“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.19)
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ
Friend1: Have you noticed something about people who take up bhakti-yoga in earnest?
Friend2: What do you mean by “in earnest”? Like people who are serious about it?
Friend1: Right. Someone who chants the holy names on a regular basis. They have a daily routine with the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Friend2: What have I noticed about them? They’re happy; that’s one thing.
Friend1: I can’t deny that. But have you ever had conversations with them about outside stuff?
Friend2: Politics and the like?
Friend2: Not really.
Friend1: Well, they seem quick to believe conspiracy theories. I don’t want to label them “kooks,” but their ideas on things are not in the mainstream.
Friend1: And just in general, a lot of them are weird. I know that’s a horrible thing to say, but it’s just my observation.
Friend2: Weird as in not like people you typically encounter?
Friend1: There you go. They’re atypical. That sounds less offensive.
Friend2: And are you wondering why so many of them are like that? Basically, you want to know why your friends at the office and from school aren’t into bhakti-yoga. Why do only the oddballs take it up?
Friend1: Well, I know that the common critique from outsiders is that these people are lost. They couldn’t make it in the real world, so they tried to find solace in this strange religion from the East.
Friend2: And what is your opinion of that?
Friend1: In some ways it’s valid. You don’t see rich and successful people taking bhakti-yoga seriously. It tends to be younger people, those who are less established in the business world.
Friend2: I would dispute the claim that they are lost, but for argument’s sake let’s continue further. So what if they truly are losers in material life? Is that a bad thing?
Friend1: I’m not saying it’s bad, but wouldn’t it be better if people from all walks of life would strive for the devotional consciousness? Wouldn’t that give people more confidence in the process?
Friend2: I look at it totally differently. If they are indeed lost, then how fortunate they are. Instead of spending years sitting behind a computer monitor at an office, repeating the cycle of work and relaxation for year after year, they searched for a higher taste. Do you realize how rare it is for someone to do that?
Friend1: Isn’t there a verse in the Bhagavad-gita that addresses that?
Friend2: There are a few. Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, says that after many births a person finally understands Him to be the cause of all causes. Such a soul is rare. There is also another verse that says that out of thousands among men, only one will endeavor to understand Him. Those precious few that succeed still will have a difficult time knowing Krishna in truth.
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)
Friend1: That’s what I was thinking of.
Friend2: The issue here is that you’re focusing on the path instead of the goal. Let’s say you have two people who are thirsty. One person reaches a source of water very quickly, while the other keeps on searching. Even after being told where the water is, they remain skeptical.
Friend1: So even if these people seem a little strange, at least they have something valuable. Is that what you’re saying?
Friend2: Not just any object of value – the most valuable thing in an existence. They are the most fortunate souls since they have found the pinnacle achievement of bhakti-yoga. There is nothing higher in an existence than devotional service to God the person. Your judgment of their losing in material life is actually the Divine mercy being showered upon them. We should all pray to be as fortunate, to not waste anymore time in accepting the path of full surrender to the Supreme Lord.
Why only the oddballs chanting to see,
Why not intelligent class to be?
Though losing in material life sign,
From that in proper consciousness to align.
Thus most fortunate are they,
Who quickly found bhakti’s way.
Should everyone blessed to so quickly taste,
Then time in material life no more to waste.