All We Need is Love And…

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By Praghosa dasa

Something that every embodied soul has in common is their search for love and affection but how many of us know where to find that love, affection, shelter, security and bliss of real loving reciprocation?

It is generally understood that when a child cries or a husband gets moody, a wife becomes demanding or a teenager becomes rebellious, it is often a hidden plea for some attention.

This desire for attention manifests in many odd ways in today’s world. In the last few years there has been the phenomena of reality TV wherein people will literally do the most absolutely bizarre things to get some attention. Attention via this medium is of course the poor, impoverished relation of real love, a genuine pauper, and in the case of reality TV often those seeking such attention become little more than freaks in a freak show. While reality TV is not the only culprit offering false imitations of love, it does somehow encapsulate the obvious desperation of the lost souls need for being loved. It should also be mentioned that we do not have to focus exclusively on the non devotee community to observe this phenomena, I am sure that we all have experience of this dynamic in our devotee communities, indeed it is likely that most of us have also cried out for such attention ourselves. As devotees we know that this love that is being sought cannot be found in any endeavour that does include discussion about the supreme Personality of Godhead;

“Krsna is our most intimate master, friend, father or son and object of conjugal love. Forgetting Krsna, we have created so many objects of questions and answers, but none of them are able to give us complete satisfaction. All things–but Krsna–give temporary satisfaction only, so if we are to have complete satisfaction we must take to the questions and answers about Krsna.

SB 1.2.5 purport.

Srila Prabhupada also mentions that whether we are an insignificant ant or Lord Brahma we can never be happy seeking love in this material world as no matter what plans and arrangements we make they will all be fully thwarted by the relentless march of time.

Devotees of Krsna are so fortunate, not least because of their awareness of this relentless march of time, so naturally (even though still prone to material allurements) they know that real happiness cannot be found in this temporary world. How unfortunate though are those souls who are not even aware of this reality? What to speak of actually trying to addressing it as they relentlessly engage in the futile pursuit of trying to become happy by endeavouring to become the centre of the universe, the centre of all attention.

While we know that when the senses are engaged in this way they are effectively out of control;

Under the spell of illusion, living entities are trying to be lords of all they survey, but actually they are dominated by the material energy of the Lord. The Lord is the master of material nature, and the conditioned souls are under the stringent rules of material nature. Unless one understands these bare facts, it is not possible to achieve peace in the world either individually or collectively.

SB 5.29 purport

Still many times Srila Prabhupada stresses how the vast majority of people are more or less innocent and are lacking direction. So what a sad and paradoxical scenario we have, wherein unlimited numbers of living entities are all searching for that which we are all looking for, that which can only satisfy our real needs and interests yet due to a lack of direction are instead making rapid progress toward achieving the exact opposite of what they need and crave.

In that sense the material world is the mother of all frauds and unless we have the good fortune and insight to accept the help of one who knows the science of self realisation we will end up attracted to that which will simply result in further suffering.

The moth is captivated by the glaring beauty of the fire, and when he comes to enjoy it, the blazing fire consumes him.

SB 2.2.17 purport

Even as practising devotees we have to remain vigilant and always be eager to deal with our anarthas. The essence is to always remain fixed in servant as opposed to master conciousness, otherwise even as we advance pitfalls remain. We understand that there are four main anarthas of which weakness of the heart is the first and a few manifestations of weakness of the heart are - attachment to objects which have no relationship to Krsna and the desire for recognition. So we can see that while desiring recognition maybe a plea for wanting real love, in and of itself it is not enough, we have to eventually turn it from a selfish desire to a selfless one. This of course is a bona fide part of the Krsna conscious process – facing such anarthas head on and not trying to avoid them or convincing ourselves that they are something negative in our spiritual journey.

So all of us are in need of direction, whether we are taking the first and even unknown steps in spiritual life or whether we have been endeavouring on the bhakti-marg for many years. And what better direction or instruction for all of us than the following definition of love (what we are all searching for) as given by Rupa Goswami;

“to give everything and expect nothing in return”

Srila Prabhupada tells us that the closest we’ll find to real love (spiritual love) in this material world is the love shown by a mother to her child, which generally means she gives everything and expects nothing in return. Such selfless service as evidenced by a mothers love for her child is also often - ahaituky apratihata – unmotivated and uninterrupted, which when transferred to our service to Krsna results in us being completely satisfied.

