Post by Kevrob
What level of self-hatred is required to wish for non-existence?
You are blathering like a drooling fool. Atheism is exactly the wish
for non-existence. The final goal of atheism is non-existence. What
kind of self-hatred is required to join a faith, where the final goal
The final goal of theism, however, is eternal existence.
Waking from the Dream
To wake up to reality, we must first understand that we're asleep. We
souls inhabiting the material world are under the influence of
Krishna's illusory potency, Maya Devi. Just as one forgets his life
during a dream at night, we who live in the material world live in
ignorance of our real identity and are considered to be asleep.
The "reality" to which we have become so accustomed is a dream. Our
spiritual existence, the one we have forgotten--our eternal existence
in the spiritual realm--is the reality. How can we distinguish between
reality and illusion? In a dream, everything seems quite real. We go
through the same register of emotions and impressions as when we are
awake. Dreams seem real enough. What, then, makes a dream unreal? When
do we know the dream is unreal? That's right, when we wake up.
In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna has given the answer by pointing out
that reality is that which exists without cessation, that which
continues and is everlasting. A dream, therefore, since it has a
beginning and an end, cannot be real. Real existence is continuous.
"Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the
nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the
eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by
studying the nature of both." (Bhagavad-gita2.16)
When Lord Krishna speaks of the material body as "nonexistent," He is
referring to its being temporary; its existence is not a permanent
"Nonexistent" does not mean that the material body and the material
world don't exist, or that they are "false," as some impersonalists
say. What it means is that it's temporary. In contrast to eternal
time, our current temporary existence is fleeting and insubstantial--a
short flash, like a dream. Even a long dreamlike life will come to an
end, and in the realm of eternity our lifespan of sixty or eighty
years is such a miniscule glimpse in the vastness of eternity that it
doesn't even register. The same is true of the computer I am writing
on. Even if I left it sitting alone on my desk and never touched it,
time would eventually destroy it, its identity or form would cease to
exist. However long that would take is immaterial.
To us a thousand or a million years may seem like a substantial amount
of time. But from the point of view of, say, Lord Brahma, the first
created living being in the universe (who lives for the unfathomable
time of 311.04 trillion solar years), surely my computer, the desk my
computer sits on, as well as the house that surrounds the desk, cannot
be said to exist. Before Lord Brahma even has time to finish his
morning ablutions, we would have died and been born millions of times.
Brahma's lifespan is the same as the lifespan of the universe. That
is, he lives as long as the universe continues. So in relation to Lord
Brahma's perception of time, our lives are so short and insignificant
that for all practical purposes they might as well never have been.
Similarly, in the eternal time of the spiritual realm, Lord Brahma and
the universe we live in are as insignificant and non-existent as we
are in relation to the universe.
Krishna explains this in the Bhagavad-gita:
By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together form the
duration of Brahma's one day. And such also is the duration of his
At the beginning of Brahma's day, all living entities become manifest
from the unmanifest state, and thereafter, when the night falls, they
are merged into the unmanifest again.
Again and again, when Brahma's day arrives, all living entities come
into being, and with the arrival of Brahma's night they are helplessly
Yet there is another unmanifest nature, which is eternal and is
transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is
supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is
annihilated, that part remains as it is. (Bg. 8.17-20)
Krishna says that there is an eternal realm of existence beyond this
manifested, temporary world. Here on this plane all our experiences
and activities are dreamlike because they will be reduced to fleeting
memories; then they will evaporate in time as if they had never taken
place. And finally we will go to sleep at death. But on the spiritual
plane we will possess a continuous experience of eternity. We will
have woken up to our real life. That's why our present existence in a
body that changes from childhood to youth to old age is unreal and
dreamlike. Our life in this particular body has a beginning and an
end, and for that reason it is a dream. Our life is not unreal in the
sense that it does not take place.
Obviously it does. If I bash my head against a wall, it will hurt, and
that pain is real enough. So the unreal factor about life is that it
ends. And it can never fulfill its promise of the happiness we are
always hoping for. That's the real illusion of material life. One may
consider enjoyment in the material world substantial. What's wrong
with enjoying? What's wrong with seeking some happiness?
