Today I went to the city, first time in months on the subway, watching my fellow citizens as they kill time on the way to their destinations.
I looked at their faces and what I saw were really nice people at peace with themselves and, presumably, their idea of God. I didn’t see any obviously demoniac persons, just regular, god fearing folks, for the lack of a better adjective, each of them trying to do the best they can in life and each of them aspiring to be the best they can.
I also saw them as being pious and as valuing their piety, too. They are not up to our Krishna Consciousness standards and our four regs but they are doing alright by what they’ve been taught at schools.
Women were fairly chaste, considering the season that calls for lots of flesh, men weren’t drunk and weren’t ogling females either. Everyone was gentle and polite, no pushing or shoving, they offered seats to elder citizens and smiled at kids and babies.
Many were trying to make statements about themselves through their clothes, mobile phones and mannerisms, and most of those statements were cultured and modest, never provocative.
Basically, I was in Vaikuntha.
These people just have some selfish interests and they rely on God to look after their needs, and when they get what they want they feel grateful and they wish only good things to their fellow men.
Perhaps if one would offer them some help in their endeavors the Supersoul within their hearts would really appreciate it, too.
The only problem is that none of it is about pleasing Krishna and so is ultimately boring. Our own interests never amount to much comparing to Krishna’s, we are only His small, infinitesimal particles. I get it when people think they deserve a better love life or bigger salary or when they are having texting fun with their friends but these somehow do not look like worthy causes.
One needs to have his consciousness molded into that level of enjoyment and one needs to subject himself to the illusion that all of those are actually important things. If you ever bump into an American Idol fan you’ll know what I mean – their enthusiasm is contagious but to share in excitement you need to listen to an awful lot of very bad singing until you numb you sense of music and start believing that what you are hearing on the show is actually good.
How could I maintain my own level of Krishna consciousness, however low, in this situation then? Well, one thing I ruled out – I can’t internally engage myself in Krishna’s service as described in our Gaudiya literature, I have to make do with my material mind instead and it has its limitations – it has to be aware of the situation around me, listen to announcements, watch for red lights and vehicles when crossing the road and so on.
No wonder Krishna described a liberated person taking pleasure in self-realization as retarded in appearance (SB 11.11.17), we can’t keep up with the world around us and, at the same time, fully engage our minds in Krishna.
The only way it might work is if are working for the mission of Lord Chaitanya but that luxury is not available to all of us at all times. I certainly wasn’t on a mission today.
That’s why, for our own sanity, we are recommended to always spend time in association with devotees and avoid people not interested in devotional service, compromise is simply not possible and so we should patiently wait until Krishna puts us in a more favorable situation.