Bhakti Charu Swami at Kirtan Mela Mayapur 2014 Day 1
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Bhakti Charu Swami at Kirtan Mela Mayapur 2014 Day 1
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Bhakti Charu Swami at Kirtan Mela Mayapur 2014 Day 1
Many of us have spotted some lost money while walking about. If you see $5 or $20 and there is no potential owner in sight, you may consider that it is not a serious loss. In that case, you’ll slip it into your pocket while singing the familiar childhood tune of “Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers.”
That is one kind of scenario, but what if you stumble upon a really big pile of cash? Now, this can pose a bigger dilemma for some people.
While many would do the right thing; still, even for the “morally-sound” there might be a mental tug-of-war before the heart caves in as you start thinking of some sweet old lady out there weeping for the loss of her entire life savings.
What you would do really boils down to what kind of person you are. More importantly, it comes down to your philosophical approach to life.
Basically, there are three routes that a person can take to deal with a situation like this:
You may see how these are actually different philosophical outlooks on life itself. Let me explain.
We all take our birth in this world, and find before us a great sum of money. Because from the day we open our newly developed eyes, we see before us vast wealth in the form of material objects produced from nature.
All of the elements and resources of this planet are actually the basis for what we consider wealth and abundance. The resources of this planet are the things of real value that money is supposed to represent; the various gifts of Mother Nature herself.
These resources include fabrics for clothing like cotton, silk, and wools; fine gems for jewelry, like sapphire, rubies, and diamonds; precious metals like gold and silver, an abundance of vegetation and spices for preparing fine foods, and land for living; from animals, such as cows that produce milk, to wood and earth for building houses, and so on.
To be born in this world means encountering an abundance of wealth in the form of various resources that material nature is providing.
The tricky part here is that in contrast to our example of lost money, it appears that no one owns the stuff this world is made of. It seems like these natural resources are just there for the taking; like we live in a world that automatically abides by that same childhood tune of “Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers,” except with a lot more drones, tanks, and guns to keep it all in place.
Considering the value of the resources of this world, let us again look at the three different approaches. But this time, in light of life itself…
When we approach the wealth of this world as an enjoyer, we actually live in the consciousness of a thief, because none of us can honestly claim to have produced any of this wealth. Yet we go on, acting like we are its true owners.
This mentality is akin to the corporations of the world who steal resources from the Earth by claiming self-ownership, slapping on their logo and charging others a fee; it could manifest as something like WATER™ brought to you by “BRAND X®”.
Neither did BRAND X® create WATER™, nor will it ever be possible for them to own a substance like water. Why? Because, duh! The existence of water, and even the material to make the plastic bottles, preceded the existence of its so-called owners!
So, the materialistic approach to enjoying life is like this. We look at the material things of this world, and we falsely consider ourselves to be the owners and controllers. To see the world’s objects as ours means to live in a selfish, egoistic state of consciousness. It means to live ignorantly, not caring to understand reality. Although the majority of humans choose to live and think like this, this kind of thinking cannot be considered elevated. Basically, it is an approach to life governed by deep ignorance of very obvious facts about the world.
When we are frustrated in making attempts to enjoy a temporary experience in this temporary world, we have the unique opportunity to begin to see what the materialistic person fails to see; namely, the impossibility of owning and controlling matter. Thus, we take an entirely different approach to life – the path of detachment.
Many different types of spiritual seekers fit this bill, such as different types of yogis, Buddhists, and meditators who are all convinced of the frailty of enjoyment based on materialistic pursuits, and thus they begin to practice the negation of such entanglements. This is known as the path of detachment.
Their objective is to become callous to all temptations that the illusory world provides, by the practice of stilling the mind via silent meditation. They close their eyes and sit in a lotus pose, hoping to “shut out” the distraction of the outer world. They hope to extricate themselves from an endless game of unsatisfied lust, wanting to attain a state completely free from desire and want.
In fact, there is an impersonalist Sanskrit mantra that says “Brahma satya jagan mithya,” which means, “only consciousness is real; the world is false.”
Those who follow this path consider that the only way to real peace is to eliminate the very ego from which desires spring. They attempt to end the suffering that they feel is born of a duality between oneself and God.
Thus, many catch phrases are born, like “Become ONE with the Light”, “Merge into the Totality”, and last but not least, “It’s ALL LOVE (brother).”
