Consciousness, Higher or Lower

The quality of our consciousness can be chosen, either actively or passively. Where do you want to take your consciousness today?

Everything we think, say, or do, affects our consciousness. Everything we eat or drink affects our consciousness. Everything we hear or see affects our consciousness too. Our consciousness is shaped by our experiences. Does that sound hopeless or hopeful to you? You can choose your consciousness!

Recently I met one young aspiring spiritualist who had once imbibed some intoxicating substance to “reach a higher plane of consciousness”. I told him that if attaining to a higher plane of consciousness was so cheap that a mere substance could take us there, then all the drug addicts of the world would be sages, great saintly souls who can see the past, present and future, act with perfect equanimity, and help everyone they meet. But this is not the case.

A drunk man may be entertaining or irritating, but a drunk man is a drunk man, not a sober human even.

When we are intoxicated, we hallucinate. Hallucination is not a “higher plane of consciousness”, no matter what the drug peddler might tell you. Hallucination is a lower form of consciousness. Don’t hallucinate with substances, you can reach a higher plane of consciousness by proper meditation.

Substances like tea, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, cannabis, opioids, and drugs, they are all intoxicants. They don’t take our consciousness to a higher level, but to a lower level.

These are, at a high-level, states of consciousness:

  • Unconscious
  • Sub-conscious
  • Conscious
  • Super-Conscious

When most of us are asleep, we’re mostly unconscious, though there are certain things that happen at a sub-conscious level also.

When we’re awake, we’re generally conscious, but there are certain things that happen at a sub-conscious level too.

At the sub-conscious level, usually it is instincts, but also other complex phenomena, like for example suggestions and advertisements that are on a subtle level, always playing with our consciousness, inserting suggestions into our consciousness… making us feel that it is us who want those things or experiences…

यथा प्रकाशयत्येक: कृत्स्‍नं लोकमिमं रवि: ।
क्षेत्रं क्षेत्री तथा कृत्स्‍नं प्रकाशयति भारत ॥ ३४ ॥ yathā prakāśayaty ekaḥ
kṛtsnaṁ lokam imaṁ raviḥ
kṣetraṁ kṣetrī tathā kṛtsnaṁ
prakāśayati bhārata

O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/13/34/

Because consciousness is the symptom of the soul, a symptom of life itself, all living entities are conscious. The quality, the fidelity of consciousness varies though. A plant is aware of very little, and hence conscious at a very low level, insect at a higher level, animal at an even higher level, and so on. Both a drunk human and a sober human are conscious, just that the drunk human’s consciousness is said to be closer to the consciousness of an animal than the sober human’s, in most cases anyways.

A soul in a dog’s body, even though conscious, can’t do much about it’s level of consciousness except accept whatever consciousness was imposed upon it by nature, viz, act like a dog.

Humans, on the other hand, possess a rare gift, in it that they can actively choose a state of consciousness. Consequently, humans can, if they choose to, act like animals or like trees or fish or birds or insects. That is a freedom afforded in human life.

However, only humans can actively choose a higher form of consciousness, super-consciousness. To be aware of what is going on, inside us at a spiritual level, inside our bodies and minds… to be able to see what consciousness someone else is at, and as this gets further developed, know more than can be afforded by the limits of space and time.

Every single thought, word, and deed we engage in, or are part of, for example, reading a novel or a newspaper, watching a movie or television, hanging out with a friend who loves politics or sports… each such experience shapes our consciousness.

When someone practices a genuine form of meditation that is centered around the Supreme Absolute Truth, such as, for example, the chanting of the Maha Mantra “the great chant”:

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे |
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे ||

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

When properly heard and chanted, this mantra lifts the consciousness of the chanter towards super-consciousness. Try it out. Just hear yourself saying this mantra, and let me know if I can help.

इदं ज्ञानमुपाश्रित्य मम साधर्म्यमागता: ।
सर्गेऽपि नोपजायन्ते प्रलये न व्यथन्ति च ॥ २ ॥ idaṁ jñānam upāśritya
mama sādharmyam āgatāḥ
sarge ’pi nopajāyante
pralaye na vyathanti ca

By becoming fixed in this knowledge, one can attain to the transcendental nature like My own. Thus established, one is not born at the time of creation or disturbed at the time of dissolution.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/14/2/

Where do you want to take your consciousness today?

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Ikigai – What keeps you going in Krishna Consciousness?

