“There are various grades of men, and out of many thousands one may be sufficiently interested in transcendental realization to try to know what is the self, what is the body, and what is the Absolute Truth. Generally mankind is simply engaged in the animal propensities, namely eating, sleeping, defending and mating, and hardly anyone is interested in transcendental knowledge.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 7.3 Purport)
“If you love someone, why would you want to have a discussion about them with a person who is inimical? There is no way for that person to understand your feelings. They don’t know about the one you love. The result of the conversation can only be negative. From the bad experience, you’re left in a position worse than from where you started. Wouldn’t it be better to keep the feelings to yourself? What purpose is served in discussing the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the open?”
A central teaching of bhakti-yoga philosophy is the oneness shared between the holy name and the person it addresses. Basically, the name Krishna is identical to the person Krishna. The person Krishna is God further defined, going past the veil of abstraction found in practically every spiritual tradition and philosophy conjured up in the mind of the flawed human being.
Realizing the true potency of the holy name is difficult; therefore some rules help to make the realization a reality. There are ten offenses to avoid while chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. In the enumerated list, the ninth offense is to speak to a faithless person about the glories of the Lord. This makes sense, as the person who is set in their ways of materialism will not understand what a transcendental form is. They won’t appreciate the person who should be appreciated the most. There is no benefit to the worshiper in having such dealings.
At the same time, those who follow bhakti-yoga are known to produce volumes and volumes of literature. This is not a practice developed only recently, either. Vedic literature is famous for the Mahabharata, which is epic in length. The Ramayana is also quite lengthy as far as religious works go. But to those in the know, these works are not long enough, for the glories of the Supreme Lord are endless. Though the Sanskrit word veda means “knowledge,” the actual definition to the Vedas and Vedic literature are those hymns, verses and descriptions that glorify God. As He is infinite in both directions of time, there is never an end to His glories. Krishna is ananta, or endless, and anadi, or beginning-less.
If so much literature is available, how is the ninth offense to be avoided? Won’t faithless persons get their hands on these books? Shouldn’t distribution of these works be restricted to only the faithful?
Actually, those who love God have no interest in speaking about Him to the faithless. They are not interested in wasting time, but they push on regardless. In the modern age sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy names, is the principal method of awakening the dormant God consciousness within the society at large.
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.3)
In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna says if you were to take thousands of people, among them perhaps one would try for spiritual advancement. And in that exclusive group, hardly anyone would know Krishna in truth. Sankirtana is meant for finding these one among thousands. After all, if such a person is rare, should they not be given the most important information? Should they not be rewarded for their endeavor, which is the true boon to having intelligence?
The science of self-realization that is bhakti-yoga and the sincere transcendentalist make the perfect pair. It is after an interest is seen that the wealth of knowledge of the glories of God gets revealed. We live in the age of Kali, which is known for quarrel, hypocrisy and a practically nonexistent religious culture. Therefore it is unavoidable that the faithless would get their hands on classic Vedic literature. Like a monkey trying to open a coconut, these speculators and enemies of the Lord can never understand who He really is. Though they hear about Him directly in these ancient books, they fail to reach the proper conclusion.
Yet the sincere transcendentalist, who has exhausted all efforts in seeking gain in eating, sleeping, mating and defending, gets favored by the inspired devotee of Krishna. It is as if they make it to the final stage of the tournament and get rewarded with a superior coach to help them achieve victory. Such is the value of the Vaishnava, who is as glorious as the person they worship, Shri Krishna.
Offenses in chanting one to state,
That not to speak to he without faith.
Keeping one among thousands in mind,
How that fortunate soul then to find?
Sankirtana-yajna the way,
Since fallen are all today.
Like at end from superior coach to hear,
Through Vaishnava Krishna’s identity to become clear.