Therefore, the greatest folly of this approach is the attempt to artificially repress one’s natural life force – the soul. This is because the soul is eternally an individual person! The immutable nature of every being is that of a self, wanting to express its cognitive nature in the form of some pleasurable activity. Thus, in the attempt to become detached, one’s heart becomes very hard due to acts of self-denial.
The superior approach is now described. When one can understand both facts: the futility of materialistic pursuit, and acknowledge the soul’s real need for pleasurable activity, one becomes qualified for the path of devotion.
An intelligent person can see that although this world is temporary, it is not necessarily false. Since the beauty of this world appears to have real intrinsic value to us, a thoughtful person will inquire, “What is the origin of such beauty and wealth?”
A sincere spiritual seeker, having some attraction to objective truth, will devote one’s life energy to seek and find out the real source of the world, i.e. its actual controller. When one is able to recognize the source, such a person tries to always see and employ everything in service to that Supreme Absolute Truth. At that point, such a person becomes known as a “devotee of the Absolute Truth”.
In the devotional approach, there is simultaneous personal spiritual identity with practical activity, and detachment from exploiting matter. For example, one may take the lost money, or in this case the material resources, but only with the purpose of connecting them back to their source. One may use the things given to us in this world, but only exclusively in the spirit of service to the Absolute Truth, the cause of all causes from which all things, material and spiritual, emanate.
This is the essence of the devotional approach: connecting to that Supreme Origin of all life by means of devotional service. The state of consciousness that one attains by this method is known as Krishna Consciousness.
In India, we see this when the residents offer respect to the river Ganges. During the time of prayer many people will grab a palmful of water from the Ganges River and, with a few prayers, slowly pour it back into the Ganges as an offering of love. The idea is that energy taken from the source is offered with love back to the source.
To become Krishna Conscious means to see that everything in this world is owned and controlled by Krishna, the Absolute Truth. Everything in this cosmic manifestation emanates from Krishna, and when the devotee offers all of his/her material possessions, and personal working energy back to that original source, a complete life circle is made.
We are not the owners of this world. We have only stumbled upon it.
Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.
How often do we think of this as a spiritual tool? Yoga class, meditation, and chanting mantras get all the play. And they’re powerful for real. But what about just READING, like, the thing you learned to do in first grade?
Reading is also a spiritual tool, and a powerful one.
By reading, we can connect with a teacher; someone who remembers more of the truth than we do, and shares it with us. We need teachers, and sometimes they aren’t around physically.
Through reading, we can harness the power of the mind and senses. The mind and senses usually harness us, with ego, judgments, grasping. However, they can be put to positive use. The mind and senses help move information towards the soul. When we give them wisdom to absorb, they become the helpers of the soul, assisting its growth and advancement.
Reading can turn a mundane environment into a holy environment. Whether it’s the office, apartment, parent’s house, airplane, or doctor’s office – we’re often in places that don’t feel wholly nurturing. A good book can serve as an oasis.
So, sometimes my sadhana, or spiritual practice, is just … reading. Book, couch, ginger tea, Molly. Done.
Of course, the next question is: What to read?
True, I’m not reading the Twilight series (anymore… ha). To read as sadhana, we should choose high quality information. But what is high quality and what is not?
When I look for what to read, instead of wandering the aisles of Barnes and Noble, I take a shortcut and look to my role models. What are they reading?
By this analytical process, I eventually came to read Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatam. I don’t know if I’m qualified to read either of these books, but I’m really grateful for the blessings they’ve bestowed on me.
Perhaps the most attractive benefit of all that comes from reading is: results. Words are powerful; they tangibly affect our lives. I remember when I was a kid, my grandmother would have dessert, and she would sigh and say, “Oy. On the lips is on the hips.” I probably heard this little rhyme 25 times. And still I remember it clearly to this day. Oh yes, words are powerful, they get in there so think about when we hear positive truths and mantras. Life can change! Paradigms can shift! All those pages on the true nature of the soul, the purpose of human life – they too have affected me, like powerful astringent herbs loosening deeply lodged toxins, and mentalities.
Choose carefully what you read. While we still do the yoga, meditation, and chanting, it’s also important to take regular-life-things, like reading, and use them to our spiritual advantage.
Nowadays, the great innovations of medicine and science can maintain patients alive, even those who in the past were given no hope to survive. These innovations can artificially prolong the patient’s existence even though they will never regain acceptable health and life conditions. This situation is commonly called over-medication. Since the 1960s, there has been developments in transplant surgery because of how doctors are now able to handle cerebral death. Before that time, the extraction of organs from a patient with a heartbeat was deemed a felony.
