“The many past births you spoiled can be rectified right now, today, if you start chanting Shri Rama’s holy name and renounce bad association, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 22)
Friend1: I’ve heard it said that you can become Krishna conscious very quickly.
Friend2: In as soon as one second.
Friend1: How is that possible?
Friend2: You really need me to explain?
Friend1: Well, consider the other side of things. There is athato brahma-jijnasa.
Friend2: “Now is the time for inquiring about Brahman.”
Friend1: “Now” referring to the human birth. So much time was spent in other species.
Friend2: Those past births are considered mistakes, in a sense. That is because perfect consciousness of God was not achieved.
Friend1: Okay, and so everything can be rectified in an instant? I don’t understand.
Friend2: The saints of the Vedic tradition answer in the affirmative. Goswami Tulsidas says that the past mistakes are fixed through giving up bad association and chanting “Rama.” This is a name for God, referencing His individuality and uniqueness. Basically, God is more than an abstract concept.
Friend1: You’re still not answering my question. On your bookshelf I see volumes and volumes of writings about the science of self-realization, the pastimes of past saints, and the characteristics, movements, and history of the Supreme Lord and His many incarnations who have appeared on this planet and others.
Friend2: What are you trying to say, that so many books are required for correcting behavior, for steering the ship in the right direction?
Friend1: That’s exactly what I’m saying. Why else are they there?
Friend2: This is an interesting topic today, I must acknowledge. Listen, you could read all of those books and still not become God conscious. Moreover, you could fall in love, prema, with God for real and still have a need for those books. Bhakti-yoga is an eternal engagement. It doesn’t end once you have found the Almighty.
Friend1: So those books are there to keep a person Krishna conscious?
Friend1: The same would hold true with the maha-mantra. That’s why people keep chanting, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
Friend2: You’ve nailed it.
Friend1: Alright, but you would have to admit that it is rare for someone to suddenly abandon pursuits in sense gratification in favor of unmotivated and uninterrupted service to Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or one of His non-different forms like Rama or Vishnu.
Friend2: Of course it is rare. This is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita.
“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)
Friend1: There you go. Many births. Many deaths on the other side. Where does the idea of transforming quickly come from, then?
Friend2: I’ll give you a crude example to help explain. You know about the stock market and day trading, I presume.
Friend2: It’s a risky business. You could lose a lot of money very quickly. Sometimes you have to bet against stocks in order to turn a profit, as market conditions are not in your favor.
Friend1: Yes. Short selling.
Friend2: The thing is, if you look back at the end of each day, no matter the market conditions, there are always some stocks that went up big. You could have doubled your money. Not everyone will be so lucky, but the potential is there. The successful usually require months or years of experience before they start turning a profit, and not a great one at that. It is difficult to succeed, but success is possible.
Friend1: And so you’re saying that even if it’s rare for a person to suddenly cast aside the unfavorable aspects of life, anarthas, in favor of devotional life, it can happen.
Friend2: Remember, giving up here is in terms of consciousness. You don’t have to suddenly quit your job, leave your wife and kids, and move to the mountains. People have done that, and success wasn’t always the result. The idea is to convert the consciousness from material to spiritual, from seeking personal sense pleasure to wanting only the best for God and those who love Him. Bhakti-yoga is the end of the line in terms of spirituality, but it opens up a whole new world of service and enjoyment.
Though of religion end of the line,
More opportunities through auspicious time.
Only in bhakti-yoga to see,
Otherwise always wanting to be.
Possible quick is transformation,
Or spanning births in transmigration.
One factor, the consciousness key,
Always lotus feet of His do you see?