Vanity thought #623. Luxury of being stupid

We don’t have it, others do, and it ain’t fair but it is what it is.

Residents of the Holy Dham are special souls, not of this world, they are like Krishna’s family. In this world no matter what you do you will still be someone’s son or someone’s father or brother. Family relationships do not depend on the happenings of the material world, once you incarnated you’ll stay in your position until you die.

We accept the right of children not to testify against their parents and vice versa, we accept that our criminal laws do not apply to family matters. It’s a lot more difficult to accept that ALL the laws of material nature do not apply to dhamavasis. Yes, they surely get born and then die like everyone else but no matter what they do in between they will never cease to be Krishna’s dearest devotees.

When we visit Navadvipa or Vrindavan we are told to treat dhamavasis as residents of spiritual Goloka even if they appear in a material form, and we sort of accept it but it’s very difficult to implement it practice, especially if we get ourselves in regular dealings with them. It’s very easy to forget their vastly superior position.

They can cheat us out of our money, Krishna won’t mind, they can even eat fish or eggs and Krishna wouldn’t mind, too. They might get some sort of punishment for their material misdeeds but it will be behind closed doors of their family, not in public view where we will have the chance to basque in our “righteousness” and feel vindicated. It’s for our own good not to give us this chance of self-destruction.

They also have the luxury of being stupid.

There was an episode during Lord Chaitanya’s travels in Vrindavana when all the locals became convinced that Krishna has manifested Himself again in the Kaliya lake. They were sure they saw Him on top of the serpent and they were sure they saw the glare of the jewels on Kaliya’s hoods.

Their devotion to Krishna was natural and spotless, He was their life and soul and they were happy to see Him everywhere and in everything. They were also fools, Lord Chaitanya Himself called them so.

Here’s the fundamental difference between them and us – they can afford to see Krishna where He is not present while we cannot. Their foolishness does not affect their spiritual position but our foolishness affects ours. They didn’t become any less dear to Krishna for being fools but Lord Chaitanya’s assistant brahmana who took their proclamations for real got “mercifully slapped”.

You can almost see Lord Chaitanya’s frustration. He is Krishna Himself, people come to see Him but mistake Him for an ordinary human but when they see an ordinary human fishing they mistake him for Krishna (that’s what they saw in the lake). It’s even more frustrating when Lord Chaitanya’s personal servant thinks that he has to go see Krishna directly elsewhere despite being with the Lord for many months.

There’s also a powerful message there and Srila Prabhupad explains it in the purport (CC Madhya.18.99) – we should learn to see Krishna through the words of our spiritual master and do not deviate or be fooled by people suggesting there’s a better vision to be had elsewhere.

Many of our devotees decided that they would reach Krishna faster by going to this or that magical babaji of Vrindavana, they thought that listening to far out revelations of those babajis is a better and more exciting way than reading our books, chanting rounds, and following four regs. They do not think they can see the Lord in the words of Srila Prabhupada. What fools!

And there’s no one to slap sense into them anymore, as if Lord Chaitanya has withdrawn His mercy, too.


Vanity thought #622. Right to kill

I’m not talking 007 here, I’m still on the rant about the concept of “human rights”. This part is inspired largely by a lecture by HH Bhaktividyapurna Swami about pitfalls or liberalism.

The modern wisdom goes that real relationships can develop only between equal, free individuals. That this way the relationships are free from any oppression, that they come from the heart and reflect the true inspiration of the soul. This probably goes back to ancient Greeks and their concept of democracy – only citizens were considered worthy of relationships and could participate in debates and discussions and cast their votes. Slaves and women were treated as inferior and kept outside the public sphere. Even in the “enlightened” US only male land owners were originally given the right to vote.

Ever since then the progress was seen not in recognizing and protecting the rights of slaves and women, it was seen in stripping them of their identity and shaping them to be just like men. Relationships between masters and slaves are denied and condemned to the dark pages of history. Traditional husband-wife roles are soon to follow, too. Next will be parent-children. Relationships between bosses and their employees are also being reshaped and organized in a “democratic” way but taking that away from business owners might take a little longer.

Coincidentally, master-slave relationships could be an example of how people treated shudras in Vedic times – fully engaged and fully at the mercy of their employers/owners. Also fully provided for and fully protected, all their needs must have been met, but that’s a different story for another day.

Varnashrama, coming from Krishna Himself, reflects the hierarchy of the spiritual world – no one is free and independent, everyone has seniors he has to defer to at all times and everyone has juniors and dependents he should take full responsibility for.

In a godless world all relationships are flat – it’s just little gods negotiating for their places in the sun, no one is intrinsically higher than the other and no one is lower. The result is that people do not have any obligations and no responsibility for each other whatsoever. No one can be trusted and no one can be relied upon. Everyone is on his own and everyone is for himself. There are no dependents to look after and their are no superiors to seek help from.

And this is where the idea of relationships between free people falls on its face – there are no relationships, there are no commitments, there’s no dedication, no permanency, only self-interests and negotiations.

So, they give people freedom to do whatever they want in line with their “human rights”, but what it means is that they also cut off all their inter-personal connections. Previously people would demand something from others for the sake of their relationships and their counterparts would happily oblige, like husband would promise not to look at other women to keep his wife happy and secure, or the boss would promise to fill new positions only through in-company promotions to keep trust of his staff.

Now it’s: “You are free to do whatever you want and I don’t give a damn. I do not owe you anything and you do not owe me anything apart form what is written in the contract or prenuptials. To speak from my heart – I can’t care less about your existence.”

This is how freedom and rights kill our relationships, and, in effect, kill our human form of life which is meant for developing this relationships for our common spiritual benefit.

Human lives are wasted on us, next time we’ll be born as demons.

Vanity thought #621. Bloody rights

This is one of the most damaging contaminants coming to us from the outside society – the concept of universal human rights. It permeates everything in the modern world and it’s the greatest “gift” of the western civilization. Science, progress, medicine etc are only consequences, the underlying reason behind our progress is the recognition of our rights.

Just as superiority of Krishna/Narayana is the all permeating attitude in the spiritual world, the superiority of our “inalienable” rights, our innate desire to be little gods ourselves, is the foundation principle of our life here. Previously religion served as a constraining force, putting God above our own interests, but not anymore. Rights reign supreme now. Year after year, day after day, freedom loving people push outdated religious oppressors further and further back.

The connection between rights and progress is easy to see – people now can put all their life energy into pursuing whatever they want without any restrictions and if it’s technology they want, technology they get. They sacrifice time and energy and sacrifices always bring results, even if in the mode of ignorance or passion.

In religious societies people are told to constrain their ambitions, their greed, their lust, their gluttony etc and consequently they spend their energy on something else, hence less progress is being made.

So, rights lead to progress and progress demand respect for rights, thus they feed off each other in a positive feedback loop I mentioned in connection with melting of Arctic ice earlier, the result is exponential growth of modern civilization that demands even more growth to sustain itself. Eventually it would just run out of room or something but that is not what interests me today.

More important is the effect it has on our consciousness as aspiring devotees. We are all born with the desire to be little Gods, just look at toddlers who are absolutely convinced that the world exists solely for their pleasure, and this attitude never goes away. In Vedic culture people are supposed to undergo years and decades of training to learn their proper place in the world as at least children of God if not as devotees. Modern education teaches them something completely opposite.

The reality is that as souls embodied in a human form of life we only get the right to develop our God consciousness, in every other respect we have no more freedom than trees or animals, which is to say no freedom at all. In every other respect we are completely conditioned by the modes of nature. The illusion of freedom is just that – the illusion. Results of our actions are determined by laws of nature and our desires are determined by prevalent gunas.

The reality is that in the areas that are covered by “human rights” we have no rights whatsoever, and they are also not human, stripped of any relations with God we aren’t humans, we are animals. Modern civilization demands us to develop and respect these animal rights and it teaches us how to build and operate this animal society.

It teaches us how to relate to each other in a godless way, it teaches us how to behave ourselves in a godless way, it teaches us how to think in a godless way, and it trains and conditions us so that our behavior becomes reflexive and subconscious. Apart from this positive reinforcement people daring to think differently are socially sanctioned.

