Appreciate the depth and length of our existence to appreciate Krishna’s love
Talk at Bhakti Centre, Manhattan, New York
APPRECIATE THE DEPTH AND LENGTH OF OUR EXISTENCE TO APPRECIATE KRISHNA’S LOVE
So here I feel very honored to be here at the Bhakti center. And try to speak something light of the Bhagavat series. So here the birth of Maharaja Parikshit the emperor is going on. I’ll speak the couple of verses which we will discuss today.
çukle saàsthäm upeyuñi
räto vo ‘nugrahärthäya
The Brahmana said, ‘this spotless son has been restoring all powerful and all pervasive Lord Vishnu, the personality of Godhead in order to oblige you. He was saved when he was doomed to be destroyed by irresistible supernatural weapon’.
tasmän nämnä viñëu-räta
iti loke bhaviñyati
na sandeho mahä-bhäga
‘For this reason this child will be well known in the world as one who is protected by the personality of Godhead! oh most fortunate one there is no doubt this child will become a first-class devotee and he will be qualified with all good qualities’.
How the Lord protected this child Parikshit is being talked about. So I’ll talk on the theme of, to appreciate God’s love we need to appreciate the length and breadth of our own existence. That means that if we look at the various wisdom traditions in the world they often talk about God as a protector, in the old testament there is a references to how God miraculously protects his chosen people, He parts the sea sometimes expands one loaf of bread into unlimited quantities and like that in various traditions there is this talked about how God miraculously protects those who are devoted to Him and the Srimad Bhagavatam may seem to be talking of something similar.
The background of this story is that this child was not even born, is still in the mother’s womb and enemy of their dynasty wants to end their dynasty. So he is the last prominent heir of that dynasty, going to be the heir. So a mystical weapon is sent to the mother’s womb so that he can be killed there itself. And as the weapon is coming charging to kill this infant who later known as Parikshit. So at that time, that weapon is undefeatable, it is a celestial weapon, is powered by one of the greatest Devatas; the greatest Gods. So at that time Lord Vishnu himself intervenes. And He with His own formidable strength He checks that weapon and protects the life of Parikshit.
So this is the incident that is being described here and later on this child he sees- oh there is something how much level of awareness pre-born children have or unborn children have that is still a matter of discussion and debate and research but certainly they have certain level of cognitive awareness. And there are studies where shown that depending on the kind of impressions that the mother is exposed to, sometimes accordingly the ** development of the child happens. So Dr. Young Stevenson, he’s a researcher in paranormal phenomena especially past life memories but he’s also done the research where he talks about how, suppose the mother especially the pregnant mother is exposed to certain agitating, or certain distressing or horrifying stimuli then the child that is born often has a phobia towards those things. Now the phobias have various known causes and ** is one of them, and psychological development especially during infancy or during pregnancy. There is also one of the causes. Because phobia is a whole big phenomena and not much is so clearly known about what causes what phobia what people. But this is one pattern which is we will see that if the pregnant mother is exposed to certain horrifying stimuli the child often develops a phobia for those things. So there is some level of correlation that has been found ** also.
So here this child he is in the womb but in the womb he sees that there is this mystical arrow coming, something dangerous and all of us we have an innate survival instinct. With that survival instinct we try to protect ourselves. So if I am sitting here and just something sharp I feel ** I will move away from it. So similarly infant also sees that something is coming to**, there is fear at that time and along with the fear there is defenselessness. Because what can I do? It doesn’t know what it is, how it is to be countered but certainly at that time he sees this mystical effulgent being. Who has come and intervened. And He fights and drives away that missile this is my Savior. So Parikshit realizes this.
