Middle East - Israel Debate
BY: ROCANA DASA, SUN EDITOR
Sep 28, CANADA (SUN) It has been fascinating to witness the proliferation of discussion around Israel and the Middle East. The dialogue began with a few articles about Islam, including one about Harivilasa dasa's recent comments on Muslims. That, coupled with a few comparative religions pieces on Judaism and Islam started the ball rolling.
We have received a small deluge of articles from all viewpoints on the religious clash taking place in the Middle East between Israel and the Islamic cultures. Some of the most vitriolic have been anti-Semitic articles asserting a wild conspiracy theory on Jews taking over ISKCON. Others have been sincere, albeit mundane, political dissertations.
I personally have not participated in this debate. As a spirit soul who, due to some strange karma, transmigrated into a Canadian body with an English background, I can't really get emotional about these issues in the way devotees from other cultural backgrounds might. Regardless, there's obviously an escalating cultural and religious war going on, and it has found its way to the pages of the Sun.
Being a bit of a news hound, I stay abreast of all the latest goings-on in the material world. Naturally due to my background and the kind of news I read, I'm inclined to the Western side of the conflict. I have to keep reminding myself that it's just another phenomenon transpiring at this particular point in time, and in terms of eternal time it has absolutely no relevance whatsoever -- especially in comparison to the appearance of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Sankirtana movement being spread around the world, the advent of three great Sampradaya Acaryas over the last 100+ years. To me that's the real news here, and it's only my contamination that attracts me to listen to the rest of the news going on in the material world.
By the same token, Srila Prabhupada periodically mentions political situations in room conversations and on morning walks. He sometimes inquired of the devotees as to what was going on in the world on certain issues. It's interesting to note that the devotees seemed to be a great wealth of detailed information on these topics, which means they were reading news magazines, etc.. Srila Prabhupada's interest at the time was regarding issues like whether or not they went to the moon, or the cold war. At the time we all thought we were going to blow up in a nuclear holocaust. Srila Prabhupada always put the Krsna Conscious lens on everything. Considering the fact that we don't have any Sampradaya Acaryas on the planet today and we are all self-confessed conditioned souls, I don't see us coming to any conclusions here on the Middle Eastern debate.
Given the trend towards an increasingly mundane inflow of articles we've had to reject, I ask that future contributions on this topic specifically frame the debate in a Krsna Conscious context. This will give us a much more direct tie to the preaching work at hand. As soon as the Sun Blogs re-open, those interested in the subject can discuss it threadbare, until the cows come home.
As we've mentioned before, the term "Judaism" is one of the single most popular search keywords that has visitors Googling their way onto the HareKrsna.com website. For years we've been astounded by this phenomenon, and we're constantly trying to understand the preaching implications of this trend. We encourage the devotees well versed in these issues to provide us all with intelligent, insightful ways to use the situation unfolding in the Middle East as a means of introducing Krsna Consciousness to people from other religious cultures. This will make the discussion extremely worthwhile.