What are the purposes, the practices—and the fruits—of spiritual surrender?
Krishna the Chariot Driver holds the reins of His chariot, the Creation. He is no inexperienced charioteer. He is very adept at driving the universe through space. As the Absolute Controller, He is able to drive all chariots along even the roughest roads, and for the man who recognizes and accepts His mastery, He is the perfect Guide and Guru.
"Jagannath Swami!" Guru of the Universe! Shankara's accolade is no extravagance. Full knowledge, as an attribute of the Divine, predicates everything from the proverbial blade of grass that doesn't stir without His will, to colonies of ants in the deepest forests, to grains of sand shifting on the shores of all the worlds, to the grand panoramas of history—a colorful tableau in time—cosmic phenomena defying man's imagination—such as the births and destructions of galaxies. All are being guided under the expert hand of this Charioteer, Who sweeps through everything.
Those who have read The Bhagavad Gita know that in that scripture Lord Sri Krishna appears as Chariot Driver to Arjuna, a warrior about to engage in the Battle of Kurukshetra. Krishna's role here is neither coincidental nor subsidiary—rather, as the Driver, He is in control. Riding in the chariot, Arjuna is the prototype of the ideal man. Sickened by the prospect of fighting against his kinsmen, Ariuna from the very beginning bows to Krishna, requesting that He guide him through his difficulties.
"Now I am confused about duty, and have lost all composure because of weakness," Arjuna tells Krishna. "In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me." This attitude of surrender enables Krishna to drive Arjuna to victory.
Not only in the Gita, but in all Vedic literature we learn that "Iswara," the Supreme Lord, is the Ultimate Controller. The Creation is His chariot which He drives in whatever way He likes. Aware or unaware, every living entity is controlled by Krishna: "The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of material energy." (BG 18.61)
All entities are, in fact, being driven by the Supreme Lord on a chariot ride through eternity. Whether or not the entities enjoy this ride depends on their knowledge and acceptance of, faith in, and love for, the Driver.
For instance, the surrendered soul recognizes that Krishna is the Driver, the Ultimate Controller, and therefore he dovetails his will to Krishna's will, and allows Krishna to drive him with complete faith. The rebellious soul, on the other hand, tries to take the reins from Krishna and drive according to his own whims—and as a result he gets lost or cracks up. "One who becomes conscious of Me passes over all the obstacles of conditional life. If, however, one does not work in such consciousness, and acts through false ego, not hearing Me, he is lost." (BG 18.58) In this way, Krishna advises not only Arjuna, but all men.
Krishna, as the Supreme Enjoyer, the Supersoul, is the male or dominant principle—the Driver. The Creation, as "Prakriti" or Nature, is the female or receptive principle—the driven. These principles can be found functioning in the relationship between the devotee and the Lord. In the poems of Saint John of the Cross, for example, we find the Christ in the role of the bridegroom and the devotee as bride. And, of course, this relationship is found in innumerable other Christian poems. Most noted perhaps are John Donne's "Batter My Heart Three-Person'd God" (...for I/Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,/ Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me."); the poems of George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, Edward Taylor, Blake and Gerard Manly Hopkins.
This concept also holds true, of course, in the devotional poetry directed at Krishna, in the poems of Vidyapati, Jayadeva and Chandidas, where the devotee's role is that of the beloved, the receptive, and the Lord is the Divine Lover, the Supreme Energetic. This principle can be found functioning not only in the religious and poetic spheres, but in all relationships in the material universe (from the physicist's positive-negative electrons to the cosmos-void theories and yin-yang opposites) as a reflection of this spiritual reality. Ultimately the spiritual principle is epitomized in the worshipable forms of Radha and Krishna, as the Enjoyed and the Enjoyer.
Some of the great devotees of Krishna have assumed quite naturally their constitutional role as the enjoyed. Lord Chaitanya actually worshiped Krishna in separation and assumed the role of Radha in weeping for His separated Lover. Even the sight of a peacock or the sound of a flute would send Him into a swoon. This is considered the highest form of devotion. It is certainly the most intense, for it employs an explosive segment of the human condition—the sexual.
Strong sexual passions are often considered impediments to spiritual life—and in most Yogas they are—but in Bhakti Yoga these may be easily transformed, because lust for material sex gratification may be properly channeled into love for Krishna. After all, it is pleasure that everyone is seeking, and Krishna, as the Reservoir of all pleasure, can satisfy in all capacities. The process involves directing the libidinous drive from Maya, the temporary, to Reality. Once Maya is seen as the imperfect reflection of the Absolute Beauty—or beauty clogged and tainted by mortality and temporality—then the path is cleared. Absolute Beauty by definition is all-attractive, an attribute of Krishna.
The image of the chariot and the chariot driver is a dynamic one, as opposed to the static Vedantic philosophy of "oneness with Brahman." The chariot presupposes movement, progress from one state of being to another state of being. In his fallen state, subjected to the material miseries of life, eternal "oneness with Brahman" remains for man only an idealistic philosophical supposition that is very much divorced from personal experience. But the chariot ride from mundane material consciousness to cosmic spiritual consciousness spurs the imagination and is, coincidentally, more in line with current theories of evolution. The chariot ride with Krishna as the Driver is not a wistful speculation but an exciting promise. Krishna, eternally blissful, is not static or stationary, but dynamic and energetic, and He drives His Creation at a rapid pace. He is, indeed, having fun.
