The Surfing Swamis

group-shot-600By Rhys Blakely

Surfing, a sport with devout followers from South Wales to New South Wales, has never caught on in India—despite the country having more than 4,500 miles of coast and giant waves during the monsoon.

That could now change as the world’s first surfing swami sets his sights on popularizing the pursuit across the subcontinent—a land that the holy man says has waves as attractive as those in the surfing mecca of Hawaii.

Swami Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha, 64, an American Hindu monk who has been living in India for four decades, has opened the country’s first surfing ashram—religious community—near Mangalore on the southwest coast.

At the Kaliya Mardana Krishna Ashram, ripping down the face of a glassy, peeling wave on a plank of polystyrene is considered a form of meditation. Set near the beach amid rice paddies and coconut groves, the commune has already attracted a handful of global surfing superstars, hundreds of Western amateurs, and scores of curious villagers.

“For some people, surfing is almost a spiritual thing,” Swami Narasingha said, explaining the link between the sport and his interpretation of Hinduism. “It’s to do with a very mellow connection to the ocean.”

Life at the ashram does not conform to the all-night party culture often associated with surfing, nor does it fit the common preconceptions of monastic life. Swami Narasingha—who also goes by his given name Jack Hebner—does not drink or smoke and is a strict vegetarian.

His followers are expected to live similarly abstemious lives. He took a vow of celibacy three decades ago and couples who stay at his ashram are requested to refrain from sex during their stay.

The monks who live at the ashram wake at four am to chant “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna”, but they do not beg for alms. Instead they earn money by doing freelance web-design work through a contractor in San Francisco and by running a local bottled-water company. Swami Narasingha also owns an art gallery in Bangalore.

The “Surfin Swamis”, as the community has become known, also rent boards and rooms to visitors. Swami Narasingha believes his is the only surfing ashram in existence—a claim that appears credible. Historically, the ocean has been looked upon with suspicion in Hinduism, the religion followed by 80 per cent of Indians.

According to some interpretations of Hindu mythology, the ocean—or “dark water”—is a resting place for the gods. Those who venture out into the sea risk disturbing them and could face the wrath of demons and monsters. In more modern times, a reluctance to enter the water may have more to do with the pollution that blights many beaches, which are often used as al fresco lavatories.

But Swami Narasingha believes that attitudes are slowly changing and that India is well on the way to becoming a global surfing hotspot for the sport’s cognoscenti. The beaches around his ashram get about 40 days “of really great surf” a year, he says. That may not sound like a great hit rate. but he adds that the real action is found at a small number of “secret offshore islands, where the waves are as good as Hawaii or anywhere in the world”.

This article originally appeared in the Times Online.

Related links:

SurfingIndia.net
Gosai.com

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28 Responses to The Surfing Swamis

  1. I agree with Maharaja that for some people “surfing is almost a spiritual thing.” My brother is a surfer and I once accompanied him and his friends in one of their surfing weekends. Now, I am not a surfer, but even I could appreciate their obvious devotion to their sport/lifestyle and how they approached the ocean with such surrender and respect.

    They would wake up the moment the sun was up (4 or 5 am) in a hurry to surf, so as not to lose one precious moment in the ocean and they would not stop surfing until the sun came down again. Everything else was secondary to chasing that “perfect wave” – eating, sleeping, etc. They did not care about being cold, sleeping in tents, and living in very austere conditions at the beach. I remember thinking: Now, I have something to learn about devotion from these guys! 😉

  2. Hmmm… innovative, but let’s see how it works long term.
    They could also paint big tilaks on these boards… 🙂
    Best of luck with this project, Maharaja!

    • This is nothing that new. The surfing swamis have been at this for quite a few years already and the success is already obvious.

  3. I have to say that Narasingha Maharaja and Vishnu Maharaja have really accomplished a marvelous preaching platform oriented to the surfing world. They represent a new generation of devotees that must inevitably present a pragmatic preaching platform that combines the spiritual wisdom of India with a realistic, practical lifestyle that is sustainable for modern people.
    I live in Florida and enjoy the opportunity to go to the beach a few times each year for some healthy exercise chasing the little waves we have here on the Atlantic Coast. I don’t do the long boards, but I do like the body board surfing which is enough for me.

