Gadadhara Pandit Dasa is the Hindu chaplain at NYU and Columbia. He recently published his first book called, “Urban Monk: Exploring Karma, Consciousness, and the Divine.” If you’re interested in learning more about Hinduism, this is a great story about a kid growing up in LA who found inner peace in a Hindu monastery, ultimately settling down as a monk in New York City. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Pandit to talk about love. You can learn more about Pandit on his website or by following him on Twitter.
Notes from the video:
True love is service and sacrifice without an expectation attached to it. It is putting the need of others before our own.
Sacrifice isn’t always about giving something you want. It just means letting go. For example, in the relationship with the planet we sacrifice our greed. Putting aside our desire to have more and more. If we put that aside we can show proper care and respect to the planet. Love always involves care and respect.
Modern love is often body centered, about how we look and how we feel. Love for ourselves becomes dependent on how others feel about us. We’re always busy trying to present an image so that others will respond positively to us.
We need to be satisfied with who we are. In order for us to be satisfied with who we are, we have to know who we are at the core. While the mind and the body are part of who we are, the true nature is the spirit living in the body. The soul is made up of love. It is eternal, only the body is made up of matter that decays. We are made up of eternity, of knowledge, we are conscious of everything, we are made up of bliss happiness.
When we connect to the supreme soul, we experience true love for ourselves through that, but we also see everyone connected to the supreme soul so we naturally have love for everyone else.
All beauty comes from the divine. Imagine if we could just go straight to the source and experience where everything is getting its beauty from. The mind would be thrilled at every moment. We would would always be satisfied. Once we are able to connect with that, we are able to truly love others and ourselves. By cultivating love towards god we are able to love others without expectation and ourselves.
We can have love towards ourselves, each other, the planet, and god. Love for each should must be cultivated simultaneously.
Unless we remove things like envy, anger, greed and pride from the heart we’re not going to be able to love somebody else. Until we remove these, we are inhibited from loving others.
Love allows for compassion to take place. True love allows us to be compassionate towards others.
Regular meditation and mantra meditation is a process of purifying the heart. Mantra meditation is the practice that Pandit has been doing 16 years and it involves reciting sacred sound vibrations. When these sounds are recited they enter the mind and the heart and purify the person.
To purify yourself, you can consciously identify things you want to change and work on them. Meditation and mantras also automatically cleanse you. These methods work best together to purify the heart.
We didn’t cover this in the interview, but the mantra that Pandit recommends is:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna,
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
“Hare” – feminine potency of the divine
“Krishna” – the all-attractive one
“Rama” – the reservoir of all pleasure