All glories to the eternal Golden Moon, Sri Gaurachandra! All glories to the Golden Beauty, Sr Gaurasundara!
Today i went again to the Iskcon temple on Commonwealth Avenue for the festival of Lord Caitanya's Appearance Day. For some reason, i had an expectation. Whenever i expect something, i'm disappointed. Without expectation, there is no disappointment, and sometimes there is a surprised delight. But with expectation, disappointment is almost certain.
My expectation today was that somehow i would experience something transcendental. I would be carried into a transcendental state on this holiest of days (which happens to coincide with Good Friday). As it turned out today, the devotees are all pious people, but are conditioned by the same laws i am. And since i've witnessed both my own conditioning and the conditioning of devotees for almost the last 40 years, it all seemed way too predictable. It was a script i had already read too many times.
It's not necessary to go into the details. All intentions were nice, but suffice it to say, that after one hour in the temple, i was unwilling to sit thru another 2-3 hours. While i'm very familiar with all the temple activities, and their connection to Krishna, for me it was too difficult not to judge and not to be disappointed by the lack of spontaneity and lack of spiritual emotion generated by these rituals. I could have been sitting in a church or a synagogue or a mosque just as i was in the temple. I would have been respectful and i would have been bored in a similar way. Perhaps this is simply my own failing, my own atheism, coming to the surface. That's quite possible.
But rather than fight it, or go to sleep by it, i decided to get up and walk out. No matter how nice, religion falls short for me. It was a transcendental movement-- not a religion-- that attracted my heart 40 years ago, and it still attracts me. But it's not there anymore. When Prabhupada was here, despite all the flaws within me and around me, it still felt like a movement. Now, short a miracle of meeting another pure devotee in this life, nothing outside moves me. No group, no school, no society, no politics and no entertainment. There is no movement, or illusion of movement, after 40 years of searching.
I don't see myself as a victim. I think of myself as a thief who has finally been caught. Now i need to give back the stolen goods and to atone. Only this will bring me peace and movement within, movement towards transcendence. I need to move on, to move within.
All glories to the eternal Golden Limbed Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.