There’s a devotee with better than average knowledge of poetry and every now and then he quotes some pertinent observations from classics. Somehow or other these people have been blessed with a unique insight into human condition and it’s uncanny how Kṛṣṇa conscious they appear when quoted in the right context. Maybe Shakespeare was right that there’s nothing new under the sun, or was it actually from the Bible?
What is interesting, though, is that all these quotes come from dead people. Our contemporaries fall seriously short when compared to them. Take this insight on saving souls from David Beckham, for example:
I definitely want Brooklyn to be christened, but I don’t know into what religion yet.
Brooklyn here is his son, btw.
Sometimes Louis C.K. says something insightful, like when he talked about money as if he was a true renunciate:
I never viewed money as being “my money” I always saw it as “The money”. It’s a resource. If it pools up around me then it needs to be flushed back out into the system.
Of course he is no renunciate, he is hopelessly caught in the snare of sex. Maybe he realizes that he is enslaved by the sex desire, maybe not, but he, like everyone else, can’t even imagine life in celibacy.
There are two other clowns who supposed to be observant and witty but, looking through the entire video below, actually anything but, at least in my no so humble opinion. One of the last sketches here, however, hits home.
It’s a prayer circle that suddenly draws attention of God Himself who then gives them one single instruction on how to please Him – sell everything they own and spend money on helping poor. When they first hear His voice they drop on their knees but as the import of the message downs on them they start having second thoughts, and then openly rebel, declare the house to be hunted, and run away.
I’m not sure real Christians are ready to admit that there’s a lot of truth in this scenario but at least to these two it looks entirely plausible, minus the voice of God, of course. They then continue about a religion where you just do a short five second ritual once a month and be done with it. I hope actual Christians are not like that yet and actually look forward to their services, many of them would probably welcome them to be shorter, though. It’s just a sign of our times, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.
Modern culture completely screws up people’s knowledge of the world around them and especially history. Like that infamous Dr Frog they look at everything through the prism of their very limited experience. Having seen nothing but his own well Dr Frog can’t even imagine there could be such a thing as an ocean. He can’t imagine it being limitless and he can’t imagine that water there is salty. None of his friends and family members, assuming he has them, can confirm the possibility of an ocean, and therefore in his view an ocean not only doesn’t exist but can’t exist, too. That’s what they say about God now.
Maybe it’s not a new phenomenon and people have always judged other cultures by their limited standards but this time it’s different, we refuse to learn from others but rather ascribe our own values to everything foreign or ancient. I noticed this during last year’s Cosmos TV series where Neil deGrasse Tyson described every historical episode as a struggle of science against religion, for example.
More often it’s about struggle for human rights and democracy, though. All Disney’s animated movies about Chinese or Indians or Arabs follow the same cliche – smart young people rising against unreasonable oppression of their elders. No matter what era or what country they place their story in, the attitudes are always the same. It’s same characters saying same things, just drawn differently. Last week there was a three part story about Ancient Egypt on TV and guess what – it was about challenging customs, giving women their rightful place, exposing priests as corrupted hacks profiting from selling lies, and, I guess, something about gay marriage, too, because this particular “universal right” is fashionable now. I caught a part where the pharaoh was taught to appreciate beer, the drink of the masses, instead of boring palace wine.
They just can’t imagine people having different values and living different lives. If two men were close to each other they must have been gays. Case in point – Michelangelo. Lots of people convinced of his homosexuality on the basis of having close friendship with a young and attractive man. Real historians dismiss it as a conjecture but in the modern mind closeness means sex, there’s no other way to express people’s deep feelings.
They even go as far as allege homosexuality in such ancient practices as blood/spritual brotherhood that existed in every culture from vikings to Chinese. They just can’t imagine that there was no sex involved and say that the practice was a covering for gay marriage.
When they look at Mahābharata they accuse Arjuna of being gay for year when he lived incognito in the court of Mahārāja Virata, even our devotees of GALVA persuasion cite this as an example. It all sounds convincing except I don’t think Arjuna ever expressed his sexual attraction to men during the time when he was “gay”.
That is all peanuts, however, compared to their attitude towards God. They just can’t imagine Him being real and being able to communicate with His devotees. While in India it’s a given in the West it could be nothing more than mythology and imagination, and not just God, gods in general and even practices of yoga can’t possibly be real, because they don’t have any comparable experiences in their beer guzzling, sex-obsessed culture.
When Indians had their first contacts with Greeks they sent a dozen “ambassadors” to demonstrate the advancement of their civilization. It’s no surprise that Indians choose sadhus and ascetics to represent them because they have always been considered as the highest order in Vedic culture. Greeks, however, just couldn’t understand it, like at all. Why would people wearing only loincloth be considered as crème de la crème? They thought Indians were animal like barbarians. They couldn’t fathom that these ascetics had real mystic powers, they were proper children of Kali Yuga and considered only wealth and sensual pleasures as a sign of progress.
I imagine sadhus were astonished at Greeks’ profound ignorance and one of them tried to demonstrate his abilities through self-immolation, a typical yoga procedure for leaving one’s body at will. It registered in Greek annals but they failed to appreciate the significance and implications. Modern descendants of Greek culture, science, and democracy can’t comprehend it either.
This kind of things doesn’t happen to them, doesn’t exist in their perverted society, therefore it couldn’t exist anywhere else.
Another example is family ties. In India they are famously strong but in the West children are expected to move out and live on their own from the age of eighteen, and even if they can’t afford to be financially independent they are expected to be independent in their views and decision making. Parent’s can’t wait until they ship their kids off to college. In some cases parents would also refuse any kind of service from their kids, not even helping to carry bags or luggage. Indians are shocked, westerners say it’s their “culture” and imply that therefore it’s okay. It isn’t, and it isn’t culture, it’s just habits and customs, and they can look as savage to civilized people as various tribal rituals somewhere in Papua New Guinea.
Bottom line, unless people renounce this nonsense they can’t have any hope of real spiritual progress. When Śrīla Prabhupāda brought Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the West fifty years ago it was a given, every new bhakta was ready to accept western culture as hopelessly corrupt. These days even some devotees are deeply attached to it and therefore very defensive. It won’t work. There could be no spiritual progress unless we cleanse ourselves from this western corruption and selfishness masked as “individualism” or “human rights”. Kṛṣṇa will never appear before us in any shape or form unless we abandon all these other kinds of “religion” – as modern people treat their “values” quite religiously.
Dr Frog mentality has to go.