02.16: Value change, but don’t change values

by Chaitanya Charan dasDecember 18, 2011

Our present existence is bi-dimensional: we are spiritual beings residing in material bodies. Harmonizing the material and the spiritual dimensions of our existence is a perennial challenge. If we wish to make spiritual advancement, our aspirations have to be primarily in the spiritual realm: the development of selfless, spiritual love for God and all his children. However, when we wish to express our love through practical service in the material world, our actions have to be primarily in the material realm.

How do we balance acting principally in the material realm with aspiring principally in the spiritual realm?  The Bhagavad-gita (2.16) offers a helpful insight: the material never endures, the spiritual never ceases. When we become rooted in this insight, worldly change can change our actions materially, but not our aspirations spiritually. Thus, we value change, knowing that it affects our actions, but don’t overvalue change so much that it changes our values and aspirations. After all, even the most momentous material change can’t change the twin ground realities that:

  1. All pleasures and troubles from material changes are passing
  2. Only the shelter and satisfaction from spiritual devotion is lasting.
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Chaitanya Charan das

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