How much should we seach on the internet for good Krishna conscious content?
Transcription by- Keshav Gopal Das & Ambuj Gupta
Question- How much can devotees search on internet for Krishna conscious content?
Answer- One doesn’t have to search on the internet for Krishna conscious content.
In general it is best if we know specific sites that contain Krishna conscious content. We can learn about such sites from reliable sources, for example by some other devotees or from say reading in magazines or some sites that we know are devotional. That is safer.
Search on the internet can give us all kinds of results and some of them may be not at all Krishna conscious. Some of them may be anti-Krishna conscious. They can actually damage and destroy our faith because sometimes internet is such a place where it’s very difficult to regulate what is put over there. For rumor mongers and gossipers and character assassinators internet can be a very easy way of doing their dirty work and spreading misconceptions. So there is much on the internet that is undesirable and can be directly anti-devotional in terms of posting sinful things, sexually exclusive things etc. It can also be anti-devotional as there can be sites which are blasphemous of devotees or blasphemous of exalted Vaishnavas. Such sites can easily damage our faith.
So the important point is to remember that Krishna is a kalpataru. Krishna gives us what we want according to our desire. Off course it’s possible that some devotees by searching on the internet may come across some devotee sites and get to hear lectures or get their questions answered or find some good articles. That way they can become connected with Krishna and enhance their connection with Krishna. That possibility is definitely there and certainly devotional content on the internet needs to be increased by the devotees so that sincere spiritual seekers who are seeking through the internet get access to the right devotional content. There are many people who will take help of internet because that’s the culture they have been brought up in and whatever they want to know they seek through the internet. So at one level as devotees are doing outreach it is our responsibility to provide as much good content as possible on the internet. At another level as devotees who are trying to practice Krishna consciousness we also have to be cautious about the tendency for just doing nectar shopping.
We want to be spiritual seekers not spiritual shoppers. Spiritual shoppers means when we go for shopping the primary mood is the mood of enjoyment. Ok, I enjoy this, I’ll purchase. I enjoy that so I’ll purchase. I won’t enjoy this I won’t purchase it. So often the spiritual shopper’s mood is quite bossy and choosey and that is not really conducive or harmonious in the mood of spiritual seeker who is humble and inquisitive in a humble disposition. What does this mean practically? Practically as I said that if we are already connected with devotee community where we are already getting reasonable spiritual nourishment, but the mind will always make us feel that the things could have been better and it will also be a fact that things could have been better, but the point is we don’t live in an ideal world. If we are reasonably spiritually nourished then there is no reason for us to go about searching on the internet, where we don’t know what we will get.
This does not mean that we should not use good content that is available on the internet. It is better that we ask some of our devotee guides about some sites which are good that we can specify. Ok, these are my interests and these are subjects that I would like to know more about. It’s quite possible that the devotees who are at our local center or those with whom we are connected they may not have the requisite specialize skills for answering specific questions. For me personally I get a lot of my best nourishing association through the internet. I generally find answers to my questions on the internet but it’s not that I have all my answers available there. There are senior devotees who can answer my questions. It’s very rare that I get to regularly meet senior devotees like Prabhupada disciples who are scientists, who are scholars etc. I connect with them through emails, sometimes through skype, but mostly by emails and occasionally by phone and I get answers from them. For me the internet plays a very important role in my own spiritual understanding and my shaping of Krishna consciousness because that’s where I get a major amount of my sanga from devotees. That is also the arena of my major service because I am doing most of my outreach through the Gita daily, through the spiritual scientist, and through bhakti courses. It’s online out reach.
Certainly in no ways I am suggesting that we shouldn’t use the internet for our own spiritual seeking. I will be hypocritical if I said that but knowing the utility of internet in getting good association I am also aware of the danger of the internet in plunging one into bad association also unnecessarily and counter productively. Sometimes even against our wanting. One may end up in some unnecessary controversies which have really nothing to do with our practical spiritual life. Somebody said this about ISKCON and somebody said that about that person. There is so much that is not relevant to our spiritual life. Rather than searching on the internet to see if I can find something good we try to know from some reliable sources what is good and then we can look for it. Whether we can get some appropriate answers to our questions or some good classes we are looking for. It’s good to have seeking that is guided. That way we will not waste too much of our time and that way we will stay protected. Some devotees may take an extremely conservative position and say that there is absolutely no need of internet, whatever you are getting from your local community just be satisfied with that. I wouldn’t take that position because if devotees are of a particular bent of mind and they find that they feel most inspired by particular kind of presentations which are done by certain devotees and not by other devotees and for that they need a particular kind of nourishment, that’s perfectly ok, to go to those forums and use those forums. At the same time, along with that conservative attitude, there can also be extremely liberal attitude which means that you search then you find out what is good and use it. That may appeal to some people. But when we are neophytes or at an initial level can we be intelligent enough to discern the right thing? Is this really Krishna conscious, is this going to help me in my Krishna consciousness or it is just something which titillates initially but eventually ends me up in so many controversial or distracting issues?
Over all I’ll summarize by saying that ultimately it depends on the sincerity of our desire which Krishna will see and Krishna will reciprocate. Along with that as far as providing content on the internet is concerned, those who are doing outreach they should try to increase more and more content so that devotees who are seeking Krishna conscious on the net they will be able to get it. But for ourselves its better that if we are already practicing devotional service and if we are already connected with some devotees, it’s better to go through our devotee guides. It’s not that every time that we are going to visit some site, we have to ask some devotees. That’s not what I mean. At least we learn from devotees ok, these sites are good and these sites are having some content which may not be good or whatever. Getting some guidance and then using our own intelligence to decide what nourishes us most, that is best. There is another answer I given about how if sometimes we see senior devotees don’t behave in inspiring ways how do we deal with it. I have answered that there are different kinds of devotees and we should seek those devotees that inspire us. Same way we need to seek on the internet that association that inspire us and because there is so much on the internet that we can easily get overwhelmed and lost, rather than doing unguided searching it is better to do have some kind of guided searching and then we can focus on going deep into whatever subject interest us. We should not keeping on jumping and hopping from one place to another but wherever we do find nourishing content then we focus on that and we use that regularly for growing in our spiritual life.
Thank you. Hare Krishna.