Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII

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Jewish and Christian Essays on the God of the Bible and Talmud

It admonishes us that we should abstain from destroying life, from stealing, from dishonest dealings, from illegitimate sexual intercourse, and that we should also help others to lead a peaceful and honorable life in the right way. One can clearly see here that Buddhism is strongly opposed to any kind of war, when it lays down that trade in arms and lethal weapons is an evil and unjust means of livelihood. These three factors right speech, right action, and right livelihood of the eightfold path constitute ethical conduct. It should be realized that the Buddhist ethical and moral conduct aims at promoting a happy and harmonious life both for the individual and for society.

This moral conduct is considered as the indispensable foundation for all higher spiritual attainments. No spiritual development is possible without this moral basis. Next comes mental discipline, in which are included three other factors of the eightfold path: namely, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

The practice of concentration on breathing anapanasati is one of the well-known exercises, connected with the body, for mental development. There are several other ways of developing attentiveness in relation to the body as modes of meditation. With regard to sensations and feelings, one should be clearly aware of all forms of feelings and sensations, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral, of how they appear and disappear within oneself.

In this way one should be aware of all movements of mind, how they arise and disappear. As regards ideas, thoughts, conceptions and things, one should know their nature, how they appear and disappear, how they are developed, how they are suppressed, destroyed, and so on. These four forms of mental culture or meditation are treated in detail in the Satipatthana Sutta Setting-up of Mindfulness.

The third and last factor of mental discipline is right concentration, leading to the four stages of Dhyana , generally called trance or recueillement. In the first stage of Dhyana, passionate desires and certain unwholesome thoughts like sensuous lust, ill-will, languor, worry, restlessness, and skeptical doubt are discarded, and feelings of joy and happiness are maintained, along with certain mental activities.

In the third stage, the feeling of joy, which is an active sensation, also disappears, while the disposition of happiness still remains in addition to mindful equanimity.

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Finally, in the fourth stage of Dhyana, all sensations, even of happiness and unhappiness, of joy and sorrow, disappear, only pure equanimity and awareness remaining. Thus the mind is trained and disciplined and developed through right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. The remaining two factors, namely right thought and right understanding, constitute wisdom in the noble eightfold path.

Right thought denotes the thoughts of selfless renunciation or detachment, thoughts of love and thoughts of non-violence, which are extended to all beings. It is very interesting and important to note here that thoughts of selfless detachment, love and non-violence are grouped on the side of wisdom. This clearly shows that true wisdom is endowed with these noble qualities, and that all thoughts of selfish desire, ill-will, hatred, and violence are the result of a lack of wisdom in all spheres of life whether individual, social, or political.

Right understanding is the understanding of things as they are, and it is the four noble truths that explain things as they really are. Right understanding therefore is ultimately reduced to the understanding of the four noble truths. This understanding is the highest wisdom which sees the Ultimate Reality.

According to Buddhism there are two sorts of understanding. It is not very deep. This penetration is possible only when the mind is free from all impurities and is fully developed through meditation. From this brief account of the noble eightfold path, one may see that it is a way of life to be followed, practiced and developed by each individual. It is self-discipline in body, word, and mind, self-development, and self-purification. It has nothing to do with belief, prayer, worship, or ceremony. Finally he saw God, and when he saw Him, he no longer desired his father's kingdom.

Instead, he said, "My dear Lord, I was searching for some pebbles, but instead I have found valuable jewels. I no longer care for my father's kingdom. Now I am fully satisfied.

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His satisfaction is infinitely greater than so-called That is the satisfaction resulting from God realization, and that is the perfection of yoga. When a person is fully engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he is pleased in himself, and thus he is no longer engaged in sense gratification or in fruitive activities.

Otherwise, one must be engaged in sense gratification, since one cannot live without engagement. It is impossible to cease all activity. As stated before, it is our nature as living entities to act. It is said, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop. If a child is not trained or educated, he becomes spoiled.

If one does not practice the yoga system, if he does not attempt to control his senses by the yoga process, he will engage his senses in their own gratification. When one is gratifying his senses, there is no question of practicing yoga. Without Krsna consciousness, one must be always seeking self- centered or extended selfish activities. But a Krsna conscious person can do everything for the satisfaction of Krsna and thereby be perfectly detached from sense gratification. One who has not realized Krsna must mechanically try to escape material desires before being elevated to the top rung of the yoga ladder.

