Conversation 003: Daily Schedule

Seeker 1: What is the analogy of the timesheet we prepare during office for work activities to the time we spend in our day-to-day activities?

Seeker 2: This is a very interesting question because it connects to the spiritual aspect of our life with our day-to-day aspect for practicing our livelihood. Since we are accountable to our employer/management, it is a known practice that we prepare our daily/weekly/timely sheets and send it to our immediate supervisor that is utilised for various purposes like billing, identifying bottlenecks, performance evaluation etc. We are fully accountable for the time spent at work because we are utilising the work premises and various resources owned/under custody of the employer. We sign the agreement during our offer confirming this fact to utilize it for “official purposes” only.

But little did we realise that the Lord is the supreme employer who has created 8.4 million species of life (according to Padma Purana) through his “employee” Lord Brahma according to their Karma!

Our scriptures are unsigned agreement because the Lord loves us so much that He has given us enough freedom to utilise the resources He has created for us leaving it our own judgment.

Another aspect is that we do not have to prepare our timesheets here because it is already being prepared with due diligence by Sri Chitragupta, the assistant of Lord Yama, the son of Sun God.

Chitagupta utilises the resources of various witnesses like the sun, fire, sky, air, demigods, moon, evening, day, night, directions, water, land and Supersoul (Paramatman) Himself who resides in the heart of the living entity.  (Reference: Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 6 – Chapter 1 – Verse 42: https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/6/1/42/ )

Lord Yama has been given the authority by the Supreme Lord to award rewards or punishments to individual souls based on the report submitted by Chitragupta!.

For official purposes, the immediate superior or the “boss” usually has the authority to prepare this report. But looking at this myriad list of witnesses or authorities, we human beings have to realise that we indeed have been endowed with a huge responsibility to live our life in a manner that pleases all these witnesses for any real benefit after death!

The beauty of our scriptures is in its simplicity. It says that if we just please the Paramatman or Supersoul residing in our own heart, the rest of the witnesses are automatically pacified.

Conversation 002: Destination after Death

Seeker 1: Why is it that talking on spiritual topics always brings peace and real knowledge to those who are inclined? It is like having a special relationship with God. It also increases our tolerance levels. We easily come to the conclusion that we can’t change others and let them live in their own way according to their own karma.
Seeker 2: Yes, In this present world, whoever earns huge amount of money is considered great and these people claim such recognition from this world. But spiritual seekers do not require this kind of recognition. They realise the impermenance of this life and constantly strive to develop the mind to think peacefully at all circumstances. After all, everything is material in this world including the mind. What a person is what is his diet and his approach and attitude towards food. That is the primary factor that determines one’s character.

Seeker 1: But that realisation can’t come easily!
Seeker 2: Yes, I agree. What are the thoughts that will weigh on a person’s mind at the point of death is what matters! If we still worry about others and things that is not going to come with us after death, that only results leads to a continuation to satisfy that in the next birth. We are so fortunate to be born as human beings the only species where the faculty of attaining self-realisation exists! If we don’t make use of it it is said we are killing our own soul…and that the killer of a soul is in deep misery either in this life or the next with no solution.

Seeker 1: Whether rebirth is there or not, by following this, the rest of this present life will be peaceful and without any problems.
Seeker 2: Yes, the main thing here is when people advice or say anything, we should not counteract. We should stick to our own path that our Paramatman or inner self is guiding us. We have to identify that.We should just think they are like that because their life is conditioned that way. Hence, there is no need to argue. Another truth is no one can stop what is happening currently or what will happen in the future. Everything depends on the mindset as to how we take it.

Materialism and Spirituality are poles apart!

Let’s first consider what Materialism and Spirituality actually mean:

Materialism:

  1. A tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.
    2. The theory or belief that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.
    3. The theory or belief that consciousness and will are wholly due to material agency.

Spirituality:

  1. The quality of being concerned with the spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

Just a brief analysis of the above definitions leads to the conclusion that materialism and spirituality are indeed poles apart, if not miles apart in terms of their qualities.

But that itself does not lead to a definitive conclusion since they do are inter-dependent to each other!

Lord Shri Krishna clearly explains it in Bhagavad Gita 7.4 about His various material energies that are considered inferior:

bhumir apo ‘nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha

TRANSLATION

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.”

Materialistic jurisdiction is restricted to just the above eight material energies.

