By Pusta Krishna das
I am presenting this to the readers of Dandavats.com in order to illustrate how misdirected and speculative the attempts of searching for the truth can be when not guided by the genuine spiritual teacher or Acharya. We must be mindful how fortunate we are to have the guidance of Srila Prabhupada in our day to day and even moment to moment spiritual practices. My comments are in relation to the cover article for the April 28, 2014 Time Magazine entitled “Let There Be Dark.”
Pusta Krishna das
In “Let There Be Dark”, the author appears to be suggesting that sensory deprivation may provide the setting for a mystical spiritual experience, that one may unlock the mysteries of spirit by eliminating the distractions of light (form), sound, touch, smell, taste. A more direct approach to spirituality and devotion can be achieved through the cultivation of transcendental knowledge and dedication to pleasing God through the use of the senses. The wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is readily instructs that the individual is the conscious soul within the body. The soul, or jivatma, is part of God, an infinitesimal serving unit, whose essence is originally imbued with loving service and exchange with God, Who as the scriptures suggest, is a spiritual Person, unique in His capacity to create and mystically expand Himself. As such, we therefore do not live outside of God but are forgetful of Him.
There are many varieties of spiritual seekers, and all are looking for the source. With genuine spiritual knowledge, one can take a more direct route, rather than a jagged course, toward reviving our loving relationship with God. It does not require sensory deprivation if one is knowledgeable. For example, the Bible might suggest that if the eye offends thee, then cut it out. If the hand offends thee, then cut it off. Sensory deprivation is not necessary to become God conscious. Rather, an awareness that God is the Creator of everything and therefore the owner of everything. All of His creation is intended for service to Him, to the Center…watering the root of the infinite Origin of everything, Who is a Person of unique and unlimited capacity. Such service in the Eastern tradition of devotional yoga is called Bhakti-yoga. It is a moment to moment practice of the discrimination between dedication to the Truth (God) versus illusion (self-serving material tendency to exploit. That can be practiced and experienced in any condition of life. It does not require sensory deprivation to uncover layers of illusion in order to arrive at a deeper sense of self. That self is who you are, always, at every moment. Proper training in the art of living a God-centered life is necessary, rather than darkness or light. Ultimately, we need to be able to dedicate the senses to the service of the Lord in order to receive His ecstatic loving reciprocation.
Paul H. Dossick, M.D.
author of “God Is Not Dead, The Testimony of a Fortunate Seeker”, 2014