Dear MahaVisnu Maharaja,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila
Prabhupada. I’m sorry I neglected answering your letter, but you can see
that I was pretty busy trying to clarify some interesting misconceptions by
many other responses to this subject of the opening of New Dwarka Dham in
Mombasa and the pioneering experience no one wants to believe, because of
various present day agendas.
You have pinpointed the actual problem: our whole society suffers
from it. Srila Prabhupada organized a Madhyama Society, but we are
unfortunately still stuck at the kanistha level. If we don’t move forward,
and stop trying to identify the problem of this or that leader or lack of
varanashram dharma, or this facility or that, and choking on the skin
disease arguments, then we will never accomplish the thing. (Once, when we
were cooking in the kitchen in Nairobi, Mahavirya confided that it sure was
difficult being in a black body. I looked up with my hands on my hips and a
grin on my face and said, “Well, it could have been worse: You could have
been a black woman.”)
Despite the rest of the last tirade, Tirtharaj made some very good points,
elementally, that above all, the leaders should love the people. We are
meant to seek association from like minded devotees, respect those more
advanced, give our association to the less fortunate (without feelings of
arrogance and bigotry), and avoid the envious (or believing that “I was
holding down the fort). Discrimination must be there, or you can’t save
your own spiritual life. But taking the mercy of guru, sadhu and sastra
will set us in the right momentum.
What I got out of the Kenya acid test (and it was NOT the Africans
who were the problem, believe me) prepared me for one acid test after
another, and this is how I have discovered that Krishna really loves me!
Physically, I could never do what I used to do, and it is up to the younger
devotees to carry on in Africa. It looks like there are some sincere
devotees of all sorts, and they may not all get along together, but that’s
what it means to be an individual. (When I was there it was a trip just to
have different tribes working with each other at the temple.) And where in
the world does everyone in a center agree with everyone else? I just pray
that the devotees will take the gold from everyone they’ve got. Prabhupada
had to work with a ragtag bunch of society dropouts and came up with
something incredible. He has empowered EVERYONE who follows his simple
principles, even though it might not look like they all agree with each
other. All it takes is practice and patience-lots and lots of patience,
detachment and enthusiasm.
Prabhupada’s wish was that we preach to the locals of all the
countries we went to. It may seem like sometimes it doesn’t manifest very
perceptively, but because it was the pure devotee’s wish, it will definitely
happen. If you feel so inspired, go ahead and help out wherever you can.
Krishna consciousness is our natural position and there are billions of
people (pick a place!) out there waiting for a chance to resume their
constitutional position. Lord Caitanya begged for help planting the seeds
and distributing the fruits. There unlimited ways of doing this.
I hope this meets you well.