“Just as a dream is merely a creation of one’s intelligence but has no actual substance, similarly, material lamentation, illusion, happiness, distress and the acceptance of the material body under the influence of maya are all creations of My illusory energy. In other words, material existence has no essential reality.” SB 11.11..2

In the Mahabharata King Yudhisthira (Arjuna’s eldest brother) shares his deep understanding of the truth by describing “5 Kinds of Ignorance” that every human experiences.

1. Accepting the body to be the self.

2. Making material sense gratification one’s standard of enjoyment.

3. Being anxious due to material identification.

4. Lamenting.

  1. Thinking that there is anything beyond the absolute truth.

We we analyze Yudhisthira’s insight into material consciousness, we can easily understand that the body is separate from the soul, and that it is due to our identification with the temporary body that is the source of our anxiety. In the above verse, Lord Krishna who was one of King Yudhisthira’s gurus, points out that, even though there is some assemblance of intelligence when we are dreaming, and we are thinking, feeling and willing, in the same way that there is intelligence when we are awake and we are also thinking, feeling and willing. The difference being that when we are awake, the period of time is much longer, therefore we accept it as being permanent and as our actual reality. But according to the Lord Himself, both dreaming and our w waking state are temporary and are not to be accepted a reality. If one wants to understand reality, then he must wake up to his or her relationship with that which is eternal. Very little of what we experience in the material world is lasting and therefore cannot be accepted as truth. Reality is that which is associated with the eternal truth, and not that which we hanker for and lament over that his here today and gone tomorrow. Anything that we identify with that is based on our temporary material limited senses can be understood to be a creation of our own illusion.

“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent there is no endurance, and of the existent there is no cessation. This seers have concluded by studying the nature of both.” Bg. 2.16

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

“In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has achieved this enjoys the self within himself in due course of time.” Bg. 4.38

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Albert Einstein

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” Buddha

“By direct perception, logical deduction, scriptural testimony and personal realization, one should know that this world has a beginning and an end and so is not the ultimate reality. Thus one should live in this world without attachment.” ~ Srimad Bhagavatam 11.28.

“This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” Matthew 13:13

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, due to the influence of the material modes of nature, which are under My control, the living entity is sometimes designated as conditioned and sometimes as liberated. In fact, however, the soul is never really bound up or liberated, and since I am the supreme Lord of maya which is the cause of the modes of nature, I also am never to be considered liberated or in bondage.” SB 11.11.1

Our original position as spirit soul, is that every living entity is a part of the Supreme Absolute or God. There is nothing outside of God, but somehow we have become entangled within our own ideas of separation and live within a dreamlike existence struggling to be independent and to control what is already our natural birthright. Like the prodigal son* in the teachings of Jesus, we have left our Father to  try to enjoy our inheritance, only to suffer until we wake up to the fact that we already have that which we have been seeking. We only need to return from whence we have come to reestablish our original constitution or oneness with the Supreme. When we are in this dream-like state, we suffer and we our considered materially bond; and when we are fully awake, we feel great joy, and we are considered “eternally liberated”, but to the soul, nothing has every changed, and we realized that we were lost, and now we are found.

*Luke 15:11-32

“For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:24

“In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has achieved this enjoys the self with himself in due course of time.” Bg. 4.38

“The wise, engaged in devotional service, take refuge in the Lord, and free themselves from the cycle of birth and death by renouncing the fruits of action in the material world. In this way they can attain that state beyond all miseries.” Bg. 2.51

“The Blessed Lord said: O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of sense desire which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.” Bg. 2.55

“Yet there is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is.” Bg. 8.20

“When there is agitation and interaction of the material modes of nature, the living entities then describe Me in various ways such as all-powerful time, the Self, Vedic knowledge, the universe, one’s own nature, religious ceremonies and so on.” SB 11.10.34

Until one has both personal and impersonal realization of the Lord, one cannot fully understand the inconceivable greatness of the Divine. Though the Lord is seated within everyone’s heart and at the same time is overseeing and directing all of creation, He is also outside and beyond the countless universes, and remains aloof  from it. He can be found within all of the elements, including time in both its limited and unlimited forms. Each living entity is aware of some aspect of their small role within His unlimited body in the form of time, space, knowledge (conscious awareness). Through holy writings such as the Bible, Quran, Tao Te Ching, Vedas, Guru Granth Sahib, Avesta, Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam and many others, one is able to increase their understanding of the Supreme Absolute through knowledge and self-realization.

