Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Assumption of Civilization (Part 2)
"The demoniac are engaged in activities that will lead the world to destruction. The Lord states here that they are less intelligent. The materialists, who have no concept of God, think that they are advancing. But according to Bhagavad-gītā, they are unintelligent and devoid of all sense. They try to enjoy this material world to the utmost limit and therefore always engage in inventing something for sense gratification. Such materialistic inventions are considered to be advancement of human civilization, but the result is that people grow more and more violent and more and more cruel, cruel to animals and cruel to other human beings.
Such people are considered the enemies of the world because ultimately they will invent or create something which will bring destruction to all. Indirectly, this verse anticipates the invention of nuclear weapons, of which the whole world is today very proud. At any moment war may take place, and these atomic weapons may create havoc. Such things are created solely for the destruction of the world, and this is indicated here. Due to godlessness, such weapons are invented in human society; they are not meant for the peace and prosperity of the world."
(Purport to Bhagavad-Gita 16.9)
In our understanding of our philosophy and by our experience we know that it is not wise to trust or place our dependence upon those deeply entangled in the material modes of nature.
Today, those individual living entities who control the world's economic, political, social, and military structures are largely deluded by their own misguided vision of the "will to power."
Beyond this, the animal agriculture (slaughterhouse) industry creates untold suffering to millions of animals, disgusting environmental by-products, and a negative karmic roll-call on an always steady number of human heads.
It is any number of ways in which the brittle and fragile "status quo" we currently live in could collapse: stock market failure, nuclear conflict, disease, massive social conflicts between the "haves" and the "have-nots", etc.
Yes, of course, we preach and live in urban environments, and that is a vital part of our mission, but we cannot ignore or neglect the other half of Prabhupada's vision.
We have to have an URGENCY to create, via our rural communities, an alternative cultural set-up, based on the principles of daivi-varnasrama, for the benefit of devotees and non-devotees alike.
For devotees, these communities would be places of refuge and inspiration, a place to get their hands dirty and also to have the freedom to go deeply inward in their own devotional life.
If devotees in our urban communities suddenly find themselves refugees of some paradigm-shift, then we must be able to give them all facilities for material shelter in our rural communities.
It's not a matter of time. We need to create this infrastructure of our own alternative network of communities NOW! We need people to voluteer their inspiration and motivation and most of all we need the leaders of our society to step up and make this a top priority, providing us with financial and spiritual support.
It will be very difficult to rescue our society from our global house if the fire gets too hot. It is our vital duty now to create a real shelter for devotees and for the culture of devotion , and it is our humble opinion that this is the issue that will define ISKCON's growth and sustainability over the next 40 years and beyond.
"[We] in modern technological society [have] begun to be callous and disillusioned. [We have] learned to suspect what claims to be new, to doubt all the "latest" in everything. [We are] drawn instinctively to the new, and yet [we see] in it nothing but the same old sham. The specious glitter of newness, the pretended creativity of a society in which youthfulness is commercialized and the young are old before they are twenty, fills some hearts with utter despair. There seems to be no way to find any real change. 'The more things change,' says a French proverb, 'the more they are the same.'
Yet in the deepest ground of our being we still hear the insistent voice which tells us: 'You must be born again.'
There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves."