Durban, South Africa
Today was the final day for the Chariot Festival in Durban. A second “return trip” like the one held in India’s east coast city, Puri, is re-enacted. I had the pleasure to be there this time and to lead the chanting in front of the middle chariot. It’s an honour. Many youths devotionally flaunted their drum playing. The event culminated with popping fire works. I thought about the extraordinary creative nature behind the invention of fireworks originating from the Orient. Whoever came up with the idea must have been empowered. Sometimes these inventions are a fluke.
There is one monk who comes to see me every year on my visit to South Africa. His name is Vraja Krsna, Croation born, and he showed me an article from his monthly publication Ahead of Time. There were excerpts from Bhakti Tirtha Swami on the topic of the Renaissance, a very expressive, creative and exploratory time. I found his comments interesting in regards to an overlooked phenomena of this idealistic and inventive time.
“Probing beneath the enthusiasm and idealism” he says, “the Renaissance actually set the stage for increasing conflict between individuals and nations. If we look at the biographies of some of the renowned personalities of that time, we find many of them were not just exploring new techniques in art and literature but were also exploring new outlets for their carnality and greed.
We can be very intoxicated by accomplishments that we as individuals may have been involved in and in the name of progress we may have developed certain comforts. The question remains even with the technology of today and the tagged on conveniences born out of it – are we truly peaceful?
Despite all the avenues of sense gratification tried over again and again, withoutspirituality, mundane achievements always fail us.