Friday, January 18, 2013

material experience

Verse 1.30: I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Kṛṣṇa, killer of the Keśī demon.

Yesterday we talked about how we are spiritual beings having a material experience. If you were wondering what the material experience is all about, it can be summed up by the phrase "It's all about me." That's the motivating force that drives one when they are entrapped in material consciousness.

The word material has now been tossed around a few times and you might be scratching your head wondering what exactly it means. Let's make one thing clear; I'm not talking about yards of cloth or the stuff you need to read and study! Material in the context of the Gita relates to that which is temporary and seeing the world as separate from its real owner and controller - God.

This material consciousness blinds us to what is actually real and permanent: the spiritual spark, the soul, which is our true self and our eternal, loving relationship with God. By forgetting these two things, we set ourselves up for disappointment again and again in everything that we do.

The problem is that we associate the me that's referred to in our "it's all about me" behaviour to the temporary material body. Since the body is temporary, all our efforts and plans to gratify and satisfy it are also temporary.

I'm sure you've had experiences of this....c'mon, be honest. We have and hear about experiences of this everyday such as the millionaire that's never satisfied. Everyone else wants to be him and he's thinking of how to get another hundred million more. Does he at least get to take it with him when he passes away? No. It's just temporary.

Trying to be happy with the temporary is like trying to convince a fish that it is natural for it to be happy living on land. The natural environment for the fish is in the water. Somehow though, we don't realize that this analogy perfectly applies to us. Our true self, the soul, is eternal, meaning that its natural for us to be searching for permanence in every aspect of our existence. However, the problem is that due to mud-stained glasses and some good old fashioned brainwashing, we are being convinced to think we can be happy with the temporary.

Arjuna right now is exactly where we are - identifying himself only with his body. He'll soon be informed that the first step to getting out of material consciousness starts by realizing that the actual "me" is the eternal spiritual spark that is within all of us, not the exterior covering called the body.


  1. "Our true self, the soul, is eternal, meaning that its natural for us to be searching for permanence in every aspect of our existence."

    I think this helps explain the great unrest our souls can feel sometimes as we dig deeper for meaning and purpose. The pursuit for the Absolute Truth seems to make everything else pale in comparison and seem trivial. To know God is the pearl of great price that the Bible talks about. I have to say that I haven't gotten there yet. I don't really "know" anything with any real certainty. Well, except one thing, there's something about chanting the mahamantra that brings a sense of peace and clarity. I love chanting the names of God. Who God is, I'm still exploring.

    Thank you so much for stopping by on my blog and leaving your comment. What a great suggestion you made. I'm going to try applying your advice. :)

    Hare Krishna!

  2. You know that's ok if you feel that you don't "know anything". The chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is the most important thing anyways. There's actually a beautiful verse in a sanskirt poem that describes that the mirror of our heart is covered by dust and it is by chanting the maha mantra that it can be cleaned.

    Please let me know how it goes with the chanting!

    Hare Krsna!

  3. Thank you Vrndavana. That is my hope...That the more I chant the more clarity I will have. In the Gita's purports Prabhupada writes very similar ideas about chanting-that it removes layers of maya and misconception. I have a japa mala and chant between 4 and 6 rounds a day...Nothing like the 16 rounds that I hear devotees chant. I can't imagine doing that..yet anyways. ;)

    By the way...You mentioned on my blog that it might be helpful, when in the type of situation I was in yesterday, to read the Gita, even just a random page or verse I found. I randomly opened my Gita As It Is up to Chapter 6 text 40 and it was:

    "The Blessed Lord said; Son of Prtha, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil."

    I'm not sure if I'm a transcendentalist or not, but those words, and the purport by Swami Prabhupada, definitely left me with a sense of hope. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

    Sorry for writing so much!

    Hare Krishna!

  4. Hare Krsna Jessica! Chanting is the essence and everything is revealed through chanting. It just takes patience, something that most of us (i.e. me!) don't' have much of. LOL! That's so wonderful that you chant between 4-6 rounds every day!!! Yes, it's true that there's nothing like 16 rounds...but don't worry! You'll get there! :) This is a great time to focus on the quality of your chanting now.

    That's awesome that you randomly opened the Gita yesterday with your question in mind. I'll share with you something that a long-time bhakti practitioner once said to me. "Sometimes when we open the Gita, we don't necessarily find the exact answer and sometimes we even feel it's not staring at us right in the face. However, we fail to take into consideration that perhaps we're not ready for the answer and many times, later on, when we are actually ready, we realize it was there all along!" That really made a lot of sense to me and although I don't know what you're question was, the answer you got certainly is very encouraging! :D

    No problem about "writing so much". I think I did the exact same thing!

    Hare Krsna!