The West makes a lot of noise about freedom of speech and they can afford it because they have total control of how people think, they put people through their education boot camps from the very early age and they know that after that people will never say anything unpredictable. If you do not have the capacity to think anything dangerous you can say whatever you want, it will make no difference and you can preach “freedoms” to every one else.

So they call freedom of speech an inalienable human right but it’s not actually human and it’s not freedom because it totally depends on what they taught you to think. Same goes for all their other “freedoms” including freedom of religion – you are free to profess any religion as long as you behave like god yourself and leave everybody else alone.

The simple instruction is that if you see a face of such an atheistic person you should immediately jump into Ganges. Their attachment to material enjoyment is very very polluting and Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON so that devotees can avoid these people completely.

What happened in real life is that we moved from a temple based movement to congregation based movement and so our society now consists of people who mingle and live with atheists all their lives. The outcome of this is that as our devotees justify whatever they do to themselves they have grown to accept and embrace human right value system of the larger society. Consequently they learn how to behave themselves like atheists and how to relate to each other as atheists, and now it affects our internal discourse as well.

Every opinion matters, no one is accorded any privilege, and every discussion must end in a compromise. That’s how little gods learn to live with each other and that’s how our devotees are now expected to behave with each other, too. We all have rights now. Right to an opinion, right to service, right to protection, right to care, right to love, right to be right (in a sense of correct) and no one is allowed to oppress these rights in any way.

This is fundamentally different from trinad api sunichena attitude but we don’t notice anymore. We think that because devotees must be respected it’s okay to treat them as little gods, just like ordinary people treat each other. It completely misses the point, however, it makes us look at devotees as their bodies and judge them for their external behavior. At best we judge the strength of their arguments instead of the strength of their devotion, more often we judge them by the strength of their presentation. In short, we look at them as members of a particular caste, which is, of course, offensive.

It also legitimizes our material attachments – speaking against them would be considered as infringing on one’s right to enjoyment, or how they call it – the pursuit of happiness.

And that, perhaps, is the core misconception of modern world – the right to pursuit of happiness as enshrined in American constitution. It’s nothing more than the right to be god.

Vanity thought #620. Forgiveness ext

There are a couple of other aspects of forgiveness that deserve consideration. First is self-forgiveness. People are taught not to be hard on themselves, accept themselves for what they are, and generally forgive themselves any indulgence. The idea is to enable them to move forward instead of getting lost in the past.

As devotees we can think of it in two ways. As the goal, to move forward, it’s perfectly okay. Whatever we do does not affect our duty, we cannot abandon our responsibilities just because we want to wallow in self-pity. If we get disqualified from doing something then it’s a different matter but otherwise we should just persevere, like with our chanting.

The other part, forgiving ourselves, however, is not so kosher. We are not the ones keeping the balance of our karma, we can’t just excuse ourselves, we are not authorized to do that. What actually happens in this case is that we willfully subject ourselves to the illusion that consequences do not affect us. Eating meat is the prime example of this willful ignorance. We don’t see the immediate results so we just ignore all the warnings. This how people forgive their smoking, drinking, or gambling, too.

As devotees we should not give in to this illusion of freedom, we are even in a more precarious position here because we KNOW how karma works, and we KNOW that discarding it because Krishna will take care is actually offensive.

We should move forward on the strength of our knowledge, not on the strength of our illusion, like karmis do. That’s the main difference even if the action looks the same. Results will also be vastly different, just as we learn from Bhagavad Gita about activities in Krishna consciousness.

Another aspect of forgiveness is its use in relations with other devotees. We naturally tiptoe around each other, we have too much respect for each other to treat devotees as ordinary people, and we are also super aware of committing offenses. In this atmosphere offering forgiveness for whatever imaginary discomfort is an expression of service.

Without forgiveness we can’t talk about “loving relations”, and this forgiveness shows that we value moments of each other’s association more than the risk of inconveniencing each other and so we beg for mercy despite our bad manners. This is where the expression of forgiveness is most welcome.

