Krsna Consciousness… Another Dream?

Manidhara Das
17 Jul 2023

Arjuna said: O infallible one, please draw my chariot between the two armies so that I may see those present here, who desire to fight, and with whom I must contend in this great trial of arms.

Bg. 1.21-22

Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to please the evil-minded son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.

Bg. 1.23

Sañjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, having thus been addressed by Arjuna, Lord Kṛṣṇa drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.

Bg. 1.24

In the presence of Bhīṣma, Droṇa and all the other chieftains of the world, the Lord said, “Just behold, Pārtha, all the Kurus assembled here.”

Bg. 1.25

There Arjuna could see, within the midst of the armies of both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, and also his fathers-in-law and well-wishers.

Bg. 1.26

When the son of Kuntī, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus.

Bg. 1.27

Arjuna said: My dear Kṛṣṇa, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.

Bg. 1.28

Here, in the introduction of the Bhagavad Gita, we find the essence of our pain in this material world already defined: attachment. It is not the circumstances we are exposed to but our attachment to them that constitute the basis of our pain.

In answer to these words of Arjuna, Krsna instantly starts to dismiss his doubts and misgivings, his attachments making him hesitant to fight this God-desired battle.
The Bhagavad Gita seems contradictory to the ever-repeated message of love and peace we hear often from those who create war and conflicts in this world by dint of their attachment. Srila Prabhupada answered very firmly the question of when finally peace will return to the planet Earth: „Never" was his quick answer. The competition to achieve dominance over whatever we can see is the name of the game for the conditioned souls, starting in the most intimate domestic circles and ending on a grand global scale where various demoniac leaders fight over the dominance of the world. Kuruksetra battle was the result of the same demoniac mentality, and the amazing dialogue between Krsna and Arjuna is uncovering the way to become truly renounced, meaning truly detached from this dream-like concept of „loving enjoyment" in this world of birth and death.

Sometimes even those who start to practise Krsna Consciousness don't grasp how „radical" the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead spoken in the Bhagavad Gita are.
Here Krsna calls for total detachment from this world and the final return home, back to Him, back to the Godhead. As a messenger from another world, He appears on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, explaining to Arjuna that he lives on a territory that is not his original home but a place where he will naturally be confronted by the dualities of this world, which appear in the form of his friends and enemies, with or without his desire. When one enters water, one gets wet; when one enters fire, one will burn. Such are the laws. And when one enters this world, one will be born and die due to the body one acquires, moving from one body to another again and again.

Even in the name of Krsna consciousness, we find those who gradually and finally prioritise the wellbeing of the body while neglecting the wellbeing of the soul.
Krsna appears to call us home, back to Godhead. Refreshed by His message, we have the tendency, due to our attachment, to pervert this message and turn again to domestic, social, and emotional-driven issues, which makes those who truly understand the Bhagavad Gita wonder how quickly the original message of the Supreme Lord can get lost.

There are those appearing in the dress of vaisnavas who would like to teach us how to retreat from the battlefield of our daily lives and retreat (yes, the word „retreat" was even introduced in the name of Krsna conscious festivals! :-) to some sort of forest, leaving this world, Krsna's property, to the demons who are eager to dominate it.

Completely opposing the desire of the Supreme Lord, such „preachers" call for the surrender to demoniac policies, or they preach sahajiya, a premature and cheap understanding of Krsna consciousness, while introducing the public to the most intimate pastimes of the Lord and His consort Srimati Radharani without asking for anybody's qualification to do so. And so the public is deceived into believing what the demoniac doctrines want to tell us or into a shameless lifestyle by becoming intruders into the most intimate domains of the Lord's existence.

Such leaders and gurus should be rejected, however promising they may sound.
The Supreme Realist, Lord Krsna, is teaching us differently. Choosing to speak the highest philosophy on a battlefield, he turns the battlefield into a philosophical forum only to illustrate the nature of this world, which, one way or another, is a battlefield. Those devotees who don't have the training of an active preacher, active book distributor, or responsible family maintainer are unfortunate, as they may be allured into some sort of dream-like concept of Krsna Consciousness. Never leaving the mental platform, they may, in the worst case, come to believe they have become pure devotees. For good donation, they may be introduced by cheaters into believing to be devotees without going even through the basic purificatory process of learning to understand how one is not this body. The bodily concept they may be introduced to only enhances their material existence, and only after prolonged periods of offensive chanting may such unfortunate kanistha adhikaris come gradually to the level of madhyam adhikari, the level where one starts to understand the depth of one's conditioning and the absolute need to accept Krsna consciousness as it is and not as we would like to have it.