Now in many romance stories there is this standard theme of the 19th shy shining armor, some says that damsel in distress and to save her this mighty shining armor who comes. So often there is a romantic overdose to the whole story but here it is a transcendental *. Now here is infant in distress and there is this warrior who comes not just a shining armor but the body itself is shining. What is this? Who is this? S after he is born, he is constantly searching, who is that person that I saw? So whenever he would meet new people he would peer at them, trying to examine is this the person I had seen in my mother’s womb? Is this the person? Para-Ikshit either he was always watching them, observing them, examining them to determine their identity. That’s how his name became Parikshit. Now that Parikshit was protected in his mother’s womb is miraculous and that is being appreciated for his good fortune and the Lord’s mercifulness in protecting him but when we devote ourselves to God, or if we try to practice Bhakti, connect ourselves with God we may expect protection and sometimes it may seem that we do not get protected. So if God is glorified as the protector of those who devote themselves to Him then there are occasions when apparently even those who are devoted suffer, they get adversities and they suffer. So what has happened? When the Scripture glorifies oh God is a protector but how do we see situations when apparently God doesn’t protect. Now the Bhagavatam doesn’t fight shy of such situations.
Normally in many times atheistic traditions when a God protects those events are glorified and when other times they just downplayed, neglected but the Bhagavatam doesn’t do this. The Bhagavatam which is describing here the glory of how the Lord protected him, protected Parikshit the same Bhagavatam is centered on the theme of Parikshit’s eventual death. Now he later on this is the first Canto of` the Bhagavatam the first book, like that there are 11 books and chapter 7 onwards; this whole first book within the 12 books is actually setting the scene for what will come later.
So the main heart of the Bhagavatamd is a conversation between the sage Sukadeva Goswami and a seeker who is Parikshit Maharaja. So the first canto is setting up the scene. The chapters 1 to 6 setup the conceptual setting, conceptually what is the subject matter of the Bhagavatam that is described. Seven chapter briefly describes how the teachers became enlightenment enough to speak the subject. And from the seven chapter till the 19th chapter the Bhagavatam is telling how the student came in a situation to hear the subject.
So sometimes in novels there is a back story, so before the action begins the back stories told so that you can make sense of what is happening in the main story. So in one sense chapters 7 to 19 is the back story for the main conversation of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Here Parikshit’s birth will be told and some of the incidents before his birth are also told which talk about how significant his birth was and then after that his life is told briefly and then this cursing, he’s being cursed death. He was cursed that you will die in seven days that is told. And then the main heart of the Bhagavatam is the conversation that Parikshit hears as he’s preparing for his death. So at the end of the Bhagavatam, Parikshit dies and normally if we go to watch a movie in which the hero dies, we will say what kind of movie is this? We expect the good guys to win and the Bhagavatam isn’t in any way apologetic which is trying to explain a way, why did Parikshit die? It just prepares towards his death. And his death is described objectively and at the physical level, he is bitten by a mystical serpent and so when it bites him it doesn’t just poison him to death actually that bite causes whole body to catch fire, and he dies in a blaze. So you could say it’s quite a scary or gory kind of death that happens. So how does the Bhagavatam reconcile its claim as is done over here that God is the protector, it’s old storyline where it’s hero is not protected, it’s hero dies.
So the Bhagavatam’s theme is that there are protections at various levels. To understand if we appreciate God’s love we need to appreciate the length and the breadth of our existence. The length and the breadth of our existence means, we look at breadth first, so normally when we function; we think of ourselves as our physical body and to some extent this is understandable. If finger gets cut we feel pain, when something pleasant touches our tongue we feel pleasure. So we do respond immediately to sensations that come at the physical level and we feel that as if they are happening to us and that is why we naturally think that we are our bodies and that is how our identity is made. We have identity Mr. so and so, Mrs. so and so. That is based on our body. So we usually base our identification on our sensations. And where we get sensations that shape our absence of who I am? But if we see sensation is not always a reliable basis for identification. If we watch a movie in which normally when somebody gets engrossed in a movie; what happens essentially is people connect with some character may be the hero or maybe the heroine and people cannot connect with that character then they feel movie is boring, stop watching the movie, turn off the movie, same with the Novel also. So when we connect with some character in the movie at that time the things that happen to that character the hero or the heroin we feel as if they are happening to us. So if the hero gets a sudden blow from a villain we shrink back, if people are watching a movie and the hero and heroine embrace people will imagine that I am there and I’m enjoying over there. So we can experience some sensations even when we are not that person. We identify with that person with the hero in the movie or the heroine in the movie by projection. So it is not necessarily mean that we are that person.
