Are we brainwashed?

Whenever I hear preachers giving Harikatha, they are enthusiastically talking about how Krishna will support us, the maha-mantra will deliver the whole world, we are so fortunate to have association with pure devotees etc. I find myself looking at their enthusiasm with a bit of an unbelief. Do they really believe what they say? Wholeheartedly? I see the enthusiasm, I see the glimmer in their eyes, and I wonder. How are they able to do that?

I wouldn’t be able to preach something I don’t believe. I question everything, including myself. One of the main mysteries is simply this: Why do I keep on believing in Gurudeva and Krishna consciousness? I don’t understand what drives me forward. Really.

The vedas said that Vishnu grew the universe from a lotus from his navel. I mean, if I were a designer, sure – why wouldn’t I create the universe from a lotus from my navel?

Bhu-mandal is like lotus petals – why not a rose? Isn’t this a sign of lack of creativity using the lotus parabole again and again? Lotus eyes, lotus feet.

And the feets. I bow down to feets, wash, massage, a speck of dust from the feets. I mean, this is a language of reverence telling us how to view everything as holy. The language itself is set up to brainwash us. Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Goswami Maharaja tridandi…. the titles themselves take up so much space that you hardly see the person. The language hides the person behind all the titles. It creates awe, reverence, a bit of fear of what the person might know (about you).

We walk around and bow down to a bush, for christ sake. The dolls on the altar are real. I will give you all these details about a fairy tale, and if you just believe hard enough, you will get there like in the Wizard of Oz.

Yet… when we discuss sastra, we do it logically, based on sastra. We look at the arguments and try to find holes in them.

The truth is, the reason we keep on working on our bhajan is an emotional decision. When we need to defend our reasons, we do it logically even though it’s an emotional decision behind it.

When things are incredibly hard, why can’t I give it up? I want to eat meat because it’s convenient, but every time I actually contemplate it I become so grossed out. I can’t imagine a life without Krishna, though I find it so unfair that he makes it so hard to reach him. It takes millions of lifetimes to reach him – I mean, this is ridiculous. He will never show himself to us unless we are 100% devoted – I mean, this is ridiculous. Why not before so that I’m motivated? It’s cruel to make it so hard. Why can’t I enjoy my moccas while serving him at the same time?

Why do I have to become 100% brainwashed before He “proves” himself?

And yet.. this is still the deal I have signed up for, and I think it’s fine. I will just continue like before and if He wants me He will get me there. If not, well, fine.

Why do I keep on believing in Gurudeva and Krishna consciousness?

All I can say is that it’s an emotional decision. Brainwashed or not. But I still question everything.

 

Why do bad things happen to good devotees?

18422_496260270410358_1689781222_n1When hardships befall us, it’s easy to blame Krishna. I do. Krishna takes control of our lives, so that means that whatever hardships that happen is because of Krishnas will. That’s a hard opinion to have, but I do. I did. I also say Krishna takes control of our lives – not Guru. It’s easier to blame Krishna, than Guru. Guru becomes too personal, I don’t want to weaken the bond.

In the beginning I thought that when we got initiated that Guru took away our karma. Now I know that he doesn’t. Guru engages us instead in devotional service that destroys karma. It is said that chanting one Nama removes sins from countless lives. So why do bad things still happen to good devotees?

Karma in the life of a devotee is a very complex subject. Insastra it is said that chanting a mere reflection of the holy name of Krishna (namabhasa) has the power to destroy one’s manifest (prarabdha) karma.

Karma and Sri Guru

Wouldn’t our chanting lessen the burden to the degree that bad things became obsolete in  devotees?

Now I understand that karma in aspiring devotees are instead lessened, not removed. It means bad things will still happen, but the effect of it will be lessened. Last for a shorter time.

Hearing and chanting about Krishna under the guidance of sri guru combined with the guru’s grace destroys one’s karma. Of the two, effort in sadhana and the grace of the guru, the latter is more important, linga bhuyastvat tad hi baliyah tad api(Vs. 3.3.45).

So as long as we keep on serving our own interests, karma will be on our tail. Karma still can’t be proved in any way. It’s still a theoretical knowledge to me, but I guess all of this philosophy is. Knowledge without realizations.

So how can this help us in our understanding of hardships? For me it soothes a little bit knowing that my karma has been lessened. By understanding this I take away a little of the blame I’m placing at Krishnas feet.

This relation I have to krishna now – the anger, the blame, the disappointment. There isn’t much aishvarya there. This is personal. This is my heart. He has to take the good with the bad, just as I am right now and in the future.

I can’t see how these hardships will strengthen our bond, how this will make me closer to Him.

But of course, you can’t see that when you are in the middle of it. Only long after the dust has settled.