“Oh no, prabhu, your stepping on my toes was not an offense in any way, please bless me with the touch of your feet again, I will be the most fortunate.” – “I’m terribly sorry for stepping on your foot, please forgive me, I’m a big oaf without any manners. If you don’t forgive me I might go to hell for millions of lives. Please say you forgive so Krishna does not punish me, don’t leave me hanging.” And so on.

I still don’t see how forgiveness can be made into the most prominent quality but it’s certainly not without value.

Vanity thought #619. Forgiveness

A few weeks ago I decided to check my abandoned Twitter account and the first thing that popped up, from an unimpeachable leader of our movement, was that “Forgiveness is the main quality of a devotee”. I closed that thing and never opened it again. This, plus Dalai Lama requotes, make me lose faith in the purity of our movement.

There are several reasons I don’t like forgiveness being put on a raised pedestal. First of all, the only important quality in a devotee is his devotion. Everything else is secondary and all other good qualities automatically grow themselves. If one somehow develops extraordinary forgiveness outside of his devotion then it has no value whatsoever just like all the other mundane features given to us by the law of karma.

Secondly, forgiveness itself doesn’t make sense. A devotee living by trinad api sunichena principle does not register offenses against himself, hence there’s nothing to forgive. A devotee does not see other people as the source of his suffering, there’s no question of forgiving those who are not responsible.

On the other hand, if you see someone offending the Holy Name – who are you to forgive them? If someone offends other devotees – what has it got to do with you? It’s between that person, other devotees, and Krishna, you do not have the authority to forgive anyone.

Imagine that you have the required authority, being a guru, for example, of being a head of a family, should forgiveness be your most prominent quality? I don’t think so. People need to learn their lessons, punishment for various offenses is meant to be served so that people don’t commit them again. What is the value of forgiveness then?

Discipline must come first, spiritual interests of your dependents must come first, severing people attachments to their false egos must come first. Forgiveness comes only after these goals have been met, and by that time it would be of no interest to the offending party because they would see themselves as the root of all their problems.

Ultimately, on the spiritual level, there are no offenders because everyone’s devotion is pure, no one offends anyone and so there’s no question of forgiveness either.

Forgiveness makes a lot of sense to those who enjoy their senses. Materialistic people need relief from their bad karma and so they are the ones who value forgiveness because they see the world in terms of duality. Suffer = bad, forgive = good. Needless to say, their core attitude is anti-devotional, why would a devotee be interested in their desired qualities?

There’s probably a way the author of that tweet can explain it away, I never dared to ask, but this is the post about forgiveness, not a post about other devotees’ perceived shortcomings. I’m sure when I’m made to suffer and see someone holding the key to the relief I will be all for universal forgiveness, such is my materialistic nature, but I’ve been taught not to give any real value to my animal instincts.

Also, forgiveness is a very desirable quality in our Lord, without it we would never survive as devotees. People taking the role of god and forgiving everyone on the left and right – they are actually our enemies.

Let’s keep it sweet and short and stop here.

Vanity thought #618. With difficulty

What is it that makes people build temples on hill tops all over the world? It’s not so prominent in ISKCON but maybe that’s because we open our temples wherever we can find urban property, and it’s not so prominent with Krishna’s temples, too, but still there are some like that even in Vrindavana – Madan-Mohan, for example, or Gopal temple at Govardhan.

Somehow people assume that visit to a Deity should entail some personal sacrifice, it should be difficult, and one should not come empty handed. Why is that? Does it have any shastric or philosophical basis? Coming with a small gift is understandable, it’s just good etiquette, but why some temples have thousand step long staircases?

In Buddhism perfection is achieved through a tremendous personal effort so it easily explains why seekers of truth need to climb high up the mountains, but what about more merciful deities? Is the difficulty of access determined by the those who build them or by God Himself?

I can’t imagine Lord Chaitanya appearing in an inaccessible place, doesn’t mesh with His mission at all. Not so much with Krishna, too, and all His main temples are smack in the middle of towns. Puri is even build around the temple of Jagannath. Vishnu, however, is a more traditional deity, as so is Shiva, one doesn’t come to them with love but with awe and respect and so a little difficulty in attending might show the value the visitor places on the object of his worship.

