You can’t be in Nevada and not be aware of gambling. It was quite surreal to step out of the plane and instead of seeing a typical airport lounge, finding oneself in a slot machine corridor, with flashing lights and beeping sounds promising easy millions.
For just 25 cents, you too can win $200 thousand! What a deal! And for $1 you can get $1.5 million! Solve all your problems – cash and credit card accepted!
But before you get excited look at the faces of those who play. Better yet, stand back and watch them go through $50, $100 as they wait for their plane. Whatever they win, they just spend back! Imagine, you’re going for the jackpot, you want the big prize, who cares about $10 or $20! You just use that incentive to keep playing, so you never even see that money – those credits just become more spins of those little devilish wheels that never quite seem to line up properly!
What I noticed is that you basically have two kinds of players. One is the joking touristy type, who just puts in US$5 or US$10, in a “what the heck, let’s do it for fun” mood. They play, lose it all in 3 minutes and laugh aloud. The other kind is much, much more depressing. For one, they look really bored (it’s boring pressing the stupid “Spin” button hundreds of times in row!). They also look miserable and anxious.
I need this money to validate my life. I want this money. All my problems will go away if I get his money. SPIN. Oh, almost. SPIN. Come on! SPIN. No. SPIN. SPIN. SPIN.
In the end, this second type is almost longing for his credits to run out so he can end the suffering. When it does, he slumps out of the seat and shuffles away, drained, annoyed, cheated by his greed.
If only life was so easy, where you could spend a few bucks, press a few buttons and be happy. It’s not. We have to work hard to be happy! Because we’re now so degraded it takes a lot of work to climb our way back to sanity.
But it is easier to be happy than it is to be miserable! You just have to know how. Srila Prabhupada brilliantly wrote:
“Therefore there is no difficulty in coming in contact with the Supreme Lord (ko ‘ti-prayasah). On the other hand, going to hell requires great endeavor. If one wants to go to hell by illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication, he must acquire so many things. For illicit sex he must arrange for money for brothels, for meat-eating he must arrange for many slaughterhouses, for gambling he must arrange for casinos and hotels, and for intoxication he must open many breweries. Clearly, therefore, if one wants to go to hell he must endeavor very much, but if he wants to return home, back to Godhead, there is no difficult endeavor. To go back to Godhead, one may live alone anywhere, in any condition, and simply sit down, meditate upon the Supersoul and chant and hear about the Lord. Thus there is no difficulty in approaching the Lord… Because of inability to control the senses, one must go through great endeavor to go to hell, but if one is sensible he can very easily obtain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead because the Lord is always with him.” (SB 7.7.38 Purport)
But, of course, to overcome our faults and madness (such as thinking you can get happiness from a machine you KNOW was designed to cheat the public out of their money), we must be serious about perfecting ourselves. We must work at it every day, very nicely, for the rest of our lives. Those who are serious receive the help of the Lord in the form of Srila Prabhupada’s perfect guidance. And this guidance comes through his sincere servants. Practicing Krishna consciousness under such shelter, we can finally be freed from suffering.
Now that you can bet your life on!