Thursday, July 30, 2009

Going ISKCON 3:The Devotee

This is a 4 part series on my experience with ISKCON as a 'junior' devotee.

Please read the introduction and section 2 ,by following the respective links.

Its crucial to understand the thinking and lifestyle of any devotee to understand my point of view.

The devotee i describe are 'recruited' from colleges . Their age group can be between 18-25 . After its decided that the student in question wants to be a devotee of Krishna for life they usually move into a separate accommodation with like minded people. Once this happens the life of the student ceases to be anything but normal and this is what I intend to explain.

The core of the existence of a devotee is in the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra. They chant it a astounding 1728 times in the morning and evening ,once they become serious devotees. One might expect the students to lose interest in academics with such rigorous practices-but since most of the students recruited are of above average intelligence - their academic performance goes up.

Two things can be attributed to this phenomena-
A superior goal in life and a clear mind.

Prayer to God is a form of meditation and this clears the mind of all distractions. Once clear ,the mind functions like a arrow programmed to hit bulls eye. Every failure is taken up positively as a result of past sins and the focus is only on being a better devotee.
The superior Goal is the single minded objective of any  ISKCON devotee- making the supreme lord happy. Whether its academics ,sleeping, interacting with others or even cooking- the purpose is crystal clear. The chanting reinforces the basic purpose of all these activities and helps to constantly be focused( Emphasis is on the word constantly-its 24*7).

Its a standard practise to train the bhaktas to do things they might normally find ridiculous. The bhaktas apparently dance to the tune of Krishna bhajans as a group. A guru,usually a person of around 40 -50 years old dances with them and encouraging them to let go of their shyness and enjoy the moment . The dancing is also considered to be a form of worship of the great lord.[Aside: Dancing to experience religious awakening is one of the central theme of this book]

They usually wake up at 4 in the morning and after taking bath they start chanting. It usually end at around 6 when they do the assigned duties like cooking . Sometimes they listen to some pre-recorded lectures of the Guru. After which they go to work/college .

At work they are seldom seen doing anything other than the job assigned to them . They don't drink coffee, gossip or check mails needlessly. They go about their work with great efficiency and never work extra time. They behave normally with colleagues, but don't involve with non -work based discussions. They come home at 5 ,pray,eat and go to bed at around 10.

If you are a normal person reading this -the key difference between you and the devotee is this- the devotee is completely aware of every minute which is passing and he is focused on utilizing each minute in productive work. Having been with a similar mindset-its amazing how much of the time we normal guys end up not doing anything productive.

To be Concluded....

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