“Persons who identify with this body, which is simply the product of the material mind, are blinded in their intelligence, thinking in terms of “I” and “mine.” Because of their illusion of “this is I, but that is someone else,” they wander in endless darkness. If you say that these people are the cause of my happiness and distress, then where is the place of the soul in such a conception? This happiness and distress pertain not to the soul but to the interactions of material bodies. If someone bites his tongue with his own teeth, at whom can he become angry in his suffering?” SB 11.23.49-50

On the absolute platform, there is nothing but God. God is One. And we are part and parcel of God; and at the same time we have been given minute independence out of God’s mercy to share His/Her love with us. In other words, God has expanded His/Her own Self to increase this love. We are a product or expansion of that love, and though we are individual living entities, we remain one with the Lord. As Lord Caitanya pointed out, “we are inconceivably simultaneously one and yet separate from the Lord. The choice is ours whether we want to experience our oneness or our separation. One might ask why one would want to remain separate from the Lord; and the answer is, in separation we can experience loving exchanges with every other aspect of God. This enjoyment is experienced in our love for our children, friends, lovers etc. Of course, when we are in oneness with the Lord, we love all of creation, in the same way as the Divine. One may say that one type of Love is impersonal and the other personal. In personal loving relationships, though we strive to become intimately one with another, and merge in love with our beloved, we do not try to become our lover. As long as there remains some separation we are able to fully relish that love.

In the above two verses it is being pointed out that only those things that one is attached to is the real cause of their suffering and that the spirit soul is untouched by matter. The pure soul is obviously influenced by the mind, by nature, by other living entities, and even by one’s own body, but once one is able to give up such attachment to these outside influences and to the minds projections and reactions to such events, one becomes free and the soul’s true blissful nature will fully express itself in Love. The mind, like the senses are material like the body and are not a part of the soul. The body and senses are merely vessels or vehicles, and once their purpose has been fulfilled, they are discarded.

“Spiritually there are no differences between these five tattvas (reality, truth), for on the transcendental platform everything is absolute. Yet there are also varieties in the spiritual world, and in order to taste these spiritual varieties one should distinguish between them.” Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi-lila 7.5

“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30

“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” Bg. 2.22

“Although present along with the struggling mind within the material body, the Supersoul is not endeavoring, because He is already endowed with transcendental enlightenment. Acting as my friend, He simply witnesses from His transcendental position. I, the infinitesimal spirit soul, on the other hand, have embraced this mind, which is the mirror reflecting the image of the material world. Thus I have become engaged in enjoying objects of desire and am entangled due to contact with the modes of nature.” SB 11.23.44

In both the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (3.1.2) and Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (4.7)* the individual spirit soul and the Supreme (Supersoul) are described as two birds sitting within the same tree (body). The individual soul is trying to enjoy the fruits of the tree (senses)  and is eating freely. The other bird is the Supreme (The Lord of the Heart), who is the friend of the bird and is simply observing the other bird. Though they are dear friends, one is the Master and the other the student (disciple). When the student realizes that she has been suffering, she is able to turn to the Lord who is the witness, and dear-most friend, and then is able to take proper instructions.

*”Although the two birds are in the same tree, the eating bird is fully engrossed with anxiety and moroseness as the enjoyer of the fruits of the tree. But if in some way or other he turns his face to his friend who is the Lord and knows His glories—at once the suffering birds becomes free from all anxieties.”

“O scion of Bharata, you should understand that I am also the knower in all bodies, and to understand this body and its owner is called knowledge. That is My opinion.” Bg. 13.3

“The Supersoul is the original source of all senses, yet He is without senses. He is unattached, although He is the maintainer of all living beings. He transcends the modes of nature, and at the same time He is the master of all modes of material nature.” Bg. 13.5

“Although the Supersoul appears to be divided, He is never divided. He is situated as one. Although He is the maintainer of every living entity, it is to be understood that He devours and develops all.” Bg. 13.17

“When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.” Bg. 14.20

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” John 14:17

“The brāhmaṇa said: These people are not the cause of my happiness and distress. Neither are the demigods, my own body, the planets, my past work, or time. Rather, it is the mind alone that causes happiness and distress and perpetuates the rotation of material life. The powerful mind actuates the functions of the material modes, from which evolve the different kinds of material activities in the modes of goodness, ignorance and passion. From the activities in each of these modes develop the corresponding statuses of life.” SB 11.23.42-43

A man of wisdom (brāhmaṇa ) does not allow any outside influence to dictate the outcome of his or her consciousness. It is the nature of the conditioned mind to see that other people or events are the cause of it’s distress, and like a survival machine, struggles to see that no one or thing has power over the mind. We see our projected reality in the world in which we live, but the only thing that we can change is ourselves, and this is done by observing the consciousness and controlling the mind. The mind is one’s best friend or their worst enemy. The freedom that we have come to accept as our alienable right, rest only within our consciousness. If we do not find freedom within our mind, we will not find it elsewhere. The mind, which includes our false-ego projections is the breeding ground for the modes of nature, goodness, passion and ignorance. When the mind is influence by either of these three modes, or a mixture of two or more, we are at the mercy of the modes-of-nature and the soul is covered-over, sees itself as a “victim” and has no freedom. But in time, the heart learns to transcend these modes and the intelligence is then free to strive for it’s original position in oneness with the Supreme.

