Thursday, June 30, 2016

Transcendental Time Machine

One of those common topics of conversation, perhaps more among young people than us serious 'adults' is, "If you had access to a time machine, where would YOU go?"

While, obviously, if you had a time machine you could go both forward into the future, and backward into the past, surprisingly, most people don't think about going into the future, but rather into the past. Perhaps it's because we are very aware OF the past, but not so much of the future. In fact, for many, the future is a frightening thing  - both individually, and as a society or planet. What might the future look like? Will we even still be here as a species?  Will there be alien invasions or a take over by the robot servants?  World wars? Famine?  Or some type of Utopian world?  I think, for many, it is too much and too abstract to think about, and SO...we think where in the past we would want to visit.

While young kids may think "Dinosaurs!", others consider very specific persons or events. A very common answer is "I would go back to the time of Jesus!"  While this may be due to our western, Christianized background, it is telling that so many would think of wanting to see the Son of God during his life, during his ministry.

However, this is an answer that you receive now.  Of course, the idea of a 'time machine' probably didn't even occur to people back then, but do you suppose that 50 or 100 years after Jesus, that they would have had that same response..."I want to go back to Jesus' time"?   Not very likely, as 50, 100, or even 200 years after Jesus' death, very few still had heard of him; perhaps some rumors, or an off-hand comment, but it wouldn't be for quite some time that the world would so impacted by his life and pastimes.

What made me think of this, was the life of my own spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada - the Founder and Acharya (Teacher) of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), or "Hare Krishnas".  And yes, I can imagine you thinking, "Huh?!"  I will try to explain:

Although the name Krishna or Hare Krishna is practically a household word, that wasn't always the case.  Sure, some who were a bit more educated knew about it, or those particularly interested in Indian culture, but most people, if you asked them who Krishna was, prior to the 1960's, wouldn't have a clue. But in 1965, at the age of nearly 70, Prabhupada (Bhaktivedanta Swami), boarded a freighter with about $7 and a trunk full of books he had written, and headed to America, landing in Boston in September of 1965.  Between then, and his passing November 14th, 1977, a mere 12 years, Srila Prabhupada had circled the globe more than 11 times, opened 100 temples worldwide, written or translated some 60 books, initiated more than 5,000 dedicated disciples, had hundreds of thousands of followers, and fulfilled a prophecy made hundreds of years earlier, that the Holy Names of God - Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare - would be carried to every town and village.  In other words, he single-handedly, in his 70's, started a worldwide spiritual movement, that has become a revolution.

So, what does this have to do with a 'time machine', you ask?  Well, looking into the future a bit, say 100 or so years, perhaps more (and maybe a lot less), I truly believe that Krishna Consciousness will be a major and driving force in the world.  Even at this time, there are many influential people who are either favorable to or actually ARE Krishna devotees.

Take Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, for instance. She readily admits to being a devotee of Krishna, and in fact, took her oath of office ON a Bhagavad Gita, the primary 'gospel' of the Hare Krishnas.  And many suspect that she would likely be a vice-presidential candidate with Bernie Sanders!  Imagine...a Hare Krishna IN the White House.

Most people are aware that George Harrison of the Beatles was into the Krishna movement, but few realize just HOW dedicated he was, actually asking Prabhupada if he should shave his head and be initiated, as well as having given thousands of dollars for the printing of Prabhupada's "Krishna Book", as well as the beatiful 17 acres Bhaktivedanta Manor - outside of London.

Speaking of George, there was also Boy George, the musician who was dedicated to Krishnas and wrote the song "Bow Down Mister."  Additional people who were interested or outright followers - Bob Dylan, Russell Brand, Peter Sellers, Steve Jobs, Allen Ginsberg, Polly Styrene, Alfred Ford (initiated as Ambarisha das), Neil Diamond, Peter Sellers, and the list goes on.

Believe it or not, there is actually a youtube channel called "Hare Krishna in the Movies" which shows clips from hundreds of movies and tv shows, that have featured either devotees themselves (often in the background chanting), as a major plot focus, or innumerable satires and comedies.  (We're easy to make fun of. :-D)

Now, imagine 100 or 200 years after the passing of Jesus, where Christianity has barely begun to make a mark, and then consider how just 39 years after the passing of Srila Prabhupada, there are tens of thousands of dedicated disciples, and quite literally millions of Krishna followers who regularly chant Hare Krishna, what to speak of many, many millions more who have been to temples, read Prabhupada's books or have just been influenced in some way - doing meditation, reading Bhagavad Gita or other Vedic scriptures, becoming vegetarian, and so on.  Just to give you a clue - Over half a BILLION of Prabhupada's books have been printed and distributed around the world in dozens of languages! sincere belief is that in one or two thousand years, who/where will people want to go in their time machines (assuming they don't actually have them by then)?  

"I want to go and see Srila Prabhupada when HE was here!!!"

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this article. I never considered how Prabhupada got so much accomplished in such a short time. He was truly divinely inspired!