By Amit K Sukhija
As Bangalore Rath Yatra, was fast approaching, we rushed through the busy bazaars of the Silicon Valley, on a trip from Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON Bangalore, Hare Krishna Hill for some special arrangements. We saw numerous posters, banners across Bangalore city being displayed, on how to prevent crime, and cautioning citizens to beware of intruders, thieves, and chain snatchers as a part of their “Crime Prevention Month”.
On discussion with a retailer, narrating their experience, 2 young plunderers perform a day light robbery, in the heart of the city. “They came and showed a powder in one of their hand’s saying an old lady, give me your gold chain, I shall polish and give re-birth the shine. The old lady did trickle something fishy about it and she refused the first time. The youngsters did not give up; they asked the lady to sniff the powder, saying this is very powerful to re-gain its glitter. The moment the lady sniffed the powder, she immediately removed a thick gold chain from her neck and handed over to the looters. After a couple of minutes, she opens her eyes from the deep spell, and sees them running hither and thither” expressed the retailer with great anxiety.
Srila Prabhupada, our beloved spiritual master has always been preaching a simple logic, chanting the Holy names of the Lord, is the key to success. As there are a series of chapters dedicated in one of Prabhupada’s book’s ‘Science of Self Realization’, “Finding Spiritual Solutions to Material Problems” having a conversation with “Lieutenant David Mozee, media relations officer for the Chicago Police Department” saying “The difference between a pious man and a criminal is that one is pure in heart and the other is dirty. This dirt is like a disease in the form of uncontrollable lust and greed in the heart of the criminal. Today people in general are in this diseased condition, and thus crime is very widespread. When the people become purified of these dirty things, crime will disappear. The simplest process of purification is to assemble in congregation and chant the holy names of God.”
Srila Prabhupada substantiates:
This is predicted in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam(12.2.1):
ataś cānudinaṁ dharmaḥ
satyaṁ śaucaṁ kṣamā dayā
kālena balinā rājan
naṅkṣyaty āyur balaṁ smṛtiḥ
satyaṁ śaucaṁ kṣamā dayā
kālena balinā rājan
naṅkṣyaty āyur balaṁ smṛtiḥ
“In the Kali-yuga [the present age of quarrel and hypocrisy] the following things will diminish: religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, mercy, duration of life, bodily strength, and memory.”
So, if you want to stop crime, then you must gather as many people as possible for mass saṅkīrtana. This congregational chanting of the holy name of God will dissipate all the dirty things in everyone’s heart. Then there will be no more crime.
Prabhupada mentors: “In the Upaniṣads it is said, īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam: “Everything belongs to God.” So, everyone has the right to utilize whatever is allotted to him by God, but one may not encroach upon others’ property. If one does so, he becomes a criminal”.
Prabhupada continues: “The age we live in is called Kali-yuga, the age of forgetting God. It is an age of misunderstanding and quarrel, and the people’s hearts are filled with dirty things. But God is so powerful that if we chant His holy name we become purified, just as my disciples have become purified of their bad habits. Our movement is based on this principle of chanting the holy name of God. We give everyone the opportunity, without any distinction. They can come to our temple, chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, take a little prasādam as refreshment, and gradually become purified. So if the governmental authorities give us some facilities, then we can hold mass saṅkīrtana. Then, without a doubt, the whole society will change.
If human beings are not given the facility to learn about God, then they remain on the level of cats and dogs. Therefore, it is the duty of the governmental authorities to see that people are taught how to become God conscious. Otherwise, there will be trouble, because without God consciousness there is no difference between a dog and a man. The only difference is that a dog cannot be instructed about his relationship with God, but a man can.
At the present moment, no one actually knows the meaning of religion. Religion means to abide by the laws of God, just as good citizenship means to abide by the laws of the government.
Prabhupada was interrogated by the lieutenant: “With all due respect, isn’t it true that in India, where religious customs have been followed for centuries upon centuries, we are seeing not a return to but a drawing away from spiritual life?”
Srila Prabhupada dauntlessly replies “Yes, but it is due only to bad leadership. Otherwise, the vast majority of the Indian people are fully conscious of God, and they try to follow the laws of God”.
You should give us the facility to chant the holy name of God and distribute prasāda. Then there will be a tremendous change in the population. If this is done on a mass scale, the entire society will become very pleasing. This is a fact.
On being asked Prabhupada, would he prefer an area of affluence or an area of poverty for a mass sankirtan? Prabhuapda replies “Our treatment is for the spiritually diseased person. When a person is afflicted with a disease, there are no distinctions between a poor man and a rich man. They are both admitted to the same hospital. Just as the hospital should be in a place where both the poor man and the rich man can easily come, the location of the saṅkīrtana facility should be easily accessible to all.”
The only way to permanently change the criminal habit is to change the heart of the criminal. As you well know, many thieves are arrested numerous times and put into jail. Although they know that if they commit theft they will go to jail, still they are forced to steal, because of their unclean hearts. Therefore without cleansing the heart of the criminal, you cannot stop crime simply by more stringent law enforcement. The thief and the murderer already know the law, yet they still commit violent crimes, due to their unclean hearts. So our process is to cleanse the heart. Then all the troubles of this material world will be solved.
If the government would give us a large facility, however, we could expand unlimitedly. And the problem is big; otherwise why are there national news articles asking what to do? No civil state wants this criminality. That’s a fact. But the leaders do not know how to stop it. If they listen to us, however, we can give them the answer. Why crime? Because people are godless. And what to do? Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and take prasādam.
We are just like a poor medical man with a small private practice who could open a big hospital if he were given the facility. The government is the executor. If they take our advice and adopt the process of saṅkīrtana, then the problem of crime will be solved.
And because we are strictly following religious principles, our preaching will be effective in spreading God consciousness and alleviating the problem of crime.”
A recent news update from the city said the CM mulls Gita in schools, says consensus first, this may be opposed by other followers of religion, and or by the opposition parties. Gita has been lauded and appreciated by personalities like MK Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and many more professors, philosophers across the globe have praised the literature composed by HDG Srila Prabhupada. This clearly indicates, it’s not a book belonging to any religion, but a manual for a human being.
Recenty a ban on Bhagavad Gita As It Is authored by Srila Prabhupada was proposed by the Russian Government, there were peaceful protests held by devotees, Prabhupada disciples, massive sankirtans held across the globe by devotees. By Prabhupada’s causeless mercy on fallen souls like us, the ban idea was refused. Our question to each one of you is, had the government been educated of the importance of Gita in the human society and precedence of Knowledge of God been in the society, wouldn’t our society have been a much more peaceful one today?
Srila Prabhupada’s motto is simple as long as you love God, follow any religion.
We encourage you to join your nearest Hare Krishna Movement and urge for a maha sankirtan on streets regularly to purge crime and have a city with clean hearts. Hare Krishna.