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One Must Recognize One's Needs

Aug 18, 2007
I am studying several books (in addition to my Kcon studies) right now that deal with the structure of different types of organizations, the power of Authority, books on Non Violent Communication (which I am using as source material for several courses I am putting together on Empathy and conflict resolution), and material that helps me develop strategies for presenting Kcon to the world in general. Of course all these materials have to be properly digested and adapted so that they don't conflict with our philosophy. This is quite a challenge, but also an exciting one. It is exciting for me because the whole purpose is to help others. Otherwise I would not be interested in any of this material.

One must recognize one's needs (spiritual and otherwise). I have been considering why devotees have so many problems in their spiritual lives and relationships. Observing Srila Prabhupada I see the perfect example of how Krishna consciousness should be executed. I just wrote to one of my Godsisters as follows: Prabhupada on the other hand was in complete touch with his needs and was very affectionate to all and not engaged in excessive austerities. His life is a perfect example of spiritual harmony and balance.

Just had a conversation with one of my disciples via skype. She has to spend a lot of time outside the temple environment relating to those who are not familiar with Krishna consciousness. Sometimes the devotees in the temple look down upon her and others whose life takes them outside the protected environment of a temple. In the beginning of the conversation the word "non-devotee" was used and I made the point afterwards that we have to be very careful in using language that creates division. In ISKCON we have many designations that create division not only between our members and others but also within ISKCON. We have devotees/non-devotees, devotees/demons, devotees/raksasas, devotees/karmis, advanced devotee/sense gratifier, etc.

There have been many studies that indicate that the more divisive language is used the more a particular culture experiences conflicts internally and externally and these conflicts sometimes become violent conflicts. So, I prefer to think of people who are not practicing Kcon to be "aspiring devotees," who are not yet aware that they are aspiring. They are aspiring in the sense that they want Krishna but are not aware that they want Him. They are innocent. According to our philosophy a madhyama Adhikari should see those who are not opposed to Kcon as being innocent.

When I think in terms of innocence or in terms of people wanting Krishna but not being aware that they want Him, the thought naturally leads to compassionate thinking and action. We should be cautious whenever we use divisive, judgmental language. The sastras contain very clear descriptions because it is necessary to present the siddhanta in a way that one will not be confused, but in daily life one must exercise caution in applying these designations. I have already been getting some favorable feedback from devotees about the blog. Many are encouraged by it. It is important to be able to communicate feelings and thoughts about Krishna conscious realizations and service. It is almost as if Krishna told is forcing me to communicate because He does not want me to keep these thoughts/realizations to myself.

I read several things today in Srila Prabhupada's books that inspired me in my search for real compassion/empathy. One particular verse really struck me (from the SB 4.12.36): "The self-effulgent Vaikuntha planets, by whose illumination alone all the illuminating planets within this material world give off reflected light, cannot be reached by those who are not merciful to other living entities. Only persons who constantly engage in welfare activities for other living entities can reach the Vaikuntha planets." For me the operative word in this verse is "constantly." In order to achieve this constant status one has to be impelled by intense love/empathy/compassion for all living entities.
About the Author
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