The seeds to this knowledge have to be planted at early age, before we get conditioned in another direction....
On two mornings a group of teenage boys came to visit me at our ashram in the Goshala. And I gave the same presentations to them, which maybe even created more of a revolution within their minds. Most likely nobody had ever talked to them about these topics, whereas the girls had discussed similar topics before.
Some of the boys almost seemed to be blown out when realizing how far human civilization of the modern world has gone away from Krsna's system - how this propaganda of men and women being equal was a conscious plan of demoniac materialists, just so that women can be exploited easier for sense gratification! Naturally, if men and women are equal, it relieves the men of any responsibility towards the women. No need for being the protector or provider any longer....!
Prabhupada says on a morning walk on the 14th of July 1975: "Free prostitutes. You go to a prostitute, you have to pay. Here they have arranged in such a way that free prostitute loitering on the street, and you can enjoy any one. This is their plan. They are rendered into beggar, and they are thinking equal rights." Prabhupada could perfectly look through it all.....
On their last visit we served the boys Vanilla Pudding and mango chutney, which they happily accepted. And they also had brought some Maha cookies from the temple - as a little gift for us. Giving and accepting prasadam - a loving exchange. The idea came to my mind to take them for a trip around Bangladesh....!
This would be indeed a wonderful transcendental adventure for them! Teenagers want and need an adventure, and if we don't offer it to them within Krsna consciousness, then they will look for it outside....
We got ready for yet another Holy Name Retreat in Ekachakra, scheduled from the 7th to 11th of February. We had arranged for new big poster to be placed around the Mayapur Campus, and 40 devotees from all around the world decided to participate in this transcendental excursion.
As always I went one day earlier to Ekachakra, together with Alakananda Mataji, to get the place ready for our retreat. Even though this would be our sixth retreat here - still, the locals needed help how to arrange things so everything would be nicely prepared.
Our taxi driver spoke some English. Since he was a little sleepy I decided to talk to him to keep him awake. When I asked whether he was married, he explained: "No. This is a big problem now - to find a nice girl. The modern girls are a big problem. They don't behave nicely, they don't dress nicely. Even the village girls also, and the girls in ISKCON also."
And he expressed his disgust how the girls in ISKCON are behaving and dressing. I was shocked and at the same time embarrassed to hear such opinion of this young village boy! As Prabhupada explains in SB.1.10.16: "Half-naked ladies in the street do not command any respect, but a shy sweeper's wife commands respect from all..." I simply responded: "Yes, you are right! The modern women don't dress and behave nicely. We are trying to train them, we are trying our best to train them." What else could I say?! And I recommended him to find a nice girl from Bangladesh. He laughed and said: "Yes, some friends also said this to me: go to Bangladesh and find a good wife there....!"
As usual on the first day of arrival our group went on parikrama around Ekachakra. This time I decided to lead it myself - it had simply become too difficult for me to find somebody in Mayapur who would be willing to come along and take us to all the holy places. I had taken some notes on our last visit, and some of the devotees in our group also shared some lilas related to various places of Lord Nityananda's pastimes.
This time many young devotees from different corners of the world participated in the retreat, which added a certain flavor of fresh eagerness to the atmosphere.
Everybody tuned in so sincerely and absorbed themselves in endeavoring to get on deeper levels of chanting the Holy Name. The atmosphere was surcharged with affectionate dealings, and it was a great pleasure to observe the joy and eagerness in these young devotees. Even though we did not have such expert kirtaniyas - still, the evening kirtans were deep and sweet, and many devotees had a chance to try and lead. Sometimes we are in a more humble mood when we know we are not so expert.....!
The intimate and confidential atmosphere of a small group always creates a wonderful mood and makes the evening kirtans especially sweet - something which I truly miss in my daily life and only experience during these retreats....!
I am simply like the transcendental tour guide here, taking everybody on an internal journey, facilitating a good focus on the holy name and trying to help everybody to open their hearts, so that Sri Harinam Prabhu can descend and do His mysterious work on it. And surely He touched and transformed some devotees' hearts....
It is of eternal benefit...!
One realization struck me: as we were discussing the three levels of inattentiveness in chanting the holy name - on the level of the body, mind and heart (which is nothing else but Bhaktivinoda Thakur's three kinds of inattentiveness: laziness, distraction and indifference), I realized that these three levels of inattentiveness are not only there in regards to chanting, but in regards to everything we do in devotional service. Unless we perform our service with attentiveness on the level of the body, mind and heart, it will not really help to cultivate bhakti. Service has to be performed with the intention to please somebody, which means our heart has to be involved. Serving with indifference, simply as dry duty, will not transform the heart very much. The same is there for sravanam - hearing. Only such hearing will really transform the heart, which is done with attention on the level of the body, mind and heart. There has to be intense eagerness there - in humility, otherwise the words will go in through one ear, out through the other. And the heart remains as it is.....
A few days after our return to Mayapur the Kirtan Mela began. Unfortunately I caught a virus which was going around in Mayapur, and I came down with a high temperature and a very deep cough, so I had to rest for a few days. Whenever the climate changes and it gets suddenly warm, many devotees get sick.
I took it as Krsna's arrangement to take a little break, even though I would have rather done it some other time, and not during the Kirtan Mela....
Your servant, Devaki dd