Friday, May 25, 2007
Reporting from the center of the Universal Capital of Maya, Manhattan, USA....
Every part of one's individual nature gets bombarded the moment you exit the Holland Tunnel. The senses begin to jump and shout, the mind suffers from whiplash as the eyes desperately yank it from one visual "delight" to the next, and the body suffers from foul odors, car horns, and the threat of imminent termination due to whatever today's social-political situation happens to be.
I'm beginning to lose my wide-eyed stare towards NYC. I begin to realize and agree with Caitanya's opinion that this whole gigantic artificial apparatus is simply not good for one's health.
However, the soul gets solace as well. Of that, there can be no question, because I'm surrounded by the best group of brahmacaris in the world, the Manhattan Ashram All-Stars.
As we hit the steaming streets for harinama, bringing the Holy Names of the Lord to where they are needed most, so many impressions take me. I think about all this city has had to go through in the last six years, and how these citizens, shell-shocked from falling skyscrapers and the usual traffic jams, actually have a tremendous, merciful openness to the sound of the Lord.
Hare Krsna is part of the fabric of this city. The dust of Prabhupada's footsteps is embedded in the concrete. Our robe-wearing, funny-haircut, booming-drum parade of misfits is actually a welcome sight for nine out of ten New Yorkers. From street-sleeper to soccer-mom, we are greeted with smiles, folded palms, and those two magic words....Hare Krsna.
But there is little time for romance. All around us, The Beast rises, whispering that we are too late, that the time of devouring of all that is pure and holy is near at hand. Maybe if we hadn't spent twenty years devouring ourselves as a society....The Beast wants to test our faith....I think The Beast is very ignorant of who he's up against.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Prabhupada writes that "Unless one is convinced of a better life after renunciation of the present life, one cannot stick to the renounced order of life simply by artificial dress or staying out of the home."
All at the same time, being in America's most first-class ashram whilst being in the middle of raging passions unencumbered, I realize I'm not quite convinced of this better life yet, but that looking outside, I can see whatever attachments I still have give off a temporary, noisy stench, and that the more I chant Hare Krsna for myself and for the benefit of others, the more I'll actually become something more than just an American boy pretending in Vaisnava clothes.