12.04 – The enlightened vision and the benevolent disposition
Spiritual knowledge is a therapy for the soul. Just as medical knowledge brings with it the responsibility to help the sick, so does spiritual knowledge.
The enlightened vision is expected to foster a benevolent disposition in all transcendentalists. Not just devotees, but also impersonalists who are lower in the spiritual hierarchy. The Bhagavad-gita enjoins twice (05.25, 12.04) that those seeking the all-pervading spirit, Brahman, strive for the welfare of all living beings (sarva bhuta hite ratah).
Impersonalists need to be benevolent because their spiritual path requires them to see Brahman everywhere. Accordingly, they need to see others not as products of matter, but as sparks of spirit. And help them come from material illusion to spiritual truth.
The path of bhakti spiritually enriches this vision in three significant ways:
- Others are not just particles of spirit, but are parts of Krishna. All living beings are the children of Krishna; we are all members of the same one family.
- The reality towards which we can guide others is much sweeter and far more attractive than the passive peace of Brahman realization. That ultimate reality is the dynamic spiritual world permeated with ecstatic love for Krishna.
- For progressing spiritually, others don’t have to depend only on their own discrimination and determination. By rendering devotional service to Krishna, they can get his grace in the form of higher wisdom and higher taste. Both these make it much easier to go from illusion to reality.
Having such a rich spiritual vision, devotees are naturally benevolent towards everyone. In fact, the Bhagavad-gita (12.13) recommends such benevolence as the first among the characteristics of devotees. (adveshta sarva-bhutanam maitrah karuna)
By our daily devotional practices, we aspiring devotees can internalize the enlightened vision and benevolent disposition.