When there is not a single hint of any personal motivation or selfish agenda in our service to Krsna, everyone is ever-increasingly blissful and satiated. The whole philosophy of sambhoga (meeting) and vipralambha (separation) between Krsna and His pure devotees is such an amazing science of how the interaction between these two elements can result in unlimited and unimaginable ecstasy. The emotions evoked by the agony of separation are the very reason why the bliss of meeting is ever intensified and vice versa.

We understand that this material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world and we can see how perverse the search for love in the material world is when compared to what is available to us in the spiritual world.

So whether it be reality TV, a house by the sea, a career in DC or a bomb mission in Govi (indas) all are painful substitutes for the genuine article. Let me elaborate on the ‘bomb mission’ in Govindas.

Recently in one of our Govinda’s restaurants, shortly before closing time, a staff member (Pancajanya) came across a bag in one of the bathrooms. They thought it looked suspicious so they phoned me (I was out of the country at the time) and explained how they could see wires and metal tubes inside the bag and while they were no experts, they thought it was either a bomb or something passing off as a bomb. Being the good boss that I am :) I told Panca to get everyone out of the building and I would call the police. Panca responded by saying “Oh don’t call the police, it is probably nothing and they will either laugh at me or worse get on my case for wasting their time, maybe I should just go and have a closer look at it myself?” To which I replied “Well why didn’t you have a closer look at it when you first saw it?” To which Panca answered “Because I thought it was a bomb” “Well [I said] so you now want me to agree that you go back up and have a closer look at something you thought was a bomb? I don’t think so………”

With that I called the police and within minutes two uniformed officers arrived and went upstairs to look at the suspicious object and they concluded (the same as Panca had) yep that looks suspicious – we’re not touching it! So they called in some plain clothes detectives (not sure what difference a change of dress makes) who also went up and had a look and they then concluded - yep that looks suspicious – we’re not touching it! Next the army bomb disposal unit were called in and they sent two of their members up to have a look at the dubious package and surprise surprise they also concluded that - yep that looks suspicious – we’re not touching it! At this point they evacuated the whole street and all the buildings on it. Now we had a full-scale alert on our hands. The next step was they put on their special suits and sent one of their robots up to check the bag and yes you guessed it the robot came out and said - yep that looks suspicious – I’m not touching it :)

At this point I was getting a little worried because either it was a bomb and the whole building would be history or it was a hoax but they might decide to do a ‘controlled explosion’ which would still result in significant damage. In my mind I was rehearsing the phone call to the insurance company the next day and all I was hearing back was “Unfortunately your policy does not cover you for acts of terrorism”……..

As I was out of town while all this was going on, my only means of influence was via the phone with one of the detectives at the scene. I was pleading with him to avoid the controlled explosion scenario at all costs. As it happened the robot concerned was able to x-ray the bag and the conclusion was that there were no explosives inside, therefore they removed the bag without any damage whatsoever. They then sealed off the bathrooms and did a full ‘forensic sweep’.

Below you can see fotos from the restaurant of Dublin where it all happened. There are also fotos of the new one (which is now the 3rd Govindas restaurant in Dublin). Click on the thumbs to see the pictures enlarged

Like me you may be wondering why I’ve narrated this story and what its relevance to this article is :)

Well it turned out that the hoax was (what they describe as) ‘a very elaborate one’ and that whoever put it together ‘knew what they were doing’. It also included (as well as the wires and metal tubes) transformers, shrapnel and a timing device. The officer heading the investigation then asked me if I had any idea of who might be behind this hoax. His question took me a little by surprise and I almost retorted “ah sure there are too many for me to know where to begin”, instead I managed to control my sarcasm and simply said “I have absolutely no idea”.

