Can We Engage Video Games in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness?

Image by DCStudio on Freepik

Prabhu: Mahārāja, you gave the example of instead of playing  video games one might...

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Svāmī Mahārāja: Yeah, I figured that would happen, as soon as I  said it... That's why it's always better to stick to the śāstric [examples], you don't have to... There is no clinkers, no slag, you know. Yes?

Prabhu: Is there a way to...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Engage the video games? Okay. Why is the video game important? What do you get from the video game?

Prabhu: Some experience.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Experience, what does that mean? What experience?

Prabhu: Well...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: You built a city that is not there [Laughter]. You got through the Chernobyl ruins and killed off everybody and got... What? Professor, you know, Shabablewitz's (?) head and brought it back, and therefore you moved to the next level. [Laughter] So, you know... You figured out the difference between the front and the back of an AK-47? What do you mean, experience? What is that experience?

Prabhu: Like that, like you said...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Like that. [Laughter] And of what benefit? And so, why do you want that experience, what drives you to go through that experience? You could also go out and roll on the road from here to the temple, that would be an experience. [Laughter] But that's smooth, if you really want an experience then just go plow the field, then that would give you more of an experience, so... Pour a bottle of orange juice over your head and go sit next to a cow, or... There is all kinds of experiences you could have.

Prabhu: Well, I ....

HH BVPS Mahārāja: You know what I am saying? What drives you for the experience?

Prabhu: Some desire, you have to do something...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Some desire to do something. You can pick your nose, you might get some benefit. Deep nasal exploratory endeavor. Science, you might discover something.

Prabhu: Considering the example, if I have a desire to create a city...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Create a city, okay, but that's a lot different from the guys with all the guns and bombs. Or the sword, and the dragon, and the princess, and the tower.

Prabhu: Desire to be a hero.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah, desire to be a hero there. So the point is, there is different reasons why someone is engaged. Why are you building a city, what are you planning to do in the future with that? Do you understand? So, it is not thought out, so that means, there is no connection at all. Why are you doing that? There is a kid, when he grows up, he wants to be a politician and run the city, so therefore for him some city may have some meaning. Because he gets aware of that. But at some point, it is not going to be enough, he is going to have to associate with those who do that. So, therefore, he will naturally give up and move. So the point is is, if you have a higher goal, then you can move through that.

But if you don't even know why you are doing it... So unless you can identify the quality of Kṛṣṇa that you are looking for, then you can't even see what is the connection. Because the point is is, it is not the game. The game is just a medium for that quality. May have, some demoniac scientist has figured out how to make it, so it gets - what are those? Endorphins, or something, there is some other things, some chemicals, hormones, they get going, so that you become attached to it.

Prabhu: Mahārāja, so getting your line, if someone would be smart enough to make city planning for Kṛṣṇa and put it on a video game, would that be of any amenity for children?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Can, if you can do that. If that is your nature to do that, you have to engage. Means, if you are a video game programmer, and so you want to engage that in Kṛṣṇa's service, then there is some way to do it. But that's service for you, but for the others then you are going to see whether it is going to be service or not. How far are you going to take them? Because then there is always the thing, why does it become popular? Generally, because of its mundaneness. [Laughter] In other words, you have to be very clever, do you understand? You could create the whole world, but you have to show, you have to mechanically show how it is worked, but you have to keep the ultimate goal in mind. Now, whether they would agree to that or not...

But generally, without knowing it, the people aren't that clever.  Tolkien was clever, you know. What was that?  The guy with the Star Wars, he was clever. They create a whole world, and then people become absorbed in it. So whatever is their lifestyle, their goals, their philosophy, the Supreme, everything in there, then you buy. Because it is complete. But that means, how do they think of all that? Means, they work at it. Avatara, the language of those, what are the...? The Na'vis are speaking, they have a thousand word language for it. So they worked out all the words that they would ever need to use in any other movies, because they are planning a sequel, of course. So that is a lot of thought, that means, they had to sit down with linguists and this and that and work this whole thing out. So they create all this. So then you say, okay, 'Oh, we'll make a game,' so but what does that mean? What are you dealing with? So what angle are you going to take? The karma, the hierarchy in the Universe, the situation, what are you going to take? How are you going to do? But the point is is, then ultimately, what are you going to do about the Supreme? Because if there is no Supreme, there is no...

