I have a reluctance to speak of politics on this blog, though it is not a hard and fast rule. As a non-American observer living in a distant land, it may seem presumptuous of me to comment on the recent American election. Indeed, many of my friends think that as a devotee living in Vrindavan, such an interest is inimical to my vocation. However, my response is that in today's world, where globalization is bringing us all closer together day by day, awareness of trends in the most powerful nation-state on the planet is to be concerned with the entirety of humanity and the fate of the planet itself. We live in Vrindavan because it is the holy center of our religious path, but we do not reject the world as false. Out of concern for humanity we state our truth. Moreover, out of concern for the principles of our religion, we state our truth.
Those who find me "too concerned" with mundane affairs, or accuse me of prajalpa (!) are often devotees who simply hold differing views. Normally, differing views are understandable and to be tolerated. But the situation has become abnormal. What is going on with the election of Mr. Trump is not a normal situation. Too many people claiming to be Vaishnavas fail to see how they are being deceived and how the President-elect is the very antithesis of our dharma. I hope the following will clarify a little, at least I speak my truth. Original version here.
I was just having a conversation with some devotees here at Jiva and they asked me about false gurus. I went into some detail as I had just been talking about to them about God as Truth.
They had been inquiring into the Gopala Champu, so I was giving them a bit of a rundown.
In the Bhagavatam, Krishna says he will come back to Vrindavan many times. The Bhagavatam begins with the words satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi, "I meditate on the Supreme Truth" which is Krishna.
When Krishna is about to be born, the gods begin their prayer to him in the womb with the words satya-vrata: God is devoted to the truth. In so many ways, the truth: He is the truth of the universal law, He is the womb of truth, He is the Truth of truth."
satya-vrataṁ satya-paraṁ tri-satyaṁSuch a Krishna cannot not come back when he promised he would. But the Bhagavatam does not tell that story. You have to deduce it. That is what the Gopala Champu is about.
satyasya yoniṁ nihitaṁ ca satye
satyasya satyaṁ ṛta-satya-netraṁ
satyātmakaṁ tvāṁ śaraṇaṁ prapannāḥ
We take shelter of you,
whose essence is truth:
You, who are true to your vow,
who value the truth above all,
who are truth in past, present and future;
You who are the womb of truth,
who are hidden in all truth,
who are the truth of truth;
You who are the eye of the truth
of the cosmic law. (10.2.26)
For an expanded meditation on this verse, see Musings on Truth and Love.
God is Truth. And similarly the Guru is Truth. And a false guru means a liar. The Bible also, I believe, calls Satan "the Liar."
So I said, there are two kinds of false guru: one is misguided and one is evil. The one who is misguided is the sincere one who has reached the limits of his realization and stumbles. He can then choose the path of truth or the path of the lie. The latter course is to pretend to be something he is not and, if not careful, he will become evil over time by virtue of his lying.
The one who is evil lies deliberately to misguide you, the innocent one. And the Big Liar leads those who love his lies and wish to become liars like him, because they see what he gains from his lies--wealth, honor, prestige, power.
Like the Gita says of the asuric mentality, na satyaṁ teṣu vidyate -- there is no Truth in them. And at this point in my discourse, I was bound to use, as an example of a false prophet, Trump.
The world stands in open-mouthed amazement that a man whose every word is a lie, who slaps every honest person in the face with his narcissistic self-serving actions, can do so with such impunity, with such acceptance. He is the incarnation of the normalized Lie.
The Lie that was normalized in Fox News, in Rush Limbaugh, in Alex Jones, in Glenn Beck, in a dozen other such propounders of every possible deception they could invent, every molehill they could turn into a mountain -- that the best lies are those that have a grain of truth is well known.
Then he who was born of a falsehood -- the lie about Obama's birthplace -- took into his fold, as his aide-de-camp, the mastermind of the Breitbart site, which is one of the great modern innovators of using the internet to purvey Fake News as propaganda.
