MY SPIRITUAL TEACHER Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda

(I have had requests to write more about my spiritual teacher and my relationship with him so I have added more to this post on November 2016, and again on April 2021 — Chaitanya das)

Blog 3. Photo 9

Blog 3. Photo 10

These days it’s sometimes seen as ‘uncool’ to talk about a guru, or a spiritual teacher.

For many the word ‘guru’ evokes the unfortunate idea of a relationship where there is lack of individual thought, of giving up one’s own free will.  I’d like to dispel that emphatically as far as my spiritual teacher is concerned!

‘Guru’ as an adjective means ‘heavy or weighty’ as in ‘One who is heavy with spiritual knowledge and wisdom.’ ‘Guru’ also means spiritual master or one who has dovetailed his body, his mind, his intelligence, and his will with the will of God.  In other words, guru means one who is the loving servant of God and the well-wisher of others — not the master of other people.

There are times that I refer to Jagad Guru as my spiritual master, however it’s very important to understand that a bona fide guru never sees himself as the controller or master of anyone. There are so many definitions of the word ‘master’ but the one I am referring to is “One who masters a particular field of endeavor”, in this case, spiritual endeavor.

Rather than as a master of anyone a genuine spiritual master or teacher dedicates his life to helping everyone find true happiness. He is therefore the loving servant of the Supreme, the servant of his spiritual teacher, the servant of his students, and the well-wisher and servant of everyone! 

He never teaches that he is God nor tries to take the place of God in people’s lives. He is someone who is filled with bhakti or love for the Supreme — and therefore filled with love and compassion for all living beings who he understands are all parts and parcels of the Supreme.

If I’m honest with myself, I had very little attraction for any spiritual process when I first met Siddhaswarupananda over 40 years ago, but he challenged me to think carefully about spirituality. Not only to think, but check what he was telling me and what we talked about.

Continue reading “MY SPIRITUAL TEACHER Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda”


Krishna is all lovable!
Krishna is all lovable!

At some point in our lives we ask the questions: what am I doing with my life and what am I looking for in life?

We are all seeking something. Something that will make us happy. A deep enriching enduring happiness that reaches our very core.

A happiness that satisfies me, the eternal spirit soul inside this body made up of temporary matter.

All of the revealed scriptures give the same answer.  The way to achieve this spiritual happiness is by reviving our loving relationship with the Supreme, with Krishna, with God.

Lord Jesus
Lord Jesus

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”.

And in the Bhagavad Gita, the Supreme Lord says: “To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me”. (BG 10:10)

But how do we love God? How is this possible?

Continue reading “I CAN LOVE GOD!”


RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY Movie Poster from 1962
RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY Movie Poster from 1962

I watched a lot of movies when I was younger. Many with my father who was a big fan of the old western movies. I always remember a line from a western from the 1960’s by director Sam Peckinpah.  The movie is RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY which was about 2 aging cowboys played by Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea towards the end of their acting careers.

Continue reading “A ‘JUSTIFIED’ Life”


I describe myself as a Vaishnava Hindu but emphasize that this is not a sectarian term. Sectarian being defined as excessive devotion to a particular religion.  Vaishnava Hinduism is not like this, in fact, Vaishnavism is the polar opposite of sectarianism.

Recently I saw a YouTube message from Tulsi Gabbard, the first practicing Hindu elected to The US Congress.  She expressed in this video more eloquently than I can why Vaishnava Hinduism embraces all faiths:

According to Vaishnava Hinduism, there’s one Supreme Being who is called many names by different people around the world at different times. It’s not that there is a Christian god, a Buddhist god, a Hindu god, or a Muslim god, all competing with each other. There is only one God although we may call Him by different names.

“It is the loving exchange one has with God that is true spirituality. And one who is experiencing such love for God is able to see beyond our external differences and designations, and recognize that we are all relatives in the deepest sense. We are all children of the same Supreme Lord. This is the message of Bhagavad-gita, the message of love, of how we can achieve real harmony with others, no matter the different backgrounds we come from.

Here is a link to Tulsi Gabbards full message:



During the 1970’s and 1980’s Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda traveled extensively in the USA, South America, New Zealand, Australia, different Pacific Islands, the Philippines, and Hong Kong to name a few places.

Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda in the 1970’s

Everywhere he went Siddhaswarupananda spoke and held kirtans, sometimes with just a few people, sometimes with many more. He was influential everywhere he went and many of the people he spoke to in those days are now his students. Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa’s message has not changed in all that time.

To paraphrase his words:

By hearing and chanting God’s Names a person’s mind and attention gradually becomes immersed in the spiritual world. In this way, even though living in this temporary world, one actually begins to taste the nectar of what it’s like to be in the spiritual dimension.

 Hearing and chanting God’s names is a very easy method for anyone no matter what their religion. All Names of God have potency so it doesn’t even matter if a person is a little sectarian and fearful of certain names of God, thinking ‘But I’m a Moslem’ , ‘I’m a Hindu’ or ‘I’m a Christian’.  No problem – they can simply sing the names of God as given in their scripture. That will have a purifying effect and their attention will be drawn more and more to the eternal”.



Drawing by my 13yr old grand daughter Lana
Drawing by my 13yr old grand daughter Lana

When I was young I would often lie in bed and before sleep overcame me, I thought a lot about my existence and wondered who I was.  Often the walls of my bedroom seemed to close in on me and I felt imprisoned, or I felt very small and the walls were miles away.  We lived in the country, and sometimes I would go out at night, lie on the grass, and look at the vastness of the universe – how insignificant I felt!

At such times I would contemplate about death: what would happen when I died or, as I know more correctly now, when my body died?

It seemed to me that there were 2 possibilities: when I died there was either nothingness; or as Lord Jesus taught, if we love Him, we can go to the Supreme Father. Any another possibility I did not want to contemplate!

Continue reading “GOD OR NOTHINGNESS?”


Gopal Krishna

I am known by many names: Chaitanya das to some, Charles to others, and yet others as Charlie.  There is also Chas, Snowy (when I was really young), Robbo, Mr. Robinson, Father, Dad, Popo (to my grandchildren), Pops, Popes, Mate, Sir, Mister, and some other names my wife calls me that I cannot repeat here!  People call me different names depending on my relationship with them and also the role I am ‘playing’.

Continue reading “WHO IS KRISHNA?”

What Is KIRTAN? No. 1.

Kirtan is the singing or saying or chanting of sacred mantras. It is transcendental sound meditation. It is uplifting and cleanses the heart and mind. The above example is my son Kirtan das,  leading a kirtan with one of these age old mantras “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya”. The meaning of this mantra is: “O my Lord, the all-pervading Supreme Person, Krishna, I offer all my respects to you”



(or more correctly, we are all spirit souls, sparks of God)

Drawing by my grand daughter Chungi
Drawing by my grand daughter Nityangi

So I was feeding the Rosey Barb fish in the lily pond in the garden, and over time I’ve noticed they all have their individual traits.  They are all little personalities.

One is a bully, and no matter how much seaweed food I feed them, he always tries to stop the others getting any.  Another is Mr. Energetic who swims dartingly around as fast as he can….all the time.  Then there’s Mr. Timid, who stays towards to bottom and waits for the food to fall down and come to him. Another likes to go into the greenery and massage herself against the weed.  And still another will come to the surface and allow me to gently pat him.  They are not all the same.

Continue reading “FISH ARE PEOPLE TOO!”