“O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows.” Bg. 7.26

“And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities, and although I am everywhere, still My Self is the very source of creation.” Bg. 9.5

“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” Bg. 10.8

“I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.” Bg. 10.20

“Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.” Bg. 10.32

“But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe.” Bg. 10.42

“The conditioned soul who remains dependent on fruitive activities under the material modes of nature will continue to fear Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, since I impose the results of one’s fruitive activities. Those who accept the material concept of life, taking the variegatedness of the modes of nature to be factual, devote themselves to material enjoyment and are therefore always absorbed in lamentation and grief.” SB 11.10.33

We take birth in the material atmosphere, falsely perceive that those around us, like our parents, are independent, and then fight for our own autonomy and independence, when in fact we are always being controlled by the potency of Maya, being influenced every step of the way by the modes of nature and our own limited material senses. It is due to our inability to see and our unwillingness to accept that we are under the superior power of God that we cultivate and nourish a false sense of self in the form of ego who them must compete and fight to ward off the fear that has been self-created. Through temporary enjoyment we try to escape our own illusion while well aware that the Lord in the form of “time” has been breathing down our necks all the while.

“Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified by knowledge of Me–and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.” Bg. 4.10

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

“The material senses create material activities, either pious or sinful, and the modes of nature set the material senses into motion. The living entity, being fully engaged by the material senses and modes of nature, experiences the various results of fruitive work. As long as the living entity thinks that the modes of material nature have separate existences, he will be obliged to take birth in many different forms and will experience varieties of material existence. Therefore, the living entity remains completely dependent on fruitive activities under the modes of nature.” SB 11.10.31-32

The senses like to enjoy and induce the mind to act regardless if the activity is positive or negative, pious or impious, and it is up to the intelligence to discriminate. The actions that we perform are set in motion by the “material modes of nature” goodness, passion and ignorance, and these modes (along with 5 factors explained in earlier verses) are the cause of what we interpret as the results of our activities; though in actuality we are aloof from them. Events may be happening, but we are not the doer or the original cause these activities. Our perception of them is where we get the idea that we are independent from the creation or God. Everything material is actually being carried out by nature or the modes. Until we can understand that we are part of the Supreme Absolute (God), are not independent, and that God is the actual enjoyer, we will remain caught up in a web of illusion of our own making, and feel dependent upon the material creation for our limited happiness.

“There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the fruits of action. One who understands this truth about Me also does not become entangled in the fruitive reactions of work.” Bg 4.14

“A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.” Bg. 5.8-9

“Material nature consists of the three modes–goodness, passion and ignorance. When the living entity comes in contact with nature, he becomes conditioned by these modes.” Bg. 14.5

“O mighty-armed Arjuna, learn from Me of the five factors which bring about the accomplishment of all action. These are declared in sankhya philosophy to be the place of action, the performer, the senses, the endeavor, and ultimately the Supersoul.” Bg. 18.13-14

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19

“I and my Father, We are One.” John 10:30

“In all the planetary systems, from the heavenly to the hellish, and for all of the great demigods who live for one thousand yuga cycles, there is fear of Me in My form of time. Even Brahmā, who possesses the supreme life span of 311,040,000,000,000 years, is also afraid of Me.” SB 11.10.30