In modern Christianity this doesn’t make sense, it’s all about Jesus serving his congregation, but in medieval times most famous monasteries were hid in the highest mountains, too.

How to achieve proper balance between the need for preaching and easy accessibility and the fact that God cannot be approached without making sacrifices, the ultimate of which is giving your whole life. We make Hare Krishna mantra available to all without any screening or requirements, even Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami didn’t disclose it in Chaitanya Charitamrita, but can we do the same thing with our Deities? I don’t think so.

I see it like that – everyone must have a chance to serve the Holy Name but only those who serve the Holy Name should be allowed a chance to serve Deities.

Being in the presence of Deities is not the same as hearing the Holy Name. There are too many rules and there are serious offences, some practically unforgivable within this lifespan.

Preaching centers should be everywhere and they can all invite Sri Sri Gaura Nitai as presiding Deities but “real” temples, with Radha and Krishna, should have some sort of screening for the general public. A few weeks ago some devotees complained about karmi marriage ceremonies being held in one of our most prominent temples in front of Radha Krishna and Srila Prabhupada, I think they have very legitimate grounds for these protests.

The very name of Srimati Radharani should not be said in front of non-devotees, what to speak of staging sex-enjoyment shows in the presence of Her Deity. Okay, they didn’t have sex in the temple but let’s not kid ourselves, that’s what karmi marriages are for, and they were seeking blessings for that abominable activity from Radha and Krishna.

I don’t know what to say, I see no excuses.

We are not on the platform of loving service, we install Radha and Krishna but we worship them in the mood of Laksmi Narayana and so we should behave with awe and reverence in their presence, and we should make appropriate sacrifices to obtain their audience.

It should be done with appropriate difficulty. Their Lordships like when their subjects work hard to earn Their favors.

Vanity thought #617. Calendar

Thinking about JC’s second coming reminded me of the relative importance of calendars in our lives. We all have them on the walls, shelves, desks, and lately on our phones and tablets. Every time I see one I automatically count the days until next holiday or at least weekend. Many people mark future dates on their calendars with a huge X and then watch how their lives slowly but steadily progress towards that date.

I once read an article about app developing business/hobby and how it’s a relatively easy way to supplement your income (if you have a good idea, of course). The app in question was “How many days until Christmas” and offered people nothing else but a simple countdown. The app proved to be so popular that the developer, who made it just as an experiment, was swamped with requests to make “How many days until birthday” and all kinds of similar dates – vacations, retirement, weddings, everything.

All people could do was to open the app and see the day count, nothing else. They were even willing to pay a dollar or two for each new version. It seems silly but so are our lives that revolve around trivial events.

I want a calendar that counts days until my death.

That’s the only future date that is of any real importance.

I can think of several ways how this countdown could be useful, how it would prevent me from wasting time on frivolous pursuits, for example. On the other hand it could still lull me with a false sense of security. Jagannatha Dasa Babaji lived for 120 years, anyone with such a long time in front of him would surely develop a laissez faire attitude to life, unless he is a self-realized person.

Still, seeing our life as slow dying is healthier for our spiritual progress than being caught in the illusion of eternity that comes with countdowns to birthdays or Christmases.

Ultimately, however, we should develop Krishna consciousness that is transcendental to even life changing events like discarding one’s body. For such a person death is inconsequential, and, perhaps, even fills him with regret that he accomplished so little in this human form of life.

For the rest of us, however, death is the time to argue the opposite – that we accomplished quite a lot, it’s even reflected in Isopanishad (verse 17): oḿ krato smara kṛtaḿ smara krato smara kṛtaḿ smara . This verse is also a reminder for us not to overestimate our devotion – it’s fine to hypothesize about how we would gladly accept service in the material world if the Lord wants us to but let’s wait until death actually comes – our determination might evaporate with the airs of our bodies.

Let’s not speculate how generous we will be when we earn a billion dollars either.

Anyway, the reality of our presence here is that it’s measured by the number of remaining breaths but for some reason we count our lives by the number of passed years. I guess it’s one of the features of the illusion, hiding the ugly reality of our end, but the actual clock should be available somewhere. Why wouldn’t the Lord let us look at it every now and then? Why don’t we get “Your death will come in … days” warnings?

