By Kamra Devi Dasi
Predation and exploitation are the ways of the material world. They are what we accept when we come to this place, when we give up the pure loving exchanges of the spiritual abode, our real home. We exploit others and are exploited, we become predators and are likewise preyed upon, birth after birth. Our innate joy cannot express itself in this condition. The heart cannot swell to its capacity. There is always fear, always a sense of separation and aloneness. There is no physical embrace of this world close enough to satisfy the soul. We have chosen to enter the experience of this dark corner of the entire manifestation to try to enjoy without the company of the most merciful Divine Couple and the inspiration and appreciation of the glorious residents of the Eternal Abode whose constant meditation is simply the pleasure of Krsna.
All the atrocities of this world, whether within the boundaries of a religious institution or not, are simply the flailings of the conditioned souls to try to enjoy separately from Krsna. To try to enjoy separately from the Lord means to cause pain to oneself or others, continuously, over the stretch of eons. It is an ongoing cycle, and only by total dedication to the path of Bhakti and the mercy of the bonafide spiritual master can the cycle be broken and the jiva released from the shackles of suffering.
Yet, the energies of predation and exploitation and all their concomitant sufferings that have greeted us upon our arrival to this temporal world and provided ongoing strife are also our greatest teachers and the mercy of the Supreme Lord. When we can acknowledge these teachers for their real purpose, we are set free of their clutches, and they show us their role as servants of Sri Radha and partner with us as our greatest guides to graduate the reform school of this material manifestation.
Krsna is the Supreme Time Factor. Everything moves according to His will. Our role is to be in conscious connection with His desire so that we can be happily, even ecstatically, used as His puppets by the inspirations that come from within. That means deep introspection, prayer, serious chanting of His Holy Names, and keeping our lives pure in every aspect.
The contributors to this web site have been asked, over and over, what is the next step since Jvalamukhi’s presentation in Mayapur Dham. Before I give an answer to that, I would like to present an experience I had many years ago.
I joined the Krsna Consciousness movement in New York City, and moved into the Henry Street temple in Brooklyn in the spring of 1974. During my first few months there, there was a difficulty with the management, and offenses were being made to the presiding deities, Sri-Sri Radha Govinda, and to the resident devotees. Even though the temple president and his wife were eventually removed, I carried a lot of anger about what had transpired. I was not even consciously aware how much negativity I had housed. Many years later, I saw the former temple president again, very much reduced in glow and stature, looking like he had found his clothing in the waste bins on the corners of Manhattan, and frequenting the free prasadam distribution lines in the downtown. At that moment, all I could feel was compassion for him. I saw that my anger had done nothing but cause me distress, and that it was eating at my devotional creeper. I saw that Krsna had taken care of him in a way to best rectify him and bring him back into His service. My anger had solved nothing. Krsna had very kindly shown me this in that very brief encounter.
Srila Prabhupada had initially told us, regarding that episode of mismanagement in Brooklyn, that we had been like sheep, that it was good we had tolerated, and it was also good that we had thrown them out. However, he also chastised the devotees who had some experience that they were senior, that they should have known better, that something should have been done.
So, what is our next step? It is a step into the heart, to strive not to waste a moment of precious time in blaming, planning, and absorption in the frustrations that the material mind creates. The Lord knows all. He is, and has been all along, setting the stage perfectly for His purpose in this world of reclaiming the lost jivas. According to our nature, he will engage us as we are ready, and as He is ready. It is a time for becoming responsible. It is time for each of us to connect with our own spiritual and material needs so that we may perform the best service, whether it is our own internal healing from past wounds, whether it is Krsna Conscious recluse or sanga, whether it is in enthusiastic outreach, whether it is in restoring godly management to the institution. It is a time for us to weed our own gardens and nourish our own creepers, and be ready and fit soldiers as the Lord calls us to battle according to our own nature and individual gifts. It is time for us to step out of the patterns of predation and exploitation on a personal level, whether we are the perceived victims or perpetrators, and from that place, to honor and respect each other as jivas struggling for spiritual perfection. Then, there is the guarantee of real power, harmony, purity, and glory in the spreading of Lord Chaitanya’s mission.