Every Wednesday evening, the youth group within our community meets at the temple here in Soquel. Under the aegis of Vidura Krishna Prabhu, they participate in many of the various community projects in Soquel and Santa Cruz.
It is quite an eclectic group of adolescents — Prema Narayana Prabhu, Vyasadeva Prabhu, Druvha Prabhu, Shatrugna Prabhu, Vaidehi Devi Dasi, Anapurna Devi Dasi, Kamala Devi Dasi, Chitra Devi Dasi, — and I have been invited by Vidura Krishna Prabhu to address them after the evening arati.
I stress the value of their associating together like this, and of their participation in many of the local community relief programs. There are so many other things kids their age could be out there doing, yet here they are, trying to understand their role in, and the ultimate goal of life.
I try not to preach to them, not to patronize them, but to acknowledge their crisis of identity and their need for peer approval:
Krishna conscious is not your father's religion. Don't think of it like that: it is a way of life that is relevant to you. Try to understand who you are and what a glorious life you can have in the family of Krishna.
Your search for your identity will, due to your raging hormones and peer pressure, lead you to explore the physical pleasures of sex and intoxication, but, you will find, that is not for you. True happiness comes not from physical sense gratification, but from the satisfaction of the spirit.
Although some of them thank me after the class and invite me to speak again, I don't know how effective my talk will be. I remember when I was their age... Poor guys!