Friday, June 15, 2007

Cheaters & the Weak

In material life, there are the cheaters and the cheated, but in spiritual life there is a huge difference between those who cheat and those who are simply weak. Those who make a show of their devotion, but who are proud of their position and popularity, are cheaters. They pose themselves as saints, but are attached to material success and worldly opinion.

In a world full of cheating, good cheaters are respected. Money and influence are the standards of success in this world of appearances. Less intelligent persons evaluate religious and spiritual leaders by similar standards. "Show business" has been going on since time immemorial, and certainly Kali yuga brings such cheating into full fashion. Pseudo spiritual leaders think they can cheat even their own gurus, and therefore they boldly mislead others. As leaders are corrupt, the entire society follows their example. yad yad acarati sresthas....whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow...(BG 3.21)

In India it is easy to see how the cheating mentality permeates not just religion, but business and political life as well. Baksheesh is a way of life. In the West, cheating is obfuscated by more sophisticated dealings, but is no less prominent. Corporate interests influence politics and the media, which control public opinion. Profit is a way of life. For those looking for a deeper meaning in life, there are other types of cheaters. They offer a myriad of philosophies to inflate the false ego’s vain attempts to try to be God. Selfish interests are couched in altruistic high-sounding vocabulary. Even amongst some who preach the vaisnava dharma of selfless love, money and power sometimes speak louder than purity. The world has become such a noisy place, the voices of saints can hardly be heard over the roar of greed.

But cheating never brings perfection. What goes round comes round. The laws of nature, according to Bhagavad-gita, are non-sectarian, non-profit and strict. nibadhanti maha baho....the jiva is conditioned by the modes of nature....(BG 14.5) In the end, cheaters get cheated.

Weakness is another thing. If someone follows a bona fide spiritual path but is unable to practice nicely because of weakness, if they're sincere, they will eventually succeed. Weak persons are embarrassed by their defects. They don’t concote knowledge or misuse philosophy for selfish goals, not even to seek liberation. They don’t pose themselves as advanced or take positions beyond their qualification. They continue to hear from a genuine pure devotee, having faith that despite their anarthas, this process is auspicious and effective. They don’t abandon the shelter of the holy names. They're aware of their weaknesses and pray to develop the spiritual qualities that will free them from their attachments and obstacles. They feel happy to associate with other vaisnavas to share prasadam and hear topics about Sri Krishna and Nitai Gauranga with them. They even pray: if necessary, let me be born again as an animal or as an insect, but let me have association with pure devotees.

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