By Hansadutta das
this story to a friend
Always remember how inauspicious
material opulence is: the truth is that one cannot get even the tiniest
bit of happiness from it. One who has amassed wealth must fear even his
own son. This is the fixed way everywhere in this world.
Generally everyone is trying to improve his material
by accumulating money, by increasing his prestige or by sense
with the opposite sex. These are the three allurements of material
wealth, women and prestige. Of course, because we are trapped in this
atmosphere for the time being, we must accept some amount of sense
We must eat something, we must have a place to sleep, we must defend
and we must beget children. These are the four bodily demands. Whether
is a human being or an animal, we find all living beings are struggling
exist in this material world in these four ways: eating, sleeping,
and sex enjoyment.
So there must be some endeavor to meet the demands of
temporary material body, but over and above that, there is the prime
of the soul. The soul gives shape to this body. Without the soul, the
has no value. No one loves a dead body, however beautiful it may be.
important element is actually the soul, or living force within this
Human life is especially meant for self-realisation.
Human life is not meant for advancement of material comfort, science,
medicine or technology. These are actually a waste of time for the
eternal soul, because scientific advancement cannot actually counteract
the real problems of life. Birth, death, old age and disease cannot be
counteracted by science, medicine, politics or economics. Five thousand
years ago, men became old, diseased and died, and today in the age of
space travel and technology, men are still becoming old, diseased and
dying. Therefore advancement of science, medicine, economics and
politics is a waste of valuable human energy.
Athato brahma-jijñasa: Vedic
literature begins by saying, "Oh human being, now is the time
to inquire about the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, Krishna." A human being is supposed to be trained in the
science of God. Without science, medicine and politics, animals meet
the four demands of the body, so this so-called science cannot really
be necessary for the human being.
Real science is the science of the soul, because without
the soul the body has no importance. Everyone is busy taking care of
the temporary body, although this body cannot exist for more than a few
years, and then by nature's way it disintegrates and again merges into
the elements. However, the soul, or the living force behind this body,
is eternal. A human being is supposed to understand the science of the
soul. That is the subject matter of Vedic literature. The word veda
means knowledge. Although Vedic literature touches upon all fields of
knowledge, the king of knowledge is the knowledge of the Self, and the
knowledge of God and our eternal relationship with Him. As long as we
go on acting in ignorance of this eternal self, we shall always be
The eternal soul cannot be happy by any kind of
temporary material arrangement. In Bhagavad-gita (8.16)
it is said:
Even if one goes to the highest planet within
this material universe or to the lowest planet, all of them are places
of misery, wherein repeated birth and death take place.
So to travel to the moon, Mars, sun or anywhere within this material
universe is of no value for the soul, because wherever we may go in
this universe, the same problems exist--birth and death.
We want to be free from the influence of birth, death,
old age and disease, but we do not know how to get relief from these
miseries of material existence. In ignorance, we are trying to adjust
material circumstances in the name of science, technology or politics,
but material arrangements cannot counteract material miseries. The real
solution to all the problems of material life--whether social,
economic, political or whatever--is to simply get out of the material
nature altogether. The situation can be compared to a man suffering in
a nightmare--simply by waking up, he can get immediate relief. Material
existence is a kind of dreaming condition of the soul, a kind of
illusion or sleep, where we are misidentifying the self with this lump
of matter in the shape of the body.
The body is not the self. The body is compared to a
which is covering the soul. In Bhagavad-gita Krishna
"As a man gives up an old and useless dress and gets a new dress, so
soul gives up an old and useless body and gets a new body. A
self-realised soul is not bewildered by this change." We are not
actually born, and we do not actually die. It is the body only which is
going through these changes--birth, childhood, youth, youth becoming
old age and at old age, the soul abandoning the body, which we call
death. Actually, "For the soul there is neither birth nor death. Once
having been, it never ceases to be." (Bhagavad-gita 2.20)
"That which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one
can kill the imperishable soul." (Bhagavad-gita 2.17)
A human being should be concerned with the soul.
