How To Prevent Idleness

[Shri Hanuman]“Being very much delighted and satisfied, those monkeys enthusiastic to see you arrived at the northern shore of the ocean.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.68)

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vindhyādutthāya samprāptāḥ sāgarasyāntamuttaram |
tvat darśana kṛta utsāhā hṛṣṭāḥ tuṣṭāḥ plavamgamāḥ ||

Friend1: I think one of the big problems in modern-day life is idleness.

Friend2: Why do you say that?

Friend1: From personal experience, mostly. I notice that on days where I am fully engaged throughout, with this task to complete and that, I am actually happier than on days when I have nothing to do.

Friend2: It seems contradictory, right? There is the popular song about everybody working for the weekend.

Friend1: Spend the time in the office in order to rest and relax at week’s end. It is something to look forward to. But if you have nothing to do, it ends up being depressing.

Friend2: For sure. There is also that saying, an idle brain is the devil’s workshop.

Friend1: Bad things happen. Kids end up spending so much time on the internet. Browsing social media, they become upset over something they didn’t even care about moments prior.

Friend2: For sure.

Friend1: How do you stop idleness? Is there a solution?

Friend2: Other than to work seven days a week?

Friend1: That causes burnout, though. You would go crazy after a while.

[Shrila Prabhupada]Friend2: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says that Krishna consciousness itself removes idleness.

Friend1: How so?

Friend2: Well, at the root you are serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is eagerness. The Sanskrit word is utsaha. Enthusiasm. An ideal example is Shri Hanuman.

[Shri Hanuman]Friend1: The dedicated servant of Shri Rama.

Friend2: Always enthusiastic to engage in service. Not needing so much rest because there is always something to do. It is joyful, as well. This is confirmed by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita:

राज-विद्या राज-गुह्यं
पवित्रम् इदम् उत्तमम्
प्रत्यक्षावगमं धर्म्यं
सु-सुखं कर्तुम् अव्ययम्

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ
pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam

“This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.2)

Friend1: What about exhaustion?

Friend2: We are conscious because we are a living force. Being the topmost consciousness, Krishna consciousness is the ideal match for the living force.

Friend1: It is something like staying awake, then?

Friend2: Right. When you are so wired from having seriously engaged in work, you are ready for more. It is something like that, except there is no lack of motivation. Even after success, you want to continue to serve. You can try to get a glimpse into the process through a routine in chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Friend1: Alright, but that takes up maybe a few hours a day. There is so much time remaining. I get it that people go to work. They may have to study. But it’s not like they have to wake up before sunrise to plough the fields. There is no harvest over which to be concerned. Food can be delivered to you in less than an hour. You don’t even have to speak to anyone. That is why people can binge-watch television shows.

Friend2: Chanting is not the only outlet for service. Congregate with like-minded people. Read. Hear. Write. Utilize artistic expression.

Friend1: I don’t know. I’m still a little skeptical. Too many distractions around today. Too easy to simply lie down, do nothing, and turn on the television. Reach for your smartphone or tablet device. Scroll endlessly through meaningless stories.

Friend2: That’s a pretty bleak picture you paint.

Friend1: I’m just being honest.

Friend2: Find a different venue. Sort of how the office environment forces you to work, go to a place that is conducive towards devotional activities. Not only are we conscious beings, we are intelligent, as well. Use that intelligence for finding a way to succeed in Krishna consciousness.

In Closing:

Intelligence used to find,
Better ways to occupy mind.

Or for work-life succeeding,
In specific direction proceeding.

Carry over principle the same,
To routine of holy name.

And bhakti activities outstanding,
Control over maya commanding.

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