He then went onto to outline 4 possible categories of person/s who might be behind it. The first category and the one that he seemed to rule out before he had finished describing them, was a one-off whacko out to create headlines and gain notoriety. The second category he mentioned were disgruntled staff or disgruntled members and he asked me did we have any, I said I’m sure we have many but surely none that would either have the expertise, or go as far as doing something like this?! The third category he suggested was an extremist group that was either specifically targeting us or was just generally trying to cause disruption and mayhem. The last category that he brought to my attention (and arguably the most worrying) was the suggestion that we might get a visit further down the road from someone offering ‘protection’ and if we inform them that we don’t need their services they might respond by saying “are you certain, I’m sure you wouldn’t want a repeat of what happened last month, only this time it being the real thing……”

In the days that followed I thought more about the categories that he outlined and how they all are ultimately lost souls who are in need of the loving affection we have been discussing. The detective himself indicated that the motive of any one-off whacko would simply be to gain recognition or attention. He didn’t go as far as to say it was a cry for love but we can fill in the blanks. Next on his list were disgruntled staff, well the very word disgruntled means dissatisfied or discontented, again love or the lack of it would seem to be a big factor. As for the possibility of it being some terror group, we often hear how the members of these groups are promised untold rewards if they do the needful for the cause. Although misguided their motive (in their own minds at least) again appears to be based on a search for love or happiness. Finally the category that was the most disturbing and also the most difficult to connect to a desire for love was the extortionist one, but I suppose they also feel that they will be get some security or love by maintaining their macho imagine and making lots of money, thus attracting a certain kind of appreciative follower or subordinate. The extortionist of course fits into the classic category of ‘lording it over’ again a desire to be the centre of attention – the main man.

Regardless of which category above was responsible for the incident the fact is that they all are based on a selfish principle and as such the nett result is suffering all round.

On the other hand, as the well known saying goes, “giving is better than receiving” this selfless principle is a genuine reflection of the mood of the spiritual world and is the only satisfying way of finding love both for oneself as well as all others. It is also more or less the mood expressed above by Rupa Goswami “give everything and expect nothing in return”.

Somehow we need to be able to get through to all those who are desperately seeking real love but due to the method of their search are receiving the exact opposite result. It can often be perplexing as to why it is not easier for us to achieve this preaching goal. Maybe we can say that because people cannot control their senses no amount of common sense (particularly if it is based on the principle of sreyas) will hit home, allowing the penny to drop. On the other hand it has more or less worked for all of us and there is little comparison or competition between hearing the blissful loving pastimes of Krsna and the preaching of most, if not all, other religious traditions.

Growing up in a Christian country it always fascinated me as to what the attraction was to a God depicted as either a thunderbolt thrower or as the person responsible for the horrific descriptions of what went on in hell. The icing on the cake being that if you found yourself there (a destination as a youngster I was convinced I was going to), there would be no way out!

Yet this preaching still goes on and is very effective in many parts of the world. We of course don’t need to be found wanting when it comes to fire and brimstone preaching, the 5th Canto can beat anything else hands down but we can also elaborately present Gods ultimate nature, a nature that is full of every increasing ecstasy;

By chanting Krsna’s holy name, one cleanses all the dust from the mirror of one’s consciousness. The blazing fire of material existence is then extinguished. This fire is especially severe in the present materialistic civilization, which is full of conflict, the hallmark of Kali-yuga. But extinguishing the fire of material existence is far from the final result of chanting. Indeed, it is only a preliminary consequence. Gradually, the knowledge that love of Godhead is the absolute necessity of life becomes clearer, the dark veil of ignorance is lifted, and one gets a glimpse of absolute knowledge. As the devotee realizes this transcendental knowledge, he feels ever-increasing spiritual ecstasy overwhelming his heart. This spiritual joy expands at every moment. Let the all-auspicious chanting of the holy name of Krsna be ever victorious!

RTW 5.1 purport

Or simply put - anandambudhi-vardhanam

For sure we can say that a lack of realisation on our part hinders the conveyance of this message to others but again that lack of realisation does not prevent us from continuing the process, so it shouldn’t really prevent others from taking it up. Another argument is that the concept of eternal damnation tends to focus the mind but when presented with the loophole of no eternal hell, and as many chances as we need to get it right, via reincarnation, some focus is perhaps lost. But that argument is easily dismantled when viewed in the context of the suffering that we all currently experience right now, what to speak of sporadic visits to andha-tamisra for a couple of million lifetimes on each occasion :)

As with most strategies having a twin-pronged approach is often most effective, therefore if we emphasise the glories of a loving relationship with Krsna and every once in a while remind ourselves of the downside of not having such a relationship, surely the results will come both for us and everyone else we come in contact with.