So the more the scientists have researched the depths of the human brain, the more they have become puzzled about what is the source of consciousness. They have found remarkable correlations, what 50 years ago or hundred years ago was not known which part of the brain is connected with which function. That tremendous advancement of knowledge is happened but despite all this advance where is the center of consciousness? Where is the experiencer? That is not known.
So the theme which I’m taking is, we need to appreciate the breadth of our existence. And the Bhagavatam says beyond our physical selves there is a mind and ultimately there is a soul. There is a mental and a spiritual dimension to our existence. I’m just pointing to some empirical substantiation to this Bhagavatam’s understanding.
So there is a Nobel laureate neurosurgeon Dr. Wynder Fenfield, and he did several experiments; almost 40 years he was doing research and he wrote this book called ‘The Mystery of the Mind’, in which he tried to find out where exactly is the experiencer within the brain. These researchers know that say the motor nervous system controls our movement of the hands and a particular part of the brain when activated say will cause the hand to move. So he asked the subject raise your hand, yes he raised the hand. He asked what happened? I raised my hand and he observed the corresponding part of the brain become activated. Okay now put your hand down, he put his hand down. What happened? I put my hand down. And that part of the brain becomes deactivated. Now after this, using external probes Dr. Fenfield activated that same part of the brain and then he activated that part of the brain the hand went up. What happened? So he said my hand went up. Did you raise your hand? He asks the subject and he replied no I didn’t raise my hand you raised my hand. Then he deactivated that part of the brain. And hand fell down. Now what happened? My hand fell down. Did you put your hand down? He says no I didn’t you did. So now what this implies is like that the brain contains the location for activation of the hand. Just like if I have a print button in my computer and there is a printer over here I press the print button the printer handles start moving, so like that a particular part of the brain is activated then the hand moves up. Now in this second case that there is this print button and there is a printer hand and they two are connected. In the second case there was this external agent, Dr. Fenfield, who activated the print button you could say, who activated that part of the brain. And the hand went up. Now who was the activator and the first case? So the brain is activated by an external agent in the second case and when that time the subject is saying I didn’t activate it you activated it. That means I am different and I’m observing that this hand is getting raised. So after 40 years of research Dr. Fenfield wrote in his book ‘the mystery of the mind’ that the source of consciousness is extra cerebral. The source of the consciousness is not in the cerebral cortex, it is not in the brain. It is extra cerebral. So actually there is a dimension to our being which is nonphysical.
The Bhagavatam talks about the protection at these different levels. There is a physical side, there is a mental side and there is a spiritual side. If we expect God’s protection always at the physical level then we will set ourselves up for disappointment. At the physical level here the Bhagavatam shows Parikshit dies. At the physical level even those who devote themselves to God they are also going to grow old, there are also going to get disease, they are also going to die. So at the physical level the protection may or may not come. This does not mean that protection will never come at the physical level but that is not the essential level at which God’s protection comes.
So the Bhagavatam’s theme is that by hearing spiritual sound vibrations, that is the Bhagavatam itself is the spiritual sound vibration which is spoken. So the story as it moves forwards Parikshit he is protected now, throughout his life he’s searching who was the person who protected me and in his life he directly never sees Krishna. The Lord protected him but he’s cursed unfairly. Because of minor transgression he’s cursed to die in seven days, and rather than retaliate or try to counter the curse in any way he accepts that. He goes to the bank of the river and sits down and he asks the sages what should I do at this time? The various sages have different opinions but then the greatest of all sages Sukadeva Goswami; he comes there and he tells him.
tasmäd bhärata sarvätmä
bhagavän éçvaro hariù
çrotavyaù kértitavyaç ca
Therefore what you should do is- hear about that supreme Lord and He is the çrotavyaù He’s the best subject hear about. If somebody got a terminal disease we would expect that person to take the treatment, okay try this medicine try that, would you just expect this sit and hear a story. It seems a little odd, what is going on. So why are these sages telling him? So the idea is that they said our existence has three dimensions; spiritual, mental and physical. So this consciousness originally comes from the spiritual dimension and currently it is distributed at these different levels. The consciousness comes from the soul but it comes to the mental level, it comes to the physical level. And the Bhagavatam’s message is that spiritual sound vibration acts like a consciousness elevator. If we just get into elevator we get lifted to a 5th floor or 10th floor wherever we want to go. So like that if we situate ourselves in spiritual sound we hear spiritual sound, absorb ourselves in the spiritual sound, and situate ourselves in it then that will elevate our consciousness. And as our consciousness gets elevated from the physical level to the mental level and to the spiritual level. So when we are situated at the spiritual level of consciousness then what happens at the physical level will not matter so much to us. Because we are not caught in that. To understand what this means we give a couple of examples.
Suppose say that are two people in a room and there is a baseball match going on. Now one of them is a baseball fan and other doesn’t even understand what is. This person who loves baseball addicted to baseball he sees the match everything move every shot, every catch, every dismissal, every new entry in the field. He’s excited about it. And the other person who doesn’t know baseball, doesn’t care about baseball, he’s not so caught in the baseball that person whatever is happening on TV screen that will not affect the second person. So because consciousness is caught in the TV screen, so what happens on the TV’s screen affects the person. So in the Bhagavad-Gita that it is said that,
puruñaù prakåti-stho hi
bhuìkte prakåti-jän guëän
käraëaà guëa-saìgo ‘sya
in 13.22, Krishna says that puruñaù prakåti-stho hi the soul becomes caught in prakåti because of bhuìkte because of the desire to enjoy matter. This person may be safely in one’s own room but because that person desire to watch the baseball match, to enjoy the baseball match and suppose his/her favorite team loses then sometimes people get so frustrated, they just break the TV sometimes. Especially in India cricket is a big maniac. So sometimes if India loses the match people just break that TV sets or throw their television sets out of their place and then just next to India, the Indian sub continent is all mad for cricket. Below India there is Sri Lanka and one time Srilanka came to six finals and each time after coming to the finals they lost. So when they lost in the six finals something like 25 people in Sri Lanka committed suicide. This is not just breaking TV, it is killing themselves. So each time my team is losing, when will it win? So extend identification with something can go so deep that one may feel that okay what happened in a stadium it doesn’t matter so much to my life but when there is identification and there is attachment that attachment can subject us to huge amount of emotions. Just as this person whose favorite baseball team loses he or she is devastated but the person is not involved in the **, in baseball why are you so worked up about it?
So similarly what the Bhagavatam says is our consciousness is currently caught, projected in the material things. And when it is caught in material things, it is subjected to ups and downs that happen at the material level. What the Bhagavatam tells us that spiritual sound vibration will be a means by which our consciousness can come up. So person is caught in watching the TV or sometimes some children have nightmares and when they have nightmares they may be screaming and crying and the parents see, child is having a nightmare. They feel distressed. And the way to save the child from a nightmare we cannot enter into a nightmare and drive away whatever injuries are there. There is an irreducible subjectivity to human consciousness. Nowadays there is a lot of research where reduction is tried to reduce consciousness and everything related to consciousness to just brain signals. But now scientists can find out when we are dreaming and when we are not dreaming. Now they call it REM, Rapid Eye Movement, by which they can say that now the person is dreaming but no matter how much our probes may advance, we may be able to precisely find out okay this moment the dream starts. Even to a nanosecond we may find out precision, but no probe will we be able to find out what is the content of the dreaming. We may be able to find out Oh this person is dreaming but if we have to find out what she or he is dreaming we have to wake that person and ask what were you dreaming about? No matter how our probes advance the content of no brain cell will tell us and what was there to dream about? We may be able to roughly understand certain parts of the brain are activated when we feel happiness, certain parts of the brain may be activated when we feel horror, certain parts of the brain get activated when we are sexually stimulated. So a rough sense of what might be in the dream we may be able to find out, but specific content of the dream that is the subjective experience which is experienced only by the consciousness. So just as when I’m happy I smile. The smile is a physical result of happiness and just by studying my face and observing my smile no one can infer what made me happy. There are other things known we might be able to make a better inference. But I ultimately somebody is smiling, somebody is laughing then you ask what is the joke tell me. We have to ask that person. So just as from a physical expression of an emotion we can’t necessarily know the content of the emotions. Similarly from a neural expression within the neural sense of the brain and neural expression of emotion and through the neural chemical change in the brain we cannot understand the content of consciousness.
