“O King, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment.” (Sanjaya speaking to Dhritarashtra, Bhagavad-gita, 18.77)
“Talk about what it’s been like playing with such and such players on your line. Talk about what an asset the new coach has been for your team this year. Talk about how you’ve progressed so much from last season. Talk about why it’s important to get off to a good start in the next big game. Talk about how happy you were when you finally broke out of your slump there in the beginning of the game.”
From following professional sports, and especially coverage of it in the media, you’ll notice an interesting pattern. At the beginning and end of each game, there are interviews conducted by various members of the press. The press conference is where the most number of people from the press get to ask their questions and listen to answers. You really only need one person asking questions, as the answers will be heard by all. But there are so many writers there nevertheless.
The answers given are pretty boilerplate. The head coach doesn’t want to make too many waves with the opposing team. If you say something blatantly derogatory, that might fuel the opposition’s desire to win. Motivation is a key determining factor in success. If you want it more than the other guy, that might be enough to overcome a lack of ability. Teams coach their players on how to deal with the media as well. That’s why the majority of the answers given to questions are not very interesting to the person asking them.
The press doesn’t sit back, though. They don’t say, “Oh well, this guy isn’t going to say anything interesting, so let’s leave him alone. We don’t really need to know anything, since we watched the game ourselves. We can describe what happened through our own lens.” A new tactic has emerged which shows the increasing laziness prevalent in modern media coverage. If you can’t think of a question to ask, or if you’re too lazy to come up with one, you just give an opinion and then tell the player or coach to talk about it. “Talk about this, talk about that.” It is not even a question, but more of a command. And that command gives us invaluable information into the real purpose of the interview itself.
The pre and post game shows are there just to stir interest. There are in-game interviews now too. Those are even less noteworthy, as the players and coaches have less time to answer the questions. They are in the heat of battle, so they keep their answers short and simple. The media actually isn’t looking for anything important; they just need content for the stories that they are going to run regardless. With every answer they get, they have another point of interest in their story. When the player or coach “talks about” something, it can be quoted directly in the ensuing story describing the game. The panels that discuss the games before and after also are there more or less just to talk. They don’t have to say anything important, as who can really predict what is going to happen in sports? If people could, gambling establishments would shut down from losing so much money.
The same tendency for talking and hearing can be purified when it is directed at the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The stories on athletes and celebrities can go one of two ways. There is either glorification or criticism. Glorification goes to the winners and criticism to the losers. In either case there is attention, and so there is a kind of worship. The worship is flawed, however, because the individuals themselves are imperfect. One day an athlete is heralded for his amazing victories and subsequent philanthropic work, and the next he’s vilified for being a cheater and having lied about it for so many years.
The Supreme Lord is flawless. One of His names given in the Vedas is Achyuta, which means one who never falls down. He doesn’t have a falling from grace because His lofty position isn’t generated by media spin. He is self-sufficient, so He doesn’t require anyone’s aid to do anything. Also, whether one criticizes Him or praises Him makes no difference to Him. He will remain the Supreme Lord regardless of outside viewpoint.
The benefit in worshiping Him is for the person offering the worship. We see that different styles of worship are already practiced constantly. There are throngs of media surrounding celebrities asking questions that are more or less meaningless. They are asked so that the writers can fill stories that others will read. The same stories can be written about the Supreme Lord without having to consult Him directly. He has been asked questions before, and His answers are not canned. They are not given to avoid controversy. They are not in response to commands to talk about this or that. Rather, His words have the deepest meaning. They can be heard thousands of years after the fact and still remain relevant.
“In Bhagavad-gita five principal subject matters have been discussed: the Supreme Personality of Godhead, material nature, the living entities, eternal time and all kinds of activities.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 18.78)
Case in point: the Bhagavad-gita. It is a classic Vedic text that consists of a conversation between Krishna, the original form of the Absolute Truth, and Arjuna, an inquisitive, non-envious soul who wants to have his doubts dispelled. Arjuna presents real questions to be used to solve a real situation. And yet from that one conversation alone we can write thousands of stories, countless books, and create points of discussion every day until our time on earth is finished. And we can start off again in the next life discussing the same topics, the whole time not needing to interview Krishna again once.
The topics covered include life and death, the soul, the nature of activity, and the reason for living. These are the most important matters of discussion. If there is a tendency to receive any content to fill stories that are produced on a periodic basis, why not get the content from Krishna and His authoritative works like the Bhagavad-gita, Ramayana, and Shrimad Bhagavatam. If we’re going to talk, we might as well make that talk worthwhile. The saints are so immersed in thinking of God that they can’t stop talking about Him. They give us more points of reference by producing works describing God and His teachings.
The Supreme Lord is for everyone. He is beyond an imaginary concept created by a desire for a utopian paradise. He is the real thing to those who know Him, and those who know Him never tire of glorifying Him. And anyone who hears that glorification is benefited as well.
“Talk about your recent game’s play,
I’ll make a story based on what you say.
Though your words always seem the same,
Still I talk of them, in media enhancing your fame.
Of your actual words I don’t really care,
For controversial tidbit to arrive very rare.
Just words needed for stories to make,
From regular talk in sport interest to make.”
Get endless interest from just one conversation,
Topics of life and death for mental contemplation.
When tendency for talking towards Krishna steering,
So many qualities to glorify just from hearing.
Categories: devotional service