“If we do not change our consciousness in this life, whatever we do in the name of social, political, religious or communal and national welfare will be the cause of our bondage. This means we have to continue in material, conditional life.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.28.20 Purport)
“It is unfair how this group is treated. They have to hide in the shadows. People look down upon them. Not to their face, mind you. But I know what they are thinking. I hear their conversations around the coffee machine in the office. You know what they are saying while socializing at the restaurant.
“It is about time we did something to correct the injustice. These are human beings like everyone else. They may be a little different, but that should not impact how we treat them. We have to raise awareness. We have to make people stand up and be held accountable.”
“Seriously, this leader is the worst. They are basically running a criminal gang. They are simply the next in line. The ones before them were brought down for corruption. While they spoke of targeting the guilty, of protecting the vulnerable, they exhibited the worst behavior themselves.
“The voting public doesn’t seem to discern the pattern. They keep electing leaders of the same political party. It is as if this one party has a lock on the majority. No matter what they do, they will earn enough support come election time. Something has to be done. We need change. We have to clean up the government before every good person in the area leaves for a better place.”
“Our numbers are dwindling. A mere fifty years ago, the attendance was at full capacity every Sunday. We had people waiting in line outside. Everyone would dress up nicely. We would at least think of the Almighty, even if a lot of the time was spent socializing.
“Just see the situation now. Sure, our leadership has been in the news lately, for the wrong reasons. The institution has made some regrettable mistakes. Barely anyone attends. Just the truly devoted. We have to turn things around. We need to rebrand ourselves. Let’s find a way to appeal to the disenfranchised. I know that they still believe in God and heaven, deep inside.
“The park is in bad shape. The city has supposedly been trying to fix the problem for a while. They’ve tried different vendors who made bids but none of them could get anywhere. This real estate developer says they are willing to give it a shot. Not for a profit motive; just to help the city.
“Actually, we could use help in a lot of areas. More homeless shelters. How about those portable restrooms on the streets? People pay a nominal fee and can then use. I’ve heard that the unions have been standing in the way of that. We need more reliable trains and also one that goes directly to the airport.”
5. National welfare
“The entitlement system is crumbling. The actuarial tables show that the system will be bankrupt in a few decades. So many people retiring and no money to support this. These are funds that were promised to them, taken out in the form of payroll deductions.
“Raising taxes always seems to be the answer, but that will cripple the economy. The wealthy will simply leave and go to places with lower tax rates. Then the government doesn’t get any revenue, when they were expecting more to flow into the treasury. Something needs to be done, either way.”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada advises against getting too involved in such causes. The reason is that the issue of material bondage remains. Even if a person is wildly successful, what does that really gain them?
Today we drive over bodies of water using bridges named after famous people. Does anyone stop and consider what those people did to gain notoriety? In fact, after a while the name gets associated with the bridge only. If there is too much traffic on a regular basis, the motorists start cursing at the mere sound of the name of that famous person.
I may be successful in curing the ills of society, but that does not stop the issue of birth and death. No matter how much a person is enjoying in the material sense, there is the guaranteed exit looming. It is a difficult subject matter to discuss, but one that should be carefully considered.
How exactly do I want to die? Do I get to bring my possessions with me? Will my friends and family protect me? Will my community help me in the future, in the next life?
According to Shrimad Bhagavatam, the best course of action is to work towards success in pleasing the master of the senses, Hrishikesha. Work very hard to please God the person. Help those who are striving for the same. Band together. Build a better consciousness, and the remaining issues of the external world will get resolved on their own.
Categories: the five