“Although there is no clear distinction between the Powerful and the power, power is always subordinate to the Powerful. Those who are materialistic are worshipers of the power, but those who are transcendentalists are worshipers of the Powerful.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 2)Download this episode (right click and save)
You’ve waited the whole week for this. You know that you are too old to get excited over a television program, but you can’t help yourself. You love everything about this particular event. You start by watching the “red carpet” preview. This is where all the actors, actresses and famous personalities arrive for the show. They come in limousines, and they sport the latest fashions. This is also the first time many new couples will be seen in public. You want to see how they look together. You want to see if they’re a good match.
Then the show starts. You watch a lot of movies, so you want to see your favorites win. Even some films which you didn’t like, you thought one or more actors did a very good job. Therefore you root for them to take home the prestigious award for their specific category. In this way the time flies. You don’t even notice that many hours have gone by.
Finally, the award everyone has been waiting for: Best Picture. You’ve actually seen all the movies that are nominated. Therefore you have a strong favorite, which you know to be better than the rest of the competition. An award like this sticks forever. It gives honor to something which you think deserves it. It can make careers. It can make a star out of a nobody. It can catapult a whole new style of film.
A past winner of a “best actor” award approaches the podium to announce this year’s winner. He goes through the nominees and then proceeds to open up the envelope. “And the winner is,” he says. Then what comes next is music to your ears. He announces that your favorite movie, the one that moved you to tears and made you rethink your perspective on life, is the best picture of the year. You’re ecstatic. Your friends and family gathered in your home are happy for you also, though you had nothing to do with the film.
Now imagine that when this award is announced, no one comes to the stage. Instead, they bring out a DVD fully sealed in plastic, sporting the cover art for the film. That DVD, an inanimate object, rests on the podium. A microphone is put in front of it, but then there is only silence. This seems ridiculous, obviously, but it is one way to understand how the powerful behind the amazing power of the perceptible world goes ignored on a daily basis, even in so called religious circles.
Why doesn’t the DVD suffice? Why doesn’t a picture of the movie set make a difference, either? It is because honor goes to the powerful. That is who everyone is interested in knowing about. One cannot watch a wonderful film and then attribute its creation to randomness. “Oh that direction, that acting, and that story all came together through a collision of chemicals. There was no intelligence to it.” If speaking like this, others would consider you to be crazy.
And yet in the vastly more complex world with which we interact on a daily basis, we show no interest in the powerful. The reverence goes simply to the power. “Oh look at the sun. Thank the Lord it is out today. Oh this flower smells so nice. Spring is my favorite season. It is when everything comes back to life.”
Even in societies that claim to be spiritually conscious, the appreciation remains on the power. “God is great. Just see what He has done.” Surely this is a good acknowledgment, but what about God? What is known about Him? Why did He create this? What more can He do? What are we supposed to do with His creation?
The most detail about the Powerful belongs to the Vedic tradition. It is not that other traditions should be discounted in this regard. An analogy used to explain the differences is the dictionary . Not all dictionaries are the same size. In modern times, one simply does an internet search to find spellings and meanings to words, but in the past dictionaries as physical books were much more important. Some dictionaries are smaller. They are known as pocket dictionaries. Others are more comprehensive, and thus much larger. Both are dictionaries, but one is superior due to the larger amount of detail.
As in the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam we get so much detail of the powerful behind the power, we see that there is a superior form of knowledge available to those who are inquisitive. The interest needn’t be restricted to mere curiosity or a thirst for knowledge. Rather, the more is known about the Powerful, the more those operating within its power can connect with it.
When the “best picture” award is announced, the actors, the writers, the creators, the producers, and even the director go up to the stage to accept the award. They are the powerful behind the power that is the film. The appreciative public is more interested in the powerful, since it is the intelligence behind the power. And so the Supreme Lord Himself is more important than His potency, which to us is awesome but to Him is merely a separate, inferior energy.
“Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.5)
The spiritual energy is the superior energy, and the source of the spiritual energy is thus the superior person of interest for all creatures. Prominently featured in the Vedas are His names, forms, pastimes and activities. This inclusion allows for a unique experience in spiritual life. Connecting with Him is bhakti-yoga and that connection brings a kind of satisfaction not seen anywhere else. One’s favorite film may win an award or their close friend may receive a high honor, but the joy from such achievements does not come close to matching the happiness of the souls who daily honor God with their thoughts, words and deeds. The Bhagavad-gita is God’s words spoken directly by Him, and so one who is searching for the Powerful need not spend any more time looking. They can take the names of God as well and always chant them: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
On television awards ceremony the eyes,
A DVD to accept best picture a surprise.
Powerful behind the power to know,
How from randomness creation so?
Apply concept to the creation whole,
Shri Krishna holding “Most Powerful” role.
Highest honor to Him give,
For always in felicity to live.