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Editor's daughter finds her high purpose in religion

This article, "Editor's daughter finds her high purpose in religion," was published in Honolulu Star Bulletin, March 28, 1971, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

This is another in a series of articles on attitudes and goals of the new generation as reflected by the children of prominent Hawaii residents. 

Advertiser Staff Writer

On Maile's forehead was painted the traditional  tilaka: "Krishna's footprint, a sign of devotion.

Her right hand, meanwhile, fingered smooth beads of tulasi wood in a cloth bag at her side: "doing japa - to purify the sense of touch; a yoga to keep the senses centered on Krishna.

And she danced in her orange and white sari - up and down, from side to side - to the Vedic mantra (chant) prescribed for this time in history: 

"Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare; Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Then, following an hour-long meeting at the Krishna Temple on McKinley Street in Manoa, 17-year-old Maile Griffin, the daughter of John Griffin, The Advertiser's editorial page editor, talked of her love for Prabhupada, her master. 

(Prabhupada - A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, 75, an Indian holy man - is the leader of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), an organization which follows the religious teachings of India's 485-year-old Sankirtan movement.) 

"You see," Maile started, "practically all of us here at the temple were rebels of some kind before. But we've become more practical now.

"Now, we're helping society in the highest way: through love of God, Krishna.

"WE'VE GONE beyond the concept of self - where you're Leonard and I'm Maile. We've transgressed it. Each person is a pure-spirit soul, so we look at him that way.

"Like the way to help the Vietnamese - or the way to stop the war - is to give in the highest way. You can't change it from the outside, you've got to change the people.

"And this is what we're doing.

Several times during this interview, pretty Maile (her spiritual name is Maile devi dasi) made references to what she called body-consciousness. 

"LIKE SO MANY people on this Island are very race conscious. They're very body conscious," Maile said. "But it really doesn't make any difference, because it's only your body.

"But people think this body is The existence.

"They feed it, they decorate it. It's the ultimate end. And this relates to giving. Giving gives people the highest happiness; and so they give.

"But they give bodily associations.

GIVING BODILY associations, Maile said, isn't as relevant as spiritual giving. 

"Like my father. He makes a lot of money, but there's still something that doesn't satisfy. He still has to take vacations.

"I suppose if I'd had my choice before, I would have wanted to write editorials. But still, what he's giving people is incomplete. He's still working on the material platform.

"Say if everybody is elevated economically and socially to his platform, there'll still be something missing.

MAILE CITED cellular regeneration as evidence that human bodies are not enduring structures. 

"Like all your cells die every five years. There's a turnover of cells, so like I'm a completely different person than I was when I was 12 years old.

"But my consciousness is still there. It's never born. Like you couldn't remember yourself coming into this existence, because you've always been a pure-spirit soul.

"KNOWLEDGE CAN be used, though. Think about Shakespeare. The realizations he had were unique for his day. He realized the condition of material misery for one thing.

(Maile then interrupted her Shakespeare thoughts to quote from T.S. Eliot's poem. "The Hollow Man.") 

(She said: "We are the hollow men, the stuffed men. our heads filled with straw." Then ended with: "This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.") 

Then, getting back to Shakespeare, Maile said: "I mean, but what does Shakespeare have now? He's gone and had to take on another body.

YOUNG MAILE is a 1970's fascination: her head is into ancient Vedic scriptures, Eliot, Shakespeare; her body's committed to celibacy and a vegetarian diet; and she digs living communally, with three women and 11 men, in service to Krishna. 

"Do you regret any of your past life, before joining the Krishna Consciousness group?" Maile was asked. 

"Oh yes. I regret everything. I regret that I haven't learned about Krishna before. You see, if you weren't born into a family of devotees, you learned everything the wrong way."

MAILE SAID that she was first turned on to Krishna at Kalani High School, when members of the now - defunct Haiku Meditation Center visited the school to chant and preach. 

"What Sai (Sai Young, the Haiku group's leader) had to say was perfectly logical," Maile said. So she got more and more involved in the movement. 

(Young, 22, whose real name is Chris Butler, is the son of Dr. and Mrs. Willis Butler of Kailua.) 

Photo: Sari-clad Maile: "Each person is a pure-spirit soul...

Reference: Honolulu Star Bulletin, Hawaii, USA, 1971-03-28