In Bhagavad Gita 7.5, He explains His superior energy:

apareyam itas tv anyam
prakrtim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam maha-baho
yayedam dharyate jagat

TRANSLATION

Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.

This superior energy is considered as the “spirit particle” or “soul” or “jiva”.

It’s clearly mentioned here that this spirit particle dwells in the material body and the actions performed through the material body sustains the entire universe.

The material body comprising of these eight material energies is a dull, inanimate one as long as the spirit particle doesn’t dwell in it.

Similarly the spirit particle is considered a ghost (or spirit) if it is unable to find a suitable material body for residence.

Thus, it looks like matter and spirit constantly tries to exert control over each other!

Materialism refers to material existence. It is how the material mind transacts its business in the material world.

This is done through:

– “Five knowledge acquiring senses”: the auditory sense, the sense of taste, the tactile sense (the sense of touch), the sense of sight, the sense of smell – Hearing, taste, touch, sight and smell.
– “Five organs of action”: the active organs for speaking, working, traveling, generating and evacuating – the mouth, the hands, the legs, the genitals and the anus.
– “Objects of the knowledge acquiring senses”: Sound, touch, taste, smell and form
– “Subtle Senses”: Intelligence, ego and false ego.

The spirit soul has nothing to do with these interactions.

The characteristics of the spirit particle mentioned in the 2nd Chapter Bhagavad Gita are as follows:

– unborn
– eternal
– undying
– primeval
– indestructible
– imperishable
– immeasurable
– immutable
– cannot be cut by any weapon
– cannot be burnt by fire
– cannot be moistened by water
– cannot be withered by the wind
– cannot be burned nor dried
– unbreakable
– insoluble
– all-pervading
– unchangeable
– immovable
– eternally the same
– invisible
– inconceivable
– cannot be understood

Thus, it is due to the contradictory properties of matter and spirit that we are concluding that “Materialism and Spirituality are poles apart!

Actually, in this material universe the physical distance between them is negligible because the soul is all pervading and dwells in every living being.

Despite its transcendental properties, the spirit soul is always in bondage with the material body since time immemorial. Why?

The reason is clearly explained in Shrimad Bhagavatham:

The living entity who falsely identifies with his body, senses, life air and mind, and who dwells within these coverings, assumes the form of his own materially conditioned qualities and work. He is designated variously in relation to the total material energy, and thus, under the strict control of supreme time, he is forced to run here and there within material existence.” – Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.28.16  (https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/11/28/16/)

Human beings are endowed with advanced consciousness and rational thinking faculties to determine the reasons for their poor material existence.

Thus, it is possible only for life as a human being to give freedom to the spirit soul to reach its ultimate destination – back to Godhead through devotional service.

By indulging in materialistic pursuits or materialism, the purpose of human life gets lost and the cycle of birth and death becomes perpetual. This is when spirituality takes a back seat.

Under this circumstance, the sad situation of “Materialism and Spirituality are poles apart!” becomes inevitable!

Destiny, Karma and Renunciation

I think it is very important to understand what the terms destiny, karma and renunciation actually means because they have varied connotations and it is possible that each of us interpret it in our own way!

Destiny (fate): The most common meanings of destiny are:

  1. The events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future.
    2. The hidden power believed to control future events; fate.

How nice it will be if we are able to control our destiny!

Is it actually possible to control our destiny?

We will see…

Karma (action):  The most common meanings of karma are:

  1. Action, work or deed.
    2. The principle of cause and effect – actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).

Renunciation (surrender): The most common meanings of renunciation are:

  1. Abandonment of pursuit of material comforts.
    2. Performing one’s assigned tasks with a detached mind, dedicating all actions to the supreme lord.

Going by the three definitions, the answer to the above question is clear!

We will be able to control our destiny overcoming our karma (law of cause and effect) only through renunciation by surrendering all our activities to the supreme self without expectation of any reward!

This is because the reward is there in our sincere efforts itself!

Related Post(s)

  1. Destiny, Karma and Renunciation further explained…

Birth and Death

This material world is a complex network of relationships that drives our very existence.

Entanglement in material relationships causes bondage though these relationships exist only for the present moment.

Material relationships is full of false expectations. It assumes that the relationship is going to last forever!

The concept of love is restricted to the physical body, the emotional attachment is tied to that.

There is a sense of possessiveness –This is me, these are mine, that is his., in materialistic relationships. Thus, compromises and adjustments are more often restricted to family ties.

