Today's headline comes by way of a comment made by Ananda Swarup prabhu in the comments section of my last post. It was in response to another comment about how love should be the standard devotees have for dealing with each other.
Love is the most used and most abused word in English today. "All you need is Love, Love is all you Need." It was true when the Beatles sang it on the first live world television broadcast 40 years ago. And it will always be true. But what is love? Obviously the Beatles didn't know. Neither did anyone else in our "Love Generation" or any other generation. Love is actually fiction in the material world, an illusory condition.
The first time we got a glimpse of what love really is, is when we had our first darshan of Srila Prabhupada. We couldn't see love or Prabhupada properly then, because of the spiritual cataracts in our eyes. But we could sense it. It was very intense, emotional, penetrating and controlled. We had never experienced anything like that before.
Love's first quality is that it is searching after itself. When Prabhupada looked at you (and practically everyone had a similar experience), he could look right thru you, right into your heart. You felt that he was looking at your being, someone you did not know yourself. It was embarassing. Prabhupada, who was overflowing with love for Krishna, was looking for that love in us.
Love is also connected to service. Prabhupada knew we were completely covered by our senses, so he focused our attention to service. He was very expert in encouraging us to engage, to "dovetail" our abilities in service to Krishna. We serve what we love. On the material plane, if someone is our master, we serve him for money, or sometimes, in dire situations, for fear of our life. Everyone loves their life. If someone is our lover, we serve him or her for the enjoyment they give us. If they are our children, we serve them because we identify with them; we see them as extentions of ourself.
Somehow, Prabhupada inspired us to serve Krishna, whom we didn't know at all. None of us were Vedic scholars; most of us had never heard the name "Krishna" before. And Prabhupada also convinced us to live together as a spiritual family. He named that family Iskcon. It was not a new church or religious cult he was founding. It was an association of devotees to cultivate love for Krishna. He created us as devotees. He did not create a hierarchy. He did not create an elite. He wanted us to cooperate as equals. He wanted us to focus on bhakti for the Lord. And to practice tolerance, humility and appreciation for each other.
As my godbrother said, love is as love does. If you see that love in Iskcon, that example of how Srila Prabhupada wanted the devotees to associate, then you don't have a problem. As i've been writing on this blog, i don't see that. I see ambition, greed, incompetence, lack of respect and intolerance. I also see a huge hierarchy in place of the fraternity that Prabhupada wanted. That's why i'm not associating with Iskcon now. But that does not mean i am free to just sit and criticize. I should accept the responsibility to search for love of Krishna, and for the qualities of Prabhupada that are missing in Iskcon, in my own heart. Once i get a glimpse of that in myself, i can easily share it with others. Until that time, at least i can practice kindness, openness and respect for other jivas. And i can share my experiences with others, as i am doing in this blog.
All of this is easier to say than to practice. But this is the great challenge and great blessing given to us by our master. He who showed us what love really is, and what love really does.