There are many crucial questions regarding this polemical topic. Up to which point is it morally right to keep a body alive that is worn out and unable to grant a minimum of dignity to the person? What is the line that marks the decisive boundary between unavoidable medical assistance and over-medication?
The story of Eluana Englaro and other similar stories, such as those of Piergiorgio Welby and Terry Schiavo, brought this topic to the forefront of public attention.
The incomparable value of freedom, sacredness, dignity of life, and respect to all creatures should be a common patrimony in every social body, regardless of its scientific or individual religious orientation. This should be true not only toward human beings but also toward every living being. Life must be protected in each of its manifestations. In the complex human, social and scientific context, it is becoming ever more important and urgent to offer information and teaching on the process of dying. It is also important to offer information on life after death in accordance with the medical-scientific perspective and spiritual, humanistic and existential perspectives. It should be done by operating with sincerity so that each person can build, without intrusion or cultural prejudices, a clear vision of his will and give an explicit and clear indication of his will. Indeed, we can have better opportunities to self-determine our present and our future if we open ourselves to a deeper comprehension of death phenomena by detaching ourselves from various taboos and societal prejudices that may hamper a mature analysis. In fact, only by growing in consciousness can we grow in responsibility and freedom.
The Vedic tradition can significantly extend our perception and conception of the individual and of death. Let’s not only wonder what to do with the organs of a dead body. Let’s also think of the future of that person that lived in the body, and who, in accordance with the Vedic perspective, will continue to exist after leaving the body. How can we help that person still imprisoned in that suit that is now worn-out? How can we stimulate him to prepare himself to abandon it? How can we orient the evolutionary journey that will begin after his clinical death is confirmed?
The answer to these questions is important not only for those that work in the medical field but also for every individual. Welcome, assistance, and accompaniment are three key concepts in this area.
To welcome another person means not only opening our arms to him/her but also our hearts and minds. Assisting someone means intervening with sensitiveness by becoming emphatic and listening to the modalities and the needs of others. Accompanying means helping the patient reach his destination by providing warmth, goodness, empathy, compassion, and mercy.
The Vedic tradition doesn’t’t use psychotherapeutic techniques, but instead gives invaluable teachings about the development of a cosmic vision of life, man, and the world that doesn’t concentrate on the resolution of psychological discomfort but on the elevation of a global consciousness. This allows those who apply it, to re-discover the entirety of their nature on the bio-physical-spiritual level and express all of their most noble potentialities and aspirations by facing death in an inner-peace state.
Why does death exist? Who or what dies? How can we prepare ourselves? What does dying consist of? How can we assist a terminally ill person? How can we interact with his family and with medical personnel? By asking ourselves these questions, we can reach surprising revelations.
The first question to ask ourselves is: when medication is no longer effective, what can we do to take care of the person? Can we transform a traumatic even such as death into an evolutionary experience? The answer is, yes!
The phenomena of death is usually experienced by the person dying as the end of everything, with tonalities that go from resigned to dramatic, all the way to desperate. However, according to the Vedic spiritual tradition, death doesn’t exist as an entity, but only as a concept or a moment of transaction from one segment of life to another. Through a development of one’s consciousness, every human being can learn to “live” by perceiving that his identity is different from his body, thereby discovering a new phase of his eternal existence.
Bhagavad-Gita (II.20) says: “The living being is not born, nor will he die. He is eternal. He doesn’t die when the body is destroyed.” Tagore writes that “we walk when we lift our foot, just as much as when we put it down. Like daybreak prepares the new day that will later reach the sunset; [similarly] the sunset, through the night, will lead to a new daybreak.”
Life goes on incessantly and if we understand its transcendental meaning, we can overcome even the greatest fear, the fear of death, and realize our immortality. When this is realized, we experience authentic freedom and happiness.
Marco Ferrini, PhD. :
The different yoga poses serve different purposes such as energizing and revitalizing the organs of the body as well as helping to free the body’s flow of energy.
Knowledge of the yoga asanas can help us learn how to maintain equilibrium in the body. This is part of the knowledge of maintaining balance in everyday life, as explained in the science of Ayurveda. Each yoga asana works on specific areas of the body such as the joints, liver, kidneys, and heart. Different movements and extensions of the body in the postures, including the positioning of the inner organs in the inverted sequences, profoundly affect the functions of the bodily parts. By properly performing the asanas there are many beneficial effects, like the body becoming decongested, rested, and oxygenated with healthy blood. Stamina, heart performance, muscle tone, circulation, and respiration all improve as well.
The foundation behind the postures is correct spinal alignment. If the spine is properly aligned and the muscles surrounding the spine are balanced and strong, this will help us sit, stand, and walk correctly.
The first posture in the standing pose sequence is Tadasana. Tada means mountain, and asana means posture; so, ‘tadasana’ denotes the firmness and openness of the posture. When we learn to stand correctly, the feet, knees, and hips are aligned, and enough space is created in the upper torso to keep the internal organs healthy. Tadasana should be practiced daily, or whenever you feel the need for alignment and lightness of the body.
Take your awareness to the feet. This is your base. It’s how your body lifts up from the ground. Keep the feet together with the toes and heels in line; keep the weight even on the inner and the outer edges of both feet; lift the inner arches and be observant of how you stand on the earth.
Begin to strengthen the legs by lifting the knee caps and pulling the thigh muscle up, right to the top of the thighs. The kneecaps should be lifted and the backs of the knees extended. This creates firmness and strengthens the legs and feet. Observe if you are extending the inner side of the legs as evenly as the outer side of the legs; the front of the legs should be extended as evenly as the back of the legs.
As we move upward, lift the hips, which should create space between the thighs and the trunk. Move the abdominal organs up and back without creating tension. Move the kidneys further into the body.
Now move your attention to the upper part of your body. Lift the diaphragm and the ribcage. Open the diaphragm and the floating ribs outward. The shoulder blades move in. Feel the internal opening of the chest. You should understand at this point how these actions create space in the body, thus allowing the heart and lungs more freedom.
Relax the shoulders and draw them downward. Widen them horizontally at the front, away from the neck. Extend the arms towards the earth. Extend the inner arms and outer arms evenly.
Stretch the neck up from below the shoulder blades. Lift the sternum and extend the front of the neck. Do not tense the throat or neck.
Lift the back of the skull away from the neck to make the head light. Keep the head straight, the chin level, and the ears vertical.
Imagine that there is a string running through the center of the body, and you are being lifted from the crown of the head.
Although this pose appears to be complicated, it is important because one can experience how to hold the body in alignment. This will bring equilibrium to the body, a sense of lightness, and a sense of being centered.
A devotee knows that the body belongs to God. The science of yoga can help us live a more sattvic, peaceful life and serve the Supreme with more vigor and balance.
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 13 January 2014, Mayapur, India, Lecture: Kirtan Academy 2)
Transcendental knowledge is not some academic process. Sometimes, people say to me, “Oh, you know, I read the Bhagavatam! Oh, I read for one hour! Oh, and I cannot remember anything. Oh, I am so bad…”
Relax, relax, relax… this is not our process where you have to beat yourself! That is not required because the holy name or Srimad Bhagavatam awakens something within the heart automatically. It takes away a covering that is there. A covering which just temporarily allows no access! So it reawakens something within the heart and all the transcendental knowledge is already there.
It’s not like, “Gosh, I heard that in the spiritual world, in Vaikunta, they speak Sanskrit and in Vraja, it is vraja bhas…” so then you buy a “how and what” in vraja bhas and start studying the language. “No really, later on when I go there and don’t speak the lingo that may be a big problem, hey!” You arrive there in the spiritual world and you don’t speak a word so you start studying now while you have the chance so when you get there, you can pick up the language quick and easy.
No, it’s not like that. It is not required because all these things are automatically there in our identity. It is there and it is covered and it becomes uncovered by chanting and devotional service. The natural remembrance of Krsna awakens!
We would like to recognize His Grace Srinivasa Prabhu and Her Grace Radhika Krpa Mataji for all their service to the TKG Academy Gurukula this past school year.
Boyton in Cornwall. It was a small village with two places of worship – one at either end of the main street. One was a church and the other a chapel, a situation which posed an existential question.
“Are you Church or Chapel?” was the question posed to my mother one day after we moved into a house in a small Cornish village. We’d moved there from our previous home – also in a small Cornish village.
Church or Chapel? It was an important question, for it defined the social circle we would be joining, our emotional support team, and ultimately our chances of salvation. The Church of England and the Methodist Chapel were the two places of worship in the village, one the establishment religion and the other dissident. The chapel stood at one end of the one street in the village, and the church was firmly at the other end. The blacksmith’s shop, with its fiery orange furnace, the heavy clink of hammer on anvil and the burning smell of sizzling horses’ hooves, stood right in the centre.
