Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fuel Efficiency

Today i would like to ask the assembled readers to contribute their thoughts and experiences on being efficient. Perhaps because i feel tired from moving my accumulated possessions from Cambridge, MA to Evanston, IL. Or because i am a bit exhausted from my recent rants. Or perhaps because i feel so inefficient and unproductive.

The natural world seems terribly efficient. Molecules work 24/7 metabolizing and doing whatever else they do. Time is killer efficient. Nobody gets a pass from it. Even animals seem pretty efficient in the wild. But human beings appear much less efficient. Due to their neurosis, fears or completely over the top pride, they seem to be out of sync with the rest of the natural universe when it comes to efficiency.

We know from observing the life of Srila Prabhupada how efficient and economical he was, with time, with money and with energy. He didn't waste anything. That is one of the 26 qualities of a pure devotee, is it not?

I get a lot of pleasure from being efficient, when i am. I really enjoy the rush. But mostly i'm not. Most of the time, i'm efficient at being inefficient.

It would be a nice gift to hear your realizations and your accomplishments in this area of efficiency. For the sake of making this exercise more efficient, here is what my dictionary says about it:
• achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.
• working in a well-organized and competent way.
• preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource, in this case, our most precious one, time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rehab's Over

For those who have been reading my posts, you know that one of my main rant themes is the injustice done to the godbrothers and godsisters by the institution, starting with the zonals back in 1977. Those of us who were in Iskcon then, lived thru a very dark period and we each had our experiences. Those who came later also suffered from the residual effects of those injustices. It seems to me that the so-called reformers who wanted to rectify the mistakes made by the zonals, made their own (mistakes), only compounding the dire straights. So i've been pounding on this theme for some time, because words, even coming from an insignificant source like me, do have power. And because most of the readers have lived thru similar experiences. So my posts serve as a kind of rehab session for all of us to heal our wounds from battles past.

But it's also true that for most of us, those battles were from the past. And the deeper reality of the present is that those battles were part of our destiny. And part of our purification. For one, they should help us realize that no situation, no matter how nice or nasty, is permanent. And second, that regardless of external calamities, nothing can check awareness or devotion for God. Nothing, not even the pralaya.

So it is important for each of us to go deeper. To see the great challenge being offered to us by our destiny . How by participating in a society of a great spiritual teacher, a giant amongst gurus and an empowered deliverer, and then being rejected or rejecting that same society due to its inebriety and inequality, we now have a new chance to either make progress or to regress. We are "on our own," but never alone. We have in our hearts, our relationship with God and guru forged in the impressions of past sincerity. And now, in our growing maturity, these are the relationships that count.

So the time has come for each of us to take up this challenge in our own way. Certainly i would like the emotional support and encouragement of my friends and godbrothers who traverse this narrow path. Just to know that they are making the attempt to make progress, to go deeper, to not be afraid to fail, and to offer whatever they can to the cause of God realization, is a great source of inspiration for me. Let us turn our focus to the positive, the doable, the journey beyond the betrayal, to the plane of inner achievment. Let's allow ourselves the detachment to leave the past and turn the page. Rehab's over. Let's do something.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Maws, Morons & Oxymorons

I received a lot of interesting feedback from my last post, "Secret GBC Resolution Revealed." Most readers thought it was funny and really enjoyed it. Satire exaggerates and highlights the shadows of reality to the point where you gotta laugh at it.

One old friend and godbrother wrote me: "too funny 'maws.' we won't make it to the pisswall at this rate, but at least we'll die laffin on the way there..."

Another godbrother commented that he read half-way thru the post before he suspected it might be a farce. He still wasn't sure if it was true or not, so he looked up the word "Maws" in a dictionary, because English is not his native language. Well, English is my native tongue, but i also looked it up when i was creating an acronym for the Mayapur Perpetual Worship Scheme:
maw |mô|
1. the jaws or throat of a voracious animal like a wolf hound.
2. the mouth or gullet (stomach) of a greedy person.

Do i really think the GBC body should be compared to the jaws of a wolf? The short answer: yes. Because what Srila Prabhupada gave to each and every one of his disciples was his mercy and his love. He deputized the GBC to administer this love on his behalf. How do you administer love? There's only one way: by creating TRUST. Love cannot exist without trust. Trust is always the foundation for love in any relationship.

