“It is generally said that the gopis were attached to Krishna for sense attractions, and yet they became first-class devotees of the Lord. Kamsa, Shishupala, Dantavakra and other demons, however, were related to Krishna as enemies. But whether they associated with Krishna as enemies or for sense gratification, out of fear or as pure devotees, they all got liberation. That is the result of association with the Lord. Even if one does not understand who He is, the results have the same efficacy.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.23.55 Purport)Download this episode (right click and save)
Jim had been worried for a long time. His company wasn’t doing so well. The vagaries of the software business are such that what is popular one day may not be so the next. There are always competitors to consider. Then there is the issue of changing technology. Having a popular software application suited for one platform may yield many profits today, but once a new platform comes out, with its own set of features, the software manufacturer must keep up, lest they risk extinction.
Jim’s concerns over the future were validated when one day he got the bad news. He was being let go. He had worked for this company for a long time. He thought he was one of the vital employees, but sadly he was not part of the group that survived the latest round of job cuts. Jim didn’t even have a resume ready, as he had worked at this company for so long.
After a few weeks of soul searching and taking a casual glance at the job market, Jim had an epiphany. “Why don’t I start my own company?” he thought to himself. “I’m good at what I do. I can learn new technologies. I can be my own boss. I’ll get my own office and everything and set hours that are suited to my family’s needs. I won’t have to worry about getting fired. I have a lot to offer, so I know I can make it. This is going to be fun.”
He ran the idea by his wife, and she seemed on board. “I’m a little scared for you, honey, but this might be just the thing. We worried too long with your previous job, and what did that get us? At least if you’re running things, you’ll have some more control.”
Jim had already envisioned many of the key details of the new company. He knew of some office space for rent, he had the necessary equipment, and he knew what services he could provide. He was proficient in website design, so a lot of the things that are typically cumbersome for a new business wouldn’t be so for him. One vital issue remained unresolved, however.
“What am I going to name this company?” is the question Jim kept asking himself and those closest to him. It was the topic of discussion one day with his good friend Ron, who was over Jim’s house for lunch on a Saturday.
“I’ve been racking my brain with this issue. I have to tell you, I can’t settle on anything,” Jim complained to Ron.
“Well, what are some ideas that you have?” asked a genuinely inquisitive Ron.
“E-consulting, PowerApp, AppMakers, The Horizon Technology Group. I mean I’ve got so many names. I’m not sure if some of these are already taken or not. There really are endless possibilities. Then I could also just make up a brand new word and have that be the company name.”
“Yeah, that’s true. I wish I was good with this kind of thing. I couldn’t even decide on the names for my kids. We had to ask everyone in the family to help us,” said Ron with a laugh.
“The thing is, this name could be everything. I think of Steve Jobs and how he just decided on the name Apple. He knew that it would be ahead of Atari in the phonebook. And how cool is the name Microsoft? This name could make or break the company. It’s the first thing people will see. It will be on their minds immediately.”
“It sure will. I would say just come up with a bunch of ideas and then try to make a pros and cons list, a la Benjamin Franklin. Maybe that will help you out.”
Jim then admitted that this issue was really consuming his thoughts day and night. It was almost an obsession, something which shaped his consciousness.
“I’m really ‘company name conscious’ right now, which I know isn’t a good thing. Whatever you are conscious of you automatically get in the next life, right?”
“Yeah,” responded Ron. “Krishna says that in the Bhagavad-gita. ‘Whatever state of being one remembers at the time of death, that state they will attain without fail.’[Bg 8.6]”
“I promise you, once I settle upon a name, I will try to be Krishna conscious. Hey, I’ve wondered this. How did that term come about? I know that originally everything was in Sanskrit, so how was it decided that bhakti-yoga would translate to ‘Krishna consciousness’ in English? Why not ‘God consciousness’?”
“That’s a very intelligent question,” replied Ron, as he settled in to give a detailed explanation. “From what I know, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came up with the term ‘Krishna consciousness’ as the translation for bhakti-yoga. When he first incorporated his society, there was a similar kind of deliberation on what to call it. Some suggested using ‘God consciousness’ in the name, but Prabhupada insisted on the name Krishna.”
“Oh really? I never knew that,” said Jim.
“Yeah, there’s great potency in the name, that is the main reason. As you know, Krishna is considered the original form of Godhead, but there are many non-different expansions of His as well that are identical to Him. If you’re reading the Shrimad Bhagavatam, there are a lot of passages which reference Krishna’s expansion of Lord Vishnu. In the translations to these verses, Prabhupada often inserts the word Krishna, even if the name doesn’t specifically appear in the Sanskrit verse.”
“Oh, that’s interesting. Is that for simplicity’s sake?”
“Perhaps, but I think it’s more so for the potency of the name. It is said that the name of Krishna carries all of God’s potencies. Saying it is as good as being with Him. In addition, even if an enemy has association with it, they are benefitted in some way.”
“Like, if someone just says ‘Krishna Krishna’ in passing, they get some kind of merit?”
“Yeah, exactly,” replied Ron, who then went into a story about a discussion he once had with a person who was very much against the practice of chanting the holy names of Krishna. That person wasn’t very familiar with the culture, but just from hearing the chanting, he was turned off. In talking to Ron, he described the Krishna people as “Curshnas,” which was his derisive term for them.
“Wow, that’s kind of a stupid thing to say, especially to you,” said Jim. “That must have upset you, no?”
“A little, for sure,” said Ron. “But at the same time, he did end up saying the name of Krishna, which meant he got some benefit. The same occurred with Krishna during His manifest pastimes on this earth. The gopis of Vrindavana loved Krishna very much, and so they were benefitted by this positive attitude. People like Kamsa and Shishupala, on the other hand, hated Krishna. Even in their enmity they were benefitted, since they only thought of Krishna all the time.”
“So, just by using the term ‘Krishna consciousness’ over and over again, Prabhupada offered a spiritual benefit to so many people then. What a genius move!”
“Yeah, and the same kind of benefit is there with meeting a saintly person, someone who is devoted to the Supreme Lord. Have you ever heard of the story of Maharishi Valmiki?” asked Ron.
“No,” responded Jim.
“Well, I won’t go into the whole thing, but basically there was a guy a long, long time ago who was a highway robber by trade. One time he ran into a saintly man named Narada. He tried to rob Narada, but Narada didn’t have anything. Narada then convinced him to chant the name of Rama, which is another name for Krishna. The robber was so sinful that he couldn’t even say the name. Never one to give up easily, Narada told the robber to then chant the name backwards. In reverse, the name referenced killing, which the robber was familiar with. In chanting the reverse name over and over again, the robber heard the name of Rama accidentally. He then chanted for so long in ecstasy that he completely transformed. Narada then named him Valmiki, who is today famous for having written the Ramayana.”
Just then Ron got a call from his wife. She asked him if he could pick up the kids from band practice. “Alright, gotta go, man,” said Ron as he departed. “Let me know if you need any help. I’ll ask my wife if she can think of names for you.”
“Great, thanks. Maybe I’ll throw in a name of Krishna in there. This way, even if the company fails, I’ll have gained something,” said Jim with a smile.
Difficult when to think of a name,
Unique, something to others not the same.
Immediate impression in others to make,
Memory of it with them to take.
Potency in Krishna’s name the most,
Benefit even to one of sinful qualities a host.
In enmity of Him Kamsa always thought,
Shishupala too, fate of merging wrought.
To think of Him in love much better,
Like gopis, who with Krishna always together.