“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. For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy.” Bg. 6.6-7

“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. . . 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. 3.40,43

“A person does not actually take birth out of the seed of past activities, nor, being immortal, does he die. By illusion the living being appears to be born and to die, just as fire in connection with firewood appears to begin and then cease to exist.” SB 11.22.46

Just as fire is always present within the creation, the soul is always present within the body, and does not go through the changes of the body, nor does he go through any changes when outside of a physical or subtle body. He is merely a witness, and ultimately unaffected by the experiences (perceptions) of the body and mind. What transpires within one’s lifetime, is like a dream-light energy show to the soul. The soul transmigrates from one body to another, in the same way that one walks from one theatre to another. One’s realization or experience of an event does not belong to the theatre and is only a projection within one’s consciousness.

“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 foolish cannot understand how a living entity can quit his body, nor can they understand what sort of body he enjoys under the spell of the modes of nature. But one whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see all this. The endeavoring transcendentalist, who is situated in self-realization, can see all this clearly. But those who are not situated in self-realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try to.” Bg. 15.10-11

“Now about the dead rising–have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!” Mark 12:26-27

“My dear Uddhava, material bodies are constantly undergoing creation and destruction by the force of time, whose swiftness is imperceptible. But because of the subtle nature of time, no one sees this. . . Although the illumination of a lamp consists of innumerable rays of light undergoing constant creation, transformation and destruction, a person with illusory intelligence who sees the light for a moment will speak falsely, saying, “This is the light of the lamp.” As one observes a flowing river, ever-new water passes by and goes far away, yet a foolish person, observing one point in the river, falsely states, “This is the water of the river.” Similarly, although the material body of a human being is constantly undergoing transformation, those who are simply wasting their lives falsely think and say that each particular stage of the body is the person’s real identity.” SB 11.22.43,45

Everything appears to be constantly changing, though nothing is actually taking place for the spirit soul. “You could not step twice in the same river.”* “Everything changes and nothing stands still.”* And though this is how the material world appears, we continue to project our own conceptions upon all that we see including the body, which like the river, is constantly changing. Everything is in flux except the spirit soul, which is a constant part of the Supreme, who is beyond the material creation and unaffected.

“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them. 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. 9.4-5

“I shall now explain the knowable, knowing which you will taste the eternal. This is beginningless, and it is subordinate to Me. It is called Brahman, the spirit, and it lies beyond the cause and effect of this material world.” Bg. 13.13

“Nature is said to be the cause of all material activities and effects, whereas the living entity is the cause of the various sufferings and enjoyments in this world.” Bg. 13.20

“The sky, due to its subtle nature, does not mix with anything, although it is all-pervading. Similarly, the soul, situated in Brahman vision, does not mix with the body, though situated in that body.” Bg. 13.33

“Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19

*Heraclitus

“Because the mind, which is the resting place of the senses, has created the identification with a new body, the threefold material variety of high, middle and low class appears as if present within the reality of the soul. Thus the self creates external and internal duality, just as a man might give birth to a bad son.” SB 11.22.42

We are all quick to judge, and our judgement is based on our perception, not reality. We see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear, all based upon our bodily concepts. In the material world people sometimes judge others based on their perception of higher and lower classes of “pedigree” or upon their “value” as an “earning” member of society. Of course these material designations are only based upon how one’s senses report perceived duality which the mind attempts to interprets. However, a person with spiritual vision sees only the pure spirit soul. Parents though they may be “good” members of society, may still have an “bad” son, no matter how educated he may be; and the parents may be implicated in many nefarious dealings on account of their sons behavior. Because of their attachment to their senses in the form of their son, they will falsely mistake their son’s situation as their own, and get dragged down into an unpleasant situation. This example is given to explain the difference between the consciousness of the soul and the consciousness of the body, and to illustrate how the pure soul becomes influenced by the false-ego. The pains and pleasures of the body are not the pains and pleasures of the souls.

“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

“Actually, there is no pleasure in the material world; everything is painful. Everyone is trying to be happy by sensual activity, but the result is unhappiness and frustration. This is called maya, illusion.” A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].” Bg. 5.18

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:1-3

“O most charitable Uddhava, what is called birth is simply a person’s total identification with a new body. One accepts the new body just as one completely accepts the experience of a dream or a fantasy as reality. Just as a person experiencing a dream or daydream does not remember his previous dreams or daydreams, a person situated in his present body, although having existed prior to it, thinks that he has only recently come into being.” SB 11.22.40-41

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

“But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” John 8:23

“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

“When the yogi, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in Transcendence–devoid of all material desires–he is said to have attained yoga.” Bg. 6.18

“Gradually, step by step, with full conviction, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.” Bg. 6.25

“Steady in the Self, being freed from all material contamination, the yogi achieves the highest perfectional stage of happiness in touch with the Supreme Consciousness.” Bg. 6.28

“O best of the Bharatas, now please hear from Me about the three kinds of happiness which the conditioned soul enjoys, and by which he sometimes comes to the end of all distress. That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.” Bg. 18.36-37

“Lord Kṛṣṇa said: The material mind of men is shaped by the reactions of fruitive work. Along with the five senses, it travels from one material body to another. The spirit soul, although different from this mind, follows it. The mind, bound to the reactions of fruitive work, always meditates on the objects of the senses, both those that are seen in this world and those that are heard about from Vedic authority. Consequently, the mind appears to come into being and to suffer annihilation along with its objects of perception, and thus its ability to distinguish past and future is lost. “SB 11.22.37-38

Events are happening; but nothing is permanently happening to the spirit soul. The soul in it’s original state remains untouched by the mind’s total identification and interpretation of events, fears and emotions and is being taken for a ride as if in a dream. The soul, being covered over, follows the dictates of the mind and senses, as if in a movie or engrossed in a good book, unaware that in it’s original position, it is actually free! Similar to very deep sleep, the mind continuously projects a web of images that captivates itself. When we take birth, we almost immediately and completely become totally identified with our new body and the stories related to it. This full identification of the mind and false-ego continuously runs in the forefront and within the subconscious of the mind. At death, we give up just enough of this identification and the mind looks for a new home in which to continue to express and fulfill it’s desires. The spirit soul is like a passenger on a runaway train, that is being taken for a fearful ride. If willing, the soul can wake up from this dream through the words of sages, meditation upon the Absolute, self-inquiry and by the association of God and other liberated souls such as Lord Jesus.

“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” Bg. 2.22

“O scion of Bharata, you should understand that I am also the knower in all bodies, and to understand this body and its owner is called knowledge. That is My opinion.” Bg. 13.3

“Thus the field of activities [the body], knowledge and the knowable have been summarily described by Me. Only My devotees can understand this thoroughly and thus attain to My nature.” Bg. 13.19

“One who can see that all activities are performed by the body, which is created of material nature, and sees that the self does nothing, actually sees.” Bg. 13.30

“Those with the vision of eternity can see that the soul is transcendental, eternal, and beyond the modes of nature. Despite contact with the material body, O Arjuna, the soul neither does anything nor is entangled.” Bg. 13.32

“One who knowingly sees this difference between the body and the owner of the body and can understand the process of liberation from this bondage, also attains to the supreme goal.” Bg. 13.35

“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.” Matthew 13:11-15

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29

“Sight, visible form and the reflected image of the sun within the aperture of the eye all work together to reveal one another. But the original sun standing in the sky is self-manifested. Similarly, the Supreme Soul, the original cause of all entities, who is thus separate from all of them, acts by the illumination of His own transcendental experience as the ultimate source of manifestation of all mutually manifesting objects.” SB 11.22.31

We have all been given our little independence by the mercy of the Supreme. Being part and parcel of the Supreme, we have gained limited awareness of the self, but through our cultivated false-ego since time immemorial, our pure self awareness is covered over by a mental construct which is projected upon the movie screen of the mind that makes up our imagined “reality”. Though God is the Original Cause Of All Causes, we tend to think that we are the very source of our being. And though we understand that our senses are imperfect, the universe infinite and ever-expanding, our ego tells us that we are the center of this universe and that God is just another concept of our limited understanding and mind. In essence, our view of life is wired backwards as we try to discover the source of our being from the ground up, instead of understanding the Supreme truth from the spiritual sky down. If we are unable to approach God directly as we have been culturally conditioned, then we must approach Her from within our very own being. Since our senses are limited and imperfect, how is it that we will every discover that which is lying beyond are material awareness, the source of our own unseen soul. Even material science with it’s limited material tools, understands that nothing outside of one’s conscious awareness can be accepted as being factual. For it is the glue of consciousness that holds the pieces together.

“One should meditate upon the Supreme Person as the one who knows everything, as He who is the oldest, who is the controller, who is smaller than the smallest, who is the maintainer of everything, who is beyond all material conception, who is inconceivable, and who is always a person. He is luminous like the sun and, being transcendental, is beyond this material nature.” Bg. 8.9

“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

“When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime. Bg. 5.16

“When one’s intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of misgivings through complete knowledge and thus proceeds straight on the path of liberation.” Bg. 5.17

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”Matthew 6:33

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