particular significance in this story. Finding her way is, in fact, a gradual process, since her father’s Lakota blood is not the primary heritage she learns about as a young girl. Rather, she is raised in mainstream, small-town, upper Midwest America, with the religion, history, and values that come with that territory. To that, I can most certainly relate, just like Amy, but ultimately, cannot truly identify with it.

The young girl’s American dream is challenged at a young age. Her trials are deeply emotional as are the trials of all young girls. Yet the comparison with most other young girls stops there. Forced to make her own way in a world that relentlessly removes her from security, she recovers again and again from the dark nature of despair. Krout-Horn allows the reader to experience both the brutality and the poetry of life right along with her. And, I think, therein lies the depth of this early memoir. She writes with a flourish that is not flowery, with a poignancy that is not contrived. I did find the omniscience of the narrator slightly disconcerting, in the case of a memoir, yet the book is presented as a novel, so of course, it’s obviously a matter of style.

Yes, I feel more deeply connected, having read My Father’s Blood, even as I feel more deeply the great chasms of separateness, culture to culture—as I mourn the separation of individuals from one another, created by our all-consuming culture of consumerism. This is one of those fine books that speak to us in a profound way about our relations. To those of us who have, to whatever extent, left behind our small towns or our old neighborhoods, we often feel a need to recognize our relationship with all as brothers and sisters. Yet there is also great relevance in the preservation of a people, in the reverence for and devotion to a way of life. “Are we Indians, Grandpa?” the little girl asks. “I suppose some places we would be,” he said…

There are so many levels of interest in this little novel; we are intimately exposed to and educated about the familiy’s debilitating and life-threatening illness and we become witness to the intuitive strengths that are sometimes granted to the handicapped. Another one of the very interesting aspects to me was the author’s personal question: who is an Indian? I certainly appreciated the expressed vulnerability in a brief but openhearted examination of this subject. From Chapter Six, Spring of Bleeding Hearts: “My grandfather’s eyes met mine and I saw the tiniest pinpoint of light flickering in the shiny black pupils, like the gleam of a star, its brilliance diminished only by the unfathomable space and time that exists between itself and Earth.”

I recommend My Fathers Blood. It is a remarkably tasteful and yet artistic work for so young a writer. I suspect she is young, only in years, as we know them.

 
 
 
3550640

jesse hanson‘s review

Jan 04, 12  · 
 
5 of 5 stars
Read from November 20 to December 23, 2011
 
A Great, and I Think, Little Known Classic
A review of Kurban Said’s novel, Ali and Nino 

I’d never even heard of this story, but my circles don’t run that wide. I stumbled across it: a love story, extraordinare–a love story in more ways than one. Where Asia meets Russia meets Europe. An Islamic boy and a Georgian girl. A Russian revolution and a World War. All of this lovingly and elegantly captured in classic novel format by an unknown author with the ghost name, Kurban Said.

Just click on the edition here (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46284…) and read the great synopsis by Alix Wilbur. If you’d rather just read it cold without the synopsis, then just read it. It may be even more relevant today than in the time of its inception. It is such a lovingly rendered view of fundamental Islamic culture that the non-Islamist reader is irresistably drawn in. Simultaneously sincere and lighthearted.

Please read it… You won’t forget it.

 
 
 

The following is a guest post by my author friend, Vishoka dasa, who is a great devotee of his mentor, Jayananda Thakur. I’ve read his book, The Beautiful life of Jayanada Thakur, and was very impressed by the style as well as the sincerity. Vishoka is currently working on a follow-up to that work, and I am fortunate to be helping with the line editing.

Vishoka ji began his years in the Hare Krishna movement at the temple in San Francisco during the early 1970’s, and Jayananda dasa was their leader, as they worshiped Krishna and did Guru Bhakti to their spiritual Master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.  a resident of the New Vrindavan Krishna Community near Moundsville, WV.

At the end of the post are links to Vishoka’s writings and to websites in memory of Jayananda dasa and to Srila Prabhupada.

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog. Please leave a comment if you are so inclined.

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Jayandanda Thakur

Worldwide popular author endorses Krishna and the Vedas:

Dan Brown stunned the literary world with his global phenomena, “The Da Vinci Code,” with off-the-charts book sales all over the world. Brown is well known for his towering IQ and genius penmanship, and being a Harvard grad, his scientific vision is highly regarded by his readers. 

His next novel, “The Lost Symbol” has been eagerly received by fans over the world. In chapter 15 he makes major scientific postulations that “we have barely scratched the surface of our mental and spiritual capabilities,” and, “the scientific wisdom of the ancients was staggering … modern physics is only now beginning to comprehend it all,” and, ”there will come a day when modern science begins in earnest to study the wisdom of the ancients … that will be the day that mankind begins to find answers to the big questions that still elude him.”

In his narrative, Brown references Krishna and His Bhagavad-gita and the Upanisads. A comment is made by his female character, Katherine, that Krishna and Vyasa did not mention “multidimensional cosmological models.” Perhaps so, the reason being that the ancient authors of the Vedas were not really concerned with the material world, but they gave extensive and detailed descriptions of the spiritual world, which is a multidimensional world of ultimate importance to mankind.

