Vayasam Tirtham

10th Sep 2003
Jay Shri Krsna das

Dear Vaishnavas,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I came across the following verse Sb 1.5.10 during my study of Bhagavatam. As soon as I read its translation it reminded me of the day when I was first coming in contact with H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj.

na yad vacaś citra-padaṁ harer yaśo
jagat-pavitraṁ pragṛṇīta karhicit
tad vāyasaṁ tīrtham uśanti mānasā
na yatra haṁsā niramanty uśik-kṣayāḥ

Those words which do not describe the glories of the Lord, who alone can sanctify the atmosphere of the whole universe, are considered by saintly persons to be like unto a place of pilgrimage for crows. Since the all-perfect persons are inhabitants of the transcendental abode, they do not derive any pleasure there.

Maharaj was preparing to leave the New Raman Reti community on that day and just before leaving he spoke on the above verse. He said the modern Theatres, Soap Operas, and all such non-sense is vāyasaṁ tīrtham (Pilgrimage for Crows), and we should try to avoid such places as much as possible. We may not be able to completely avoid them due to our previous conditioning but should know that such activities are hindering our spiritual growth. Knowing this we should make all arrangements to keep away from such activities and join more Hari Katha.

Srila Prabhupada points out in his purport to this verse that, "There are different kinds of literature for different types of men of different mentality. Mostly the market literatures which attracts men of the crow's categories are literatures containing refused remnants of sensuous topics. They are generally known as mundane talks in relation with the gross body and subtle mind. They are full of the subject matter described in decorative language full of mundane similes and metaphorical arrangements. Yet with all that, they do not glorify the Lord. Such poetry and prose, on any subject matter, is considered decoration of a dead body. Spiritually advanced men who are compared to the swans do not take pleasure in such dead literatures, which are sources of pleasure for men who are spiritually dead."

This verse also reminds me of Lord Caitanya's instruction that "one should tolerate the pain of sitting in a burning wooden house, but should avoid the association of men who are too much attached to material pleasure, and women." Of course, this also implies the subjects that talk about such material pleasures should be avoided as well.

So I pray to the Lotus feet of our Gurudev, and all you dear Vaishnavas to bless me with ruchi for Hare Krishna Mahamantra so that I can avoid all such impediments to my spiritual growth.

Thank you very much.
Your useless Servant,
Jay Shri Krsna das
Alachua.