Vanity thought #1059. Source of all Evil

Evil is bad, we need to find its source and defeat it, then we will live happily ever after. There isn’t a single story in our culture that deviates from this formula. Or looking at it another way, all our storytelling is about problem fixing. We need to identify the [evil] source of our problems, confront it, find a solution, and then live happily every after.

Russians say that in their culture all problems are overcome by finding a magic elixir or golden goose or something, their heroes never really have to work, but Russians are crazy. When researching recent post about Ukraine I found someone saying that Ukrainian national anthem lists their national problems but hopes that their enemies would disappear on their own. Don’t know if it’s entirely true, and Ukrainians are equally crazy anyway.

Evil must be found and defeated, period.

Well, what if the source of all evil isn’t actually the evil itself but this binary vision of the world as either good or bad, which leads to differentiation of everyone into friends and foes, which leads to endless fighting just because someone must be always designated as an enemy?

Bhaviṣya Purāna describes us, westerners, as followers of Kali and our religion follows his agenda, too. Explains all the quarreling, right?

But wouldn’t it mean that Christians, Muslims, and Jews worship Kali instead of a real God, whatever their understanding is? Not necessarily. Kali has his interests, he wants them to be protected, and he is a nasty piece of work, but he still is the lord of this yuga. This time period was given to him, he controls it, and if we drop this good-bad dichotomy we might actually go along with it rather than feign the outrage.

Mahārāja Parīkṣit didn’t kill Kali, after all. However cruel or disgusting Kali is, and Bhaviṣya Purāna says that he always holds his dick in his hand, he knows his place, he also knows his rights and he was born for a purpose, we have to accept it. He plays fair, we know what to expect of him, and we can’t claim that we don’t understand his attraction to sex, gambling, and intoxication ourselves.

The history of Christianity also sheds light on how it all happened.

According to modern history, which isn’t principally different from what is said in our books, we know that Zoroaster (or Zarathustra) rebelled against the commonly accepted order and started a new religion. This religion spread from Iran to Mesopotamia and then influenced Palestine where Judaism was “born”.

Main contribution of Zoroaster is his division of deities and eventually the whole creation into friends and foes, good and bad. Old masters became bad, new masters became good, and all his main deities did was to fight against each other. Those were Ahura Mazda and Angra Manyu. Ahura Mazda was absolutely good and Angra Manyu was absolutely evil.

As a self appointed linguist I would say that Ahura Mazda comes from Asura Muddha – as a rebel Zoroaster took shelter of the enemy gods of the old religion (our devas became his demons), but knowledgeable people say that it’s simply another name for Varuna, who is known as Asura Māyā and we better accept their explanation.

Varuna and his friend Mitra have become worshipable deities and, together with Yamarāj they control quite a lot in this world. Zoroastrian heaven was called Yima, ie garden of Yamarāja, which must be a nice place comparing to Earth.

Varuna married daughter of Śukrācārya, whose another name is Śukla, because he is white, which in my imagination explains preeminence of white race of people in this age.

Zoroastrian teachings are drown from Avesta, which is a collection of gathas (katha). Their rituals are described in Yasna (from Sanskrit yajña), which, incidentally, links of Ukrainian “yasno” as a word for all things clear and bright, and as an honorific title for their nobility, and links to Yesus, too.

Where was I? Ah, yes, the arch enemy of Śukrācārya is, of course, Bṛhaspati, the guru of the demigods, whose another name is Āṇgiras, which makes him into Zoroastrian Angra Manyu, though I, as a self appointed linguist, think it was Angira Muni, one of the seven principle Vedic sages.

Anyway, this grudge against old rulers and their gods made Zoroaster divide all the deities according to their allegiance, and so duality was born and it never died.

Jews are not so fixated on it, afaik, but then their religion doesn’t influence the world to the degree Christianity does, and Christianity is all about good vs evil, with Satan having as much power over people as Christ.

We look at them and we don’t understand how Satan could ever be God’s rival, and they have their own explanations for it, something about fallen angels, but it doesn’t sound convincing. We do not see God as being opposite of anything, our version is absolutely liberal and all inclusive instead.

Of course if we want to know Kṛṣṇa we have to make certain choices in our lies and our association and so we don’t look liberal to the general public but that’s what making choices mean. It doesn’t mean that people can’t relate to God in their own ways, like by serving His illusory energy, for example, or trying to compete with Him, or trying to kill Him. Whatever works for them is fine by us.

We base our religion not on such external designations or universal arrangement but on rasa – in a whole gamut of possible relationships with the Absolute Truth we choose those that taste better. Better for us, better for Kṛṣṇa.

Even in our preaching we are not supposed to convert demons but to attract innocents. If someone refuses to accept Kṛṣṇa consciousness we leave them alone, we seek those who can bring Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure in our kind of way – by serving Him, not by opposing or rejecting Him.

We were born into a Christian world, however, and so we bear the burden of our cultural upbringing. Normally we don’t see the connection between Kṛṣṇa consciousness and Christianity but here it is – it was rebellion of Zoroaster that started the whole thing. He didn’t see the world as a whole, due to his unique history he saw friends and enemies, and he passed it down to modern day Christians.

Worshiping any kind of God would eventually lead to the growth of genuine spiritual knowledge and genuine spiritual benefits and Christianity continues to exist even with the wrong foundation.