What is your ikigai, your raison-de-etre, your reason for being? Especially when you are following a spiritual path, why are you on the path? Why are you (trying to be) in Krishna Consciousness?

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 26th April 2016

Dear Devotees,

Hare Krishna!

Welcome everyone!

This group has been active since May 2011, and we have done some amazing things in this group, and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Recently, I came across the Japanese word Ikigai (pronounced ‘icky guy’, but doesn’t mean the same). Roughly translated, Ikigai means “a reason for being”. Of course, on the deepest level, we are because Krishna is.

But still, it can be understood as the reason we start something, stick to something or even just get out of bed.

So, I am curious to hear, and I beg you to dig deep within your hearts and minds… what is your “ikigai”, what is your reason for being in Krishna consciousness in any way?

I mean, some of you are experimenting with Krishna consciousness. Others know it theoretically but yet to fully embrace, and others you live and breathe Krishna consciousness, everything is you do is so you can somehow be Krishna conscious.

I’d like us to get a feel of what the members feel is their “Ikigai” in Krishna consciousness?

Please don’t hold back, please write, this will inspire and encourage us all.

What say, dear fellow travellers on the road to Ultimate Self Realization?

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Hitesh Patel, 26th April 2016

My reason for being in Krishna Consciousness is to get away from the trouble of the material world and be in kirtan. Sunday 8 o clock arati is my favorite time of the week because I can take all the stress that’s accumulated throughout the work week and let it out on the mridanga drum. Sometimes I hit the drum so hard that my hands hurt. It’s a great feeling.

Hare krishna!!

Sincerely,
Hitesh Patel

Ned frazee, 26th April 2016

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

All Glories to Srila Prabhupad!
All Glories to Guru-dev and Guru-Mata!
All Glories to the assembled devotees!

Please accept my humble obeisances. This is a wonderful letter and I would like to participate in the discussion.

What I feel mostly as my “reason for being” in Krishna Consciousness is endeavoring each day, moment to moment, for a drop of mercy. You see, I am the most fallen and very unqualified for this Bhakti-yoga. Although, I am most fortunate to have come into contact with His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari.

I feel when I endeavor to take Guru association in my heart, if not physically present, then this gives me the opportunity to take hold of Krishna’s lotus feet within my mind.

Through his transcendental instructions emanating from his lotus mouth, he delivers the whole world from the ocean of birth and death.

There are so many drops of mercy that we get from so many great personalities. I pray Lord Krishna will give me the intelligence to drink this transcendental nectar through my ears and if there is any bit of interest of anyone to hear, I may fan this spark.

Yours eternally,

Sincerely,
Ned

Vasudevan.k, 27th April 2016

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

All Glories to Srila Prabhupad!

All Glories to Guru-dev and Guru-Mata!

All Glories to the assembled devotees!

Please accept my humble obeisances. This is a wonderful letter and I would like to participate in the discussion.

What I feel mostly as my “reason for being” in Krishna Consciousness is endeavoring each day, moment to moment, for Prasadam.

Always an insignificant servant,
Vasudevan K

Gita ajith, 27th April 2016

Hare Krsna Devotees

My Personal reason for being in Krsna conscious is that it relieves me from all worldly stress and strain.

Whenever I am in a conflicting situation or depressed mental state I start chanting the Maha Mantra and start feeling the mercy of lord by feeling very light and my thought moving towards Krsna and nothing else. There are so many things keeps me going in Krsna consciousness especially almost all the writings of Srila Prabhupada about Krsna ….especially his book KRSNA which I love to read again and again especially when I read the chapter about Sudama visiting his friend Lord Krsna one of the beautiful chapter which enlightens me a lot .

Every single thought that comes to my mind about all attractive Krsna has a great feeling and keeps me moving further…..Hare Krsnaaaa!!!

Sincerely,
Gita

Manjula Nellore, 27th April 2016

Hare Krishna,

My pranams to the Acharyas and Gurus.

My best wishes to all.
Being associated with Krishna Consciousness is a journey which I wish to travel sharing experiences of one another, which would in turn help all of us to get closer to the lord himself.

yours,
Manjula.

Manian VB, 27th April 2016

Hare Krishna Hare Rama.

