Friday, June 29, 2012

What To Do Today

Worshiping Radha and Krishna“The functions of the mind are thinking, feeling and willing. When the mind is materialistic, or absorbed in material contact, it acts for material advancement of knowledge, destructively ending in discovery of nuclear weapons. But when the mind acts under spiritual urge, it acts wonderfully for going back home, back to Godhead, for life in complete bliss and eternity. Therefore the mind has to be manipulated by good and unalloyed intelligence.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.2.16 Purport)

The human being, aided by the faculties of the mind, is capable of amazing things. Forgetfulness prevents the regular cognizance of this fact, but there is no doubting the creative and perseverant nature of the human worker, for the many inventions and structures filling the cities and populated areas today show us just what hard work combined with imagination can accomplish. There are the brief periods of rest required in each day, where the desire is to do nothing, but the remaining time is spent in work. The question then remains what to do with that time, how to utilize the human being’s effort.

Without guidance from proper intelligence, the effort is likely wasted. This is not a blanket criticism on the human being, for without knowing the proper course, how is anyone to figure out what to do and in which direction to go? Think of children playing in a sandbox and riding their small, toy tricycles. They don’t know any better, so to them such play is constructive. Perhaps they sharpen their motor skills along the way, but nothing tangible is produced. In fact, the adult playing with their large toys in the form of electronic cars and videogame systems is no different than the child playing with their less capable toys.

But with maturation into adulthood, the play can turn dangerous and even deadly. As Shri Ramachandra, the eldest son of King Dasharatha, so nicely says in the Ramayana, for the mature human being there is no other fear than death. The predicament is likened to that of the ripened fruit, which hangs off the tree just waiting to fall. It has met its destiny. It reaches a point where it no longer has to grow, and whoever eats it will enjoy the taste. It still hangs on the tree, so it either remains there or just falls off, which in either case is the same fate.

“Just as the ripened fruit has no other fear than falling, the man who has taken birth has no other fear than death.” (Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 105.17)

apple treeThe mature human being, through recognizing patterns which previously occurred, realizes that death is imminent, so a natural instinct is to turn to protection. “How do I protect this life that is soon to end? How do I keep my possessions for as long as I can?” The nation represents the sum collection of these fears in a larger geographical area. Therefore, to pay full attention to protection, a martial force is assembled, and perhaps a stronger military is trained to be ready at the next call. Defense is natural for the human being, for not everyone will be nice. There are people who don’t give attention to the rules of propriety, so they will lie, cheat and steal to get what they want. In the process they may use violence and not feel any remorse. The owners of the targeted property have every reason to worry about protecting what they have.

That same human mind that played with toys during childhood can in adulthood spend so much time crafting the greatest defense weapon: the nuclear bomb. Rather than a shield or a protective layer, the defense aspect of this weapon is in its destruction capability, which is to act as a deterrent. “Don’t you dare attack me, or I’ll drop this weapon on you and wipe you out.” The weapon has no other use. It is a weapon of mass destruction because within a few moments entire cities can be devastated. As it acts using chemicals already found in nature, we can understand that the human mind had to discover and exploit these reactions. Research, observation and experiment were required before the final product was delivered. Then, the output to that work, the pride and joy of the scientist, was the visual destruction their profound weapon caused.

Such work is not considered truly valuable according to the Vedic seers, who know the true mission of life. The mature human being is certainly destined to die, so overemphasis on protection of possessions is not the best course of action. The spirit soul is the vital force within, and it never suffers death. Throughout the known lifetime the spirit soul remains the same inside of the body that is ever-changing. At the time of death, the entire covering is replaced in favor of a new one, with the exact makeup of the new home determined by one’s previous desires. “As you sow so shall you reap”, is the saying, and it nicely describes the system of karma. You do some work and you get the result later on. If you build a housing structure properly, you’ll get a suitable home to live in. If you build it improperly, you’ll have trouble eventually. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but at some point in the future that defect in the construction will lead to a negative result.

The same mind that created the nuclear weapon for the purpose of defending bodies and possessions guaranteed to leave the individual at the time of death can be used for travelling back to the spiritual kingdom, where the owner of all the material elements personally controls everything for the population’s favor. In the phenomenal land, His influence is still present, but He has no direct dealings with the nature. Think of a pile of clay that can be shaped and molded into anything. The clay has a creator, who determined its properties to make it useful to the end users. But at the same time, the owner does not give orders on how their clay is to be used. You can make a drinking cup out of the clay or you can make a weapon used to strike other people.

In the material world, the sum collection of elements is a byproduct of the supreme master’s creative abilities, and He actually does give a guidebook on how to use those elements. The directions aren’t overly specific nor are they restrictive. The general guiding principle is what counts, with the end-goal remaining the most important factor. The primary aim is to return to the spiritual land, which requires a shift in consciousness. Consciousness is shaped by thinking and working, which are influenced by the outside elements, those things with which the senses interact. Therefore, if you can use sense interaction properly, you create a chain reaction that fulfills the purpose of purifying consciousness.

“Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.”  (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.34)

Lord KrishnaIn a nutshell, you need to think about God. To think about Him, you need to apply your work towards connecting with Him, to remaining cognizant of His greatness and His mercy. To apply your work properly, you get the guidance from shastra, or scripture, which is explained properly by the bona fide teacher, the spiritual master. These shouldn’t be foreign concepts, as to be successful in any venture requires the same deference to written literature and the experts on those teachings. The creation of the nuclear bomb required reference to previous scientific research along with field tests taught by scientists to the students during the schooling years.

In the discipline to understand God, the scriptures for consultation are the Vedas, whose most concise and complete work is the Bhagavad-gita. The field work is the discipline of bhakti-yoga, which gets its strength from the holy name, a sacred sound vibration that directly represents the Supreme Lord. Learn the Bhagavad-gita from someone who follows its principles, and then practice bhakti-yoga by always chanting, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”.

When effort in materialism is expended, the sign of success is the end product. The bomb that blasts and destroys a large area of land can be considered a properly functioning unit. The work is worth it because there is a visible result. In bhakti, though the promise is for residence in the spiritual sky after death, there are still tangible results that are seen within the present lifetime. Mercifulness, austerity, cleanliness and honesty are the initial beneficial attributes, which any person would be better off for having. Then there is the reinvigorated spirit, wherein instead of searching for an end to work and a period of complete rest known as retirement, there is the desire to search for more and more ways to practice the discipline. This is how love should operate but only does when there is connection to the divine, or yoga.

“O son of Kunti [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.”  (Lord Krishna, Bg. 7.8)

Thinking, feeling and willing can be used to find complete bliss that is permanent. Through connecting with the holy name, which represents the speaker of the Gita and the author of everything good in this world, one can find periods of happiness within the present lifetime, and through continuing in that mode, when the consciousness remains pure at the time of death release from the cycle of birth and death is guaranteed. Why spend time creating a weapon that tries to imitate what the material elements can already do on a larger scale? Real intelligence fixes on transcendence, and thankfully that intelligence can be acquired through the proper training provided by shastra and guru.

In Closing:

With help of mind, man has amazing ability,

New inventions give evidence of this capability.

 

Mind can be used for atomic bomb’s construction,

Largest toy is this weapon of mass destruction.

 

But the soul has higher purpose to fulfill,

Not to play, work hard, or just sit still.

 

To know God is man’s ideal aim,

Rise to spiritual kingdom highest gain.

 

To law codes and their teachers give attention,

Chant holy names for spiritual ascension.

www.krishnasmercy.org