One may compare the yoga system to a stepladder. One yogi may be situated on the fifth step, another yogi may be on the fiftieth step and yet another on the five-hundredth step. The purpose, of course, is to reach the top. Although the entire ladder may be called the yoga system, one who is on the fifth step is not equal to one who is higher up. In Bhagavad-gita, Sri Krsna delineates a number of yoga systems--karma- yoga, jnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga, and bhakti-yoga. All of these systems are connected with God, Krsna, just as the entire ladder is connected to the topmost floor.

This is not to say that everyone practicing the yoga system is situated on the topmost floor; only he who is in full Krsna consciousness is so situated. Others are situated on different steps of the yogic ladder. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well. In the yoga system, the mind and the conditioned soul are especially important.

Since the mind is the central point of yoga practice, atma refers here to the mind. The purpose of the yoga system is to control the mind and to draw it away from attachment to sense objects. It is stressed herein that the mind must be so trained that it can deliver the conditioned soul from the mire of nescience. In the astanga-yoga system, these eightfold yogas--dhyana, dharana, etc.

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Sri Krsna explicitly states that a man must utilize his mind to elevate himself. Unless one can control the mind, there is no question of elevation. The body is like a chariot, and the mind is the driver. If you tell your driver, "Please take me to the Krsna temple," the driver will take you there, but if you tell him, "Please take me to that liquor house," you will go there. It is the If you can control the driver, he will take you where you should go, but if not, he will ultimately take you wherever he likes.

If you have no control over your driver, your driver is your enemy, but if he acts according to your orders, he is your friend. The yoga system is meant to control the mind in such a way that the mind will act as your friend. Sometimes the mind acts as a friend and sometimes as an enemy. Because we are part and parcel of the Supreme, who has infinite independence, we have minute, or finite, independence.

It is the mind that is controlling that independence, and therefore he may either take us to the Krsna temple or to some nightclub. It is the purpose of this Krsna consciousness movement to fix the mind on Krsna. When the mind is so fixed, he cannot do anything but act as our friend. He has no scope to act any other way. As soon as Krsna is seated in the mind, there is light, just as when the sun is in the sky, darkness is vanquished. Krsna is just like the sun, and when He is present, there is no scope for darkness.

If we keep Krsna on our mind, the darkness of maya will never be able to enter. Keeping the mind fixed on Krsna is the perfection of yoga. If the mind is strongly fixed on the Supreme, it will not allow any nonsense to enter, and there will be no falldown. If the mind is strong, the driver is strong, and we may go wherever we may desire. The entire yoga system is meant to make the mind strong, to make it incapable of deviating from the Supreme.

Sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh. One should fix his mind on Krsna, just as Ambarisa Maharaja did when he had a fight with a great astanga-yogi named Durvasa Muni. Since Ambarisa Maharaja was a householder, he was a pounds-shillings man. This means that he had to take into account pounds, shillings, and sixpence, or dollars and cents. Apart from being a householder, Maharaja Ambarisa was also a great king and devotee. Durvasa Muni was a great yogi who happened to be very envious of Maharaja Ambarisa.

Durvasa Muni was thinking, "I am a great yogi, and I can travel in space. This man is an ordinary king, and he does not possess such yogic powers. Still, people pay him more honor. Why is this? I will teach him a good lesson. Durvasa Muni was consequently directed by Narayana to take shelter at the feet of Maharaja Ambarisa. Durvasa Muni was such a perfect yogi that within a year he could travel throughout the material universe and also penetrate the spiritual universe.

Yet Durvasa Muni was so weak that he had to return to earth and fall at the feet of Maharaja Ambarisa.

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Maharaja Ambarisa was an ordinary king, but his one great qualification was that he was always thinking of Krsna. Thus his mind was always controlled, and he was situated at the highest perfectional level ofyoga. We also can very easily control the mind by keeping it fixed on the lotus feet of Krsna within.

Simply by thinking of Krsna, we become victorious conquerors, topmost yogis. Yoga indriya-samyamah. The yoga system is meant to control the senses, and since the mind is above the senses, if we can control the mind, our senses are automatically controlled. The tongue may want to eat something improper, but if the mind is strong, it can say, "No. You cannot eat this. You can only eat krsna-prasada. Indriyani parany ahur indriyebhyah param manah.