[kqf=1]

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1 nrsimhananda

Dear Praghosa prabhu,
PAMHO AGTSP
I was terribly pained to hear this brazen attack on the prosperity and sanctity of surely what is one of the world’s best, if not the best, Govinda’s restaurant on the planet. So I used by Hollywood connections to contact a celebrity psychic who has a near spotless reputation for solving even the most perplexing of crimes. I might add that I have used up a big chunk of my “you owe me” equity with this “A” list movie star in the process, but, due to love of the Irish devotional community, I couldn’t help myself from getting involved. I could have probably gotten the actor whom I beseeched to star in my next ITV production, but I thought that helping to crack your case was a more important use of my proverbial chips. The actor related the situation to the psychic, and I got an invitation the very same day. I arrived at the psychic’s mutilmillion dollar hilltop home wearing dhoti, tilak, and carrying a tiffin full of “curd with subji” to give the soothsayer just a taste of what it’s like to be in one of Dublin’s Govinda’s restaurants. That did seem to help because after eating all three tiers of it while blithering about “the best chili con carne” ever, the psychic fell into a deep trance and spontaneously started to mumble various mantras in Sanskrit. I was startled and curious. Unfortunately, I don’t speak the language fluently having recently just learned the pranam mantras by heart myself. Finally, the psychic started dancing and chanting Hare Krishna as if in a kirtan, then collapsed on the floor. I considered calling 911 emergency, but decided to take the opportunity to chant a few unfinished rounds. Just as I completed by daily vow, the psychic awoke to tell me of a vision complete with shamrock garlands and leapracan devotees. Seems as if you have been severely neglecting one of your own staff who has grown increasingly frustrated with getting your attention and love. This person has worked for you a long time, but over the years you have taken their presence increasingly for granted. No matter how well they performed in their tasks, no matter how many hours they dedicated, no matter how badly they got paid, if at all, you gave less and less attention. Their disappointment and anger grew from a simmer to a boil. Finally, they started to think of ways to get back at you. The terrorist approach is much more familiar to the Irish than other tactics due to the decades of violence in the north and of the similarity to the idea of the “Iskcon time bomb” used so often to describe the golubjamins sold in the restaurant. Those two ideas combined and expanded like puri dough puffs up in hot oil. The mind is so tricky and complicated, isn’t it? Anyway, the psychic said that you don’t have to involve the police or anyone else to find the culprit. You just need to look within your own sphere of influence - not amongst GBC’s where you may be suspecting some envious leaders thirsty to revenge the dubious notoriety that you have obtain even though you are not a guru (remember, this is the psychic’s words here) - but, I hesitate to say, within your own family itself. The psychic has seen, like Vidura, at a distance of time and space, your most valuable jewel, the “great” behind the man, your own wife, Goloka dd, resorted to such extreme measures just to get your attention. My humble suggestion is that you should spend a little more time on the home front giving that love and attention that you so eloquently describe in, what at best can be termed as, your “blog.” PS The psychic also forewarned me that I should mind my own business.

Comment posted by nrsimhananda on February 24th, 2007
2 Praghosa

Nice to hear from you Nrsimhanandaji and thank you for your doing so much to help find the culprit! I think you have now comprehensively solved the problem because if your psyed-kick is right then spending more time with the family won’t be a problem as Goloka will be spending the next few years behind bars (and not the ones at Govinda’s :-)

Comment posted by Praghosa on February 24th, 2007
3 Akruranatha

ROFL!! Nrsimhananda you are hilarious!

You really had me going at first, until you said there was an “A” list movie star that might have appeared in an ITV production. Then I *knew* you were just “taking the Micky” out of us. :-)

Ah, the things we do for love, like driving 900 miles in astronaut diapers to confront and possibly murder our romantic rival. The whole world is under the sway of Cupid, who makes dancing fools out of the greatest heroes, philosophers and politicians.

