By Chirag Dangarwala
With the advancement of the ages, human consciousness had changed too. It is believed that today modern society has advanced far more than the ancient civilization. With more technology and equipments available at disposal, everything has become fast paced and instant. Material science has achieved a lot of progress than the yester years. This progress is thought of as an advancement in Civilization and is looked upon as a great achievement by the society. Today any nation, not using the latest technology is considered underdeveloped. Most certainly materially passionate human endeavors has led to many inventions, for helping and accelerating the way things are done, which certainly is commendable, and this is possible for a human being to achieve since human beings posses higher intelligence than any other species of life on this planet.
Although we have made lot of material progress, from the Vedic literatures, we get the information that human intelligence should not be used only for material progress, since the prime occupation of a human being is to Enquire about the Absolute Truth. This is completely contradictory to the modern idea of advancement. Advancement as per Vedic text means advancing in spiritual consciousness. Materially one must endeavor to a point where one is able to comfortably maintain the body and soul together.
Reflecting on the Vedic thought, it is very natural for a reader today to immediately shun from this idea and not believe in the Vedic literature right away, since the 99% of populace do not consider Vedic thought or do not have the information. Every one today is tuned in with the modern thinking and modern way of living. Everyone is working hard to compete with other to increase the modern facilities of life to enjoy this lifetime to the fullest. Nevertheless, people who have studied the Vedic literature in depth and tried to follow its examples have found that a profound truth lies in these literatures. When studied with the right perspective and under the guidance of a bonafide spiritual teacher it makes a lot of sense and has a life changing affect on the person who studies it. Vedic literatures are called as apaurushya, which means these teachings are coming in disciplic succession from the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna Himself, since Lord Krsna is beyond this material creation, he is not subject to four kinds of defects which a ordinary human being is subject to namely one makes mistakes, one has a tendency to cheat, one has imperfect senses and one is illusioned. So the knowledge flowing in this disciplic succession is perfect and even though we may not understand or believe it right away owing to our four defects, the knowledge is perfect and sublime.
So accepting that Vedic knowledge is perfect, if one compares the modern thinking of advancement, one will conclude that this is not the purpose of life. As mentioned above, the purpose of life as per the Vedic Civilization is not to work hard day and night only for material advancement, but it is to make spiritual advancement by understanding who we are, what is the Absolute Truth, Who is God ,What is our relationship with God etc. If one is not interested in these topics one is certainly living in a dream world, full of illusions which is called Maya (or that which is not). From practical point of view, we see that most of the people today have created a world around themselves, where that person tries to be the center in every aspect. Some people feel safe in a group of friends who praise and respect them, which is their dream bubble, always trying to live life in terms of that. Some people think of their family as their world, for some the colleagues at work are everything. Everyone is thinking in terms of their surroundings and living in a relative truth. This as per the Vedic thought is Maya (which is not) or illusion. Since we all are spirit souls and part and parcel of one Almighty Lord. Our constitutional position is to be the servant of Krsna. If we forget what our original constitutional position is and act in a way which we are not that certainly is like dreaming. Since just like in a dream, we may become a king of a country and become very happy for the moment, until we are awake again, similarly when s person is unable to identify its real identity he or she is living in a dream world.
As per Bhagavad Gita, we are not the bodies but are eternal spiritual sparks, part and parcel of God. We are meant to serve God and enjoy with him in that relation. This service to God is not based on the material conception of service; it is based on Love and not lust. Bhagavad Gita informs us that only when we realize our true nature, it is then only we will be able to become peaceful and happy. Now all this information is new and revolutionary to the modern thinkers, since it is very difficult to see these things with gross senses, but there are many things which can be perceived and need not be seen to realize their existence. For eg, wind , air, mind, intelligence, all are perceived , these things have no tangible form, yet one can understand that everyone has got a mind and intelligence or when there is a air blowing . Similarly in order to perceive the existence of soul Sri Krsna gives an example in the Bhagavad Gita,
dehino ‘smin yathā dehe
kaumāraḿ yauvanaḿ jarā
dhīras tatra na muhyati [ B.g. 2. 13]
“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.”
He further mentions
avināśi tu tad viddhi
yena sarvam idaḿ tatam
na kaścit kartum arhati [B.g. 2.17]
“That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.”
For an intelligent person these descriptions are more than enough to realize that the consciousness in the body is the symptom of the presence of soul. So if we are the eternal spirit souls, meant to serve the lord, it is evident that we are not the center or the enjoyer or the proprietor in any way. When one fully realizes that the only enjoyer, proprietor is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, it should be understood that that person has set foot into the real world and is beginning to awaken from the dream bubble.
One may wonder as to what is the use or necessity of understanding God , since even if I am living in my dream world, I am happy within my world of friends, family , society etc. It should be understood that the nature of this world is temporary and full of miseries, so even if by influence of Maya one is convinced that he is happy, sooner or later this reality will dawn him or her that this place is not a happy place. It is generally seen, that people become disturbed, depressed and sometimes even commit suicide when their dream bubble bursts when for e.g. their loved ones leave them or betray them etc. In this condition they start blaming God for their miseries. But one forgets that God has already warned us through scriptures and his devotees that material world is full of miseries and temporary. For our original position is with Him (God) in loving devotional service.
This chance of human form is very rare, only after 8400000 life forms one gets this intelligence, by which he or she can inquire about the Absolute Truth and become eternally happy without anxieties and miseries. It is very essential that every one should take this opportunity and burst their dream bubble themselves to realize the Real Truth, rather than waiting for the nature to burst it in a painful way. Easiest way as recommended by all the scriptures of the world especially Srimad Bhagavatam in this age of Kali to understand the Absolute Truth is by chanting the holy names of God, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.