Being associated with Krishna consciousness is a wonderful; experience. we cone to know of the Supreme being and practicing Krishna Consciousness gives us peace of mind and takes us away from the material contamination.

your unworthy servant,
Manian VB

Sarvasakti devi dasi, 27th April 2016

Dear Devotees
Hare Krishna

My reason for being in krishna consciousness is to get rid of all material attachments. To be honest whenever am in the temple busy with my services and surrounding with devotees really feels amazing and that happiness and peace i get is just wonderful. Once I go out of temple I get so sad , people’s words just keeps hurting me. For me I love serving and helping everyone. During week days we have harinam here in fiji island and that’s the best part of my life . I get to meet so many people to talk to about lord krishna. Book distributions , dancing and delicious prasadam.

This is just a short reason I have shared .

All glories to srila prabhupada
All glories to srila gurudev

yours servant
Sarvasakti devi dasi

Kamal Caran Das, 27th April 2016

Hare Krsna.

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Sri Sri Gaur Nitai.

I was and I am an extremly fallen soul. Very arogant, egoistic and unfaithful one. And I could understand that this is the reason of all the pity situations in my material life. I could sense that Krsna Consciousness movement initiated by Srila Prabhupada is the only way out of such a horible condition. This was the only and only “ikigai” to start with ISKCON.

But now, after almost EIGHT year of association of Harinam & devotees of Krsna & Krsna in the form of almost everything, the “ikigai” is to realize Krsna in every happenings in the life – mine & others.. and to learn more and more abuot how beautifully & mysteriously Krsna performs.. Krsna says.. Mayadhyakshen prakrutihi.. hetunanen kauntey, jagat viparivartate.. How prakruti works on us and how we fool behave under the clutches of maya — though we consider ourselves in Krsna consciousness.. Suddenly a spark comes in the mind and we realize — “oh, i got trapped again..!” its wonderful.. and adventurious and delicious…and so on..

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare,
Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare….!

your servant..
Kamal Caran Das

Nirmala Devaki Devi Dasi, 27th April 2016

HARE KRISHNA

Please accept my humble obeisances…

For me KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS is everything….Sometimes i feel if i would not be there in this KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, how boring my life would be.

I feel very fortunate that i get to know about this KRISHNA consciousness.

Yadi Prabhupada na hoito tabe ki hoito ye jeevan bahita kishe……

Its really a fact that association of devotees can’t be compared 2 anything valuable in this world..i feel each moment to be very precious that is being spent with the devotees.

Every sunday, every yatra gives more and more bliss to our life.

Srila Prabhupada books are the source of life.

And the Ultimate self realization course everyday make me realise the urgency for being KRISHNA CONSCIOUS every moment.

Thanks.

yours insignificant servant
Nirmala Devaki Devi Dasi

Sadhna bhim, 27th April 2016

Hare Krishna to all

All glories to Srila Prabhupad!

My reason for being a devotee is, always I wanted to know what is the purpose of our life. is there anything that after birth and death is there anything beyond that. I found my answer in Srimad Bhagwatam. We must prepare ourself for a spiritual body to go back to God head. In this material world we must use everything for Krishna. My wish is what can I do to help everyone to become Krishna consciousness’ especially our family members which is very difficult to preach them.

servant of the servant of the servant
Sadhna

Jayapal M, 27th April 2016

Dear devotees,

Hare krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances,

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada,

My reason for being in Krishna Consciousness is that I strongly believe and being experienced of Chanting Holy Name as the simplest way of doing continuous service to Krishna, Supreme Personality of Godhead. Chanting and sticking to 4 regulatory principles are the most enjoyable and self purifying activities of my life now, though it was found to be very difficult once upon a time.

Looking for devotees’ merciful; blessing to continue in Krishna consciousness forever.

your humble aspiring servant,
M. Jayapal.

Premananda das, 27th April 2016

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories o Srila Prabhupada

Krishna consciousness or the reason of my being in Krishna consciousness are as follows:

1)To be a servant of Guru,Krishna and Vasinavas
2)To take risks for Krishna and explore the journey as I understand if you love someone you will sacrifice and give your best eat to please that person.Similarly to please Krishna’s pure devotees and become an instrument in Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya mission.
3)Hearing Srimad Bhagavatam lectures and purifying myself,for furthering scriptural understanding and developing my love for Krishna .
4)Srila Prabhupada has given an spiritual institution Iskcon to assist in the local temple by asking higher authorizes in the temple.Srila Prabhupada mentions that if anyone wants to please him they must follow his instructions .He said that co-operation between devotees will please him.I wish to develop that mood as the goal is for the pleasure of Krishna ,services could vary from devotee to devotee.
5)To remember Krishna and never forget Him.Just as tripod stands on three legs.Guru ,sadhus and scriptures are require even one leg missing will not make the camera stand on tripod.Association of devotees and exchanging loving exchanges between devotees is another aspect of my being in Krishna conscious. This is my Ikigai.

Thank you Mahabhagavat prabhu for this wonderful book club where I learn so much with realization and experiences from devotees and reading and relishing the nectar of different books of Srila Prabhupada.

your servant
Premananda Das

Amogha Lila Das, 27th April 2016

Hare Krishna prabhu’s and mataji’s. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Gurudeva. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I would say my ‘ikigai’ in Krishna consciousness is the realization that there is nothing else real even though how much real it may seem. Krishna consciousness helps me to look forward to weekends and events where I can get devotee association. And this in turn makes all other seemingly mundane activities somewhat meaningful.

your servant,
Amogha Lila Das

Vandana Neeraye, 27th April 2016

Hare krsna

Please accept my humble obeisance

All glories to Shrila Prabupada

All glories to Shrila Gurudev and Guru mataji

Krsna consciousness makes me realize that we are all part and parcel of lord krishna, He resides in our heart and we are His eternal servants.

Being in krsna consciousness also gives me immense pleasure to serve the devotees, to do my japas, to read Srila Prabupada books and to associate with devotees and discuss Sri krsna pastimes

your servant,
Vandana

Jayakrishna, 29th April 2016

Hare krishna dear devotees!

I dont know it, but i think i am special to Krishna,and i feel He loves me as his dearest! just like i feel that i am special to my mother! But i know as a father that i love my children equally:-) Regarding ISKCON,i appreciate them only because they serve Krishna better than anyone, and regarding Srila Prabhupada, i dont know a man more dedicated to the mission of Krishna and a Guru who distributed the priceless benediction of krishna to the whole world lavishly in modern days.

with dandavats,

Jayakrishna

Damodar Vilas das, 29th April 2016

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisance
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Thanks for very introspective question :-

Q. what is your reason for being in Krishna consciousness in any way?

Ans. Reason for me for being in Krishna Consciousness

  1. Being able to derive inspiration from the association of the devotees who are living with teachings of an Acarya who taught by His own example. Our ISKCON founder acarya Srila Prabhupada!!!
  2. Relationship with the spiritual preceptor/Guru Maharaja. Who are extending the most sublime teaching & love of entire disciplic succession.
  3. Bhakti perform under guidance of these teaching gives provide immense happiness to keep going. Also Vaishnava Seva.

your servant,
Damodar Vilas das

Paramraj bhatt, 29th April 2016

Hare Krishna !

Please accept my humble obeisances .

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada !
All Glories to Srila Gurudev !

First off all thank you prabhuji for bringing up this question it really made me ponder a lot about it “Ikigai ” I mean what is my reason for being ?

Even though I knew that I was in Krishna consciousnesses for ” Athato Brahma Jigyasa”, which shares some what similar meaning to Ikigai ,I think reason for my being is to understand exactly why do I have to be ?

Understanding the importance of doing things and how to do them perfectly .The feel of having an intense desire to know or have that curiosity (jigyasa ) is what keeps me going.

your servant,
Paramraj

Ajanta Rao, 29th April 2016

Hare Krishna devotees,
All glories to Srila Gurudev and Gurumataji
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you Mahabhagavat Prabhu for asking the question. The reason that I am Krishna conscious is that it makes me feel truly peaceful, blissful, clean, healthy, and normal. I feel lost and confused if I’m not Krishna conscious. The material world is so corrupted by maya/illusion that nobody knows who they actually are and what their true purpose in life is. Everybody is busy trying to boost their false egos and indulge in sense gratification which doesn’t make sense to me. On the other hand, Krishna consciousness makes complete sense because it is based on Bhagavad-Gita, the teachings of Lord Krishna who is the Supreme Lord of the Universe. Reading Srila Prabhupada’s “Bhagavad-Gita as it is” was an epiphanous moment for me. It awakened me and enlightened me about my true nature and the true purpose of my life. I realized that I am actually an eternal servant of Lord Krishna and my duty is to serve Him with love and devotion. Ever since I started practicing Krishna consciousness- by doing japa, mangala-aarathi, associating with devotees, following Gurudev’s and Gurumataji’s instructions, cooking and serving Krishna prasadam, serving in the temple, and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, I was gradually cleansed of material contamination and felt increasingly blissful. I know there is more and more cleansing required for this fallen soul and hence I shall continue to be Krishna conscious forever.

