In Union Square, Manhattan, on your average sankirtana afternoon, they rush and swoop and meander by, all shapes and colors and demeanor, all in a rush to be somewhere, perhaps to be nowhere.
"Excuse me sir, we're showing this wonderful book of spiritual wisdom, the Bhagavad-Gita....Sorry, I've got no time...I'm in a rush" Some mean it and apologize. Some walk by me at approximately .32 mph and say it, and I have to restrain myself to not point out their obvious lie to me.
It's certainly bewildering, and hopefully a little inspiring to help us knights of faith to keep on keeping on to find those not rushing into one abyss after another.
In the March 16, 1956 edition of Back To Godhead, Srila Prabhupada shares his own sankirtana observations of those with "no time."
No Time: A chronic disease of the common man
When we approach some gentleman and request him to become a reader of "Back to Godhead" sometimes we are replied with the words "NO TIME".
They say that they are too busy in earning money for maintaining the body and soul together.
But when we ask them what do they mean by the 'Soul', they have nothing to reply.
Dr. Meghnath Saha a great scientist was busily going to a meeting of the Planning Commission. Unfortunately while going in his car on the road he died and could not ask Death to wait because he had no time at that moment.
Dr. Ansari, the great Congress leader, while dying in a moving train, on his way to home, said that he was himself a medical man and almost all his family men were so, but Death is so cruel that he was dying without any medical treatment.
Therefore, Death has been described in the Bhagwat as (In Devanagari:) "durantavirya" or the indefatigable. Death is awaiting everyone although everybody thinks that he may not die. There is life after death. The busy man should try to know this also as to whither he is going.
This life is but a spot in his longest sojourn and a sane person should not be busy with a spot only. Nobody says that the body should not be maintained-but every body should know from "Bhagwat Geeta", that the body is the outward dress and the 'Soul' is the real person who puts on the dress. So if the dress is taken care of only, without any care of the real person-it is sheer foolishness and waste of time.
When God is served, everything is served. Because God is everything, but everything is not God. When something is served, everything is not served for something is not everything. It is something like pouring water at the root of the tree or filling the stomach with foodstuff. That is the standard of service.
In the 'Bhagwata Geeta' Shri Krishna said (Bg. 7.13-14):
"All the world is enchanted by the three modes of natural qualities and thus they don't know Me, behind all these phenomenon, who am the Supreme ever-existing Lord." "All these illusions are certainly amusing or transcendental and they are insurmountable also. But those who serve Me only-can overcome all these."
Nobody can go "Back to Godhead" or know Him as the Supreme Personality, because everyone is under the grip of the qualitative material nature. The material nature as she has three modes of qualities namely, goodness, passion and ignorance, even the highest intelligent person who may have possessed all the mundane good qualities, down to the lowest mass of people, mostly uneducated, lazy and overwhelmed with immense varieties of anxieties, none of them can know the Lord for the above reason.
The natural laws are so made that they appear before us as so many problems. They are stiff because of the three qualities. The qualities are said to be amusing because everyone is satisfied by the quality of his sense-enjoyment.
Beginning from the highest civilized man (a type of living being) down to the stool-eater Swine (another type of living being) everyone is satisfied by the object of sense gratification, even though they are all of different qualities.
A learned Brahmin who is said to be the highest qualitative living being in the mode of goodness, down to the dog or the dog-eater man, who is considered to be the lowest qualitative living being, everyone is captivated by his own qualitative nature. And as long as one is conditioned by different modes of nature one cannot know the Supreme Person the cause of all causes.
All of them are imprisoned by the different modes of qualitative shackles, one is bound up by the shackles of gold while the other is bound up by the shackles of iron.
The material nature is so powerful, that she can keep under her conditions, all such illusioned living being in different categories of material modes. As the prisoner cannot himself break the shackles by his own effort so also nobody can surmount the laws of nature by his own tiny effort.
No amount of plans either of five, ten, or thousands and millions of years can therefore bring in permanent happiness to us, unless and until we take up the plan of the Supreme Lord and execute it sincerely. That is called the Standard Service.
It is therefore essential that we should all take up immediately, the execution of the plan of Shri Krishna the Personality of Godhead by our standard service as chalked out in the lessons of "Bhagwat Geeta."
The wrong type of civilization, which is too much materialistic, is dragging the total population of the world gradually towards a fall down into the lowest status of conditioned life. Conditioned life means to be more and more entangled by the laws of physical nature. The function of the physical nature is explained above. And those who are too much enamored by such physical laws are called the Ashuras or the Atheist. The Atheist does not like to accept the Standard service which is recommended by the Supreme authority of the Personality of Godhead.
Such atheists, however they may be great religionists, scholars, scientists, politicians, philosophers, poets, artists, administrators, businessmen, lawyers, educationists etc., are befooled by the laws of nature and therefore they do not recognize the Supreme authority of the All-Powerful.