I guess He has His own reasons but for all this hiding it better come as a pleasant surprise.

Vanity thought #616. Lord Chaitanya and JC

I would be the last one to compare these two personalities, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Jesus Christ, allegedly son of God, and I have no intention of scrutinizing their teachings for similarities and differences but some devotees apparently find inspiration in the person of Jesus so it’s not exactly a trivial matter.

Well, for starters, Lord Chaitanya is Radhe-Krishna nahe anya, Jesus’ origins are rather murky. I’m quite skeptical about virgin birth and I don’t think I can accept him literally being “son of God”. In a sense we are all sons of God anyway.

As for the message – there are plenty of compelling passages in the gospels but they do not say anything about Krishna and serving Him and His servants. Even if we agree that Jesus propagated some form of bhakti it’s not very well defined, or rather not defined at all.

For someone struggling in this world Jesus’ teachings are mind and heart opening but we follow Rupa Goswami and aim for a bit higher goal. As long as we are down here we are not above practicing selflessness and compassion in the name of God in the same way Christians do but once we bring Christians in the picture it all goes south and becomes a waste of life.

There’s one thing that Christians have on us, though – the hope and faith in second coming. Never mind it’s all silly – Jesus coming down again and raising dead from graves who then fly to heaven in their decomposed corpses – a kind of zombie Apocalypse, but the spiritual significance of such hope cannot be discounted.

It’s the promise of reunification with their beloved object of worship. We do not have that, we are going to die just like everyone else and all our hopes are in the next world. The only thing we have here to wait for is death itself.

These days no one believe in second coming literally, too, but only little over a hundred or so years ago it was a certainty. Every round or significant date was projected as the coming of Jesus, the last one we had only a year ago. Sustaining this kind of irrational faith is difficult and over all I sympathize with those Christians who want to keep it against all odds.

Life is cruel, however, living in a fantasy world is not going to save us from clutches of maya. Lord Chaitanya isn’t coming, there’s nothing for us here, we do our business and we die and hope we’ll get a better opportunities of service in the next life. No candy, no sweeteners, just reality.

Of course we are quite capable of infusing our world with a bit of magic, too, after all material laws do not restrict our Lord, our Deities, the Holy Name and even our acharyas, but generally we put trust in developing our faith rather than in raising dead or healing sick or whatever the staple food of Christian miracle workers is.

We expect transcendental experiences as proof of our spiritual nature, not some unusual interaction of material components.

On the other hand our hearts melt when we hear about some Deity pastimes or some incredible sankirtana stories. Well, we might not have the second coming but we have plenty of those, builds our faith even better.

Vanity thought #615. Chanting for Lord Chaitanya’s pleasure?

These are my latest thoughts assessing my japa, I believe we all have to keep observing ourselves, especially if we do not live in the temples where other devotees would happily point any deficiencies in our chanting.

Unless we achieved the pure bhakti platform all our chanting is actually for Lord Chaitanya’s pleasure. First, we invoke His mercy so that He disregards our offences, this is very kind of Him, some of the thoughts that go into our heads could send us to hell but somehow we keep on living as if nothing have happened.

On another level it was Lord Chaitanya who introduced harinama sankirtana and so, in the spirit of dasadasanudasa, we chant because He told us so. If He told us to dig trenches or swim across the ocean we would have done that, too, because Lord Chaitanya is our ultimate authority in all matters related to Absolute Truth.

So, when we mumble our “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna…” and we don’t feel any love rising in our hearts our only hope is that somehow Lord Chaitanya appreciates our efforts. Or does He?

I have this weird thought – what if our chanting actually discomforts Him and causes Him to break His meditation on Krishna?

Just think of it – every time Lord Chaitanya was lost in ecstasy some devotee had to come close and chant Hare Krishna into His ear, that was the only sure way to break His samadhi. Do you think coming back to external consciousness was better than being absorbed in transcendental matters? Our acharyas didn’t record the Lord showing any displeasure but it’s not hard to imagine that sometimes He thought “Oh, Jesus, why did you have to do this to me? Why didn’t you leave me alone?” It’s not hard to imagine that sometimes our chanting sounded like scratching nails on the blackboard for the Lord.