The material body consists of the senses, and consequently the body's activities are sensual activities. However, above the senses is the mind, and above the mind is the intelligence, and above the intelligence is the spirit soul. If one is on the spiritual platform, his intelligence, mind, and senses are all spiritualized. The purpose of this Krsna consciousness process is to actualize the spiritualization of senses, mind, and intelligence.

The spirit soul is superior to all, but because he is sleeping, he has given power of attorney to the fickle mind. However, when the soul is awakened, he is once again master, and the servile mind cannot act improperly. Once we are awakened in Krsna consciousness, the intelligence, mind, and senses cannot act nonsensically. They must act in accordance with the dictations of the spirit soul. That is spiritualization and purification. Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate. We must serve the master of the senses with the senses. The Supreme Lord is called Hrsikesa, which means that He is the original controller of the senses, just as a king is the original controller of all the activities of a state, and the citizens are secondary controllers.

Bhakti means acting spiritually in accordance with the desires of Hrsikesa. How can we act? Since we must act with our senses, we must spiritualize our senses in order to act properly. As stated before, sitting in silent meditation means stopping undesirable activity, but acting in Krsna consciousness is transcendental. The cessation of nonsensical action is not in itself perfection. We must act perfectly. Unless we train our senses to act in accordance with Hrsikesa, the master of the senses, our senses will again engage in undesirable activities, and we will fall down.

Therefore we must engage the senses in action for Krsna and in this way remain firmly fixed in Krsna consciousness. In material existence one is subjected to the influence of the mind and the senses. In fact, the pure soul is entangled in the material world because of the mind's ego, which desires to lord it over material nature. Therefore the mind should be trained so that it will not be attracted by the glitter of material nature, and in this way the conditioned soul may be saved. One should not degrade oneself by attraction to sense objects.

The more one is attracted by sense objects, the more one becomes entangled in material existence. The best way to disentangle oneself is to always engage the mind in Krsna consciousness. The word hi in verse 5, Chapter Six Bhagavad-gita , is used to emphasize this point--namely, that one must do this. It is also said, mana eva manusyanam karanam bandha-moksayoh bandhaya visayasangi muktyai nirvisayam manah "For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation.

Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation. When the mind is thus engaged in Krsna consciousness, there is no chance of its being engaged in maya In Krsna consciousness, we remain in the sunlight, and there is no chance of our being obscured by darkness. Because we have freedom, or liberty, we can stay within a dark room or go out into the broad daylight.

That is our choice. Darkness can be eradicated by light, but light cannot be covered by darkness. If we are in a dark room and someone brings in a lamp, the darkness is vanquished. But we cannot take darkness into the sunlight. The darkness will simply fade away. Krsna surya-sama maya haya andhakara. Krsna is like sunlight, and maya is like darkness. So how can darkness exist in sunlight? If we always keep ourselves in the sunlight, darkness will fail to act upon us. This is the whole philosophy of Krsna consciousness: always engage in Krsna conscious activities, and maya will be dissipated, just as darkness is dissipated when there is light.

This is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam 1. When one is enlightened in bhakti-yoga, the mind becomes completely freed from all contamination samyak pranihite 'male. When Vyasa saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he saw maya in the background mayam ca tad-apasrayam. Whenever there is light, there is also the possibility of darkness being present. That is, darkness is the other side of light, or darkness is under the shelter of light, just as if I hold my hand up to the light, the top part of my hand will be in light, and the bottom part will be shaded. In other words, one side is light and the other darkness.

And what is this maya? This is explained in the next verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam 1. And who are these conditioned souls? Although finite, the conditioned spirit souls are as full of light as Krsna. The problem is that the conditioned soul identifies himself with this material world. This is called illusion, false identification with matter.

Although the individual spirit soul is transcendental, he engages in improper activities under the dictation of maya, and this brings about In conclusion, our actual position is that of spiritual sparks, full of light. Now we are temporarily covered by this illusory energy, maya, which is dictating to us. Acting under the influence of maya, we are becoming more and more entangled in the material energy. The yoga system is meant to disentangle us, and the perfection of yoga is Krsna consciousness. Thus Krsna consciousness is the most effective means by which we can disentangle ourselves from the influence of the material energy.

Chapter Three Learning How to See God bandhur atmatmanas tasya yenatmaivatmana jitah anatmanas tu satrutve vartetatmaiva satruvat "For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy. In material contact, the mind is in a kind of drunken condition. As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila Therefore the illusory energy maya gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence. As soon as the mind is contaminated, the living entity, because he has a little independence, rebels. In this state, the mind dictates, "Why should I serve Krsna?

I am God. We try to conquer many things--even empires--but if we fail to conquer the mind, we are failures even if we manage to conquer an empire. Even though emperors, we will have within us our greatest enemy--our own mind. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same. Actually, every living entity is intended to abide by the dictation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seated in everyone's heart as Paramatma. When the mind is misled by the external illusory energy, one becomes entangled in material activities.

Therefore, as soon as one's mind is controlled through one of the yoga systems, one is to be considered as having already reached the destination. One has to abide by superior dictation. When the mind is fixed on the superior nature, he has no alternative but to follow the dictation of the Supreme. The mind must admit some superior dictation and follow it. When the mind is controlled, one automatically follows the dictation of the Paramatma, or Supersoul. Because this transcendental position is at once achieved by one who is in Krsna consciousness, the devotee of the Lord is unaffected by the dualities of material existence--distress and happiness, cold and heat, etc.

This state is called samadhi, or absorption in the Supreme. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything--whether it be pebbles, stones, or gold--as the same. This is stated as follows: atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih sevonmukhe hijih vadau svayam eva sphuraty adah "No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality, and pastimes of Sri Krsna through his materially contaminated senses.

Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality, and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him. Six Puranas are meant for those in the mode of goodness, six for those in the mode of passion, and six for those in the mode of ignorance. The Padma Purana is written for those in the mode of goodness.

Because there are many different types of men, there are many different Vedic rituals. In the Vedic literatures there are descriptions of rituals and ceremonies in which a goat may be sacrificed in the presence of the goddess Kali. This is described in the Markandeya Purana, but this Purana is meant for the instruction of those in the mode of ignorance.

It is very difficult for one to give up his attachments all at once. If one is addicted to meat-eating and is suddenly told that he must not eat meat, he cannot do so. If one is attached to drinking liquor and is suddenly told that liquor is no good, he cannot accept this advice. Therefore, in the Puranas we find certain instructions that say in essence, "All right, if you want to eat meat,just worship the Only then can you eat meat.

You cannot eat meat just by purchasing it from the butcher shop. No, there must be sacrifice or restriction. That type of puja, or worship, is allowed on the night of the dark moon, which means once a month. There are also certain mantras to be chanted when the goat is sacrificed. The goat is told, "Your life is being sacrificed before the goddess Kali; you will therefore be immediately promoted to the human form.

The mantra also says, "You have the right to kill this man who is sacrificing you. This in itself should bring the goat-eater to his senses. He should consider, "Why am I eating this flesh? Why am I doing this?

Ethical Conduct

I'll have to repay with my own flesh in another life. Thus, because there are different types of men, there are eighteen Puranas to guide them. The Vedic literatures are meant to redeem all men, not just a few. It is not that those who are meat-eaters or drunkards are rejected. A doctor accepts all patients, and he prescribes different medicines according to the disease.

It is not that he gives the same medicine for all diseases or that he treats just one disease. No, he offers a specific type of medicine to whomever comes, and the patient receives gradual treatment. However, the sattvic Puranas like the Padma Purana are meant for those in the mode of goodness, for those who immediately are capable of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Brahma-samhita it is stated, isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid- ananda-vigrahah: "The supreme controller is Krsna, who has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body. Those who are in the modes of passion and ignorance attempt to imagine the form of God, and when they are confused, they say, "Oh, there is no personal God.

God is impersonal, or void. Actually, God has His form. And why not? We must consider where these forms are coming from. Where have these forms originated? We have to use a little common sense. If God is not a person, how can His sons be persons? If your father is just a void, if he is not a person, how can you be a person?

If your father has no form, how can you have form? This is not very difficult; it is just a common sense question. Unfortunately, because people are frustrated, they try to imagine some form, or they conclude that because this material form is temporary and troublesome, God must be formless. Indeed, because all forms in this material world must perish, God, of necessity, must be formless. Brahma-samhita specifically states that this conception is a mistake. Isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah. God has form, but His form is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha.

