Sex is the overwhelming obsession of modern society. Sexual promiscuity is so unrelentingly stressed that anyone who does not appear to the highly interested in it is generally considered to be a crank. Social pressure induces people to try to maintain juvenile lustiness long after the sensual high of youth has subsided. Thus millions of people remain emotionally immature all their lives. It is a sick world.
This article appears on the AL-Jazeera news website (under a different title): People in the country of Greece have started leaving the cities and going back to the Land.
At the end of another year of painful austerity and mouting debts, Greece’s battered economy is seeing over 1,000 workers lose their jobs every day.
On the surface, many cities still looks prosperous, but the nation’s deep crisis is clearly reflected in the windows of hundreds of empty shops. More than one million Greeks are unemployed, which is one-quarter of the workforce, and the country is facing a youth unemployment rate of 58 percent.
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An Echo from Ancient Greece by Suhotra Swami
“Look upon this Oedipus, he who knew the famous riddle and was the most successful of men. Who among the citizens did not look upon him with envy? Into what a great wave of disasters he has crashed. So that, looking at that final day, count no mortal happy until he has passed the limit of his life suffering no pain.”
*Oedipus the King* by Sophocles
The nature of man and his struggle with ignorance, and the disastrous truth that ignorance obscures, is the theme of the tale of King Oedipus related by the classical Greek playwright Sophocles. Even now, almost two and a half millennia after it was written, the dramatic insight of *Oedipus Tyrannus* (Oedipus the King) cannot fail to fascinate the reader. Sigmund Freud wrote, “In the very text of Sophocles’ tragedy there is an unmistakable reference to the fact that the Oedipus legend had its source in dream-material of immemorial antiquity “ The reason *Oedipus Tyrannus* remains so gripping, Freud believed, is that Sophocles translated it from the inchoate but enduring language of the *psyche*, the “voice within us which is prepared to acknowledge the compelling power” of this tragedy.
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.
This wicked mind, which is never to be trusted, should be broomsticked every morning with such warnings as, “Be not anxious to find fault with others, or to declare thyself a true sincere, bonafide bhakta, which certainly thou art not!” there is an adage to the effect that “para-carccakera gati nahi kona kale – a man who is habituated to criticize others conduct will never prosper!” Let others do whatever they like, I have no concern for them. I should rather find fault with my own damned mind and think like the Vaishnava mahajana [His father Thakur Bhaktivinode from Saranagati] who sings:
amara jibana, sada pape rata
nahiko punyera lesa
para-sukhe duhkhi, sada mithya-bhasi
“Ever engaged in vicious activity… and without the slightest trace of virtue in me. A liar as I am, always sorry at others pleasures and merry at other’s sorrows, troubles and cares.”
We like to be in company of good, nice and friendly people where we feel comfortable and pleasant, but we have no choice, we have to associate with bad people which we do not like. Krsna is supremely independent and has no obligations – He associates with His devotees only and reveals Himself to them only.
An oft asked question by devotees and non-devotees alike is; why isn’t God directly present before us here in the material world in person. Any answer to this question can only be given after an in-depth analysis of the fundamental reasons for the existence of the material manifestation, as well as the reasons for the descent of the jiva into this material realm. One also has to consider the distinct nature of the intimate relationship between the pure devotee who are present in material world and the lord.
To fulfill the purpose of the material creation
The whole purpose of the creation of the material manifestation is to give the jivas a chance to try and enjoy by themselves without putting Krsna at the centre. Thus if Krsna were to be present here, it would defeat the whole purpose of the reason for the existence of a material world. The jiva can only act to satisfy his desires if he is made to forget who he really is (a servant of Krsna) and that there is a supreme person who is the source of everything and the lord of all. The material world is characterized by the absence of Krsna and His entourage. The constituents of dull matter are separated energies of Krsna, bhinnä prakåtir añöadhä (Bg 7.4) as opposed to the internal energy of Krsna which is directly under Him. Therefore Krsna’s absence from the material world can be taken as a form of mercy to preserve the free will of the Jiva and allow him to follow his own personal program of enjoyment without Krsna, as he desires. This would include the fulfillment of the desire of the atheist to prove that ‘there is no god’ and to live his life accordingly and of the impersonalist to peacefully achieve his desire to deny the personal form of god and to merge into Brahman which to him is the highest aspect of the absolute truth.
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The purpose of this humble endeavor is encapsulated in the words of our the Founder Acarya of ISKCON – AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada in his lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.10 given on September 9, 1976 in Vrndavana, India:
“So as far as possible, try to understand. As advised by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, siddhanta baliya citte na kara alasa, don’t be lazy. Always try to understand Krsna, siddhanta, by siddhanta, by Vedic conclusion — not by manufacturing ideas. Siddhanta. Don’t be lazy. That is the instruction of Kaviraja Gosvami: