Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
In transit in Amsterdam on the way to Spain. There is no rest in this place, but nice devotees and plenty of opportunity to preach. At the moment I need a more quiet situation.
Sorry for not writing earlier. I was still recovering from the concussion I got about one month ago and although I wasn’t well during this time I continued on half power with the travel schedule I had already booked. So I hardly turned on the computer. This coming month I will not travel very much and I will not participate in many festivals, in other words I am planning to rest. But also I started work on a writing project. For a very long time I have been contemplating to write a book about “Faith”. I have given seminars on the topic in the past and have collected quite some material. At the end of this year I am scheduled to teach a short course on “Faith” in the newly started Bhaktivedanta College in Radhadesa, Belgium. For this course I intend to prepare a reference manual for the students. Just a spiral bound thing of computer print outs. After that I intend to develop it into a proper book.
I want to address many aspects of Faith. For example; 1.) Faith is based on our search for happiness. This morning I noted down that the living entity is described as ananda maya bhyasat, which means pleasure seeking. So we have faith according to what we belief will make us happy.
Can we be happy in the material world? No! But we can enjoy! Oh yes! But never enough to fullfill our desires. Material life means we get less than the dream, in the spiritual world reality exceeds the most wonderful dreams.
Some notes from my notebooks; Faith is like a lightbeam, it is being aimed at a certain object. The driving factor is happiness.
Prabhupada did very serious things with people who were not very serious.
2.) Doubts One point I learned from HH Trivrikrama Maharaja; “Rather than to dwell on doubts, we should look for purification, then doubts will dissappear.” My comment; -There are doubts borne out of convenience and material attachment. We make our own selection from the scriptures or what the Acaryas said. Sometimes we change the emphasis we make things more or less important than they did. First we go for sense gratification and then we look for justification. We blame Krishna when things go wrong and then we don’t have to follow His instructions anymore. We tried, but He made it impossible.
-And there are doubts based on intelligence. (as stated by Kapiladeva to Devahuti) We do not just have to blindly accept but on the basis of logic and argument. We can question, but for the fundamental philosophy we have Srila Prabhupada.
Satsvarupa Maharaja said that in this regard Srila Prabhupada called us with our western minds proof-hungry. I thought about this point and came up with what I call “Prabhupada as the shortcut”. That after one has tested Prabhupada, that some things we accept, just because he says so, because he was totally Krishna conscious and the most extraordinary person who really loved Krishna. We could try to go the long way of investigating every single detail before we’d give up our doubts and then surrender, which would be like a curving river meandering through the landscape of Krishna consciousness or we could surrender now and go by the canal of Prabhupada and go straight to Krishna. In other words I am not advertizing blind faith, but somewhere along the way we accept because as Prabhupada said, “it’s a vedic injunction” . Otherwise in the end everything will be clear anyway. Are we sometimes overestimating our own intelligence?
More about Doubt. -I read a book written by a Christian professor, H.M. Kuitert called “I have my doubts” He explores the faith the Christian tradition and the church, there were interesting points. Prof. Kuitert: “So tradition isn’t how it began but how it went on. It’s more the stream than the source.Indeed that’s its purpose: the source is there to form a stream. Hence the call to return to the source says less than we usually think. to return to the source involves swimmin against the stream, and that’s difficult if not impossible. And it doesn’t make sense to begin with the stream. Not everything that got into the stream came from the source and – conversely- not everything that came from the source can be still found in the stream.” Our comment: In Krishna consciousness we appreciate that we can not just go back in time and live in the same way as people thousands of years ago. So we don’t mind that adjustment are made according to kala, desa, patra, time, place and circumstances. However such adjustments are made in the form or in the external practices, but not in the substance or the principles. For example Prabhupada was sometimes reffered to as the jet-age- parivrajakacarya. Yes Prabhupada traveled as the sannyasis did in traditional times. Then the sannyasis were traveling only on foot. Now they may travel by plane, but the purpose is the same, to always remember Krishna and never forget Him and to tell everyone about Krishna and His instructions. In other words we may not go back to the source and rather accept the stream. But the stream needs to be regularly purified so that it maintains the essence of the source. Otherwise the parampara is broken or lost.
One chapter is called,”The Church as the source of all frustrations.” He writes;”I shall simply pass over the historical problems. when people needed it, the church lacked a social face, so the workers left it. artistic people couldn’t make anything of it with its snuggness and its slavery to the letter, and also left.” or on Evolution, “Is such an explanatory theory in conflict with belief in God as Creator? For many people that is a direct consquence. Once you begin from evolution God no longer has a place.” Our response: Prabhupada presented a few arguments. If in the past monkeys transformed in to men then why is not taking place at this moment anymore.There are monkeys and there are men, why are we not seeing any monkeys turn in to men? The he raised the point that the Big Bang theory does not explain he origen of the universe.An explosion of all the matter of the universe very densily packed together? Where did that matter come from in the first place? Now we have the work of Prabhupada’s disciples forbidden archeology. in other words we stick to our guns well-loaded with ammunition, ready to challenge science and the world.
New Vraja Mandala, Spain August 2nd, 2002 After mangal arati. I led mangal arati in a peaceful way without straining myself.I am about to start chanting my rounds. Today I want to do everything at a slow pace and invest some energy in my sadhana. When health is down 16 rounds becomes a struggle, most of the month I’ve had to break it up in parts. I prefer to chant at least 16 rounds in the early morning without interruption, but at the moment I need some rest before giving class. The last few days I didn’t do that and the class was difficult, it was hard to concentrate.
During the day So although it’s not the best report about physical health,we are on the way of improvement, we are taking care to maintain our spiritual health. Our greatest challenge is to somehow or other be in Krishna consciousness whatever the circumstances may be. Krishna consciousness is not fanatacism, it can be natural. (but not the lower nature) But we can function from a platform of personal well-being, it doesn’t have to be one big austerity. We don’t always have to do the impossible for Krishna. One who stays in Krishna consciousness and follows the vows of initiation for a lifetime is already a hero. In the 11th Canto of Bhagavatam, Real heroism is defined as to conquer one’s natural tendency to enjoy material life. So let’s try and last for a lifetime. For the moment I’ll only give class in the morning, quite a relaxed program.
Evening 8:30 pm Early to bed and let’s try for early to rise.
Kadamba Kanana Swami