There are so many things happening in coffee right now, that I’ve lost track of them all. Social media is a vortex that just sucks you in, yet I feel more over it than ever. The reason why especially now, is stumbling across this quite astonishing article on the “15 most amazing predictions for Kali Yuga from the Srimad Bhagavatam“.
The Kali Yuga, or the Age of Quarrel as it roughly translates into, is the time cycle we are in at the moment according to Vaisnava mythology. It is also called, the Age of Iron, which makes us understand that this isn’t really the golden age for the human race. Anyway, being somewhat a closet Krsna devotee, I have taken my refuge to the scriptures in order to create balance in my own life. And the more I read, the less I tend to find faith in anything the “real world” has to offer. The veil of ignorance is resting thick over our existence. Two of these predictions have been very accurate to me these past few weeks, and basically made me drop social media.
“Men and women will live together merely because of superficial attraction, and success in business will depend on deceit. Womanliness and manliness will be judged according to one’s expertise in sex, and a man will be known as a brahmana just by his wearing a thread.” Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.3
In plain English, this basically translates into the society we are fed with today. Your surface means everything, depth means nothing. Lately, I have seen the speciality coffee industry more and more desperate in sales and growth, that the old core values of quality and respect for the cause is really out the window. If you want to revolutionize the coffee industry, is acting like a normal corporation really the way?
The other week, I was involved in an interesting discussion on the structure of the WBC being predominantely male, thus shunning women from attending and therefor we have no female World Barista Champion ever in the whole history of the competition. I see this passage in Srimad Bhagavatam as a quite clear reference to this. In all of Hindu mythology, Gods have a male and a female aspect, which they cannot be separated from. By meditating on Krsna, you also meditate on Radha, even if Radha doesn’t even enter your conscious mind. The vice versa is also true. When focusing on sex, we separate ourselves from our spiritual path of unity. Not only sex as a performance, but as a belonging. I feel both sides are losing a battle. The structure is there, definitely (because it is part of maya, the veil), but instead of seeing ourselves as beings of a certain sex, we should see ourselves as spiritual beings, carrying all the qualities of what makes a man and a woman.
The last of that passage speaks another truth; a brahmana (someone born into the priestly caste) will be known as one just by wearing a thread (of initiation). A typical simplistic Marxist theory would say that is a good thing; anyone can be part of any class. But that is missing the picture. You are not a brahmana unless you act like one, accordingly to your dharma, your lot in life. We’ve seen it in a lot of churches around the world, where priests are acting very ungodly. We also see it where a lot of people say one thing about their position, then acts in another way. It will become even more clear in the next passage I’ll quote:
A person’s spiritual position will be ascertained merely according to external symbols, and on that same basis people will change from one spiritual order to the next. A person’s propriety will be seriously questioned if he dos not earn a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar.” Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.4
As we see, not only the spiritual position, but the very core of business today, is left to the shallow use of symbols and symbolic language, filled with no real meaning. And if you can’t make money out of it, it’s not worth keeping. Is that why we all of a sudden see a surge of bad coffee sold at high price because of its symbolic values? Well, I’ll leave that to you to interpret. The last passage though is really what the coffee scene seems to have become. Anyone who has read a Malcolm Gladwell book seems to be a scholar, and people love that shit to feed their own insecurity. And the consensus culture (or more bluntly; conformity) on social media thrives on it, circle jerking until the end of time. Anyone who challenges the hegemony of the coffee culture is shunned, shut down or belittled. When they say they want to learn more, they want to learn what everyone else already know, in order to package it in new clever ways.
I see no interest in participating in this monoculture that is made up by nicely designed packaging with neat goody-two-foot slogans to feed the instagram and twitter conformity, when in fact they are just designed to become the next behemoth of coffee. I’d rather thirst for the nectar of my devotion (krsna) rather than to thirst for the simple gratification, what buddhists call trsna, which is the road to samsara; the neverending circle of births and deaths created by the thirst for materialistic wealth.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
NP: Agnideva – Damodarastakam