Their comes a time when one feels somewhat saddened and the struggle in Krishna Consciousness appears so futile one believes that the solution is to just give up; however each morning one sits before the home deities, offers prasadam, gives a small class and chants.
One simply cannot give up, even though the mind says that it is by far the most logical course of action.
So what went wrong?
How did one get to the stage of giving up?
A mentor system that was so indexable it killed the joy of seva
An institution that put emphasis on course’s, tells you not to go to someone who charges to depart bhakti, then presents you with a bill and trys to disguise it as donation
A committee that judges without knowledge as they never sat with you, spoke to you, shared prasadam with you or even sat in any of the classes
Or having to pay to see your own Guru Maharaja
For me that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back
Not the 290 mile journey to do seva each month, after negotiating an ongoing agreement to allow extended weekends each month
Not the apparent insult, your qualified enough to give Srimad Bhagavatam class in the morning but somehow my knowledge is not good enough for the committee members
Not even the mentor system that dispite my plea to the head instigator and temporary mentor to not leave devotees like me behind and find a way to make us feel needed, was ignored to the point one became deeply unhappy
No this wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back
It was the change of relationship, from one of friendship to one of business; yes the feeling that one is just a commodity a way of gaining laxmi, and at every turn their is a bill and a smiling devotee who is convinced that I am convinced the asking of laxmi is alright.
The final nail in my enthusiastic pursuit of bhakti was my last visit by my Guru Maharaja, I could only make it to one date due to work commitment (something many forget); it meant a bill to see my own Guru Maharaja, yes a bill and apparently this was a good thing.
For me it signalled the end of the personal relationship to one of business as long as the laxmi flows my progression is guaranteed.
I was so upset and bewildered I wrote this email to my own Guru Maharaja:-
Dear ==== Swami Maharaja
Please accept my humble obeisance
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
It was so nice to meet you if not briefly the other month, although I noted our relationship and that of my relationship with ISKCON has changed somewhat; to the point were one is no longer enthusiastic.
I have received several emails reminding me of the need to write a Vyasa-Puja offering and how Imminent the deadline is, however I found myself empty and unable to write a single word; drowned and confused by the new corporate impersonal way things are done.
One is further saddened that the only way to see you or even speak to you means a monetary exchange, I’m left empty wondering if you would be more willing to speak to me if I pay in advance and worked out that as our conversation last less than half and hour that the accepted amount is £60.
That I’m judged by a committee that doesn’t even know me, and marked by results from paid courses and forms; when all one wants is the personal relationship as was found in those early days with your disciplines in Manchester, things seemed a lot simpler then and I never had to pay to see you.
I’m guessing ISKCON has moved on and I’m just a sentimentalist of the simpler personalism and the joy of just being around devotees and helping them in a simple way
It would have been nice to tell you about the video of me the council uses, and the community and school visits and to hear how I can improve and look at long term aim; but I’m guessing in the new corporate ISKCON which appears to be more interested in pursuit of laxmi than devotees this probably won’t be applicable.
I want to write a nice offering this year but given our relationship is now simply business relationship I’m confused as to how to achieve this.
So what to do?
I was hoping that maybe as I’ve an opportunity to visit ==== to look at wildlife and countryside management that it would allow me the opportunity to reconnect, to again realise the joy of seva; without feeling it is simply business transaction. But I noticed you were little enthusiastic.
So my question is what is one to do?
How does one reconnect with what one felt was real, when one feels that all ISKCON is interested in is my wallet?
How does one regain the joy of seva, and the joy of sharing love of Krishna, when the mentorship system beat it out of me; leaving an empty shell, where happiness once was but smothered in corporate courses and forms?
And more importantly where do I stand with you? Is it too only business, do I have to continue to pay to see you?
One is saddened by it all, and simply prays for the simple days to return
Humbly Yours; discipline or not discipline as I’m unsure
Sadly I didn’t receive a reply and a bit of me thought maybe it would have come if I had given big donation at the same time.
The personal relationship, the relationship I felt were real now feels empty one personally feels cheeted by ISKCON
Given that I’ve only ever experienced the reverse were a business relationship has changed into a personal friendship, were once I was seen as an income of sorts is now family discount or free
For me ISKCON was a real family, my motivation was because I loved the devotees and I thought they intern loved and liked me; but the reality is it feels to me like I’m being cheeted and that the only thing ISKCON is interested in is laxmi
And simply that makes me weep
And the regection cannot be put into word’s
Apart from this,
I now truly appreciate the one thing those early devotees showed and gave to me, the understanding of real love and friendship and the reality of what Krishna Consciousness is and not how it now has become.
And for that little insight of real devotional love, I thank you
I thank you because it’s the only thing that keeps me going
And I pray each and every day that one day I’ll experience that pure unconditional love of devotees once again