“Although the false ego has no factual basis, it is perceived in many forms as the functions of the mind, speech, life air and bodily faculties. But with the sword of transcendental knowledge, sharpened by worship of a bona fide spiritual master, a sober sage will cut off this false identification and live in this world free from all material attachment. Real spiritual knowledge is based on the discrimination of spirit from matter, and it is cultivated by scriptural evidence, austerity, direct perception, reception of the Purāṇas’ historical narrations, and logical inference. The Absolute Truth, which alone was present before the creation of the universe and which alone will remain after its destruction, is also the time factor and the ultimate cause. Even in the middle stage of this creation’s existence, the Absolute Truth alone is the actual reality.” SB 11.28.17-18

The difference between material and spiritual is consciousness. Nothing material is lasting and everything spiritual is eternal. The individual soul thinks that it is separate from the Supreme Soul (God) but is actually part of the Perfectly Complete Whole, and yet remains independent. However, due to this his independence, he is free to wander or even compete with the Supreme. Hence he is given the opportunity to fully express his independence and fulfill all of his material desires, both subtle and gross by taking birth within the material atmosphere. Once he has acted upon this opportunity, and the false-ego is established, the once free soul begins to realize just how unfree he is due to his material identification and suffering, he begins to hanker for the association of the Supreme and the associates that he has left behind in the spiritual world. To regain his residence within the spiritual atmosphere, he must associate with those who are fully engaged with the Supreme Absolute (God or any o the unlimited names), study sacred texts, such as the Purāṇas’, Holy Bible, Koran, Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Dhammapada and others, take initiation from a bonafide guru or spiritual master who is in complete knowledge and fully surrendered in the Absolute, and will instruct him in the science of self-realization and a method for achieving this state of awareness. In time, through constant practice and detachment, his spiritual consciousness is reawakened and upon leaving the body (death) he can be transferred back to the spiritual world, where like awakening from a dream, is able to recall his eternal existence.

“He who meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Partha [Arjuna], is sure to reach Me.” Bg. 8.8

“One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and in full devotion engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord, will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Bg. 8.10

“That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.” Bg. 15.6

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore;” Revelation 3:12

‘“When a soul finally gets out of the three jars [physical, astral, causal] of bodily delusions,” Master continued, “it becomes one with the Infinite without any loss of individuality.” ~ Autobiography of a Yogi, chapter 43.

“Although while dreaming a person experiences many undesirable things, upon awakening he is no longer confused by the dream experiences. Lamentation, elation, fear, anger, greed, confusion and hankering, as well as birth and death, are experiences of the false ego and not of the pure soul.” SB 11.28.14

Until we come to the realization that we are eternally pure spirit, created in the image of the Supreme Absolute, and that nothing that we perceive through our senses and mind are actually having any effect on us, we will continue to suffer, though this suffering is just an dream-like appearance. For everyone in a material body, this is a hard thing to realize due to our strong bodily identification; but none-the-less, as the great sages have come to demonstrate, material life is but a dream, and spiritual life is not only eternally real, it is all that is actually happening, and the opposite of our temporary material consciousness.

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

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“I and the Father are one.” John !0:30

“Men are afraid to forget their minds, fearing to fall through the Void with nothing to stay their fall. They do not know that the Void is not really void, but the realm of the real Dharma.” ~ Huang Po

“For the soul there is never birth nor death. 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.” Bg. 2.20

“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” BG. 3.27

“Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”‘?

“I am naught, He is all; there is no being but God’s.” This is the extreme of humility and self-abasement. ~ Rumi

“Remember for just one minute of the day, it would be best to try looking upon yourself more as God does, for She knows your true royal nature.” ~ Hafiz

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: As long as the foolish spirit soul remains attracted to the material body, senses and vital force, his material existence continues to flourish, although it is ultimately meaningless. Actually, the living entity is transcendental to material existence. But because of his mentality of lording it over material nature, his material existential condition does not cease, and, just as in a dream, he is affected by all sorts of disadvantages.” SB 11.28.12-13