Incidentally, this serves Kali very well. People get their religion and he gets to keep his control, too, everybody’s happy. That’s the thing – Kali isn’t evil personified, there’s no such thing in the Absolute Truth, he just serves the Lord in his own way, fulfilling his own desires.

Everyone can find shelter at Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet and so we have no right to reject any living being’s connection with Him, even as repulsive as Kali or any of our current enemies. Whatever they say, they are as dear to Kṛṣṇa any other soul even if they make our blood boil.

Perhaps key to our success in relating to others is seeing this eternal connection and accepting Kṛṣṇa’s permission for others to enjoy their lives in all kinds of ways, even unacceptable to us

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Vanity thought #767. Gifts of magi, reversed

Magi were most likely sadhus of Zoroastran persuasion, which means they worshiped the great and wise Lord Ahura Mazda, which was Avestan for Asura. On the surface Zaratushtra was a Vedic pervert who preferred demons to demigods but at that time Kali Yuga was already in force so nominal allegiance to demigod worship might have been stripped of all goodness and spirituality already and his revolt could have been similar to that of Buddha rejecting Vedas.

Anyway, those magis brought gifts to baby Jesus but that was certainly not the only influence of Zoroastrism on Christianity. There’s a school of thought that ascribes all Christian and Judean eschatology and demonology to Zoroastrism. The symbolism of good vs evil struggle, the “good” God fighting the Satan, the archangels and demons helping in the war, the end of the world, the eternal salvation, resurrection – all these concepts are believed to be sourced from ancient Persians. Jewish people have spent centuries in Babilonian captivity so they had plenty of time to learn all that. Incidentally, magi existed prior and independently of Zaratushtra but that is not important now.

This is actually my roundabout way to introduce a verse from the Bible as a lesson from deviant disciples (Jews). I don’t know its author but it traveled a long way to make an impression as a reflection on the state of modern Gaudiya vaishnavism.

It’s Proverbs 3.5-6:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

In other translations “direct” is not as direct and kind of obscures the meaning and reduces the impact but the gist is all the same.

Why is it important for us?

Because one way or another but we fill the world with devotees who think they are the architects of their own success. They think they are mature enough to select their own sadhana, select their own gurus, select their own paths. Many have left ISKCON because they think they know better. Many stay in ISKCON but remain choosy about who to follow – this guru is too conservative, that guru is too liberal, this guru is too modern, that guru is too “rasika”. Everyone has an opinion and is not afraid to follow it.

At least ISKCON devotees see these differences as trivial as long as this or that guru follows the path laid by Srila Prabhupada. Outside of ISKCON, however, is jungle. Yata mata tata patha – “whatever you think, that is your way”, as Prabhupada once translated it.

Everyone is his own boss, everyone relies on his own intelligence, and they look at ISKCON devotees as sheep who still haven’t broken away from their bondage to their gurus.

One reason for this thinking is that our ISKCON gurus are believed to be spiritual lightweights who can’t possibly teach us anything truly transcendental. This thinking unites rittviks and prabhupadanugas, emigrants to GM and Babaji clubs, and also those who turned to Shivaism, Shaktism, Buddhism, or Christianity.

In explaining their position they site the same set of arguments about qualifications to be a guru and then judge our sannyasis and GBC against those standards. It’s a reasonable approach, I guess, but it also excludes God from our lives.

They don’t account for the possibility that Krishna could be fully in charge of His representatives, however imperfect they might appear to a casual observer. They do not believe that by surrendering to such “inferior” gurus devotees would place ourselves in Krishna’s hands and acknowledge Him in all their ways. They think it’s impossible and Krishna would never ever take control of ISKCON devotees’ lives.

They lean on their own understanding instead, making their own decisions where Krishna would and would not manifest His mercy, which goes against the very spirit of the quoted verse.

Another side of this thinking is that they don’t believe that spiritual knowledge will be automatically manifested in one’s heart. They think it needs to be learned, studied and understood. The more studies the better, the more sophistication leads to deeper penetration. Consequently, results are judged on an intellectual level, too.

The other day I was reading a blog by one Prabhupada disciple who tried nearly everything under the sun since leaving ISKCON, form drugs to yoga to sex as a preferred method of liberation. On his return to Vrindavana he visited Krishna Balaram Mandir on Vyasa puja day and casually observed that his ISKCON godbrothers had made some progress but not as much as he’d hoped.

The best part of that blog was his return to Radha Damodara temple where he submitted himself to Prabhupada as his eternal spiritual father, no matter where he went and what he did, he was always Prabhupada’s spiritual son.

Yet he still thinks he has to acquire spiritual knowledge in his own way, currently being fascinated by vows of silence. He doesn’t think that simply surrendering to Prabhupada could be enough.

And that is our common disease that puts us into a Catch 22 situation. Without faith in our guru we can’t gain and spiritual insights, and without spiritual insights we can’t maintain any faith, and so we abandon the process altogether as hopeless and way below our perceived level of devotion.

As a result we have thousands and thousands of zombies who once were promising devotees but then turned into empty shells preying on whoever left living, and without new sources of food simply brooding in their own mental fantasies.

All we have to do, however, is put our trust in the Lord and surrender to Him. That means giving up our own speculations and ideas on how to make things better. Let Him direct us in all our paths, and for now our paths lie in the material world and we are given apparently material guidance by apparently materialistic rubber stamp gurus, yet this is Lord’s prescription on how to surrender and we should follow it.