Budding love, urequieted love, lost love, love gone sour, wicked false lovers, love doomed by fate, etc. etc. ad nauseum, these are the themes of the vast majority of our novels, plays, films and popular music. As is evident in this “crow literature”, nondevotees do not know how or whom to love. Thus they rotate continuously in the hellish cycle of birth and death. As we begin to see this, all popular culture and even so-called high culture seems stale, boring, even malevolent.

People very easily sacrifice things, take great risks and even control their senses for the sake of achieving their romantic goals. If they only could realize how to love Lord Krishna, the proper object of love, they would automatically achieve all of the good qualities such as peacefulness, sense control, humility, tolerance, knowledge, realization, satisfaction, fearlessness, nonviolence– the holy qualities prized all over the world, which are achieved only by rare, saintly individuals.

What is more, they would achieve that true love which is completely satisfying and is the highest goal of life.

But it is easier said than done. Our lust covers this knowledge and repeatedly makes asses of us. To achieve Krishna, who is sending his confidential servants, scriptures, holy names just to reclaim us, we have to become duly initiated and learn how to perform bhakti yoga properly. It may be “simple for the simple,” but for most of us it is the undertaking of a lifetime. Surely, though, it is the only thing really worth achieving.

Sometimes nondevotees wonder about the existence of “true love”. Romantics have some inkling that it really exists, whereas cynics see no such thing in this world.

Devotees of Krishna know for a fact of the existence of true love. In fact, they know that the nondual Absolute Truth is most completely known through actual, deep, unshakeable love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

How could we really love someone who does not have the qualities of Lord Krishna? His form is supremely beautiful, fragrant, eternally youthful and free from death. Who could ever be as close to us as Krishna, who is truly the soul of our soul (i.e. the Supersoul in everyone’s heart)? Who can match Him in wit, charm, courage, or artistry?

When I think how my mother had a crush on Captain Kirk played by William Shatner back in the original Star Trek TV series, I feel bewildered and disgusted. What could she see in that chubby, arrogant jerk? And what did all those humanoid women in distant galaxies see in him? How could the scriptwriters ever think we would fall for that stuff? And how is it that millions of viewers did fall for it?

I lament that my mother died (at her own hands) before I could introduce her to Krishna. She believed in God, but she had no clear idea. I was only 15 and what could I do?

There is no end to human gullibility when it comes to the false simulacrum of love in this world. People get themselves stuck in horrible, hopeless relationships with misunderstandings, infidelity, domestic violence, even murder and suicide. But when we try to tell them about Krishna consciousness they think we are the gullible ones.

They misunderstand it to be another “religion”, that we are proselytizing out of some chauvinistic sentiment that our scripture, dogma, or community is best.

Krishna is so obviously the person we are meant to love. He is not a fictional character imagined by sages and poets. We can feel His presence and reciprocation, even in the very beginning stages of devotional service. Lord Caitanya is making this very easily available to everyone.

Unfortunately, most of the world knows hardly anything about Krishna, even though He is elaborately described in Srila Prabhupada’s books, along with explanations of how to love Him and descriptions of many examples of pure devotees who are perfect in such love.

So therefore I am going out on book distribution today in the mood of a matchmaker, hoping to introduce people to Krishna, their true “soul mate” and love of their lives. For some people I meet today, it may be “love at first sight”.

That geek on the “matchmaker.com” commercials has nothing on me. I do not even have to make an inventory of 26 aspects of your personality before I can match you up with your perfect lover.

Sri Sri Radha Madanamohan kijaya! May I be Your instrument today. May You remind the people I meet about their real self-interest from within their hearts. I pray for empowerment from Srila Prabhupada to distribute his transcendental books. May he be pleased with whatever insignificant service I perform in presenting his books to the people of Santa Cruz, who need these books so badly.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on February 25th, 2007
4 Akruranatha

As for the bomb scare, of course I am not a psychic, but the officer overlooked that there is a category of people who for some reason are just demonic and have an antipathy to the Krishna consciousness movement.

