The doctor was a genial, cultured man. He had just given a donation in exchange for some of Srila Prabhupada's books. I was in Sakhnine, a small Muslim village nestled in the hills of northern Israel. As I was leaving his office. I noticed in the waiting room a large calendar displaying a photo of a teenage Palestinian boy gracefully posed like a little league pitcher about to deliver strike three. His hand didn't clasp a baseball, however, but a sizable rock. And his target wasn't the catcher's glove of a playmate, but the vulnerable body of an Israeli soldier, who for him represented the enemy that had been oppressing him and his family for many years.

It's the Middle East As devotees of Krsna in this part of the world, we interact extensively with many peoples Jew, Muslim, Christian, Israeli, and Palestinian. In each of these groups, we meet many good people, such as the doctor, who are sincerely concerned about the distressing situation in which they're living. So why all the difficulty?

According to the philosophy of Krsna consciousness, the cause of the difficulty is the bodily conception of life. A person is the spiritual spark, or soul, within the body, and has no inherent connection with the body or its designations. The soul is eternally a servant of God, Krsna. From theBhagavad-gita we learn that the body is a temporary covering of the soul. We are not Arab or Israeli, communist or capitalist; we are God's eternal servants who are foolishly playing different roles in different dresses in this material world.

In the north of Israel live the Druze, a religious sect that accepts the concept of transmigration of the soul, or reincarnation. As stated in theBhagavad-gita, "As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death." Many Druze claim to remember their previous lives. One of them might say. "Yes, my father died a few years back: now he's a four-year-old boy in Yanook [a nearby village]." Some Druze even claim to remember that their previous death occurred while fighting against the Israeli army in a country such as Syria. If this is true, just imagine the irony! A man who previously fought against the Israelis now proudly wears the uniform of the Israeli military forces.

According to the Bhagavad-gita, "Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail." Thus, the rock-throwing Palestinian youth who is stopped by a bullet might take birth in suburban Tel Aviv, as his concentration at the time of death was on an Israeli soldier. And at the age of eighteen, his army commander will instruct him to guard his zone against "those vicious Palestinian boys."

The situation is obviously farcical, but because we take these bodily designations so seriously, the results are tragic. We are pleading with the citizens of this part of the world to understand the nonsectarian. transcendental philosophy Lord Krsna speaks in the Bhagavad-gita as the way to bring peace to the Middle East.