Since I am now a card carrying member of the “over the hill club”, and will continue to be until my membership forcibly expires, I will start with an old time adage – “Be careful of the company you keep.” Or as most parents would say today, “Don’t hang with the wrong crowd”. When I was growing up, neglect may have resulted in a bloody nose, but today adherence to such stern warnings can mean the difference between living to a ripe old age or expiring in a pool of one’s own blood on the street. My blog today, however, is not about staying alive by avoiding getting your brains blown out by some belligerent gang. That fate, or karma, as devotees would say, is far less severe than what this blog is about – the consequence of surfing the dark side of the web, of taking bad company.
I can hear the naysayers now, “You have got to be kidding. How could a few keystrokes and a click or two of the mouse be more serious than a .22 caliber bullet firmly implanted in the brain stem?” But upon some reflection, you can probably sense where I am going with this. Not only can a venture into “forbidden” web territory agitate the senses in ways we won’t discuss, but a casual so called “devotional” exploration can actually rip asunder the tender devotional creeper that one so carefully waters and nourishes daily. Yes, the very computer you are now using to read this blog, can lead one to the very worst in bad company and dampen any enthusiasm one has to progress in spiritual life.
Before you read any further, let me say that where I am going today could get me in a lot of trouble. In fact, if this blog is noticed by the “bad company” I am going to be speaking about, they will probably use my laundry list of personal faults as the highlight of their next web campaign. And believe me, if it is possible to engage in any offensive act to Srila Prabhupada, Lord Krishna, or to the community of Vaisnava’s I have probably done it in spades over the last 38 years. Due to MY offenses I have already been deservedly kicked by many agents of Krishna’s various potencies and can only expect more of the same due to my fallen nature. These calamities I have brought upon myself by MY personal Vaisnava aparadha, so a little more assassination of my decrepit character endured in the cause of this message is a price I willing pay. Being a member of the above mentioned “over the hill club,” I have no real aspirations other than to some day, before I expire, at least once chant the name “Krishna” with some semblance of sincerity. Therefore, I will push on and hope that what follows is of some value to my readers.
Are you ready for another adage? Have you ever heard of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing?” Do you remember when Putana disguised herself as a mother of Vraja in order to poison baby Krishna? How about when Vatsasura disguised himself as a calf in order to kill both Krishna and Balarama? Well dear devotees, out there on the web are many sites where so-called good-intentioned devotees want to capture you in their web of propaganda with the result of finding fault with Krishna’s sincere devotees and doing harm to Srila Prabhupada’s movement. Unfortunately, some of these devotees have become so bewildered due to Vaisnava aparada that they actually think they are performing an invaluable service to Srila Prabhupada and saving innocent devotees from falling under the control of corrupt leadership. With fingers pointed to all sincere and content devotees working to push on Lord Caitanya’s movement under ISKCON’s banner, they falsely assert that such devotees act due to blind following devoid of discrimination.
Despite all that has transpired in the often trying times since Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure, and even if one has some discontent with current local or regional management, how long can we live in the past or neglect the present need to unite for the benefit of all of humanity? We must refocus on the task at hand and this requires that we not forsake prudent future planning, nor learning the lessons from our individual and collective mistakes of the past. Is this not the Sankirtan movement? Does that not mean working together? Was is not the departing wish of one of the greatest devotees to ever walk on this planet that we show our love for him by working cooperatively to spread this movement after his departure?
I am not going to waste your valuable time in pointing out the detrimental effects of giving even a moments time to visiting, much less associating with those writers on the web who only blaspheme Vaisnava’s. Fulfilling their desires, Krishna has even given some of them talent in the poetry of flowery words or expertise in philosophical word jugglery. But in the end, their inability to extract the essence of good intention that permeates this wonderful movement, and their constant picking at the scars already healed from our collective battle of surviving without Srila Prabhupada’s vapu, only goes to fully expose the wickedness of their crow-like mentality.
With a straw between my teeth, I beg that we all sincerely work to remain true to our swanlike heritage, avoid creating enmity by discourse that dampens others enthusiasm, and show the brotherly love desired by Srila Prabhupada by cooperating to spread Lord Caitanya’s movement. If we can just set aside our minor differences and fully embrace Prabhupada’s goal of planting the seed of devotional service in the hearts of all humanity, then maybe, just maybe, we can bring tears of joy to Srila Prabhupada’s lotus eyes. And I am fully confident that those transcendental tears can flood the entire universe in ecstatic love of Godhead and liberate all inhabitants from the miseries of material existence. Now I don’t know about you, but in my estimation, that is something for which I am willing to sacrifice this life.
Dulal Chandra dasa