The more I read that book, the more I became the local authority on the subject. Not many people asked me much, but Tom was a bit interested in the whole Krishna thing, so at one point, while we were driving slowly through my neighborhood, he asked, “So, Krishna’s have four rules, right? And one of them is ‘no sex,’ right?”
“Yeah,” I said. “‘no illicit sex.’”
“OK, whatever,” Tom said. “But why should Krishna be allowed to have sex with all these girls?”
“I guess,” he said. “Is that what you call all those girls who are always around Krishna?”
I tried to answer as I made the right turn from Gainsborough onto Berkshire Road. “Well, we’re not Krishna.” I said. “Krishna lifted a mountain with one hand – so obviously he’s a bit different than you or me.”
“What’s so different about him?” Tom asked.
“It’s hard to explain,” I said, “But the difference is that, by nature, Krishna is male and we are female.”
Tom squinted at me, trying to figure out what the hell I had just said.
Hoping to explain how two guys driving a car down Berkshire were actually female, I said, “‘Male’ means ‘predominating’ and ‘female’ means ‘predominated.’”
His squint turned to incredulous frustration. I knew I was saying some incredibly weird stuff, but I always considered Tom incredibly weird himself, so I had hoped he might get it. The look on his face, however, made me suspect he was hearing me in a sociological context, in which case what I just said must have sounded very sexist. “I’m not talking about sexism or social stuff,” I said. “I’m talking about psychology, you know? About the basic psychological natures of men and women. And you can even see that nature in our physical bodies. Men have a penis…” As I said this I extended the pointer finger of my left hand, holding the steering wheel with the other fingers. “And women have a vagina…” I took my right hand off the wheel and joined thumb and forefinger to make a circle. “A penis goes into a vagina…” here I enthusiastically performed the typical gestures for visual aid. Then, holding the penis-finger aloft, I said, “This one ‘predominates.’” Waving the vaginal-hand, “This one is ‘predominated.’”
Tom backed away from me in his seat, looking at me like I was a raving lunatic who might say or do anything next.
I knew my ridiculously esoteric explanation was failing pretty hard as a useful answer for Tom, but I felt like finishing it anyway. I had already come this far out into the deep end, so I might as well at least try to wrap the whole thing up. “So Krishna is the real male,” I concluded. “He’s the real enjoyer. And everything that comes from Krishna, like you and me and everything else… we are all female, at least psychologically – because we are enjoyed by Krishna. So for him to enjoy the things that come from him is totally right. It’s totally proper. But for us to imitate him and try to enjoy, it’s not right.”
Tom pulled himself together and asked another question, “So a Krishna devotee isn’t supposed to enjoy anything?”
“Being enjoyed is enjoyable!” I said. “Women enjoy sex too, right? So, we enjoy life, but not in the male position, in the female position.”
“Yeah,” he said, “but Krishna is supposed to be your role model, right? Your leader; the example you try to follow, right? So why should his followers not be allowed to do what he did?”
“Krishna’s not our ‘leader’ or ‘role-model’,” I said. “Guru is that. Krishna is the object of our love. Guru is the guide. Guru lives the way you are talking about: never doing anything that we shouldn’t follow.”
We arrived wherever we arrived and did whatever we did next. I don’t know if I helped or hindered answering Tom’s question, but the conversation did burn itself into our memories forever.
— Excerpt from the first draft of
Train Wrecks and Transcendence: The collision of Hare Krishna and Hardcore.
By Vraja Kishor dās