The story touched a nerve with my usually placid co-workers. Sympathizing with the deep grief of family and friends of the deceased, many were incensed and spoke out with anger. Every day the news media bombard us with so much violence and human misery that we tend to become desensitized to others' suffering. I know I am. But my co-workers' reaction to the incident pushed me to examine my own attitude toward suffering, and to consider my responsibility to share relevant, compassionately applied spiritual knowledge as I've learned it from Srila Prabhupada.
Reflecting on [my co-worker] Sam's personality and beliefs, I know our problem working together comes not only from his unhappy, critical, and negative personality, but also from his being openly critical of religion (and of life and almost anyone at times). He says that he is mad at God for killing his brother, who was murdered. Since I'm a religious person, he directs his anger toward me, mocking my chanting and speaking ill of my taking time to pray. He doesn't do these things to my face but to others, from whom I hear about them. This fact added to my negative reaction to him.
On any path there will always be ups and downs, and we have to remain steady in difficulties, reverses and success—any of which could deviate us. Krishna consciousness is all about developing and deepening of faith—from beginning to end—and we have to do what is favorable to have and improve our faith. Though we will repeatedly stumble, we have to keep picking our self up, dusting our clothes, and keep on keeping on. I have stumbled many times in the past, yet even in the worst of times I continued to practice Krishna consciousness.
What follows is my inspired writing flow, sometimes called free writing. I offer it to you in the service of Krishna and his devotees. I take a bit of risk here as it will not appear conventional, yet as I have said, all good communication is inspired. So if this writing was inspired and my aim was to be a better person and go deeper into Krishna consciousness, then this writing will have value for some----certainly for me! See it as food for thought and discussion as we live in the world of relativity and aim for the world of Krishna’s light and love, where everything lives for him and his service. I write not as a pure devotee, but as a Krishna devotee dealing with the world and trying to remember and serve Krishna in the midst of that.
His Grace Urjasvat Prabhu has been leading devotees in the chanting of the Holy Names since the early 70's. His blissful and soulful chanting has inspired devotees all around the world. Perhaps you know his singing of the "Govinda Jaya Jaya, Gopala Jaya Jaya" track on the first New York Kirtans album or perhaps you know his kirtans from New York or LA Ratha Yatras.
In dealing with his apparently fallen devotee, Lord Chaitanya didn't leave Krsnadasa to his own devices but engineered a way to save him. In fact he went out of his way to reclaim him, and pulled him by the hair back into Krishna consciousness. That is the Lord's mercy for his devotees. He never forgets our service. We should be inspired and humbled by this and pray we will come to the pure stage so the Lord won’t have to save us like he did with Krsnadasa. In any case Lord Chaitanya and his agents ARE saving us by the holy name, Vaishnava (devotee) seva (service) and devotional service in general.
Thank God, the Holy Name unraveling
illusory desires, giving a higher taste,
still, my life is swirling, between
these planes and subtle dimensions.
We live in a time of faithlessness, criticism, cynicism, and sarcasm. Those who do live by faith in God are often fundamentalist or fanatical in their rigid perspective. This gives religion and even God a bad name, discouraging people from being part of any group with strong beliefs and faith. Although faith may be looked at with suspicion, without faith no one can do anything either materially or spiritually (all faith [not what we have faith in] comes from the mode of sattva or goodness). In fact faith is the beginning, middle and full maturity of Krishna consciousness.