Sri Radha Govinda, Amsterdam NL

Sri Radha Govinda, Amsterdam NL
Sri Radha Govinda, Amsterdam NL (Personal Deities)

07 November 2008

On Holy Vrindavana's Riksha wallahs, beggars, brahmanas, monkeys, dogs and hogs

On one of the blogs that I read regularly there is a travelogue by my old friend, author, musician and spiritualist, Yauvana, on the fascinating Indian holy city of Vrindavana, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. You can read the original story here.

In yesterday's posting a certain Caitanya dasa made a comment which I consider typical of a breed of so-called devotees who are long on theory but woefully short on wisdom.

"Your "kindness" to these rickshaw wallas, who are in their present position because of their very sinful past life activities, will be unkindness to devotees and other westerners who travel in India. Now, the rickshaw wallas will ask triple or even more price to any westerner they meet. There are different levels of charity, for different modes of material nature, if I remember properly..."

We need be very careful how we deal with any Brijbasi, including ricksha wallahs, beggars, monkeys, dogs and pigs. For them it is their last birth just prior to returning to Lord Krsna's lotus feet and any offense is not tolerated, unlike in Mayapur.

The externally materially poor ricksha wallahs see us westerners as rich wallahs who can easily afford to be a little generous. Once in Calcutta, when overcharged by a ricksha wallah, I asked him in Bengali why he was charging me more that the usual rate. In a delightful moment of candor he replied, "See, saheb, you are a rich man and it is my duty to charge you more because if I did not my fellow ricksha wallahs would laugh at me." Paying a little more is part of our cost for the benediction of visiting India. Take it as a built-in blessing.

Regarding Caitanya dasa's abysmally ignorant view that Vrindavana's ricksha wallahs are so because of "their very sinful past activities" and negative comparison of them to devotees, the fact is that the lowest of Vrindavana's ricksha wallahs is greater than any visiting devotee I know. I should be so lucky in any of my future lives to be born a ricksha wallah in the Holy Dhama of Vrindavana!

In fact, I find Caitanya dasa's comments offensive in the extreme and I wonder from whom who he took instructions in Krsna Consciousness. Better he approaches his guru and humbly beg for rectification.

04 November 2008

'Our Leaders'

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada opens his “Krsna Book” by attributing Lord Krsna descent to,

“…the world was overburdened by the unnecessary defense force of different kings, who were actually demons, but were posing themselves as the royal order. At that time the whole world became perturbed….”

The great lie is that we are represented by people like Bush, Brown, Putin, Harper, Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Merkel, described as ‘our leaders’. Because they represent us and we are not monsters, we are to believe that ‘our leaders’ are seeking to resolve problems afflicting humanity in general, while working more specifically to protect us from terrorism and other threats. In other words, we are to believe that ‘our leaders’, like us, are rational, compassionate and well-intentioned.

The truth is very different. In fact we are free to chose from parties and leaders who all represent the same interests of concentrated state-corporate power - the tiny fraction of the population that owns much of the country and runs its business.

Crucially, ‘our leaders’ front a political system that has an overwhelming advantage in high-tech military power. They are all too willing to use this power to convulse countries with bloodshed when doing so supports their lucrative version of economic ‘order’. Iraq is the obvious example - Somalia is another.

‘Our leaders’ rule in the name of democracy, but they act in the interests of a narrow, extremely violent kleptocracy.

The entire material enterprise is based on godless, ruthless exploitation at any cost of our planet and everyone and everything in it by ‘our leaders’.

(with thanks to