Jesus suggested that we be in the world, but not of it. The world that we are currently living in is not our original or eternal home. It is temporary and we have been given a temporary body in which to experience and learn from this world. Our material body, like the gross material elements that we live within, is constantly and forever changing; and in time all of material nature, like our bodies will pass, and return back from the elements in which they were created. Knowing that our bodies are temporary, we must gather knowledge of that which is eternal, which is the nature of the soul, and is who we really are. We are eternal living beings, part and parcel of the Supreme Absolute, and if we want to live in and experience this nature, we must associate with that eternal truth which is on the Absolute platform. As Krishna states in these verses, material life is temporary and ultimately meaningless. The soul, on the other hand is the only reality where one can find real lasting happiness. Therefore the goal of human life is to wake back up to that place where having once been, one never has to return. By reawakening to one’s true eternal self, one can immediately go back home, back to Godhead. The whole purpose of religious or spiritual life is to reawaken one’s consciousness to the eternal. Why live in the temporary, constantly trying to find lasting happiness in something that is simply going to crumble and pass?

“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. 5.15

“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

“One who is free from illusion, false prestige, and false association, who understands the eternal, who is done with material lust and is freed from the duality of happiness and distress, and who knows how to surrender unto the Supreme Person, attains to that eternal kingdom.” Bg. 15.5

“That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.” Bg. 15.6

“Śrī Uddhava said: My dear Lord, it is not possible for this material existence to be the experience of either the soul, who is the seer, or of the body, which is the seen object. On the one hand, the spirit soul is innately endowed with perfect knowledge, and on the other hand, the material body is not a conscious, living entity. To whom, then, does this experience of material existence pertain? The spirit soul is inexhaustible, transcendental, pure, self-luminous and never covered by anything material. It is like fire. But the nonliving material body, like firewood, is dull and unaware. So in this world, who is it that actually undergoes the experience of material life?” SB 11.28.10-11

Śrī Uddhava is inquiring from the Lord as to who the real person is and to its position. Since the body is not a conscious living entity, and the pure individual spirit soul is not a part of the material creation or affected by the mind or the senses, then who is the actual enjoyer in this world, and what can actually be enjoyed? People usually divide their consciousness between the body and the mind, and have little realization of the soul. The body, however is animated by the soul and has no intelligence other than what it gains from the soul. Without the soul, whether, awake, dreaming or in deep sleep, it is the soul that maintains the body, and ultimately, it is the Supreme Soul or Supersoul that gives “life” to all of creation. To the soul, the appearance of living and dying in our waking state is no different from that within a dream. Both, the appearance of life and death or created by the movements of light, or energy and have no influence over the eternal spirit soul. It is only the senses, which include the mind that interpret events and give meaning to the material creation. In other words, the mind and it’s projected false-ego are similar to a hologram that gives the appearance of something appearing our of nowhere.

“Some look at the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.” Bg. 2.29

“The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.” Bg. 3.42

“Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to material senses, mind and intelligence, one should control the lower self by the higher self and thus–by spiritual strength–conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.” Bg. 3.43

“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego–all together these eight comprise My separated material energies.” Bg. 7.4

“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.” Bg. 15.7

“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.” SB 11.28.9

We can be our own scientists and gurus. Everyone can see, that since birth, death is going to take place, and when there is death, birth automatically has to follow. This is the process in material life, and since time immemorial this has been the process, therefore there is no reason to be attached to anything in this temporary situation. Great souls however, like Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and many others, have come and pointed the way out of this temporary arrangement by reawakening to our eternal soul consciousness, in a similar manner as waking up from a bad dream. The soul is eternal, and every soul has this experience in both their waking, dreaming and deep dreamless sleep, of witnessing themselves as separate from the temporary creation. There is always recognition that “I am” having this experience. By cultivating love, and knowledge of the pure self, and of the Absolute, one will automatically reawaken their eternal consciousness and never have to take their birth in the material creation unless by their own free will.