We used to encounter men traveling through U.S. airports who would try to physically harm the book distributors. (One guy used to smash men between the legs from behind with his steel briefcase).

The tragic events in Imphal last Janmasthami were clearly the result of some organized cultural/political violence and related extortion, but devotees remain targets of other demons who may have no ideology or organized strategy.

During the anthrax scare in the wake of 9/11/2001, someone sent an envelope containing white power to the San Jose temple. The return address gave the name of some fake Islamic society, but I doubt the perpetrators were really Muslims. The powder turned out to be harmless, but it was obviously not just a “gag” or stupid joke.

In the Vancouver temple in 1977 (back in Shaughnessy, before the temple moved to Burnaby), gangs of young men used to come by on Weekends after the bars closed and knock over our trash cans, shoot slingshots or small-calibre bullets through our windows (Once into the Deity room). They knew it was a Krishna temple and they apparently thought they were just horsing around and having some fun (the Vancouver police, to their great discredit, took a similar attitude).

Last year or the year before, at a harinama in Santa Monica on Ratha Yatra weekend, I met an Englishman who sincerely confessed that in his younger days as a football hooligan he and his mates attacked and beat up Hare Krishna devotees for sport. He bought a book and promised to read it.

These stories could go on and on. H.H. Indradyumna Swami’s wonderful Diary of a Traveling Preacher is full of many descriptions of skinhead thugs out to attack and hinder the Polish Krishna festivals.

One time I was on traveling sankirtan with Makana Cora and Vijitatma somewhere in western Canada. We were taking our showers in a public campground very early in the morning, and four beefy, body-builder types came into the washroom and started to pick a fight with us. They made fun of our shaved heads, our kaupins and dhotis, and the very notion that we should be practicing some “strange” alien religion (which they also made fun of). Vijitatma and I were quivering and trying to figure out what to do because it sure seemed there would definitely be a fight and these guys would mop the floor with us.

Then Makhana Cora, who was young and skinny at the time (I have not seen him in 30 years and miss his good nature and common sense) started just talking straight to these guys, fearlessly and truthfully: “You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. We have just as much right to be here as you. We are sincerely trying to serve God according to our understanding and that is no cause for you to pick a fight with us. . . etc.” I forget everything he said, but it did the trick. He convinced them they were in the wrong and they let us leave without laying a hand on us.

The more successfully we preach, the more we might expect a certain envious element to step up their attacks. Sometimes I am amazed at how little of this has gone on.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on February 25th, 2007
5 Praghosa

Your last sentence particularly caught my eye Akruranatha prabhu:

“Sometimes I am amazed at how little of this has gone on”

That is quite a concern because if it is someone who is specifically targetting devotees you would think it might be a case of “If at once you don’t suceed then try, try again”.

I wonder if there are any examples in our ISKCON history where such events were not one-offs? In otherwords where there was a prolonged and sustained campaign against the devotees, hopefully not and hopefully recent events in Dublin won’t be the start of such a trend.

One devotee did comment to me at the time much the same way as you have done:

“The more successfully we preach, the more we might expect a certain envious element to step up their attacks”

In that sense maybe I should be praying for more attacks? At least that way you could take some solace in your humble preaching efforts :-)

Your servant, Praghosa dasa.

Comment posted by Praghosa on February 26th, 2007
6 Akruranatha

We should remember to pray to Lord Nrsimhadeva for protection.

Please, please do not pray for more attacks. I am afraid your prayers will be answered. :-)

We might not all be like Queen Kunti who remembers Krishna in the face of calamity. We should pray for bhakti and strive to spread the message of bhakti. The Lord protects His devotees, and surely He is protecting this Hare Krishna Movement.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on February 26th, 2007
7 Unregistered

This site is great. I was sad to see Dipika be retired but this one is even better.
The articles are very nice and tend to be very positive and encouraging.

Your servant,
Anadi Krsna dasa

P.S. And the news here is even more current than on Mayapur.com, a site which I regularly visit.

Comment posted by Anadi Krsna dasa on March 1st, 2007

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    "Artwork and photos courtesy of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc. www.krishna.com. Used with permission"