“Your service begins with the tongue. How? By the tongue you can chant Hare Krishna, and by the tongue you can taste Krishna prasadam, spiritual food. So, the beginning of the process is very nice. You can chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare – and whenever prasadam is offered to you by Krishna, by His kindness, you accept it. The result will be that if you become submissive, and if you begin this service – chanting and eating prasadam Krishna will reveal Himself before you.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Krishna Consciousness – The Topmost Yoga System, Ch 2)
Friend1: Alright, time for me to complain.
Friend2: Don’t you always do that?
Friend1: Are you complaining about my complaining?
Friend2: No. I’m making fun of it.
Friend1: You know you love it.
Friend2: So what happened now? A slow person driving in the left lane?
Friend1: No, but that’s not even what annoys me the most on the highway.
Friend2: What does?
Friend1: When I’m driving in the middle lane and I want to pass someone. They are driving a little slow for me, so I’m doing the right thing by going around them. Then, as soon as I get in the left lane to pass, they start to speed up. Now they’re going faster than I want to go.
Friend2: Oh, that is pretty bad. People are crazy sometimes.
Friend1: Yeah, by getting in a tiny box they think they own the world.
Friend2: So your complaint today is not related to driving?
Friend1: No. I’m embarrassed to say that it’s about Facebook.
Friend2: Oh, this should be good.
Friend1: Have you ever gotten a newsfeed item about a band playing a show or tickets going on sale for an upcoming concert?
Friend1: Have you noticed what the comments typically relate to? There’s a common theme.
Friend2: I try not to read the comments.
Friend1: You’re a smart man. Anyway, no matter who the band is, the responses are always the same. “Come to my city.” “When are you coming to such and such town?”
Friend2: And that’s what bothers you? It’s only natural. They want to see their favorite band play live.
Friend1: But the comment is totally irrelevant. Sometimes the band is just posting pictures of a recent show. Do these people not have any intelligence?
Friend2: You’re saying they should know better?
Friend1: Absolutely. That’s the thing. Their comment has no impact whatsoever. It’s not a secret how these shows come about. There is a promoter who contacts the band and asks them if they’d like to play a show in the promoter’s area. Everything is by invitation. If these people commenting approached their local promoter with the same request, then maybe something could happen.
Friend2: I see.
Friend1: And the band tries to explain these things, but to no avail. It’s like people are just lazy. They don’t want to listen.
Friend2: That’s the effect of Kali Yuga. You’re talking about something trivial like a rock concert. People who are distributing the spiritual nectar that is bhakti-yoga face a similar issue. What they are giving away is of the highest value. Nothing is more important than being conscious of God. Not just rubberstamping your ticket to heaven through joining an institution, but really being aware of your spiritual identity and your relationship to the Supreme Spirit – that is the true boon to the human birth.
Friend1: And you’re saying that trying to explain bhakti-yoga to people is just as difficult? That they won’t listen.
Friend2: Exactly. Who wants to hear about that stuff? As soon as you mention religion, they turn away.
Friend1: What’s the solution, then?
Friend2: Chant the maha-mantra and distribute prasadam. The sound of the holy names grabs people’s attention: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Friend1: Prasadam tastes great, too. I can see why it’s so potent in awakening the consciousness from its deep slumber.
Friend2: That’s a good way of putting it. We’re all sleeping even while awake. We’re blind to our guaranteed fate of death. We don’t know that there is a higher taste to be found, that we don’t have to be miserable in the feverish competition of materialistic life. Prasadam works since it is sanctified food.
Friend1: And who doesn’t like to eat?
Friend2: And who doesn’t like to hear pleasing sounds? It’s the best way to get through to people. Holy names and holy food get the attention and through that association comes purification. The steady mind then can better understand the rich philosophy of the bhakti tradition. Even in the dark age of Kali they can find true enlightenment.
Not having picture clear,
Wise words not to hear.
Only to complain instead,
And into illusion be misled.
In Kali’s age solution only one,
Through the tongue hearts are won.
When holy names and prasadam to receive,
Then in their true purpose to believe.