Half a century later, I still live in a small village, this time just four miles from the edge of the north London suburbs. You can’t get horseshoes made in this village, but there are still variant theologies poised at either end of the high street, not only Christian but Jewish, too. Quite literally at opposite ends of the parade of shops lies the United Synagogue and the Reform Synagogue. Which reminds me of an old Jewish joke. When rescuers finally discover the lone Jewish survivor of a shipwreck on a desert island, they find that he’s used bamboos and coconut leaves to build himself two synagogues, one at either end of the island. “Why two?” they ask, “There’s only you here.” “Oh, this one is where I pray,” he replies, “and that other one is the synagogue I wouldn’t be seen dead in!” I think you have to be Jewish (or married to one) to fully grasp the sad irony of that joke, but the meaning is clear: human beings tend to pull any religion in two, and for as much as they love one they tend to spite the other. The reality is not far from the joke. Some years ago, the Jewish population of the island of Bermuda was a mere 110 – and there were, indeed, two synagogues.
Just last week I was in Liverpool where there are two grand cathedrals, both built over many years and at enormous expense. They are connected by one short street that runs between them – Hope Street. Although named after a local merchant, the theological implications of the name have not been lost on the local clergy. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England live in hope of a full reconciliation between their respective denominations. Sadly, they have been trying for centuries without success. Religion, you see, would be so easy if it weren’t for human beings. We are influenced predominantly by raja and tama guna, the two forces of nature that ceaselessly pull us apart and then set us against each other. In this condition we are almost bound to project our own selfish concerns onto the pure messages of God. In doing so we appropriate the Divine and fashion Him in our own image then, because we are all individuals who, mostly, can’t agree with anyone else completely, we enter into conflict. Whatever the reason may be, we become heated in our opinions, find friends to support us, and then pull apart into distinct groupings.
What divides religious people? Often, it can be the very small things: bells, smells, decorations and robes, priests and songs, or whether being baptised with water is for babies or adults. Or the bigger things of which these are parts: Theology, liturgy, governance, gender issues, and whether God has a living representative on Earth and so on. But it doesn’t end there. History has shown, in every religion, that each division becomes rent by fresh divisions and the two become three, four and more. New theologies are developed to support human preferences, and the clear water of pure revelation becomes muddied by tribal thinking. In this way, the one great man who spoke the Sermon on the Mount is now represented by 41,000 different Christian denominations. The one Catholic Church, presumably in a bid to stave off the debilitating effects of multiple splintering, has given permission for no less than 23 different ‘Rites,’ 38 separate ‘Orders,’ and 272 distinct ‘Congregations,’ all with different costumes, customs, prayers and organisational structures.
The ‘Great Schism’
The tendency to divide is, of course, seen everywhere. We have become so accustomed to it that we may hardly even notice it at all. If we do, it may not even alarm us. Take sport, for instance. It wasn’t long after I joined my school rugby team that I learned that there were, in fact, two games of rugby: Rugby Union and Rugby League. The game originated in 1823 but only 72 years later, in 1895, the ‘Great Schism’ had taken place, never to be repealed. The ‘working class’ northerners had felt it necessary to separate from the ‘upper-class’ southerners, and the League and the Union were created accordingly. The game of rugby was itself an ‘upper class’ separation from the original game of football, played by all boys. In that game, the pulling apart continued to be a long-standing tradition of the game. Footballers were often pulled into two rival teams. A fan had to make his mind up who to support. There was, for instance, Liverpool and Everton in the same city; Rangers and Celtic in the same city of Glasgow, the two teams split along religious and social lines; and Manchester United and Manchester City, all rival teams for one town.
1895: Even the great game of Rugby football divides into two factions
But it is when the divisions occur in religions that the potential for rivalry can escalate into something far more serious. Religion is no game, and the issues involved are all of the ultimate importance. The issues are so serious to the adherents of denominations that strongly opinionated members of opposing religious tribes can often go to war with each other, each convinced that they have the blessings of the Divine. In my own lifetime I have personally experienced street battles between Catholic and Protestant in the towns of Northern Ireland and have witnessed tensions between denominations of Jews. I have read of open conflict between factions of Tibetan Buddhists, and I am all too aware of the immense chasm that exists between Sunni and Shi’a strands of Islam, with periodic warfare between them in different parts of the world. Vaishnavism has not always been immune from these schisms. The followers of the teachings of the great Ramanujacarya (1017-1137) were united for seven centuries, but then succumbed to conflict over cardinal philosophical points, eventually becoming the Tengalai (Southern School) and the Vadagalai (Northern School) sometime in the 17th or 18th century.
