“An old woman in Vrindavana, present at the time of Krishna’s pastimes, once stated in surprise: ‘How wonderful it is that Krishna, who owns the hearts of all the young girls of Brajabhumi, can nicely speak the language of Brajabhumi with the gopis, while in Sanskrit He speaks with the demigods, and in the language of the animals He can even speak with the cows and buffalo! Similarly, in the language of the Kashmere Province, and with the parrots and other birds, as well as in most common languages, Krishna is so expressive!’” (The Nectar Of Devotion, Ch 21)
“What about this issue with people who have difficulty pronouncing Sanskrit words? Sometimes I see something happen in real life that I want to relate to a story from shastra, but I hesitate to bring it up to others since they will have a hard time following the names of the characters. I end up substituting terms and titles in place of the names, because I think the stories have that much relevance to the situation.
“Since we are focusing on chanting the holy names, on the non-difference between transcendental sound and the person they represent, is not this a significant hurdle towards success? What about proceeding further and wanting to glorify the Almighty? How do we properly approach the Supreme Personality if we are lacking education, skill in composition, and so forth?”
1. Appearing on Firing Line
We can look to two extremes to see how this operates. In the first, we reference a television program that used to air on public broadcasting in the United States. The host was known for his intelligence, scholarly nature, and erudition. He would host guests in what would hopefully turn into an adult discussion on the major issues of the day.
A person with such intelligence can certainly worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They can use everything they know to both understand and explain the science of self-realization. In such a setting, the questions could be highly-relatable, as well.
In other words, the knowledge gets challenged, and from there the stature of the proponent only increases, provided they produce satisfactory answers. Everything is rooted in Bhagavan, after all. If we are blessed with education, we should view it as a gift from above, to be used in the same way as fortune itself, who is Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Narayana.
2. Living within the firing line
Here we are in a polar opposite situation. Certainly no time to have a faculty-lounge type discussion. Poverty. Decay. Gangs running wild. Too unsafe to leave the house at night. Alcohol and drug addiction everywhere. In turn, the education system completely substandard. If you ever make it out of this place, it is a miracle.
Even in the most dangerous condition, a person can worship God properly and perfectly. We have the story of Prahlada Maharaja from Shrimad Bhagavatam. Though he lived in a royal palace, with his father as the king, Prahlada faced every kind of danger imaginable. He worshiped properly through perseverance, and he showed his intelligence when later meeting God directly, in the amazing manifestation of Narasimha.
If education were a barrier to success in spiritual life, that would limit the reach and scope of the Almighty. It would invalidate His position as well-wishing friend of every living entity. Though the lower species are not as blessed in terms of potential for intelligence, they are still equally as eligible for receiving Krishna’s mercy and approaching Him.
With whatever condition we find ourselves, in whichever land in the universe, through whichever language spoken within that land, we always have the opportunity for devotional service. Shri Krishna Himself speaks many languages, and He is expert at communicating with others. He can certainly hear the prayers incoming from a variety of places, detecting the level of sincerity and the eagerness for devotion: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
On television talk show seated,
Ignorance of challengers defeated.
Or with danger at every step,
Relief not for second to get.
Equal eligibility in the two,
Connected to Him me and you.
Since languages many to know,
Everyone towards Him can go.