by purujit dasa
one of the reasons why people are generally hesitant to mix with hare krsna devotees too intimately is that they're afraid they will loose their free will by adopting krsna consciousness. this is becuz at the present moment there are so many anarthas(uneccessary things), which make them enslaved in one way or other. for example, take cigarettes. it is not neccessary. quite the opposite, it has been proved that tobacco causes cancer. but because of our addictions, where we have surrendered our free will to these objects of flickering enjoyment, a person might find himself/herself buying yet another pack and spending money for which he/she has worked hard on a mindless job even tho they might know all these things.a blind man thinks everyone else is blind and becuz as of yet people have no experience of pleasure which is not bounding in one way or another, they automatically assume that there must be some kind of price they will need to pay later on when tasting the pleasure of krsna consciousness.
we are not this body though. as we had a body of a small kid in the past, similarly we'll have an old body in the future, but we remain. our existence does not depend on the existence of our body. in the present materialistic civilization however, ALL the emphasis is put towards fulfillment of the bodily comforts. we are not the body though. although it is not required to neglect the body, we should start inquiring about the fulfillment of our comforts. You see, i dont say spiritual comforts, becuz the words "spiritual" is used very vaguely. I'm using the word "our" , because it's something we all can relate to. I watched how my body developed from a tiny toddler to a grown up sexy. I was here, I am here and i will be here in the future also to see how my body well let's put it lightly fails to achieve the american dream. so our spiritual master does not mince his words and he calls the body focused society "animal civilization". an animal simply eats, sleeps, has sex and fights. similarly a two legged animal constructs a big sky scraper, shoots a movie, write a huge pile of books on philosophy, psychology or whatever, organizes Jazz days like here in Montreal, goes to school and gets diploma, buys a Lamborgini to woo women, etc -the ultimate aim is to eat, sleep, have sex and fight to get all those at the same time. In vedic culture though, the ancient sages, sastras and gurus do not make a big deal out of being a big animal(one who is able to enjoy all these things the most; or in other words the ideal of the present society we have all been taught to follow whether consciously or unconsciously). To a man of knowledge, such super animal is a joke. Of course, it is not easy to laugh when you're surrounded by a WHOLE SOCIETY of super animal wannabes, but who cares about them? Everyone is trying to screw one another, use one another, cheat one another, lie to one another in order to enjoy THIS IS MY MOVIE kind of life. you know like being the master. like who is this krsna nonsense, i will NEVER bow down to him. how dares he challenge my supreme dominion over all that is? (although krsna sends him daily his food, sun, flowers, pretty much everything- you cant make rain in a lab rascal scientist- and simply plays his flute innocently) but the real mastership is something else. the real mastership is to control yourself. this is what nietzche says too: one who cannot control himself, cannot control others or something like that. And Upadesamrta(Nectar of instruction) of Rupa Goswami says the same thing:
"A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world."
Nectar of Instruction : verse 1
Sri Krsna elaborates on this in the Bhagavadgita as well:
A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires—that enter like rivers into the ocean which is ever being filled but is always still—can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.
Coming back to the example with cigs. By getting out of the cigarrette cult, money can be saved, therefore time can be saved, therefore you all of a sudden realize when you give up all these unnecessary stuff that for the first time you can look around and do the most amazing thing which the human form allows us and we hardly take advantage of: INQUIRE. This is what cults do not like, this is what dictators do not like, this is what matrix doesnt like, and this is (hihi) what your friends do not like either, cuz they just wanna have fun and you're spoiling it for them by opening their dark selves. (it was just a bad trip, just forget it man, harmony, ying yang, think positive,chill)Now, the inquiry of course is not everything. Not inquiry about how again to fulfill the bodily demands. like you quit smoking and now you inquire: hmm what other drugs I could try are there? this is not the type of inquiry we mean, tricky! yes, most of the so-called searchers, philanthropists, philosophers, thinkers are inquiring, but about the wrong thing. in the animalistic consciousness, I think I am this body and my duty is to serve the body(therefore senses). under the pretext of being goody goody guy I cover this into what Srila Prabhupada calls extended selfishness. In other words, if it doesnt look good to glorify oneself, I will set up a club, a website, a society or more commonly a family and in this way I can still glorify myself, but no one can say I'm doing it. no one can say that i'm what i am : a selfish, narcistic bastard haha becuz I have a noble cause of fighting on behalf of my extended selfishness. very clever. then in the role of a goody goody with a angel circle above my head i so-called inquire: what will be the best for our society? how to save earth? how to do things so all people have a decent life(while we kill millions of cows per sec to have a big mac)? so this is animal inquiry. like a dog. if you take his bone, he will also inquire (by barking at you): where did you put my bone? therefore if we truly want to inquire, we have to inquire about the Absolute. we are not this body. the body is dying every second and is being replaced with yet another form, yet another form, yet another form child, teenager, grown up, old. It’s going on right now, and we are the observer. this is my movie. me and a movie are two different things. you are eternal, so why dont you inquire about that which is eternal? Because I am eternal, the eternality must be present in the Absolute as the Absolute is the complete whole and must contain everything what is within our experience and everything what is beyond our experience. So because I am the knower of this body and this body therefore creates so many wonderful things, similarly there must be a knower in the Absolute. And that knower is Krsna, the Supreme Personality of the Absolute. Just like I am one and yet different from my body, similarly Krsna is one with the Absolute, yet He's different- a mysterious nature of the Absolute, which cannot be understood by knowledge. How can it be understood then? Let’s see what Krsna says:
My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding.
But let's stick to our position for now. We cannot be completely free under any circumstance as we are eternally parts and parcels of Krsna. However, when we falsely try to assume the position of the supreme absolute whole, we become subjected to the stringent laws of material nature as represented by death. Yes, things are going on, but I don't want to die. You don't want to die either. No one wants to die, but the question “why we have to die if we don't want to die” never arises. It is pushed aside. and that’s the real brainwash. therefore inquire.