Why should we make a point of being aware of how companies and major businesses are spending millions of dollars. They are making preparations to continue their exploitation of the planet, other jiva souls and the environment in the face of Y2K? Indeed everyone in kali yuga faces serious problems ahead. All of us are facing the imminent death of our material body. That is the real problem.
Temporary events like the millenium and how to keep our computers functional are hardly significant in terms of eternity. This material world is the place of upheaval and catasrophe. padam padam jad vipadam na tesam (SB. 10th Canto)
What else is new? Janma, mrtyu, jara vadhi, and how to face them are our real problems, not the crash of techonological so called civilization.
The topmost international media comes out with so many propaganda statements in support of illicit sex, gambling, meat eating and intoxication that one must conclude that they are the breakers of the last leg of religiosity , truthfullness. Conflicts of large social proportion are hardly as significant to devotees as the conflict they experience in their own devotional lives. Our battle is with the mind, senses and unfortunately very often some of our godbrothers.
There is often so much talk about new age concepts and armagedon predictions from Nostradamus, Y2K, and so many other personalities that are not in any way connected with the parampara. Srila Prabhupada made some passing remarks once about imminent world atomic war in Los Angeles in the 70's. The devotees were concerned and Srila Prabhupada remarked that we should not make plans on the basis of such an impending war.
Our preaching is based on the mercy of sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the predecessor acaryas, not material plans for Y2K, bomb shelters, stockpiling of food, weapons and batteries. We may be well advised to make some practical plans in the event of social disruption, but our real plan should be to achieve prema bhakti in this life, and join our spiritual masters in the company of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna.
Was Srila Prabhupada emphatic that material civilization cannot last? He was more emphatic that iskcon would not last. In l974 right as he got back on the Rathayatra cart in San Francisco Golden Gate Park he glanced at two of his disciples. He said to them, "One day all these temples will be finished." If you want corroboration of this statement by Srila Prabhupada you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can tell you privately the source. I do not have permission to post his name on the internet.
Which institution will crumble first, so called western civilization or iskcon which has become a so called spiritual institution. Its "leaders" have misused and misdirected it because of ambitious and self serving agendas.?
Leaders are not self appointed or elected by rubber stamp, or self affirming either. Spiritual leadership comes by the grace of Sri Guru and Gouranga. Spiritual leadership is self apparent and not self proclaimed. What kind of leadership for godbrothers and iskcon have we seen from anyone in the last decade? The institution indulges in regular mistreatment of women, children, Srila Prabhupada's duly initiated disciples and devotees in general. The details are reported on VNN all too regularly to the embarrassment of our guru maharaj and the entire Gaudiya Vaisnava community.
Why did Srila Prabhupada work so hard and encourage his disciples to establish so many temples in cities, if their collapse was imminent either from Nucelar war or the mismanagement of his disciples? Who can undersand the will of providence? It even bewilders Lord Brahma. If you read Sri Guru and His Grace by Srila Sridhar Maharj, you can find an answer to this question. He has written:
"Disturbance must come, because our most beloved guru has withdrawn from amongst us. Such a great curse has been thrown on our heads;should we like to live peacefully? In its wake, disturbances must come, and we must undergo them. Still we must remain sincere;we must face the difficulty in a proper way. It has come to train us to go in the right direction. (Sri Guru and His Grace-Disappearance of the Guru, p.45)
Also in the Fourth Canto of Srimad Bhagvatam Srila Prabhupada has written:
"Unfortunately when the acarya disappears, rogues and nondevotees take advantage and immediately begin to introduce unauthorized principles in the name of so called swamis, yogis, phalanthropists, welfare workers and so on. Actually human life is meant for executing the orders of the Supreme Lord, and this is stated in Bhagavad-gita:
man-mana bhava mad-bhaktiThe main buisness of human society is to think of the Supreme Pesonality of Godhead at all times, to become His devotees, to worship the Supreme Lord and to bow down before Him. The acarya the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles, but when he disappers, things once again become disordered. The perfect disciples of the acarya ty to relieve the situation by sincerely folowing the insttuctions of the spiritual master. . . (SB. Canto 4 Ch. 28 Txt 48, Purport)
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evasisyasi yuktvaivam
atmanam mat parayanah
"Engage your mind in thinking of Me and become My devotee. Offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me." (Bg.9.34)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur told our gurudeva to publish literature, travel to the west and spread Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy. We should do no less and stop worrying about the future, which is not bleak, but joyful and filled with the ever expanding mercy of the param para.
Most of the iskcon temples in America have degraded into either sectarian Sunday religious programs or, even worse, unfavorable environments for executing bhakti yoga. The gbc and its blind supporters have turned the name of Srila Prabhupada's Movement into one that is not equated positively with Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Especially in India this is true. Just read the Indian newspapers to see the dissatisfaction of iskcon life members world wide. The dissatisfaction of Srila Prabhupada's disciples who are not in positions of managerial control in iskcon is apparent all over the internet.
Plan making and committees are simply stop gap material solutions to nothing. Useless rhetoric will not correct the evils fomented upon so many sincere devotees. Useless mutual admiration societies will not glorify Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha and Krsna,or Srila Prabhupada. Such vain attempts to solve less important issues only prove to be the empty words of naked emperors, who think they are clad in fine cloth. Diplomatic rhetoric simply diverts us from the real problems we face.
"Kutinati, or diplomatic behavior, cannot satisfy the atma the soul. It cannot even satisfy the body or the mind. The culprit mind is always suspicious, therefore our dealing should always be straightforward and approved by Vedic authorities. If we treat people diplomatically or duplicitously, our spiritual advencement is obstructed. . . .There are many religious propagandists who do not know how the ultimate problems of life can be solved, and they also try to educate people in the form of sense gratification. This is also jiva-himsana. Real knowledge is not given, and religionists mislead the general poulace. (Cc. Madhya lila Ch. l9 Text 159 Purport)
The real emergency is that the jiva souls are all racing towards death and most of us are doing nothing about it. Why? We are so caught up in concern for our own maintenance, protection of our position, bank balance and followers, that we have neglected the hari nama of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and forgotten the mission of the founder-acarya. He founded the International Society for Krsna Consciousness, not the International Society for New Age, or Y2K Consciousness.
na me bhakta pranasyatiWe must be abhayam, fearless and have full faith that the Supreme Personality of Godhead will carry what we lack and preseve what we have. (Bg. 9.22)
My devotee is never vanqished.(Bg. 9.31)
Vaisnava Siddhanta is not necessarily based on "simple living and high thinking" understood simplistically. Simple living means to keep a pure heart and an uncontaminated mind, and be non duplicitous. Pundarika Vidyanidhi and Maharaj Ambarish lived in material opulence. So did Lord Krsna, his father Nanda babba and so did Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. Krsna accepted the devotion of King Bahulasva as well as that of the poor brahmana Srutadeva equally.
Krsna was not interested in the grand feast of Duryodhona, but the pure bhakti of Vidura and his chaste wife. Krsna relished her offering of banana peels even more than the fruit itself, since it was offered in her ecstacy of love.
Action speaks louder than precept. One must teach by his living example. How many of the authors that post on VNN are doing harinama on the streets of their respective cities? What will really save us and everyone else from the disastrous effects of Y2K? How about the holy name? Put down your laptops and pick up your mrdungas babbas. Y2K may crash the computers but it won't affect your kartals.
Puru Das Adhikari
[Originally published 01/17/99 on VNN]