What’s Wrong with Commercial Media?

I refer to your reply, in the Letters section of the January/February issue of BTG, on “How to Control the Mind,” with specific reference to the following: “. . . keeping good association (even on the Internet) and avoiding commercial media and other materialistic association (very important).”

With respect, you do not state why commercial idea should be avoided? I ask because I had edited POST, a commercial-based community newspaper here in Durban, South Africa, for 21 years, and during my tenure, prior retirement, interacted and promoted the activities of several organizations, among them the Hare Krishna movement, with headquarters in Chatsworth and Phoenix. Besides regular coverage, we produced special pages on major celebrations, such as the annual Yatra and Janmashtami. That aside, we enjoyed a cordial working relationship and met and discussed issues, as and when the need arose.

So, I remain a bit perplexed, and would dearly love to know the reason for your call, in an otherwise informative issue, graced with colorful pictures.

Brijlall Ramguthee
Durban, South Africa

Our reply: By “commercial media” we meant material presented by commercial media that is not related to Krishna. One of the key principles of bhakti-yoga is to try to “hear” as much as possible about Krishna, devotional service to Krishna, and so on, hearing about unrelated subjects only as much as necessary, such as for one’s occupation. Simply put, we recommend staying away from mundane television, movies, websites, radio shows, videos, magazines, books, and so on, especially if one’s purpose is simply to pass the time or enjoy oneself. That was the intention behind the phrase “commercial media.”

Thank you for your support of the Hare Krishna movement’s activities in South Africa.

Thanks for George

Thank you most dearly for the article on George’s songs (BTG, January/February). I love his music and admire his contribution to ISKCON. My family loves Back to Godhead too.

Durban, South Africa

Chaitanya and Mayavada Sannyasa

Although Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was always against Mayavada [impersonalism], He took sannyasa from a Mayavadi guru. Why?

Via the Internet

Our reply: Srila Prabhupada discusses this question in his purport to Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Adi 3.34):

During the time of Lord Chaitanya, the influence of Sankaracharya in society was very strong. People thought that one could accept sannyasa only in the disciplic succession of Sankaracharya. Lord Chaitanya could have performed His missionary activities as a householder, but He found householder life an obstruction to His mission. Therefore He decided to accept the renounced order, sannyasa. Since His acceptance of sannyasa was also designed to attract public attention, Lord Chaitanya, not wishing to disturb the social convention, took the renounced order of life from a sannyasi in the disciplic succession of Sankaracharya, although sannyasa was also sanctioned in the Vaishnava sampradaya. . . .

Lord Chaitanya accepted sannyasa from Keshava Bharati. When He first approached Keshava Bharati, He was accepted as a brahmachari with the name Sri Krishna Chaitanya Brahmachari. After He took sannyasa, He preferred to keep the name Krishna Chaitanya.

The great authorities in the disciplic succession had not offered to explain why Lord Chaitanya refused to take the name Bharati after He took sannyasa from a Bharati, until Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja volunteered the explanation that because a sannyasi in the Sankara-sampradaya thinks that he has become the Supreme, Lord Chaitanya, wanting to avoid such a misconception, kept the name Sri Krishna Chaitanya, placing Himself as an eternal servitor. A brahmachari is supposed to serve the spiritual master; therefore He did not negate that relationship of servitude to His spiritual master. Accepting such a position is favorable for the relationship between the disciple and the spiritual master.

Wandering Mind

When I start chanting the Hare Krishna mantra on my beads, my mind wanders. How should I chant?

Govind Ubale
Via the Internet

Our reply: One should not expect to immediately experience a peaceful mind while chanting Hare Krishna. Krishna consciousness develops gradually as one progresses from tender faith to association with advanced devotees, engagement in Krishna’s service, and overcoming obstacles, and then on to steadiness, taste, full attachment, bliss, and pure love for Lord Krishna.

As they say, “Practice makes perfect.” We should be joyful to have made contact in this life with Krishna’s pure devotees and the process of complete purification in their association. However, it will take some time for our spiritual consciousness to mature and bear fruit.

We wish you all the best. Please continue with your sincere chanting, and in time your restless mind will become fully peaceful.

No Access to a Center

We live in small town in Wisconsin and do not have access to a center. How do I start at home, with my children and family, a life of relying on the message of Krishna? I need help explaining Krishna consciousness to my two children, who are nine and twelve years old. I want Krishna to become one the major things in our family.

Via the Internet

Our reply: The main practice for spiritual realization is serious and sincere chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Chanting can be easily done individually and with your family. It is the core practice of Krishna consciousness and coupled with regularly reading Srila Prabhupada’s books can easily form a foundation for the whole family.

To the best of your ability take up this practice, and you will certainly progress in spiritual life. Because you are unable to attend a local center, take advantage of web technology to hear lectures online as your time allows. Here are links to articles that provide additional suggestions.