Can we preach without using technology as such use can distract one from Krishna?
Transcription by- Keshav Gopal Das & Ambuj gupta
Question: Can we preach in today’s times without using modern gadgets because when we start using gadgets then the vision becomes material often. We compare, ok, I have this kind of gadget, that person have that kind of gadget and then the focus from preaching may get lost? But we fear that if we don’t use the gadgets our preaching may not be effective then what should we do?
Answer: Certainly it’s not required that we have to use gadgets for preaching.
Essentially preaching means to share the message of Krishna with others so that they can also become inspire to serve Krishna. So that is the basic principle of preaching. That does not require necessarily any gadgets. It simply requires the inspiration from our heart to go to the other peoples heart. Now with respect to not using any gadget specifically as a matter of principle, there are different definition of success. For example, we could say that there are two broad models for Krishna conscious preaching. In the early days of our movement both these were merged but now they are sort of become separated. What was it? That one is as devotees we present entirely different culture as an alternative to modern mainstream culture and as an alternative we present not just principles of bhakti but also a complete culture. We reject modern education, we reject modern science, we reject modern things and then we focus on building our own communities and demonstrating how our way of living is better than the modern way of living. Not just in terms of the principles of bhakti but overall broad culture also. So now today this is possible when most of our movement was temple based. Even in 1980’s 93% of ISKCON devotees were living inside temples, even grahasthas. But now if you see today ISKCON more than 93% are living outside the temples, it is a congregation based movement and we do have still the attempt to demonstrate an entirely alternative culture in the farm communities. So where devotees live disconnected from the world, focus on taking care of cows, tilling the land and living in self sufficient God centered eco friendly communities. That is also an important project but that is only one part of the movement. Most of the movement today is based in cities. So in sense we will have in our future both of these.
Now in the cities we still have a distinct culture but the devotees who are living in cities often have to adapt according to cities. It’s not that our congregation devotees are sending children to gurukuls. It any of the schools and then along with that they are having jobs in their offices and they having business. They are interacting with the material world and within that they also practice bhakti to the best of their capacity. If somebody is strongly anti pathetic towards technology, means I don’t want to have anything within technology but this person is best suited for the farm community model because there one can stay completely away from technology and practice spiritual life. But when one is in the cities and wants to make impact in the cities avoiding technology entirely may not be possible. It’s not that it’s impossible but to some extent when we want to reach out in cities we have to deal with the pace of city life, the modes of communication and other such things which are there in cities. For example, some devotees as a matter of principle say I will not use cellphone. Now I respect their principle but all that happens is that often when they have been contacted then it’s difficult for others to contact them and even when they want to contact its difficult for them to contact. So they may orient their life in such a way that ok, they can manage their services and they will choose services which do not require cell phone, emails. It’s possible to manage it. But then that is definitely inconvenience if a person wants to do effective preaching. One can work around it but its inconvenient. So like that there are certain gadgets which are useful. Is power point presentation necessary? Well it’s not necessary but if it is there sometimes can enhance the effect of the class that we are giving specially for new people.
In that sense if one wants to avoid these things and if one doesn’t want to go farm community then it may be better for one to focus not on preaching to new people who are adapted to a fast way of living but to focus more on teaching to devotees. Somebody has got a service where people who are technology oriented are coming then one will have to learn some of the things because otherwise then one cannot expect the world to change. So either we have to change or then we can change ourselves. It’s not wrong. If we find that a particular service is not according to our nature and do not feel comfortable in doing it then saying so and then requesting that another service is not wrong but off course if authorities ask sometime then we can do it. But if something is not according to our nature then we always say that is wrong. But if I take up a service for example, I decide that I will do preaching on the internet. I will have online course and then after that I make a policy that I will not use computers. Then how will I do internet preaching? It’s not possible. So if we have to take a particular service then we have to learn the skills and acquire the technology that is required for that service. But if we feel that we don’t want to do that, that’s not necessary for bhakti, that’s not necessary for preaching also but then we have to preach accordingly. We may take up some other service, focus on some other kind of people and then move forward.
Over a period of time in my understanding that there are three phases we go through when we use technology. First is may be there is some apprehension. Will I be able to use it, what will happen by this, maybe I will get distracted and then after apprehension we come to infatuation. We can do this also, we can do that also. Some things we actually start learning a new cell phone. Oh! There is this feature also, this feature also, this feature also. We just caught up. So many learning feature, leave him. We forget how many features we are using in Krishna’s service. We use only 20-30% of it and may be in future I will be able to use it. Let me learn it right now. But after that apprehension, the infatuation then we come to the phase of utilization. Whatever useful I use it. So in general if you just may be associate with some devotees who are very good in technology, they were just overwhelmed. You do this, you do this. But some devotees whom we know are focused on Krishna without using technology, we see how they use it and from their example we get the confidence to use technology without being apprehensive to fearful or feeling infatuated. Just utilize in a detached way in Krishna’s service. Thank you.