The answer is that the pleasures of the body and the mind always end.
That's what's wrong. Such pleasure can never satisfy the self, because
the self is eternal and therefore hungers for lasting pleasure.
"An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery,
which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti,
such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does
not delight in them." (Bhagavad-gita 5.22)
As we can see from Krishna's words here, not only can we not find
satisfaction in temporary pleasures, but the same pleasures will also
cause us suffering. Misery always follows material happiness. Because
the soul is eternal by constitution, we cannot find satisfaction in
Life in the material world can never satisfy us, no matter how much
sense gratification we get. It is exactly like in a dream. We may
experience some sense of happiness as we engage in pleasurable
activities, but we always have to wake up to the reality of misery and
lamentation. In a dream we wake up to our daily life, and in life we
wake up to disease, old age, death, or some other calamity.
In life the activities we engage in become memories, and these
memories are like dreams.
All the good and bad experiences we have been through in life are now
just memories--fleeting and without substance--like a dream we may
have had. We forget them as if they never happened. There is in
essence no difference between a dream we once had and an experience
that actually happened to us.
When an old man sits outside the mall wearily eyeing the young ladies
hurrying by, it is of little comfort to him to think about all the
pleasures he once had with women. Sometimes people say that they have
lived a full life, that they have nice memories to fall back on. But
the fact is that the memories of past pleasures are not enough to
satisfy us. The memories of enjoyment we had in the past or hope to
have in the future cannot satisfy the deep longings for fulfillment
that live in our hearts.
Our senses and mind can find some temporary relief in relationships,
or even in possessions, but then it is over. Even if we love the same
person faithfully throughout our whole life and that person loves us
back, the happiness cannot last--there is bound to be separation, and
then misery sets in. There is no way to avoid it: material life is
headed for lamentation.
Krishna says, "From the highest planet in the material world down to
the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death
take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never
takes birth again." (Bhagavad-gita 8.16)
Now, if there weren't any alternative to such a material life,
existence would be bleak indeed. Many people who have no knowledge of
the positive alternative of Krishna consciousness find the truth about
the material world a depressing message. But just as a dream denotes
something real, so our temporary material life is nothing but a
distorted reflection of our real, eternal life.
The screen of material perception now covers our consciousness and
mentality. That's why we think it is possible to find happiness in the
material world through the material body. The soul has stepped outside
its real environment of eternity and entered the temporary world of
matter. Srila Prabhupada compared this to a fish on dry land. Outside
its natural element, the fish cannot enjoy and soon withers and dies.
No matter how such pleasure the fish is offered, it will not be able
to enjoy it because it is out of its natural element. Similarly, we
have to wither and die again and again, pathetically flapping for a
few inconsequential moments on the shores of time. This cycle will
continue endlessly, until we wake up to our real existence. We have
come to the material world because we desired to imitate Krishna's
position as the supreme enjoyer and controller.
Since we can never usurp Krishna's position, He has kindly put us to
sleep in material life so that we can dream that we are the enjoyers
and controllers. The genuine spiritual process of Krishna
consciousness helps the soul sleeping in the lap of Maya to wake up to
reality--the reality of spiritual life. In reality, we are eternally
full of knowledge and bliss. But being asleep, we cannot see that.
Instead we try to find happiness in our dreams--be they the pursuit of
love, family, success, wealth, or any number of temporary solutions.
We seek happiness outside ourselves, when the happiness is there all
the time within. We are like a deer that neglects a nearby brook and
runs into the desert to find water. The sages tell us that the
solution to this pitiful condition, the means to get out of this
existential ignorance, is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra.
Therefore the members of the Hare Krishna movement are very eager to
get everyone to chant
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The Kali-santarana Upanisad says of the maha-mantra, "It is the only
means by which to counteract the evils of Kali-yuga. After having
searched through all the Vedas,one will find no more sublime form of
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