(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 24 April 2014, Radhadesh, Belgium, Caitanya Caritamrta Lecture)
At every moment, we are drowning in mercy – this is an amazing Movement! Our relationship is centered solely around Krsna and is meant to deal with the Absolute Truth, as it is presented in the scripture and in accordance with kala, desha, patra – time, place and circumstance, which actually means the reality of our situation.
This is what we are looking at – presenting Krsna consciousness according to the reality of our situation. That is my topic, my angle where we say, ‘I have to crystallize this Krsna consciousness to the point where it deals with the reality of where we are at.’ You can see that is actually what Prabhupada did. He dealt with the hippies from Lower East Side and brought Krsna consciousness down to them.
So certain things could be done and certain things could not be done. About ekadasi and deity worship; these things he kept simple and he did not get too much carried away in ritual. One could say that people were not qualified and therefore not able to deal with it – maybe, but that might have not been the sole reason. Another reason to keep the rituals simple might have been because it is, in a way, secondary to the substance of chanting Hare Krsna and of sankirtan.
Now, we are learning more and more and sometimes, a bit more ritual has come than what was existing in the 70’s. Alright, it can be there because this is the time when we have everything: we have the Vedic approach, we have the Krsna West approach, we have so many approaches, grihasta approach, brahmacari approach, we have academic approach… So as a Movement, we start to get many different approaches to Krsna consciousness. It is no longer just simply, ‘Do you wanna be a devotee?
‘Aww, well I think yes.’
‘Ok, why don’t you join the temple?’
‘Well, yes, I mean, I guess, I will join the temple.’ That was the 70’s. You want to be a devotee, then – join the temple! So it was either you want to be a devotee and join the temple or you are not a devotee; that is how it was. Now it is of course different, now it is more of what kind of devotee are you going to be?
A temple devotee, a congregational devotee, an academic devotee, a professional, or a type doing little business on a side and live close to the temple…? So many different ways of life and what to be? But then, there is somebody like me, who is of no help to such decisions in life, ‘Is it good if I move in a temple?’
‘Is it good if get a job outside and just chant sixteen rounds and follow the principles?’
‘Yes.’ It is all good.
‘Is it good if I get married?’
‘Is it good if I stay brahmacari?’
‘Yes.’ It is all good. See, I don’t give you any answers. All I do is hold options in front of your nose, ‘Well, you could do this or you could do that but you decide.’
‘But for God’s sake, tell me what to do!!!’
But I am not going to. I refuse; I don’t want to. The reason is that I don’t want dependent people; I want people who can make decisions and live by their decisions.
‘But please tell me what the right decision is?’
The answer is that on the material plane, anything dealing with material energy – there is no right decision, as every decision brings pleasure and pain! That is material life.
‘What ashram should I chose?!’
I don’t know… which one you like the best? Of course, for some people I have a plan and I would tell them what ashram I would like them to be in, that may also be true. But for majority of people, I say choose whatever you like but make it Krsna conscious. You see, the ashram is not the magic fix, making it Krsna conscious is what it is all about. Grhasta ashram is great if you make it Krsna conscious, brahmachari ashram is really good if you make it Krsna conscious, vanaprasta ashram is good if you can find a way to do it, sannyasa – yes, it is the great blessing but one has to really do something to make it happen.