“One who can control his senses by practicing the regulated principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord and thus become free from all attachment and aversion.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.64)Download this episode (right click and save)
“We can’t make sense of it all. Why does the father abandon the wife and infant suddenly? Don’t they realize what that does? Don’t they feel a sense of responsibility? Why are some people poor and others rich? Why do people die? Everyone lives for some time but then eventually passes on. Why do I have to think? Why can’t I just sit around and do nothing? Why the constant anxiety? Why is there even anything? Why is there an existence?”
After hearing explanations on the origin of matter and spirit, the nature of a truth that is absolute, and the way to escape birth and death and their accompanying miseries, the question as to the reason for an existence might remain. But applying a little intelligence coupled with an ounce of humility gives the answer.
The fact that we have to ask such a question means that we can never truly know. If everything already exists anyway, and I have no clue as to why, what is asking the question going to do for me? I have arms, legs, a belly, and a face. I have to breathe to stay alive. My heart must keep beating. I have to eat to make everything work. I can question why it is this way. I can be angry over the fact that I have to sleep every night and that I can’t remember everything that happened today, yesterday or ten years ago.
That lamentation doesn’t get me anywhere. Whether I lament or not, everything does still exist. Why not then try to find a way out? That is the call to arms for the human being who is fortunate enough to be sober and coherent after birth. Athato brahma-jijnasa, “Now is the time for inquiring about the Absolute Truth.” The time was not right in the animal body. The animal can’t really question anything. They just act. It’s called instinct. They neither overly lament their present circumstances nor look for a way out of them.
When in the human body the consciousness is finally awake enough to ponder over the matters of duality. Heat and cold, light and dark, health and sickness, happiness and sadness - nothing is absolute. Everything changes, going from one extreme to the other. The many shifts are encompassed in the broader transformation from birth to death. It is in the time between these two events that the sober human being can inquire into the Absolute Truth.
Upon approaching the proper knowledge, we learn that everything emanates from a single source. This source is beyond duality. It is an enjoyer, so it is a male in the way that we understand males. It is a distinct personality in the way that we understand personalities. There are similarities to the human being since the human race comes from this original source, but there are stark differences as well.
The original source does not encounter birth and death. He exists forever in His spiritual form. He expands to other spiritual personalities who have the same properties but may look slightly different. He never has to wonder why things exist because they always do. He is the only entity with perfect knowledge. The living beings emanate from Him, and so they are like Him but not the same in abilities.
One ability that is limited is knowledge. The human being cannot know everything. If he did then he would be God. If he were God, then the rest would be academic. There would be no need to search for anything. There would be no need to inquire into the Absolute Truth since the human being would already be that truth.
If you don’t know why things exist, it means that you are not God. Better to know and serve Him than vie with Him for intelligence. Rather than view God as a competing team in a trivia contest, use Him on your side to find the answers to the important questions of life. “How do I escape birth and death? How do I find a state where I don’t have to question why things exist?”
The answers are there for the human being. The most sober person will take to the direct path of bhakti-yoga, or devotional service. In this path there is service from beginning to end. There is direct connection with God, though in the beginning one may not feel it completely. Gradually, through following regulative principles of freedom and sacrificing time and effort in various methods recommended by the spiritual master, the presence of God is revealed further and further.
Those who are not attracted to devotional service can still make advancement. There are guiding principles for all persons, of all occupations and levels of intelligence. Just as the teacher says to study this book and prepare for that exam, without necessarily informing the students why the topics are important, so others can make advancement in following principles of renunciation, such as staying away from meat eating, gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. Even only visiting a house of worship on a regular basis brings advancement.
After sufficient time, with the devotional consciousness in full gear, the individual realizes the purpose to everything. So many things exist to be used in service to God, who is known as Krishna since He is all-attractive. He is known as Rama since He holds full transcendental pleasure. His confidential servants are described as patita-pavana, for they rescue the sincere seekers from the dangerous waters of the material ocean. While struggling to remain afloat, one bemoans the fact that anything, including themselves, should exist, but after the rescue the existence is cherished for the opportunity it brings for service to the lotus feet of the Divine Creator.
Why happiness, sadness and the rest?
Why after life only with death we’re left?
Everything exists, so to question why?
Better for escape from perils to try.
Chance for rescue in human life begin,
With right consciousness over ignorance to win.
Follow principles if to divine love you are averse,
Then know God and life’s purpose, the trend reverse.