Our social positions - a play only

Manidhara Das
06 May 2018

When Srila Prabhupada said on February 19, 1976 in Mayapur "Father, mother.. it's just a play..." He certainly wasn't rejecting our social duties and positions. But from the ultimate, spiritual point of view, these are finally situations generated from our temporary bodily existence. He also mentioned Lord Caitanya's intimate discourse with Ramanda Roy, where Ramananda describes the different situations of the soul explained in the Vedas progressively. Any time he makes a statement, Lord Caitanya doesn't reject it, but cautions him to go higher. By the time starting with varnasrama dharma and arriving at rasa lila, Lord Caitanya finally stops Ramananda, confirming that there is nothing more to be said.

And so regarding our social positions “it is a play only”, as many of us experienced in our lifetime. Those who didn't yet… they will!

One can be only a friend when one´s friendship is accepted, one can only be a husband or a wife when one is accepted in this way, one can only be a parent when one is accepted by once child to be so, one can finally only be a devotee when one is recognized by Krsna via His pure devotee.

To DESIGNATE oneself to the particular position is not only frustrating, but also dangerous. Krsna doesn't bless the designated ones, but the real ones, as He is specifically stressing in the third chapter of Bhagavad-gita (Bg. 3/6, Bg. 3/8, Bg. 3/33, Bg. 3/35, and finally Bg. 18/47).

To be simply designated makes one into a dysfunctional entity at best, or a hypocrite at worst.

And so in order to function in particular position, one needs the cooperation or the blessing of the other one.

In terms of our social position, the society is in total chaos where nobody knows anymore how to act to faciliate the other. In terms of our spiritual position, Srila Prabhupada defined it as "..disciple attacks the spiritual master. This is Kali Yuga."

And so often the only safe and secured position for a devotee is his given right to be the eternal servant of the Lord. Nothing can take this away from him, and even obstructed, let's say institutionally. (Yes, I am not alone who can document that even in spiritually motivated society such obstructing elements do exist. Even Srila Prabhupada had the unfortunate experience to be obstructed by envy of His godbrothers.) Finally a devotee has his constitutional right to serve the Lord to the best of his capacity.

When I joined Srila Prabhupada's movement in 1972, one of the "senior vaisnavas", the one who joined six months earlier than me:-), told me a most inspiring news: ”Krsna doesn't see what you are giving. He sees what you are hiding.” And so, even it wasn't much, I tried to give everything. I knew it's never enough, afterall everything belongs to Krsna. But even more so overwhelming was Srila Prabhupada's and Krsna's gratitude for my mediocre attempts to satisfy Them.

And so there is no need to seek a DESIGNATED position in times we are not socially able to act the way we may think we have to. Such "call of duty" can be ignored, as much Arjuna was encouraged to give up his social considerations. In his case the choice was easy. Those he desired to worship and serve to, stood on the other side of a battle field, ready to kill him. Things may not always be so clear. But we can only be what we try to be, when our attempts are accepted.

Even Srila Prabhupada after lifelong service had to admit that "as grhasta I was defeated". Finally he had to face the situation that it was the money his family members desired, not Him. Once there was no money, He couldn't be a father or even a husband.

Besides that Krsna called for Him to save the world :-)  And so He did. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!

Even we may not save the world, we may face the same dilemma, not to be able to be what we are supposed to be, once not followed or accepted. Every introspective guru certainly could document this by examples of his disobedient disciples. And so the world is full of desperate parents, desperate husbands, desperate wives, and desperate gurus. A perfect situation to develop a sincere desire to go back home, back to Godhead.