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Report of Meeting 7th May 2013

Speaker: Hari das, President of the Coventry Hare Krishna Temple

Hari das told us he was born in Kenya in 1950 and came to England in 1968. After university he worked for Rolls Royce, and was part of a rock band. He loved the British humour but not the food of the 1970s. Now it has changed so much. He goes to India about twice a year, and values his dual heritage, Indian and British.

He began by teaching us the Hare Krishna chant, accompanied on the guitar. It is a way of praising the attractiveness and energy of God. We joined in, rather uncertainly. Then he focussed on the necessity of the inner life with the image of a banana – something he often does with children. ‘What’s this?’ – ‘A banana’ – ‘What’s it for?’ – ‘To eat’ – ‘Here, you eat it; hey, what are you doing?’ – ‘Taking the skin off’ – ‘But it’s all banana’ – ‘Yes, but I want what’s inside’ – ‘Well, did God make a mistake, giving it a cover?’ – ‘No, that keeps it clean and stops it going rotten’ – ‘Ah, it’s the inside that matters then.’

Some other points he made:

  • The question in life is ‘what do you want to be?’ What direction are you going in?
  • Who are you, anyway? When you are asleep, you don’t know even your own name
  • What is the source of it all?
  • We think we are the controller (ishwar) of our own body, but there is a parma ishwar (supreme controller) over everything
  • A father wrote up GOD IS NOWHERE in his home. His small son, learning to read, understood it as GOD IS NOW HERE
  • Where is God not?
  • Humility is remembering at all times that God is with you

The later part of the meeting developed into a discussion about why there are tsunamis, earthquakes etc, killing the innocent, and from there the question of warfare and the morality of fighting. The opening of the Bhagavad Gita sees Arjuna facing his relatives in the opposing battle-line, and telling Krishna (in disguise as his charioteer) that he cannot fight his own blood-relatives. Krishna tells him it is his duty as a member of the warrior caste. Arjuna’s was a righteous cause, and necessary if crime and injustice was not to triumph.
We learnt also that all living beings have a soul.

Christopher Lamb

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