There are, of course, those people who maintain that Nature has no driver, no director, and that the universe indeed is a runaway chariot bumbling along a path of creation and destruction. From generation to generation these theories of universal anarchy have arisen. They have gone under various names, and were even current five thousand years ago when Krishna instructed the Gita to Arjuna.
During Krishna's time, philosophers who expounded these theories were known as the "Lokayitik" and "Baibhasikas." They maintained that life symptoms take place at a certain mature condition of the material combinations. The modern material scientists and materialist philosophers think similarly. According to them, the body is a combination of physical elements, and at a certain stage the life symptoms develop by the interaction of physical and chemical combinations. How is this so? Oh, it just happens that way, these scientists and philosophers will answer. Which means they don't know. Rebellious by nature, they hate and fear notions of an Absolute in any sphere. Nature, the universe, the Creation has no boss, they claim. We're free! Anything goes! Although under the grip of material Nature, they claim they are free, and that the chariot has no driver.
Currently, many pseudo-religions, manufactured by drug-taking messiahs, have become fashionable in America, and they adhere to this philosophy. It is not surprising that they often find themselves sharing much common ground with certain nihilistic non-devotional Buddhist sects (such as Zen) that also deny an Ultimate Controller. Of course, their assertions are directly opposed to Lord Krishna's instructions in the Gita:
O son of Kunti, at the end of the millennium every material manifestation enters unto My nature, and at the beginning of another millennium, by My potency I again create. The whole cosmic order is under Me. By My Will is it manifested again and again, and by My Will is it annihilated at the end. This material Nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, producing all the moving and unmoving beings; and by its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again. (Gita, 9.7, 8, 10)
And what does Krishna say of those who think the chariot is driver-less and that life simply "happens" by the lucky interaction of certain physical and chemical combinations?
The foolish mock at Me, at My descending like a human being. They do not know My transcendental Nature, and My Supreme domination over all that be. Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demonic and atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for liberation, their fruitive activities, and their culture of knowledge are all defeated. O son of Pritha, those who are not deluded, the Great Souls, are under the protection of the Divine Nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible. (Gita, 9.11-13)
The Absolute is at the very core of life. He is the Driver who determines, from moment to moment, what will come within the purview of our senses. And it is He Who holds our life, our happiness, our immortality in hand, as He holds the chariot's reins. When we see Krishna in control of our very thoughts, then revelation is at hand. We may prepare to be touched by Him.
All suffering is caused by opposition to Him. The rebellious mentality current today simply generates human suffering, because it at once rejects all notions of an Absolute in the universe. Why? As one young student told me: "I've had no experience with anything Absolute. I don't even know what you mean when you say Absolute."
"That doesn't mean there isn't an Absolute," I replied.
"As far as I'm concerned, there isn't an Absolute," he said.
"But that doesn't matter. Being Absolute, the Absolute doesn't require your belief or disbelief. But why do you reject what you don't experience? Every day, aware or unaware, you accept a great deal that you don't experience. You are forced to accept a great deal on faith. Until you recognize your relationship with the Absolute, why not accept Him on faith too?"
"But I can't accept the Absolute like that," the student assured me. "If there is an Absolute, He would make Himself known."
"Maybe He is," I said. "And maybe you're trying to shut Him out."
"But if He's Absolute, then I can't shut Him out."
"True," I said. "So why not open up to Him?"
"You're juggling words," He said. "Words don't mean anything."
"The glory of God is beyond words," I said, "but words can direct you to that glory. Besides, words have a glory all their own. The Gita, the Bible, the Buddhist Sutras—are all truly glorious, and who can deny their meaning? And in describing the Absolute, the Absolute is glorified by words. Being Absolute, He is one with words, and so St. John begins his gospel, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.'"
"Just words," he said finally.
"Yes," I said. "And man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
"More words," he said. "Everything's a word."
"That's right," I said. "And you're a word too. One of the best of words." And to completely befuddle him I quoted Whitman: "Were you thinking that those were the words, those delicious sounds out of your friends' mouths? No, the real words are more delicious than they. Human bodies are words, myriads of words. Air, soil, water, fire—those are words, and I myself am a word with them."
I might have tried to tell my friend more, but at this point he was openly antagonistic to all words, and finally took recourse in an angry silence. I remember at the time he was going to school in Boston and he had come to New York to enjoy the psychedelic scene and take some LSD. He was open to chemicals, it seemed, but not to words. At least not my words. Subsequently, I have prayed that he has not become an inarticulate psychedelic vegetable. And I have thanked Krishna for His mercy upon Me.
Mercy. Another word. A word that sounds beautiful to me, at least. The Eternal Charioteer, spurring the chariot along complex and mysterious paths, is the dispenser of all mercies. In the Srimad Bhagwatam (11.5.29) it is said, "Your glory, O Lord, is revealed in the world. And yet he alone to whom You grant mercy from Your Lotus Feet may feel a little of it. And to none else will You reveal Yourself, though he might seek You forever."
To obtain this mercy we can surrender to Krishna and ask Him to be our Charioteer. Surrender must be in love and faith. Krishna told the Gopies, "People obtain liberation from the world only through loving faith in Me. So the love you bear for Me is a great joy to you, for it is through this love alone that I shall be attained." (Srimad Bhagwatam, 10.82.31). To taste the pleasure of the Absolute, we must be as the Gopies, we must lay our souls open to Him so He can drive through. He is within, and He will dictate to whomever turns to Him with a sincere heart, for He is within the hearts of all. Once we offer our bodies as chariots, then the Charioteer will drive from the heart and lead us to His abode.
