“The beginning of Krishna consciousness and devotional service is hearing, in Sanskrit called shravanam. All people should be given the chance to come and join devotional parties so that they may hear. This hearing is very important for progressing in Krishna consciousness. When one links his ears to give aural reception to the transcendental vibrations he can quickly become purified and cleansed in the heart.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 10)
Friend1: I’ve often heard you say that the nicest thing you can do for someone is leave written words. Books, poems, letters and the like.
Friend2: That is personal opinion, based on the impact such artifacts have had on me. I am not claiming an absolute rule that is passed on from authority or anything.
Friend1: Okay, but it is still interesting enough. I want to juxtapose with the modern-day practice of binge-watching.
Friend1: For those who are unfamiliar, with the digital transformation has come convenience in viewing television and film.
Friend2: No more stocking up on VHS tapes, rewinding them when you’re done, and keeping an inventory.
Friend1: DVDs were the first sign of change. In a small “digipak” you could get an entire season’s worth of a television show. Change the discs periodically, but the full day could be spent watching one thing.
Friend2: Yes. I myself never made it that far, though I intended to several times.
Friend1: Today you can subscribe to a digital streaming service and be set for life. They’ll keep track of what you watched, in case you lose your place. They will make suggestions based on similarities in genre and the like.
Friend2: It uses something called data mining. A popular term today is “machine learning.”
Friend1: Anyway, so many people like to binge-watch. It is a popular way to pass the time. I was thinking that perhaps it would be helpful if the Vedas were available in such a format.
Friend2: Oh? You think people would take an interest?
Friend1: I understand that another word for the Vedas is shrutis. “That which is heard.” Lord Brahma, the creator, did not see anything at first. He meditated and found the Supreme Lord within the heart. He received aural instructions. There wasn’t something like a printed instruction manual with pictures.
Friend2: This is with respect to how to go about creating the universe, generating the body types known as the species, and the like?
Friend1: Yes. I will say that was a different time period. Even thirty years ago people were very interested in books, but I don’t know about today. Do not the messengers sent from above have to adapt?
Friend2: I’m not saying that it is a total waste of time. For sure, even plays depicting the pastimes of Bhagavan help audience members take an interest. Yet there is still something to the sound. It is known as shabda-brahman. This is the sound of the Absolute Truth. It is the most effective way to associate with transcendence.
Friend1: But why? Are you saying it is more impactful for me to spend a day reading a book like Shrimad Bhagavatam than watching a television program depicting the same?
Friend2: Absolutely. No doubt about it. You can make a test of it. With television people tend to focus on the imagery. The content is secondary. It is only natural. With sound you are forced to pay attention. You have to process the information and then react accordingly.
Friend1: What about the argument that certain people learn more quickly through video instruction than through books?
Friend2: There is still hearing involved. That may be a good way to get jnana, but vijnana is at the personal level through active participation. That is what I am driving at. Whatever your preferred medium, at least create a daily routine of chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Even just seeing those words printed has a positive impact. Images otherwise have an illusory effect.
Friend1: How so?
Friend2: Rakshasas on the battlefield used to display false images to dispirit the side fighting for good, such as the Vanaras from Kishkindha. It is a great trick of the news business to play on people’s emotions through images. They can create a false narrative more easily that way. If you appeal to people’s intellect, you have to come up with an intelligent argument.
Friend1: Meaning it requires more work to convince them.
Friend2: Yes. Vishnu-tattva is about the real thing. You don’t need any false imagery. The message appeals directly to the soul, which already has knowledge incorporated in its existence. Sach-chid-ananda. The sound of the shrutis is for bringing back that unmatched bliss and keeping it moving forward.
Why not into movies made?
So that better attention paid.
To Vedas of profound teaching,
Through video more people reaching.
On purpose first presented as sound,
Ears not distracted by display target found.
Also harder with illusion mistaking,
From holy name Absolute Truth taking.