Chakra Discussions

Seek the honey, not the faults

by Bhakta Jerry
Berkeley, California

Posted February 5, 2005

The letter from Bhakta Mike is a very potent article, in terms that, no matter what one's position is in Krishna consciousness, it will invoke some strong emotions. I have mixed reactions.

I say "right on!" to his provocative statements, "Rather than accepting a person for who they are, it seems that ISKCON is geared to discriminate against everyone for who they are" and "I wish to learn love of God and I can't do that unless I first learn to love my neighbor . . . even if they happen to have a different sexual orientation or sex organ."

I have felt this lack of acceptance to some degree; I am heterosexual, but I have felt shamed for not being perfect. I have felt so discouraged in my spiritual life because I have not lived up to the standards of ISKCON. I have often gone to the temple feeling embarrassed for being human.

I saw a lecture given by Chandra Mauli Swami in San Jose on Sunday. He described how Kali Yuga is so full of faults, and we are all suffering. We are in the most fallen spiritual condition compared to the previous ages. I was thinking -- and please correct me if I am wrong -- that, by the nature of this age, I am fallen and full of sin. I was asking myself, "Will Krishna accept me as I am, a sinner, which is part of my human nature?"

Christianity preaches that Jesus Christ does just that -- accepts sinners. I am trying to follow Krishna consciousness, and trying to overcome my lust, but I am tired of kicking myself or feeling ashamed that I am human. Again, will Gaura-Nitai accept me as I am, an imperfect human being?

I think that Bhakta Mike has felt this. My experience among devotees is that some of them, at least, are the most judgmental people I have met. I am also guilty of this, thinking that I have found the highest Dharma, and therefore I am better than everyone else, even other devotees. Yet, behind closed doors, I am a struggling sinner.

We are finding out more and more that many of ISKCON's leaders are also struggling sinners behind closed doors. Don't get me wrong, I am sure some are not. I am realizing that it is more healthy to admit that I am a sinner, and pray for Krishna's mercy, than to pretend to be something I am not.

I also wish to say to Bhakta Mike, "Whoa, my friend, be careful." He has made a New Year's resolution not to have anything else to do with Krishna consciousness, and never to chant again nor to read the Vedas. By so doing, is he not becoming prejudiced -- the very thing that he protests against? Many ISKCON members may indeed be prejudiced and out of line, but there are also many who are sincere and beautifully humble people. I suggest he should seek out those latter devotees and attach himself to them. Then he can make sprititual advancement.

Also, the nature of this age is that we are all fallen and full of faults. No matter where we go in this world, and no matter what religion we decide to follow, we will find the same prejudice, hate and sexism that is in ISKCON. True, members of other organizations may be trying more sincerely to overcome these faults, but I do think many members of ISKCON are making an effort to rid the society of such faults. If, however, we expect the world to bring us perfection, we will constantly be greeted with disappointment.

There is a famous saying in Krishna consciousness that I try to remember. It is something like this: "Be like a bee who relishes sweet honey, rather than a fly who thrives off stool and garbage." I thank you all for reading this. Please correct me if I am wrong, and excuse me for my sins.