Deluding Maya, killing every spark
That goal, which having reached, no higher goal
But I am powerless, although I'm deemed
A vision of the spiritual sky—the land where Krishna, the Supreme Lord, appeared to man 5,000 years ago to reveal His pastimes
Text by Jaya Govinda
Today there is a seeking for a particular type of surrounding, or "spiritual atmosphere" for meditation, especially among groups of people interested in meditation and the nature of existence. Even for those who are simply desiring relaxation, or repose in old age, there is a necessity for some kind of place with a meditative mood. Certainly, for clear uninterrupted thought, meditation, one must become freed from everyday anxieties and the nervous mechanical nature of today's cities and industrial towns.
Being a city-dweller from birth, I have found, as I'm sure many others have, that the forests with their varieties of flora and fauna rather set the stage for meditation. They are not the creations of man; they are superior in some way to man's creations. They might represent to us, if we wish it, the grace and beauty existing in the movements of the cosmos.
To be sure, there is always some superior force present which makes the seasons change, the rains come, the planets revolve; and that force is more perceivable in natural surroundings, of which the forest is only one example. That superior force or life force gives animation to non-living material, and it is that force to which we are attracted when we seek a rural environment.
In our own experience we may find that when this superior living force leaves a person, the remaining material, the dead body, bears little attraction for us, although when the same body was occupied by the life force, that person might have been a close relation. This life force is sometimes called the "soul"; and the universe also has a soul, we may call it the Supersoul, which causes the phenomena of Nature to occur.
The presence of spirit-soul in mutable matter is recognizable by six symptoms: birth, growth, consumption, reproduction, old age and death. And there is also a seventh and more important symptom—consciousness. When we associate with that superior spiritual nature of things, or when we associate with others also seeking after that superior nature, we feel uplifted because we are approaching closer to this basic truth of existence—which is existing within both ourselves and the world around us as a controlling force.
Srila Vyasadeva, compiler of the Vedas, author of the Puranas, Upanishads, Mahabharata, and ultimately of the Srimad Bhagwatam—who lived about 5,000 years ago—describes in all these writings how one may gradually come to the awareness and understanding of this superior nature by which the cosmic manifestation is functioning so perfectly. In his most mature stage, he composed 12 cantos or books, each larger then the preceding, to form an immense literature called Srimad Bhagwatam. In this he described the nature of a spiritual realm existing outside of this world of matter.
It would be very difficult for us to understand that spiritual realm when we have available to us only information of this temporary and mutable world. Therefore we must accept the information given us directly from the place where the spiritual energy predominates; a realm which, fortunately, lies outside the scope of our limited mundane sense perception. Srila Vyasadeva was a personality incarnated from that place specifically for the purpose of delivering such information. In the Srimad Bhagwatam, then, one may find in the later cantos a lucid description of a place called Goloka Vrindaban. This is the supreme abode of the Lord, Who is the Source of all cosmic manifestations.
The Supreme Lord is described as eternally youthful. He is not burdened by the maintenance of all the planets, but, by His omnipotence, He maintains them effortlessly and at the same time enjoys childlike sports as a cowherd boy, in eternal Vrindaban. He has many companions and lovers there, amid beautiful fields and surroundings described as "all-conscious." In that spiritual world, of which the material sphere that we know is a perverted mirror-reflection, the nature of people, places and events is permanent or eternal, all-blissful and full of all knowledge. These are the qualities of the higher spiritual nature, of the spiritual living entities when they are out of contact with the inferior, mutable Nature of this world.
There is a verse in the scriptural text called Brahma Samhita which says of Vrindaban: "The houses are made of touchstone [a substance which turns iron to pure gold]. There are thousands of trees, called desire-trees, from which one may obtain anything whatever. The Lord is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Lakshmis, Goddesses of Fortune, and the Lord is constantly attending the Surabhi Cows, which give an unlimited supply of nectar-like milk. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, Who is the Cause of all causes."
Of course the absolute center of attention in the spiritual world is Govinda or Krishna. In that sublime realm walking is dancing, and speaking is sweet song. It is a realm meant for all living beings to dwell in. We ourselves cannot even conceive of the wonders of this universe of matter; and so it may be difficult for us to conceive of another, transcendental realm where there is no death.
It is stated in The Bhagavad Gita that all living beings are meant to enjoy some relationship with the Lord directly, either as friend or lover, parent or son. But a small percentage of living beings have come to be trapped in this world that we now find ourselves in. We might assume, therefore, that the Supreme Lord is a cruel and punishing Personality, having placed us on this plane of death, and that He freely inflicts all manner of pains upon us. For example, a mother's son having been harmed in an auto accident, the mother might ask: "O Lord, why have You so cruelly harmed this boy?" The mother is attentive to the idea of "innocent youth." But actually the child's life force—his real self—is existing unchanged in its superior form of spiritual energy, and only the temporary body has been affected, being of a mutable nature.
The spiritual form is in a state of false identification and is governed, as a result, by impure or ignorant desires. Because of these impure desires he is forced to transmigrate from body to body, until such a time as he may desire to awaken to the higher platforms of spiritual consciousness. Therefore, he whom we are seeing as "young" is in reality a spiritual entity who has been allotted a certain body, like a shell covering his true self, and who has also been allotted certain circumstances, according to past deeds.
