15.06: Life in the spiritual world is not an eternity of daytime television

by July 12, 2012

Our ideas of enjoyment are largely shaped by our culture. Consequently, many people nowadays equate enjoyment with watching TV. Relaxing on a comfortable coach, guzzling down hi-tech, hi-speed images of one’s favourite TV program and gulping down potato chips is their version of paradise.

When such people come across Gita wisdom and hear that the spiritual world is a place of eternal happiness, they often superimpose those conceptions on the spiritual world: they expect life in the spiritual world to be something like an eternity of daytime television. So, when they hear the specifics of the activities in the spiritual world: how Vrindavan is a pastoral paradise, how God as Krishna is a cowherd boy, and how everyone there is engaged lovingly in serving Krishna, they find these specifics too simple, too naïve, too boring.

To convey the fallacy in such dragging of our material preconceptions to the spiritual level, the Bhagavad-gita (15.6) states that the spiritual world is not illuminated by the sun, moon or fire. Obviously, the spiritual world is not a dark place; the scriptures repeatedly declare that it is the most luminous of all places. So, this negational declaration conveys poignantly that, as everything in the spiritual world is self-luminous, no external sources of illumination are needed there. Similarly, everyone in the spiritual world is innately joyful in their relationship with Krishna and so no external sources of happiness like TV is needed there.

What brings satisfaction to the heart is not the sophistication of an activity, but the love with which it is performed. In TV watching, people try to replace satisfaction of the heart with titillation of the mind and the senses; as this substitution doesn’t work, they try to make amends by craving more aggressive titillation. The activities in the spiritual world may be simple, but because they comprise reciprocations of love for Krishna, they bring the supreme fulfilment to the hearts.

They comprise an eternity of not passive television, but dynamic devotion

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