During Kadamba Kanana Swami’s recent visit to Mauritius, he was interviewed by the daily newspaper “Defiplus”. The original article in French can be found by clicking here. The English translation follows.
MAURITIANS ARE IMBUED WITH RELIGIOUS VALUES
Presently in Mauritius, upon the invitation of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness (ISKCON), Kadamba Kanana Swami talks about his youth in Holland, where he was born, and his trip to India, where his conscience awakened to spirituality.
What is the purpose of your presence in Mauritius?
I have come to participate in the prayers and celebrations which are organised all over the island.
Does your visit here meet an expectation that is peculiar to Mauritius?
No, just like everywhere else, people tend to lose sight of spirituality because they are attracted to materialism. But human beings cannot do without searching for spiritual energy, especially welfare and wisdom. All the answers to our quests are found in the Vedas.
How did you, a European, born in a culture very different from millennial India, find yourself in the clothes of a devotee of Krsna?
I was born in Holland at the time when my parents, like other Dutchmen, were working to rebuild their country that had lived through the Second World War. After this stage, they were satisfied with their existence. After my years of adolescence, I asked myself the following question, “Is this life?” It was from there that I went to India to Vrindavan, where ISKCON has its headquarters. India is not a country but a continent. It was there that my spiritual and philosophical consciousness was forged by reading the Gita, the Vedas, the Upanishads and also drawing some inspiration from the life of Mahatma Gandhi. I made a vow of celibacy. I experienced a deep sense of truth and wisdom.
Have you become a Hindu?
No, neither the term Hindu nor that of India appears in the Vedic literature. The most appropriate term for describing India is Bharat. As for the Hindu term, which is more recent, it is not exact. The one that best fits our beliefs is the Sanatan Dharma, but, be careful not to be confused with the same term used in Mauritius.
How can we share these teachings with people from different cultures, as you do?
This is the particular nature of the Vedas, because they are addressed to humanity and their messages become more relevant in a world that is lost in materialism.
Do you see this in Mauritius?
No, because Mauritians, in their diversity, are imbued with religious values. It may also be due to the insularity.
What is your view on the sexual orientation desired by some people?
Sex, when it leads to procreation, gives couples a child which brings responsibility and there are sacrifices to be made. On the other hand, in the case of same-sex couples, there can be no procreation. This type of sexual orientation is not conducive to the awakening of a spiritual consciousness. But I do not judge. I am not a lecturer. I will not say that it is a sin.
But laws allow adoption by gay and lesbian couples in some countries today ...
Yes. But in Iskcon, we do not make it a problem, we have other interests.
In Mauritius, but also abroad, there have been criticisms of certain priests. What do we expect from a priest?
We want him to be exemplary, both in word and in deeds. He will be judged on that.
Can we find a common thread in all religions?
Of course, there is the same message of peace and love, even though, at times, everyone can intimately think that his religion is the best. I saw this in the West and in Pakistan, people who were really imbued with their convictions.