One who makes inquiry into the spiritual cause for all this manifested world becomes acquainted with the spiritual life force within himself, and therefore he need not lament for himself, even though death is approaching. Those who seek after spiritual understanding can know for a fact that the Lord is most kind and merciful to have given them this human life with which to reach Him and understand Him. And it is only those who are not using their lives in this way who fail to understand the kindness of the Lord.
The Lord can be known by direct experience, through the process of chanting the Holy Names: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. In the attainment of such knowledge one experiences the sweetest love and the fulfillment of life, a state of bliss that he could never have even hoped for in his fallen state.
The Lord might well leave the inhabitants of this world to suffer and rise up, going round and round on their own blind groping efforts. But His kindness is so great, and His desire to see the living beings out of this morass of birth, death, old age and disease is so strong, that He Personally descends from time to time into our view to lift the veil of illusion which renders invisible the spiritual reality, the eternal Truth of His own Personage and realm.
That spiritual realm, the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna and all His eternal associates, the enactment of His eternal pastimes—all this is sometimes made manifest in the material world. And the location for such a manifestation is described as entirely nondifferent from that location in the spiritual realm. Thus the Vrindaban which we find as a small village in north central India today, and pictured on these pages, is in reality the very Vrindaban of the spiritual sky, the supreme abode of the Lord. At this location the Lord reveals His eternal pastimes, although He has not left that original locality in the spiritual sky. This is done by the Lord's omnipotence, and it is as though a dimensional window has opened, making the spiritual realm visible to beings of this mundane world.
When this manifestation takes place, Krishna creates a spiritual locality for those beings who are attracted by the higher spiritual nature. For those persons who are advanced in the matter of self realization, especially by the process of chanting the Holy Names, the Lord reveals His eternal pastimes at Vrindaban, and He may also reveal the nature of an individual's eternal relationship to Himself. You might say that Vrindaban is a pleasure reserved only for devotees of the Lord, because they alone are able to relish the transcendental aspect of that most sacred place on Earth. And anyone may come to the devotional stage whereby he can understand Vrindaban simply by chanting the Holy Names of Krishna.
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
What the Vedic literature of 5,000 years ago has to say about the aspirations of space-age man
Every living being, especially civilized man, has a longing to live forever, and that happily. This is quite natural for him, because in his original state a living being is not only eternal but also joyful. The present conditional state of his life is diseased, formed by the struggles with recurring birth and death; and therefore he is neither happy nor living forever.
The desire to go to other planets which has now become prominent is also quite natural, because the living being has got the original right to go to any part of the material or spiritual skies, full as they are with unlimited globes of varied qualities. One can best fulfill his desire by the process of Yoga—the means by which one can join himself to the planets as he likes, where life is not only eternally blissful but also full with varieties of enjoyable energies.
Anyone who can go to such planets will never come back to this miserable sphere of birth, death, old age and disease. And one can attain to that stage of perfection by his individual effort very easily, practicing at his own chosen place, simply by following the prescribed method of Bhakti Yoga under proper guidance.
An attempt has been made herein, in these days of technological advancement, to give information to the people in general, and more especially to those interested in spiritual life, as to how one can transfer oneself to other planets by the process of Bhakti Yoga, the highest of all Yoga systems.
Modern materialistic science has discovered what it terms antimatter, dating back at least to the experiments of Drs. Emilio Segre and Owen Chamberlain in 1955 and 1956. But the antimaterial concepts of such wranglers of gross materialism are generally defective because they do not recognize either the scope of matter (Nature) itself, nor can they perceive what the reverse of the material condition might be. There are many theories regarding different types of antimatter—universes in variant vibratory fields, galaxies composed of atomic particles opposite in magnetic properties to our own, even one brilliant concept of a universe lying, as it were, beyond the horizon of the speed of light—but all of these types of "antimatter" are actually only variations of matter. They are not truly antimaterial, because they rest on imperfect analyses of what matter itself is to begin with.
All the same, there are three generally recognizable points widely agreed upon, which must be considered in a discussionof antimatter. These are that 1) there is an antimaterial atom or particle which is another form of energy, but which possesses qualities the reverse of the material atom; 2) there is an antimaterial world of which we have some kind of experience; and 3) these two different worlds may clash at a certain period, which may bring annihilation to both.
Out of these three items, we students of theistic science agree with numbers 1) and 2), but we cannot agree with the third, because although matter as it is constituted is subject to annihilation, antimatter—if it is free from all material symptoms—must be also free from annihilation by its very nature of existence. If matter is destructible or divisible, antimatter must be indestructible and indivisible.
We shall try now to discuss these three points from the angle of authentic scriptural vision.
The most scientific, authentic and recognized scripture of the world is the Veda. The Veda—originally one—has been divided into four—Sama, Yajur, Rig and Atharva. The subject matter of the Vedas is very difficult and dry for ordinary understanding, so to make these grave matters more easily comprehensible the four Vedas are again explained in the history of Mahabharata and in the eighteen Puranas. The Ramayana is a historical epic which also contains all the necessary information of the Vedas.
Therefore the four Vedas, the original Ramayana (by Sri Valmiki), the Mahabharata and the Puranas are all Vedic literature. The Upanishads are parts of the four Vedas, and the Vedanta Sutra is the cream of the Vedas. And to summarize all these Vedic writings, The Bhagavad Gita is accepted as the cream of all Upanishads and the elementary explanation of the Vedanta Sutra. The conclusion is that from The Bhagavad Gita alone you can have the essence of all the Vedas, as the Gita is spoken by Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He descends to this material world from the antimaterial sphere from time to time just to give such complete information of that superior form of energy.
