“The brahmana and the outcaste may be different from the social point of view, or a dog, a cow, or an elephant may be different from the point of view of species, but these differences of body are meaningless from the viewpoint of a learned transcendentalist. This is due to their relationship to the Supreme, for the Supreme Lord, by His plenary portion as Paramatma, is present in everyone's heart. Such an understanding of the Supreme is real knowledge.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 5.18 Purport)Download this episode (right click and save)
The human being has free will. They have some independence in the form of how they choose to act, while being otherwise mostly dependent. They are dependent on the external nature for their sustenance. They have the intelligence to cultivate the field to survive off of its yield. They have the intelligence to work to earn a living so that they can pay for the same necessities. They are dependent on the heat and light of the sun, the rain from the clouds, and the cooperation of other living entities. Despite their dependence in so many areas, there is still some independence, and so not surprisingly there is variety in the activities of man.
One of those activities is observing the animal species. Imagine this scene. A college student of ornithology decides to take a field trip. They plan on walking into a nature preserve and observing the habits of the birds of the area. They will make a day of it. During the trip, with binoculars in hand, and carrying a backpack holding their pen and pencil, they decide to study a particular nest on this one tree. The nest is high above.
They notice that the birds live there with their family. When an egg hatches and a new bird emerges, the miracle of life appears right in front of the eyes. Noticeably absent is a person on hand to record the date and time of the birth. There is no birth certificate for the bird. There is no passport issued declaring the bird to be of a particular nationality. If the bird happens to migrate to another area later on due to a change in weather, they are not issued an immigration card. If they choose to remain in that other area, they are not asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the new forest. They are not issued a certificate of naturalization that documents the time of their migration.
Yet these things are very common in the human species. Despite the advanced intelligence of the human being, at the time of birth the intelligence in the most important subject matter is no greater than the bird’s. Identification with the body is the first sign of ignorance, and this continues until there is proper education. The human being identifies one person as worthy of their affection and another as not. We love our mom and dad, but someone else’s mom and dad aren’t automatically as important to us. We love those who do good for our body and dislike those who cause us discomfort.
But in fact, we are all spirit souls. The birds are free to roam about, as they could never understand immigration laws. There is no karma for the birds. They do not have a heavenly destination in the afterlife as a reward for good behavior. They do not have punishment slated in hell in case they are bad. These things are found in the human species only, which means there is the opportunity for discrimination.
That discrimination is utilized properly only when determining what is good for the soul and what is not. The bodily identifications do nothing in this regard. Whether someone is born into poverty or into wealth makes no difference as to their true identity. That identity is as spirit soul. Spirit is above matter. While matter is dull, lifeless and always changing, spirit is eternal, full of knowledge, and always blissful. This does not mean that spirit lacks form. Every individual spirit soul has an original form, which is eternally what they are meant to be.
“As explained by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, jivera 'svarupa' haya-krishnera 'nitya-dasa': the real identity of the living entity is that he is an eternal servant of the Supreme (Cc. Madhya 20.108). As long as one does not come to this conclusion, he must be in ignorance.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 7.118 Purport)
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that the spirit soul is eternally a servant of Krishna, who is God. Just as the same quality of spirit is found within every creature, regardless of their bodily stature, the Supreme Lord is the same for everyone. He is described as Krishna in Sanskrit texts because He is all-attractive. Everyone is a servant of His, even the less intelligent. When identifying with the body, the servant accepts the illusory energy coming from Krishna as their master. The result of this service is repeated birth and death, acceptance and rejection of temporary things.
When identifying as spirit, the individual has a chance to associate with the internal, superior energy of the Lord. The result is then bliss in service that is everlasting. As an added bonus, the servant gains the proper vision. They see that there is no fundamental difference between the man and the woman. They see that where someone is born does not determine their character. They especially have compassion upon everyone, whom they view as their extended family. They extend this compassion through giving the gift of the transcendental sound vibration representation of Krishna: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
“The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.29)
Surely immigration laws and the like serve legitimate purposes, such as protecting the citizens from foreign attack, but in truth there is no difference between one person and another based solely on their country of origin. The quality of the bird is not determined by where they make their nest, and so where someone chooses to call home does not automatically make them an enemy or a friend. The Supreme Lord is the master of all the planets as well as all the divine figures. He is the supreme enjoyer of all sacrifices and austerities. And most importantly, He is the well-wishing friend of every living entity. In devotional service to Him one realizes this very quickly, and they attain the equal vision of the humble sage as a result.
When new bird in nest to stay,
Laws of immigration not to obey.
Not needed is certificate of birth,
Land of home not to determine its worth.
With intelligence human being to see,
That spiritually equal all living things that be.
To Supreme Lord Krishna all connected,
For bhakta equality in spirit easily detected.