Radhanath Swami: People like to hear about other people’s problems. It’s fun for some. That’s the reason why some of the most popular magazines in the world just focus on scandals. Recently, a champion golfer got into some scandal. It’s like a rule in this world—that such news must be known to everyone, that such news must be the event on every television and news channel. That scandal was all that the people were talking about, for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks. Ironically, nobody cared that much when he won a golf game. But when he did something really scandalous, all of a sudden everybody becomes really ‘concerned.’ Now, is it necessary to bother about all these things? But we have this inclination to gossip, which the scriptures call Prajalpa.
Prajalpa is one of the six most dangerous things that are detrimental to Bhakti Yoga. Rupa Goswami, a prominent saint of the 16th century wrote, “One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) over-endeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters(or prajalpa); (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kåiñhëa consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.
Why is it that people tend to gossip? It’s because there is a vacancy in the heart, a lack of spiritual fulfillment. So they look for fulfillment in sensual quests, in hearing and speaking of the faults of others, in accumulating more and more and more. To fill that vacancy, they need power, they need fame, they need money, and they need sex. They are never satisfied because nothing material can satisfy the needs of the soul. The soul needs to love God. The soul needs to love everyone connected to God, and that includes every living being. That’s the nature of the soul. But without that love, people do so many things, just to try and forget that emptiness within.