Survival of the fittest?

What is survival of the fittest when all of us are going to turn to humus in the near future?

In this world of forms and names, where earth turns into mud pot and mud pot turns to earth, what is permanent?

The present birth is just the soul’s sojourn as it transmigrates from one body to another!

It has been emphasized in my several blog posts, the importance of this very human birth (Materialism and Spirituality are poles apart! , Real happiness , Conversation 005: Krpanah etc.)

In the rat race of materialism, let us not forget to give the soul a higher sojourn during the ever-continuing transmigration process as mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita:

dehino ‘smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati

“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change”-

Bhagavad Gita 2.13(https://asitis.com/2/13.html)

As I said, our status and positions are just mere designations and are subject to change at any time, just like the flickering of a lamp.

In the conversation between King Rahoguna and Jada Bharath in Srimad Bhagavatham, Jada Bharath states this:

My dear King, you have unnecessarily accused me of being dead though alive. In this regard, I can only say that this is the case everywhere because everything material has its beginning and end. As far as your thinking that you are the king and master and are thus trying to order me, this is also incorrect because these positions are temporary. Today you are a king and I am your servant, but tomorrow the position may be changed, and you may be my servant and I your master. These are temporary circumstances created by providence.” –

Srimad Bhagavatham 5.10.11(https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/5/10/11/)

It has also been said that:

The almighty God can bestow upon anyone the kingdom of the universe from a very small beginning, and similarly He can take away the kingdom of the universe on the plea of begging a small piece of land.”

Srimad Bhagavatham 1.3.19 purport (https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/3/19/)

The saint point Thiruvalluvar aptly says:

நாளென ஒன்றுபோற் காட்டி உயிரீரும்
வாள துணர்வார்ப் பெறின்

Naallena Ondruporr kaatti uyireerum

Vaalla thunarvaarp perin

Time, which shows itself (to the ignorant) as if it were something (real), is in the estimation of the wise (only) a saw which cuts down life.”

Thirukkural 334, Chapter: Transience (http://www.thirukkural.com/2009/01/blog-post_6973.html#337)

I am just trying to stress the impermanence of this material existence through the above quotes from our scriptures.

It therefore makes sense to nourish the permanence, the soul.

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!

Laying the groundwork

“After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus, a sober human being should quickly endeavour for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Self-realization is possible only for a human being.”  –   Srimad Bhagavatam 11.9.29 (https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/11/9/29/)

The soul has to pass through millions of life forms before it transmigrates to a human body. But what is a soul? – The soul is a spiritual particle dwelling in a material body. The material body is considered dead or lifeless as soon as the spiritual particle exits the material body.

Every yuga has its own positive and negative qualities. Kali is considered as the fallen age because it is full of negative qualities. The Symptoms of Kali-yuga explains this in great detail. Please read: (https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/12/2/). Thus, the opportunities of achieving self-realization in Kali Yuga is very limited unless one makes a very sincere attempt.

Despite this, even the inhabitants of Satya-yuga and other ages are aspiring to take birth as human beings in the Kali age (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.38 – 40 – (https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/11/5/38-40/). This is because in Kali Yuga, the means to achieve perfection it is comparatively very easy (simply by Hearing and chanting the names of the Lord) compared to the other three ages – Satya (prolonged meditation), Treta (performing great sacrifices) and Dvapara (Worship Lord in the temple).

The steps of manifesting the Lord in our heart for achieving self-realization is a gradual process:

  1. It starts with regular prayers and chanting of the names of the Lord.
  2. Then it proceeds towards pondering over the attributes of the Lord and its various meanings
  3. The inquisitive mind then starts looking for answers by reading our glorious scriptures to the questions that arises constantly.
  4. Then like-minded individuals gather for discussions and for further inquiry.
  5. An Acharya or a Guru who is already self-realised suddenly manifests to a true seeker.
  6. For the unlucky ones who cannot find such a suitable Guru, the realisation that the Supreme Lord is already in one’s heart happens, one starts looking at the inner self to seek guidance from the supreme self.
  7. Events in life happens automatically leads the seeker to find solutions through one’s own life experiences.
  8. If the aspiration is strong enough to seek a self-realised Guru that also gets fulfilled.

Thus, a pleasing process is set into motion and the seeker is on an upward process to realise the self. This is just like a minute spark that has the potential to light a huge forest.

This knowledge of self-enquiry that a person gains by constant inquiry and study together with constant prayers, chanting and meditation has an impact on the person’s overall attitude towards life.

This affects the following primary constituents being one’s material possessions, work, own body and self, family relations, relations with fellow human beings and other life forms in general.

Finally, it has to result in completely understanding the most confidential secret of Bhagavad Gita 18.66 – Seek Complete surrender to Lord Krishna and He will give protection no matter what. The ultimate perfection will be reached only then!

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