The sound of an ordinary kirtan going on was what caused His ecstasy in the first place and it didn’t bring Him back but when someone chanted directly into His ear His samadhi was just gone. Why? What other reason could be there if not unbearable clash with the mellows of actual devotional service to the Holy Name that the Lord was absorbed in?

People tried to wake Him up not to multiply His devotional ecstasy, they had other motives, usually to prevent the Lord from injuring Himself. So, when the Lord woke up, it’s not hard to imagine that he thought “Oh God, you again? Begging me to mind my own body? It’s scratch proof and self healing, you know. I was just with Krishna and you woke me up for this? Fool!”

Perhaps He was waking up to His duty as yuga-avatara and He was rather apologetic for leaving the company of His devotees and getting lost in Krishna’s pastimes. I was being ironic anyway, but, seriously – why would chanting of the Holy Name into Lord’s ear break His devotional feelings? The easiest and the most obvious explanation is that because it’s not pure, not pleasing enough for the Lord.

And so is our everyday sixteen rounds of torture. We think we are struggling with our chanting, imagine how much pain it gives to Mahaprabhu!

That ought to expand our understanding of what “ocean of mercy” means. I just hope He has enough to see us through to the other side.

Vanity thought #614. NSFL

This world is not a place for a gentleman, as we all know, yet it’s amazing how fast we forget its brutal reality. Scientifically speaking, our human form of life is very very fragile and cannot be sustained on any other known planet. A few kilometers farther or closer to the Sun and it can’t be sustained even here.

Of course the counterargument is that our form of life follows the conditions on Earth, not the other way around, and that different forms of life exist on the Moon, and even Sun is heavily populated, but I doubt scientists would take it seriously. This is not my point today, however.

My point is the illusion of safety and stability. I’ve heard a devotee arguing that the progress of the modern civilization starting from Renaissance is the Golden Age predicted in the shastras. I have no idea how he reconciles this view with everything Srila Prabhupada had to say about modern life but it shows that even devotees are easily fooled by maya’s extravaganza.

Death, however, is waiting for its turn and could strike at any time, no negotiations. This world is not safe for life, it forces us to believe in eternity of our temporary bodies, singing sweet lullabies in our ears while Death is sharpening her scythe.

Go have a look at nsfl subreddit, it’s all there in all its gore. It would be educational and prolonged exposure would probably desensitize anyone, which is probably not a bad thing – having a realistic, detached view of life and death.

New stuff is added every day, if you are reading this now you can still find a Chinese policeman who had his body cut in half in a traffic accident, there was nothing left below the navel and he was lying there, feeling his guts and wondering where his legs have gone. He waived his hands and tried to raise his head for a closer look, curious to this new development. I don’t know how long it lasted, the video was about five minutes and he was still alive.

You can also see another road accident victim, his ribcage was split open and his internal organs scattered over the road. His heart was lying a couple of meters way, completely disconnected from the body, and it was still beating, there was still life in it. It’s hard to imagine what was happening with his consciousness and his subtle body but there it was – living, beating heart in the middle of the road.

This world is not safe for life, I’m telling you. Stuff like this can happen to anybody at any second.

Accidents are not our only threat, you can catch a video of some Africans burning old people alive, beating them senseless so that they cannot escape and then setting them on fire in a ditch. When they tried to crawl out they were beaten again and thrown back.

And you can’t say they are uncivilized, they were filming this on their phones and uploaded it on youtube, and there was a great cloud of onlookers who didn’t see anything wrong with burning people alive. Allegedly they were witches but next time they might come for Hare Krishnas, too, no one is safe from raging mobs.

Olivia Munn has a nice video for PETA about fur and if you dig around you can still find the raw footage of Chinese fur “production” – how they strip the skin from animals while they are still alive and how these poor animals look you in the eye. When their carcasses are thrown away they can’t walk but many of them still move, still try to sustain life despite being in a horrible, horrible condition, despite their excruciating pain.

This world is not safe for life, never forget that.

Our only reality is the Holy Name, everything else is an illusion – life, death, pleasure, pain, everything.