To give a crude example; a man reads a vacation brochure which describes an idyllic countryside with a lake full of swans and lotus flowers, and towering snow topped mountains in the horizon. And so the man books his vacation and travels by train through the mountains. On his way he is delayed at some train station, wherein the custodian, who works there, is fascinated with the station and he tells the vacationer all about the captivating details of the infrastructure of the station. He narrates of how some master architect designed the many intricate facets and nooks and crannies of the structure, and how incredibly interesting it all is. And so the custodian is going on and on about the glories of the terminal station, and meanwhile the traveler just listens in a polite mood, but he doesn’t really care at all, because he is meditating on his destination which has superior qualities of many natural and beautiful wonders.

In the same way, the ancients in the Vedic tradition were not so interested in the complexities of the material world, which are in themselves very fascinating. Rather, they were mesmerized by the matchless wondrous details of the spiritual worlds, which are extensively described by the great teachers of Vedic truths to be the true goal of human perfection. The Vedic texts describe the material world as being the inferior nature, and the spiritual worlds as being the superior nature.

Unbeknownst to author Dan Brown, and hoping he will become aware of someday, is the erudite commentary of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta on the ancient text of “Sri Brahma-samhita,” wherein the descriptions of the material world and the multi-faceted glories of the spiritual worlds are given in great detail, and which there is mention of multi-dimensional attributes of such worlds.

Krishna and His Vedas do not touch upon the modern physicist’s hot topics of the day, which are theories of postulations that may be true, or may not be true. Reason being, they do not hold such topics as being very important information for mankind. What is really important information, that which is promulgated by Krishna and the Vedic scriptures, is the crucial fact of ultimate knowledge … being that we are spiritual beings separate from our material bodies … and we are constantly transmigrating from one body to another, and suffering in this material world, with fewer material pleasures. The highest goal of life, in their opinion, is to factually realize this spiritual information via the aid of a bona-fide spiritual master, and reach our real home in the spiritual sky. Knowledge of the physics of the material world will not help us in our ultimate journey back to the spiritual world of Lord Krishna’s abode.

Hare Krishna ys Vishoka dasa.

More commentary –

The trick is to catch the train that goes straight back to the mountain resort [the spiritual world], but some of us get distracted at the train station, thinking the station is important business. So many trains come and go, but we get sidetracked at the gift shop or food court or arcadia room and other sense gratifications. A tendency is to try to fix station problems, spend too much time to make it better. Time is best utilized to preach about the resort to other travelers, tell them about the eternal world, and then we can catch the Garuda express and chant our way back home at the end of life. Whatever the situation is in the station, we simply deal with it, make choices that help others and ourselves, but at the end of the day, the train station is only a temporary pastime, and time will always run out at some point. At the time of death if we don’t board the train back to the eternal resort in the sky and serve Krishna forever, we will catch another train again to some other temporary train station to deal with more illusory problems. Change of heart to love of Krishna is most important. Knowledge helps along the way, but often education will have the effect of making men more clever, as opposed to change of heart and loving God, which is the only ticket to board the Garuda express to go straight to Goloka.

Some of my links-

The Jayananda website –

http://vishoka.com/visoka/Jayananda/Jayananda_Website.htm

and

The Online Jayananda book with hyper text –

[hyper text is kind of fun  (: ]

http://vishoka.com/visoka/Jayananda/jayanet2.htm

and Gunga Express –

http://vishoka.com/visoka/Jayananda/gunga_express.htm

In my ongoing effort to propagate awareness of Spiritual Fiction, I’d like to present an excellent example. Unfortunately, Howard Fast, who is among the most prolific of American writers, is no longer with us to give an opinion regarding my obsession with the genre. 

Having read his memoir, Being Red, I came to believe that Howard did not necessarily believe in God. He did certainly believe in humanitarianism and fought bravely, brilliantly, and even physically for that cause in all of its purposes. He was a long-time Unitarian Universalist, though he is more often cited for his temporary ties with the American Communist movement. Those modern day souls, fearful of the very word socialism (a fear bred and bolstered by the hate mongering of political opportunists and Joe McCarthy groupies) would do well to read Howard Fast to get the other, and much truer side of the story.

Nevertheless, The Confession of Joe Cullen is, in my opinion, great Spiritual Fiction… Well, it’s all in the review. No, not really; it’s all in the novel. I highly recommend it.

As always, thanks for coming by. Please leave a comment if you’re so inclined.          jesse s. hanson

 

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by Howard Fast

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Spiritual Fiction Novel by Howard Fast

The Confession of Joe Cullen

I loved this Confession of Joe Cullen book, although, if it hadn’t been Howard Fast (it’s no secret–I’m a huge fan), I may well have not read beyond the first chapter/confession–Guy walks into a bar, says, “Hey bartender, who’s the good lookin’ dame in the corner…” Well, i’m being facetious, but it really came off as second rate New York gumshoe material. But it is Howard Fast so I didn’t quit there, and it turned out to be, not only great historical fiction and social commentary, so typical of this fine American author, but also a really wonderful example of spiritual fiction.

