April 16, 1999 VNN3613 See Related VNN Stories
Mrigendra's Letter About Xena
BY JAGANNATHA TIRTHA DAS
EDITORIAL, Apr 16 (VNN) Prabhus: Please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Prabhupada.
Xena and Krishna... Mrigendra Prabhu's letter makes much sense. Common sense with a view to not get too offensive or radical is a good rule. Non-devotee's have taken anger, scams, etc. in various forms from devotee's, Christians, Moonies, etc., etc. for years. To them, religionists are all kooks. In this regard, the activities of 'gurus' that were eccentric and often illegal has only fueled the fire of their suspicion. "Monkey on a Stick" nearly killed the Vaishnava movement in America. An organized move to criticize Xena will only add fuel to the fire, resentment against Krishna and his devotees. It is simply not good public relations.
That Krishna's holy name and Krishna personally have gotten nationwide airtime is a miracle. I immediately saw it as Krishna's intervention. It was not offensive in any way, just a little inaccurate, but was Krishna directly. Krishna's name, fame and pastimes are absolute. Someday, it may be acknowledged for what it is... that Krishna interjected Himself in the minds of the producers and writers and on television by His will, independent of this organization or that. Krishna's pastimes are eternal, unlimited, ever-expanding and totally unpredictable.
When Prabhupada came to America, he had no one organization's authorization, except he believed in Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada and Radha and Krishna. Krishna appeared to us through our dear Srila Prabhupada. If Krishna chooses to appear over the airwaves in this way, who can stop Him? Krishna is ABSOLUTE.
In kali yuga, devotees of the Lord do not understand the factual demonic elements within human society such as murders, rapes, child molesting, terrorism, criminal politicians, etc. They waste time arguing about philosophy, while sleaze bags steal, molest and kill their children. In this regard there is much practical work to be done protecting the citizens from demons who have been given license to kill. Even if caught, they are set free after some short "time out". Vaishnavas, as well as other religionists, prefer to argue with one another about this point or that, an absolutely useless waste of precious time. I was never attracted to such pointless arguments. The Vaishnava does not argue with anyone, one of the 26 qualities of the devotee, I think. No one can win such arguments, because no one acknowledges defeat anyway. It is always a Mexican standoff. All sides are offended, and hatred, not love follows as bitter emotions swell. It is chewing the chewed, over and over. Such arguments never make devotees, only scare potential devotees away. For every devotee converted by argument, 99 are discouraged and offended. Love is higher than intellect. In Krishna book, the wives of the brahmanas understood Krishna's desires, while the brahmanas refused to give Krishna his rightful portion of their Vedic sacrifices (everything).
In this regard, when we attack someone or go looking for a fight, we are liable to find it. The producers of Xena would be more inclined to investigate true Krishna consciousness by devotees going over to their production studio with a big 7 course feast, and paying them a sincere compliment for a job well done. They should be complimented for transmitting Krishna's holy name to millions, something that others are finding difficulty doing. One might present the old "mild touched by the lips of a serpent" argument... but that only applies to "addendum" philosophy and not Krishna's name, form, etc., which is never contaminated. To think that Krishna's holy name becomes contaminated is an offense. Krishna is not brought down by a dog eater chanting. The dog eater is elevated to Krishna consciousness, even guru status eventually. In this regard, Krishna's holy name is always Supreme, powerful, never diluted, and Absolute.
Every religionist on the planet argues about his viewpoint, and the world pays no attention to this... but just sees fanatics in action. While it may be the spiritual master's position to criticize his disciples, to criticize the Xena producers as an introductory statement demonstrates that certain devotees have nothing better to do with their time than waste it. You don't try to convert people by just going in and pounding on their heads. This all could have been handled more conservatively and cordially.
Concerning relationships between Vaishnavas, we should all just work together. Equal devotees should "just get along" (thank you Rodney King). Maybe I am too simpleminded. It's apparent that party feeling and politics isn't working or making different factions feel better about one another. We should all do what we can to cooperate in love to expand the Kingdom of God upon the Earth, giving up the fighting spirit to annihilate one another as on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. A fratricidal war will help no one, and similarly, attacking potential devotees such as the Xena producers hurts Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Mission.
By writing this letter, I am not joining any argument. It is a fact that Krishna is Absolute and was personally present in the Xena episode. Believe me, if the producers of Xena were ever considering writing another Krishna script, you could bet that they have put it on the shelf because of the organized attacks on them.
For years I have wanted to help the Krishna consciousness effort, but all the politics, crime, fighting, arguing, misappropriating community funds, mismanagement, and jockeying for position have alienated me. When I was living within the society, my Krishna given talents were ignored, a typical example of absolute mismanagement. Good managing means giving an individual a position in keeping with his or her skills. This was never done for me nor many others. I know there were some good years, there must have been. The innocent years. Now I have discovered that even then, there were demonic activities being concealed, child molesting, and political maneuvering. I remember a lot of yelling by other devotees. I remember the yelling at the GBC meetings at Mayapur. I thought it strange that devotees would act like this in the holy Dhama. "There must be some problem," I thought. I remember often reading Chaitanya Charitamrita and thinking, "Why don't the devotees act like this, bouncing off the walls in ecstasy? What's wrong with everyone? Why all this fighting?" When frustrated, I used to lose my temper also.
