07.16 – Digging the grave of materialism – functional and fanatical
Materialism comes in two main brands: fanatical materialism which claims that matter is all that exists and functional materialism which claims that matter is all that matters.
Fanatical materialists have no empirical or logical proof that nothing exists beyond matter. They reject the time-honored caution that materialism strips life of meaning, purpose and fulfillment. They neglect the sociological findings that materialism inevitably breeds immorality and perversity. For them, matter is their one and only god, unquestionable and non-negotiable, no matter what the cost.
Functional materialists are far more numerous than their fanatical cousins. These milder materialists don’t deny the non-material or spiritual level of reality; they just delay thinking about it because they are too enamored by material pleasures.
Material life’s inbuilt upheavals like bereavements or accidents or diseases expose the hollowness of faith in materialism. Such exposes impel functional materialists to enquire seriously about what lies beyond matter. If they have had some devotionally congenial impressions (sukriti), they approach Krishna for relief, as the Bhagavad-gita (7.16) confirms.
Fanatical materialists rarely wake up due to life’s upheavals. They need far stronger shock treatments that may span several lifetimes in sub-human bodies and subterranean places. To rescue them from this unnecessary suffering, devotees offer them spirituality in an appealing form like sanctified food. If fanatical materialists somehow appreciate Krishna, at least in his easily appreciable form as prasad, then this appreciation tills the ground of their hearts for the sowing of the seeds of pious credits.
When these pious credits sprout, both brands of materialists feel inspired to repose faith in Krishna when materialism lets them down. Over time, they experience that Krishna never lets them down, although they had let him down for so long. Energized by this experience, they dig a grave for their materialism and bury it forever.