(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Stockholm, June 2011)
I was in the Himalayas in a place called Mcleod Ganj. Mcleod Ganj was the residence of the Dharamshala. Yes I was there and you had the Tibetan temple. There were many people looking at the temple and praying. A little bit down from the mountain there was a Tibetan library. It was a huge library….it was a very good library actually. Of course, with an overtone of Tibetan Buddhism and so on. It had many other books also. So they got young people from all over the world, going to that Library – it was a very powerful preaching tool.
Everyone would go to that library. In that library they were running courses! They have a lot people there doing the courses. There were little tea shops, which served Tibetan tea with butter and fresh hot Tibetan bread, in which early in the morning that was the place to be in the cold mountain weather. So they were all sitting there having some bread and Tibetan tea, and all these conversations. Then I overheard someone say to another person,
“Are you already going to the meditation courses?”
“Yeah, I am actually”.
“Are you going to the first or the second level?”
“I’m going to the first level”.
“Oh yes….yes. I remember when I used to do the first level, which was kind of difficult at first…isn’t it?”
That kind of conversation….I think you know the kind of conversation, because you don’t have to go all the way to Mcleod Ganj hear that kind of conversation. It’s basically showing off that it’s all status. Showing off to the neighbours as to who’s the best, who’s the greatest and when I heard that I thought:
“This is all fake! These people are not sincere. They are just doing it for status. They are not sincere in their spiritual endeavours”.
I was not impressed. So I kept on looking and, saw someone there who was dressed up as a medieval monk, but he was not celibate. So what is the benefit of that! All this hollow external spiritual life, that was missing in substance. I was not impressed, so I was looking for more sincerity, but then when I became confronted with the devotees that were bit too much on the other side! They were too serious! I mean they were so serious about spiritual life that it was kind of shocking me! It’s like:
“These guy are full on…….this is just a bit too full on. Wait a minute, it’s going too fast. I am not sure if they really want this.”
And I slammed on the brakes with all my sincerity, and then I realised that I am not as sincere as I thought I was, since they are more sincere than I am! That was a bit of a shock. So I left for a while to digest that, and then got more serious.
So it’s a fact that Prabhupada on the strength of his own sincerity brought people to sincerity, simply by his own bhakti; by his own example; by his own surrender. Everyone then felt:
“Alright, then I should also do something”.
It can be done, and it’s possible! Prabhupada is such a person who proved that in this day and age saints do exist! And it is possible. It’s not just something of the past!