The superior form of energy of the Personality of Godhead is described in the Gita as "Para Prakriti," superior nature. The scientists have discovered that there are various forms of matter, but the true concept of matter and antimatter is described most perfectly in The Bhagavad Gita as two forms of energy. Nature is an energy which creates the material world, and the same energy in her superior form creates the antimaterial world. And living entities belong to the superior energy group. The inferior energy or material energy is called "Apara Prakriti," the lower nature. So, in the Gita, the creative energy is presented in two forms, namely Apara and Para Prakritis, superior and inferior natures.
Life as Antimatter
Matter itself has no creative power. When it is manipulated by the living energy, material things are produced. Matter in its crude form is therefore the latent energy of the Supreme Being. Whenever we think of energy it is natural that we should think of the source of energy. For example, we may think of electrical energy, and along with it we think of the powerhouse where that energy is generated. Energy is therefore not self-sufficient, but is dependent upon its source.
Fire is the source of two other energies, namely light and heat. Light and heat have no independent existence without fire. Similarly, the two ultimate forms of energy—inferior and superior—are derived from a third source, call it by any name. But that source of all energy must be a living being with full sense of everything, or else it would be lacking the very elements of its creation. That Supreme Living Source is the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, the all-attractive Being.
In the Vedas, the Supreme Absolute Truth is called "Bhagavan," or the full-fledged Living Being who is the Fountainhead of all energies. The discovery of two forms of energy by scientists—even if they could distinguish matter from spirit, the true antimatter—is not the end of progressive science. One has to go still farther in the subject and thus discover the source of the two opposite particles or atoms.
How can we explain the antimaterial particle? We have experience of material atoms, but we have no experience of antimaterial atoms. The Bhagavad Gita, however, gives a vivid description of the antimaterial particle as follows:
That which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul. Only the material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is subject to destruction...(2.17, 18)
This description of a living being within the gross material body asserts that energy does indeed exist in two forms. And when one of them, the antimaterial particle, is absent from the material body, the latter becomes useless for all purposes. As such, the antimaterial particle is undoubtedly a superior energy to the material particle.
O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of heat and cold, happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed. O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation. (The Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 2.14, 15)
The antimaterial world is suggested here as liberation, freedom from matter, and the intimation is that in the antimaterial world there is no such experience of seasonal changes. Everything there is permanent, blissful and full of intelligence. But when we say it is a world, we mean that it does have its forms and possesses the paraphernalia of different categories beyond our material experiences.
The discovery of these two forms of energy now leads us to seek out the specific qualities of antimatter. The description given in the Gita is as follows, and our scientists can make profitable research on the basis of this valuable information:
For the soul there is never birth or death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain. (2.20)
Here is the beginning of the description of the antimaterial particle. The perfection of science will come when it is possible for the material scientists to know the qualities of the antimaterial particle and to liberate it from the painful association of nonpermanent material particles. This liberation of the antimaterial particle is the highest stage of scientific progress.
Creation and Destruction
The suggestion of the scientists that there may exist a world of antimaterial atoms and that a clash between that world and this would result in the annihilation of both is partly true. Such a clash is in fact continually going on between the material and antimaterial particles. But in that continuous clashing, the annihilation of the material particles is taking place at every step while the nonmaterial particle is only trying to get out of it all.
We think therefore that the theory of the annihilation of both worlds is wrong in conception. This is further explained in The Bhagavad Gita as follows:
As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones; similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones. (2.22)
Everything that is annihilated is also created at a certain stage. As the material body is created so also the material world is created. And because the antimaterial particle is never annihilated, so also it is never created. This is corroborated in the Gita in the different verses cited above. This principle is applicable to the entire antimaterial world as well. When the material world is obliterated, the antimaterial world exists in all circumstances. This fact will be explained more elaborately later on in this article.
The antimaterial scientist may also know from The Bhagavad Gita that, "Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that, of the non-existent there is no endurance, and of the eternal there is no cessation. Seers have concluded this by studying the nature of both." (2.16)
The atomic scientists may think of annihilating the material world by their development of nuclear weapons, but they are unable to do the same in terms of the antimaterial world. The antimaterial particle and its properties in this connection are clearly explained in the following lines:
The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchanging, immovable and eternally the same. It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body. (The Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 2.23-25)
Thus, in the Gita and in all other Vedic writings the superior energy or antimaterial principle is accepted as the vital force, the living spirit—called in the Sanskrit "Jiva." This living principle cannot be generated by any sort of combination of material elements.
The material elements—namely earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intelligence and false ego—all these eight material principles are described as inferior energies, whereas the living force or the antimaterial particle is described as the superior energy. And they are all called energy because they are all controlled by the Supreme Living Being, the Personality of Godhead.
The materialists have long been limited within the boundary of the eight material principles mentioned above, but it is encouraging that they have now a faint idea of some antimaterial principle and of an antimaterial world also. We hope that with the progress of time such materialists will be able to estimate the value of the antimaterial or spiritual world, where there is no trace of material principles. The very word antimaterial suggests that the principle is completely different from all material qualities.