Sat means "eternal," cit means "knowledge," and ananda means "pleasure. We cannot compare His form to our form. Our form is neither eternal, full of pleasure, nor full of knowledge; therefore God's form is different. As soon as we speak of form, we think that form must be like ours, and we therefore conclude that the eternal, all-knowing, and all- blissful God must be without form. This is not knowledge but the result of imperfect speculation. According to Padma Purana, atah sri-krsna- namadi na bha ved grahyam indriyaih: "One cannot understand the form, name, quality, or paraphernalia of God with one's material senses.

That is not possible. Then how is it possible to understand Him?

Light on the path to spiritual perfection - Additional Articles VIII by Ray del Sole

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau. By training and purifying our senses, we may come to understand and see God. Presently we are attempting to understand God with impure, imperfect senses. It is like someone with cataracts trying to see. Just because one has cataracts, he should not conclude that there is nothing to be seen. Similarly, we cannot presently conceive of God's form, but once our cataracts are removed, we can see.

According to Brahma-samhita, premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti: "The devotees whose eyes are anointed with the ointment of love of God can see God within their hearts twenty-four hours a day. Then we'll be able to see God everywhere and in everything. These matters are discussed thoroughly in the Vedic literatures.

For instance, it is said that although God has no hands or legs, He can accept whatever we offer apani-pado javano grhita. It is also stated that although God has neither eyes nor ears, He can see and hear everything. These are apparent contradictions, but they are meant to teach us an important lesson. When we speak of seeing, we think of material vision.

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Due to our material conception, we think that the eyes of God must be like ours. Therefore, in order to remove these material conceptions, the Vedic literatures say that God has no hands, legs, eyes, ears, etc. God has eyes, but His vision is infinite. He can see in darkness, and He can see everywhere at once; therefore He has different eyes. Similarly, God has ears and can hear. He may be in His kingdom, millions and millions of miles away, but He can hear us whispering, because He is sitting within.

We cannot avoid God's seeing, hearing, or touching. According to ritual, we are offering Krsna food daily, and we can see that the taste of this food is immediately changed. This is a practical example. God eats, but because He is full, He does not eat like us. If I offer you a plate of food, you will eat it, and it will be finished.

God is not hungry, but He eats, and at the same time, He leaves the food as it is, and thus it is transformed into prasada, His mercy. Purnasya purnam God is full, yet He accepts all the food that we offer. Still, the food remains as it is. He can eat with His eyes. As stated in Brahma-samhita, angani yasya sakalendriya-vrttimanti: "Every sense of the Lord's body has all the potencies of the other senses. The senses of God, however, being infinite, are different.

Simply by looking at the food that is offered to Him, He eats it. This may not be understood at the present moment; therefore the Padma Purana states that when one becomes spiritually saturated by rendering transcendental service to the Lord, the transcendental name, form, qualities, and pastimes of the Lord are revealed. We cannot understand God by our own endeavor, but out of mercy God reveals Himself to us.

If it is night, and you want to see the sun, you will have to wait for the sun to appear in the morning. You cannot go outside with a big torch and say, "Come on, I will show you the sunlight. Because our senses are imperfect, we cannot see God by our own endeavor. We have to purify our senses and wait for the time when God will be pleased to reveal Himself to us.

That is the process. We cannot challenge God. We cannot say, "O my dear God, my dear Krsna. Please come. I want to see You. He is not our servant. When He is pleased, we will see Him; therefore this Krsna consciousness is a process by which we can please God so that He will reveal Himself to us. Because people cannot see God, they readily accept anyone who says, "I am God. People are fond of saying, "I am searching after the truth," but in order to search for the truth, we must know what the truth is.

Otherwise, how can we search it out? If we want to purchase gold, we must at least theoretically know what gold is, otherwise we will be cheated. Consequently, having no conception of the truth or of God, people are being cheated by so many rascals who say, "I am God. But all this has nothing to do with God. One has to qualify himself to see and understand God, and that process of qualification is called Krsna consciousness. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah: by engaging ourselves in God's service, we become qualified to see God. Otherwise it is not possible.

