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Title: What if all this was an illusion?
User: Nitaipada_Maharaja Date: 2006-07-27 20:47:59
Yesterday I had a strange questions posed to me during a discussion of Nityananda/Gauranga Naam. "What if all of this was an illusion? I mean, what if there was no reincarnation, no god, nothing after this death." This question quite took me by suprise, but no-less left me thinking deeply.
This question poses further questions. "If there is "nothing" after death, would I life my life differently? Would I change and "enjoy" the fruits of my labor, my body, etc.? Whould I be as "bad" as I wanted to be?" To these further questions, I would have to answer "No".
The Christian concept of having only one life, and after this the "judgement". The Muslims and the Jews say the same, that we are given only one life, and after this we go into eternity never to see this material world again. When discussing these religious principles with this young lady, I had to pose questions to her that would make her think also. Its times like this that I wonder how they "find" me, and why they approach me. Not like I have a sign over the door or anything, LOL. Oh well, maybe this is why I'm here...
With the theology of the Semitic religions that we do not reincarnate, and that we only have one life, does not the sins committed by these religions deem much more severe than in the religious context of Hinduism and Buddhism who hold to a reincarnation belief? Is not the murder of an individual much more severe when there is no chance of retribution, especially when committed with "religious zeal" than in my own, which holds to the practice of ahimsa? Is not the sanctity of all life must more dramatic when it is taken senslessly and with disreguard much more taumatic on the eternal scale?
In speaking with this young lady, there arose in my own mind certain points that confirmed the illogical conclusions of her question. All peoples of this material planet hold some form of religious thought. From the most philosophical Vaishnava Sadhu and Buddhist Sage, to the most primitive stone-aged warrior in the jungles of the Americas, there exists the desire to know the Divine and that which is beyond the material senses. As having taken birth in the later, I deeply understand my own people's understanding of the worlds around them in a spiritual context. Unlike the "white man" and his concepts of eternity, our's is a belief where every material item has a spirit that is to be honored. My Grandmother told me as a child, "don't look at the surface, but to what is held within." As I grew older and learned the "Ways of the Ancients", every rock and tree had a spirit, had a heart-beat, and this was to be respected and honored. The wind not only had its own spirit, but was full of colors and character, traveling at the bequest and joy of the Creator. Not until years later did I fully understand the teachings and wisdom of my people's spiritual nature until I heard a song in a Disney movie which stated: "I know the name of every rock and tree, where they live and breath...do you know from which the wind blows, can you paint with all the colors of the wind?"
Even though my own heritage carries its own wisdom, coming to Krishna Consciousness has not only completed my own journey, but explained the wisdom of my people in a deeper light. As I explained this to the young lady, that all peoples have a religious belief, no matter how primitive, the examples between people is to obvious to ignore. As we talked on, it became obvious to both of us that the Creator of all living things placed within us the desire to learn more of Him, and to live in accordance to His laws and desires. If even the thought of nothing existing beyond death, the life that is lived in full spectrum of Love and obedience to the Supreme is much more wealthy than the life lived in selfish persuits of the desires of the flesh and mind. Even though life is done, there continues to remain the ugly reality that a life lived in the prison of mind and body is empty and meaningless. Such a life is a waste, one that is certainly not worth mentioning in the annuals of history or even repeating orally.
In the study of the human spirit, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has given many priviledges to the human body. Intelligence to question one's reality and reason of being. In this persuit of knowledge, we are given the desire to learn more of the Supreme and that which lies outside of ourselves. The true knowledge of self does not begin until we have a goal in mind, that of what to measure ourselves against. I explained to her that I myself judge myself against religious "saints" of my own people, the status and position of my Gurumaharaj and Shri Nityananda and ultimately Shri Gauranga. Without this measure, each day can blur into the next without any sense to advancement or failure. Daily one should annalize their lives and the quality one lives it. If we are honest with ourselves, then truly we strive to become the best that we can become in this life, to release that which binds us spiritually and physically and become that which the Supreme desires for us to become.
Our position is that of servant, and servant we are no matter what our mind set is of ourselves. Well...maybe not servant, most people are slaves, slaves to their minds, slaves to their bodies, slaves to their desires, addictions and passions. Whereas one that is a servant chooses their positon consciously and willingly, out of their own choice, not out of force from external influences. I choose to be a servant to my Gurumaharaj. I choose to quietly sit at his lotus feet. I choose to serve Shri Gauranga with all my being, better today than I did yesterday, dedicating every waking moment for his supreme pleasure. One can only offer their heart, soul and love willingly, these three cannot be demanded of anyone, even the Supreme. This is the supreme sacrifice that one can make, to willingly give one's complete being, offer all that one is as a spirit-soul to the lotus feet of the Lord.
I cannot question along these lines, I guess I'm not "programmed" in that manner. To me, the existance of "God" has always been as real to me as the grass that grows under my feet. He has always been the formost aspect of my own being, even prior to meeting the Lord's devotees. Even as a small child, I can remember laying in bed at night questioning God as to what my purpose was. Even then, this life had to have some purpose, and I remember asking that He arrange my life where I would come to know Him and understand what my position was, both physically and eternally.
While I know that this situation with this young lady is not over, after thinking farther on her question both last night and early this morning, I have more points for the discussion. I do not take her question as offensive because she's honest in her question and truly seeking the truth. The youth of this country is so confused, without direction and purpose, and sadly, cast aside to a large degree by the older generations as worthless in some manners. Atleast she is proving that she has a mind and is willing to approach someone that she "feels" may hold the answers to her own life's questions. I pray for the wisdom to handle this situation appropriately, and to provide the answers that will lead this young lady to the lotus feet of Shri Shri Nitai-Gaurahari.
Please go to the original blog entry here and contribute your valuable comments....: http://www.gaurangapada.org/blogs/viewblog.php?entry=65
Title: Re: What if all this was an illusion?
User: Nava Gauranga dasa Date: 2006-07-27 22:05:44
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!
Greetings to you Nitaipada Maharaja,
please accept my simple obiesances.
Not like I have a sign over the door or anything, LOL. Oh well, maybe this is why I'm here... quote Nitaipada
Thanks for sharing this really interesting post, it is so thoughtful. I laughed so much when I read the above quote by you...I think this is why you are here LOL.
Since a small child I have pondered God also, simply looking up at stars was such an awe inspiring thing.
I am glad that you shared about your Native American influences as a child, and that Krishna consciousness completes everything off so nicely for you.I was brought up in a Catholic background so my mentors as a child were St Francis and Pope John Paul II. I have also found a similar thing in that Gaudiya Vaishnava has enriched my original faith so much, and over the last couple of years I feel so grateful for this. Really it has been a wonderful continuum. Everything is wonderfully deepened by contact with the Parampara descending from Mahaprabhu. Here is home, here is so sweet.
I am also glad that you mentioned that we are naturally servants. I was just reading the Gospel of Luke 17:7-10 today and it also teaches this Vaishnava principle of servant. So reading this today, also enhances and enriches my understanding of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. I feel so grateful to have met Gurudeva and now have steady faith in Nityananda/Gauranga Naam.
Here is the verse from Luke:
"But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, "Go and sit down to (eat food)?" And will not rather say unto him, "Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?" Doth he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, "We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do""
Even though this parable is of time and place somewhat in style, it still brings home to me...servant of the servant, of the servant so nicely.
Thanks for sharing Nitaipada Maharaja! Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!