Prajalpa, the Prostitute

Prajalpa is a conversation that diminishes our spiritual intelligence. It’s mundane talk that entangles us in material activities. These activities are aimed at, consciously or subconsciously, adulating our mind and senses. In the fourth verse of Sri Manah Siksha, Raghunatha Dasa Goswami compares mundane talks with prostitutes. Just like a prostitute takes away one’s wealth, mundane talks strip us of our spiritual merits. How? Whatever we repeatedly see or hear influences our consciousness. Whatever we hear and see leaves impressions on our subconscious mind. These impressions transform into thoughts and thoughts into actions. And, our reality changes accordingly. We can understand this easily. During chanting or any type of meditation, images and thoughts from the far-off or recent past start crowding our mind. Even a news item, a song, a dress, wins our attention effortlessly during our meditation time (other times, too). These mundane talks are not harmless. In fact, they act like bugs that hold the power to destroy huge crops.

In the verse 6.35 of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells our Arjuna that one can control the mind with Vairagya and Abhyaas. Vairagya means staying away from all that which is counterproductive to our spiritual growth. Abhyaas means trying with determination to bring back the mind to the current spiritual activity.

People often advise us to maintain a balance between worldly and spiritual activities. The balanced approach is often misunderstood. It doesn’t mean that we chant the holy name from Monday to Friday and spend the weekend doing prajalpa. Following this regime is like Gaja-Snana (Elephant Bath). Elephants take nice bath. But, as soon as they come out of the water, they roll over in mud and become dirty again. Cleansing one’s heart and mind from Monday to Friday by chanting and then doing prajalpa over the weekend is gaja-snana. We clean ourselves internally and then stuff our consciousness with rubbish again. A balanced approach for a healthy living is to engage our mind, intellect, and senses in activities that give us neverending joy, without attaching the strings of suffering.

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