We may be great scientists or scholars, but our mundane scholarship will not help us see God. This Bhagavad-gita is the science of Krsna consciousness, and in order to understand Krsna, we must be fortunate enough to associate with a person who is in pure Krsna consciousness. We cannot understand Bhagavad-gita simply by acquiring an M. Bhagavad-gita is a transcendental science, and it requires different senses in order to be understood.

Our senses must be purified by the rendering of service, not by the acquiring of academic degrees. There are many Ph. Therefore Krsna appears in the material world. Although He is unborn ajo 'pi sann avyayatma , He comes to reveal Himself to us. Thus Krsna is realized by the grace of Krsna or by the grace of a Krsna conscious person who has realized Krsna by the grace of Krsna. We cannot understand Him through academic knowledge. We can only understand Krsna by acquiring the grace of Krsna.

Once we acquire His grace, we can It is not that Krsna is a void. He is a person, the Supreme Person, and we can have a relationship with Him. That is the Vedic injunction. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam: "We are all eternal persons, and God is the supreme eternal person. Presently, because we are encaged within these bodies, we are experiencing birth and death, but actually we are beyond birth and death.

We are eternal spirit souls, but according to our work and desires, we are transmigrating from one body to another. It is explained in the Second Chapter of Bhagavad-gita 2. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying, and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. God is the supreme living entity among all living entities, the supreme eternal among all eternals.

By Krsna consciousness, by purification of the senses, this knowledge will be realized, and we will come to see God. A Krsna conscious person has realized knowledge, by the grace of Krsna, because he is satisfied with pure devotional service. By realized knowledge, one becomes perfect. By transcendental knowledge one can remain steady in his convictions, but by mere academic knowledge one can be easily deluded and confused by apparent contradictions. It is the realized soul who is actually self-controlled, because he is surrendered to Krsna. He is transcendental because he has nothing to do with mundane scholarship.

For him, mundane scholarship and mental speculation, which may be as good as gold to others, are of no greater value than pebbles or stones. Even if one is illiterate, he can realize God simply by engaging himself in submissive, transcendental loving service. God is not subjected to any material condition. He is supreme spirit, and the process of realizing Him is also beyond material considerations. Therefore, one may be a very learned scholar and still not be able to understand God.

One should not think that because he is very poor he cannot realize God; nor should one think that he can realize God just because he is very rich. God may be understood by an uneducated person and misunderstood by one with great education. The understanding of God, like God Himself, is unconditional apratihata.

In Srimad-Bhagavatam 1. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self. Just as there are three gunas, or three qualities, in the material world, there are various religions, each situated in one of the three modes. We are not, however, concerned with analyzing these religious conceptions. For us, the purpose of religion is to understand God and to learn how to love God. That is the real purpose of any first-class religious system.

If a religion does not teach love of God, it is useless. One may follow his religious principles very carefully, but if one does not possess love of God, his religion is null and void. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam 1. By practicing such a religion, we will become happy in all respects.

Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaie. Another name for God is adhoksaja, which means "one who cannot be seen by materialistic attempts. The word aksaja refers to experimental knowledge, and adhah means "unreachable. We have to learn to contact Him in a different way: through submissive hearing and the rendering of transcendental loving service.

True religion teaches causeless love of God. It does not say, "I love God because He supplies me nice objects for my sense gratification. God is great, God is our eternal father, and it is our duty to love Him. There is no question of barter or exchange. We should not think, "Oh, God gives me my daily bread; therefore I love God. Since He is the father of everyone, He is supplying everyone food. So loving God for daily bread is not love. Love is without reason. Even if God does not supply us our daily bread, we should love Him.

Light on the path to spiritual perfection - Additional Articles VIII

That is true love. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam adarsanan marma-hatam karotu va: "I know no one but Krsna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace or makes me broken-hearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally. When we attain that stage of love of God, we will find that everything is full of pleasure; God is full of pleasure, and we also are full of pleasure. In this material world we are considering people friends and enemies on the bodily platform--that is, on the basis of sense gratification.

If one gratifies our senses, he is our friend, and if he doesn't, he is our enemy. However, once we have realized God, or the Absolute Truth, there are no such material considerations. In this material world, all conditioned souls are under illusion. A doctor treats all patients, and although a patient may be delirious and insult the doctor, the doctor does not refuse to treat him. He still administers the medicine that is required. As Lord Jesus Christ said, we should hate the sin, not the sinner. That is a very nice statement, because the sinner is under illusion.