I enjoy participating in the online book reading because it helps to improve my knowledge and strengthens my Krishna consciousness. Thank you to all the devotees for their valuable insights and mercy.

yours humbly,
Ajanta Rao

Bhakta Sunil, 29th April 2016

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada,

my Ikigai for being in Krishna Consciousness is :

a) Getting the association of persons who are your true friends,

b) automatically avoiding abominable mundane habits because of higher taste,

c) the satisfaction of serving and doing good for some one is immense,

d) eating sanctified food,

e) experientially feeling the purification in the heart,

f) being aware that this is the Absolute Truth, and this is the topmost lifestyle for a human being,

g) being sure that even in difficulty God is helping , so simply to depend on Lord and His representatives,

this is my humble realization,

your insignificant servant,
Bhakta Sunil

Shridhar Das, 02nd May 2016

Hare Krishna Prabhuji,
Please accept my humble obeisance!
All glories to Srila Gurudeva!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I also heartily thank His Grace Mahabhagavat Prabhu for giving an opportunity to dig deep into “whys”. My counsellor once spoke if “what?” and “why?” of our life’s goal is clear, then “how?” shall automatically be known. Stronger the why, better the how.

Honestly sharing, my mind is mixed up. Above ikaigais however helped me.

I had given myself to this movement because I was eager to experience the mystery if really there is a person who knows me, understands my feelings and shall guide accordingly, because I couldn’t ever find such a person in material world. No one would reciprocate properly. Those whom I considered my best friends were best of worst bargain to keep myself going in life. I felt I was odd one out in this world. I was disappointed to see flaws in all relations.

Today my spiritual master, other vaishnavas and Krishna have taken that place and answered my mystery.

Having gone through permutations of combinations of all experimentations to remain happy, I have concluded reason or no reason, nothing except Krishna Conscious will satisfy. So this is one thing. I know this is Absolutely “The One”, no choice.

The main impetus or ikigai to practice the Krishna Consciousness regularly is anything that will help me to become established in my real identity beyond conflicts and bewilderment and the other ikigai is to become qualified to live up to the expectations of my spiritual master from me.

Eager to know Prabhuji’s “ikigai”.

your servant
Shridhar Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 02nd May 2016

Hare Krishna!

My “Ikigai”… I know that all problems are caused by a lack of Krishna consciousness. I know I am not Krishna conscious. Thus I have no other hope other than to be truly Krishna conscious, and I know only too well how much I am lacking in every single area of my attempt, so truly, no other hope other than to trying being truly and genuinely Krishna conscious.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Brhadnath dasa, 04th May 2016

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

I could not believe that this thought has been echoed by YG, my idol. “I know I am not Krishna conscious” Prabhuji, these words are to be found in the minds of neophytes like me who do not care to utter but cannot be adduced to YG .Could be a slip of some keys on the board.
I took to Krishna consciousness in the autumn of my life after going to so many places of so called godly consciousness. When I read BG as it is for the first time, Srila Prabhupada just mesmerized me with altogether different purports. I had been reading BG(some other editions) for long but could not proceed beyond Ch-2 and that too without fully going through Ch-1, thinking that the Lord appears in Ch-2 But when I started reading ‘BG as it is’ and came to verse 1/41, I read the purport several times. Prabhuji,we observe shradha kriya and perform certain rituals with the help of brahmanas and then offer food and other articles to them. But Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to offer remnants of prasadam to ancestors and virtually uplift them struck me and with half reluctant family members we followed Srila Prabhupada. The brahmins were also offered the usual money etc with prasadam, but without performing ritualsetc. This is still being followed in our family and some other relatives. This way Srila Prabhupada entered our life. we would listen to lectures and try to understand with the help of devotees. I started chanting 16 rounds within a fortnight. Yadi prabhupada na hoite, then what would have happened.Srila Prabhupada ki jai. As earlier shared, my punishment at work became a wonderful sojourn to some other world. But the real take off was after joining the “ultimate self-realization” course. Srila Gurudeva is really from Golokadhama showering mercy profusely on sinful souls like me. Reading Prabhupada books with the group is another experience. I’m learning the steps to Krishna consciousness due to your mercy and think myself on the stage of bhajan-kriya. Srila Prabhupada in one lecture has said that,”as you are more and more engaged in spiritual activities, so, proportionately, your material activities and affection for material activities will diminish. Counteraction. When you engage in the spiritual activities, your material activities diminishes.” HH Gopal Krishan Goswami, once said that if you attain the stage of anartha nivriti during this life time then the achievement is more than sufficient , may be His Holiness had householders like me under reference. I also take solace from reading SB 11.20/27,28 and repent on my occasional bursts of anger and other material activities and taking shelter of the group.
My “Ikigai” is to attain the stage of “anartha-nivritti” with the help of the group, but if not in this life due to previous / or present sinful actions may be in the next, and I’ve no regrets.

