Transcript for Episode 38 – Raghu Markus

the human experience is exploring the

realms of meditation and looking for

enlightenment as we speak to my guest

mr. Raghu Marcus

Raghu it’s a pleasure sir welcome to hxp

same here glad to meet you

so Raghu why don’t you give us some

background for the people that might

know you were a program director in

Montreal tell us what you do well I

started off yes I did I started off in

radio and I was a program director for a

major rock and roll station in Montreal

and I’ve been basically in media my

whole life all the way till now where

I’m the executive director of a

foundation called love serve remember

Foundation which really represents all

of the ROM das whoever knows ROM das out

there who wrote be here now and and many

of the teachers that are on the

spiritual circuit today who were with us

in India way back when with ROM das and

so you know we do a lot of we do books

and we do films and we do workshops we

do live retreats in Maui we do webinars

online courses and then my other hat is

with mind pod network which is a podcast

network and that includes myself and

what I do with mind rolling with my

partner David silver and Brahm das and

krishna das and jack Kornfield and

Sharon Salzberg and Lama Surya das and a

few others so yeah very very interesting

career that you have over there I mean

when you you met Ramdas how did that

occur and what was what was that like

that actually happened when I was I was

in Montreal at that rock-and-roll

station and one day somebody rang up and

said we would love for you to promote a

talk a lecture that this man ROM das is

giving and I went around us like

what’s that and they went Richard Alpert

Tim Leary and I went oh yeah I love

those people because I was all in the

psychedelic heyday right and so I said

but before I do anything I really would

like to hear something of what he’s done

before now I knew some stuff around

Eastern spirituality and so on you know

that was it was more or less like going

over to the Hari Krishna people’s place

on Sunday and eating that great food

that they had it was that level I did TM

Transcendental Meditation stuff like

that so I wasn’t completely unaware but

I had never heard of Rahm Das and so

they sent over a lecture he had done

earlier in the Lee in the year and they

so I put it on in the studio right away

and every word just hit me like a ton of

bricks and it was like everything I had

been waiting to hear that there was an

opportunity you could be happy in this

life and this life was beyond the

cultural norms that we were put in a

straitjacket with at that time

especially and so I put it right on the

air I said I’m gonna put this lecture on

here right now I put it on the air I

tell you the switchboard lit up people

went nuts in Montreal who is this and

then I met him I brought him down to the

station I interviewed him and and then I

started going to his his father’s farm

those famous a couple of years where he

was doing these amazing shot songs with

the whole pile of spiritual hippies

doing Sufi dance and chanting and he

would give lectures it was a ball it was

just incredible then he said I’m going

back to India and I said well I’m going

to and he said well because he was not

supposed to say a word about his guru he

was instructed not to of course that’s

all he talked about because he could not

stop himself from sharing which is the

beautiful essence of this man anyhow

long and short of it as I made it to


and met neem karoli baba so what were

the what was some of the personal I mean

transformations that happened for you

that caused you to kind of follow Ram

Dass to India I was really unhappy I was

terribly unhappy could not believe that

what society offered and what religion

offered you know straight-ahead judaism

christianity had any promise to be happy

and fulfill any you know any of my

questions about what what this life is

all about so I was really you know in my

teenage years pretty disturbed and

unhappy and the only thing that saved me

was music I have been and I’ve worked in

music I had a independent label for 20

years actually in Los Angeles just

before I started working with this

foundation and the only thing that saved

me was the likes of John Coltrane with

who I saw one night in Montreal I mean I

don’t think I was more than sixteen

seventeen and just it was a transcendent

experience transformational experience

alongside of psychedelics which were

transformational experiences and that

gave me the inkling of course that there

was something else to our lives beyond

our senses mind ego and I wanted to

pursue that and so when I when Ramdas

came along and he elucidated all of that

all of those spiritual truths and he was

so honest about his own pitfalls and so

on that everybody could relate with so I

I just said I gotta get me some of that

and I went to India Wow Wow

I mean what would you say how how do you

think ROM daus’s teachings are so

different and what connected you to them

so much that I mean you felt it’s

raining here that you felt you know

compelled in this way I mean what what

would you say are some of the core

messages that Ram Dass is presenting I

guess what I just said one

word that was super important and that’s

honest self honesty

he was so honest with himself about all

of his foibles and all of the stuff that