He is mad. If we hate him, how can we deliver him? Therefore, those who are advanced devotees, who are really servants of God, do not hate anyone. They know not what they do. He understands that the conditioned souls cannot be hated, because they have become mad due to their materialistic way of thinking. In this Krsna consciousness movement, there is no question of hating anyone. Everyone is welcomed to come and chant Hare Krsna, take krsna-prasada, listen to the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita, and try to rectify material, conditioned life.

This is the essential program of Krsna consciousness. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land. Madhya 7. He should be free from desires and feelings of possessiveness. As explained before nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam , God is the supreme eternal, the supreme living entity, the Supreme Self.

The purpose of the entire yoga system is to concentrate the mind on this Supreme Self. We are not the Supreme Self. That should be understood. The Supreme Self is God. This is dvaita-vada--duality. Duality means that God is different from me. He is supreme, and I am subordinate. He is great, and I am small. He is infinite, and I am infinitesimal.

This is the relationship between ourselves and God as we should understand it. Because we are infinitesimal, we should concentrate our mind on the infinite Supreme Self. In order to do this, we should live alone, and "living alone" means that we should not live with those who are not Krsna conscious. Ideally, this means that one should live in a secluded place, like a forest or a jungle, but in this age such a secluded place is very difficult to find.

Therefore "secluded place" refers to that place where God consciousness is taught. The transcendentalist should also carefully control his mind, and this means fixing the mind on the Supreme Self, or Krsna. As explained before, Krsna is just like the sun, and if the mind is fixed on Him, there is no question of darkness. If Krsna is always on our minds, maya, or illusion, can never enter. This is the process of concentration.

The transcendentalist should also be free from desires and feelings of possessiveness. People are materially diseased because they desire things and want to possess them.

Light on the path to spiritual perfection - Additional Articles VIII

We desire that which we do not have, and we lament for that which we have lost. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma. One who is actually God conscious does not desire material possessions. He has only one desire--to serve Krsna. It is not possible to give up desire, but it is possible to purify our desires. It is the nature of the living entity to have some desire, but in the conditioned state, one's desire is contaminated. Conditioned, one thinks, "I desire to satisfy my senses by material possession.

The seat should neither be too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on it very firmly and should practice yoga by controlling the mind and the senses, purifying the heart, and fixing the mind on one point. In the United States and other Western countries, there are many so-called yoga societies, but they do not practice yoga according to these prescriptions.

In India, the yogis, the transcendentalists, or devotees, all leave home and reside in sacred places such as Prayaga, Mathura, Vrndavana, Hrsikesa, and Hardwar and in solitude practice yoga where the sacred rivers like the Yamuna and the Ganges flow. So how is this possible in this age?

How many people are prepared to find such a sacred place? In order to earn one's livelihood, one has to live in a congested city. There is no question of finding a sacred place, but for the practice of yoga, that is the first prerequisite. Therefore in this bhakti-yoga system, the temple is considered the sacred place. The temple is nirguna--transcendental. According to the Vedas, a city is in the mode of passion, and a forest is in the mode of goodness. The temple, however, is transcendental. If you live in a city or town, you live in a place where passion is predominant, and if you want to escape this, you may go to a forest, a place of goodness.

God's temple, however, is above passion and goodness; therefore the temple of Krsna is the only secluded place for this age. In this age, it is not possible to retreat to a forest; nor is it useful to make a show of Therefore, in the Brhan-naradiya Purana it is said that in Kali- yuga, when people are generally short-lived slow in spiritual realization, and always disturbed by various anxieties, the best means of spiritual realization is chanting the holy names of the Lord.

There is no other way. In this age, other yoga practices are not feasible, but this practice is so simple and universal that even a child can take to it. Chapter Four Moderation in Yoga In this Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, the system of sankhya-yoga, which is the meditational astanga-yoga system, is emphasized. Jnana-yoga emphasizes the philosophical process of analysis by which we determine what is Brahman and what is not Brahman.

This process is known as the neti neti process, or "not this, not that. The nature of that Absolute Truth is explained in detail in Srimad-Bhagavatam. In the first verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated, om namo bhaga vate vasudevaya janmady asya yato 'nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah svarat tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo 'mrsa dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi "O my Lord, Sri Krsna, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.

