Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pride of Prejudice

We all have our views and opinions in this world. They are based either on personal likes and dislikes, actual experiences or prejudices.

It is everyone's prejudices -- preconceived opinions not based on reason, or a holistic understanding of scripture or on sober personal reflection of life experience-- that is the cause of so much grief, hostility and conflict in the world.

We see how everyone in the vaisnava world is extremely judgmental.

Quoting from any source they can-- a verse here, a letter there, a "Prabhupada said" or whatever they can dig up-- devotees do not communicate with an openness or a desire for discovery. Contrary to vaisnava behavior, which is one of inquiry and reasoning, devotees from all sides, immediately take the position of authority.

It amazes me that something as detailed as whether a particular deity can wear a peacock feather on an altar in the mandir becomes a major subject for debate and didacticism. In the manner of moral authorities, devotees have become patronizing zealots rather than seekers of an all inclusive truth. Soon the pen will turn to the sword, and Hindus will follow their fundamentalist brothers from other faiths to justify killing to enforce their prejudiced morality and judgments. Murder is already part of Iskcon history.

We are each able to learn and advance according to our own realization and abilities. There are no "stereotypes" on the path to God. There is so much diversity of feelings, impressions and expressions in this universe. If the Common point is Krishna or Allah or Khoda, bas. The details will work themselves out if the intention is pure.

We are quick to offend and slow to support one another. We express our prejudices as if they were the absolute truth. Thus we miss the actual Reality of Krishna, which is to see everything as Krishna's energy and to respect all expressions connected to Bhagavan, as attempts to glorify the Lord. Of course, nescience must also be seen for what it is and clearly understood as the shadow of Krishna: maya, illusion.

But to let our prejudices preempt the gentle manners and inquiring spirit of real vaisnavas while we masquerade as sadhus-- that is not Krishna consciousness. That is the pride of prejudice. The pride before the fall.

1 comment:

Swarup Das said...

Even at the 12 step meetings I attend we are constantly being reminded (through repetition) of the importance of emphasizing Principles Before Personalities.

"Hate the sin, not the sinner."

Sometimes it's a bit vague where alertness for the wrong ends and fault finding begins ???

I suppose it boils down to common sense, common decency and common courtesy ... all of which are, of course, very UNCOMMON!!!

It's not so much what a person says or does as how we say and do it. You addressed the very core of the matter Prabhu by focusing on humility vs. pride; being a mensch vs. being a gonif. Doesn't that always turn out to be the essence ... Trnad api sunicena, taror api sahisnuna, amanina manadena, kirtaniyah sada harih ...

I'm glad you've decided to continue writing.

Hope you are well.