So the point I was making is that suppose a child is dreaming. Now the mother she wants to save the child from dreaming so what will she do? Wake him up from the dream and when infant wakes up, oh this is just a dream, I’m safe, I’m here in my mother’s arms and the whole nightmare ends. So now this idea that our present existence is like a projection, is like a dream in a virtual reality. It has some intellectual fascination. Movies like Matrix had talked about how our existence maybe virtual reality but it also has some disturbing side to it. It is unreal, it is all entirely just an imagination and we don’t face a real problems in our life and those problems we can’t just call them as dreams and nothing is happening. Real problems we need to really deal with them.
So it is significant in the same bhakti tradition which talks about how our present emotions are caused by our attachments, our misidentification those same the traditions they don’t dismiss the material level of existence. If you look at the whole body of Vedic literature there are huge sections divided to material organization of society. They have devoted to arranging material aspects of life and the purpose of that is that if it were just consider, that this whole thing is just a dream then why talk about how to organize society, how to structure people’s lives, how to guide people in such a way and there are been arts, music, dance, culture; so many aspects also have been developed. So if all this is just a dream why do we need to develop all this.
So the dream idea can have some disturbing contradictions and bhakti tradition addresses that what it says is like a dream in the sense that it is temporary, not in the sense that it is unreal, not in the sense that it is false. So our physical dimensional of existence at present does matter and there is due attention given for taking care of that. So the world deserves our attention but the world doesn’t deserve monopoly on our attention. We need material things but material things are not all that we need. Nowadays so before I go to the spiritual aspects I’ll talk about mental aspects right now then I’ll come to the spiritual.
So nowadays all over the world mental health problems are increasing. In fact the WHO declared the mental health problems are going to be the biggest health challenge of the current century. So now researchers have studied patterns of especially stress and anxiety. Some say we are facing anxiety epidemic and they have found something intriguing. Normally we are anxious when there is some uncertain say we have to catch a flight and we don’t know whether we will reach on time or not then we become anxious. Say we have invested money in the stocks and we don’t know whether the money stock is going to rise or fall. There was this uncertainty and it causes anxiety. So that is the normal cause of the anxiety, but the researchers have found that if they compare developing countries with the developed countries, in the developing countries uncertainty is a lot more. We come from India sometimes you turn on the power button you don’t know whether the power will turn on or not. At the water tap we don’t know whether water will come or not. Of course now things are much better but still the level of uncertainty in the developing country is much more than the level of uncertainty in the developed countries. And yet researchers have found consistently that anxiety levels are more among people in the developed countries than in the developing countries. And not only that when people immigrate from developing countries to the developed countries their anxiety levels go up, instead of coming down. So I have been on a tour of America and I was spoken this point most of the times I have been speaking to Indians. Most of the Indians laugh and knock their head when they hear this. It is true that their anxiety levels do go up. So why is if externally uncertainty level is going down why would the anxiety level go up? So yes external uncertainty is one cause of anxiety but another cause of anxiety is also inner instability itself. Inner instability means that we all need something stable in our lives. So when our worldview gets reduced to a materialistic worldview then material things are constantly changing. So we end up having very little if anything certain in our lives, if our worldview is only materialistic. We may have our shelter in our bank balance, we may have our shelter in our social status, we may have shelter in our good looks, we may have our shelter in our house, whatever but these things can change. They can change at any moment. So one of the reasons when WTC attack had happened it was not just the fact that the terrorists penetrated and brought down the tower. It was what the tower represented, it represent the security, the success of the American state and that was brought down that caused deep scars on the American psyche. So what is certain? Few times on Google after twin tower disaster – God, absolute truth, search for meaning that became prominent among Google searches that time. So when we have materialistic worldview there is very little that is certain, that can act as a sure shelter for us. In general the developed world tends to be more materialistic than the developing world. It is not necessarily true there are people who are spiritual everywhere but in general emphasis on material development and the achievement of material development leads it to a greater amount of materialism. When there is greater materialism there is greater anxiety. Why because there is nothing certain to take shelter of. So yes we have agitation of the mind where do we take the mind to make it calm? Where do we take the mind to make it peaceful? If wherever I take it to become peaceful and that itself further changes and that agitates me. So then the anxiety levels go up because of inner instability. There is no stable shelter within. And spirituality offers us that shelter. We are in an ocean, the waves are always going to come in the ocean, and the waves will shake the boat but the boat is anchored then the shaking will be much lesser. So like that spirituality offers us that anchor, for our consciousness and when our consciousness is anchored even if the boat shakes that means the boat is shaking because of the waves is like the ups and downs that we have in our lives. The ups and downs will come but if we are spiritually anchored then we will not be that affected. We have are inner shelter.