But my frustration was usually over the fact that my factual skills were being mismanaged. I had put my self under the charge of people who just really didn't care about me. What was so odd, was that I had joined the movement out of love. I remember feeling, thinking, "These people have real love and devotion. I can feel it, and I want to become like that. There were many other yoga groups and religious movements then in the early 70's, but I knew Krishna was Absolute Truth. The day I left the Alachua farm in 1980, a junior devotee yelled at me for almost half an hour, for absolutely no reason. Once again, yelling , screaming, and fighting had ruined everything, at least in my small universal perception of things. I made up my mind to leave my home, a home which Prabhupada had built for all of us. It was a sad time for me, and I have never been the same since, never so innocent, believing, trusting and naive. I miss being 5 years old in my mind, to be honest with you. I had no religion. I had no politics. I was 25 years old in body, and was 5 in my mind. I was Krishna conscious and in bliss. Then it all went away. I think it went away for a lot of my Godbrothers and sisters too. I think it especially went away for those who manipulated the system to their own devious ends. To quote Jesus: "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his immortal soul."
Apparently, the yelling mentality still rages on, and now Vaishnavas feel it necessary to yell at non-devotees for their particular view concerning Shree Krishna. But it was not a demonic portrayal, just mildly inaccurate. This is ludicrous when you consider that there is unlimited expanse to Lord Krishna's personality and attributes. Why do devotees pretend they know the "real" Krishna from the "false" Krishna, when even Sesa Naga cannot even chant all the glories of the Lord in unlimited time? Krishna is absolute and never false. Beyond that, Krishna is unlimited and unknowable completely to any jiva soul. Krishna, as Absolute, on the Xena show, was and is Krishna. Just like in the temple room. Absolute, not stone or bell metal. So there is really no reason to argue this issue. Krishna was right there on TV, where he belongs. All producers of all television shows should be encouraged and never discouraged to interject Lord Krishna in their productions. What makes this appearance a Krishna lila is Krishna's Absolute Presence, not that it must conform to what we have read in the Krishna book. There are billions of Krishna books we have yet to read. Unlimited trillions of pastimes. At least we have eternity to get there. How Krishna chooses to appear to the world is independent of our mental limitations which we place upon Him. Krishna is not restricted by what we may think about him. He is fully independent.
I was talking with a Christian a few months back. He said that the Mormons believe that God has a wife and they have sex. I said, "God is unlimited. If he wants to have a millions wives he can. Who am I to stop him?" All this jockeying to see who is the greatest Vaishnava is insane. Fighting between Vaishnavas is insane. Dumping crap upon people like the Xena producers is insane, and counterproductive in all regards. Vaishnavas should stop pretending they know everything about Krishna, and just accept what they do know, and try to be cordial and genuinely friendly to non-Vaishnavas. Otherwise, the Krishna movement is doomed.
I know that devotees like to argue and scream at anyone and anything, but where does this lead, and who becomes converted by such screaming and chastising. I am sure I'll even get a response or two by some self superiorizing Prabhu who thinks he's seen the light, and wants to put me in my place. But, by all such verbal negativity, you can bet that the people at the Xena production studios won't be becoming devotees anytime soon (their eternal, factual position as spiritual beings), after having all that crap dumped upon them by those who thought themselves superior.
We are not superior. We are the humble servant. That is what Prabhupada taught us. And, if we had even a slight degree of verbal dexterity, sincerity, compassion and skill, then the world would be enjoyably Krishna conscious at the present time, led by mature Vaishnavas who refuse to let the influences of the age affect them in the form of fighting, fighting, and more fighting. As a sideline issue, the recent debates (Krishna Kant, and others, etc.) are just more chewing the chewed, by intellectuals who cannot solve the real, tangible, practical problems in human society. What an absolute waste. There is no bliss to be obtained in these dry arguments where one individual tries to position his "superior intellect" over another. Just offenses, offenses and more offenses. No love can be felt in such an atmosphere of argumentation and fighting... which coincidentally happens to be the major problem all over the world in the Age of Kali... THE AGE OF QUARREL, ARGUMENT, HYPOCRISY, AND VIOLENCE.
Prabhupada loved us and we felt his love. I think that is why most of us joined up ages ago. Why is it so hard for us to love one another, to treat each other like we like to be treated, the Golden Rule, as Jesus taught?
I have always wanted to help in some way, despite my distance from ISKCON, and I hope this letter makes it's point. I also write music and essays. And, will forward a few essays which you may publish if you like.
You may publish this letter if you see fit.
I am always...
Your Eternal Servant:
Jagannatha Tirtha Das
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