Sunday, February 12, 2017

Three Kinds Of People Who Cannot Be Peaceful

[Tulsidas with Rama and Lakshmana]“But a devotee is peaceful because he is fully surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thinks of himself as completely helpless; just as a child feels complete peace in depending on the parent, so a devotee is completely peaceful, for he depends on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.12.37 Purport)

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One of the benefits of film over live production is the ability to quickly jump from scene to scene. Something like a slideshow, simply by showing a series of images an important message can come across. There is the ability to contrast through juxtaposition.

One example is the issue of sleep. If a series of characters is undergoing some type of austerity, the effect it has on the body can be shown through a nighttime scene. Each character is briefly shown struggling to fall asleep. Then the last image could be of a character who is sleeping soundly. For whatever reason, perhaps through not having undergone the austerity, they are not affected at all.

Goswami Tulsidas does something similar in one of his many beautiful verses of poetry. He talks about different kinds of people and how they all have something to worry about. In the end, Tulsidas mentions himself, and how he has no trouble sleeping since he has full faith and trust in Shri Rama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In a purport to a verse from the Shrimad Bhagavatam, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada makes a similar comment. He describes the concept of peacefulness and how only the devoted souls have this characteristic in full. The comparison is made to the helpless child. As there is full dependence on the parents, there is no worry.

[Tulsidas with Rama and Lakshmana]No analogy is perfect; in this case the parents are flawed human beings, but the same kind of helplessness in surrender to God brings peace throughout an existence. In contrast, there are different kinds of people who lack such peacefulness.

1. Karmis

This word is a derivative of karma, which is fruitive activity. This is the default condition for the human being after they emerge from the womb. Seek out work that has consequences. The effects don’t necessarily manifest right away. In fact, the type of body, both gross and subtle, at the time of birth is determined from past karma.

Karmis are not peaceful because they have demands for sense gratification. There is one desire after another. Those desires rush in like a raging river. Satisfying one desire does not mean that the demands will go away. The opposite can occur. Look at the wealthy person. They have everything they could ever need, and yet they are never at peace.

2. Jnanis

This word is a derivative of jnana, which means “knowledge.” A jnani is supposed to be superior to the karmi, since they have essentially halted the rushing river of sense gratification. Jnana is also the path of acquiring knowledge. Instead of working like the animals, looking to satisfy the senses here and there, the jnani tries to understand the reason for their being. They learn the distinction between body and spirit, and they try to go beyond that foundation of spiritual knowledge.

Yet even the jnani is not peaceful. This is because they are always concerned over how their progress is going. Are they attached to the senses? The goal in jnana is to merge into the spiritual existence, Brahman. This goal is extremely difficult to achieve, especially for one who is embodied.

“For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.5)

Any slip up, and it’s like you are back at square one. Therefore tension remains. The advanced jnani tries to be very strict in their practice. They want mukti, or liberation, and nothing can get in the way.

3. Yogis

This word is a derivative of yoga, which means linking the individual soul with the Supreme Soul. In discussions where karma and jnana are mentioned, yoga is the process of mysticism. Think sitting in a lotus pose and meditating. Think retreating to the mountains, getting away from civilization, and living austerely.

The fruit of mystic yoga is siddhi; perfection. There are several siddhis of yoga, and they come only through dedicated and difficult practice. Siddhis are like amazing abilities. Imagine being able to change your weight, to very light or very heavy at the blink of an eye. Imagine being able to move to different places without physically transferring the body.

Yogis are never in peace because they have the desire for siddhis. If the abilities don’t come, then the process is not yet perfected. If the abilities do come, then there is the issue of exercise. What to do with my new abilities?

Only the souls surrendered in devotion, bhakti, are completely peaceful. This is because they are akama, or without desire. Whether they have to work, read, or meditate, they are only interested in pleasing the Supreme Lord. In whatever circumstances He places them, they are fine. They are satisfied in the self since they know the Supreme Self is always looking out for them.

In Closing:

People of categories three,

Peace never to see.

 

In karma working for result,

New desires, never can exult.

 

Jnanis on rules attention keeping,

Yogis exercise after perfection reaping.

 

Bhaktas only soundly able to sleep,

Since eye on their welfare God to keep.