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

Friday, November 20, 2015

Absoluteness in a relative setting

In my last post, I talked about how there are different types of devotees and we should be aware not all of them are of the same qualitative nature. Similarly, when we do outreach or as in ISKCON called preaching, there are different types of audiences.

Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita (7.3) that among the millions of people, very few will know Him as He is. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made it more liberal by distributing this message to one and all. Srila Prabhupada following Mahaprabhu's footsteps took up that order of practically distributing this message. However, in many instances Prabhupada himself acknowledged that this Krishna consciousness movement is not for everyone in the sense that not all will accept it. Yet Prabhupada was always finding ways to present this message to the public at large even if only few may accept at the end. In that mood of large scale presentation (with the knowledge not all can appreciate the value), we have to strategically present this message.

I say strategic because not all audiences have the same mood, intellectual acumen and capacity to assimilate and digest the information. When we get into this place of relativity, then we also have to think about self image, marketing and messaging at all types of social, political, religious, economic etc levels to suit the particular audience. In other words, we have to employ all means to reach out to the public. As my boss in my office once said, which I liked, we have to "meet people where they are". In that spirit, we have to present the message without compromise and in digestible bits so the audience can bare the brunt of the message such as "we are not these bodies" and yes "we will die" etc.

So the challenge is presenting an Absolute truth in a relative setting maintaining the purity of the message and the messenger. Indeed, as Prabhupada said "purity is the force". Without purity of heart, this message will not penetrate the hearts of the audience. Besides,  if purity is lacking, there are always the chance that the messenger can go to the dark side.  Purity is cultivated through tolerance and perseverance. But ultimately we become pure by taking shelter of Krishna and come to the realization that we are not the ultimate doers but the instruments of Krishna.

I will end with this - Prabhupada once said that we are happy to sit under a tree and chant Hare Krishna but you (pointing to the reporters and general public) will not come if we simply did that, so we have to build big temples, dramas, music, food etc to attract as many as possible.

Hare Krishna.

No comments: