How is a holy place different from any other place?

by October 26, 2011

Question: Holy places like Vrindavana exist on the surface of the earth just like other physical places. Then why do spiritualists consider these places to be spiritual?

Answer: Holy places like Vrindavana are considered spiritual because they exist not just on the physical plane like other places, but also as a parallel reality on a higher-dimensional spiritual plane

It is in this higher, parallel reality of the holy places that the Lord and his devotees have performed sublime pastimes, but this reality is normally inaccessible to us due to our lack of spiritual qualification.

The notion of disallowing access to the unqualified is not a far-fetched religious claim, but is an everyday phenomenon, as in a mainframe computer governed by a system administrator. Although many people may access the same computer, they will be given varying levels of access: where a casual visitor sees no data, in that same place an authorized official sees gigabytes of precious data.

A holy place is like a mainframe computer and the invisible higher powers overseeing the spiritual sanctity of the place are like the system administrator. Although thousands of people may visit the same holy place, they will be given varying access: where casual visitors with a mundane sight-seeing mentality see little significant, in those same places spiritual adepts intuit priceless reservoirs of spiritual potency.

Lord Krishna in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.14.26) explains how we can become spiritual adepts: “When a diseased eye is treated with medicinal ointment, it gradually recovers its power to see. Similarly, as a conscious living entity cleanses himself of material contamination by hearing and chanting the pious narrations of my glories, he regains his ability to see me, the Absolute Truth, in my subtle spiritual form.”

Applying this verse to holy places yields three steps for enhancing our spiritual access:

1.  Scriptural Description: When we hear sincerely and submissively from saintly devotees the scriptural descriptions of the glories of these holy places, this hearing enhances our intellectual receptivity for sensing their higher parallel reality.

2.  Sensory perception: The sights and sounds of the holy places bring to life the scriptural descriptions that we have heard, and both together transport us beyond the outer shell to the inner substance of the sacred sites.

3.  Prayerful contemplation: When we integrate what we hear and what we see with prayerful contemplation as induced by soul-awakening sacred music, then the latent spirituality of these places becomes patent to our hearts, wherein we experience the ultimate divine presence and reciprocation.

This three-limbed utilization of the head, the eyes and the heart yields unforgettable life-changing spiritual experiences which become a lived and living testimony to the divinity of these places.

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