If we move to a temple whose mood is different from that of our native temple, what to do?
Time: 7 minutes
Transcribed by: Sudeep Naik
Question: If we move to a temple whose mood is different from that of our native temple, what to do?
Broadly speaking when we find ourselves in a situation that is difficult there are three options: (i) tolerate (ii) mitigate (iii) immigrate.
These options are applicable irrespective of who is right who is wrong. Pandavas used all these three options at different times. When Kauravas tried to burn the Pandavas or when they tried to poison Bhima, Yudhishthira said that this is a family matter do not publicize it, tolerate it. When Kauravas dishonored Draupadi or when they dishonored Krishna by arresting him, Pandavas mitigated the situation by fighting a war. When Krishna departed from the world, then they immigrated, i.e. they also left.
We can look at Prabhupada’s life also. When Prabhupada came to America, he was preaching to hippies. Hippies would eat the food and leave their plates behind. Then Prabhupada would wash the plates himself. He tolerated hippies’ behavior. Later, when Mr. N was trying to steal the Juhu temple land then Prabhupada fought against him. He mitigated the situation. When Prabhupada was preaching in India, people were not very interested, so he came to America. He immigrated.
At different situations we may use any of these three options. We have to see what works best for our service to Krishna.
What does tolerate, mitigate and immigrate mean when you find that the mood in the new temple is different from the old temple?
Here tolerate means, “I agree with the situation, but it is a good time for me to learn how bhakti is much bigger.” I tolerate the situation and then gradually learn to deal with it. Sometimes the situation may not be as bad, and we may find it nice also in its own way. A different flavor but sounds nice.
Here mitigate means, “OK, I do realize that the particular mood of my old temple is not here, but that does not mean that new initiatives are banned. In the new temple, it may be that new initiatives are not much encouraged or facilitated but if we have a particular vision and a particular inspiration to serve, we can share that within the broader community not in a disruptive way but in a harmonious way. In case it does not work, we immigrate. We go elsewhere where the mood is more harmonious.
All three options are perfectly fine if we are doing them in a service attitude.
When we are in a movement we will not get these two things – freedom and facility – simultaneously. If we get facility that means the movement leaders have a vision and they have generated a facility. They will want us to use the facility to fulfill their vision. We will get the facility if we are fulfilling that vision. However, if we feel, “No, No, this is what I want to do.” Such an attitude is also not wrong. If we have talent and commitment then we can use our freedom, but in such situation, we may not get the facility. What becomes a problem is if we want both freedom and facility.
For us to adapt to the situation we are in, we will have to see what works best. Generally, there is some birth pain where we come from one conception of bhakti to another. But over a period of time broadening our horizon increases our appreciation for bhakti. Based on our experience we tend to equate bhakti with a particular way of practicing bhakti, but bhakti is much bigger than that. If we can cultivate such openness we will see that there are other ways of practicing bhakti. Therefore, a devotee’s mood is that, “I want to become as versatile an instrument in my spiritual master’s services as possible. I know few things but let me try to learn other things also.”
In future we do not know where we will be, so if we have different abilities in which we can serve Krishna then eventually we may have a facility in future where we can serve according to our inspiration. If we have intent to serve Krishna, then whatever situation we are in we keep that strong intention. Then Krishna will give us the intelligence – dadami buddhiyogam tam, yena mam upayanti te – how best to serve him.
End of transcription.