According to an Indian proverb, there’s nothing that a goat won’t eat and nothing that a madman won’t say.
Madmen? Sometimes it seems like we’re living in a world of them, or at least a world of fools. The human impulse is to say something—anything. Something stupid, something contentious, something sweet, deceitful, smart, ridiculous, or empty. Big strings of words, amounting to nothing. It’s astonishing.
Nearly as surprising: You can speak the most outrageous foolishness, and someone out there—most likely many someones—will for sure take it as sensible, even as urgently important.
People babble on like sea waves, other people babble back. And soon you’ve got a tumultuous roar, of no significance at all. Babble on, Babylon.
Behind those babbling tongues churn babbling minds, full of everything, empty of substance.
For which the Vedic remedy is the chanting of the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The purpose of the chanting is to pull the mind out of the din and fix it on one point: Krishna.
That point—Krishna—is not merely a point but the ultimate substance. The word Krishna indicates the supreme reality, the Absolute, the original source of everything.
More precisely, the word Krishna is Krishna. On the material platform, a word and what it stands for are different. On the spiritual platform, Krishna and Krishna’s name are the same.
So by chanting Hare Krishna, we leave behind the clatter of illusion and come in touch with Krishna, the Absolute Truth.
In the early stages of spiritual understanding, one realizes that Absolute Truth as an impersonal, all-pervading oneness. Further along, one perceives that Absolute Truth as the Supersoul, the source of all intelligence, the unseen guide within the heart. And when that unseen guide fully reveals Himself, one can see the Absolute Truth as the transcendent Personality of Godhead, free from all the grossness of matter yet tangibly real and specific in His unlimited names, forms, qualities, and pastimes.
It is when we come to Krishna that real talking begins. That talking is done by the greatest self-realized souls. And by those who accept, repeat, and relish the words of those realized souls and thus become realized themselves.
Of course, those who babble on about nothing will think that whatever they’re buzzing about is of great consequence and that Hare Krishna is for fools.
Following in the footsteps of the Vedic sages, we’ll go on talking about Krishna and chanting the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Aug 06, 2022
Brahmatirtha das Director, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies