The Conscious Sky

The original substance is spirit, is soul, is consciousness, and matter forms a part of that conscious portion, that conscious substance. It is not that matter has produced consciousness, but it is in one part of consciousness. Consciousness is infinite, and everything is in that ocean. Somewhere there is ice, somewhere moss, somewhere iron — they are all in that ocean, these different conceptions. But consciousness is all-in-all, and everything has its shelter there. Just as you find patches of clouds in the sky or so many specks of dust in the air, so the material conception is there in the sky of consciousness. It is a sky — the conscious sky — and somewhere there are patches of clouds or dust. You can’t see the air, but the dust is in the air! You can’t see the sky — the actual ether — but the clouds are in the sky! So, the background is consciousness, and therein we find somewhere is dust, somewhere is a cloud.

Darwin and others have proposed that consciousness was originally generated from material elements, but my response to that is, «Fossil fatherism? Crush it and establish a spiritual infinite!» It is all spiritual. The ‘fossil conception’ is a part of so many conceptions in the spiritual plane. Consciousness is in the background, and there are developed positions, gradations, within consciousness — Bhu, Bhuva, Sva, Maha, Jana, Tapa, Satya, Brahmaloka — and when service is added, it is enhanced. A sweet structure begins from the point when service is added to consciousness. Service can construct a beautiful capital, a beautiful country. It is there, and you have only to feel it, enter, and take up your appointed service. You will think, «This is my home! This appointment feels very friendly to me. Now I have come home.» This is the innate capacity or substance, innate nature — svarup — which is presently covered by ignorance, by misconception.

Madness and malengagement

A madman, leaving his own sweet home, wanders in the street and thinks that it is imperative for him to collect pieces of paper or cloth, as if that were his ‘business’. It is absurd. His brain is focussed in such a direction that he thinks, «It is my duty to collect these pieces of paper and pebbles.» In this way he is going on, but what is the real, innate wealth of his heart? If he could only remember his home: his father, mother, other family members — his sweet, sweet home. But due to his madness, his consciousness is forcibly focussed on some malengagement. Similarly, the position of so many persons — including philosophers, scientists, political leaders, and many more — is that their consciousness is focussed toward the external direction, and there they are all busy ‘collecting’. Some are collecting more pebbles, some more pieces of cloth or pieces of paper, but in this way they are going on. Swami Maharaj (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad) said that, «The United Nations, UNESCO — all such world committees and barking dogs are both equal. Actually, they are more dangerous because they are capturing the more intellectually-minded people, but they are of the same value. They are casting their own attention toward the material substance based on illusion and misconception, and posing in a very grand way, they are giving so much importance to that thing just as many dogs also bark to have possession of a particular thing. It is not more than that.» With great courage, Swami Maharaj boldly refuted them, and this sort of conception is leading us to our higher prospect.

Seeing beyond the perception of the senses

Devotee: Now the weather is starting to become hot!

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: We should not pay much attention to that. It will come and go, come and go.

matra-sparsas tu kaunteya sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah
agamapayino ’nityas tams titiksasva bharata
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 2.14)

«O son of Kunti, only the engagement of the senses with their objects gives rise to the sensations of cold, heat, pleasure, and pain. But these effects are temporary; they come and go. Therefore, O Bharata, you are to endure them.»

Regarding this verse of the Bhagavad-gita, one scholar, a Mr. Chatterjee, has explained this Sanskrit word matra to mean «what is measured by our senses, the result of our senses’ measurement.» In this way, the word matra comes near to the word matter. It comes to mean matter or the world of material comfort. There are so many different views of the world. An ordinary man’s estimation of the world and a scientist’s estimation are different. An astronomer’s estimation of the world is of another type, the politician’s view is something else, the socialist’s, the humanist’s, the humanitarian’s views — they are all different. But if we can come to the plane of the soul — even the lowest conception of what is the real inner self — that will help us, and there will be a revolutionary change in our lives. All the things of this world will then seem to be trash, of no value, empty.

Presently, the soul is captivated by a great many things which produce mean consciousness, but the solution is given in Bhagavad-gita how we can achieve control of our senses and gain control over the impulses of our mind. It is recommended there that step by step we try to rise up to the soul’s plane, eliminating the lower planes: first the field of experience of the senses; then the mental field, the impulse which works through the senses; then the intellect, that which drives the mental tendency; and crossing those, that we try to find that point of light which is the soul. If in any way, by the soul’s introspection you can perceive the soul, then whatever value you had assigned to this whole material manifestation will turn into ashes. You will see, «My real identification is here within! It is so wonderful, and valuable, and independent of all the hallucinations I was suffering from by coming in contact with the external world. The inner domain is so high, and my consciousness was focussed so low, on such nasty things.» That is the highest way to control one’s senses, one’s charm for the world, for wealth, women, and popularity.

The astonishing soul

Kanak, kamini, and pratistha — collection of energy for sense pleasure, sense pleasure, and popularity seeking — these three things try to keep us down from consciousness of the self. So, rise up step by step: from the world to the senses to the mind, the receiver of the sense-experience, to the guide of the sense-experience, and finally to the light which makes all these possible. That point of light is near and dear, and the others are like foreign agents who have come to capture me and focus me, that light, towards the rubbish and dung-like things of this world. If after having been focussed here through our senses we become more attentive and see some nasty things, then some realisation will come into our mind causing us to feel that such things are actually foreign to our real self, and only by connecting with them through our senses do we feel disturbed. On the whole, it is like that. Then, upon rising up from the sense-plane, you will find that there is another wonderful land of experience; the atma is such a wonderful thing.

ascharyavat pasyati kaschid enam
ascharyavad vadati tathaiva chanyah
ascharyavach chainam anyah srnoti
srutvapy enam veda na chaiva kaschit
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 2.29)

«Some see the soul as astonishing, some describe him as astonishing, and some hear of him as astonishing while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.»

Even after giving attention to all these things, still it is very difficult to understand the soul properly. But our inner wealth is so valuable, and our present engagement is so nasty. On the whole, we must honestly admit that our condition is nasty. Our true selves are good, but our present situation is very nasty. But somehow we must get out of the intoxication of these nasty things, because to hanker after and obtain and mix closely with and relish these nasty things is improper for the soul. Whereas upon rising up to the Supersoul area, we find that the greatest fulfilment of our life is in that soil. Whatever we presently consider to be ‘concrete things’, to be real, are nasty. We are told to ‘be realistic’, but that is to become unrealistic!

Withdraw from knowledge

Srimad Bhagavatam (1.1.2) says, vedyam vastavam atra vastu sivadam tapa-trayonmulanam: reality is vastava vastu, the real substance above all of the unreal, imaginary things of this world. All the accumulated knowledge in relation to this world is a wholesale concoction. It is the result of misreading the environment and is full of misinterpretation and misconception. The whole thing — the vocabulary, the history, the epics, the whole thing­ — whatever has been collected — is all a misrepresentation of the truth, and we are in the midst of that. We are captivated within that, but at the same time we have the capacity to enter the plane of real life because we are a particle of that higher world. So, we must go back to God, back to home. Home is there. What charm can there be for us here where there is death, and then birth again, and where everything is stale and produces dissipation and suffering? Mortality, suffering, and death — and even then it is not finished, but we must continuously come here again and again and follow the same course of life!

So, try to obtain real relief, and help others also to take up their proper life away from this undesirable atmosphere. We must go back to Godhead, where everything is wonderful. What is that Godhead? Our home is there! Our home, sweet, sweet home. We are a child of that soil, and the scriptures urge us: «You have got this human life, this chance, so always try, by all means — by thinking, by meditation, by talking, by hearing — to cultivate your own true identity, your noble identity, in your homeland where the soul lives. Always, always, always engage yourself in that. Try to avoid this plane of misconception by any means and enter into that land.»

