05.29: Don’t Turn Your Back to the World; Raise Your Eyes Beyond the World
“To become spiritual, do we have to turn our back to the world?” Many prospective spiritualists have this question.
Gita wisdom offers an unequivocal answer: “No; we just have to raise our eyes beyond the world – to Krishna.”
The Bhagavad-gita (5.29) informs us that the world belongs to Krishna and is meant for his service. To grasp the significance of this information, let’s look at the three broad attitudes that people can have towards the world:
- Recreation: Those with this attitude treat the world as a good place made for their enjoyment. They consider God as existing primarily to provide and protect their worldly enjoyment. Their attitude represents the path of karma.
- Rejection: Those with this attitude see the world as an evil place made to give them suffering. They see its apparent pleasures as the baits that entice and entrap. Those with this attitude focus more on going away from the world than on going towards God. Their attitude represents the path of jnana.
- Reciprocation: Those with this attitude view God as the primary, central reality of existence and see the world as a subordinate reality meant for his service. They see worldly pleasures as distorted reflections of spiritual joys. Their attitude represents the path of bhakti.
The above Gita verse indicates that the third attitude is the most evolved understanding of the world. When we cultivate devotion, our eyes become fixed on Krishna, and so the world can no longer lock our eyes with its pleasures. So, we don’t feel the need to turn our back to it. Instead, we see it as a potential offering to Krishna for his service.
By this devotional vision, we can stay spiritual even while being in the material world.