HH KKS: So before I continue speaking I’m going to come up, It has two advantages: one it is good for my back and also I’ve been in the car and plane and everything today , right, so I’ll definitely want to stretch up a bit and the other thing is you will able to see me ..that will also help….. I’m kind of the informal type so I prefer to sit in front of the thing than to stand behind it and if you don’t mind..it feels more natural and more human…I feel kind of an alien when I stand behind that thing so if you don’t mind we’ll just speak like this.
So we are here seeing …When I first saw Hare Krishna I definitely had the opinion that I was dealing with aliens! It was in my home town and this grey van pulled in and the door flapped opened and many little pink men came out….too many! ( crowd laughs)…too many!
So my conclusion : Something fishy here, so watch out and I moved over to one side of the side walk and they came in my direction and I managed to get into a shop! …Phewwwww! ..it was close! … and someone said “ It’s a dangerous sect!”… Well it didn’t surprise me at all; I definitely suspected that that was the case!
So my first encounter was that : There was immediate suspicion, it was normal ….Later I travelled to India and when I travelled to India I saw so many things in India: I saw so many different temples with so many different statues inside and so much worship going on at every street corner, then I went to the holy river in Benares and I saw many priests sitting there with colours of powder and people would go to them and do rituals and I had no idea what it all meant: so I became some what inspired to read a little bit more about the tradition and the culture that was connected to all this … it was unavoidable after everything I had seen… subsequently I began to see that there was a very deep tradition and saw that there was a huge body of scriptures … not just one book but really a library of books dealing with a very large range of topics and that here we dealt with a culture that was highly developed thousands of years ago and had it’s own medical science, had it’s own architectural science, had many different aspects of science and culture, so it was interesting : for e.g I was reading one of the Vedic text books on medicinal sciences then I noticed that there was a system for determining fractures in bones by applying a particular bandage mixed in with a certain mixture of herbs which then after a while which would show a red line on the bandage exactly where the fracture was. So I was highly impressed…this is better than x rays …x rays as everyone knows you get zapped and you wonder what it does …it may show a nice picture but then again what does it do to the body?….
So in many ways I felt that it was impressive that they have a system to deal with these kind of things which was effective and healthy and so on. As I read further in the scriptures in the science of Aryuveda. Aryuveda is the medical aspect of the Veda which deals with Aryu..long life. So Aryuveda which if translated from Sanskrit means knowledge about a long life. And the whole principle of Aryuveda is to make the body healthy which is different to modern medical science, it’s like basically whenever you get sick then you give some medicine to suppress those symptoms and then after a while the medicine makes you sick and then you need a medicine to suppress the symptoms of that medicine and like this it goes on and it’s a whole business and it works well, it keeps the economy going ..so we can’t complain! That is how it is all set up: consuming, producing and so on ….
So Aryuveda ..it was approached to health…which is interesting : the idea was to make a person healthy and when you are healthy you don’t get sick. The only people in principle who are unhealthy ..they get sick. Those people whose natural resistance to disease is so low , the slightest germ will catch them ..they are the ones that get sick but when the natural resistance is high one doesn’t get sick ….that’s interesting…so I appreciated that. But that was not everything. There were other aspects to Vedic culture which were more philosophical.
One of the experiences I had on my journey in India which I will not likely forget was that I had a confrontation with death, not my death ..someone elses. I was in Benares and an old beggar was lying dead in the street. So as I saw this body lying in the street people were walking by, there was no ambulance, there was nothing like that, the crowd were just like” hmm” walking past and as they were walking past I was the only one who stood and watched, everyone put their hands in their pocket and threw some coins on the body and after ten fifteen minutes the body was covered in coins and I was thinking this is far out, this man has never seen so much money in his life! …now he is dead he is being buried in money..what is this? Are they fulfilling his last desire. So I was inquiring from someone: what is it all about?
He said “ Well, when somebody dies, then that person goes out of the body, looks down upon the body and can not enter…so everyone says ‘oh he is dead’ and he says ‘ no no I’m not dead I’m alive’ but nobody hears him, he cannot go back inside and tries to go back in that body….so for that reason traditionally the body must be burnt quickly so that this person can go onto his next destination and will not keep on hovering over the body and he has to go on to make what ever that is to the next destination. This man was poor and had no money for firewood and so everyone gives a little bit, so the wood can be purchased and his body can be burnt”………………And I was shocked..what a culture! If I compare that with the west, if I think of Switzerland, the land of the red cross, they will send a plane to the other side of the planet to save any of their citizens. If any Swiss citizen falls sick somewhere on the other side of the world , Africa , a plane would come out from Switzerland to bring him back and give him the best medical treatment , millions of dollars are spent to save a life in the west…not in the east ….no they didn’t spend anything but after he was dead they started to spend money on saving his soul.
So for me it was a total culture shock and I am sure for all of you the same ….now instead of getting values to it and comparing and saying which culture is better : our culture or their culture, instead of doing that …let us just observe the cultures, let us observe the differences and understand the differences and see what the values are that we can learn from other cultures….so anyhow I definitely started to think by this particular incident and therefore I was intrigued to read more Vedic literatures and when I came across the Bhagavad Gita then in the Bhagavad Gita I found a philosophy that was very very similar to what these people in the street there had told me : that at the time of death one goes out of the body and looks down on it etc…I found a similar philosophy in the Gita where it says that first of all the soul never takes birth, the soul never dies …..(More to come in part3)