Give to Live is a book of collected blogs from the author's blog on Krishna.com, dedicated to all spiritual seekers looking for the essence of knowledge and divine love. Karnamrita Das has attempted to make the philosophy of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, or bhakti yoga, as accessible as possible for those interested in, or curious about, this tradition, and those who want to deepen their connection to the spiritual foundation and dimension of life. He shares his spiritual journey over 43 years in a very personal way, including both his struggles and successes as a spiritual practitioner, and flawed human being. Before and after each blog is a relevant quote from his spiritual teachers, or the Vedic scriptures of India. To begin each piece, a short introduction is given to highlight the salient points, and thus prepare the reader. Each chapter opens with a drawing by Annapurna Devi, and throughout the book are an additional six full page drawings. In the Appendixes useful supplemental material is given, including an extensive Glossary. The title of Give to Live is taken from the entry of the same name. The idea of the piece—and the book—is that our natural function as souls is to give. We are meant to give—to other people, to the planet, to humanity, to the universe, to all living entities, and ultimately, to God. In fact, we can properly give to others only when, directly or indirectly, we give to the Supreme. Amidst sharing his life experiences, the book introduces the reader to Krishna, who in the Gaudiya tradition, is revealed to be the fountainhead of all features of God, or in the words of his teacher, Shrila Prabhupada, "The Supreme Personality of Godhead." To his best ability he has done this in a way that honors other faith traditions. As spoken about in one of the blogs, there is only "One Spiritual System in the Universe," or One God, though seen through many religious lenses.
About the Author
Karnamrita Das was born on June 22, 1950 in Los Angeles California, U.S.A with the name Christopher John Cox. His life as a child, though certainly a mixed experience, was often painful, confusing, and ultimately unsatisfying. All in all, it proved a catalyst for him to search out other alternatives to the materialistic status quo of the time and continue the unfinished spirituality of his previous lives. Although not a spiritual family, it turned out to be favorable for a spiritual quest when mixed with the youth movement of the late 1960’s. After a year of college, an existential crisis prompted him to begin a full-time search for the meaning of life. Becoming a vegetarian, he spent much time in the redwood forest in Muir Woods in Marin County, California studying the cycles of Nature and books from various spiritual traditions. He concluded that he needed to be a monk in some tradition to immerse himself in spirituality. Upon coming in contact with the books and disciples of Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, he began visiting a Krishna temple in Berkeley, California. Soon he experienced that this tradition spoke deeply to his soul. It felt like home, and he became a brahmachari, receiving diksha in 1970. He was given the name, Karnamrita Das (a servant of the sound nectar of immortality, or Krishna lila) to symbolize a “second birth” into spirituality. For his first three years he primarily studied and distributed his guru's books. Gradually he became involved in temple services or puja (Deity worship), becoming a head cook and pujari (temple priest), which he continued for the next eleven years at various centers in America, Asia, and Australia. The service, realizations and feelings he derived from worshipping Krishna in his many Deity forms has provided him a deep foundation for his continued spirituality, enabling him to function in many different cultural and social arenas. Trained in many energy-healing and alternative health modalities such as Reiki, hypnotherapy, Emotional Release Therapy, and healing prayer, he incorporates healing into his life, work, and service. He often works with his wife, Archana-siddhi devi dasi—a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), in couples therapy and in facilitating spiritual themed workshops. They both write and teach extensively, and are working on several books.