I meditate upon Lord Sri Krsna because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance, and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmaji, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water.

Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Sri Krsna, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth. He is not dead or void. And what is the nature of His cognizance? Anvayad itaratas carthesu: "He is directly and indirectly cognizant of all manifestations.

I may claim, "This is my head," but if someone asks me, "Do you know how many hairs are on your head? Of course, this kind of knowledge is not transcendental, but in Srimad- Bhagavatam it is stated that the Supreme Absolute Truth knows everything, directly and indirectly. I may know that I am eating, but I do not know the intricacies of the eating process--how my body is exactly assimilating food, how the blood is passing through my veins, etc. I am cognizant that my body is functioning, but I do not know how these processes are working perfectly and all at once. This is because my knowledge is limited.

By definition, God is He who knows everything. He knows what is going on in every corner of His creation; therefore, from the very beginning, Srimad-Bhagavatam explains that the Supreme Truth from whom everything is emanating is supremely cognizant abhijnah. One may ask, "If the Absolute Truth is so powerful, wise, and cognizant, He must have attained this knowledge from some similar being.

If He attains His knowledge from someone else, He is not God. He is independent, and His knowledge is automatically there. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the supreme combination of both the jnana- and bhakti-yoga systems, because it analyzes in detail the nature of that Supreme Being from whom everything is emanating. By the jnana-yoga system, one attempts to understand the nature of the Absolute Truth in a philosophical way. In the bhakti-yoga system, the target is the same.

The methodology, however, is somewhat different. Whereas the jnani attempts to concentrate his mind philosophically on the Supreme, the bhakta simply engages himself in the service of the Supreme Lord, and the Lord reveals Himself. The jnana method is called the ascending process, and the bhakti method is called the descending process. If we are in the darkness of night, we may attempt to attain the sunlight by ascending in a powerful rocket. According to the descending process, however, we simply await the sunrise, and then we understand immediately.

Through the ascending process, we attempt to reach the Supreme through our own endeavor, through the process of induction. By induction, we may attempt to find out whether man is mortal by studying thousands of men, trying to see whether they are mortal or immortal. This, of course, will take a great deal of time.

If, however, I accept from superior authority the fact that all men are mortal, my knowledge is complete and immediate. Thus it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam But those who are trying to understand You by the ascending process may go on speculating for millions of years and still never understand You. By mental speculation, one is more likely to simply reach a point of frustration and confusion and conclude, "Oh, God is zero. As the Vedanta says janmady asya yatah , "Everything is generating from the Supreme.

We have to study how so many forms, so many infinite living entities, are being generated from the Supreme. This is also explained in the Vedanta-sutra, which is the study of ultimate knowledge. The word veda means "knowledge," and anta means "ultimate. So how is it possible to understand the form of Krsna? If it is stated that God does not have eyes, limbs, and senses like ours, how are we to understand His transcendental senses, His transcendental form? This is not possible by mental speculation. We simply have to serve Him, and then He will reveal Himself to us.

Again, as stated in the Eighteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God. This is the beginning of the bhakti-yoga process. If we but hear sincerely and submissively, we will understand. Krsna will reveal Himself. Sra vanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam arcanam vandanam dasyam. There are nine different processes in the bhakti-yoga system.

By vandanam, we offer prayers, and that is also bhakti. Sra vanam is hearing about Krsna fro m Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and other sastras. Kirtanam is chanting about His glories, chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh. Everything is Visnu, and meditation is on Visnu.

It is not possible to have bhakti without Visnu. Krsna is the original form of Visnu krsnas tu bhagavan svayam: "Krsna is the original form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead". If we but follow this bhakti-yoga process, we should be able to understand the Supreme, and all doubts should be removed. The astanga-yoga process is outlined very specifically in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita 6. Thus, with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life. Such yoga is practiced by societies of the cheaters and the cheated.

The authoritative yoga system is here outlined by the supreme authority, Sri Krsna Himself. Is there a better yogi than Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead? First of all, one has to go alone to a holy place and sit in a straight line, holding one's body, neck, and head erect, and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. This is a method to help concentrate one's mind. That's all. The real purpose of yoga, however, is to keep oneself always aware that Lord Krsna is within.

Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII
Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII
Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII
Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII
Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII
Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII
Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII

Related Light on the Path to Spiritual Perfection - Book VIII

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