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It Takes An Orchestra - to make a conductor famous

nabadip - Tue, 13 Apr 2004 17:47:12 +0530
From Editorial:
Hillary Clinton: It Takes a Village to raise a child!

To the West, Achebe puts the question: what lasting good did your values bring to Africa? His own answer is that African culture, the good and the bad, simply fell apart under the leprous touch of Western "civilization." I hope that the near future will not find a writer surveying the ruins of the institution Srila Prabhupada started in 1966 and then asking ISKCON's own "Christian missionaries" the same question.

But it isn't my intention to point fingers. There's no use of that. Truly Krsna-conscious values can never be threatened by Judaeo-Christian values. Blind justice, self-empowerment, individualism, equality, enforced social welfare for the "deprived classes", suspicion of all that lies outside the Euro-American comfort zone (as being Satanic!)--we do hear echoes of these values being trumpeted today from some corners of the current ISKCON leadership. But these prized heirlooms of Judaeo-Christianity are deceptive and hypocritical. Just look at how these values are practiced by the Christians themselves. Such ideals represent the hopes for a promised heaven on earth that is cherished by people who are obedient to their senses and minds (when the two Latin words for "sense" and "mind" are combined, we get the basis of the English word sentimental). Judaeo-Christian sentiments cannot influence devotees fixed in the sattvic culture of Krsna consciousness. But if devotees are careless and permit the tamo-guna to wax in their midst with all its attendance anomalies--and to be sure, we have seen in ISKCON's history horrific cases of child abuse, wife abuse, abuse of power, caste-ism and so on--then things may fall apart for us too.

I do not know whether this is the appropriate place to discuss this article here, but I would like to point to the discrepancy of the comparison of an "artificial" institution, created in the West which is itself based on Christian values and practices, and has incorporated such in its basic set up, compared to an African village which grew over time in its own natural ambiente.

On the other hand I think many texts can become an instrument of throwing light on development of an institution of this kind. How about looking at George Orwell's Animal Farm as a very appropriate text?

All right. Let's be open-minded and admit "It takes a village to raise a child" at least sounds like these African proverbs. Let's go ahead and accept it as a loose rendition of African folk wisdom. Fine. Just don't get carried away by sentimentalism. Chinua Achebe, himself an African, isn't a sentimentalist. His book, Things Fall Apart, show us that besides raising a child, it took a village to murder one, too. And it took a village to spur another one to run away from his father into the arms of Christian missionaries.

It takes an organisation to define who is in and who is out.

A lot of white sheep are required to make a black sheep look unadjusted.

It took an organisation, for a few to discover the traditional parivars.

Thank you, big "white" org.