The promos of a movie showing a popular film star smoking have led to protests: “Why is smoking being foisted on impressionable young minds?”
The silly point is that we protest about the star shown as a smoker, but not about the same star being shown as a drug-dealing gangster or an underworld don. When movies blatantly exhibit sex, rape, addictions, crime, violence and murder, and when movie stars are today’s perverse role models, isn’t it silly to be shocked when the same happens in society?
Not long ago, Indians were shocked by the news of a Mumbai schoolboy murdering his own mother - just to get money to enjoy like the hero of his favorite movie. Before that, Americans were aghast at a chilling real-life perversion of the violence routine in Hollywood - schoolchildren shooting their teachers and co-students. Movie-makers may rationalize that movies just reflect social trends, but can it be denied that they often initiate, perpetuate and aggravate the vicious circle?
The sillier point is that we readily believe what movies show and stubbornly disbelieve what life shows. We imagine “and they lived happily ever after” - the utopian ending of most movies - will materialize in our lives, while reality glares at us all around - no one lives ever after and no one lives happily. After all, no man is a hero to his own wife and no woman is a wife to her own hero. We believe that we will one day enter the heaven of enjoyment shown in the movies, while the hell of suffering in the world around threatens to suck us in at every moment. We vicariously enjoy as the movie hero as he miraculously dodges every calamity and exults in his three-hour immortality, while we actually shudder as the daily news of natural and human disasters exposes our helpless mortality.
The silliest point is that we forget the person who never forgets us - God, and we remember the people who never remember us - movie stars. We enthrone ephemeral heroes as the kings of our heart, while we banish the eternal hero Krishna from our heart. We search in a false cyber world, for love, excitement, enjoyment and protection, while we blind and deafen ourselves to the source of all love, excitement, enjoyment and protection living within our own hearts. When selfish movie-makers invite us to their hi-tech illusory paradise, we squander our hard-earned money to enjoy it for a few moments. But when the supremely selfless Lord invites us to His eternal spiritual paradise, we are not ready to invest even a few thoughts to probe into its reality.
When we read about a half-man half-spider performing impossible antics in the comics section of a newspaper, we adore him. When we read about the half-man half-lion incarnation of God performing chivalrous pastimes in the sacred scriptures, we deride Him as mytho-logical. Are we logical? We have time to tune to newer and newer channels while watching TV, but we have no time to tune in to Krishna’s channel of devotion in our own heart.Its not just silly, actually. Its tragic. If we don’t give up our silliness, we will have to cry for it. Worse, we will have to continue our silliness - and its attendant suffering - for many more lives.
Fortunately we have an alternative. Irrespective of how silly we become, Krishna remains our benevolent Lord unconditionally. So He gives us an easy way out - His holy names. Attentive devotional chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra acts like a divine torchlight, which exposes the material silliness around us and reveals the spiritual substance within us.
Intelligent people embrace chanting as the most intelligent activity and tune into and enter a blissful world far superior to the “enter”-tainment world, that is the default tuning of the silly.