There isn’t a lot you can tell about this novel, without giving out spoilers. Suffice it to say that it really is a gumshoe story, with all the trappings of that form, including extreme simplicity and a certain corniness. As I was thinking of comparisons just now, Road to Perdition came to mind. People tend to be, after all, simple and a bit corny from one perspective, and yet from another, they are vital, sincere, tormented, and trajic. Having spent most of my life as an artist trapped in a blue collar body, these characters (the good guys, not the bad guys) are my friends. Yes, they are often melodramatic, but that does not negate the very real and powerful drama of their lives and their deaths. Herein, these men and women deal with important questions, such as truth, integrity, love, loneliness, despair, betrayal, loyalty, and forgiveness.

Set in 1987, The Confession is rather pre-technology as we think of it today. But it is a time, not so very far removed and I cannot see it as anything less than still relevant, even socially, to today’s world. Spiritually… well spirituality is transcendant of time, is it not? If not, I’m not sure what value it would have.

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Kabir was the first Saint to manifest in each of the four ages (Yugas)

Dear Reader, 
     I came to the conclusion that certain parts of my poem, below, were too cryptic. I like cryptic, but it was not my intention here.
     For one thing, the transition at the end was too abrubpt. Other things too, that I first perceived as subtleties, were making the meaning sort of ambiguous. So I made a few changes. 
     Should anyone be kind enough to take another look, I hope these changes facilitate understanding.      jesse

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It’s long been my understanding that the Kali Yuga is the most auspicious age. It is really the winding down or the growing old time of the creation, or that part of the creation that is sometimes called the material world. Russell Perkins, former editor of Sant Bani Magazine and author of Impact of a Saint, once used a beautiful analogy of a spring that is unwinding until, unchecked it simply flies apart, to explain the parodox of Kali Yuga.

The beauty of it is that the grand illusion that we’re under is becoming more obvious all the time. The impermance of things is very much in our face these days–these years–it very much has been so from the beginning of the age, I think. And with the illusion coming undone, the idea of spirituality gains popularity, and the implementation of various types of spiritual practices becomes more prevalent. Kirpal Singh, the great Mystic Saint of the Path of Surat Shabd Yoga (Sant Mat), told us that in Kali Yuga there would be more “fragrant Saints” coming into the world to show us the Way.

So, in a way, we could say the world is gone into it’s twilight years. It may still be coming to it’s very dark years; some folks certainly believe that it is, I don’t know. In any case, some of us have been practicing (or more accurately, attempting to practice in cases such as mine) spirituality for the better part of our lives and we are now entering into our own twilight years. For many of us, our Masters who have loved us and inititiated us, years ago, have now left the body. They haven’t left us in the truest sense, but physically we have had to go on without them. It is natural to seek out “our old friend in a new coat”.

With that long introduction in place, I do hope you will appreciate my little poem, the path in twilight, which I dedicate to all of my old and new brothers and sisters, who, touched by the love of the fragrant saints, is going forward in the shelter of the same.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and I invite you to comment if so inclined. 
                                                                                jesse s. hanson

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the path in twilight
                   jesse s. hanson

I am your true kin
your brother
your sister
taken in by the same mysterious and otherworldly benefactor as were you
we were brought together by the wonder of, in the awe of that love
Who took us into the home
where we were fed and clothed and taught right from wrong
told stories of lovers as well as of cruel lords
and of the true gravity of our ghostly lives in this world of ghosts
of our perpetual births and deaths
told stories of lovers by our hero of love
until the time when the embodiment of that love left us
orphans…  again
confused, disoriented, wandering, as before, over the parched wasteland
in fear and sickness and terrible dread of our future

 long times go by
…ages
by remembering we live, but forgetting we near perish.

in the distance, shadows cross the path in twilight
remind us of our loved one
you turn that way and I turn this
chasing shadows in search of bliss
He asked if we would not recognize our friend, come in a new coat
but also added, “Don’t follow the false one.”

in love, I send you greetings, I write a letter 
my old friend, my brother, my sister
will you, in turn, write me off at worst
or worry about or worry for me at best          
saying, truth is truth, is it not?

so has the perfect love from the perfect lover become imperfect
by our imperfection
by some fatal mistake?
do our anguished cries of separation and longing that caught our beloved’s ear now fall on deaf ears?
has the heart that would melt like wax at the pain of the children, of the dear ones, now become as hard as the stone?
are we thrown back to the wolves?
what then of love
what then of perfect love

perfect love is perfect love, is it not?
so if my friend wears a coat of cotton
and yours a coat of mail
and if now you’ve found you’re not forgotten
I’ve also found that love can never fail

Jesse S. Hanson’s spiritual fiction novel

Jesse S. Hanson's spiritual fiction novel

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