And what has the GBC done since the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada? From practically the moment he left this world, the zonal acaryas used their power, manipulation, deceipt and despotism to create DISTRUST amongst and between their godbrothers and godsisters. Now that the years have gone by, the zonals have been replaced by the reformers. But have they brought back the spirit of love and trust to Iskcon? If they have, then why are 95% of Prabhupada's disciples-- his spiritual children-- still unwelcome and missing in action?

(To any idiots who want to know if this percentage has been verified by a "survey," no it hasn't, But Prabhupada initiated around 5,000 disciples. How many do you see hanging around Iskcon these days? In most temples, none or very, very few. That means 95% or more are missing. And it's not because they're all "in maya.")

Does anyone in Iskcon's leadership ever ask why those devotees--their godbrothers and godsisters-- have gone away? Or how Iskcon could make them welcome or encourage them? The answer to that question is an all-pervasive silence. Or, if anyone is preaching and criticises the GBC, they pass a resolution to gag that person.

Will a war criminal ever call for his own trial? Does a greedy, voracious politician ever give up his position? Can a moron sit down and write poetry?

Maws was an attempt to satirize the characters within Iskcon who act more like caricatures than acaryas. If i had written such a piece 25 years earlier, clearly my life would be endangered. Even now, some fundamentalist disciple might read these posts and seek me out to avenge his guru's honor. So let me clarify (if only to protect my own life). I'm not saying the GBC men and women are inherently evil. Most if not all are dedicated devotees. But i am saying that they have failed the basic test and responsibility given to them by Srila Prabhupada. That is the duty of the GBC to set the example for love and trust between devotees.

Either by comission or by omission, the leaders of Iskcon have miserably failed Srila Prabhupada on this most fundamental issue. They have acted not as brahmanas but as kripanas (misers) and even worse, not as servants but as oligarchs who lord over others.

Does anyone claim that the spirit of trust can be found in Iskcon? Or that there is a social model anywhere in Iskcon where artificial hierarchies of haves and have nots does not exist? Let me know, because i haven't seen it, and i've been around a long time. I see the opposite wherever i go. In a few places there is a standard of etiquitte being practiced, but even there, the mentality of "us and "them" predominates. And "us" usually translates to no more than the "I, me and mine" of a respective leader and his surrogates.

OK, but where's the oxymoron i mentioned in this post's title?
a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Greek oxumōron, neuter (used as a noun) of oxumōros ‘pointedly foolish,’ from oxus ‘sharp’ + mōros ‘foolish.’

The sharply foolish meme here is the notion that the GBC represents Srila Prabhupada's spirit of love and trust. Yes, that is the GBC's reason for existence-- to apply Prabhupada's spirit justly and wisely in the society of devotees. But when you put the words together-- Prabhupada's spirit and the GBC -- you get a perfect oxymoron, a self-contradictory conjunction. The GBC produces mistrust, the opposite of what it was created to produce. A living contradiction to the spirit of love and trust embodied by Srila Prabhupada.

The credibility that was invested in the GBC has become so devalued that only its own members take themselves seriously. Even many of their own disciples see thru their incompetence. After more than 30 years of negligent, often abusive, and always abysmal leadership, the best offering the GBC could now make to Srila Prabhupada is to resign en masse. That is something that would make him happy, although they will never do it.

If they did, they could call a general meeting of all devotees, especially the disciples of Prabhupada who left or were forced to leave Iskcon but who still honor and worship Prabhupada in their own hearts. Let them sit together with the self-retired GBC and together find a way to deconstruct the legal, corporate, religious labyrinth that the GBC concocted with their own ideas to fortify their own control. And let the devotees find some hope to rediscover the original purpose and mood Srila Prabhupada had in his pure heart when he brought Krishna consciousness from Vrindavan to Second Avenue. That's the spirit of awareness and love for Krishna and mutual trust and respect for each other. Love and trust. Without them, Iskcon is just another intolerant religion that promises substance but delivers only style. And creates opportunities for maws, morons and oxymorons.