    The concept that people in the modern age are going to flock to the mountains to live austere, boring and gloomy in mountain monasteries is flawed. People in the modern world need to be allowed to enjoy some of the natural wonders and pleasures of life without being subjected to a guilt complex driven by the fanaticism of social misfits trying to make a career as a “holy man” condescending upon all those who aren’t willing to crawl in a hole and die a social death.

    Narasingha Maharaja is a jewel in the crown of Srila Prabhupada.

    I don’t have many heroes anymore in the KC movement, but Narasingha Maharaja is certainly there on the top of the list with Tripurari Maharaja and a few others like Padmanabha Maharaja etc.

    If I live long enough to make retirement, making a pilgrimage to South India to spend a few days with Narasingha Maharaja and my old friend Vishnu Maharaja is certainly one of my aspirations.

    In these days of waning inspiration, there are certainly a few rare heroes that I can truly respect, admire and trust. Narasingha Maharaja is a refreshing change from the institutional cancer that is eating away at the finer sentiments of the Vaishnavas.

    We need real acharyas like Narasingha Maharaja and Tripurari Maharaja to offer a positive alternative.

  4. Syama Gopala dasa

    This is a nice audio slideshow that gives a more visual representation of the project: http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090919/MULTIMEDIA/909179947/1041

  5. Dandavats to Sripad Narasingha Maharaj.
    A friend of Narasingha Maharaj’s took me surfing for my first time this past summer. It was really fun! He told me about this surf preaching venue Maharaj has created and so I was contemplating sun, surf and sannyasa and how they fit together.
    “Growing up” in iskcon I have heard endless negative references to sporting and recreational activities; eg. Prabhupada calling surfers “sufferers” or Prabhupada crying while driving by a golf course, lamenting how people waste their time in frivolous activity.
    Though I recognize Prabhupada’s emphasis on proper utilization of the rare human form, I always felt there was a lack of balance amongst devotees regarding recreation. Why do some devotees feel guilty to have fun?? Isn’t the Gita verse (6.17) about moderation in practice considered important?
    Another thought I had was an example my gurudeva gives about renouncing sense-gratification. He says that we should offer to Krsna what we like the most. If we like pizza, offer it to Krsna because that is bhakti – giving your favorite things to Krsna. You go where your attachment goes. As Krsna accepts what we offer him with love, the attachment transfers from the activity or thing to Krsna’s pleasure.
    Taking an activity like surfing (which could be argued to be quite sattvic) and directing people who are so inclined towards the process of bhakti also reminds me of the current trend towards preaching amongst the hatha-yogis.

  6. I couldn’t even say that I think Srila Prabhupada would approve or endorse the surfing Swami concept, but I can say that I personally love the concept and the nice, sweet souls who are practicing it.
    I have to come to a point in my outlook on things that I no longer judge the value or utility of anything on whether or not I think Srila Prabhupada would personally approve.
    Srila Prabhupada was a very conservative Bengali Vaishnava, so his cultural preferences were certainly more in tune with Bengali values.
    However, in bringing Krishna consciousness to the western world the Gaudiya Vaishnavas have in a sense given western devotees and western civilization a license to adapt and adjust Krishna consciousness in a way that is compatible with western society.
    So, even though I certainly don’t believe that Srila Prabhupada would endorse or approve of the surfing Swami concept, I do think that it is a very attractive concept and lifestyle and that certainly many souls can be touched by the outreach of the surfing Swami ashrams.

    Fact is, Garbhodakasayi Vishnu is the original and supreme surfer in the universe.

    Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.9.20

    yo ‘vidyayānupahato ‘pi daśārdha-vṛttyā

    nidrām uvāha jaṭharī-kṛta-loka-yātraḥ

    antar-jale ‘hi-kaśipu-sparśānukūlāḿ

    bhīmormi-mālini janasya sukhaḿ vivṛṇvan

    SYNONYMS

    yaḥ — one; avidyayā — influenced by nescience; anupahataḥ — without being affected; api — in spite of; daśa-ardha — five; vṛttyā — interaction; nidrām — sleep; uvāha — accepted; jaṭharī — within the abdomen; kṛta — doing so; loka-yātraḥ — maintenance of the different entities; antaḥ-jale — within the water of devastation; ahi-kaśipu — on the snake bed; sparśa-anukūlām — happy for the touch; bhīma-ūrmi — violent waves; mālini — chain of; janasya — of the intelligent person; sukham — happiness; vivṛṇvan — showing.

