Brexit – “A Vaishnava’s perspective”

Srila Bhakti Kanan Giri Maharaja sent the below email to Uddharan dasa on the 12th April 2019.

My dandavats Prabhu Uddharan.

As a Yank I would probably do best to keep my mouth shut about Brexit. But the UK invites comment from people like me by keeping the subject alive at all costs. So then… ?

Perhaps you know this story told by Srila Prabhupada:

There is a nice instructive verse in Sanskrit. One saintly person was giving his blessings to different kinds of persons. So he first of all saw one boy, he was a prince, son of a king. So he blessed him, rāja-putra, “My dear prince,” ciraṁ jīva, “you live forever.” Then he saw one brahmacārī, a disciple of a spiritual master, he said, mā jīva muni-putraka: “Oh, you are the disciple of a saintly person. You do not live. You die immediately.”

Rāja-putra ciraṁ jīva. “Oh, the prince, son of a king, you live forever; and you are a brahmacārī, muni-putra, a son of a saintly person, so you die immediately.” Then there was a saintly person, and he said to the saintly… He offered his blessings to the saintly person, jīva vā mara vā sādhoḥ. Sādhoḥ means saintly person, sādhu. “My dear saintly person, either you live or you die, as you like.” And there was a butcher. He told for the butcher, mā jīva mā mara iti: “You neither live nor die.”

So what is the significance of these four kinds of blessings? The significance is that he blessed the rāja-putra, royal prince, to live forever because whatever enjoyment he’s having, this is for this life. Next life is very horrible for him, next life. Just like generally in the opulent countries like America and other European countries—they are materially very opulent—they do not care for anything.

They do anything, whatever they like, because they are very much proud of their material opulence. But they do not care what they are going to be next life, you see. Therefore so long they live, that is good for them. As soon as they die, they are going to the darkest region of the hell. Therefore the prince, the king’s son, was blessed, “You live forever.”

And so far the brahmacārī, brahmacārī or the son of a muni, he is undergoing penance, austerities, fasting, not very comfortable life. So he was blessed that “You die immediately.” Because by his pious activities he has elevated himself so high that as soon as he dies, he goes to Vaikuṇṭha, kingdom of God. Therefore the sooner he dies is better. So muni-putra, ma jīva muni-putraka.

And so far saintly person, sādhu, he said, jīva vā mara vā. A saintly person, “Either you live or die, the same thing. Because you are serving Kṛṣṇa in this life, and as soon as you die, you will serve Kṛṣṇa directly. So it is all the same.” And so far the butcher is concerned, he said, mā jīva mā mara: “You don’t die, don’t live.” “Don’t live” means “You are living in such a wretched condition, killing every day.

Horrible life. Your living is horrible, and if you die, you are going to the darkest region of the hellish condition. So both life, living or dying, it is very horrible for you. So you don’t live, don’t die.” [laughs] So that is the blessing to the butcher, “Don’t live, don’t die.” Living condition is also horrible, and after death it is also horrible.
But unfortunately, every one of us is committing butchery without understanding self-realization, what is self, “What I am.” Therefore Vedānta-sūtra says that “Try to understand yourself. “Athāto brahma jijñāsā. This human form of life is meant for searching out, understanding, inquiring about Brahman. We are all Brahmans. Because we are part and parcel of the Supreme Brahman, therefore we are all Brahman.

So if we do not inquire what is Brahman, then that is suicide. In the human form of life, if you do not make inquiries what is Brahman, athāto brahma jijñāsāJijñāsā means inquiry. This is the first aphorism in the Vedānta-sūtra, that atha. Atha means “thus.” Ataḥ, ataḥ means hereafter. “Hereafter” means that we have passed through 8,400,000’s of species of life; now we have got civilized form of human body, now it is the time to inquire what I am, what is God, what is my relationship with God.

—Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami, Lecture on Śrī Śrī Ṣaḍ-gosvāmy-aṣṭaka — November 18, 1968, Los Angeles

It seems PM May, “a tough lady”, as you pointed out, is so tough she has decided to impose her will upon the people of the UK. Instead of accepting their will (expressed by a majority of the people’s vote in the referendum) to leave the EU, which was to occur by March 31, she has decided to impose upon them the condition of the butcher: “Don’t live, don’t die.”

Of course she has been aided by weakness in the Parliament which also cares little for the expressed will of the voters; with the result that the UK is, in this matter, not ruled by the consent of the governed (as I would think they are obliged to do) but by the toughness of the PM and weakness of Parliament.

The result is a malingering paralysis imposed upon the lives of the UK population I will describe as “Don’t stay, don’t leave.”, my attempt at a simile with the “Don’t live, don’t die.” aphorism.

The people voted for independence. The government has responded with the question “Is slavery really all that bad?” Interestingly, the government’s response strikes me as being very similar to the British response to Gandhi’s plea for independence “We will give India independence when it is ready for it.”

Once, an Indian political leader, Syamasundara Cakravarti, asked our spiritual master, Prabhupada, “Why has the Lord granted such freedom to the jiva?” Prabhupada told him, “You are fighting for freedom. Don’t you know the value of freedom? Devoid of freedom, the soul is only matter.” Freedom offers us the alternative to do right or wrong. Once, Gandhi told the British authorities, “We want freedom.” They replied, “You are not fit to have self-government. When you are fit, we shall give it to you.” But finally, he told them, “We want the freedom to do wrong.” So, freedom does not guarantee only acting in the right way; freedom has its value independent of right and wrong.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja – The Search For Sri Krsna.

It seems the UK government will grant its people independence from the EU, but not until it thinks the people are ready for it. I am doubtful the present government will ever arrive at that conclusion; thereby, keeping them in a state of indefinite suspended animation.

Is it not odd that Britain, once so powerful a country that it could essentially enslave entire countries in far away places is now so timid and and grown so weak it cannot seem to bear facing the consequences of its own freedom from slavery? It seems it has become afraid of its own shadow.

Almost two years ago I wrote this to you:

Srila Sridhara Maharaja said, in a complimentary fashion, about Americans: “Freedom is in their blood.” Current events tell me; for that to remain true, we need a transfusion. The American blood that gave us freedom, was mostly from British donors. “Americans”, all English subjects at the time, had to fight against the most powerful military of its time to secure their freedom from British subjugation. The chances of succeeding were minuscule but for the fact of their indomitable determination. Since then the British people have unwittingly become the subjects, not of their own king or queen, or even their own Parliament, but the tyrannical socialist dictators inhabiting the seats of EU government in Brussels. After centuries of fending off the efforts of the most formidable powers of France, Germany, Spain, etc. to subjugate the British people, they are now in the most abominable position of taking orders originating from puny Belgium.

To reverse this ominous tide, the British people need not fight a bloody war; they only require sufficient courage to vote in a referendum in favor of regaining its freedom from the tyranny of EU government rule.

I hope they have what little courage it takes to do this.

The British people, at least a majority, had the courage. Its government, it seems, does not.

Overall I am still amazed to see that freedom, the most valuable asset of the jiva, is viewed so disparagingly by almost everyone, everywhere.

I’ll close by reciting PM May’s blessings upon her people:

“People of the UK. With respect to the EU, I give you my blessings ‘Don’t stay, don’t leave.'”

That’s my unasked for two cents worth (two pennies worth in your parlance).


Giri Maharaja