Sunday, December 9, 2012

Helpless

Krishna's lotus feet“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.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.7)

It is only human nature to be worried over the welfare of those who appear to be suffering, in the process ignoring those who are in an opposite condition. But according to the Vedas, any living entity who is embodied, that is any individual within any species that must suffer through reincarnation, the constant changing of bodies, is in need of help. The aid guaranteed to rescue them is not difficult to produce; as it is not even assigned a monetary value. Yet the cause of the embodiment prevents that aid from being widely accepted; thereby exacerbating the problem.

Think of the mother of two sons. The elder is independent, a go-getter. They do things on their own; they are successful. Not only that, but since childhood they have had a clever streak. Rather than act helpless, they are always trying to imitate the adults. They want to do everything the parents do, and they try to trick the elders into allowing them to do prohibited things. From this behavior, the mother not only ceases to think of the eldest son as helpless, but sometimes she will try to admonish him to deflate his ego. “Let him get out of his own messes; this way he’ll learn a lesson.”

The other son is just the opposite in mentality. They are always asking for help. They are in trouble seemingly all the time. The mother is constantly worried about this son. “What if he doesn’t amount to anything in life? How will he handle going away to college? He’s always been close to home, and now he’s out in the real world. How is he going to survive in a world filled with ruthless competitors?” Thus the mother will direct her attention more towards this son, who is apparently helpless.

Under a sober and objective assessment, however, it is understood that both children are equally helpless. Just because one acts independently doesn’t mean that they are superior. They both must endure the rigors of life, and while one may be confident in their abilities, it doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed of success. Why not worry over the plight of both sons equally? Why give so much concern to the one that seems to be helpless?

Indeed, we apply the same discrimination towards all members of society, even extending the outlook to the animal community. Cats and dogs are kept as pets, while cows are killed for meat. The cow is equally as innocent as the dog. In fact, the cow is a loving mother who happily produces milk to feed her young. This milk is also used by the human society to produce so many nice food dishes. The cow needs only its children around to produce this miracle food. Therefore why shouldn’t it be protected just as much as the cat or dog?

In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna says that all living entities populating the world we inhabit are His fragmental parts. They are also eternal; which means that no matter where they go or how they look, they never cease to exist. This is a comforting truth, especially to one who has suffered the loss of a loved one. Though they are considered deceased, the departed is only that; gone from our vicinity. Just because someone leaves our home doesn’t mean that they don’t live anymore. In the same way, just because someone leaves their body at the time of death doesn’t mean that they cease to exist.

Lord KrishnaThough the conditioned living entities are eternal and part and parcel of God, they are struggling very hard with the material nature. Krishna doesn’t say that only the cats and the dogs are suffering. He doesn’t say that just the poor and the downtrodden are in the position of difficulty. He doesn’t say that some aren’t suffering because of their massive wealth. Rather, the residence in the material world is itself the cause of suffering, and so anyone who is here is in the helpless condition, worthy of rescue.

This begs the question as to who will offer the rescue. If everyone is suffering, how can one person be in the superior position? One who knows Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, understands the difference between the material and spiritual energies. They know that if they think of God at the time of death, they will no longer have to suffer through the cycle of birth and death. They know that to think of God is the best activity, and to practice the best activity at the time of quitting the body brings the most auspicious result in the future.

From this recognition, they ascend to a superior position while in the present life. They can thus rescue others by teaching them how to think of God. To think requires consciousness, and so to be immersed in thoughts of the Divine is to have God consciousness. As Krishna is the source of both the material and spiritual worlds, and the person from whom the Divine energy emanates, He is considered all-attractive and complete. To think of Krishna is to think of God in His personal form, which is fully featured. To think of the personal form is to lessen the chances of an erroneous vision, wherein something is taken to be what it is not. The impersonal form, which is the Brahman energy, is akin to a numeral representation, such as the number one. If you add a line, suddenly the one becomes a seven. But when the word is written out, the number one is much more difficult to skew. The personal form is like the written out version, allowing the eyes to easier understand who God is.

As consciousness is the requirement for rescue, any person can deliver the necessary aid to any other person. Just by chanting the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”, the spark of devotion is stirred within the heart through the entry point of the ear. Reciting this mantra to oneself is the way to change consciousness at the local level, and to chant it out loud and describe its glories is the way to rescue others, changing their condition from helpless to fully empowered in the divine consciousness.

In Closing:

Aid to the poor let me give,

So that in pain they won’t live.

 

Help needed for the distressed,

Can come from the materially blessed.

 

That all are poor is proper understanding,

Caused by material world’s landing.

 

Lord Chaitanya the solution to us gave,

Chant holy names for all the world to save.

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