07.29 – Don’t reduce the spiritual to the practical; let the spiritual expand the practical

by September 25, 2013

“That’s not practical.” We may thus dismiss forms of spirituality that require commitment like devotional service. We usually consider as practical that which requires little commitment and makes us feel good fast.

Little do we realize that our demand for instant spirituality is like a chronically sick person’s demand for instant cure. Just as opportunist doctors fleece such patients by giving painkillers, so do opportunist spiritualist teachers by giving pop spirituality. Just as authentic doctors insist on commitment to the necessary treatment, so do authentic spiritual teachers insist on commitment to devotional service.

Narrow preconceptions of what is practical can be self-destructive. After all, sickness itself isn’t practical. It doesn’t politely accommodate itself within our practical plans. When sickness comes, especially serious sickness, we have to revise our conception of the practical and make time for the treatment. Else we become sicker, suffer terribly and die.

Gita wisdom indicates that we all are spiritually sick. We are eternal beings infected with the disease of materialism that subjects us to the sufferings of old age, disease and death – lifetime after lifetime. Our devotion to the practical can’t save us from these miseries. Only our devotion to the transcendental can save us, as the Bhagavad-gita (07.29) indicates.

That’s why we need to expand our definition of the practical to include the spiritual and make time to practice devotional service. Learning to love Krishna thus helps us discipline our stray desires, focus our mind and sharpen our intelligence. This enables us to do things earlier considered impractical, just as the recovery of health enables a sick person to do things earlier considered impractical. And ultimately redefinition of the practical to include the spiritual elevates us to Krishna’s world of love, where the spiritual becomes eternally, ecstatically practical.


07.29 – Intelligent persons who are endeavoring for liberation from old age and death take refuge in Me in devotional service. They are actually Brahman because they entirely know everything about transcendental activities.


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