Friday, January 13, 2017

Five Things I Continue To Underestimate

[Lord Krishna]“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)

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Everything is spelled out. There is no mystery, provided one consults a translation and commentary that is authorized and in the tradition giving the teacher the same respect that the original disciple did. There is no need to speculate, as the vision of the universal form removed all doubts pertaining to the divine nature of the speaker.

Though sentimental attachment and dogmatic insistence aren’t harmful when directed towards this person, there is plenty of information given so that the conclusion of service can be reached through rational understanding. The Bhagavad-gita, the Song of God, sung by Shri Krishna to Arjuna, gives a clear picture of the world in which we live, the experience that we have, what has happened to us in the past, what we can expect going forward, what are the most common mistakes made, and how we can avoid pain and misery forever. Despite the gift of this wisdom somehow making its way to me, I still underestimate so many things.

1. The dedication to pleasing the senses

The living entities in this world are fragmental parts of Krishna. The Sanskrit word is amsha. Krishna uses the word mam,, which means “mine.” Since they come from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, those fragments are Divine in nature, but due to conditioned life they are struggling. The cause of the struggle is the six senses, which include the mind.

The statement is quite clear, but I forget how strong the dedication to pleasing the senses is. Indulgence in intoxication is the clearest indication. Though the individual knows how much pain came about in the past, they continue along the same path, time and time again. It’s as if something else is controlling them from within.

2. The power of maya, illusion

I think I am so advanced because of the kind of house I live in, the car I drive, and what I am able to watch on television. The truth is that I am just as much in illusion as generations past. After all, I still make so many mistakes. If it’s possible to think that a rope is a snake, how smart am I really?

I underestimate the influence of maya. I think that I am above illusion, but in a moment I can go from peace to raging anger. Frustration gets the better of me on the commute to work in the morning. Worry over the upcoming election causes me to check the national polls every day. I have no power to change the outcome, but my interest is still intense.

“The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.” (Bhagavad-gita, 3.37)

That invisible source that drives man towards improper behavior, even against better judgment, is known as kama. Shri Krishna declares it to be the all-devouring enemy in this world, since it easily turns into krodha, or wrath. Maya helps to keep kama very strong.

3. The effect of time on the body

I see sick people everywhere. Just making a routine visit to the doctor, I come across others with serious illnesses. I see the effect time has had on their body. Some have a difficult time walking. Others are slow in speech.

Still, I don’t consider how the same things will happen to me. I think that I will remain as vibrant as I am today. I give so much attention to the daily routine, with the many responsibilities, that I don’t realize what time is doing to my opportunities for establishing a firm connection with the Divine, yoga.

4. How strongly people are against God

Krishna says that He casts the truly sinful into lower species, lifetime after lifetime. From that we can infer the cause of our descent into the material world. We turned our back on God. No use trying to figure out exactly when. Indeed, the desperate search for this knowledge itself represents a challenge to the Divine, who is the lone entity with full knowledge at all times.

Evidence of the truth is seen in the continued antipathy in the general population towards real religion. A popular athlete can talk about how many cars he owns. He can discuss how many children he has, through many different partners. The one thing he can’t discuss is religion. The mere mention gets him in trouble.

Even in established religion, the followers are against God. The different regulations they blindly accept keep them from establishing a relationship in love with the original person. They are prohibited from crafting a form of the Divine and worshiping. They are told it is okay to live off killing innocent creatures. They are advised against chanting the holy names, which are mere sound vibration representations of the Almighty. The acceptance is actually not blind; it is intentional since there is the continued desire to forget God and enjoy without Him.

5. The power of the holy names

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” This set of words is sufficient for delivering the mind; hence it is known as the maha-mantra. The name of Krishna is identical to the person Krishna. Saying Rama is like having Rama. The words are of Sanskrit origin, but the effect is universal. The names are acoustic proof of the existence of God.

[Lord Krishna]I continue to underestimate the power of the holy names. I think that teaching the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita and Vedanta is more important. I put more stress on trying to convince others of the folly of their ways. I forget that simply hearing the holy names will do so much, causing a change from within. I forget that the highway robber turned into the sage Valmiki through the sound of Rama alone. I forget that the fallen Ajamila was spared punishment in the afterlife through accidentally saying the name of Narayana at the time of death. I forget how countless souls have been rescued from depression and despair through the maha-mantra alone.

In Closing:

So much wisdom from Gita to see,

Shri Krishna, wisest person is He.

 

Having such knowledge in mind to fill,

Continue to underestimate things still.

 

Like power of illusion’s grip,

How easily from peace to anger to slip.

 

Potency of the holy names most of all,

How everything fixed through sincerity call.