“You have made me lose my sons once, and now you have again done the same inauspicious thing. Therefore you are a rascal who does not know how to behave toward others. You may travel all over the universe, but I curse you to have no residence anywhere.” (Daksha speaking to Narada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 6.5.43)
Friend1: It always amazes me.
Friend2: What does?
Friend1: Someone in their twenties, giving up everything, job and family, to go live in a temple.
Friend2: To practice bhakti-yoga?
Friend1: Yes. They feel the need to do it full-time, following all of the regulative principles. Getting up early in the morning. Attending mangala-arati. Chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Going out and distributing literature, if that’s a viable option. Doing sankirtana in public. These people are fearless.
Friend2: They really are. They are my heroes. They remind me of the Vanaras from the Ramayana.
Friend1: [smiling] They’re like monkeys? In what way?
Friend2: Not monkeys, but dedicated servants. The Vanaras weren’t necessarily fully pure in their practices. They lived in the forest, after all. But when it came time to help the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Rama, they were in one hundred percent. There were no reservations. They were enthusiastic. They were fully surrendered.
Friend1: Yeah, the situation is pretty analogous, then. But you know, there is the other viewpoint as well.
Friend2: What’s that?
Friend1: Where people can’t understand the level of commitment. They can’t fathom someone so young voluntarily choosing a life that is not about money, power, or sensual enjoyment.
Friend2: You can’t blame them for not understanding. The lifestyle is completely different. The perplexity has been there since the beginning of time. Narada Muni instructed the sons of Daksha, one of the progenitors of man, to give up family life and focus on spiritual life instead. As a result Daksha was so mad at Narada that he cursed him.
Friend1: Right. And that’s why Narada is a travelling saint, now. He can’t stay in one place for too long.
Friend2: Really turned into a blessing, but I’m just saying that the same conflict has been happening in families ever since. Gives a greater appreciation for the Vedas and the wisdom they contain.
Friend1: Yeah. The information is so powerful that it will make you turn away from everything you thought life should be about.
Friend2: If you follow politics, you see that every issue boils down to money and enjoying life. The economy, health care, helping the poor – the focus is on avoiding destitution. And here you have people voluntarily choosing poverty after becoming more knowledgeable. It’s understandable that outside observers would be dumbfounded.
Friend1: Keeping with that vein of thought, there is the idea that the youth following bhakti-yoga are lost. They couldn’t figure out what to do in life, where to go, so they stumbled into this strange way of living.
Friend2: I always get a chuckle from hearing that. The people sitting in their ivory tower, judging others about being lost, are themselves bewildered.
Friend1: Right. Look at the celebrities that end up going crazy because of the fame and power. There is the saying, “It’s lonely at the top.”
Friend2: You don’t have to go even that far. Isn’t an extramarital affair a sign of being lost? Isn’t getting intoxicated on a regular basis like waving the white flag of surrender? What about people who volunteer to jump out of planes? They are so lost that land has lost its charm.
Friend1: It’s like the discussion that His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had about who is actually crazy.
Friend2: Exactly. The person who knows that life ends in death and is still not inquisitive about the future or how to shape it – they are not crazy; no. But the person who finds unending bliss in staying connected with God the person – they are considered lost? It’s just the opposite in fact. Reincarnation is compared to a wheel of suffering for a reason. A person on the samsara-chakra finds no way off. They chew the chewed, as Prahlada Maharaja says. After spinning for so long, a fortunate person meets a representative of God like Narada, and from that meeting their life begins to turn around. They go from constant fear and despair to renewed optimism and happiness, day after day, life after life.
Giving picture of actually who is lost,
Plane jumping, intoxication at any cost.
Though of impending death to know,
Never to solution or cause to go.
Those joining from early age,
Choosing wisdom, path of the sage.
Not crazy or lost at all,
When God the best friend to call.