Mutual expectations are an important part of material relationships. The relationships do not fulfil the individual’s needs for life and it provides a means of false protection. It is a cause of perpetual bondage.

It is said that death ends it all in materialistic terms! The bodily relationships preserved till death has to be suddenly vanquished.

The soul has to prepare itself for its journey to get lodged into another species of life. This is inevitable!

If one doesn’t relinquish all the reactions of karma – cause and effect, it will bind him to this material existence forever.

So, what is the means of attaining liberation?

For this, we have to understand the process of birth and death. It is said that birth and death cause excruciating pain. Thus, thinking about it will surely have an impact on the way we live our life.

Shrimad Bhagavatam clearly explain the process of birth from conception to child-birth and beyond.

It is time to visit it and see how our modern embryology is so close to what is described in Shrimad Bhagavatam.

Please read: Lord Kapila’s Instructions on the Movements of the Living Entities – (https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/3/31/). All the answers are there in this chapter!

The summary is this:

Endowed with right vision and strengthened by devotional service and a pessimistic attitude towards material identity, one should relegate his body to this illusory world through his reason. Thus, one can be unconcerned with this material world.” (https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/3/31/48/)

Let’s now think about death.

Everyone dreads it. What will happen to us and our possessions? Where will we go after death?

Every one of us do not want to relinquish this ever-decaying body at any cost!

We want to prolong our life forever!

It can be seen that this fear of death is induced because of lack of awareness.

If we lead our life in a righteous, purposeful way abiding our scriptures, we need not fear death!

We have to take our recourse to our scriptures – Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Ithihasas etc, – source of timeless, realised wisdom to learn the real purpose of life.

We have to put into practice, the practical knowledge imparted through these scriptures.

We have to organise Satsang (meetings, congregations) for discussions on topics for leading a virtuous life.

A resolve (for 2018)

A spiritual resolve does not automatically happen for everyone. It happens according to the laws of accumulated Karma through present and previous life events.

It’s said in the Bhagavat Gita 6.41:

The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.” – (https://asitis.com/6/41.html)

Thus, the individual will be able to continue the spiritual journey, by getting a very clear understanding of this material world, and the destination beyond death.

Any living organism consists of two components – the gross body and the subtle body.

The gross body consists of five material elements – Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Ether (or the all-pervading sky) and three subtle elements consists of the intelligence, mind and false ego.

It is this component “false ego” which is a layer between the material mind and the spiritual particle or soul.

The main function of false ego is to provide a strong sense of self-identification with the temporary material body. It is the false ego that provides every living entity a false sense of “I” and “mine” that determines our material existence in this world.

We must first learn and strongly believe that we are not this material body. We are nothing but a spirit soul. Knowledge of this leads to Mukti, or liberation – freedom from material consciousness.

Not realising this is the cause of repeated births and deaths. As I have been mentioning earlier, only through human birth it is possible to break away from this shackles of birth and death.

It is important to note that this material world is a perpetual place of distress or Dukhalayam, as it is called. There is no solution here yet on the four-fold miseries of Birth-Death-Old Age-Disease.

Therefore, our resolve should be:

– To take recourse to our scriptures, primarily Shrimad Bhagavat Gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam.
– To not to associate with anyone very intimately – considering the temporary nature of materialistic relationships, Identify the true nature of the soul which is eternal and the body which is temporary.
– To dedicate all the thoughts, deeds and actions to The Supreme Lord. This will keep the mind under control. Controlling the mind will control the 5 organs of senses – eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin and the 5 organs of action – hands, feet, mouth, rectum and genitals.

कायेन वाचा मनसेन्द्रियैर्वा
बुद्ध्यात्मना वा प्रकृतेः स्वभावात् ।
करोमि यद्यद् सकलं परस्मै
नारायणायेति समर्पयामि ॥

Kayena Vacha Mana-Sendriyair Va
Budhyaatmana Va Prakruteh Swabhavath
Karoami Yadyad Sakalam Parasmai
Narayana Yeti Samarpayami

Meaning:
1: (Whatever I do) with my Body, Speech, Mind or Sense Organs,
2: (Whatever I do) using my Intellect, Feelings of Heart or (unconsciously) through the natural tendencies of my Mind,
3: Whatever I do, I do all for others (i.e. without the sense of attachment to the results),
4: (And) I Surrender them all at the Lotus Feet of The Supreme Lord.

(https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/11/2/36)

%d bloggers like this: