Moving homes – painful business

Have you ever moved? Moved a home? Moved a job? Moved to another city? Moved to another country? Moving is painful, is it not? What about the ultimate move we will be forced to make at the end of our lives? That moment when our soul is ripped from all its current attachments? How to deal with that?

Have you ever moved from one home to another? Moving is a pain. It can be exciting, but usually it is a big hassle, and takes a lot of effort. The bigger the move, the more the pain.

So what about THE BIG MOVE?

You may or may not have moved, or maybe your moves were smooth and painless, but there is one move that is so big and so painful that almost everyone is afraid of it.

That’s right, the biggest ever move of our lives. It is called death. Death. DEATH.

Some call death the grim reaper, and for good reason! Every single attachment we have, to our body, our family, our friends, our home, our profession, our city, country, culture, all of that is ripped out in a moment.

Just as moves are painful, but transient, and usually forgotten once we are in our new home, death is not to be feared.

Why is that?

The jaws of a cat are death for a mouse, but to a kitten, the jaws of his mother is just “hey, my Mom is taking me for an adventure”.

Depending on how we have lived our life, death can be a relief, a cause for great anxiety, or of no consequence whatsoever.

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि ।
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा-
न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ॥ २२ ॥

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.

Once upon a time there was a saintly person and his disciple.

They went around meeting different people during their travels…

One day, the saintly person met 3 souls.

One was a person of really poor character… he was very wealthy, charismatic, powerful and influential, but lied, cheated, plundered, and murdered for profit and convenience. But as the saintly person had nothing of value that the crook could possibly want, and was such a pleasant personality to be around, the wicked crooked person did not harm the saintly person. To this man, the saintly person gave the blessing “may you live long” and the person was naturally very happy to receive this blessing.

Another person was extremely good in character, always willing to extend a helping hand, kind, and generous too, but he was suffering like you cannot imagine… he had health issues, was very poor, and barely had enough to eat, no proper clothes to wear, and a dwelling that wasn’t even fit for an animal to live in. To this person the saintly person gave the blessing “may you die shortly”.

The third person that the saintly person and his disciple met was a pure Lover of God, and spent every waking moment in the service of God. His every breath resonated the Names of God, and his every action was done in loving communion with God, for the sake of God’s pleasure. He loved every creature, served them as children of God, and was in general very happy and jolly. This person was neither too rich nor too poor, neither too famous, nor unknown. He was neither too beautiful, nor was he very powerful. He was plain and simple, and you couldn’t spot him in a crowd for the most part, but he was just completely satisfied and content, happy to serve God in every possible way. The saintly person blessed him with “live as you are, or die as you are, be as you are”.

Now at the end of the day, when the disciple was serving his spiritual master and asked about the different blessings given during the day, the blessing of a long life to the wicked, the blessing of death to the miserable, and an indifferent blessing to the pure devotee of God. The disciple was somewhat shocked and perplexed at his spiritual master’s different blessings, some of which were seemingly unfair.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari, the author’s spiritual master, enthralls his disciples with transcendental knowledge

The spiritual master, the saintly person, explained…

The person acting wickedly today is reaping the result of his past good activities from the past – good karma. When he dies, then he will reap the results of his present sinful activities – bad karma. So to the wicked man, death would be quite the terrible thing because then the karmic reactions would come home to roost. Instead, if he lives longer and changes his ways, he may have a chance to redeem himself.

Life in the material world is just like a Ferris Wheel

The person in a miserable situation today is reaping the result of his past bad activities, bad karma. When he dies, then he will reap the results of his present kindness – good karma. So to the gentleman, death would be a welcome respite from his suffering and would give him pleasure, and hopefully continue his kind ways.

And to the pure devotee of God, whether he lives or dies makes no difference to the soul – all the reactions to his past karmic actions, whether good karma or bad karma are burned off… he is ecstatic now and he will be forever ecstatic in the service of God, whether here in the material world, or back in the spiritual realm, the person will be eternally happy and satisfied, so he has no need of any blessing for me.

किं कर्म किमकर्मेति कवयोऽप्यत्र मोहिताः ।
तत्ते कर्म प्रवक्ष्यामि यज्ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽश‍ुभात् ॥ १६ ॥

kiṁ karma kim akarmeti
kavayo ’py atra mohitāḥ
tat te karma pravakṣyāmi
yaj jñātvā mokṣyase ’śubhāt

Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is inaction. Now I shall explain to you what action is, knowing which you shall be liberated from all misfortune.

Death is a mere transition, a mere move from one home to another one.

If you have been good or bad in the material sense, you surely will have fear, anxiety or lamentation over death. But if you are in the transcendental stage, then death is, in the words of my spiritual master “closing your eyes in sleep and waking up with Krishna, in Krishna’s pastimes”.

Krishna’s devotees live and play with Krishna eternally

While moving homes may be painful for someone who has a lot of baggage, moving is not painful to the person who has no baggage!

How to get free of baggage?

aprārabdha-phalaṁ pāpaṁ
kūṭaṁ bījaṁ phalonmukham
krameṇaiva pralīyeta

For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish.

Padma Purana – quoted in

So you can take your pick… you can remain on the level of karmic actions and reactions, or you can make your activities completely transcendental to all material reactions, and burn off any remaining reactions.

You cannot choose whether to surrender or not – you are already surrendered, either to the material energy or to the spiritual energy. You are controlled at every moment, in every respect (but more about that another day). You can choose to act transcendental to the material energy.

How to make your actions transcendental? Glad you asked! Join this course!

The “science”(dogma) of conjecture

Evolution is a fact. But not the way it is commonly understood… How to understand evolution scientifically?

You may have heard about Darwin’s theory of natural selection… yes, where the claim is that one species evolved into another species because the fittest who evolved survived and the others died off, thereby creating a natural evolution of species just sort of accidentally and randomly. It is in line with the magical wishful thinking of the Big Bang.

But according to the Vedic scripture all 8.4 Million species are created by the arrangement of God. 400,000 of those species are human in nature, and the remain 8 million are sub-human.

“jalaja nava lakshani, sthavara laksha-vimshati, krimayo rudra-sankhyakah, pakshinam dasha-lakshanam, trinshal-lakshani pashavah, chatur lakshani manavah”

Jalaja (Water based) – 0.9 million, Sthaavara (immobile like plants & trees) – 2.0 million, Krimaayo (Reptiles and germs) – 1.1 million, Pakshinaam (Birds) – 1.0 million, Paashavah (terrestrial animals) – 3.0 million, Maanavah (human-like bodies, including human species, demigods, danavas, gandharvas etc) – 0.4 million.

Padma Purana

Some species may be visible at some times, and other species may be present at other times. So what determines whether there are any specimens of any given species are actually on a planet at any given time?

A tiger has no choice…

Karma! Karma is the law action and reaction – every action has an equal and opposite reaction, that is the law of Karma. This most basic law of nature drives the circumstances of a living entities trajectory in the material world… simply put, certain deeds are classified “karma” or deeds that bring pleasing reactions, and certain deeds are classified “vikarma” or deeds that bring unpleasant reactions. Karma and Vikarma is only accrued in human forms of life, the sub-human species are simply living our their karma – the tiger suffers no reaction for killing a deer but a human does.

A human has choices…

अधस्तान्नरलोकस्य यावतीर्यातनादय: ।
क्रमश: समनुक्रम्य पुनरत्राव्रजेच्छुचि: ॥ ३४ ॥

adhastān nara-lokasya
yāvatīr yātanādayaḥ
kramaśaḥ samanukramya
punar atrāvrajec chuciḥ

Having gone through all the miserable, hellish conditions and having passed in a regular order through the lowest forms of animal life prior to human birth, and having thus been purged of his sins, one is reborn again as a human being on this earth.

After transmigrating through the millions of different species, we get a human life. What we do in our present human life determines our future trajectory.

It takes a lot of transmigraton through species to get a human life…

Of course, trying to piece together the effects of the law of karma is a fool’s errand, because here’s something – let’s say you have one seed – one karmic action. That seed sprouts, grows into a tree, flowers, and fructifies – each fruit contains many more seeds… those result in more trees and more and more and more. Pretty soon, you don’t know where you started and why you’re enjoying or suffering. All sorts of apparently anomalous phenomena occur, and people ask questions like “why do bad things happen to good people”. In the material world, no one is really fully innocent. We all came here by our own free will, due to the original sin of trying to displace God after all.

A Banyan tree – where did it all start?

There is one kind of action, called “akarma” which can be loosely translated as “inaction in action”…

कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः ।
अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥ १७ ॥

karmaṇo hy api boddhavyaṁ
boddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ
akarmaṇaś ca boddhavyaṁ
gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.

कर्मण्यकर्म यः पश्येदकर्मणि च कर्म यः ।
स बुद्धिमान्मनुष्येषु स युक्तः कृत्स्नकर्मकृत् ॥ १८ ॥

karmaṇy akarma yaḥ paśyed
akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ
sa buddhimān manuṣyeṣu
sa yuktaḥ kṛtsna-karma-kṛt

One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.

Statements like this can be mysterious and confusing, and they did end up confusing a lot of western scholars who studied the Bhagavad Gita without the guidance of the disciplic succession, a bona fide Guru.

But it is quite easy to understand with the context, go ahead and click on the link to BG 4.18 and you will get a crystal clear explanation. Basically, you might think you are inactive, but you could be accumulating karmic reactions just by your breathing… but there is a way to do everything so that not only are there no karmic reactions but your existing karmic reactions are burned away…

Coming back to the speculative idea that somehow or other one organism adapted and evolved into another species, and that the fossil record is to be taken as proof is fallacious. The fossil record, is at best, a conjecture.

Why is that?

Fossils are not truly reliable as evidence for evolution…

Because the fossil record simply represents certain events or accidents depending on whose viewpoint you are looking at – some hapless animal got caught in some clay that solidified to rock preserving the skeleton as a fossil, and just because this didn’t happen a billion years before or after doesn’t necessarily give us the time when that species was around. A fossil is essentially like a little child pointing and clicking a camera randomly – you can’t decide what exactly happened that day just from the photos. A lot of room for error.

A great book on this subject is Nature’s IQ by by Balaz Hornyansk and Istvan Tasi.

Nature’s IQ

The introduction to the book reads “It is not at all surprising that insects behave like insects, birds behave like birds, and mammals behave like mammals. They execute most of their intricate behavior in a predetermined, instinctive manner. But how do they know when and how they should act? Where did the intelligence that is manifested in nature come from? Can the current view be true, that inert matter (lacking consciousness) somehow acquired intelligence over the course of a vast span of time? Darwin’s theory of evolution is widely accepted as the explanation for the varieties of life. Evolutionists attempt to explain the origin of behavioral patterns by gradual modifications of more simple behavior forms. But when we try to explain complex animal behavior this way, it becomes impossible! Nature’s IQ invites the reader to investigate an alternative explanation. Is it possible that our world reflects, in many different ways, a supernatural intelligence that has applied its own infinitely ingenious solutions to create the living world?”

One of Darwin’s ideas is that some fortunate specimens of a particular species developed a particular advantage that helped them survive while their peers perished due to the lack of that advantage.

The key idea is that for example, it is conjectured that a giraffe needed a long neck so it could eat the leaves from trees that were very tall and thus have an advantage over those animals that depend on grass and other short plants… one day, a short-necked ancestor of a giraffe developed a slightly longer neck, and its descendants developed longer and longer necks… but the authors make an argument like, OK, what advantage did the giraffe ancestor with a neck only slightly longer than its previous generation have? How could that change continue in the absence of any tangible advantage? What about more complex instincts and behaviours? What about the intelligence that many animals exhibit?

Such examples abound in nature… Michael Cremo writes in his foreword… “These complex behaviors involve many behavioral steps, linked in specific sequences. Without all the parts of the behavior being present in proper sequence, the behavior would not be executed. We can thus say that not only biological form but biological behavior can be irreducibly complex. That means these behaviors cannot have arisen in the step by step fashion that evolution requires. Thus biological behavior also provides evidence of intelligent design.”

In other words, the theory of evolution of species is not much more than mental speculation combined with healthy doses of conjecture. It is the dogma of conjecture.

Another great book is Rethinking Darwin, by Leif Jensen.

Rethinking Darwin

What can we do then? We can evolve back to a higher consciousness with our efforts and lots of mercy.

The Vedic Scriptures say:

aprārabdha-phalaṁ pāpaṁ
kūṭaṁ bījaṁ phalonmukham
krameṇaiva pralīyeta

For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish.

Quotation from the Padma Purana in purport of

Here is real science. You can know this, follow the process of Bhakti, Loving Devotional Service to the Supreme, and go back home. It is a repeatable process. Countless have done it. You can too. Dear Spirit Soul, you are already perfect in your original state. Over countless lifetimes, you have devolved from your original perfection to a state which is an embarrassment to your true identity. Wake up! Know yourself! Be yourself! Go back home to the spiritual realm where you belong! I pray to serve you on your journey back home, that is why I exist. Ask me how!

Idol Worship? Or Deity Worship?

Often, I have come across a denigration of the Vedic Culture of Worship of God as “idol worship”. “Idolatry is a sin, you are going to hell”, I have heard very often.

And because the education system I was schooled in was western in its origin, there were many subtle and not-so-subtle references to this idea that somehow or other, this worship of Deities in the Vedic temples was deeply wrong.

And of course, this early conditioning gave me fodder for my atheism, my voidism, my impersonalism, my agnosticism, and essentially held me back from pursuing a spiritual path of any kind.

What is an idol? And how can a stone or metal or wooden image be God? Or how can a message written down in any language represent God?

It’s a fact that God is non-material, and therefore cannot be perceived by material senses. But the material senses are all I have, then how do I perceive God?

First of course, the perception of God is by hearing about Him. His name, His pastimes, and His qualities. In other words, the Name of God is the Form of God.

So, a name written down, is also God. Because God is Absolute, then God is fully present in His name.

But those scriptures which contain God’s name also contain descriptions of God’s qualities, of God’s interactions with others like myself, persons of the flesh. Jayadvaita Swami, born into Judaism, writes “Whose worship is Idol Worship”…

That very same God with the Names, is also described to have a form. Not a form like mine, which suffers birth, death, old age, and disease, but a form that is Eternal, Full of Joy, and Full of Knowledge.

How may I perceive that form with my two little material eyes?

As confirmed in the Padma Purana,

atah shri-krishna-namadi
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah

“No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.”

Padma Purana

Therefore, God, out of His kind mercy, appears before me in a form that I can very well perceive. But when He does, that form is non-material. That same old paint, wood, stone, and metal are transformed, just like an ordinary paper and ordinary ink are transformed with the name of God.

If worshipping a form of God according to the scriptures is wrong, then so is revering the name of the God written down or spoken even, because to utter a name in sound is to cause the form of the word to manifest.

Those who hate “idolatry” should then possess no Cross, no Qu’ran, no Wall, no Scripture, no Shrine, Nothing.

Idolatry is worship of the mundane, be it a car or a beautiful actor, be it a very knowledgeable professor of some mundane subject of the material world, or a great orator, or businessperson.

The supreme abode of the Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is described in the Brahma-samhita as chintamani-dhama, a place where all desires are fulfilled. The supreme abode of Lord Krishna, known as Goloka Vrindavana, is full of palaces made of touchstone. There are also trees called ‘desire trees,’ which supply any type of eatable upon demand, and there are cows known as surabhi, which supply a limitless supply of milk. In this abode, the Lord is served by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune (lakshmis)and He is called Govinda, the primal Lord and the cause of all causes. The Lord is accustomed to blow His flute (venum kvanantam). His transcendental form is the most attractive in all the worlds—His eyes are like lotus petals and His bodily color like clouds. He is so attractive that His beauty excels that of thousands of cupids. He wears saffron cloth, a garland around His neck and a peacock feather in His hair.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Bhagavad Gita As It Is

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Randomness is a Myth

Randomness is a myth. Randomness does not exist. But we can learn to free ourselves from the complexities of what appears to be random

You heard that right! Yes. Randomness is another one of those things that doesn’t exist, just like nothingness. Nothing is ever random. Randomness is one of these (or a variant) in every single case:

  1. A figment of imagination
  2. A sign of ignorance
  3. A device, tool, a starting point

Randomness as Imagination – it is very tempting, for someone who wants to pretend that their actions have no consequences, or someone who does not want to take responsibility for their actions, to pretend that the Universe is random. But of course, imagination goes only so far – it is not true.