Brhadnath dasa

Sundar Gopal Das, 04th May 2016

Hare Krishna!
Dear devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisance.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.
All Glories to Srila Guru and Gauranga

First of all hats off to HG Mahabhgavat Prabhuji for coming up with such an brilliant idea to instigate all of us to ponder over the ‘ikigai’ factor of our Krishna Consciousness at individual level.

I can summarize my ‘ikigai’ of Krishna conscious as- a truly and significantly purposeful progression of life towards an eternal and blissful reality.

A brief break-up can be as follows :

Incredible HD Philosophy: Before coming to Krishna consciousness I (and all of us) knew “Man is mortal”. Whereas here the rudimentary foundation of Krishna Consciousness is based on “Every living entity is immortal”. The na hanyate hnaya mane sarire revolutionize the entire definition of our so-called life and take us towards a resolution of Higher Dimensional (HD) existence of eternity, knowledge and bliss.

Elixir of life : The process of chanting of Holy Name
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
and sravanam i.e. hearing of Krishna Katha for the natural revival of our innate divine nature is simple, but at the same time so necterean that I can’t help but keep on experiencing the exponentially increasing bliss -anandambudhi bardhanam-by the mercy of my spiritual masters and vaishnavas.
Enlightening Variegatedness : Previously I had a misconception that religiosity or spirituality means some ritualistic activity or just om shanti om type inactivity. But here Srila Prabhupada has presented the real essence of spiritual culture with so much enlightening engagements that soul’s instinctive dynamism is perfectly aligned to dovetail the wandering senses at the service of their true master- hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate (CC Madhya 19.170) .

That’s all about a brief sketch of my ‘ikigai’ of Krishna consciousness…..

With regards,
Sundar Gopal Das

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Is there a difference between Consciousness and the Mind?

Geetha, 16th June 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

What is the difference between the Consciousness and mind?

your servant,
Geetha.

Rohini Devi Dasi, 18th June 2013

Hare Krishna Mataji,

All Glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumataji,
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my humble obeisances.

Will try to explain the difference between consciousness and mind according to my little understanding.

Earth,water,fire,air,either,mind,intelligence and false ego are 8 separate inferior energies of the Supreme personality of Godhead.
The gross body also known as the “Sthula Sharira” is made up of 5 elements- earth,water,fire,air and ether often known as “pancha maha bhuta”.  The mind,intelligence and false ego constitutes the Subtle body.  The Subtle body is also called as the “Sukshma Sharira”

Consciousness is the energy of the soul where as the mind is the part of the material body one of the elements of the subtle body.
Just as our eyes have the ability to see and we direct our eyes to the particular object and our eyes sees that object.  Just as the power of seeing is the characteristics of the eyes same way the power of consciousness is the characteristics of the soul.  The consciousness in that sense is spiritual whereas mind is the one of the objects in which the consciousness gets focussed.

Thus mind is material being one of the ingredients of the subtle body and consciousness is spiritual.

From practical perspective we sometimes use mind and consciousness wrongly stating that, my mind is disturbed or my consciousness  is gone down we may use these words interchangeably but from philosophical point of view they are significantly different.

To understand our situation in the material world from philosophical point of view the verse 13.22 explains:
puruṣaḥ prakṛti-stho hi
bhuṅkte prakṛti-jān guṇān
kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya
sad-asad-yoni-janmasu

The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil among various species.
For the purpose of enjoying, the soul gets lodged, gets situated in material nature with the desire to enjoy.eg while watching cricket match our eyes can see the entire room but our eyes and vision is focussed on the television screen. Through the TV screen our vision enters the cricket ground and we start experiencing ,identifying what is happening in the cricket ground and feel the emotions accordingly.  The events that are happening in the cricket ground are like the events happening in the material world and the screen on which the events are displayed is like the mind and what is happening in the cricket ground for eg the video camera captures the event ,the sound recorder records the sound and all different things are integrated and brought on the television and the television screen integrates the various inputs and offers them for enjoyment or suffering for the cricket watchers.

