Monday, September 10, 2007

Madison Avenue

Now, Osama bin Laden has put out a new video. He is lecturing Americans on the evils of corporate capitalism i've read. And praising Noam Chomsky, the radical liberal intellectual. One asura of hatred is instructing another asura of greed to give up the sinful path. If you give it up and join Islam, all is well. (That is, if you don't become a Shia, God forbid.) But if you don't convert from sin to our brand of Islam, my friend, well, no hard feelings, but if we bring down a few more of your tall buildings or perhaps nuke a couple of your cities with dirty bombs, it's just jihad, you know.

Tonite i needed to go to Home Depot to buy some electrical supplies for my renovation project. I took a Crosstown bus to Lexington Avenue and another bus down to 59th Street. Did my shopping and then waited for a bus back uptown. It was a foggy nite, and the fog and darkness and skyscrapers created an image of Gotham City for me. The Upper East Side is the emblem of capitalism. But sorry, Osama, it's not about to convert to your perverted form of religion.

A man of wisdom, however, sees both the over indulgent wealth and the crushing poverty of this world-- the highest to the lowest-- all as nasty and temporary. That we like what looks nice here and want to be praised as good men and women here and we are attached to this body's fleeting pleasures and pains-- these are the symptoms of our disease, ignorance.

On the bus back to my apartment, i drove past Madison Avenue. Madison Avenue used to be the home of the world's most famous ad agencies. It became a synonym for the marketing of America, when America was more influential in the world and less self conscious. Into that mileu came Srila Prabhupada. For that reason alone-- Srila Prabhupada's coming to preach here-- we can say that New York and America were blessed. Prabhupada told the truth to the Americans he met, but he didn't condescend to them or ask them to convert to his form of Hinduism. With great compassion he offered them real knowledge and a taste for the transcendental experience. Only a paramhamsa can act so perfectly.

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