Spiritualizing our relationships 1 – The more despiritualized we are, the more desensitized we become
[Phone talk to everdaychant.com online sanga]
Transcription of summary
So, I spoke today on the topic of spiritualizing our relationships, and I started by talking about how we human beings and indeed all living beings are relational creatures.
In a materialistic world view, relationships are thought to be formed as simply as a survival strategy, but we human beings specially… we form relationships for survival, but we want much more than survival from our relationships. We are made in such a way by the arrangement of nature that we need relationships than other living beings. For example, human infants; they are far more dependent on their parents than most other living beings, and similarly solitary confinement is considered to be a very great punishment, a very painful punishment because it deprives us of our fundamental needs for relationships… relating with others. So, where does our need for relationships come from? That comes from our spiritual core.
A robot sitting on a chair or a table cannot form a relationship. A robot may say, ‘I love you’ or ‘I hate you.’, but there is no emotion and there is no connection, no relationship. So, consciousness is required for relationship and consciousness comes not from matter, but from our spiritual core. So, at a very fundamental level what we need to do is not spiritualize our relationships but realize the spiritual foundation necessary for any kind of relationship. Then we move on to talk about how when we form relationships. The more spiritual our consciousness, the more we can sustain the relationships.
Even scriptures like Bhagavat Gita or Bhagavatam…. Bhagavatam talks about giving up all relationships, but then it also centres on forming a relationship; the relationship between… Parikshit Maharaj formed with Sukhadev Goswami. Arjuna… he is troubled by his relationship with those he has to fight, but the relief also he gets is through relationship. Through his newly reformed relationship with Krishna… when he sees Krishna not just as his friend, but his spiritual guide… and then we discussed about how the three modes affect our capacity to form relationships.
The further our consciousness is from spiritual awareness, the lesser is our capacity to form relationships. So, in tamo guna or in the mode of ignorance which is the furthest from the spiritual consciousness, we objectify even people. So, just as an animal slaughterer desensitizes themselves to the consciousness in the pain of animals… and that’s how by objectifying them they can kill them. A lusty person objectifies the people who they want to violate, or an angry person objectifies those whom they are hitting or shooting or whatever.
So, in the mode of goodness there is some awareness of spiritual reality. In the mode of passion there is awareness of material reality. In the mode of ignorance there is not even awareness of material reality properly; and when we are trying to form relationships the relationships require maintenance after they are formed and they cannot be formed if there is too much mode of ignorance, and even if they are formed they cannot be maintained unless there is some level of goodness.
So, Krishna talks about divine and demoniac nature, and divine nature is conducive of bhakti, but it is not in itself necessarily bhakti. So, bhakti is a calling of the soul for Krishna, and divinity or divine nature as Krishna describes in the sixteenth chapter is conducive for both material well-being and spiritual wellbeing. The demoniac nature is un-conducive for both, and as devotees if our devotional practice helps us to come towards goodness and move towards pure goodness, then our relationships will become more stable and sweeter, but if we are coming from the lower modes and we have not yet come to goodness or pure goodness then we may end up… although we are devotees… our relationships may be more unstable than the relationship of the materialistic people, if the materialistic people have developed some kind of commitment and they have developed some goodness.
The Bhagavatam often talks about detachment… detaching oneself from worldly relationships so that one can focus on spiritual relationship with Krishna, but when say Parikshit Maharaj was a King… at that time he took responsibly his relationship as a king with the citizens, and protected the cow and the bull. So, similarly for raising our consciousness, for taking our relationships that we are presently having responsibly is also important, and that also we can’t do if we are too much in the mode of passion or ignorance.
In the mode of ignorance people don’t have the capacity to relate with others even at a material level. So, instead of forming relationships with the people of the opposite gender for even bodily gratification, they want to have robots… sex robots and things like that. So, the more our practice of bhakti can bring us to goodness and higher, the more we can sustain our relationships.
Unfortunately for the practice of bhakti… makes us more judgemental instead of understanding… then our spiritual practices will come in the way of forming sustainable relationships. Instead of seeing others… ‘This person is so attached, this person is so greedy, he is so angry, he is so lusty.’…we can see that, just as I have my conditioning which I find it difficult to get rid of, this person also has these conditioning which they find difficult to get rid of. So, we become more understanding and that understanding capacity will help us to take our relationships towards the greatest ability, and how we can bring Krishna in our relationship we will discuss in our future talks.
Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.
(Transcription by Sadananda Krishnaprem Das)