The mental speculators, in two groups, see this antimaterial principle in two different and equally erroneous ways. One group (the gross materialists) denies the truly antimaterial principle, admitting only the disintegration of material combinations at a certain stage. The other group accepts the antimaterial principle as completely, painstakingly opposite to the material principle with its twenty-four categories (as described in various Vedic texts).
The second speculator is known as the "Samkhyaite," or the speculator who scrutinizes the material elements with minute analysis and synthesis. And at the end of such studies, the Samkhyaites can accept only a nonactive principle as antimatter, or the Absolute.
The difficulty for both of the above mental speculators is that they speculate with the help of the inferior energy, without any source of information from the superior. It is therefore necessary that one should rise to the plane of the superior energy, and from that transcendental position only can one realize the true position of the antimaterial principle.
The Giver of Knowledge
From the platform of the material world one cannot estimate the real position of the antimaterial world. But the Supreme Lord, Who is the Controller of both the material and antimaterial energies, descends out of His causeless mercy, and gives us complete information of the antimaterial world; and thus we can know what the antimaterial world is.
The Supreme Lord and the living entities are both of the same antimaterial quality. We can thus form an idea of the Supreme Lord by an elaborate study of the living entities. Every living entity is an individual person. Therefore, the Supreme Living Being must also be the Supreme Person. In the Vedic literature the Supreme Person is very rightly declared to be Krishna. This Name—Krishna—of the Supreme Lord is the only intelligible Name of the highest order. Because He is the Controller of both the energies—material and antimaterial—the very word Krishna signifies that He is the Supreme Controller.
In The Bhagavad Gita the Lord offers this fact as follows:
Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies. Besides this inferior nature, O mighty Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine which are all living entities who are struggling with material Nature and who sustain the universe. Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this world, know for certain that I am both its origin and dissolution. (7.4-6)
The Lord's inferior and superior energies manifest the material and spiritual worlds, and as such He is the Absolute Truth. In the Gita Krishna further explains this fact as follows:
O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread. (Vll/7)
Long, long before the modern discovery of any principles of antimatter, then, the subject was delineated in the pages of The Bhagavad Gita. And from the Gita it appears that this philosophy was first taught to the presiding deity of the Sun-globe. This means that the principles of the Gita were spoken by the Personality of Godhead long, long ago—at least 140 million years in the past. Modern science has just very lately discovered a partial truth long fully available in The Bhagavad Gita.
The suggestion of the antimaterial world mentioned in the Gita, along with other Vedic sources of data, lead us to assume without the slightest doubt that the antimaterial world is the world situated in the antimaterial sky. This spiritual sky is likewise mentioned in the Gita as the Sanatan Dham or the eternal abode.
Exactly like material atoms, the antimaterial atoms form the basis of the antimaterial world with all its paraphernalia. The antimaterial world is inhabited by antimaterial living beings. "Living being" means antimaterial in the first place, therefore in the antimaterial world there is nothing like inert matter. Everything there is a living principle and the Supreme Self. The denizens of the antimaterial world reside there with eternal life, eternal knowledge and eternal bliss, qualified exactly like God.
Death on the Higher Planets
In the material world the topmost planets are called Satya Lokas or Brahma Lokas. In this group of planets, beings of the highest talents live. The presiding deity of the Brahma Lokas is called Brahma, the first living being created in this material world. Contrary to the popular fallacy of a "Hindu trinity," Brahma is a living being like so many of us, but he is the most talented personality in the material world. He is not in the category of God (as Vishnu is), but he is in the category of the living entities dominated by God.
God and the living entities both belong to the antimaterial world. The scientist, therefore, will do well to research into the constitution of this antimaterial world—how it is administered, how things are shaped there, who is the predominating personality there and so on. In the Vedic literature, especially in the Srimad Bhagwatam, these subject matters are elaborately dealt with, and The Bhagavad Gita is the preliminary study of the Bhagwatam. These two important books of knowledge must be thoroughly studied by all men of the scientific world. They will give them many, many clues with which to go forward in the matter of scientific discoveries.
There are two classes of men, namely the trascendentalist and the materialist. The transcendentalist gathers knowledge from the authoritative scriptures like the Vedic literature. The Vedic literature is properly received from the authoritative sources, who are in the line of disciplic succession. This disciplic succession is also mentioned in The Bhagavad Gita. It is said there that hundreds of millions of years ago the principles of the Gita were spoken to the presiding deity of the Sun-globe, who delivered the knowledge to his son Manu, from whom the present generation of man has come down. The Manu again delivered the transcendental knowledge to his son, known as the King Ikshaku, who is the forefather of the dynasty in which the Personality of Godhead Sri Rama appeared.
This long chain of disciplic succession was broken during the advent period of Lord Sri Krishna 5,000 years ago, and then the same chain was again reforged, with Arjuna as the first disciple of Godhead in this age. The transcendentalist of this age, therefore, gathers knowledge from the disciplic succession of Arjuna so that without troubling himself in the matter of materialistic research work, he acquires the truths of matter and antimatter in the most perfect way, and saves time and botheration—unlike the gross materialist.
The gross materialist who does not believe in the words of the Personality of Godhead is an unfortunate creature. He may be very talented, educated and advanced in knowledge to some extent, but he is at the same time bewildered by the influence of material manifestations, without any knowledge of the antimaterial realm. It is a good sign therefore that the materialistic scientist is gradually progressing towards the region of antimatter, and it may be possible for him to make further progress and thus one day know—better late than never—the details of the antimaterial world where the Personality of Godhead resides as the Predominating Figure. There are many individual entities who live there with Him in equal status, but who are predominated over as servitors. In the antimaterial world there is no difference between the predominated and the predominator, but yet the sense in perfection of the predominator and the predominated prevails there without any of the inebriety of the material world.