Time is relative, and to each living entity, the lifespan allotted to them keeps their consciousness in check, by the inevitable fear of death. Survival of the fittest is common among all beings. Even the great demigod, Lord Brahma, fears the Supreme in the form of death. The Vedic concept of time and history stretches far beyond that of material science, because it takes into consideration not only the physical science of the earth, and all of the material planets, which include the highest finer heavenly planets down to the most gross material hellish ones. But also reveals the subtle and spiritual sciences underlying all of creation. Though we still may not have any proof that these planets exist, Srimad Bhagavatam describes manny of them in detail, and one should not conclude that something does not exist based only on their limited material senses. Just because one cannot see the air, or understand he atomic soul, does not mean that they do not exist. Recently modern scientist have discovered that there are unlimited stars and planets far beyond our own solar system. But when this Srimad Bhagavatam was spoken approximately 5000 years ago, this knowledge was already accepted as fact. It wasn’t until Einstein presented his theory of relativity that the average person could understand that time was relative and what we experienced as one hundred years, could be considered by our calculations to be a million or a trillion or only one day to someone in another galaxy. Srimad Bhagavatam confirms this and gives many examples of the unlimited expression and greatness of the Supreme Absolute. For a better understanding of time as it is calculated and relates to our tiny planet, one is encouraged to study the full Bhagavatam and other Vedic literatures.

“When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.” ~ Albert Einstein

“By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together is the duration of Brahma’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.” Bg. 8.17

“When Brahma’s day is manifest, this multitude of living entities comes into being, and at the arrival of Brahma’s night they are all annihilated.” Bg. 8.18

“Yet there is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is.” Bg. 8.20

“If a human being is engaged in sinful, irreligious activities, either because of bad association or because of his failure to control his senses, then such a person will certainly develop a personality full of material desires. He thus becomes miserly toward others, greedy and always anxious to exploit the bodies of women. When the mind is so polluted one becomes violent and aggressive and without the authority of Vedic injunctions slaughters innocent animals for sense gratification. Worshiping ghosts and spirits, the bewildered person falls fully into the grip of unauthorized activities and thus goes to hell, where he receives a material body infected by the darkest modes of nature. In such a degraded body, he unfortunately continues to perform inauspicious activities that greatly increase his future unhappiness, and therefore he again accepts a similar material body. What possible happiness can there be for one who engages in activities inevitably terminating in death?” SB 11.10.27-29

We are known and judged by our actions. “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” or “What goes around comes around.” Those with a higher taste do good for the benefit of humanity, regardless of race, creed color, sex, nationality etc. Those who are covered by the darkness of ignorance, provoke violence and torture innocent animals either as sport or for their own taste. A person engaged in unbeneficial activities see the world as a battle ground and compete to fulfill their own material desires. When the mind becomes polluted whether through drugs, alcohol, or violent activities, the dark soul continues to drag him or herself down into the darkness regions of ignorance until death liberates them from the confines of their body. Unfortunately, the mental body goes with the soul at death, and may take a birth in a lower animal form or remain a ghost trying to continue to fulfill the unlimited longings of the subtle senses.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.” Matthew 23:15

“The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust, which veils the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.” Bg. 3.40

“Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.” Bg. 9.25

“Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions, one becomes too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and falls down into hell.” Bg. 16.16

“Those who undergo severe austerities and penances not recommended in the scriptures, performing them out of pride, egoism, lust and attachment, who are impelled by passion and who torture their bodily organs as well as the Supersoul dwelling within are to be known as demons. Bg. 17.5-6

“Until his pious results are used up, the performer of sacrifice enjoys life in the heavenly planets. When the pious results are exhausted, however, he falls down from the pleasure gardens of heaven, being moved against his desire by the force of eternal time.” SB 11.10.26

One’s actions may take them to a heavenly planet after their life on earth comes to an end; but just as life on earth wasn’t eternal, life in heaven isn’t either. However, what is eternal, is the spirit soul, not the gross body or the subtle body, but only the soul. If one wants to establish an eternal residence, one has to first wake up to their own eternal nature. This can only be done by working off the engrained and imbedded karma of the mental, emotional and physical bodies.