Two Vaishnava forehead markings for two schools of thought
In the Hare Krishna movement, the splintering tendency was regularly subjugated by the single, commanding voice of its founder-acarya who confessed “I am always afraid of this crack.” His urgent and repeated pleas for peace and unity amongst his followers didn’t stop some from splintering away during his life, and certainly hasn’t prevented them from doing it since. And, just as in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, where all fractures are done in the name of God, his son, prophet or blessed and inspired rabbi, in the Hare Krishna movement it was, and continues to be done, in the name of ‘what Srila Prabhupada really wanted.’ So it was that the ‘true’ followers of Srila Prabhupada began a campaign against all his other followers when they failed to support their views on how initiations would be conducted after his physical demise.
It was also how the similarly ‘true followers’ of Srila Prabhupada justified their transformation of a hitherto unknown Indian sannyasi into an international figurehead of messianic proportions. For them, who needed him to be so, the sannyasi became ‘the real inheritor of Srila Prabhupada’s legacy.’ The little-known sannyasi was preened, styled and re-branded by those who had left ISKCON as ‘Srila Prabhupada’s very dear friend who has come to give us the knowledge that he did not.’ The fame of the sannyasi followed a predictable arc. After some time, as his original supporters left him, he became convinced that he’d been used, and fell victim to fits of anger against ISKCON. It presumably didn’t occur to the ‘very dear friend’ that, when he told his excited and impressionable followers that ‘ISKCON must be smashed,’ that he might be stretching the limits of his much-vaunted friendship with A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami. Now deceased, the rifts that he managed to create, pulling apart communities, marriages and families, are all but impossible to heal. ISKCON has thus lost hundreds of members to this and several other breakaway movements – movements of varying degrees of integrity and endurance – all of which claimed to have adopted their stance because of a more refined understanding of the founder-acarya’s instructions. Such is theology, and such is life.
ISKCON members could help themselves by learning a bit more of religious history. They should know that all of this has happened before. They need to learn sufficient Vaishnava theology to identify and understand the veracity of ideas that arise from time to time within their own community. They should be aware when someone seeks the imposition of Judaeo-Christian notions upon Vaishnavism, such as the ‘ritvik’ idea of a truncated parampara, or the deification of an ordinary sannyasi as a moshiach (messiah). Splintering of a religious grouping is also exacerbated by poor spiritual leadership, sexual and financial scandals, poor governance and managerial ineptitude. ISKCON would be helped greatly by putting measures in place to prevent all of these. In addition, and because members of any group will periodically enter into conflict, the ISKCON machinery must allow room for overheated members to find their place, always using the oil of reason to reduce friction, and the water of understanding to cool things down.
Like the Vatican and its shepherding of a disparate flock of many-hued sheep, we may end up with several dozen ‘orders’ within the Hare Krishna movement, but at least they will be working under the same name and style. Theologies have a tendency of variation according to the very genuine physical needs and faith-levels of their proponents. As such, they won’t always mesh together, and practices may not always conform to strict orthopraxis, but splintering might be prevented, and we may all be spared the debilitation of any further reduction in size and influence. Splintering diminishes the strength of collegiate effort and repeated division is a scourge that ultimately ends in a loss of power and increased apathy. If people can be united to do good in the world it is helpful for everyone concerned.
So, was it church or chapel? It was chapel. Actually, to be more precise, it was both. I went to the Methodist chapel on Sunday where I enthusiastically sang Wesleyan hymns and learned the elements of faith free from unnecessary rituals, bell-ringing or stained glass, and then I went bell-ringing every Monday evening in the Church of the Holy Name, where I pulled thick, well-worn ropes beneath the bell tower to my heart’s content, sending loud, thunderous peals throughout the village.
All forms of incompleteness are experienced due to incomplete knowledge of the Complete Whole. The human form of life is a complete manifestation of the consciousness of the living being, and it is obtained after evolving through 8,400,000 species of life in the cycle of birth and death. If in this human life of full consciousness the living entity does not realize his completeness in relation to the Complete Whole, he loses the chance to realize his completeness and is again put into the evolutionary cycle by the law of material nature.
- Srila Prabhupada, Sri Isopanishad > Iso Invocation
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