Going back to Godhead means going back to our own soil, our real home. What is night to us now — that we will make our day! Where there is presently darkness to us, we are to find light there, and what is so apparently plain and expressively clear, that must be neglected. In our earnest calculation, the entire world of exploitation and self-interest should be kicked into the darkness, and we should withdraw wholesale from that ‘knowledge’. And what is dark to us now, we should try to make light by always giving our attention, thoughtful consideration, and adherence to achieving residence in the higher soil: the land of wonders where everything is wonderful.

Shadow, substance, and sound

The spiritual plane is substantial. And why are things as they are here? This is the reflection of that plane, a perverted reflection. So, that nature is also to be found here, but the substance is there, and this is like a shadow. The shadow is unsubstantial, without real existence. The substance is itself real existence. The difference is great. The Upanisads say:

yasmin vijnate sarvam evam vijnatam bhavati
yasmin prapte sarvam idam praptam bhavati

«By knowing that (spiritual domain), everything is known; by attaining that, everything is attained.»

We have been told this in a general way, but that does not mean that with this consciousness you will arrive in that plane and everything will then be in your fist. No. More and more you will continue to have an intense hankering to approach, to advance, and the more satisfaction you get, the more earnestness you will have to go forward, to go on. It is not to be finished. Here also in the shadow, we do not find any ‘finish’, and this is the reflection, so it is a dynamic affair. Go onward, go onward — more. But substance and shadow — that is the difference. That world cannot be eliminated. It is constant, eternal. There the soul is finding real substance, but still he is not satisfied: «I want more.» That is the nature of real substance, and sound will reveal it.

Here, sound is the most subtle thing, but there it is just the opposite. There, sound is a ‘gross’ thing. That is what reflection means, and it is perverted. So, the right hand in the reflection is the left hand, and in the reflection of a tree, the top of the tree is in the bottom position. So, in the plane of substance, sound is the most concrete thing. The subtlemost plane here — the nearest, innermost plane, that of sound — can cross over the many coverings of this world and come in connection with the nature of that existence, where the cover of that world is comprised of sound. So, through sound we can go inside there.

Sri Jiva Goswami says:

prathamam namnah sravanam antahkarana-suddhy-artham apeksyam; suddhe chantahkarane rupa-sravanena tad udaya-yogyata bhavati; samyag udite cha rupe gunanam sphuranam sampadyate
tatas tesu nama-rupa-gunesu tat-parikaresu cha samyak sphuritesv eva lilanam sphuranam susthu bhavatity abhipretya sadhana-kramo likhitah
evam kirtana-smaranayor jneyam
(Sri Bhakti-sandarbha: 256)

First, listen to the Holy Name and cultivate that sound divine. Then gradually, if we do it properly, we can find that next there is colour and figure — not drawn from this mundane world, but that sound has got its own figure and colour and will show itself.

Although we are presently far away from our original consciousness, when our mind is purified and we are free from worldly, mundane thinking, then like lightning that Divine Name will reveal itself to us, producing some colour and figure within us, within our conception, and that form will be of another type, not like the colour and figure of this world.

From the relativity of that sound will first come the colour and figure and next the quality. In this way, one will spring from the other. Such sound must have such colour and figure, and such figure automatically must have such quality. It will come forth from within.

Then again, that quality is classified according to different intensities relative to the paraphernalia. From the quality, after the quality will come the association. And it will all come from the other plane and enter within the soul’s conception. Then, from the Name, Form, Quality, and associates will come their mutual transactions, the interaction between all these things, the waves and vibrations of different types — that is Pastimes, lila.

And then the soul will find that his purest, finest ego, who he really is, also has a part to play in such a position. He will see his own soul in a particular place, a particular location there. He will see, «In this exact spot, I am there; my self is there.» In this way, the infinite wave will come.

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