Randomness as Ignorance – If I gave you an extremely complex mathematical formula, and asked you to show someone else the results of that formula with different hidden inputs, those results can very well appear to be random. But they are not random to someone who knows the equation and the inputs, in this case, you and me. So the outputs simply appear random, they are not so.

Randomness as a tool, a starting point – In many mathematical and scientific disciplines, just like the square root of -1, “i“, to pretend that the space is populated with random values helps to “seed” certain algorithms. This process implicitly acknowledges that randomness is simply a tool, a starting point to reach a model or understanding that is not random.

So if everything is not random, then why does it appear to be? Complexity. The laws of material nature, which are anything but random, are the creation of God, who is above the laws of material nature. The laws themselves are quite simple, but when the laws interact with themselves over and over again, the complexity they generate is mind-boggling.

Take a simple example of me planting one apple seed, just one seed. Not all seeds sprout but if/when this one does, it brings forth a seedling. Not all seedlings grow to be a tree, but if/when this one does, it bears flowers. Not all flowers turn to fruit, but some do. Not all fruits have seeds in them, but most of them do. When these seeds disperse, many sprout, give rise to trees, and this process endlessly continues, as long as the material circumstances are favourable.

After just a few decades, it will be impossible for a person who didn’t witness me planting the first apple seed to detect which apple tree was the first one. It will be impossible, even for me, to tell which tree an apple came from… or to tell for sure which specific seed caused which specific tree to grow.

Which brings us to the oft-heard saying, humans can count the fruits in a tree or the seeds in a fruit, but only God knows how many trees there are inside one seed. God is infinite, and therefore, it is possible for God to know all the permutations, with vision undisturbed by time.

Karma, the law of action and reaction has been described in the Vedic scriptures many millenia ago. A more recent rediscovery of the principles of Karma is by Isaac Newton “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction“. Sometimes, people say “what goes around, comes around“.

I heard that Lord Buddha said that if one were to stack the skeletons of all the bodies one soul has inhabited, those bones will block out the sun! Every soul inhabiting the material world has had many many actions (seeds), giving rise to many many beginning to sprout (seedlings), with many different resultant symptoms (flowers and fruits). It is hard to take one particular symptom of one’s life today and try to ascertain what specific action caused it. But just because it is hard doesn’t mean that randomness is the answer.

So what is the solution? How does one get out of the dense forest of karmic actions and reactions? The Bhagavad Gita defines a particular type of action and classifies it as “akarma” – “inaction”. This inaction is not some sort of inert “do nothing / sit still / renounce all action” practiced by the immature spiritualists or lazy materialists, but it is those actions that are spiritual in nature – that which serve to reconnect spirit to the Supreme Spirit, God.

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.” BG 4.17

There is no randomness, everything is actually quite ordered and structured, it is simply a matter of the choices we have made in the past. And just as our present circumstances may appear complex, we can unravel and simplify just as someone pieces together a jumbled up jigsaw puzzle, with time, patience, and determination.

aprarabdha-phalam papam
kutam bijam phalonmukham
kramenaiva praliyeta
Persons who are completely engaged in the devotional service of the Lord Vishnu the Personality of Godhead—becomes completely extinct from all sorts of vicious reactions which either potential, germinating, seedling or current by a gradual process. (from Padma Purana)
असत्यमप्रतिष्ठं ते जगदाहुरनीश्वरम् ।
अपरस्परसंभूतं किमन्यत्कामहैतुकम् ॥ १६.८ ॥
asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te
jagad āhur anīśvaram
kim anyat kāma-haitukam
They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust. BG 16.8
कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः ।
अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥ ४.१७ ॥
karmaṇo hy api boddhavyaṁ
boddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ
akarmaṇaś ca boddhavyaṁ
gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is. BG 4.17

BG 4.17:
The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.
BG 4.18:
One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.

What could possibly be unknown to You, O master? With vision undisturbed by time, You witness the minds of all living beings. Nevertheless, on Your order I will speak. SB 10.64.11

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