A nice house program about the meaning of surrender, a balanced and happy Krsna Consciousness Life with Krsna as the Supreme Life Coach who finds a perfect situation for all of us and how Krsna is not a square-headed autocratic adult.
The night Srila Acaryadeva arrived, he gave a wonderful darshan at Jaya Gauri and Mahavira Prabhu’s home. He walked around and talked with devotees first, including some of the youth who have been active with the summer youth bus program that travels to many Ratha-yatras in the U.S. and Canada to spread Krishna consciousness. He agreed with them that we should do something to help people. He said, “Whatever we do, we should try to help people.”
Acaryadeva then began the darshan by expressing that as he is getting older, he is appreciating more and more the association of devotees. He said that people say they appreciate his association, but he says he appreciates theirs. He said that when people come to him and want to hear from him about Krishna, it is the happiest, most satisfying thing for him! He feels grateful because devotees give him the chance to talk about Krishna and in this way, purify him and save him.
In the course of his discussion, Acaryadeva talked about psychological atheism – — that instead of keepng Krishna in the center of our lives, we put ourselves in the center. And whatever we want, we see Krishna as acting to fulfill our desires. Acaryadeva talked about how in ISKCON, now that most of us are not living in the asrama, it requires more self-discipline to keep ourselves focused and engaged in Krishna’s service. He asked us, “If scholars were to look at what we’re doing now, would they consider it more a religious society (performing rituals and ceremonies), or would they see it as a spiritual movement?” He urged us to be responsible to see that we are making this a spiritual movement.
Then Acaryadeva talked about surrendering to Krishna and said that if people say that they’re not ready to surrender to Krishna yet, it means that they’ve misunderstood the philosophy. “Krishna is the kindest person; He doesn’t hold it against you that you turned away from Him.” He told the story of Krishna coming to Queen Vaidarbhi and reminding her of their old friendship.
Acaryadeva said that Krishna is not some vengeful God like the God of Abraham, Issac, and Moses… He is our greatest friend and well-wisher. He knows each of us better than anyone else ever will. And He has the perfect program, tailor-made for each of us, that will satisfy our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs and help us to come back to Godhead. Acaryadeva said that we have to deal with our human needs because you can’t go back to Godhead as a frustrated though devoted person. Krishna knows what you need. It’ s not that if you surrender to Krishna, He’ll make you do something you’re not wanting to do. The bottom line is to trust Krishna. He’ll give you just what you need to make progress.
Acaryadeva also emphasized that when we surrender, it’s not like we can stop on a dime, just like when we’re driving very fast in the wrong direction. He said that “once you make that very sincere declaration of surrendering yourself to Krishna, it’s not that all your material desires just suddenly go away. No, it takes some time to actually come to a full stop and to turn around and go back so many miles to get to the place where you started going the wrong direction…” “So Krishna knows this,” Acaryadeva said, “and sometimes it takes some time to get there.”
Acaryadeva has a unique way of thinking about things and a truly memorable way of presenting them. At one point, he told us that “Krishna is so… not stiff…He came as Lord Surfer –not to strap some hard board around His ankle, but He came as a fish. And He didn’t surf in some Californian or Hawaiian waves… He was gliding up and down the Waves of Devastation, which were thousands of feet high!” “And He came as a hog. Talk about how much Krishna’s not like the Judeo-Christian God… Coming as a hog… sort of goofy. Krishna’s just so remarkable!”
Srila Acaryadeva also talked about being interested in people. He told a story about devotees who were failing in their preaching because they were “just preaching.” When either Prabhupada or he advised them to really take an interest in the people, they did so– and the people started taking an interest in Krishna and began asking questions. Acaryadeva said that there is no question of devotion to God or love for God without love for people. He was saying that it’s good that we’re not all in asramas “because now we can infiltrate society from wherever we are.” By our characteristics and activities, we can attract people to Krishna.
Srila Acaryadeva also talked about cloning and in vitro fertilization and said that there is no “one right opinion” on these ethical and moral issues. He said that “people like to think there is, or should be, one stand or view that is the Vedic view, but scholars have always disagreed.” I asked about prostitution and he referred the question to Jaya Hari dd, who is pursuing Women’s Studies and History at the University of Florida. She brought up the idea of prostitution as a business venture for women. To this Acaryadeva added, “…one that requires little capital to start… or overhead to run…or expensive equipment… Just use what you’ve got!” That got everyone chuckling!
Srila Acaryadeva brought up the point of a marriage of love and a marriage of prudence. He said he’s heard from many women that security is an important issue. Women–or men, he said, are often willing to make an exchange to get something they value. He was beginning to say something about this being the case in many marriages when someone asked if he was saying that in all or most marriages the women are prostitutes! He assured her that this was not what he meant. Before he could say more about it, the topic suddenly got swept into talk about Jesus being buried in Kashmir, something someone had read in a book, to which Acaryadeva gave a very interesting and scholarly historical narration explaining why that was not true. He also mentioned ” The Davinci Code” and said that the only thing that was really true about it was that those who took over the Christian religion took the women out.
When, near the end, a guest asked why it was so hard to surrender to Krishna, Acaryadeva very kindly told her that “surrendering to Krishna is difficult in this age because people are moving so fast. They have no time to think deeply.” He told her “but, if we just start from where we are, and take baby steps–we’ll make progress.”