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My Journey to India 2011 - The Other Face of the Monkey

October 12

“Run – fast, make haste! Jaldi (quick)! They are coming – lock yourself in your room and don’t open it until they are gone!” I have never seen my neighbor run that fast.

Seconds later our peaceful courtyard was crowded by the Vikings of Radhakund: about 100 monkeys! It would be foolish to fight them this time. They are far too many and monkey bites are highly infectious.

As I watch them through the glass of my closed door I helplessly witness how they vandalize the place:
The clothes line goes down with the washed cloth and the monkeys tear some dhotis to shreds. The erected canopy that gives protection from the sun is attacked and a part of it breaks with a loud noise. One of them breaks into our food storage and comes out triumphantly with some Italian pasta, which he instantly has to protect against his companions who try to steal it from him. Soon there is a deadly fight over the Italian noodles – one against fifteen… Everywhere noise, loud screaming, sexual activity – all at once. As I watch from the room giving me shelter I can’t help laughing. The scene is so bizarre and ridiculous because each monkey takes him- or herself absolutely seriously.
And then – as quickly as they can – they run off, leaving the courtyard in a mess. Peace descends.


Somehow this scene inspires me to think of effective mind control. During my japa retreat here at Radhakund I sometimes witness how my thoughts run crazy, just like that monkey horde. It continues to amaze me how seriously the mind takes materialistic thoughts and allows them to leave their impressions. Some of them are clearly monkeys running around like crazy – destructive, attached and dangerous. The good news is: Those thoughts are not me!

By accessing the sacred space in the core of my heart I calmly notice the thoughts just like I observed the wild monkeys through the glass door from the safety of my room. This makes unfavorable thoughts calm down and then disappear.


Let me briefly share with you how I enter that space of the heart by the following four steps:

1. I meditate on the fact that I am eternal and thus I become peaceful
2. I bring the sacred land of Vrindavana into the heart and thus a sacred inner landscape is created
3. Next, I invite my spiritual master or the divine couple into that sacred landscape and chant or pray to  them
4. I do not leave that place and if I have to deal with my thoughts or the world at large I do so from the neutral position of an observer – remaining undisturbed by what goes on

Try it! It may take practice until it is completely effective for you. (We teach this in our Sacred Space Seminars, which have just been developed. If you are interested and get a chance to attend, you are most welcome!)

Gaurav Krishna Goswami told me about the sacred space in Vrindavan recently:
Don’t look around – or you will be distracted and impressed.
Don’t look down – or you will be depressed.
But always look at Me, Krishna, and you will always be blessed.

And now comes the best part of the story! When I observed the monkeys going crazy in my courtyard I noticed one in particular – he had a red rope tied around his neck. Maybe a child had put it around him when he was young. He had the most authority and seemed to be the leader.
Today in the evening, when I circumambulated Radhakund, I saw him again in the courtyard of the Radha Damodara temple. He had found a ghee wick and lit it from other ghee wicks which had been offered by pilgrims and were burning on the step in front of the altar. There was the same vandal and he was offering an aratika (light ceremony) in small circles to the deities!


When he saw me he quickly finished and slowly moved out of the temple. My monkey was clearly showing his other face! Such things only happen in Vrindavan!

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