Why can’t all of us experience spiritual bliss?

by November 17, 2010

Question: The scriptures and saints often talk about spiritual bliss, but why is it inaccessible for the rest of us? How can we experience it ourselves?

Answer: By absorption.

People living in the same world see it remarkably differently: a cricket fan sees cricket everywhere, a prurient youth sees sexual stimuli everywhere, a greedy person sees money everywhere. To understand how all these different mental worlds arise among those living in the same physical world, let’s consider the way a TV works. When a person tunes to a particular channel, the TV antenna catches the corresponding vibration among the hundreds of vibrations present in the atmosphere, and the person gets absorbed in the program being broadcast on that channel.  Another person sitting in the same house may tune to another station and get absorbed in an entirely different program.

If we look back at our own lives, the most joyful times are generally the times when we were single-mindedly absorbed in something, be it sports, music, hobby, work or whatever else. Distracted people seldom get any pleasure in anything. All absorbed people get a sense of pleasure by their respective absorptions.  But the best pleasure comes by absorption in God. Why?

The Bhagavad-gita explains that all of us are essentially spiritual beings who belong to the spiritual realm.  There, we are eternally, ecstatically absorbed in loving service to the all-attractive supreme person, God, Krishna. When we come to this world, we seek that same ecstasy by absorbing ourselves in various worldly objects. The Gita (10.41) explains that all opulent, beautiful and glorious objects attract us because they transmit but a spark of the splendor of God. But because all worldly objects are temporary, whereas God is eternal, so the mental worlds arising from absorption in worldly objects are temporary mental creations, whereas the mental world arising from absorption in God connects us with the eternal abode of God, to which we actually belong. It’s like a TV program that reminds a lost child about his original home and shows him the way back.

As most of us are absorbed in everything other than God, he offers various divine tuners: the sacred books that broadcast his message of love, the holy places where he descended to reveal his world of love, the sanctified images that enable us to lovingly relate with him as a person, and most importantly, his holy name, which gives us an intense, ecstatic experience of his loving presence. When we become devotionally absorbed in Krishna, we too will experience the supreme bliss, for we will have tuned to the best TV (transcendental vibration).

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