similarly what our senses ie eyes,ears nose and other perceive, all the inputs are integrated by the mind and offered for perception by the soul. The mind offers some objects for perception and soul focusses the consciousness in that objects then the soul desires changes… e.g the picture of the mind is offering the agitating feeling, and if the soul focusses on that picture of agitating, the consciousness also feels agitated ,angry and if the picture is sensually alluring than the soul by focussing on that becomes allure .This way the mind proposes various objects and situations for the material enjoyment for the soul and to the extend the soul focusses on the consciousness on the mind to that extend soul gets affected and thats the reason we say that the best way to deal with the mind is to neglect it.
If tv show is going on in the house and if we don’t look at it it will continue and get over we can continue our work and not waste our time similarly the mind may offer some inputs but as a soul we might decide not to put our consciousness in it then the mind will not affect us.  In this way by thoughtful internal observation we can de-link our consciousness from our mind and not get influenced by the minds feeling and moods and our consciousness will stay good even when our mind is in irritated mood.

In Short mind is subtle material whereas the consciousness is spiritual being an integrated energy of the soul and by careful introspection we can avoid mind influencing our consciousness.

Hare Krishna

your Servant,
Rohini Devi dasi

Ashok Sahu, 19th June 2013

Hare Krishna Mataji,
All Glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumataji,
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my humble obeisances.

Thank you for a wonderful answer. I just have a follow up question.
when we say our consciousness should not focus on mind what it offers us, how can we function in this world?
So is it that we should accept the thoughts that mind offers us that are favorable to Krishna Consciousness and not otherwise?
one more question, when it is generally said that “our heart needs to be purified” does this means our consciousness to be purified by chanting right?
Please explain.

your Servant
Ashok Sahu

Rabindra Das, 19th June 2013

All glories Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga
All glories Srila Prabhupada

What a wonderful, clear and concise description of the mind and soul
My day has become extra enlivened – thank you

your servant
Rabindra Das
Geetha, 19th June 2013

Hare Krishna mataji,
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Thank you very much very nice explanation.

your servant,
Geetha.
Shreyas, 20th June 2013

Hare Krsna Mataji.

Dandavat Pranam
All glories to Guru and Gauranga!

I was quite convinced by the wonderful reply above. Just that I couldn’t understand few of the concepts:
1) You mentioned that the soul focuses its consciousness on what the mind is showing or projecting? Is that really true that the soul itself focuses because then there is also another fact that the soul is 100% pure and so is it really focusing,the soul?

This is how I limited-ly used to think of it. The mind hovers and thinks of so many things and there is something(which now you mention as soul) which sees to it ,all this and gets illusion-ed. So Soul being pure, seeing impure things and mind thinking I am not this soul is not quite befitting. So I wanted to know when it is said that the mind thinks I am not this soul, how on a subtle level is this happening? Because if soul is watching the projections in the mind then who is thinking or getting illusion-ed? Who is out of foolishness failing to realize the soul?
My so far thinking was that we interpret or think, etc because of the mind. Obviously, the feeling and sensation is because of the consciousness but I used to think consciousness is just like the facility and because of it we are able to think,etc from our brain, or visual gratification, etc.
Sorry for my complex way of communicating. I can only hope that I am clear.

Kindly enlighten.

Your fallen and aspiring servant
Hare Krsna!
Shreyas

Bhakta Sunil, 20th June 2013

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Regarding this question I researched and would like to share the following :

http://vedabase.com/sb/7/15/41

Transcendentalists who are advanced in knowledge compare the body, which is made by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to a chariot. The senses are like the horses; the mind, the master of the senses, is like the reins; the objects of the senses are the destinations; intelligence is the chariot driver; and consciousness, which spreads throughout the body, is the cause of bondage in this material world.

Humble respects from,
Sunil
Rathin Mandal, 21st June 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All Glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumataji,
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I had something of a similar query which Mahabhagavat Prabhu helped me to understand. So I will give a try to explain this with my limited knowledge.

The soul is always pure, because it is part of Supreme Personality. In it is actual position it is qualitatively same as God, but it is also interacting with the material nature due to which it gets affected by illusion. I will take help of following two verses to explain.
BG 3.5: Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.

Sri Krishna has said that everyone is affected by the material modes of nature, and when the one is not aware of his real position then he remains in illusion.

