It is said that kali-yuga has many faults, but one good thing — Harinam Sankirtan. You can chant any time, anywhere, under any situation. You can chant without taking bath, you can chant while going to sleep, while working, while eating, while driving, any time, any place.
To chant always, one must become detached from the present conditions — i.e. defocus from the noise. If we cannot defocus from the noise, then we can’t focus on the signal, because the signal is weak and the noise is very strong. To hear someone’s voice in a crowded room, you have to strain your ears and avoid listening to anything else, similarly, we have to strain our ears.
This is the tapasya or austerity for this age. Just ignore all the noise. Whether it seems good or it seems bad, just ignore it. Disengage from the good and bad of this world. In SB, it is said: na te vidhuh svartha gatim hi vishoh. They do not know that their selfish interest is Vishnu.
So, first, we have to become selfish in the true sense of the word. Then when we are advanced we can be altruistic. Only the advanced soul can engage with the world. For the less advanced soul, protecting yourself is most important. So, the first step is disengaging from the noise. Let others do what they are doing. My goal should be to focus on what I need to do. Complaining about the world won’t change the world. We can change others if we have ourselves changed.
There are no new-age demigods. Wealth can come in sattva-guna, rajo-guna, and tamo-guna. How much wealth I get is my karma. But whether I get it by honest simple life, aggressive passionate life, or stealing and cheating is a choice I have. I can’t get more wealth by either mode. But I can choose which way I want to get wealth. So, the demigods are giving wealth, and we are choosing to get it through tamo-guna. That doesn’t mean the demigods are now in tamo-guna. It only means that we have chosen to enjoy our karma under tamo-guna. Karma is like money. You can spend your money on buying books, beautiful clothes, or intoxication. You have got the money, and you can spend it any way you like. If you spend it on intoxication, the demigod of wealth is not getting intoxicated, because you are exercising your choice to spend.
You don’t have to live in “relative penury”. You will get money according to your karma and if you want, through honest and simple living. It will just fall in your lap one way or another. You don’t have to worship any demigod — new or old. Demigods are obliged to give you what you deserve. There is no need to worship demigods. The focus should be — what is my next life? Where am I going after I die? Is my future life going to be worse or better than this one?
People spend endless hours discussing meaningless topics like politics, male-female issues, sports, left-wing vs. right-wing, etc. It is a complete waste of time because you don’t know which country, which gender, which race, and which species you will be born into next. So, what’s the point of debating these things unless you know where you are going? We need to decide that my next life should be better than this one, and I have to move toward eternal life. Not this or that gender, race, nationality, political identity, etc. To get to eternal life, we have to chant constantly. And we cannot chant constantly if we are distracted by this worldly noise.