Friday, August 3, 2007

Crazy Rascals

The really great thing about writing a blog, in my opinion, is the freedom. I can say whatever i want, without being concerned about anyone's reaction. So today, i'm publishing an email i just sent one of my closest and dearest friends, Ananda Swarup. Most of the very select group of readers of this blog also know Ananda. I'm printing this mail because it sums up my opinion and feelings about what is going on now in cyber space and real space with "devotees." The context of this mail is an ongoing dialogue between Ananda and myself. I would like to share this with you because i believe in the truth of these words for myself.

What you say is totally correct. First i know to be able to follow even the minimum that Prabhupada expected of us, one has to not just be honest but make a sustained effort. To follow for "show" like many of the leaders or devotees like ***** do, that's one thing. But to follow from the heart, without the show, as you are attempting, that's the real test. And then, not to become puffed up from following, but to remain simple, even if one gets some kind of taste, that's the second test.

These are the things devotees should be discussing amongst themselves, not manjari bhava, or how Prabhupada is not a jiva, or why Iskcon is or isn't this or that. The whole scene out there is sick. I don't know if you read it, but a few days back one of the short articles on the Sun mentioned that practically every devotee is a 'nut-case.' I appreciated that statement. Crazy is the only word to describe devotees who don't get it. Rascal, the word you used, is also correct, especially for the high profile devotees. So, crazy rascals, everyone. This is the world we live in.

Now the next question is, how do we transcend this category ourself??
Start fresh is my response.
Start again with a beginner's mind. And when inspiration (or desperation) comes, start preaching to new people (the old ones are all crazy rascals, or influenced by crazy rascals). Do it differently. Cultivate self awareness. Remain simple. Pray for help. Don't get involved again with any crazy rascals, no matter how tempting it may be.
nava jauvana

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Living in the Material World

There's nothing exciting to report. I'm doing a project, cleaning, renovating and leasing out a condo in New York City. My day is filled with trivial necessities: finding out the rule and regulations of the management company that controls the building the condo is in, getting estimates for renovation work, talking with the broker who has an exclusive to rent out the apartment. The other part of my day consists of spending a lot of time on the internet reading articles, news and responding to emails. Then in the evenings sometimes i walk 40 city blocks to Whole Foods, the organic supermarket in mid-town Manhatten, buy groceries, and take the bus back to the condo. Quite a drab life. Only the promise of it being temporary, and the hope that a passive income stream will be created, keeps me motivated.

New York is a dynamic place, but only in the direction of passion (money) and ignorance (name your sin). I honestly can't see much goodness here, except perhaps in the nature of Central Park. It was in this busy aggressive city that Srila Prabhupada arrived, penniless, 42 years ago. Amazing how he came, struggled on his own, tolerated much, and conquered maya here.

Then i read on the Sampradaya Sun the activities of people like Satsvarupa, Hrdayananda, Giriraj and others, who are neither struggling to preach, tolerating difficult conditions, apologizing to their godbrothers for their arrogance and mistakes, nor conquering over illusion. But like characters out of a bad historical novel, they still maintain a profile of being sadhus.
I really don't wish to judge them, knowing fully that in their situation,
i would be worse. But how sad it is, both for them and for everyone, that the divine movement they once joined as sincere students, now must suffer so much from their incompetence. In the name of expression they have created depression. Srila Prabhupada himself summed it up in a letter to Gurudus:

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter
dated August 23, 1972, and I have noted the contents carefully. Do not

So that's the secret. Don't pay much attention to the godbrothers. And don't think there is anything in this world worth investing in. But continue "strong in your duty," however insignificant it seems.