was going on in his mind all the shadows

that we like to put down and stuff way

down deep and not deal with them and not

even you know not even allow any

awareness whatsoever for any kind of

transformation so that self honesty was

a huge thing that immediately touched me

and the other thing that you know it

just comes off and it’s a it’s a it’s a

shitty word it’s called love I mean he I

remember when I first went I first met

him in the first moment he just

contacted me you know I – I and there

was just something that I could feel a

compassion a level of empathy a caring

and in that moment there was not

anything else going on for him except

being in that moment with me

and those things were extraordinarily

impressive to me I had not even my

parents you know maybe when I was a baby

with my mother or something but this was

something that I hadn’t really

experienced in this way

especially with a stranger somebody I’d

never met so that that obviously was key

and and the other thing was there was a

trust level so that the things he was

talking about I really resonated with

there was something beneath all of it

that allowed me to have that kind of

trust and it was only when I got to

India and met neem Karoli Baba the Guru

where we call Maharaj ji that I realized

where that all was emanating from so Rob

das was really an incredible ambassador

for what we now know is unconditional

love so let’s I mean let’s dig into that

how how

do we find a way through this constant

suffering that we are dealing with here

and I mean how do we how do we love

ourselves well tough stuff for us

Westerners to love ourselves and not

judge ourselves I I would say that and

we talk about this all the time on

podcasts that we do with the different

teachers I mentioned before part of mind

pod network and the very very I mean it

certainly helps everybody at some point

has some sort of ineffable experience

where there’s no time in space you’re

just completely present relaxed you’re

not looking for anything you’re not

looking for anything from anybody and

you were you’re just feeling in the

moment be here now and surround us going

the word and so at at that time and so

with that experience then you can say to

yourself okay I have now a little bit of

trust that there is something that I can

enter into and relate with that is

completely diametrically opposite my

normal day-to-day experience so that’s

the first start that that’s the first

important thing that somebody has to

realize the second thing that everybody

has to understand is you have to develop

the chops to be able to engender those

moments those ineffable moments those

spacious moments those moments between

the thoughts with by practice everybody

has to have a daily practice or you just

are taken over by your mind and you got

to start with a one pointed practice of

any sort I don’t care if it’s looking at

a candle flame or doing a breath

meditation or doing a mantra I mean

there are many many different ways in

fact here’s a little commercial go to

Rama’s door because in July for four

weeks we are going

to be putting up a summer meditation

course with Ramdas so that if for those

of you out there listening to this show

that might give you an opportunity let

me bounce in here because I mean I I

experienced you know a stage I started

meditating very early in my life

right after college and I felt that same

sort of suffering state where I just

felt like the world wasn’t enough I

wanted answers and and now years later I

I still meditate but it’s not the

cornerstone of my life it’s part of my

everyday routine and I believe in it but

it’s as if there’s something missing any

thoughts on that it’s just practice it

doesn’t it’s not a solution it’s just a

method by which you can get some kind of

some kind of ground from which you are

not taken over by your mind okay so it’s

not the solution to life

what is also necessary is as much as one

can get with a teacher who you know a

righteous teacher who is has some

experience and for instance and we’ve

been talking about Ramadan so we might

as well continue he in his those

lectures and the one that I heard one of

the main things he talked about was

there was a couple of them a number of

them obviously but one thing that was

really crucial important was developing

a witness so that you are looking at the

dated and the phenomenon that’s being

created by the mind either you know as

things come in it reacts to stuff anger

lust greed all of it and and you get and

you just get run down a tunnel you’re

just just on a merry-go-round so what is

necessary is is to develop a way in

which you can have a vantage point

that we call the witness and it would be

from not from your mind but from that

place that little small place in the

middle of our chests we call soul

spiritual heart whatever pure mind the

Buddhists would call it and and then

then you start to have a little bit of a

fulcrum so that you are not so caught up

in the vicissitudes that come to us on a

daily basis and you start to see that

that’s suffering the I mean we all

experience it you know through our lives

as the Buddha said the suffering is the

first noble truth but you start to see

that those things can be converted and

by converted I would say I would mean

that you see that these things can

contribute to you getting free of of the

