We’re getting our first real snow. Since early December days have been mostly cold and dark, with light snow several days a week, but nothing like the accumulation we are getting today. We’re supposed to get four inches. Already there’re three inches on the ground and the snow continues to fall in that hushed, relentless way that augurs little change.Checking out the Midlife Motorcycle Madness blog what do I find among the Google ads near the bottom left corner but a link to Krishna Bedtime Stories: Before the Beginning by Damodara Dasa. http://www.iskconberkeley.com/bedtime/?p=index On further investigation, it appears the site is from the the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in Berkeley. No matter. The book website exemplified the simply designed website I was drawn to years ago that started my interest to learn digital design. At one time I wanted to write a book comprising text and images—photographs or illustrations, like this Krishna book.
The Krishna book reminded one reviewer of children’s Bible books. The teachings are couched in simple words and very accessible concepts. This is why I fell in love with cartoons as a child. In the world of cartoons (not in the anime books that teenagers and young adults now enjoy as imports from Japan), life is simple to read. The colors are primary colors. No ambiguity or complexity here. The lines of the comic figures too are unequivocal. Life should be this unambiguous. Snow turns the landscape black-and-white. Details that give complexity and meaning vanish. Only the main points remain, the skeleton framework, not the flesh-and-blood that obscures the fundamentals of a body. Never was there a time when I did not exist, declares Krishna to an Arjuna reluctant to begin battle with revered teachers and relatives. There was never a time when God did not exist, nor you, nor these warriors and kings many of whom shall be dead by day’s end. Nor is there a time in the future, Krishna continues, when any of us ceases to be. Krishna is not saying as Christians, Jews or Muslims believe that we have the opportunity to go after death to a more pleasant life where the pleasantness never ends. His teachings is more profound than this, goes beyond even the idea of what in the West we call reincarnation. From investigations that they make from the depths of meditative stillness, mystics see beyond time, and therefore beyond being. (Being is gerund for the verb to be, as abstract as anything we know.) Without time there is neither then or now or later. What is seen is seen now and now is all there is. Now is tied to a particular seeing. When the mystic breaks free of that tie now becomes the boundlessness that is ein sof in Kabbalah. There is no death if there is no individual or separate being. That is little comfort if we are caught up in our personal daily dramas. We’d like the snow to stop, the drier fixed, the stir-fry aromatic and hot, the cage fighting video dream-like and evocative of human aspirations. Now is not where we are and where we are there are birth and death, beginnings and endings.