    TRANSLATION

    My Lord, You accept the pleasure of sleeping in the water of devastation, where there are violent waves, and You enjoy pleasure on the bed of snakes, showing the happiness of Your sleep to intelligent persons. At that time, all the universal planets are stationed within Your abdomen.

    PURPORT

    Persons who cannot think of anything beyond the limit of their own power are like frogs in a well who cannot imagine the length and breadth of the great Pacific Ocean. Such people take it as legendary when they hear that the Supreme Lord is lying on His bed within the great ocean of the universe. They are surprised that one can lie down within water and sleep very happily. But a little intelligence can mitigate this foolish astonishment. There are many living entities within the bed of the ocean who also enjoy the material bodily activities of eating, sleeping, defending and mating. If such insignificant living entities can enjoy life within the water, why can’t the Supreme Lord, who is all-powerful, sleep on the cool body of a serpent and enjoy in the turmoil of violent ocean waves? The distinction of the Lord is that His activities are all transcendental, and He is able to do anything and everything without being deterred by limitations of time and space. He can enjoy His transcendental happiness regardless of material considerations.

    • However, in bringing Krishna consciousness to the western world the Gaudiya Vaishnavas have in a sense given western devotees and western civilization a license to adapt and adjust Krishna consciousness in a way that is compatible with western society.

      More than a license–a necessity. If the tradition does not adapt to the culture then it will sooner or later (probably sooner) become totally irrelevant. Every tradition faces this reality.

    • I accept neither the assumption that Srila Prabhupada might not approve nor that he was conservative. Regarding the latter, we need to begin by acknowledging that conservative and liberal are relative to particular contexts. Poet Allen Ginsburg apparently opined that Srila Prabhupada was conservative, a perception which sometimes amused Prabhupada. After all, he had crossed the ocean alone, chosen to live among outlandish people, gave Brahma gayatri to women disciples, etc. He was clearly a little too radical for most of his godbrothers to appreciate, at least for some years.

      With regard to approval, Srila Prabhupada’s standard was phalena pariciyate, judging an activity by its results. We hear many devotees claim that he accepts a very narrow standard in performing kirtan, but when he visited Honolulu in 1972, he participated in our evening kirtans, which were accompanied by electric guitars and sometimes adopted tunes from popular culture. The brahmacaris there were taken body surfing by the temple president starting in 1970. Srila Prabhupada didn’t stop either.

      As I’ve mentioned before in other contexts, in a private meeting Srila Prabhupada personally told a godbrother, my wife, and me, “Devotees and devotional service cannot be stereotyped. There is nothing that cannot be used in Krishna’s service. We simply require guidance from the expert spiritual master how to engage everything in Krishna’s service. That is the only trick.”

      • Why does there never seem to be any consideration of what Srila Sridhar Maharaj might think about such things? After all, the organisation that their holinesses represent traces its spirtual lineage through His Divine Grace.

  7. Sorry for the bias, Babhru. If you go by SP saying, judge the tree by its fruits. Majority of SP disciples are conservative and that should reflect that SP has a conservative streak too. Reality is something in between. Certainly SP was liberal for his time, but regarding interpretation of scripture he was super literal.

    • I’m not sure what bias you refer to, but I can respond to the remarks you make here. When you say that the majority of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples are conservative, I see a couple of problems. First, majority means 50% plus 1. Have you taken a comprehensive survey? It may be more accurate to say that your impression is that most of his disciples are conservative. But I also have my own experience, which may include knowing more of my godbrothers and sisters than you, and I know a good many who are rather liberal. I don’t know if they’re as liberal as you, or as you’d like, but that’s another question.

      The other problem is your definition of conservative. As I mentioned, it’s really a relative term. What he accomplished required a radical vision and radical action, inspired by Nityananda Prabhu, the ultimate liberal. As Srila Sridhara Maharaja suggests, he is Nityananda-avesha. I am the direct beneficiary of that radical action.

