Monday Morning Greetings 2022 #21 – I Stand with Śrīla Prabhupāda!

May 23rd, 2022

I was recently sent a short documentary about a small nunnery with an adjoining old and ornate church in eastern Ukraine that was gradually being seriously damaged during the war. It was documented over time so you could follow the fear and disappointment of the nuns as they witnessed the ongoing destruction of their nunnery complex caught in the crossfire of a horrible war. I was, however, very impressed with the consciousness of the nuns, both their faith and insight. There was one thing that a young humble nun said that especially struck me: “But even if the war ends, what will people do with their lives?”


I am sure that the nun desperately wants the war to end and is not oblivious to the suffering of her people and the necessity for most people to have a “normal” or stable life to support the pursuance of any wholesome goal, especially God consciousness, but her concern is still valid.  Normal life, especially as structured in the modern world, is certainly nowhere near an end in itself. The crimes of war should be stopped, and moral outrage has its place, but we should not lose sight that what one will return to in “peace” is an increasingly materialistic civilization whose institutions, values, and economic foundations are gradually crumbling—a society more than ever in dire need of a spiritual reformation.


Śrīla Prabhupāda also never thought that the present civilization, even at its best, was “normal”, and he strongly espoused that in his writings even fifty years ago. I explained once before that after finishing my writing in the morning I then read the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and that frequently I see a certain synchronicity between the two. I would like to share today something that I just read in a purport of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s that expresses the same vision of modern civilization that the nun saw, and that I was writing about. Before doing that, however, I think it is best to first place that comment in context of the section of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam where it is found.


I am up to the story where after Lord Vāmanadeva, the dwarf incarnation, takes away everything from Bali Mahārāja, who is the king of heaven, Śrī Prahlāda, his grandfather, arrives on the scene and begins glorifying the Lord for having done that. He reasons that having such an exalted position often puts one in the darkness of ignorance. In his purport to these verses, Śrīla Prabhupāda stresses how false prestige due to excessive opulence powerfully influences one to neglect the goal of self-realization. He then goes on to describe how this is certainly true in the case of modern civilization. His prophetic comments offer us a chance to reflect more deeply about what is happening now in Ukraine, the world, and our lives:


“Practically no one is interested in God, one’s relationship with God or how one should act. Modern men have altogether forgotten such questions because they are mad for material possessions. If this kind of civilizations continues, the time will soon come when the Supreme Personality of Godhead will take away all the material opulence. Then people will come to their senses.” (Bhag. 8.22.17, Purport)


We don’t necessarily need a global catastrophe to bring us to our senses. I think most of us can admit that even without war we face many battles in our daily lives. Personally, I see how year by year Śrī Krishna is trying to bring me to my senses by dismantling one attachment after another. Will I finally get the message that there is no refuge in this world but the lotus feet of Śrī Guru and Śrī Krishna?


I feel for the people of Ukraine who are suffering. I feel for the people of Russia who are suffering. I pray that this nasty war ends, but ultimately I stand with the vision of Śrīla Prabhupāda that real liberation is never the result of victory in war, for “even if the war ends what will people do with their lives?”



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