The nature of the material world is destructible. The assumption of the physical scientist about the annihilation of the two worlds—namely, the material and the nonmaterial—by a chance clash is thus partially true as far as we get it from The Bhagavad Gita. The material world is a creation of changing modes of Nature, called by the names Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas (goodness, passion and ignorance). It is created by the Rajas (passion) mode, it is maintained by the Sattwa (goodness) mode and it is annihilated by the Tamas (ignorance) mode.
These modes are present everywhere within the material world, and as such at every second, every minute and every hour of creation, maintenance and annihilation are taking place all over the universe.
The highest planet of the material world, the Brahma Loka, is also subjected to these modes of Nature, although the duration of life on that planet—on account of a predominance of the Sattwa (goodness) mode—is said to be 4,300,000 x 1000 x 2 x 12 x 100 (about 310 trillion) years, as we know years on this planet. But with all these long periods of time, the Brahma planet is destructible. In comparison to the eternal life in the nonmaterial world, these countable years on the highest planet of the material world form a quite negligible span.
The Speaker of The Bhagavad Gita, the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna, asserts therefore the importance of the antimaterial world, which is His abode. He says that all the planets within the material world are destructible at the end, and that all the living beings docilely dwelling on these planets are also destroyed—bodily—along with the destruction of the material world.
The living entities are antimaterial particles. And, unless they elevate themselves to the region of the antimaterial spiritual world by a rigid culture of antimaterial activities, then at the time of dissolution such living entities remain within the material world in the nonmanifested state. Again, they later resume their material shape along with the rebirth of the material world. Only those living entities who take to the loving service of the Personality of Godhead during the manifested stage of material life can be transferred to that antimaterial world, after quitting the material body. Life immortal is obtained by those who go back to Godhead by the practice of antimaterial activities.
What are these antimaterial activities? The antimaterial activities are just like medicinal doses. When a man falls ill he goes to the doctor. The physician prescribes some medicines, and when they are carefully prescribed by the expert physician such medicinal doses cure the ailments of the suffering patient.
But the foolish materialist does not put himself under the expert transcendental physician. Otherwise he would be cured of his material disease, which puts him under the tribulations of repeated birth, death, illness and old age. Such a foolish materialist can best put himself under the treatment of "Back to Godhead," and thus transfer himself to the antimaterial world where there is eternal life without birth or death.
The annihilation of the material world takes place in two ways:
Partial annihilation takes place at the end of every 4,300,000 x 1000 solar years, or at the end of every daytime of the Brahma Loka, the topmost area of the material world. During the ensuing nighttime of partial annihilation, the higher planets of the material world are not annihilated, but all else is. Then, after a period of 4,300,000 x 1000 x 2 x 30 x 12 x 100 (about 310 trillion, as above) solar years, the whole cosmic manifestation is closed up and merged into the antimaterial body whence the material principles originally emanate. Over and over again matter emerges, is manifest and again merges back into that body.
The antimaterial world, however, which is far away from this material sky, does not cease to be at any time; it only absorbs the material world. It may be that a clash takes place between the material and antimaterial worlds, as has been suggested by the scientists, and that as a result of this clash the annihilation of the material world occurs—but so far as antimatter is concerned, there is no annihilation at all, even when all the material worlds are obliterated.
Antimatter as Devotion
This eternally existing antimaterial world is nonmanifested to the material scientist. He can at best only have information of its existence as being contrary to the modes of material Nature. Full details of the antimaterial realm can be known only from those infallible sources, the liberated authorities who have thoroughly realized the constitution of the antimaterial principle.
This information of the antimaterial world is therefore had by the aural reception of a submissive disciple of the Personality of Godhead. The Vedas or the Vedic knowledge was thus imparted into the heart of Brahma, the first living being in the created material world, and Brahma educated the great saint Narada in this transcendental wisdom.
So it is also with The Bhagavad Gita. The philosophy of the Gita was spoken by the Personality of Godhead long, long ago to the presiding deity of the Sunglobe, and when such knowledge was misinterpreted by breaking the chain of authoritative aural reception, it was repeated by the Personality of Godhead on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. At this time Arjuna took the place of Brahma and of the Sun god to receive transcendental knowledge from Sri Krishna. In order to drive out the misgivings of the gross materialist, Arjuna asked all relevant questions about the Lord, and all relevant answers were given by the Lord to the full satisfaction of a layman.
Those who are too captivated by the glamor of the material world cannot accept the authority of Lord Sri Krishna on account of their polluted life and unclean habits. Therefore, one has to become thoroughly clean in habit and heart before one can understand the details of the antimaterial world. And Bhakti Yoga—which means the process of purification by devotional service, as enunciated in the Gita—is the detailed and scientific program of spiritual activity for all beings, from the beginner neophyte to the highest perfection of the line.
The details of the antimaterial world are many times more extensive than the details of the material world. The material world is only a shadow representation of the antimaterial, and intelligent men who are clean in heart and habit will be able to know the facts about the spiritual sphere from the texts of The Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagwatam and similar Vedic scriptures.
The basic points of antimaterial knowledge areas follows: The presiding Deity of the antimaterial world is Sri Krishna, the original Personality, as well as His expansions into many plenary portions. Such Personalities of Godhead can be known only by antimaterial activities, commonly called Bhakti Yoga or devotional service.
