Sunday, September 9, 2007

Letter to a Devotee

Yesterday i received an email from a very nice devotee whom i had met in Mayapur about 4 years ago while shooting video. He sent me an email after discovering my blog, and asked me if i ever made a documentary from the footage i shot (I haven't). I replied to him this morning and publish it here since it summarizes my view of the current situation.

Dear......prabhu,
My dandavats to you. Thank you for your email. I apologize that my memory is not so good with names, but i do recall our meeting in Mayapur 4 years ago when i was shooting a lot of footage with my Canon dv camera. Ambika Kalna ki jai! And thank you again for that glass of delicious pomegranate juice. It's a great tonic.

Prabhu, if you read my blog carefully you will understand my current mood. I have been twice separated from Iskcon-- once i left in 1984 to become an independent householder because i was very angry with my godbrothers who had hijacked Srila Prabhupada's movement in the name of Zonal Acaryas. Then i tried to come close again to Iskcon when i lived in Vrindavan and Mayapur from 2000-2005. Again i became disappointed with the superficiality and corporate mentality. It was more of the same pretension as the '80s, except now it was polished and formalized into an organized religion. So i left the association of Iskcon again. Twice separated, i am now filing for divorce.

I write like this to you because i see you are a very sincere devotee and it appears you working within the borders of Iskcon. There are many, many sincere devotees like you. This is Prabhupada's mercy. There are also many many sincere devotees outside of Iskcon, and this is also Prabhupada's mercy. What we are lacking in the world today is not mercy. We are lacking examples of vaisnavas who practice the culture of love. That is what i was attracted to when i was thinking about making a documentary with that title, "Culture of Love" in Mayapur. I wanted to show the simple, beautiful qualities of dham basies who have these qualities in their blood and who demonstrate these qualities in their faces and behaviors.

Unfortunately, neither Iskcon nor any organized math promotes or teaches such qualities. Instead, Iskcon and other groups promote a show of "spirituality" which is strong on glamour, hoopla, temple construction, external etiquette and imitation acharyas, but very short on real vaisnava exchanges. It has become a kind of show business, not the revolutionary movement to re-spiritualize the world that Srila Prabhupada introduced.

As a result, the world is not getting the full mercy that Srila Prabhupada and Sri Mahaprabhu want to give it. No doubt, that divine flow will find its own way to be released in the future. But i see this period as a time of darkness, or at best a transitional one (darkness before the dawn). I feel that it's every man for himself now. Survival of the "faithest." Sorry, but that's my take on the current state of affairs.

Having said that, i hope your own spiritual life is rich and inspiring. Hoping this finds you in good health.
your fallen friend,
nava jauvana das

2 comments:

Satya devi dasi said...

Haribol Navajauvana,
It's Satya here. Manjari's friend from Berkeley. I just wanted to let you know that I've been reading your blog. I agree with you about ISKCON. I see myself now as "unaligned" as far as groups go, but very attached to Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara. There are many folks out there who feel the same. Here in Princeton we get together for monthly kirtans. It's really nice. I don't see this as a dark period, but rather a time when the light of love--Premavatara--is dispersed to individuals. We need to be responsible and nurture it. Jaya Radhe!
your servant,
Satya devi dasi

Ekendra das said...

here's something: Less is More