Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Impersonalism in today's world

Srila Prabhupada was the one spiritual person who was not afraid to speak the truth. And by truth I mean a non-sectarian universal good for all living beings (including plants and animals). The two major aspects of life that Prabhupada was against were atheism and impersonalism. To deny the existence of God is atheism and to deny the personality of Godhead in its direct sense and to assume all paths as one is impersonal. There is also another type of impersonalism where people believe all human beings are equal. This is also impersonal and actually false. Of course, on the spiritual platform there is unity as we are all qualitatively one –spirit soul but on the material platform there are definitely differences.

If we scrutinizingly analyze how the world functions with all its rules, you will find it is divisive and discriminatory based on one's occuption, personal character/behavior, and other physical factors. This sort of discrimination is inherent in human nature and cannot be removed. In fact this is what makes us human. Every indiividual is unique with his or her personal traits and some people are attracted and some averse. This is natural. However, for the sake of politically being correct, we mask such differences. In another sense, we also do not care enough to be sensitive to differences and personalities thus making us impersonal.

For example, today I was in an agency that provides help to middle grade students from financially poor backgrounds. Their purpose is to help students to become good students in school and ultimately become productive citizens of society. One of the barriers that these kids were facing is that they think that the outer world is against them. Keep in mind, these kids come from poor neighborhoods and they think people from affluent neighborhoods do not like them and hence see them as enemies. So when two different communities are against each other, these young kids grow for the worse than better. However, the strategy used to deal with this situation was to deny the existence of different thoughts or opinions by different people instead the kids were taught to see everyone as themselves (not as enemies). At the superficial level, this may be a good method to deal with the problem. However, I think the best way is to actually educate the young kids on the variegatedness of the world and its people. Most of the problem stems from fear from kids who are not exposed to other people with different backgrounds. Therefore, we can alleviate this fear by educating the kids on the differences among people, their culture and behavior thus instilling the idea that just because one looks or thinks different or do not agree with your way of life doesn’t mean they are enemies or don’t like you.

By acknowledging the differences of the world/people in their goodness and badness, then we will learn to cultivate tolerance, and compassion towards them. Unfortunately, the 21st century world is so fast paced that people barely stop to acknowledge their own family members or peers what to speak of other cultures or religions. We do not recognize the different aspects of human behavior and thought. We want everyone to function like me or my community (impersonal) and if they do not, they are defined as weird, or enemies. This mentality is from an impersonal and atheistic thought process.

Krishna consciousness is the only answer to this onslaught of impersonalism. The more we approach the Supreme as a Person and not as a concept, the more we will identify our fellow beings (creation) as a person (personal) and not stereotype them. I believe by eliminating atheism and impersonalism many of our modern day socio-economic and political woes can be solved. The concept of humility, love, compassion and tolerance is rooted in a personal approach to life, people and God and not the other way round.

Be personal with people, acknowledge the good and bad in them, tolerate the bad, recognize the good and communicate with them acknowledging their personality and finally acknowledge the root - Supreme Person. By acknowledging the Supreme as a Person and that He has His own likes and dislikes, we will become more human and less callous. In my opinion, this is the only way to arouse genuine human compassion. To circle back to my initial point Srila Prabhupada was for this sort of spiritual and personal human compassion.

Hare Krishna

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