“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” Bg. 8.16

“That supreme abode is called unmanifested and infallible, and it is the supreme destination. When one goes there, he never comes back. That is My supreme abode.” Bg. 8.21

“The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it.” Revelation 3:11

“If one performs Vedic sacrifices and fruitive rituals without any mistake or contamination, one will achieve a heavenly situation in the next life. But even this result, which is only achieved by perfect performance of fruitive rituals, will be vanquished by time. Now hear of this. If on earth one performs sacrifices for the satisfaction of the demigods, he goes to the heavenly planets, where, just like a demigod, he enjoys all of the heavenly pleasures he has earned by his performances.” SB 11.10.22-23

This process can be applied to any “religious” activity. Regardless of one’s belief, performing any pious activity(s) or religious activity(s) in the “name of God” has its rewards, but these rewards are temporary if they do not fully awaken one’s own original spiritual nature. This can be compared to doing well in school or becoming a parent. Just because one can perform well on tests, does not qualify one for position of great responsibility in the workplace. And just because one is married or can perform a sexual act, doesn’t qualify one to become a good parent. To become a good parent requires great patience, love and a devoted heart, and to become a devoted soul, means not only becoming self-realized, but to then transfer this awareness in the service of the Supreme Absolute. This is exactly what Jesus demonstrated, and meant when He said “not my will, but Thy will be done.”* Until one removes the cause of one’s material consciousness and dovetails one’s ego driven desires into that of the Lord’s  (become one with the Lord), one will not make it back to the Kingdom of God. For the most part, religious scriptures were designed and given to teach one proper behavior and to direct one’s consciousness into self-inquiry and self-realization. They were not intended as a tool to make one person or tribe better than an other, or for aiding one in beating up another with one’s religious practice. Like any philosophical understanding, if religious teachings can provide a higher understanding that one’s own current philosophy, then it should be accepted and put into practice. If however, after careful consideration and practice it does not add benefit to one’s life, it should be rejected for something higher. One should not accept a practice only on the basis of fear, intimidation or the promise of a better afterlife.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

“Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.” Bg. 2.42-43

“In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination of devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.” Bg. 2.44

“One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.”  Bg. 18.55

“O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode.”  Bg. 18.62

“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” Bg. 18.66

* Luke 22:42

“That material happiness of which we hear, such as promotion to heavenly planets for celestial enjoyment, is just like that material happiness we have already experienced. Both are polluted by jealousy, envy, decay and death. Therefore, just as an attempt to raise crops becomes fruitless if there are many problems like crop disease, insect plague or drought, similarly, the attempt to attain material happiness, either on earth or on the heavenly planets, is always fruitless because of innumerable obstacles.” SB 11.10.21

Everyone is chasing after those things that they think will make them happy. Since time immemorial people have struggled for material sustenance and spiritual satisfaction; both which appear to be just outside of their immediate grasp. In our “modern” society, “material things” are driving a false economy which will have to come to an end. Like the carrot that leads the donkey, that always remains just out of reach to only increase our frustrations. Since most of us cannot see life outside of the dimension in which we feel rather stuck with our limited senses, we have to rely on science, philosophy or prophet to lead us on the right path if we are to ever wake up into a life that can fully satisfy the soul. In Vedic culture, and many others teachings, knowledge of the soul, which is said to be eternal, full of bliss and awareness, is the only thing that can provide this deeper realization. This is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita, Bible, Kabbala, Koran, Native American teachings, and many other ancient writings. Even modern science has lead us to a understanding of God, though the current culture of those outspoken refuse to use the G word in public. Many scientist understand that there is a force, both personal and impersonal that is directing, creating and revealing the small amount of scientific revelation that we currently understand of the creation. In the above verses and the quotes below, Bhagavan Krishna clearly explains, that if one wants to change their life of temporary enjoyment, then they must “wakeup” out of their current mundane consciousness, and through love and devotion experience a life outside of the material dimension that repeats itself over and over again, similar to a bad dream. This divine state of awareness and self-realization is similar to falling in love. From the outside, a person can understand that another person is “in love”, but they will not be having their own experience of that love. And no matter they attempt to make a scientific inquiry into that love, they will still never experience the love that the “lovers” experience. It is the same with unadulterated love of God. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting.

“The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.” Bg. 2.59

“After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.” Bg. 8.15

“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” Bg. 8.16

“Your question [about God] is the most difficult in the world. It is not a question I can answer simply with yes or no. I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations. . . “ ~ Albert Einstein

“I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.” ~ Albert Einstein

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