The Spiritual IIT Chance
The Vedic scriptures declare that most modern humans are not much different from this IIT student. We are all eternal spiritual souls traveling through various species of life undergoing education in material existence. When we are awarded human bodies, we have gained admission into spiritual IITs, so to speak; a bright spiritual career – eternal life and love – is just a stone’s throw away. Death is like our final exam and life our preparation time. We have to prepare our intelligence and heart to make it fully and purely devoted to God. If by the time of death our love for God has become greater than our love for everything else of this world, then we graduate successfully to return back to His eternal abode to rejoice in divine love forever. We can awaken our dormant love for God most easily and expeditiously by chanting His Holy Names, especially the Hare Krishna mahamantra. But instead if we let ourselves become preoccupied with attaining better facilities for bodily enjoyment and neglect our spiritual growth, we become like the IIT student who struggles to get better food to eat and neglects his studies. Food is available to anyone and everyone; IIT education to only a select few. Similarly bodily pleasures – food, sleep, sex and show of strength – are available to all species of life; divine joys to humans alone. Moreover, the pleasure of eating lasts for a few moments, whereas the pleasure of an IIT degree lasts for a whole lifetime. Similarly, bodily pleasures last for at best a few years, whereas spiritual fulfillment lasts for all of eternity.
We frantically search for that fullness by manipulating matter in newer and newer ways, but to no avail. The resulting frustration causes us to become stunted, throttled and distorted. Overindulgence in matter and negligence of spirit backfires and results in disharmony, distress and disaster.
Over the last five centuries, the widespread acceptance of the mechanistic scientific worldview and the concomitant negligence or rejection of spirituality has resulted in a colossal imbalance of material and spiritual values. The modern world, especially the West, is witnessing the catastrophic consequences of disharmonious living. Individually there is an increase in dissatisfaction, stress, depression, addiction and suicide and globally there is an increase in unrest, criminality, violence and terrorism.
Just as the nonperforming IIT student is expelled and loses the chance for a bright career, spiritually lackadaisical souls are expelled from human bodies back to animal bodies, where they have no access to spiritual bliss. And just as an irresponsible IIT student will never feel satisfied and always feel guilty, similarly spiritually irresponsible humans never feel fulfilled and always feel a vacuum in their hearts. The Bhagavadgita (16.23) therefore declares that a godless materialist finds happiness neither in this life, nor in the next. On the other hand, just as the IIT student who applies himself to studies soon experiences the refined pleasure of learning, those humans who apply themselves to devotional service centered on chanting the names of God soon relish the sublime pleasure of devotion.
Let us therefore wisely reject the lure of selfdeluding enjoyment and fully utilize our human potential to attain sublime happiness in this life and the next.