Once, Srila Prabhupada said that if the leaders of the world really understood the message delivered in his books, they would kill him instantly. Fortunately, covered by the illusory energy of the Lord, Krsna Consciousness is mostly viewed today as being non-threatening to the demoniac policies of leaders of society, and some of the leaders of this movement seem to be eager to ensure that it stays that way.

But not all demons are that foolish.

Recently, I met one of the Russian mathajis who pioneered Krsna Consciousness in that wasteland filled with devotees. As we know, the first generation of devotees in Russia faced the most severe type of prosecution, as chanting of the Holy Name was instantly defined by the local demons as some sort of mental disease. Consequently, ALL Russian bhaktas were, after heavy interrogation, locked into mental institutions and „treated" with severe types of medication. (In the USA, criminals were hired to kidnap devotees and „deprogram" them.) During this time, even this lady was seized by the KGB and interrogated. She finally asked the KGB officer why he and his institution perceive her, a simply chanting elderly lady, as such a big threat. In private, the officer gave up his interrogation methods for a moment and became honest. He said:
"It is not you we are concerned with. Do you remember how, some years ago, your publishing department had an information booth at the international book fair organised in St. Petersburg? It was there that your books were introduced into Russia, and it was there that they were freely purchased by the visiting professors of the university. As these books became study material for the academic community, soon a syndrom appeared, which was alarming. To be a professor at a university required membership in the communist party. But soon, one after another, the professors started to quit their membership and distance themselves from the communistic doctrines. It took us a while to find out why they do so, but finally we linked them all to your books, which they studied so eagerly. So it is your books that are the real threat to us, not you."

It is for this reason that Srila Prabhupada made book distribution the foremost activity for his preachers and those who are eager to create the basis of Krsna Consciousness on which later generations of devotees can stand.

From a bodily point of view, the reality revealed by Krsna in the Bhagavad Gita seems very alarming. From a spiritual point of view, it isn't, as Krsna instantly revealed the positive alternative on how to practise spiritual life even in this material world.
The way to understand the temporary nature of the world we are living in and the permanent nature of the world we should return to is perfectly described in Srila Prabhupada's books.

Srila Prabhupada declared war on the illusory energy of the Lord, reclaiming so many from Maya's grip. Anybody desiring to reverse that process may also be facilitated by the Supreme Lord; even Krsna is most unwilling to do so. Everything is based on our desires and the position of our hearts. But those who truly practise Krsna consciousness are better prepared to be attacked by the demoniac class of men, as they constitute an absolute threat to their policies regardless of whether they plan to do so or not.

The more purely Krsna Consciousness is presented, the more aggressive will be the response from the atheistic class of men. The more deluded and perverted it is presented, the more the demons will be at ease with what we have to say.
Let not the words of the German anti-sect group of priests become true, who wrote in one of their last reports that „Krsna Consciousness is not anymore of our concern as the movement is engaged in a procession of self-destruction."

This is not the legacy Srila Prabhupada entrusted to us. In full faith in Krsna's protection, following in the foot steps of Prahlad Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada fearlessly introduced us to a completely opposite lifestyle from what the demons would like us to be. He called for total independence from all demoniac policies and the creation of self-sufficient farm-based communities on the basis of Varnasrama dharma society, and simultaneously, he made us aware that our time here in this world is very limited, as are our bodies. Achieving a high type of consciousness and seeing this body only as a temporary tool to express oneself, one can get enlightened and detached from whatever comes our way in terms of bodily pains and pleasures.

This universal and anti-bodily consciousness gives us the widest range we can operate from. To see oneself as an eternal servant of the Supreme Lord lifts one from the mediocre, minimalistic type of existence filled with fear the demons try to lock us in. As we used to say to the policemen putting their guns on our heads while catching us when distributing Srila Prabhupadas books, "You can kill me, but you will not kill my soul. I will come again." Some of these angry men instantly put their guns away; we must have sounded truly convincing.

Krsna sends a firm message to all the love preachers and freedom lovers in this world: there will be no love and no freedom without Krsna Consciousness, as all the sentimental dreamers will have to follow the law of karma, a law nobody can escape from.

But we have a choice. That choice was given to us by Srila Prabhupada and the Supreme Lord. We can abstain from the lies and demoniac doctrines dictated to us by demoniac leaders, and we can embrace the reality of non-bodily existence while still living in our bodies. This is the genie of the Supreme Lord; one can use the very same conditioning body to become liberated from it. Let's embrace this liberating process to its fullest extent. We don't need any authorization to become ecstatic devotees of the Lord. The process is already authorised.