shackles of one’s mind and emotions and

and that as Ram Dass calls it

I love suffering as he says I love

suffering it brings me closer to God and

that’s a big statement and and again the

way but it is a vantage point where you

start to see that everything that

happens is is is fodder for being able

to to transform yourself would you say

it’s necessary to push yourself into

these sort of uncomfortable boundaries

well no I don’t at all because you get

enough uncomfortable stuff coming to you

you don’t need to push yourself anywhere

I’m not quite sure what you mean not

actually well I just mean that maybe a

person can’t sit still for more than

five minutes or they find their own

thoughts so unpleasant that they always

have the radio or TV on so in that sense

kind of meditating would put you into

the sort of uncomfortable state so I’m

asking have you found that pushing

yourself through these uncomfortable

moments I mean you said that earlier you

said that we need the chops for this

right yeah

I mean have you found that putting

yourself into this sort of uncomfortable

space allows you to grow further or see

parts of yourself that you couldn’t see

before yeah I I wouldn’t put it putting

myself into an uncomfortable space in my

own experience I just day to day no

matter what I said and and it’s not a

matter of you know one day I I don’t

feel you know if I don’t feel right I

don’t feel good or I feel great I don’t

even look at it like that I just sit

just because just as if you were you

know you’re you’re you’re training to do

you know an event of any sort an

athletic event you just do it because

you know that that’s what’s necessary to

be able to account

you know to to be able to do what you

want to do and in this case so if you’re

only going to do it when you’re when

you’re you know once you realize there’s

different levels of it but the initial

level is you’re just unhappy with your

life and you want to change and you

realize that one of the ways that that

can happen is through and it doesn’t you

don’t have to I mean if meditation I

mean I would say to everybody that you

really it is necessary to get

one-pointed so that you’re not at the

whim of your mind I mean that’s

absolutely necessary and and and that

only happens someone you know either you

you realize that this and you’ve had

enough experiences where that makes


or you just are so unhappy as I said

before and you just do it because you

know that that will give you the

leverage over this being caught and it’s

not and the reactions to it and the

judgments you make about it so you just

end up doing it for no other not for any

big reasons of becoming enlightened or

anything like that

but it’s an internal investigation that

we need to do so that we understand our

minds and the buddhists of course are

very good at this and they talk about

this a lot i think you there are people

that are maybe don’t spend a lot you

know they don’t spend time in that

respect and chanting for instance that’s

a meditation so chris honest that’s his

main his main practice that’s what he

teaches and and if you go to one of his

concerts and you’re there for 2-3 hours

you know after a while you find your

your find that you’ve lost yourself into

the moment of the mantra and it’s it’s

it’s for some people it’s quite a lot

easier because it’s got music behind it

it’s got energy behind it of other

people you’re in common with and and you

find that that does it for you and then

you know you can do that on at home on a

daily basis it does need a daily

practice of one sort or another and it

does need we do need a teacher i mean it

helps to have somebody that we can trust

that has trodden the path you know i i

recently changed locations and to move

cities and near one of the cities was a

krishna temple and reluctantly i I would

go there I was reluctant about the whole

thing but I would go there because of

the free food and I I noticed something

in the eyes of all the the monks and the

people who would go there and I’d never

seen it before was that this brightness

it’s like it was like they knew some

secret to something and one of the one

of the monks gave me a set of beads like

the mala and he encouraged that I start

chanting and this is something that I

would never do you know I just I would

never do this but I was suffering so

much that I was willing to do anything

and so I started chanting and I I can’t

really use words to describe how

powerful and how much it changed my life

because it really did so I mean hearing

you talk about it is amazing I think I

just said exactly what what you

confirmed it is the chanting is

meditation there is no difference

absolutely none in fact in India they

say because it’s the Kali Yuga you know

the age of destruction the most

efficacious way to transform yourself is

through chanting chanting Hari Krishna

of course they say but any chant so

again what is necessary in my mind is

doing it on a daily basis a regular

practice is super important because it

consistently brings you back into that

one-pointed place or one hearted place

or identification with who we truly are

so that when we step off the you know

out of our little corner of a room with

our with our altar or whatever we’re

using and we go through our daily stuff

there is always that connection to to

that place which is beyond the kind of

