“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.8)Download this episode (right click and save)
George got to the airport early. He didn’t need to, but that was how he liked to do things. He was visiting his grandparents, whom he hadn’t seen in almost a year. The airline had changed the boarding process up a little bit. Previously, there were three boarding groups, determined by how soon passengers checked in for the flights. Anyone in the particular boarding group, however, could get to the front of the line. So the airport gates were always packed with passengers who were lined up well before the boarding times.
Since then they divided up each boarding group into sections. Each passenger was assigned a number within their group. George was A16, and so when the announcement was made to line up, he was able to stand in his spot without a problem. Upon boarding, George took the first available aisle seat. “This way it’s easier for me to get up and use the restroom,” was his thinking.
The flight crew made an announcement after George took his seat. “Folks, we are going to be a full flight today. So please, take the first available seat. Don’t try to save the one next to you, because it will be taken by someone.”
Shortly thereafter someone took the window seat in George’s row. When the boarding drew to a close, and as all the passengers seemed to be already boarded, the seat in the middle was still empty. Just as they were about to close the cabin doors, the final passenger arrived. He saw the empty seat next to George and asked if he could take it. George happily obliged, getting up to allow the man in.
“Hi, I’m Alexander,” said the man to George as he took his seat. “I’m George. Nice to meet you,” replied the usually friendly George.
The flight crew made another announcement that take off would happen shortly. But in fact, they would have to rescind that statement. Every five minutes or so, they kept making another announcement that things were delayed just a little bit. Finally, after about half an hour, a dejected flight captain got on the PA system.
“Folks, it looks like there is a big logjam at the front of the runway. We’re not going to be able to take off for at least another half hour. Please feel free to relax, move about the cabin, and use the restrooms. Again, we apologize for the delay. We’ll get you in the air as soon as possible.”
George used this as an opportunity to take out his favorite book. From his bag stored in front of him he took out a Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, opening to the page with the verse he was previously reading. After about five minutes, a curious Alexander inquired about the book.
“I’m sorry to bother you, but that book looks very important. It has such a nice cover also.”
“Yes,” replied George. “It’s called the Bhagavad-gita. It’s one of the most famous philosophical books in the world. It’s from around five thousand years ago, and it was originally presented in Sanskrit. This is an English translation done by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who also gives short commentaries to the verses.”
“Oh, I see. So is that like the Hindu equivalent of the Bible?” asked Alexander.
“Hmm, maybe,” replied George hesitatingly. “It’s not that accurate of a comparison, though.”
“Yes, because the Vedas, which are the original scriptural tradition that is the origin of the modern vernacular term of Hinduism, describe God and His qualities in so many different places. There isn’t just one book.”
“Oh really? How many are there?”
“Actually, too many to count. The Bhagavad-gita is a quick summary of the basic teachings. It is the most well-known book because it is delivered directly by God. It is said that in His original form He is a beautiful youth, with a blackish complexion, who holds a flute in His hands and wears a peacock feather in His hair. Since He is all-attractive, Krishna is the perfect name for this form. He is the speaker of the Gita, and its wisdom is timeless. It is written down in this specific book, but actually the verses have no date of origination. Like God, they exist forever, infinitely both backwards and forwards in the time continuum.”
“Wow, that’s interesting,” said Alexander. “How can there be so many books, though? Have you read them?”
“I’ve read quite a few actually. I can’t get enough of this stuff.”
“But don’t you get bored reading about the same person all the time? I’m a hockey writer myself. I like that every year I have new things to write about.”
“I definitely don’t get bored. God is the greatest person, so I love hearing about Him. It’s interesting with your job, though. If you think about it, are the stories really any different year to year?”
“What do you mean? The champions change. The players are different too. Previously I was writing about Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull and Wayne Gretzky. Now I’m writing about Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Martin Brodeur.”
“Right, the players certainly change. But aren’t the stories the same? Someone is the leading scorer, so you write a story praising them. Someone breaks the shutout record and then you write about them. Someone wins the championship, and so you write a story of praise. Someone else loses, and you criticize them for what they did wrong. If you think about it, you could have all of next year’s stories written already. You can make a template out of them and just fill in the blanks after the fact. It’s like a cycle that never ends.”
“Hmm. I never thought about it that way.”
“With God, you’re glorifying the same person every day. You don’t need to rely on the latest news to glorify Him, either. He is the source of everything, the material and spiritual worlds. So anything can be used to glorify Him. He is the life of everything. It is His energy that allows people to play hockey. He is both the coveted victory and the heartbreaking defeat. He is the leading scorer and the person who can’t break into the NHL. But those things relate only to His external energy. His internal energy is more blissful to the heart. Hearing about it over and over again only increases attachment to Him. Tell me, do you still write about Wayne Gretzky or Gordie Howe?”
“Only if they’re doing something hockey related.”
“Right, exactly. So if they’re out of hockey, the two of them are essentially meaningless. That’s just the way of the material world. We praise someone for their temporary position of prominence, but when they are no longer in the limelight, we forget about them. That’s not the case with Krishna. He is always in His topmost position, and whatever He does is glorious. This Bhagavad-gita has valuable teachings and so many pearls of wisdom, and another wonderful benefit is the passing on of Krishna’s activities. From this book Krishna is further celebrated as the chariot driver of Arjuna, to whom He delivered the much needed wisdom. He is known as the best teacher in the world and the original spiritual master. His glories are endless, which means the writer assigned to His beat has a job to keep them happy for lifetime after lifetime.”
“This is interesting stuff, I must admit.”
Just then another announcement came from the flight deck. “Alright folks, we’ve been given clearance for take off. Flight attendants can you please prepare the cabin?” The flight attendants then asked everyone to take their seats and put away all of their belongings.
“I have to put this book away now,” said George. “But let’s continue when we’re in the air.”
“Sounds good,” said Alexander.
While playing opportunity for praise,
But not forever, limited are the ways.
Once retired and forgotten gone,
Another’s records to dwell upon.
In bhakti on the current news to rely not,
Endless glories and activities Krishna has got.
Through devotion always something to write,
Inspired simply by His transcendental sight.