You may not remember ACORN and the doctored video that pretended to be a sting, but was a kind of attempt at entrapment. It was all Breitbart’s lie, he was taken to court, but it brought down ACORN anyway. It did its job.
And then one of Breitbart's acolytes, a certain Mr. O'Keefe, tried to do the same thing with horrible abortion videos and a similar attempt at entrapment to bring down Planned Parenthood.
Sensationalizing the idea that they were selling body parts of aborted foetuses. It was an easily debunked lie, but these people have learned that a good lie is one that goes on living even after it has been killed. They know a good lie is immortal in the subconscious of those who hear it often enough.
Told often enough, told in as many outlandish guises as possible, even fantastical and sheer extreme audacity of untruth ("The Big Lie"), it takes roots in the minds and hearts of those who are susceptible to its main purpose, which is Hate. And with success, they can learn to grow hate even where there was love. Hate stands at the end of the line that has goes through Rage and Fear.
These are the masters of the Lie. And they have, with their lies successfully created an atmosphere in which no one believes anyone, where any truth is the same as a lie, where false equivalence reigns, where one believes what one wants to believe and disregards the rest. A true postmodern man, whose only truth is that nothing is true. Where the only one who speaks the truth is the one who tells you to believe no one...
And Trump says, “Believe me.” It's his "tell." He speaks a brazen lie and says, “Believe me.” And they do. He calls everyone else a liar, “crooked,” and his minions love it. They do believe it.
cintām aparimeyāṁ ca pralayāntām upāśritāḥ |
kāmopabhoga-paramā etāvad iti niścitāḥ ||11||
āśā-pāśa-śatair baddhāḥ kāma-krodha-parāyaṇāḥ |
īhante kāma-bhogārtham anyāyenārtha-saṁcayān ||12||
idam adya mayā labdham idaṁ prāpsye manoratham |
idam astīdam api me bhaviṣyati punar dhanam ||13||
asau mayā hataḥ śatrur haniṣye cāparān api |
īśvaro’ham ahaṁ bhogī siddho’haṁ balavān sukhī ||14||
āḍhyo’bhijanavān asmi ko’nyo’sti sadṛśo mayā |
yakṣye dāsyāmi modiṣya ity ajñāna-vimohitāḥ ||15||
They are beset with immeasurable anxiety, up until the moment of their own destruction. Their only real goal is the enjoyment of their desires. They are bound by the ropes of a hundred desires, attached to lust and anger and for the sake of their lusts, they accumulate wealth by illicit means. They think, "I have accumulated this much today, and tomorrow I will fulfill another of my whims. I have this much wealth today and in the future I will accumulate so much more. I have killed that enemy of mine, and I will kill the rest too. I am ḻord and ṁaster; I am the enjoyer, I am successful powerful and happy! I am classy, and noble. Who is there equal to me? I will do some religious activities, engage in a bit of charity and just have fun." This is how they are bewildered by ignorance." (Gita 16.11-15)
That is the victory of the Liar. And here I speak of Satan. There is no truth in him. And he has got his man in the White House, who may have spoken the truth only this once, when he said, "I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and my followers would still believe in me."
Gandhi he is not. Satyam eva jayate.
The principal objection I hear to the above is the "false equivalence" that everyone is doing it. There is some truth to this, but it is an abdication of one's responsibility to the truth to make no discrimination. We hear "wet-stool, dry-stool" -- "it's all the same." This is also an abdication of responsibility to the truth. I take the Clintons and Obama to be at worst the "misguided" -- people who are corrupted by the system, who feel that in order to do good they must win, and in order to win they must play the game. The game is rigged to money and, now, obviously, to those who master the art of propaganda. One who enters this world courts danger, but if no one acts for the welfare of those who are less fortunate, one leaves the jackals and vultures to have free reign. And indeed that is what has happened with the total Republican domination of the American government.
I am not keen to waste my time responding to the inevitable plethora of negative comments that such a post invites, so I have disabled comments on this post. If you want to comment, this is also on Facebook. Jai Radhe.