Watching TV and Movies. Sivarama Swami: There are two main…
Watching TV and Movies.
Sivarama Swami: There are two main defects in this activity, whether they’re done regularly or even occasionally. The first is that this media always includes intoxication, graphic sex life, violence, and gambling. Therefore watching it means to break the regulative principles. What reason do we have that we should go out of our way to observe and watch these activities of Kali-yuga when it’s already difficult enough to stay away from them? So why would I want to bring these things into my own home, to give ideas to children? Answer: because people have material desires and they give into them.
The second defect is that anything you see makes an impression on the heart. So the rampant violence, sex, intoxication, bad language, immoral behavior, fairytale worlds like Spiderman jumping off buildings and flying through the air, these make an impression in the heart, and when they do they become a source of meditation, something to meditate on, because these impressions will come out at a later time. Not only as a reflection of the mind, but something that creates seeds of material desires in the heart and which will also water existing seeds of desire in the heart. So it is a very detrimental practice.
Initiated devotees vow to follow regulative principles. When referring to brahmacaris and sannyasis in this regard, we say that even in the mind if one contemplates these things he is breaking the principles. But while grhasthas might have license, they only have that within their own marriage situation. They don’t have a license to view sexual activities or these other things. So for them to contemplate it, to view it, to enjoy it; it’s all breaking the principles. How then can an initiated devotee do these things with a clear conscience?
And what is the effect of breaking the regulative principles? We commit sin. And by committing sin, we complicate our spiritual lives, entangle ourselves in material existence, and suffer from the results of that sin. Committing sin has an effect on the mind; that is that sinful thoughts linger in the heart. They come up like bubbles from the mud and become the source of other sinful desires, which then become the result of further sinful acts. Ultimately what devotees see on TV and in movies, they’ll end up doing. If they see infidelity, they’ll end up doing it. If they see violence or other activities, they’ll do that. When they become bewildered thinking materialism, egoism, pride in the material body is the ultimate goal in life; they become more body conscious and egotistical.
All these things strangle the creeper of devotional service and make one’s devotional life more or less null and void. Why does a devotee do this? Well, obviously because they’re not doing what they should be doing. One who is not chanting Hare Krishna and hearing Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya-caritamrita without offense and who is not doing them enough will not have enough spiritual strength to resist the social pressure from those who are doing these things. Devotional movies are available and will water our seed of bhakti and give further inspiration and lasting satisfaction to the heart.