Saturday, December 6, 2008


We have been reading, from the First Canto of the Bhagavatam, the heavy sauce that the saintly Vidura laid on his elder brother Dhrtarastra, as Dhrtarastra was rotting away the last moments of his life in the palace of his Pandava cousins.

The straightforward nature of Vidura's speech can certainly be disarming, if we do not take into account the deep compassion within his heart towards his elder brother and towards all living entities in general.

Can compassion and chastisement go together? As devotees, we know that Krsna's kick and His kiss are one and the same, and when an exalted devotee let's us know, in no uncertain terms, what we are doing wrong in our spiritual and material lives, then we should consider that the greatest compassionate mercy upon our poor fallen selves.

Of course, in our college outreach programs, the mode of communication must be very different. Prabhupada has warned on numerous occasions that we, as neophytes, should never be so cutting and direct in our communications with those who are newly exposed to Krsna Consciousness.

One defintion of sadhu is one who cuts, but if anything, we are only sadhus in training, still in our diapers as it were.

Prabhupada could cut directly at someone's false ego because he had no false ego, because he was directly and always absorbed in the Absolute Truth, and also as he said sometimes. because he could get away with it because he was an "old man"

So, this is the challenge we face as young preachers. We can't smash all the students who come to our programs for being "lusty drunkards" or "unabashed quasi-intellectual speculators". We can't even have these kind of judgemental mindsets towards them, or anybody, if we are going to be able to open the compassion in our heart to properly give out the reality of Krsna.

We may be frustrated by this so-called "political correctness", but it stands as a great test of our tolerance and intelligence to be able to communciate deep, profound, and challenging spiritual truths in a palatable way for the youth of America, the next generation of potential devotees.

Speaking from my own perspective, how I can chastise somebody for being addicted to sex, drugs, and rock and roll when I myself am still addicted to these things?

Going back to the essence...humility is our greatest tool, our greatest weapon. Unless and until we are free from false ego, then we don't have the potency to remove someone else's false ego in direct and surgical matters.

If we try to do so, before we are ready, we'll just come off as Gita-beating fools, as just another religion, just another group of fundamentalists.

No comments: