Recently there have been a number of festivals focusing around pride. Different kinds of pride, but all material in nature. For example someone is proud that they are heterosexual in their preference, and yet others are proud that they are homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, trans-sexual or queer.
Yet others are celebrating their pride of being of a certain colour skin, or others are celebrating their profession or nationality or ethnic origin.
It is another matter that in the kaliyuga, or the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, everything is mixed up… souls are born in the body of a man, but the consciousness of a woman… or the body of a woman but the consciousness of a man. This is due to incomplete karmic accounts, and these mixed-up births are actually a form of punishment, but the spirit souls are trying to turn them into perverse enjoyment.
They parade these material designations, and the various festivals involve getting inebriated, and having some silly sense indulgences which bind them further into their attachments, causing yet another painful material death, and leading to many more such materially designated lives.
All of these are essentially material designations. And we should be ashamed of material designations. OK, this is not just a matter of sentiment, but we should know that these material designations are the cause of all of our sufferings.
I am not this body, I am a spirit soul. You too, dear reader, are a spirit soul.
So why should we adopt all these material designations? Why should we make the mistake of thinking we are these bodies? Why should we identify with some temporary thing that comes and goes? Today you might be a heterosexual, and tomorrow you might become a homosexual! Today you might be Chinese or American or Russian or Indian, but what were you before were born into this body?
Instead however if we realize that we are spirit souls, we then inquire into the activities of the spirit soul, which are spiritual in nature, and which give the spirit soul great joy “ananda” bliss. In fact, we are composed of “sat” (eternality) “chit” (knowledge), and “ananda” (bliss).
In the material condition, we are simply trying to find that bliss but not at all finding it, and hence, the lawyer becomes a politician, the heterosexual becomes lesbian, the lesbian becomes straight, the businessman becomes a philanthropist, the Hindu becomes Muslim, the Muslim adopts Christianity, and yet, as life wanes and death nears, there is a sense of disgust, frustration, and dissatisfaction, which is usually hidden under a veneer of distraction, such as attempts at sense gratification, intoxication and so on.
What is the solution to this problem?
To free ourselves of all designations of course!
Krishna says the following in the Bhagavad Gita…
अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्र: करुण एव च ।
निर्ममो निरहङ्कार: समदु:खसुख: क्षमी ॥ १३ ॥
सन्तुष्ट: सततं योगी यतात्मा दृढनिश्चय: ।
मय्यर्पितमनोबुद्धिर्यो मद्भक्त: स मे प्रिय: ॥ १४ ॥
maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca
santuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yogī
yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ
One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me – such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/12/13-14/
All these material designations qualify as “false ego”. “ego” means identity. Then what is “true” ego?
True ego means to realize oneself as an eternal part-and-parcel of Krishna.
jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’
kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti’ ‘bhedābheda-prakāśa’
sūryāṁśa-kiraṇa, yaiche agni-jvālā-caya
svābhāvika kṛṣṇera tina-prakāra ‘śakti’ haya
“It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa because he is the marginal energy of Kṛṣṇa and a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire. Kṛṣṇa has three varieties of energy.https://vedabase.io/en/library/cc/madhya/20/108-109/
Krishna claims all souls to be His own too.
ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूत: सनातन: ।
मन:षष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति ॥ ७ ॥
The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/15/7/
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport:
Every living entity, as an individual soul, has his personal individuality and a minute form of independence. By misuse of that independence one becomes a conditioned soul, and by proper use of independence he is always liberated. In either case, he is qualitatively eternal, as the Supreme Lord is. In his liberated state he is freed from this material condition, and he is under the engagement of transcendental service unto the Lord; in his conditioned life he is dominated by the material modes of nature, and he forgets the transcendental loving service of the Lord. As a result, he has to struggle very hard to maintain his existence in the material world.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/15/7/
There you go. Instead of being proud of the material designations, we should feel humbled that such an exalted spirit soul is now in illusion and anxiety as some idiotic little temporary designation.
And when the soul feels humble, then that is cause for celebration. Why is that? And how to accomplish this freedom from material designations?
सर्वोपाधि विनिर्मुक्तं तत्परत्वेन निर्मलं
हृषिकेन हृषीकेश सेवनम् भक्तिरुच्यते
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate
Bhakti, or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and one’s senses are purified simply by being employed in the service of the Lord.https://vedabase.io/en/library/cc/madhya/19/170/
And what is the big deal about Bhakti? That is our natural identity. So we can know who we are, and be who we are.
Don’t you want to be yourself?