Monday, May 07, 2007

30th anniversary of Iskcon Montreal's Radha Manohar

I am backblogged a bit. For a person whose life is going nowhere, I don't have much time. Previously I would at least get a little reading done on the bus before I went home and did a little eating and sleeping. Like they say up here: "Métro, boulot, dodo."

Anyway, I did want to say that I went to the Montréal temple on Sunday to participate in the 30th anniversary celebrations of the installation of Radha Manohar. Festivities had been going on since Friday, with the honored participation of three former presidents: Sripati Das, Uttamasloka Das and Visvakarma Das. It was a great pleasure to see them all. It was easy to see the charisma that these three early preachers of Krishna consciousness in central Canada possessed, something conspicuous by its absence in the present. We were really just missing Rochan and Jagadish... and I guess Jayapataka Swami, who was one of the first both here in Montreal and in Toronto. But he had already left before things really started getting going.

I have to admit that I failed the indifference test. It is not good to put yourself in a situation where you will be disrespected, and that is what I do when I go to the Iskcon temple here in Montreal. I was not personally invited, and that is perhaps understandable, as I was never much involved with the temple here. Nevertheless, as one of seniormost people in the audience, I should have been asked to at least say a few words. So I felt that pinching in the heart that made me a little less than warm when greeted by certain members of the temple community. More proof, for those looking (as if it is necessary), that I am NOT spiritually advanced.


Anonymous said...

Look at it from the bright side. At least you weren't excommunicated, refused entrance or thrown out with force.
For the ones that know who you are (a minority), the majority thinks you are someone that rejected Srila Prabhupad.
Your openmindedness isn't understood or shared by all.

Indeed a nice example of ...Trnad api .. and how it is easier said than done.
I would definitly allow you to be a guest speaker, because your honesty is admirable.

Jagat said...

I have just been reading a bit of Eric Berne, the father of "transactional analysis" and Games People Play. Berne analyzes human relations from a base point he calls "strokes", which in this case has a double meaning: one is like the stroking a human gives to a pet or an adult to a child. The other is the term used in counting poetical or musical metre. Berne's way of describing the fundamental unit of human exchange is that people are hungry for stimulus, which in its most primitive form is literally the kind of stroking a mother gives to her child. As one grows, one is forced to seek (in the greater amount of cases) substitutes for this kind of direct physical stroking or "stimulus" by something else, which Berne calls "recognition." In either case, "If you are not stroked, your spinal cord will shrivel up."

Even the most fundamental of social interactions operates on the level of stroking, and these develop into intuitively cognated, progressively more extensive and complex stroking procedures, rituals, pastimes and games. Of these, the last are the most telling of deep rooted psychological tendencies, and we all tend to seek out situations where such games recur so that we can confirm or deny our personal self-concept, etc.

To continue: Games are a subset of "scripts," which are the mostly unconscious scripts of our lives, the multi-act patterns that dictate the overall shape they take.

After this brief summary, I can now make an analysis of my own comments in this post.

First of all, I do not go that often to the temple, and when I do, I try to make it at times when there will be few residents around. I can chant, recite stotras, etc., without having to deal with anyone in a public situation. The 30th anniversary was obviously an exception, and I am glad that I went, because I had the chance to meet a few old friends and reestablish relations with them. The extent to which that is significant will be shown in the course of time.

But on another level, or indeed on the same level, there is a kind of atavism involved in going to the temple. I am renewing with my faith in Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and indeed with my own life story. To be scorned or reviled in Iskcon actually confirms my life choices. To be insulted is actually a kind of ego payoff, because I get to say, "Well, I am actually way beyond these guys in my understanding. They would do well to hear from me, but they are afraid of what I might say."

O.K. That's pretty much true, despite being bullshit. The real psychological payoff when I go to the temple (when I am alone) is to confirm to myself the meaning of my own life and reality, which came to me when I converted to Krishna consciousness, and all that has happened subsequently under the guidance of Sri Guru and Gauranga, regardless of what Iskcon or anybody else thinks about it.

Jai Radhe!