Things That Don't Change

Manidhara Das
28 Dec 2023

This text may be disappointing to some, but indeed, even for those who are enthusiastically and devotionally following the gradual process of Krsna Consciousness purification, some things will not change.

We have clear evidence from the Bhagavad Gita that Arjuna's initial idea to renounce the ways he was expected to act and become a false renunciate was entirely denied by Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Again and again, Krsna points out that Arjuna will be forced to act according to the nature of his body, and again and again, Krsna is stressing that success in Krsna Consciousness can be achieved by purifying the actions of the body, not denying them.

Everybody driving down a dead-end road will be forced to stop, turn back, and start all over again before he finds the progressive road towards the final destination.
Those who are more blessed and more purely motivated will be endowed with intelligence to avoid such detours and will naturally strive for the maximum possible situation, which enables them to be engaged in a natural way in Krsna Consciousness.

It is not easy to come to this kind of healthy introspection of oneself, as we were growing up in an ocean of lies and in a constant regime of pretence towards ourselves and others. Srimad Bhagavatam describes this world as a world of names only, designations of no substance, where the illusioned, conditioned soul strives to be recognised along its concept of oneself and not along the reality one lives in.

Just to observe how males and females always find beauty in the opposite sex, regardless of how ugly or beautiful they are designated to be, is truly amazing. „The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,“ indeed, and this egocentric subjective perception of oneself may even be carried into the realm of Krsna Consciousness where we learn that we are not this body but a pure spiritual soul. But lacking a substantial spiritual realisation, we may keep on trying to assign ourselves to a spiritual status entirely inappropriate to ourselves. What may be nourishing to some may turn out to be poison for others once they are prematurely and hastily trying to push themselves in „where angels don't dare.“

In spiritual terms, cheating on oneself and the public in general becomes even easier, as in the material sense, there are strict rules of gain, loss, and profit defining the misfortune or success of a person. Name and fame, along with material prosperity, will be the signs of the winner of the illusory and temporary game called living in the material world.
But in the spiritual realm, externally assuming the top asrama available, some academic exhibition of „knowledge“ one learned by quotations of those who realised what oneself never understood, some post in the hierarchy of any church type of institution, and above all, the skillful manipulation of the spiritually ignorant ones, will ensure the dominance of such a cheater. Before the law of karma confronts him with the ghastly results of his cheating campaign, such a rascal can indeed allude to many who may go with him in the same direction. …to hell.

Srila Prabhupada warned us in terms of the knowledge he gave us: „This philosophy is very sharp. It can cut you too if not handled properly,“ was his warning.
And so a sincere seeker of the Absolute Truth will start in his own backyard, minding his level of conditioning, avoiding the temptation of name and glory being placed in front of him, and avoiding the association of cheaters who seek confirmation of their cheating campaign by making him also a member of their cheating movement.

Such an honest and sincere devotee will seek transparency in his life, feeling always the presence of the all-pervading Supreme Personality of Godhead. Who is anumanta and upadrastha, the observer and permit-giver of one's planned activities? Such a sincere devotee will be alarmed in the presence of cheaters, always seeking reference from the Founder Acharya Srila Prabhupada, in terms of his own actions. It is not difficult to become honest when one follows the supremely honest one. It is not difficult to live in reality and avoid illusion if one sees the world with the eyes of the sastra, the scripture, which is in a practical sense demonstrated by Guru, the authorised representative of guru parampara, a school of non-cheating spiritual leaders who demonstrated in their lives total transparency and chastity towards the laws established by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Chastity towards honesty, represented by guru-sastra and sadhu, is the key word for neutralising the natural propensity of the conditioned soul to cheat, to believe in false concepts, and to be victimised by an illusory subjective perception of the senses.

Such are the ideals of somebody who seeks to be properly situated; even his present situation may not be considered the highest in spiritual terms. But it is real, and it ensures gradual elevation towards the desired goal—the return back home back to Godhead—to a place where there is no more illusion and hypocrisy to be found.

It was better to be an honest street sweeper, as hypocritical renunciation was Srila Prabhupadas policy. He himself refused to leave his social position until he was absolutely sure that leaving one's family responsibilities and the position one operates from was authorised by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and, above all, by one's spiritual master as well.
To be the Founder Acharya of a world-wide movement for the spiritual upliftment of humankind proved to be completely natural for Srila Prabhupada, as there was no other way to go. What else could he do to save the world?

We cannot imitate such a transcendent giant as Srila Prabhupada, but we can follow and learn. It is here we find the proof for our real renunciation status; it comes as a natural sequence of our purification, and so it is highly logical and satisfying. Even in the presence of sources of inspiration from the past, there is no more impetus to do what we have done before; we feel strongly that there is no need to „chew the chewed“ again.
So filled is our mind and heart with spiritual inspiration that the presence of material temptation has no effect. This is the ultimate and real status of renunciation: even in the presence of water, one stays dry; in the presence of fire, one stays cool; and in the presence of danger, one feels no fear. Everybody gets the chance to prove himself and see for himself.

The designated rennounciates simply waste their time, as they will be, in an uncompromising way, forced to return to the point they started and „finish the job.“
If driven by prestige and false ego so strongly that they refuse to assume the position they left so prematurly and become purified—totally bereft of any introspection—they become mad, vanishing in the frenzy of the highest illusion of themselves.

Such „leaders“ and renunciates can be found in plenty in the history of mankind.

Let's not become one of them.