      As far as his being “super literal” in his reading of scripture, that’s also a value judgment. Super literal could also be understood as fundamentalist, which I think is a mistaken understanding. His project was to present the scriptures as something to be taken seriously and accepted on its own merits. Nevertheless, what he gave us is poetry through and through. Poetry is, as you know, the language of the heart. Its his heart–and Mahaprabhu’s–that Srila Prabhupada is giving us.

  8. Yes, I admit I did not carry out any survey. It is just based on my limited experience. Please survey people around the world about Hare Krsnas and people’s impression of them: are they liberal or conservative? It will be self-denial to say that people perceive Hare Krsnas as a progressive liberal movement. Again I hope to do a comprehensive survey about SP disciples’ attitudes towards homosexuals,women and moon landing and I will get the answer. Perhaps my intuition will be proved incorrect. You must have seen how ferociously SP disciples reacted to asterisks in his books to explain his statements in a better way. Perhaps we are not on the same planet for sure.

    • Unfortunately, I have neither the time, interest, nor expertise for conducting a worldwide survey. And now you’re talking about others’ perceptions of Prabhupada’s disciples, which is yet another topic. I saw how ferociously a few of Prabhupada’s disciples reacted to the BBT’s idea, in response to a nasty publicity campaign conducted by an even smaller number. Again, I don’t think the so-called petition necessarily reflected any real majority of his disciples. I’m staying in the community with the largest colllection of his disciples. The attitudes I see here, to the extent that I’m able, are very diverse. That policy was discussed by some, I’m sure, but I never encountered it as a topic of conversation.

      But we stray from the surfing swamis. I’m sure that many devotees see it as unorthodox. Let them carp; I’ll wait to see the results.

  9. I for one see the Surf Ashram as quite unorthodox, so I am curious about the results of this program. Apparently it has been going on for some years already. Does anyone know what the experience has been?

    • I’m more than willing to admit that their approach seems less outrageous to me than to others because of my own lifelong, ahem, interest in the ocean and my experience of Krishna consciousness in the Hawaiian Islands. I would also like to see what kind of results this activity has yielded so far. Another question that may be fair to ask might address the extent to which SurfingIndia is a business for supporting their preaching, as opposed to its serving as a preaching strategy itself. Of course, it could certainly be both.

  10. We do know that Mahaprabhu was very partial to sporting in the Ocean waves at Puri. Certainly, it would be a little difficult to wholly condemn any Swami for having an affinity for the oceans and the waves since Mahaprabhu himself showed a very strong proclivity for sporting in the Ocean waves.
    It almost seems as if some sporting in the Ocean is the principle recreational act that Mahaprabhu performed and in so doing has set a precedent for all time that sporting in the Ocean waves is an acceptable recreational activity for the devotees.
    It has been said that if one cannot bathe in the Ganges that he should bathe in the Ocean because the Ganges ultimately spills into the ocean and lends it purifying effect to the ocean.
    Lord Vishnu wears Alligator earrings and Krishna wears shark earrings, so obviously these two creatures hold a very special place in the heart of Sri Krishna.
    The Ocean is a great experience for the living entity who gets an impression of vast breadth that represents the vastness of Krishna.

    The Ocean air is very invigorating and healthful. The water and the waves combine to become a very effective tonic for the miserable material body.

    Being near a beach is actually an important strategic decision for me. I think I will always try to live near a beach because I find a little body surfing to just be a very exhilarating activity that I love to do a few times each year.

    • I find a little body surfing to just be a very exhilarating activity that I love to do a few times each year.

      You should probably try to do it a few times a week.

      • If I lived nearer to the beach I certainly would. But, it is almost a two hour drive to the beach from my house. Because I have been a single father for the last 14 years raising my kids alone without a wife, I find it a little difficult to make it to the beach on a frequent schedule. My kids love the beach too. I have raised them to appreciate the beach and they certainly love the beach too.
        Now, I have my youngest daughter who is now 16 and in a couple of years she will require much less help from me.
        At that time I might be able to have a little more freedom of movement to get out and do some more traveling like I love to do.
        My youngest daughter has a nice devotee boyfriend now and when she is out and on her own I will finally, after about 23 years of parenting, start to enter into a stage if life where my options will be more open.

