Q: If devotees are being protected by Krishna then why do we suffer?
A: This is what I call the Disneyland conception of spiritual life, where Krishna is like Mickey Mouse. Kids go to Disneyland and Mickey’s there welcoming them: ‘Welcome to my happy Magic Kingdom”. You go in there and everything is like a cartoon world, it’s all laughter and happiness and entertainment and that’s all.
There are people who seem to think that this is what ISKCON should be like. ISKCON should be a Disneyland, and if it’s not a Disneyland then there’s something wrong and we have to get together to have meetings to fix it. But as far as I can understand this idea is totally alien to the Vedic conception of dharma and human life. This actually comes from the Western conception of life. It’s said that God gave Adam and Eve a Garden of Eden, an earthly paradise and everything was nice. So people have this idea that if we become nice again, like Adam and Eve, pure and innocent, then God better give me a Garden of Eden or there’s gonna be trouble.
There’s a history to this. This whole Western conception originally comes from a Vedic sage who deviated. He is mentioned in the Rg Veda as Jarutha. and is known in Western history by the name Zarasthustra. He started a religion called Zoroastrianism, which is the first of the Western religions. After Zoroastrianism came Judaism, then Chrisitanity, then Islam: it’s like a sampradaya.
Jarutha was a brahmana, a priest of the demigod Varuna. Jarutha was the first one to conceive of an earthly paradise and that there will be a messiah who will come. He came up with the notion that all the bodies will be raised out of the ground and judged and the bad ones will go to Hell and the good ones will inherit the Earth. The Earth will become like heaven and that will be the reward for our pious activities: we’ll live forever on the Earth in an eternal material body.