Now in the life of Parikshit, there is going to be the ultimate storm he is going to face- death; his termination of existence at the physical level. He will be told to use spiritual sound vibration to shift his consciousness to the spiritual level. And by that time death will come, death will happen as an event at the physical level, his consciousness is withdrawn the spiritual level and he will no longer experience his death. Because he is experiencing something else, he is experiencing the spiritual level of reality. And we at our level we may say is this spiritual real? We talk about experiencing the spiritual level, what is all this? How do I know that it is real?
I’ll conclude with one example and then we can have question answers or comments as there may be. I started by talking about how appreciate God’s love we need to appreciate the breadth and the length of our existence. I talked primarily of the breadth, the breadth is we are not just physical creatures but we have physical, mental and spiritual dimensions. And the spiritual is the essence of who we are. Now length means the spiritual is described as eternal. So we are eternal beings and we have an eternal relationship with God and what happens at the level of death is not a termination but a transition. Death is often seen very negatively. **Allen said I’m not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when I die’. There is a Greek philosopher who said, ‘death will never happen to me because when I’m there death is not there and when death will be there I will not be there’, one may do word jugglery like that but death is an event that **before us. And it is a painful event. So if the physical dimension is all that is there to our existence then death makes everything pointless. Sometimes atheists argue they want to criticize the religion, these rituals don’t make sense, this belief doesn’t make sense, this is meaningless, and that is meaningless. But if we see without the spiritual dimension in our life, our life itself becomes meaningless. I was just walking along a road and there is ** bang and life is over. And what is the point of it all there is no point. It is all meaningless. Any moment, anything our life can end. And now some atheists argue yes life is meaningless, and be courageous accept that life is meaningless. Don’t imagine through some religious spiritual stuff that there is some meaning. There is no meaning to life everything is meaningless. Now that may be true we don’t know at this stage of our experience but the question is we all search for meaning. Much of the Atheism today is powered by reductionistic interpretations of science. They say science can explain all the things that religion used to explain in the past. Therefore we don’t need religion now. That is their argument. But then this argument assumes what is science? Science is nothing but a search for meaning.
Newton saw the fruit falling, millions of people had seen fruit falling before that, they just picked it up and ate it. Newton asked why did this fruit fall?. And now we may see that he was so brilliant he came up with the law of gravity that is good but another question we could ask is why did he asked that question why did the fruit fall? That question itself assumes that there is some order to the universe. Science provides explanations of natural phenomena, of the universe but the explain-ability of the universe requires an explanation. Why is the universe explainable? Why is there order in the universe? And even when scientists find something disorderly. For example at the start of the previous century scientists found that at some atomic level Newton’s laws don’t make sense and similarly for the movement of cosmic bodies, high speed nearing the speed of light there also they don’t make sense. They did again conclude everything is meaningless. No! go deeper and then for fundamental particles they found Quantum physics. For cosmic bodies they came up with relativity.
So science is nothing but a search for meaning. Science offers explanations, sometimes people feel science and Scripture, or science and religion or science and spirituality are contradictory. But actually they are not contradictory they offer explanations at different levels. So science offers explanations, spirituality offers explanation for the explainability. Why are things explainable? That is because there is a cosmic intelligence underlying **.
Coming back to our question of Atheism, atheists say that all this religious ritual doesn’t make sense, but they are proud of scientific advancement, they say science has explained this and that. If we just accept an entirely non-spiritual worldview then our life becomes reduced to what, the human quest for knowledge, scientific quest for knowledge it becomes like searching for small eyelets of meaning while drowning in an ocean of meaninglessness. Our life is meaningless but why particles fall there is purpose, there is meaning that is law of gravity is there. Why particles move at some certain level there is quantum physics there. So there are eyelets of meaning within an ocean of meaninglessness. Then that raises two questions; first is why the eyelets of meaning there are? And second days is it the ocean of meaninglessness or is it an ocean of meaning often ordered that we are not able to fathom? So if there is meaning at certain aspects of the universe there may well be meaning and the overall universe also. So to appreciate the overall meaning we need to expand our conception of life. At the level of we just look at one life perspective, yes life will not make sense. We will see injustice we will see, we will see suffering.
Suppose there are two patients in a hospital and both of them are sick, and eventually both of them leave the hospital but the difference between the two is for one of them there was no diagnose is done, because the disease was unknown. Therefore no treatment was given; his disease could not be detected. For the other the disease was detected and the treatment was offered and eventually both these go out from the limited perspective of the hospital both have gone out but one went to the graveyard the other went home. There was no disease detected so no treatment was offered properly. The person just went to the graveyard. Other went home. Similarly from the finite perspective of this life a materialist and a spiritualist both will die, but the destination is different. That is not the termination; it is a transition. And for the one who has cultivated his spiritual consciousness that is a transition to a much higher level of existence. There is eternal level of existence or two further steps where we will move further onwards towards the eternal level of existence. This is not just a matter of belief that this will happen in future. It is actually a coherent body of knowledge where if we observe it from an analytical perspective we see all the pieces will fall into place and life itself starts making sense, emanates sense. The Bhagavad-Gita says, pratyakñävagamaà dharmyaà something which we can experience ourselves. So as we develop ourselves spiritually God becomes a tangible experience, He becomes a new reality.
So I’ll conclude with example. Suppose an infant is very small, very small babies whole all of existence is for them potential food, they drink milk from mother’s breast, they suck their fingers, they get some toys they put them in their mouth, whatever they get now they just see it as potential food and when the baby is a very small the baby may not even understand that there is a mother who loves me and the mother is offering me her breast milk, they just drink milk and they exist. So to say the baby is trembling because of cold, shivering and when the mother sees that and the mother puts a blanket on the baby. When mother puts a blanket the baby doesn’t understand that there is my mother and she is putting blanket on me but as the baby starts growing, gradually a sense awakens. Oh my mother cares for me and when she is shivering and then she feels the warmth of the blanket oh my mother must have put this blanket. Till now her cognitive development has not taken place enough for her to understand there is this person she is my mother I was born from her womb, all that understanding is not there but still there is experience. The experience of relief from cold and gradually as growth happens that experience of relief from cold the baby connects with the mother and mother’s love. Similarly we are at present in a stage of spiritual infancy and because of spiritual infancy we cannot perceive Krishna’s love for us. God is known by various names in Bhakti traditions. We talked about this Srimad Bhagavatam He is known by the name of Krishna. So here still if we expose ourselves to spiritual sound vibration especially we did some Kirtan before, so we participated in Kirtan, not just participate but we situate ourselves in the spiritual sound vibration then whatever stress we may have, whatever anxiety we may have, whatever worry we may have that dissipates. We start experiencing relief. That absorption in spiritual sound acts like a blanket which offers us relief from the miseries of daily life. And at this point we may not even, it’s just nice I like this music I feel relief from it. That is good that we get the relief. But as we grow spiritually we will connect that this relief which I get, when I situate myself spiritual sound vibration this relief actually is the representation at my level of God’s love for me. And as our spiritual consciousness awakens we will discover, we realize that the spiritual sound is actually manifestation of God. And we will experience God’s presence, God’s proximity. So Parikshit, in one sense he never saw Krishna throughout his life he was searching for Krishna and never saw Krishna but he did see Krishna in the manifestation as spiritual sound and that manifestation of Krishna had embraced him and pulled him to the spiritual level of reality and He liberated him. So when snake game and bit him the snake only attacked the external body **. Parikshit was embraced by the Lord and he was lifted to the spiritual level of reality where he delighted in life and love eternally with Krishna.
So I’ll summaries I started by talking about how the scriptures talk about God’s protection but many times we see in real life and sometimes even in the Scripture that people are not protected, at least at the physical level. So how do we reconcile God’s protection with the fact of suffering coming up on those who are devoted, so I talked about Srimad Bhagavatam setting, Srimad Bhagavatam glorifies that Krishna protected Parikshit in the womb. But then the same Srimad Bhagavatam unabashedly depicts Parikshit’s eventual death. So what is happening the Srimad Bhagavatam is telling that our existence is deeper it’s not just physical, but physical, mental and spiritual. And we are spiritual beings and for explaining that I talked about how is Dr. Fenfield’s experiment, where is the person who says I raised my hand up, I put my hand down and I did not raise my hand. So the source of consciousness is extra cerebral. So we have this spiritual dimension to our existence and ultimate protection of God is at the spiritual level where we become situated at eternal level of reality, beyond the destruction of this world. So just like a person watching a movie or sports because of the consciousness is getting caught goes through ups and downs of emotions. Similarly we get caught in worldly emotions and we go through ups and downs. Sensation is not always the reliable parameter of identification. We may experience the same thing that the hero is experiencing in the movie but that doesn’t mean we are that hero. So like that our consciousness gets projected at the physical level. But saying that our present reality is like a movie or dreams this is not to dismiss the reality because there is the process for coming out of that reality and that process involves molding our lives in a way that we expose ourselves more and more to the spiritual stimuli. So we have our worldly occupations, worldly responsibilities but along with that we expose ourselves with the spiritual stimuli. And the spiritual sound vibration elevates our consciousness just like an elevator can take us up, the spiritual sound vibration takes us from wherever we are to a higher and higher levels of consciousness then as we become situated in a spiritual level of consciousness we are lesser and lesser affected by the ups and downs at the material level of consciousness. Just as a boat that is anchored will not be shaken by the waves in the ocean. I talked about how anxiety is caused not just by outer uncertainty but also by inner instability. And spirituality by giving us something unchanging internally to shelter ourselves in, counters anxiety effectively. So at a physical level devotees may or may not get protection because that is the nature of the world everyone is going to die. But at the mental level if we absorb ourselves in Krishna, we do get substantial relief from whatever distresses come in life. And ultimately at the spiritual level two patients go out of the hospital but one goes to the graveyard and the other goes home. So like that a materialist and the spiritualist both will eventually have to die, but the materialist is going to continue on at the material level of existence and the spiritualist is going to go to home to Krishna. So Parikshit at the end of the Srimad Bhagavatam the physical level death happens but his consciousness is absorbed in Krishna and he goes to Krishna. And at our level so there is the Srimad Bhagavatam’s worldview when we understand the length and the breadth of our existence the whole worldview helps us to make sense of life and our experiences of life. Otherwise atheistic worldview means that we are looking for eyelets of meaning while drowning in the ocean of meaninglessness. Why is anything explainable at all that has no explanation in the atheistic worldview? And lastly at our level of experience the relief that we experience when we expose ourselves to the spiritual sound vibrations, when we participate in Kirtan that is like an infant being sheltered from cold by mother’s putting the blanket as the infant grows, it connects blankets warm with the mother’s love. Similarly as we grow up spiritually we connect the relief that we get when situating ourselves in spiritual sound with Krishna’s love and Krishna become an increasing tangible and lived reality for us.
Thank you very much! Hare Krishna!