BG 3.27: The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.
Also this statement of Sri Krishna says that the soul gets affected by the mode of material nature.

Now some material example as how even the minds gets bewildered by the environment. I hope you would have seen boys playing video games like driving and shooting games. The player gets so much engrossed into the game that at tight corners instead of making the car move, he moves his body. Or while playing a shooting game, when the opponent shoots, the player tries to duck instead of making his game player duck. The mind knows that it is just playing a game on the computer but being heavily interacting with that instrument, the virtual affects get reflected in the real body also.

So I think, similarly the soul en-caged inside the material body is bound to see and feel through the body. Until and unless it receives devotees assistance, he cannot differentiate between real and illusion.

your Servant
Rathin
Rohini Devi Dasi, 24th June 2013

Hare Krishna shreyas prabhuji,

All glories to Srila Gurudev and srimati Gurumataji.
All glories to Srila Praphupada!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

Prabhuji I m not an expert in this topic,it’s what I have heard from great preachers and senior devotee s of our sampradaya  m writing .Will try to answer your question but m not sure how much of your doubts will be resolved.
Question

1) You mentioned that the soul focuses its consciousness on what the mind is showing or projecting? Is that really true that the soul itself focuses because then there is also another fact that the soul is 100% pure and so is it really focusing,the soul?
Soul being pure, seeing impure things and mind thinking I am not this soul is not quite befitting. So I wanted to know when it is said that the mind thinks I am not this soul, how on a subtle level is this happening? Because i f the soul is watching the projection of the mind who is thinking or getting illusion-ed? Who is out of foolishness failing to realize the soul?
Ans: The Vedic wisdom-tradition states that the soul is by its very nature sat-cit-anand, eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss.

The mind, like our physical body, is material. So it is non-living and unconscious. When the mind appears to be conscious, it is simply prompting us towards actions that we have repeatedly done in the past. Thus its actions are similar to the actions of a competent software program that remembers our past choice among multiple options and prompts us towards making that choice again. When we make that same choice repeatedly, the program may make that choice as our default option. Then, even if we don’t choose that option consciously, still it gets chosen automatically. Eventually, we may feel that the computer program is conscious and is choosing on its own. We may even feel that its choice and our choice are the same. But neither of these feelings is true. And we can realize their falsity by consciously stopping the default choice and consciously making an alternative choice.

The same principle applies in our dealings with our mind. When we repeatedly respond to particular stimuli in the same way, the mind makes that response as our default option. So, for example, when we let our mind go towards thoughts of sex whenever nothing urgent occupies it, then carnal thoughts become our default thoughts. This may give us the misperception that we are innately lusty. But we aren’t. All of us, as souls, are innately spiritual, and the spiritual soul has nothing to do with physical lust.

To correct our misperception, we need to consciously say no to the default option and say yes to an alternative option, that is, we need to take our mind away from its habitual object of thought and fix it on some other object. Many such alternative objects of thought may present themselves before us, but we will soon discover that fixing the mind on them is not easy; redirecting the mind involves dragging and wrenching that strains and drains us. After some struggle, we may even feel that disciplining the mind to be an exercise in self-torture and futility. While this opposition that the mind presents to our plans can be discouraging, it can also serve as undeniable confirmatory evidence that we are different from our mind.
Vedic wisdom facilitates and accelerates the process of redirecting the mind by offering us an object of thought that is empowering, purifying and fulfilling. That object is Krishna – especially in his form of the holy name.

Hare Krishna!

your servant,
Rohini Devi dasi
Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 25th June 2013

Hare Krishna!

My short note, to support what Rohini Mataji has so eloquently explained, is that it is the soul which perceives, sees, observes, etc., subtle body and gross material body are just the instruments through which those sensations are coming into the soul. Without the presence of the soul, the mind or body cannot do anything on their own. It is the living force, the spirit soul, atma, which provides consciousness which is the basic ingredient before any other activity can occur.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das
Shreyas, 25th June 2013

Hare Krsna!

I first of all thank Sunil Prabhuji, Rathin Prabhuji, Rohini Mataji and Mahabhagavat das Prabhuji for devoting their time to my frustration or misunderstanding and doubt. Yes, it was explained quite nicely and easily. I was over-thinking. It’s very clear to me. I am indeed fortunate to join this group.
I am very clear with this topic and depth now.

Haribol!
your fallen and aspiring servant!
Hare Krsna!

Shreyas

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