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” John 17:16

“For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” Bg. 2.27

“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

“Nor does the Supreme Spirit assume anyone’s sinful or pious activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of the ignorance which covers their real knowledge.” Bg. 5.15

“The yogi who knows that I and the Supersoul within all creatures are one worships Me and remains always in Me in all circumstances.” Bg. 6.31

“If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditional life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.” Bg. 18.58

“The Supersoul alone is the ultimate controller and creator of this world, and thus He alone is also the created. Similarly, the Soul of all existence Himself both maintains and is maintained, withdraws and is withdrawn. No other entity can be properly ascertained as separate from Him, the Supreme Soul, who nonetheless is distinct from everything and everyone else. The appearance of the threefold material nature, which is perceived within Him, has no actual basis. Rather, you should understand that this material nature, composed of the three modes, is simply the product of His illusory potency.” SB 11.28.6-7

There is oneness, and theres is separation in love. In separation we find and cultivate our love for the One. In our oneness, we may feel some love, but we do not cultivate a loving or service attitude towards the One. There is nothing but the One (Supersoul, God, Paramatman, etc.) and we are simultaneously one with that Supersoul. The Supersoul or God has expanded Him/Herself into many fragmental parts, all of which are one within the One. When the individual one becomes enamored by the material creation of the Supreme One, it develops a false reality or ego of its own creation and becomes eternally bound by its own conceptions and no longer understands its original positions. Much like the prodigal son in the stories of Jesus.

“The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.” Sri Isopanisad, Invocation, translation by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

“Although shadows, echoes and mirages are only illusory reflections of real things, such reflections do cause a semblance of meaningful or comprehensible perception. In the same way, although the identification of the conditioned soul with the material body, mind and ego is illusory, this identification generates fear within him even up to the moment of death.” SB 11.28.5

Fear arises when love becomes covered over, in the same way that darkness arises when there is an absent of light. However, where there is love, there is no fear, and where there is light, there can be no darkness. When one lives in love, in their original position, there is no lack of love or fear, and the world appears perfect and complete as it is. When one has covered over their love with fear, love seems to have become non-existent, and fear tries to work itself out in its many expressions.

We are not the reflected self that we may see in the mirror, or the recorded voice that we hear . Whether in life or death, we continue to exist as satchitananda, eternally present being, in knowledge and joy. If one wants to wake up from this illusion, he or she must associate with that which is eternal. When we are dreaming, the only way out of the dream is by associating with those things that we know of in our waking state. By remembering who we are during our awakened state, we are once again able to take on that state of being. In a similar manner, one can wake up into their eternal consciousness by associating with those things that remind the soul that it has actually has born out of the eternal and originally resides within the eternal. This awareness is referred to as God-consciousness, self-realization or enlightenment. The spirit soul in its original form is sometimes called satchitananda. Eternally aware, in full knowledge and full of supreme joy or bliss. This is our natural state, when we are willing to give up our material conditioned state of being.

“A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.” Bg. 6.5

“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” Bg. 7.14

“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.” Bg. 15.7

“Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.
But:
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist.” ~ A Course In Miracles

“Just as the embodied spirit soul loses external consciousness when his senses are overcome by the illusion of dreaming or the deathlike state of deep sleep, so a person experiencing material duality must encounter illusion and death. That which is expressed by material words or meditated upon by the material mind is not ultimate truth. What, therefore, is actually good or bad within this insubstantial world of duality, and how can the extent of such good and bad be measured?” SB 11.28.3-4

Since we are all eternal living beings, appearing within temporary bodies, the world becomes a projection of the mind, who is looking for safety at every turn. To our false-ego, if we do not project an image of our self, we feel, in fear that we will no longer be. Therefore, we create a duality of opposites within the world. There is absolutely no death to the soul, and given that the body has never been alive, there can be no death; however, since we cling in illusion to our bodies, which have taken birth, are ever-changing and therefore must appear to dwindle and die, we accept the body as the self and live in it in fear of this temporary vehicle as coming to an end. All things in time must past. Change is occurring to the material, but not the spiritual. We are living on “planet-backwards”, where our illusions, fears, desires, etc. are being acted out, just as we do in a dream or daydream. Even at death, which we know has been inevitable since birth, we review our mental images of memories as if they can continue to have some meaning. All things material have no ultimate truth.

