Krishna Consciousness is a very scientific process in the sense that, just like in science, we show some basic working examples but promise something totally out of this world in the future. Coming any day now, right after they create life out of chemicals.
I’m saying this after listening to Radhasthami lectures where people tell us all about her pastimes, in great detail, and with great deal of confidence that this is exactly what’s going on there and we all will be able to join in not so distant future. They say things like “her face is so attractive that even Krsihna cannot resist”. Have you seen her face to state that? No. Have you seen Krishna’s face? Do you know what it means “Krishna cannot resist”? No. So what are you talking about? It’s all in your imagination, starting from the color of her skin to the color of her dress to the shape of her face to her eyes to her smile and so on, and the same goes for Krishna, too.
With all these descriptions we ascribe known material qualities, even if the best of what we have seen, to spiritual personalities, effectively making them the product of maya. I mean all the features we imagine ARE a product of maya. How about Bhaktivinoda Thakur sharing in confidence that direct perception is absolutely nothing like anything we have ever experienced in this world instead? He was speaking of his descriptions as of giving only indications of what these spiritual objects and qualities would look like if they were a part of this world, but they aren’t.
This is only half of the problem. The other half is that for these occasions devotees come prepared with new insights and revelations, and I have nothing against those per se, but the whole dynamic becomes “you haven’t seen Radha and Krishna because you didn’t know this, but now you do!” And then next year they present some other excuse why their previous insights didn’t actually show people Radha and Krishna, but never mind that, they come with more insights and more revelations, backed up by quotes and verses so it will surely work this time. Then next year it repeats again, over and over, going on for forty-fifty years now.
Again, I don’t have anything against what they are actually saying – insights, quotes, and revelations are nice, but this underlying dynamic, underlying faith that we are just one insight away from our goal, that I cannot accept as genuine.
What’s the alternative? One is to focus on what we already have – the Holy Name. In these talks, even if they often remind us of non-difference between the Name and Krishna Himself, the underlying logic is that by chanting the Name we will eventually get to see Krishna, using the Name as just a tool, not as a goal. If the Name is as non-different as they claim then why not focus on features and qualities of the Name? It’s right here, on everyone’s lips, we all can perceive it. But no, instead of what we actually know – the Name as it is reveals Itself to us, we focus on forms in the spiritual world we can’t see, and they are mostly imaginary, as I said. It’s basic fact based on basic logic – we can’t see Krishna’s features in Goloka Vrindvana without seeing the same features in the Name on our lips right now. To put it differently – what we see in the Name now is all we know about Krishna, the rest is just words.
Another alternative, actually related, is to see how truly spiritual personalities behave in this world. We have examples of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose appearance day is today. He was Kamala Manjari, his writings and songs are translated, his biographies are written, and there is his autobiography, too. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was Nayana Manjari and we know a lot about his life as well. So, why can’t we, instead of imagining what “nikunja-yuno-rati-keli-siddhyai” looks like somewhere there in the spiritual world, look at what they actually did down here? That is how “nikunja-yuno…” was manifested for our eyes.
We don’t know Srila Prabhupada’s exact identity but we do know he was not a person of this world, and we know how he behaved here. This was purely spiritual, too – if we got the eyes to see. Also, just like with the Name – we can’t see Krishna’s devotees in the spiritual world without seeing Srila Prabhupada’s “earthly” form as fully spiritual at the same time. Or, put it another way – we can see Krishna’s entourage to the degree we can see Srila Prabhupada (and our own gurus). Everything else is a product of our imagination.
What I’m driving at is this – stop dreaming about unattainable things that don’t even exist and stop promising them to people. It’s what science does and we should take that part out of our consciousness. We have most valuable things already given to us – the Name, Srila Prabhupada, our guru etc, but we always try to look past them, look for something else. Why? Because we don’t have realizations and without realizations we think there is nothing to see here. What do you think will be the result of this foolish endeavor? I think I can tell you – our fate will be just like that of a cloud Arjuna mentioned to Krishna – “perish like a riven cloud” (BG 6.38).
Krishna, of course, says that it’s not what happens to unsuccessful transcendentalists but our dreams will end up just like that – small clouds blown into oblivion by winds. What we will have to start with again in the next life is what we have been ignoring in this – actual realization of the Holy Name, Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual form, and our guru – with same things we don’t see as spiritual now.
Of course we see the Holy Name, Srila Prabhupada, and guru as spiritual, someone might object. But do we? If we did we wouldn’t be talking about Radha-Krishna lila somewhere in Goloka or umanifested in Vrindavana. We talk about these things precisely because we don’t see Name, Prabhupada, and guru as spiritual, but I have already said that. I can restate the same idea again, though – if we had actually heard the Name or seen our guru we would not be able to talk about anything else. We would lose all interest – if we had seen these objects for real, for what they really are.
So, please, take this “science” out of Krishna consciousness. Our future achievements will not come from our future experiments, quotes, and insights. Krishna’s form, qualities, and pastimes come from what we already have, from what we have been in possession of all along – the Name, Srila Prabhupada, guru, books etc. “Sevonmukhe” – Krishna appears in response to our service attitude (to what we already have), not in response to some future endeavors, which is trying to grasp Him with our material senses. That won’t work, ever, but it will provide a lot of false hopes to keep us going. So take this “science” out and surrender to the Holy Name.