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Shades of Gray:
A Comment on Mayesvara’s Text
by Akhilesvara das
The difficulty with Mayesvara’s recent text on Chakra is that he is dividing humans into black and white. We know that Srila Prabhupada and Vedic spiritualists have nourished the idea of establishing a society based on the four varnas. The model was prevalent in India but is regarded by the world intelligentsia as an odd and defective social system. Although no scientist or gentleman will dare nowadays to openly make such distinctions of classes on public forums, Mayesvara did not hesitate. He did not promote a system colored with a beautiful utopia, which would have been justifiable from his part, but instead of that he accentuated and put in perspective the defects for which varnashrama is rejected as a trivial order.
In the 21st-century, in kali-yuga, such defined categories as brahmanas, vaisyas, and sudras don’t exist. Brahmans, especially nowadays, are as much in need of money as vaisyas and by consequence are not much purer than these vaisyas. For proof, see how the intellectuals and priests of Western societies are being entangled in moneymaking. And if this is not appropriate, just go to India and check how the brahmanas are doing. So what Mayesvara has done is just plain generalization at best. He was comparing reality with an ideal. Something like with religions; it is not what you see, but what it should be.
This is what he writes: "From the Srimad Bhagavatam we learn that prostitutes, money hoarders, cheaters, liars, thieves, rogues, drunks, drug addicts, gamblers, meat eaters, and numerous other types of mlecchas have always plagued the efforts of pious Brahminical devotees."
Dear assembled devotees, wouldn’t you agree with me that the Srimad Bhagavatam should be respected as a literature for very advanced devotees, nirmatsaranam satam? This sacred book deals with high spiritual paradigms. Ultimately, it narrates the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Now, we see devotees using as a common practice these scriptures to fill up their own agenda. They bring down their spiritual value to our petty little preoccupation, to the dimension of our brain. I mean, just because someone is a prostitute, a drunkard, etc., is he automatically envious of brahmanas? Doesn’t the Srimad Bhagavatam give examples of prostitutes who have respect for brahmanas? Where is the difficulty for mature devotees to understand that amongst prostitutes, there are so many grades, going from envious to respectful towards brahmanas? And even that prostitutes or drunkards can be devotees of Krishna!
Mayesvara, brahmanas can indeed be religious and demoniac! Yes, all in the name of God! And of course, "empowered Brahmin class," as you say so well —our brahmanas!— close their eyes to plagiarism when it accommodates them. In that case, however, you prefer using a euphemism to describe their fault: "lethargy" or at worst, "so-called devotees." While you have described the subordinate human beings (subhuman) with all their inherent defects according to the varnashram "template," you fail to demonstrate the factual existence of a class of brahmanas with the merits you ascribe to them: superior to the subhuman.
We could have ignored such details of procedure from the part of Mayesvara Prabhu, since we believe him, from the way he writes, to be a pakka brahmin with noble goals: one of them is to stop the proliferation of copyright infringements. And on this, I am with him 100percent. But when we read how little consideration he has for vaisyas and sudras, our hair stands up! He writes: "The law treats them like Sudras who have no interest in ethics, reputation, or profit, but are simply concerned about the threat of a stick." Poor sudras! But who are they? According to Mayesvara: "Individuals who may externally appear to have a human form, but are subhuman because they do not fit anywhere on the Varna-Ashram template. This includes anyone who has lost control of his or her six senses."
I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I really feel uneasy here. I have difficulties controlling my six senses. And there are no ambiguities: in his article, Mayesvara is not speaking about this other race of living entities, the karmis. It is about devotees...
I may be called a sudra, but in my mind I hold a beautiful figure of pure compassion. It is Caitanya Mahaprabhu, a dancing and chanting God who came to deliver the most fallen souls in this universe. He gave us a wonderful spiritual process that does not reflect Mayesvara’s severe and haughty vision of my Godbrothers and Godsisters, neither of the karmis. Of course, this is all in my mind.
But Mayesvara has a retort for my objections: "The rascal mind that can justify anything when given an opportunity to do so." And he adorns his article with a gentle metaphorical warning: "Meanwhile, let us not forget that Maharaja Pariksit did not kill the personality of Kali." Ouf!
© CHAKRA 9 October 2001
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