caught up ‘no stand to get during our

daily lives so absolutely and i’m i

that’s very much a big part of what we

were given in india by maharaja was

chanting i mean he actually he never he

would send us to these buddhist

meditation courses but only because we

kind of wanted to go you know it wasn’t

he of course he wasn’t a teacher he he

is not a teacher he never taught us

anything he would just his being was the

teaching and of course you know there’s

a lot of other happenings that you

everybody is sure is read about or or

can read about in rhombuses book be here


miracle of love so that is very much

part of my own personal practice

absolutely every day I mean along with a

sitting practice I just find that you

know it’s using a sitting meditative

practice is is is easy to clear the mind

and I will tell you one other thing

that’s interesting

Ramdas I remember him saying you know he

went off to some Buddhist meditation

courses and and he came back and you

know he had a very offended miss that he

had gained and he said it absolutely

helped him to open up that heart place

that place of bhakti that is the center

is a centerpiece of really the tradition

we come from which is bhakti yoga how

how important Braga would you say is

gratitude and in our lives I think it’s

essential it really is essential I mean

when you know you you talk about stuff

like well we’re doing let’s say we’re

going to do all this work on ourselves

we meditate we chant we we read books

that that help enlighten us we go hang

out with teachers satsang community we

do all these things why so that we can

become personally emancipated and

nothing else I don’t think so I don’t

think that’s why we were you know put on

this earth and I think that gratitude

you know is is something that is very

much in line with being able to give a

about our human the humans that we

relate with on a day-to-day basis and

and I think we have to have gratitude

that we were given

this incarnation this body to be able to

be of some service so I think in that

sense gratitude is you know it’s very

important and it also helps defeat shall

we say some of those mind spaces that

really create tremendous self interest

as the Buddhist collet and so yeah I

mean I think gratitude is is is super

important and especially related to

being able to to give something to the

people around us so rug art yeah it’s

such a powerful message our time is a

bit short here but I’ve got one last

question for you and if you could go

back and tell your younger self 20 years

30 years one thing what would it be if I

could go back until I got to tell you I

mean when I met neem Karoli Baba that

first day moment and I realized oh you

know I had the most overwhelming feeling

of being home and I knew that this is

something that happened I’ve been

connected to him way before and way in

the few you know there was no time in

space and I thought I’m finished

I really had that thought okay that’s

over now it’s just a matter of playing

out karma and I have had a lot of karma

play out over the decades

I just I mean I’ve done some pretty dumb

stupid things I in my life that but I

don’t think about going oh gee if I

could go back and have something any

different I I think that it really was

all designed perfectly to get me a

little bit more wise and a little bit

more free of this glue-like self cherish

right that we do from the morning the

minute we get up in the morning and we

start as Christian does calls it the

movie of me you know I Me Mine and so it

is absolutely necessary for all of

whatever happens to somebody in life and

that’s what we were talking about before

about suffering

yeah suffering is is a grace and it’s

something to have gratitude for because

it’s the only way that we get woken up

and it’s the only way that we have the

opportunity to transform our lives and

so looking back you know on a on a

rational worldly level there are things

that I wish you know I could say to

myself I wish I did this that or the

other but that doesn’t last for more

than a mind moment and I because I

firmly know at this point that

everything was is my whatever actions I

took and the results and all I was able

to to see it for the good and see it for

the way in which it’s helping transform

my life yeah Wow Roger thank you so much

for being here sir there’s a lot of

wisdom in your in your message working

people find your website find your work

well I encourage everybody to go to

rhombus org and you know we have so much

media and so much information so many

things going on like that summer

meditation and mindfulness course that

starts July 6th I don’t know when this

podcast will go up but people certainly

you can go there and that’s a great

resource and then if you all like

podcasts which you must because you’re

listening to Xavier go to mind pod

Network and the one that I do with my

partner David silver is called mind

rolling and you just mind pod and and look up mind rolling

and every all the other podcasts that

are up there it’s very very rich

resource for all of this kind of stuff

that we’ve been talking about perfect

and we will make sure that the

for that are all below thank you guys so

much for listening this is the human

experience I’m Xavier and we are gonna

get out of here

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