Sound Vibration beyond the Temporary Situation
We should all ask ourselves, “What's worth living for?” Do our treasures lie in the temporary things of this world, or with the deeper and permanent potential of the heart to love God?
In the beautiful Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa), there is a passage:
इदं हि पुंसस्तपस: श्रुतस्य वा
स्विष्टस्य सूक्तस्य च बुद्धिदत्तयो: ।
यदुत्तमश्लोकगुणानुवर्णनम् ॥ २२ ॥
idaṁ hi puṁsas tapasaḥ śrutasya vā
sviṣṭasya sūktasya ca buddhi-dattayoḥ
avicyuto ’rthaḥ kavibhir nirūpito
Learned circles have positively concluded that the infallible purpose of the advancement of knowledge, namely austerities, study of the Vedas, sacrifice, chanting of hymns and charity, culminates in the transcendental descriptions of the Lord, who is defined in choice poetry. (S.B. 1.5.22)
I grew up in the Christian faith, where I was taught to value the eternal and permanent over the material and temporary. The book of Matthew records the famous Sermon on the Mount where Lord Jesus advises, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
We come into this world with no possessions and are completely dependent upon the kindness of others for our survival. We then interact with this world and accumulate things that we hope will give us happiness. These things may give us some material comfort or, at least, mitigate some of our suffering; but they have no permanence. We leave this world with nothing. Even our very bodies eventually disintegrate, and nobody knows exactly when this will occur; but we can be certain that the death rate worldwide has never changed from 100%.
Understanding this, we could ask the question, “What is worth pursuing?” This is, in truth, very individualistic.
My great-grandfather in spiritual lineage, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda, once wrote, “A devotee feels the presence of God everywhere, but one averse to the Lord denies His existence anywhere.”
Some people place no confidence in evidence beyond what can be perceived with their senses. Notions of eternality and the non-material are, to them, fantasy. God is an “imaginary friend”. Faith in God is characterised as a delusional mental disorder.
It can be disturbing for someone with tender faith to even hear ideas like these. A broader and more informed outlook can, however, accommodate that this mental freedom to accept or reject God is necessary for any genuine relationship to eventuate. Indoctrination has very little value in the development of śraddhā, the Sanskrit word for experiential faith. Moreover, Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), “I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.” So the ability to forget God is granted by God within the heart.
God is there when we want to turn towards Him. He isn’t needy for us like some desperate co-dependent. Kṛṣṇa grants us and respects our feelings of independence. Our sojourn in this material atmosphere spans over as many lifetimes as are needed for us to realize the futility of acquiring temporary things. Again, we all die and take with us nothing from this realm of impermanence, where “moth and rust doth corrupt”.
But here’s where my Christian understanding gets ambiguous. What exactly is meant by the advice to “lay up for myself treasure in heaven”? Do I just focus on not being selfish in the hope of getting some “heaven points”? That still seems pretty selfish.
Fortunately, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gave me a deeper insight. Its very purpose is to describe the personality and activities of God in detail. Otherwise, how does the mind latch on to a vague notion of a supreme being? Even the imagination has its limits and, for some, creates a resentful and entirely unloving and unloveable ideation of a supreme being. It’s understandable why so many people these days seem eager to announce their rejection of such a figure.
Kṛṣṇa is one of many names of God that means “all attractive”. What makes Kṛṣṇa so attractive? The Bhāgavatam gives such a broad presentation that it allows scope for individual preference. Some find their hearts attracted to one of the many brilliant avatāras of Kṛṣṇa such as Varāha (the boar), Matsya (the fish), Kūrma (the tortoise) or Nṛsiṁha (the half-man half-lion). Some are enchanted by the original three-fold bending form of Śyāmasundara Kṛṣṇa who plays a flute.
In the right company, discussion of the name, form, and activities of these personalities gives a transcendent deep satisfaction to the soul. This isn’t something that we need to psyche ourselves into, as it happens on a plane beyond even the mind. It is mysticism in its truest sense: pure magic. These treasures are not of this impermanent world where things deteriorate. They elevate the speaker and listener to a realm of love eternal. Nothing can take this opportunity away from us; it is the birthright of every living entity and makes the things of this world seem insignificant.
I pray that I can maintain attraction for that world of permanence. I pray that everyone reading these words can participate in the ambrosial choice poetry of Kṛṣṇa-kathā and then elevate me by their personal and unique affinity for God.
I remain your servant.
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These words were not generated with or augmented by artificial intelligence; just “flawsome” human thoughts here … with, of course, due homage to The Algorithm that abides over us all.
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