The Personality of Godhead is the Supreme Truth and He is the whole antimaterial principle. Material principles as well as antimaterial principles are emanations from His Person. He is the root of the complete tree. When water is poured onto the root of a tree the branches and leaves of the tree develop automatically. And in the same way when Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, is worshiped, all the details of all the worlds are given into the heart of the devotee, without laboring in the materialistic way. This is the secret message of The Bhagavad Gita.
Journey to Godhead
The process of traveling to the antimaterial world is different from materialistic processes. The individual living being, that antimaterial particle who is now embarrassed by material association, can enter the antimaterial world very easily by practicing antimaterial activities, while continuing to reside in the material sphere. But those who are gross materialists and depend on the limited strength of experimental thought by mental speculation or on material science cannot enter into the antimaterial world.
The means of approach to the antimaterial world is shrouded by hardships for the gross materialist. The mechanical planes, missiles and rockets that are now being thrown into space cannot even yet approach the material planets in the near regions. The planets situated in the antimaterial sky, meanwhile, are far beyond the entire material cosmos of our experience.
The yogis who have perfectly controlled their mystic powers can give up their material bodies at will at some opportune moment, and thus are able to enter the antimaterial world through a specific thoroughfare which connects the material and antimaterial. Such yogis are able to do this only in accordance with the prescribed method given in The Bhagavad Gita as follows:
Those who know the Supreme Brahman pass away from this world during the influence of the fiery god, in the light, at an auspicious moment, during the fortnight of the moon and the six months when the sun travels in the north.
The different deities are powerful directing officers appointed to the administration of cosmic affairs. Foolish people who are unable to perceive the intricacies of cosmic management deny the concept of personal control over fire, air, electricity, day, night, etc. But the perfect yogis know how to satisfy the unseen administrators of such affairs of the material world. Such yogis take advantage of these administrations and leave their material bodies—at will—at opportune moments, so that they can enter the antimaterial world, or else travel to the higher planets of the material world.
On the higher planets of the material world one can enjoy a more comfortable and pleasant life for thousands of millions of years, but all the same, life on those higher planets is not eternal. Those who desire eternal life enter into the antimaterial world by their yogic or mystic powers at opportune moments which are arranged by the administrators of cosmic affairs, beings unseen by the gross materialists of this planet earth.
Those who are not yogis but die at some opportune moment because of their previous pious acts—sacrifices, charity, penances, etc.—can rise up to the higher planets after death, to later return to this planet. The periods for such a death are called "Dhooma": nighttime, the moonless fortnight and when the sun passes to the south.
To summarize the whole subject, The Bhagavad Gita recommends that everyone adopt the means of devotional service or antimaterial activities if he wants to enter the antimaterial world. People who adopt the means of devotional service as prescribed by the expert transcendentalists will never be disappointed in their attempts to enter the antimaterial world. The obstacles are many, but the devotees of the Personality of Godhead can easily overcome such difficulties if they follow rigidly the path chalked out by the transcendental devotees who have gone before them.
Such devotees, the passengers who are progressing in the journey of life towards the antimaterial Kingdom of God, are never bewildered in their attempts. No one can be cheated if he adopts the guaranteed path of devotion for entering the antimaterial world. One can easily attain all the results that are derived from the mystical studies of the Vedas, from performing sacrifices, practicing penances or disposing of charities—simply by the performance of devotional service, technically known as Bhakti Yoga or Krishna Consciousness.
Bhakti Yoga is therefore the panacea for all purposes, and it has been made easy, especially for this iron age, by the Lord Himself in His most sublime, liberal and munificent appearance as Lord Chaitanya, who urged the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra as the perfection of Bhakti. By His Grace one can quickly pick up the principles of Bhakti Yoga through chanting and attain the summary disappearance of all misgivings in the heart, as well as the extinction of the fire of material tribulations, with a further chance for the development of transcendental bliss.
In this month's spiritual food article we are presenting two preparations that come down to us from the ancient line of disciplic succession. These preparations are as old as the Vedas themselves, and just like the Vedas their taste is ever refreshing and new. Either of these may be served as a main or a side dish. Also, with a little water added, each can become an excellent sauce for rice or Chapatis (unleavened wheat cakes).
1 qt. plain yogurt
Make a thin batter of chick-pea flour, ½ tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. turmeric, and ¾ to 1 cup of water. Heat ghee or butter in a small skillet until hot. Ghee should cover entire bottom of skillet. Place small spoonfuls of batter in hot ghee. Small circles will form. These are called Pakoras. Cook Pakoras for less than a minute on each side. Save about 1/3 cup of batter. Then, with a mixer, blend together yogurt, remaining water, turmeric, salt and batter. Cook mixture slowly in a separate pot until it begins to bubble. Mixture will thicken slightly. Gently stir in Pakoras, and the preparation is complete. Serves 5-6.
2 large eggplants chopped
Over high flame heat ghee or butter in large skillet till smoking. Add cumin seed and red peppers. Cook for two minutes. Stir in eggplants. Cover and cook until eggplants are soft as butter. Stir in salt and turmeric. Add tomatoes and cook with no cover for ten minutes, maintaining original high flame all the while. Add spinach. Cover and steam for ten minutes. Remove cover, reduce flame to medium low and cook, stirring frequently, till preparation has the consistency of a thick paste. Serves 3 or 4.