Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Shock Over Dhruva Maharaja (das)

Today I found out some shocking news about someone who I considered to be a good friend, Dhruva Maharaja das. I hardly ever read that Yahoogroup, so guess how I found out? Through the IRM magazine that is mailed to me and devotees everywhere and which constitutes a plague in the life of many sincere and practising devotees.

Typical of me to be the last to know everything eh? But that doesn't make the news any less shocking. No wonder I haven't seen him around much at the Manor, but then again I haven't been attending the Manor as regularly. Still, this happened in November and I have seen him around since then! I think? Very shocking, I'm writing this out of shock. Dhruva, I attended his initiation ceremony, I was so happy for him and he seemed to me to be one of the most serious devotees around.

He used to attend every Pandava Sena meeting that I was at, and he shed tears at the funeral of Tribhuvanath Prabhu. Also, after that funeral I think he was the only one I saw who went and had a bath afterwards, as that is the correct thing to do after seeing a dead body/attending a crematorium (according to BRS). Also, one time as I sat next to him at a donation stall, I happened to be drumming on the table with my fingers and, without my knowing it, I was druming on apicture of Prabhupada's face. Dhruva told me that I should stop doing that as it constitutes an offence against the spiritual master. I was so surprised because, I myself am "orthodox" enough not to have done it in the first place if I hadn't been doing it absent-mindedly, but I was also very proud that he was someone who knew enough to point out my fault to me.

Seriously, he seemed to me to be one of the most serious devotees. I used to speak highly of him and wished him all the best in his deovtional career even though he could be a bit fanatical sometimes. Sometimes a tiny bit of fanaticism can be good if it is channelled in a proper way to help one to follow the principles properly.

The IRM presented that Yahoogroup posting in an abridged manner in the middle of an article dealing with bannings of devotees from Bhaktivedanta Manor. I could only see this message in full when I visited the PS Yahoogroup. What can I say? Utter shock.

Then again I wasn't that close to him and I'm sure there are plenty of people who would be even more shocked than I. Hmm, I wonder what my friend Devesh makes of it all? I should ask him. I haven't spoken to Devesh in a very long time. I notice that my friends Navina Krishna, Bhuta-bhavana and Sandipan Krishna are behind the writing of that posting. Wow, I guess they must be ultra-shocked since they knew him for so many years. After all, Dhruva Maharaja has been connected with PS since a very long time and I still sometimes remember him as 'Dhaval'.

Dhruva also asked me for money at his initiation ceremony, but if I remember correctly I couldn't give him much as I didn't have much money on me at the time. I didn't consider anything wrong as such on that occasion because it is customary to collect money at one's initiaiton ceremony in order to present it to the guru as 'dakshina'.

Oh well, what more is there to say. This world is filled with dualities. It is sad to see that even the devotee community is not exempt from fraud and the like, and I don't particularly relish the gossip over devotees' faults and falldowns as I used to do before. As a matter of fact if I am truly honest I have always been disgusted by it. I got serious in ISKCON around the time Harikesa fell down and it was a big issue when it happened. When I used to go on the Internet and see all the Vaishnavas bite on Harikesa like sharks in a feeding frenzy, I was appalled. I thought, "whatever he may have done, he has fallen down from his devotion. How about a little sympathy or compassion?"

I still think like that whenever I hear of a falldown or such. Just like the recent Jagat affair. Some people misunderstood my position, that I was defending Jagat out of some blind idea that he is some respectable guy. NO! As a matter of fact I have plenty of diagreements with him on various philosophical/practical issues even though I may not voice them, but if I see Jagat getting unnecessary castigation from people who appear to have no respect for common courtesy or oeven common decency, I wouldn't mind standing up in their defence. Everyone, at the very least, deserves common courtesy and decency. And especially in the case of Jagat (why not?) considering that he has been a mentor of sorts to several people for so many years. Biting the hand that fed you once upon a time is not a mark of good manners.

So what can we say? I believe that there is a verse in the Gita about how some people are carried away by their delusion? Perhaps that is apt.


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