Unfortunately, because there is no systematic education about the
eternal soul, everyone is busy with the temporary material body.
Everywhere we go there are shops which cater to the demands of the
body. There is the restaurant for food, the department store for
clothing, the factory for machines, and the hotel for sleeping. Every
shop is offering something for the maintenance and protection of this
temporary material body, but there is no shop which offers anything for
the satisfaction of the soul within this body. Therefore we find that
in America and in Europe, where material advancement is most prominent
and spiritual life is most absent, people are most unhappy,
dissatisfied and frustrated.
There is an eternal, blissful life, but it is
independent of this body. Just as my shirt has nothing to do with my
body; as long as this shirt is resting on my body, this shirt appears
very nice and even appears to be moving; but when I throw away the
shirt, it has no power to move or take shape. Similarly, this
body--composed of earth, water, fire, air, ether or blood, mucus,
muscle, bone, stool, urine--is also a covering or dress. It appears
beautiful only as long as life is spread all over the body; that life
force we experience as consciousness.
If I touch fire, I feel it; I am conscious of the
sensation of heat. If I touch ice, I feel another sensation. This is
because within the body there is consciousness, the soul. As soon as
the soul leaves this body, it immediately becomes repulsive. We do not
want to be near a dead body. Actually, the body is not beautiful at any
time. It appears attractive only temporarily, when the soul is within
this body. It is not the body which actually attracts us. It is the
life force which is spread all over that body.
These are the questions for human beings: What is life?
What is matter? Am I this body of flesh and blood, bones, mucus and
bile? Or am I something else? If I am something else, what is it? Where
did I come from? Why am I trapped in this body? Why do I have to die?
At the time of death, what happens? Where will I go? Will I continue to
exist? Or will I vanish and become zero? These questions are the
subject for human beings. But the questions Where is food? Where is a
place to sleep? Where is sex?--these are not concerns for human beings.
For that matter, even without education, politics or economics the
animals are eating, sleeping and having sex.
Our scientific advancement actually hasn't helped us
even to meet the material demands. Half the world is starving, and the
other half is threatening each other with atomic weapons. In the name
of politics, science and economics, the whole world is in chaos. There
is no happiness, and the future appears very dark. Therefore we propose
that people should try to understand Krishna consciousness and in this
way, through perfect knowledge, get free from the futile struggle for
material existence. America, with all its opulence, is not exempt from
old age, disease and death. Therefore, what have we gained? We have not
made any progress in solving the real problems--birth, death, old age
The rishis, sages and yogis of India
thousands and thousands of years ago gave the world this science, which
is commonly known as yoga. We have all heard of yoga.
There are various types of yoga--karma-yoga, jñana-yoga,
ashtanga-yoga and bhakti-yoga. Krishna consciousness is bhakti-yoga,
the yoga of love and devotion, or the
yoga of ecstasy. The word yoga means a linking process,
connecting us to the Supreme. Through love and devotion one can link or
re-establish himself with the Supreme. As soon as we are established on
the platform of Krishna consciousness, all our problems--sensual,
mental--vanish. Just as soon as a man is awakened from sleep, all the
he experienced in dreams vanish and have no substance.
We are now anxious about so many things, only because we
are in this material conception of life. We are thinking, "I am this
body, I am American," or "I am a black man," "I am a Chinaman," "I am a
man," "I am a thin man." This is maya (illusion). We are not
of these "men." We are the servants of Krishna.
Anyone can revive his original Krishna consciousness if
he is prepared to follow the standard process of bhakti-yoga
in Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures.
Bhakti-yoga begins simply by chanting the holy names of Krishna:
Hare Krishna, Hare
Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama,
To make the chanting effective, one should give up the
four sinful activities of material life: meat eating (including fish
eggs), taking intoxication, engaging in illicit sex and gambling. Chant
Krishna, and your whole life will be transformed. Make an experiment,
see the result. We are not charging anything. This is an open secret,
one has to actually take it, try it and see. Hare Krishna.