        I will certainly take your recommendation to heart.
        Me and the beach can’t be too far apart at any given time.
        In Florida we have Sunrise on the Atlantic and Sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.
        If you are good, you can experience both in the same day.

  11. The “Surfing Swamis” have been featured in the following main stream magazines over the past year, plus numerable internet sites.

    Destin Asian Travel [Hong Kong]
    Blue [Japan]
    Surfing Life Style [Japan]
    Surfing Magazine [USA]
    Surfing World [Australia]
    Surf Europe [Europe]

    The Huffington Post
    Times of London
    The Australian
    Indian Express
    The National

    Currently slated to appear in “Der Spiegel” [Germany] and more.

    The “Surfing Swamis” also took part in the making of the feature surf film “Castles in the Sky” scheduled for release in August 2010 and they are currently involved in the making of another.

    The Surf Ashram operates a retreat center that has advanced bookings for most of the year. Persons attending the Surf Retreat have mainly been from the professional and corporate sector. Seventy-five percent have been international guests and the balance have been from India itself.

    Last year when Swami [Dev-Gosai] visited Brazil he was told that surfing was the national sport of the country. Swami responded by saying that he thought that soccer was the national sport but his host said, “No, no. Soccer is our religion!”

    Indeed, for many lost souls, sports rate along side the worlds oldest and greatest religions. To say that the “Surfing Swamis” are unorthodox is an understatement — as far as I can see, these guys are completely out of the box and they have thus far received a massive favorable response from the people of our planet.

    A visit to the Surf Retreat includes daily kirtan/bhajan and mantra-meditation, darshan of Kaliya Mardana Krishna, three times great prasadam, free Krishna conscious literature and an all round friendly exposure to Krishna consciousness. Thus far one young man has joined full time, many have been favorably influenced, some have begun regular chanting on beads and everyone has fallen in love with Krishna prasadam. Not to mention, the Surf Retreat completely supports all the financial needs of the devotees at the ashram.

    YES, you might have guested it — I am a regular at the Surf Ashram. The “Surfing Swamis” rule! Cheers!

    • Two thumbs up!

      It’s definitely something different and judging by the exposure it’s getting, it’s doing quite well.
      Different missions have different flavors and in all honesty, I’m happy that my Guru Maharaja doesn’t surf, but I’m also glad that other do and attract people who might not be attracted otherwise.

      Whatever works (as long as it’s not diametrically opposed to the Gaudiya world view.)

  12. It seems to me that in regards to ‘unorthodox’ styles of preaching Srila Prabhupada’s concern was not so much the venue but the possibility that his initiated disciples would become attracted to something other than regular practice.

    For example in 1972 after their most successful concert Srila Prabhupada, (who spoke at the show) closed down Visnujana’s traveling rock opera—saying that rock music created a bad atmosphere for KC.

    Also after having first enthusiastically endorsed Rupanuga’s and Balavanta’s ‘In God We Trust’ political party–that had been generating a lot of favorable publicity–Srila Prabhupada eventually closed it down saying that he would not allow them to use his men and money for their political party.

    On the other hand he always encouraged George Harrison but I don’t think that Prabhupada would have been enthusiastic to have any of his disciples join Harrison’s band.

    • I think this line of questioning should be put in perspective: Would Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura have approved of his disciples who were serving in the capacity of initiating gurus conducting guided tours to Badrinatha (SSM) for math income, or selling prasadam from Govinda’s restaurants (SP)? Perhaps that sounds weird. Well, it should.

      Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja personally told me in private that after the departure of one’s guru on has three choices:

      1. Become guru
      2. Serve one who is serving as guru
      3. Get out of the way

      He encouraged me to follow number one. It should be clear that Sri Narasingha-Deva Gosai is following number one as well, and he was also encouraged to do so by Pujyapada Sridhara Deva Goswami. He should then be the judge as to whether the surfing ashram is helping or distracting his disciples. Everyone need not follow his lead, but they should follow someone’s lead, or get out of the way.

  13. Prabhus, Am I dreaming or is it a historical fact that devotees are prepared to do and sell anything like Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Clown suits, albums, hats, candy, stickers, paintings, t-shirts, cookies, the change-up or whatever, to collect money? But every time someone comes up with an idea or program that is ‘clean’ and appreciated by the public, it suddenly becomes a great concern, “Is it a deviation… is it bona fide?”

    You can have sex for Krishna… plenty of that going on, but you can’t do something as clean as surfing? I remember one day when we were paddling out into some really nice beautiful surf and one of the devotees quoted Krishna from Gita as saying that “Of bodies of water He was the ocean.” Maharaja then replied that “YES, Krishna is the ocean but He also says that of aquatics He is the shark, so be careful how you approach Krishna!”

    I am surprised that no one has pointed out here that participating in frivolous sports is one of the ten secondary offenses to the holy name. Maharaja has pointed this out on more than one occasion and with a smile has said, “Surfing isn’t frivolous. This is serious stuff — you can get killed out there!”

    And as far as the health aspect of life is concerned… many devotees would do well to turn off their computers, get out of their swivel chairs and do something besides typing as a pastime. We are prepared to criticize or argue that devotees are not good at presenting Krishna consciousness to an intelligent group of people but are we aware that even common people [with little intelligence] look at devotees as some kind of nerds because they do not do anything interesting. Even many Hare Krishna kids do not want to be devotees because devotees appear to them to only have a nerdy life style. Who wants to be a nerd?

    In case you didn’t know, Narasingha Dev-Gosai has been very successful with preaching to young Hare Krishna kids while engaging them in healthy outdoor activities like trekking, camping, mountain biking, swimming, boating, surfing, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, etc. Dev-Gosai doesn’t just surf, he does it all and the kids love him for it. One day Dev-Gosai said in his typical lion-like-style, “My message is simple… get off your lazy butt and do something, don’t just sit there until death ripps you out of your chair! Krishna is everywhere, what are you afraid of?”

    Try it… you might even get ‘stoked’ yourself!

    BTW, stoked is surf-jargon for fired-up!

  14. I am late on this thread, but I just had to pipe in. Last Nov. I spent one month at the surf ashram and I found the setting perfect for sadhana, study, rest, rejuvenation, and of course getting in the water.
    Kaliya Mardana Krishna is absolutely beautiful and the morning and evening kirtans were always charming and inspiring. Tulasi puja at sunrise under the swaying cocoanut trees was not to be missed. Maharaja has set up the temple room with one of the few airconditioners in the building and it makes the evening bhajans particularly the most wonderful place to be at that hour on a hot and humid evening. Guests are free to wander in and participate or observe as they like and they very often do, as the sound, scents, and atmosphere are very attractive. The atmosphere is so relaxing and nonthreatening that complete strangers find it very comfortable to be sitting and inquiring about spiritual topics from a young group of shaved headed monks. Really refreshing.
    What I also found interesting is that the young men living there were very detached about going out surfing or not. It was just part of their service, taking guests out. Alternating, some surfed while others cooked and cleaned, and made the morning offering. With the ocean at your back door 365 days a year, it is just part of the flow of life, just an aspect.
    As Swami let the sevaites know in no uncertain terms, ” If these surf boards get in the way of your service we will have a bonfire and burn them!” And anyone who knows Narasingha Maharaja knows that is no idle threat.

    • Thanks for this “review” of your stay at the ashram. Your descriptions give me more of an understanding of the concept and it sounds like a wonderful place to visit. I’ll have to try and make it sometime!

  15. Are the “devotees” forgetting that they claim to be serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead? The Supreme Personality of Godhead IS Adventure, Fun, Intelligence, Joy etc….. in other words, he is anything but boring.
    God/KRSNA is not limited to people who are simply conditioned into believing they are devotees and not seeing KRSNA in everything. It is important to understand KRSNA as the person and artist behind all phenomena and not just a phantasm in some vague stories. (I mean no offence – I am addicted to the Srimad Bhagavatam).

    KRSNA IS creativity, but where is the evidence of a Vaishnava being personally creative and pushing himself to the max? (I apologise if this seems offensive) I would love to hear of such people in the current world! People who transcend the computeristic modes of nature and express their self-realization in relation to the Supreme Person KRSNA!

