Thursday, December 6, 2007

Half Empty Half Full

It’s the old folk wisdom about the optimist and the pessimist, one seeing the glass half full, the other one seeing the same glass half empty. I must admit to being of the half empty perception these days. Our world, despite so much information access, enormous wealth and impressive technology, seems always half empty. There is unity in the universal embrace of greed and power. But polarity is everywhere else: in politics, religion, even amongst vaisnavas (who are supposed to be transcendentalists). Cooperation is only possible with bribery and “Love” is an old Beatles song (now co-opted to advertise SUVs).

You could say i’m cynical and you’d be correct. But wasn’t Prabhupada cynical about the material scientists? He gave them a beating not because he was against science. (He called Krishna consciousness the science of God). He was against cheating. The scientists cheat when they deny a Supreme Intelligence and claim that accidents of matter create consciousness. First of all, they can’t prove it and second, behind their claims are always selfish interests.

I was thinking about George W. Bush, probably the most unpopular president in the last century. What is it about him that makes him appear so incompetent? My conclusion is it’s his hubris combined with a tunnel vision that qualifies him perfectly for the description in the Bhagavatam that Prabhupada loved to quote: sa eva gokarah. Just like a cow or an ass— he’s stubborn, attached to the narrowest and most parochial of interests, a perfectly ignorant, ordinary, selfish man in a position of overwhelming material power and leadership. Total mismatch.

His is the typical hypocrisy of our times: an apparent attachment to religion and lip-deep morality (he says Jesus saved him and prays to God every nite), together with an asuric need to bully, sabre rattle and attack those who don’t conform to his definitions of what is good , godly and American. But then, what can you expect from a Texan cattle rancher who loves meat? We suffer collectively from little demons dressed as leaders.


Madhava Gosh said...

I see the verse referring to the idea that cows think they are their body.

I don't see where all those negative qualities you describe are associated with the cow.

From the ad hoc Cow Anti-defamation League Committee. :-)

jauvana said...

Prabhupada's commentary relates to how attachment to the body in human society creates all problems such as selfishness, isms, etc. The verse is an allegory for such attachment. it is not meant to literally describe the qualities of a cow, but a man who has an animal-like mentality.