As became usual, on Sunday I caught up on vaishnava news on the Internet. I used to look forward to this little sit down, hoping to discover new, amazing sides of Krishna consciousness. Not anymore. The disappointment was particularly strong yesterday and it occupied my mind for many hours.
Am I becoming a snob? We’ve never had so much news, so much engagement from devotional community, why none of it inspires me in any way? Let’s see.
Sampradaya Sun is filled with new and better criticism of ISKCON authorities. One little letter at the end of a Sanskrit word, in a word-for-word translation of a Bhagavad Gita verse, a little word that deals with Arjuna’s exact position on his chariot, and they’ve made a five article debate over it the only visible purpose of which is to attack Jayadvaita Swami for book changes. Perfect example of useless arguing that should be avoided on its own merits, what to speak of perpetuating the cycle of vaishnava aparadha.
It’s all business as usual there. Radhanatha Swami gave a talk on Krishna consciousness in the wrong company, again. Instead of going out and giving Krishna consciousness talks to the right company Sun contributors spend their time dissing a preacher. Don’t these people have a life?
Even when this steady stream of criticism is intercepted by legitimate topics like biography of Srila Gaurakishora Dasa Babaji they look disingenuous, as if it was a donation from a big corporation done for tax reducing purposes rather than as a real charity.
Why am I even checking that site? Well, some “kosher” devotees send their articles there and I don’t want to miss their important contributions. This time it was Bhakti Vikasa Swami’s review of FDG book so I had to check it out, having spent so much time on the issue already. Turned out it was a link to a two hour mp3 lecture. I’ve downloaded it, first thing he said was that it’s all about politics, not philosophy. I suspected as much long time ago and I applaud devotees who deal with politics in our movement, someone has to do this dirty job, but I don’t think it’s what I need in my own life right now.
Unfortunately, devotees who are worth of all respect and whose opinions and preaching needs to be followed sometimes choose to ignore authorized ISKCON news sites. There’s a history there which also deals with politics, meaning I don’t want to load my mind with it either.
Anyway, on our official sites there are news about Hare Krishna’s around the world, the “world” being the operative part. Countless articles about Nelson Mandela, for example, plus benefits of parsley and fatty acids in organic milk. Fascinating stuff, I’m sure, but not what I wanted to read there.
There are news and articles strictly about ISKCON but somehow they didn’t inspire me either. Goings on in our communities are important but if I don’t know anyone in Lublyana and not even sure where it is on the map, it doesn’t make for exciting reading. Neither do service opportunities I’m never going to take nor reports on important sounding seminars with very long names, nor repetitive articles about guru tattva or articles that ask too many questions to engage the audience and then wonder away in unpredictable directions without providing answers. Open ended discussions, those are called, I believe.
Most of the time there are gems to be found there that fully justify time and effort on sorting these issues but yesterday was not such a day. I don’t think I’ve read even a single article in full or saved anything for reading later.
My first reaction to it – there’s something wrong with me. Maybe some other time, suffocated without association of devotees, I’ll gulp down and chomp on every article on Dandavats, or maybe I’m crippled forever. I do realize that I need to put effort in appreciating this work of devotees who sincerely try to present their views on Krishna consciousness but when I look at how much effort it needs and how much background information and context I have to learn, I give up.
Maybe some other time.
I’d rather read more from Srila Prabhupada’s books and as long as that appreciation is present in my mind I think I’ll be okay.
Politics and news are garbage anyway, they only pollute one’s consciousness and lead one’s mind astray. I’ve written about it a few months ago. Funny how I ended that post with a pledge to reduce news reading to a minimum. Should follow my own advice better.
So, even if I was disappointed with my own lack of appreciation for vaishnava news I don’t think it’s such a bad thing. It might require an extra effort to keep necessary level of respect to contributing authors whose work I summarily dismissed but if I manage it then there would be no loss.
What’s more disappointing is the amount of “I” in this post. “I” this and “I” that, and very little about Krishna. That’s the real disappointment.