    If you claim to be an associate of the Supreme Entity and Supreme Philosophy, then please share some of this Supreme Information in a way that enriches people’s lives in any way as opposed to not enriching any lives in any way.

    KRSNA consciousness is about being conscious of this Super Excellent Personality’s presence in every nook and cranny of reality. KRSNA is also material reality – he says – I am the Shark, I am this guy of the Raksasas etc…. So, in a sense “Hugh Hefner” is KRSNA, “George Bush” is KRSNA, the movie “Avatar” is KRSNA. KRSNA has a sadistic sense of humor, so in the Kali Yuga, his humor is especially critical of “conditioned” stupidity. What is KRSNA without his brilliant/best cosmic humor ?

    What is wrong with surfing and serving KRSNA ? KRSNA likes playing on swings with his friends (as evidenced in the art) – is that frivolous ?
    When I see a fantastic wave coming to me in the ocean and I want to bodysurf it, I say Thank KRSNA for this great wave – what artistry and perfection !

    I am looking forward to some kind of approximation of a really intelligent demi-god society on this planet that can see things as they are and implement knowledge where necessary on a large scale.

    Krsna likes his servants, but he likes his girlfriends even more 🙂

  16. Makhana-taskara dasa

    The idea of conservative or liberal are all material concoctions. This is the maya in Islam today, that some followers are conservative, or fundamentalist. In Krsna consciousness there is no such thing. There is only the view of the pure devotee, who can see that everything belongs to Krishna and who knows who to perfectly engage everyone and everything in the service of Krishna. Some devotees in their sentimentality mistakenly accept a lower standard. If one cannot perfectly follow guru, sadhu, and shastra, he will invent or concoct. This is not a conservative view. Guru, sadhu, shastra cannot be construed as being conservative because that would imply there is liberal. It is neither case. Guru, sadhu, shastra are transcendental.

    Here is an example. Srila Prabhupada has very clearly given the sadhu view:

    Source: From the 1008 Ways to Remember Srila Prabhupada by Govinda dasi:

    “Sometimes when sitting on the beach blanket in New Jersey, Srila Prabhupada would look out at the waves while chanting japa. He was very beautiful and serene, always absorbed in Krsna, yet also carefully scrutinizing the world around him. On some days there were big waves and surfer boys would be out, swimming and surfing in the waves. Srila Prabhupada watched with great interest as they mounted their boards and slid down the faces of the waves. He asked us: What is this? And Gaurasundara and I replied that this is a sport called surfing wherein one mounts a board and slides swiftly on the water as the waves roll in. Srila Prabhupada watched intently for some time, then began to chuckle. He said: You call it surfing, I call it suffering. They are simply wasting their valuable human form of life by jumping in the ocean waves. They have no idea what will happen next. If they become so much fond of remaining on the ocean, then Krsna is very kind: he will satisfy their desire and give them bodies of fishes so that they can enjoy jumping in the ocean more and more but that will be greater suffering. So I call them sufferers, not surfers.”

    Also from Srila Prabhupada vani, a Garden Conversation with Prabhupada: LA 8 June 1976

    “[Regarding how in your next birth you get the body you desire and deserve]

    This is the disease. Ahankara-vimu dhatma kartaham iti manyate [Bg. 3.27]. The rascal, he is bewildered, vimuá¸hatma, on account of false egotism. Just like we are inviting everyone: Please come and learn Bhagavad-gita. “Huh! Bhagavad-gita, let us go the sea and swim.” Surfer, surfer? They are taking so much trouble. I have not see here; in Hawaii. For hours together, struggling with waves. I’ve seen it South Africa also. Very fond of this surf sporting.

    So they are wasting so much time and laboring so hard just to become fish. Yes, they are going to be fish. Because at the time of death they’ll think of “How I am jumping in the water, surfing.” That is natural. Sada tad-bhava-bhavitaḥ [Bg. 8.6]. Because he has constantly thought over his sporting, naturally he’ll think of sporting in the water.

    So this gross body when finished, his mental, intellectual and false ego will carry him to become a fish, and he’ll have full freedom how fish is jumping within the water, going against the waves.”

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