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of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 20
the way to visit the Moscow gurukula this morning, we received an
impassioned call from Sakatara dasa, who was at the train station
purchasing our tickets to St Petersburg. In a distressed voice he said
that a powerful bomb had exploded in the station on the level just below
him. A number of people appeared to have been killed and many more
injured. People were panicking and running everywhere and the police were
heading to the scene. We discussed the situation, and I told him to leave
immediately. We would fly to St Petersburg rather than take the train.
number of bombs have gone off in Moscow during the past year. Though no
one has been arrested, the government blames the Chechen rebels and uses
that suspicion to pursue the war in Chechnya. Many people believe,
however, that it is the government itself planting the bombs. Some time
ago, four KGB agents were found under an apartment complex setting up
explosives. When questioned by the police they said they were practicing.
Few believe them. The people say that the government plants the bombs and
kills its own people, while blaming the Chechen rebels in order to get
financial support for the war. Disgusted with the possibility of such
government involvement and fearful for their lives, a number of people
have moved out of Moscow.
should always deal cautiously with fire, water, women, foolish people,
serpents, and members of a royal family, for they may, when the occasion
presents itself, at once bring about our death. [Canakya Pandit - Niti
Sastra, Chapter 14, Text 11]
unfortunate situations were predicted in the Twelfth Canto of
Srimad-Bhagavatam, describing the symptoms of the coming of the age of
praja hi lubdhai rajanyair
their wives and properties to such avaricious and merciless rulers, who
will behave no better than ordinary thieves, the citizens will flee to the
mountains and forests." [SB 12.2.8]
people of Russia have a long history of oppression by their rulers. The
change to democracy has not really altered things. Actually, the only
effective change will come when the leaders are Krishna conscious. A
Krishna conscious leader is satisfied in and of himself, and thus has no
reason to exploit others; and the people are happy with him because he
knows the art of fulfilling their material and spiritual needs. The fact
is, if the leaders encouraged the people to simply chant Hare Krishna en
mass, the world would quickly become heaven on earth.
saha yajnah prajah srstva
the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth
generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Visnu, and
blessed them by saying, 'Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because
its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living
happily and achieving liberation.' " [BG 3.10]
afternoon we went to the airport to catch our flight to St Petersburg.
While waiting in the departure lounge, I spotted a Tibetan Lama, sitting
alone, peacefully waiting for the flight. I was attracted to his apparent
simplicity and renunciation. He was dressed in traditional Buddhist robes
and carried only a small bag.
emotions on seeing him were similar to the first time I ever saw someone
in the robes of an Eastern religion. When I was 19, I flew on a plane from
Cairo, Egypt, to Beirut, Lebanon. I was on a pilgrim's journey, searching
for the goal of life. I had been in Egypt studying the ways of the ancient
Pharaohs and was on my way to Lebanon to inquire about the Islamic faith.
While I was adju sting my seat belt and readying myself for the flight, I
looked up and saw a Caucasian boy about my age coming down the aisle. He
had a shaven head and was dressed in light saffron robes. He also carried
a small bag, and he had a book in his hand. I was mesmerized by his
peaceful countenance and effulgence. I studied him carefully throughout
the flight. The entire time he had his eyes closed in meditation, opening
them only as the plane began its descent into Beirut. I thought to myself,
"I want to be like him."
we landed and passed through immigration I tried to find him to speak to
him; but he had already gone. He had no possessions to collect and cleared
Customs quicker than I. Years later, I reflected that my not being able to
meet him was Krishna's mercy. Most likely he was an impersonalist, and
meeting him may well have sent me down the wrong path. But his spirit of
renunciation impressed me and stayed with me.
the Tibetan monk again brought forth feelings of admiration. It is not
easy to renounce this world in any way, means or manner. But my
appreciation was soon mixed with doubt, when I saw a middle-aged woman in
a fur coat come to collect him from the departure lounge and take him to
the plane. After a few moments, I could understand that she was traveling
with him and helping him in various ways. They didn't appear to be
transgressing religious principles, but the idea of a woman in a fur coat
helping an elderly Tibetan monk didn't sit right in my mind.
seated on the plane, I was again impressed when he took out his beads and
began chanting. A few minutes later, however, I noticed him reading a
magazine and studying the advertisements containing women and
intoxication. I still feel he was sincere in his own way - but not careful
enough about how he carried himself. I thought to myself that I must be
more careful in my travels, for I also sometimes pick up a Newsweek
magazine and read it in-flight. It's of no benefit to me, and I can only
imagine what other passengers must think of the monk in saffron reading
the worldly news.
wake up and try to understand the boon that you now have in this human
form of life. The path of spiritual realization is very difficult; it is
sharp like a razor's edge. That is the opinion of learned transcendental
scholars." [Katha Upanisad 1.3.14]
© CHAKRA 02 June 2001
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