Because, I mean, the guy goes to the, you get to the 24th level, and you save the princess. But the point is, saving the princess is considered a good thing, it has that romantic element of it, so there is some idyllic aspect. If it was like, you get to the 24th level and then you walk in there, and there is a box of Cheerios... [Laughter] Do you think anyone is going to continue playing the game? Do you understand? No, they are not going to play. Because what is the goal, what is the Supreme, what is the good that has been done? So, there has to be a Supreme, there has to be good, good work, so then what is that? Even these other things, you have to go in and save the weirdo scientist from all these other weirdos because they want what he has, but for a bad purpose, but you are getting it for a good purpose, like that. You know what I am saying? So, it is still the same thing, it is still good cause, and there is some Supreme. Though, they drop it down lower and lower and lower.

Prabhu: And the children, we feel that we make such a big disservice for them...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah, no, they can't do anything, and so, unless the guy is so sharp that in the future he can become become one of these... What you call them?  F-18 fighter pilot guys, like that, and so just everything it's just a video game for him. Because that is all that is going on, they have this helmet, you don't actually see what is there, it is all in the helmet, and so just where you look, things work. So then that may be, but how many of them are there? I think U. S. Army maybe has like 300 or something of them, so that means, out of 300 million Americans, only 300 people can do that. So it is not necessarily the most efficient. So what are the others doing with it? Maybe they are getting distracted. So, you have to see the practical. But generally then they have that kind of a goal. Because you don't get to that point by the time you are 19-20-21, unless you had the idea of it earlier. Most people, they get to university and don't know what they will major in; then even they pick the major and they finish, they don't know what they will do with it afterwards. So, it's probably a lot of them playing these games, and so... Where are they getting? What are they doing? It takes up some time. So you have to see what is the point.

And Kṛṣṇa says, recreation has to be balanced, so is it balanced? The kid playing the game so much he starves to death, that is not exactly balanced. He doesn't do his homework, he doesn't do his work around the house, doesn't interact with anybody else in the family, doesn't develop his own... as a person. That is not balanced. So there is something wrong here. So even if you are saying, 'Oh, well, recreation is important,' but it is balanced.

Prabhu: And there are much more natural forms within it...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah, it is called going out into the... out there, and kids pick up sticks and rocks and stuff, and they can create the world. See, the thing is is, if you don't create it for them, they will create it themselves. You create it for them, then they can only do that much, they are dependent upon you, which is, of course, good business. So ultimately you have to see, why is it that you give them a game? You just really felt that they wanted to give the kids something to do? So that's why they made it? No, it is all business. It doesn't sell, they don't sell it, so it is just tricks. Do you understand?

So, in other words, there is is a lot to think about there. It is not just a matter of, 'Oh, whoa, we can do it for Kṛṣṇa,' but then how are you going to do it for Kṛṣṇa? That is the point. We have discussed all this, so how are you going to do that for Kṛṣṇa? So in theory, yes, you can do it, but are you going to be able to do it? And if you do, are you going to go through this level of that we have mentioned before? Baladeva Vidyābhūṣana says about dealing with the Paramātmā, you see that sense of justice. 'Yes, the scientist should not end up with the bad guys' So like this, is you are gonna bring through, and then we see that actually what I am looking here is some particular quality, and that is coming from the Supersoul, so therefore the Supersoul is actually the person I should be involved with, and so, how would I best serve the Supersoul? And so, there is a good chance, the video game is not part of it.

You know, if your father is a high court judge, and you are getting 4 point average and that, then okay, maybe you will be the mayor, then, go ahead, play your SimCity. But if he is not, then maybe it's just something to do until you get bored of that, and then you get your SimCity video game. Okay? Do you understand? So it has something thoughtful, otherwise, yes, intellectually it is there, but the problem is, you have to apply it. But as I said it, I thought, "This is going to come up." [Laughter]

From Lecture on Bhagavad-gītā 5.14-23, Śāstra Cakṣus Course, 18 November 2010, Bhaktivedānta Academy, Śrīdhāma Māyāpura. This passage starting 1 hr 18 mins

All comments.