“That which did not exist in the past and will not exist in the future also has no existence of its own for the period of its duration, but is only a superficial designation. In My opinion, whatever is created and revealed by something else is ultimately only that other thing.” SB 11.28.21

“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

“An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.” Bg. 5.22

“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

“Those ostentatious penances and austerities which are performed in order to gain respect, honor and reverence are said to be in the mode of passion. They are neither stable nor permanent.” Bg. 17.18

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One should neither praise nor criticize the conditioned nature and activities of other persons. Rather, one should see this world as simply the combination of material nature and the enjoying souls, all based on the one Absolute Truth. Whoever indulges in praising or criticizing the qualities and behavior of others will quickly become deviated from his own best interest by his entanglement in illusory dualities.” SB 11.28.1-2

It is the nature of the mind to form an opinion and either accept or reject everything that it sees taking place, and once this is done the mind automatically becomes attached or repulsed, which is just another form of attachment to the material energy. Therefore it is recommended that one learn to see that all events taking place are being caused only by a combination of material elements, and is actually separate from the spirit soul. It is the  independent souls reaction to these events that gives them their illusory appearance of having different grades of attraction. At he source, or beneath the appearance of any mental projection is the Supreme energy of the Lord, that in and of itself, like the soul is eternally existing. Thus the Supreme Soul and the individual soul are to be considered as real, and everything else is to be considered as temporary and therefore an illusion. By keeping one’s attention upon that which is eternally existing, i.e the Lord and the individual spirit soul, one is assured of recalling his oneness with the everlasting Divine nature, and can give up all suffering based upon his or her temporary material attachments. The ultimate reality is that there is only one Absolute Truth and it’s individual expansions and expressions.

“He who is without attachment, who does not rejoice when he obtains good, nor lament when he obtains evil, is firmly fixed in perfect knowledge.” Bg. 2.57

“All the senses have been under the control of the mind since time immemorial, and the mind himself never comes under the sway of any other. He is stronger than the strongest, and his godlike power is fearsome. Therefore, anyone who can bring the mind under control becomes the master of all the senses. Failing to conquer this irrepressible enemy, the mind, whose urges are intolerable and who torments the heart, many people are completely bewildered and create useless quarrel with others. Thus they conclude that other people are either their friends, their enemies or parties indifferent to them.” SB 11.23.47-48

“The Blessed Lord said: He who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present, nor longs for them when they disappear; who is seated like one unconcerned, being situated beyond these material reactions of the modes of nature, who remains firm, knowing that the modes alone are active; who regards alike pleasure and pain, and looks on a clod, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is wise and holds praise and blame to be the same; who is unchanged in honor and dishonor, who treats friend and foe alike, who has abandoned all fruitive undertakings–such a man is said to have transcended the modes of nature.” Bg. 14.22-25

“Because the mind is not disturbed by that which is neither seen nor heard, the mind of a person who restricts the material senses will automatically be checked in its material activities and become pacified. Therefore one should never let his senses associate freely with women or with men attached to women. Even those who are highly learned cannot trust the six enemies of the mind; what to speak, then, of foolish persons like me.” SB 11.26.23-24

The mind will not become attached to that which it never sees or senses. But the subtle call of nature is so acute that it is also recommended that one who is seriously on the path of God or Self-Realization, not only avoid direct association with the opposite sex but avoid associating with those who are strongly attracted to the opposite sex. Through bad association, one is naturally drawn down to the lowest common denominator, in the same way that water will seek its own level. On the other hand, when one has very good association, one is also drawn to improve oneself. So it is natural to follow the highest calling in one’s life, in which association plays an important role. Of course in our modern age it is near impossible for one not to be drawn into relationships with the opposite sex or the same sex if that is one’s leaning. Sex is the binding force in all of creation. The six enemies of the mind vary slightly from culture to culture and scripture to scripture. Here are a few that top those lists: lust, anger, intoxication, illusion, envy, fear, hubris, greed, pride, and jealousy.

“One who is free from illusion, false prestige, and false association, who understands the eternal, who is done with material lust and is freed from the duality of happiness and distress, and who knows how to surrender unto the Supreme Person, attains to that eternal kingdom.” Bg. 15.5

“There are three gates leading to this hell–lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.” Bg. 16.21

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