The Divine Realm
by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja
Our real home is an abundance of freedom and comfort. It is a place where there is a natural transaction of faith, love, and affection. It is inconceivable. The scriptures say, "Do not venture to test the unthinkable plane with your reasoning. That plane really is beyond the capacity of your thought. It is under a different set of laws.
Your mathematical calculations and conclusions in this world are acquainted with points, planes, and solids. At present you are a man in the world of solids, and you have some limited association with planes and points in a somewhat abstract way. Therefore, how can you calculate higher things of which you have no knowledge? The ways of living and the laws of that domain are all unknown to you, so you should not try to debate that. That plane is of quite a different nature. Do not rush to bring within your experimental laboratory, those items which are beyond the capacity of your thinking. That would be pure foolishness.“
Higher things do exist, but the general man in this world has no knowledge about them. We are men of experience and have some knowledge, but only to a particular degree and standard. We cannot venture to calculate what is beyond our reach in this three-dimensional world. But if those who actually have experience of that plane will come to us and give us some information, then we can make some comparison: "This gentleman of a particular experience of ether has written in this way, another gentleman who has experience and has also experiemented about ether has written in another particular manner.“ In this way we can gain some understanding from their investigation and their real connection with the subject matter.
In the section of those investigating telescopes, we can make a comparison of their findings. The experience of one researcher with his telescope is of a certain type, and we can also learn about the experience of others with their particular telescopes. With the information available to us from their actual connection with the telescopes and their experiments, we may be able to conclude that perhaps a certain telescope was more powerful, another more powerful in a particular field. So, we have some limited capacity to compare what has been discovered beyond our senses by means of the telescope – even though we ourselves may not have a telescope.
The subject of the higher things discovered by the mental "telescope“, or soul’s "telescope“, has been dealt with in the revealed scriptures. Such subject matter is known by the saints, and we are to take their help in order to have entrance within that land. We are not at present in a position to have experience of the higher plane. However, later, by the help of the saints and sacred scriptures, when we shall ourselves have that type of telescope, we shall be able to have such a higher experience.
Do not let the argumentative spirit overshadow everything. Argument is not all in all: it is not that it must be the resort of every belief. The spiritual realm is inconceivable, but still we are to try to understand things according to our capacity, faith, and realization. Above all, we have to accomodate within our minds that sweetness is sweet, and truth is truth – however strong it may be. But one word of caution is in order: we should not take any standard from here and apply it to that higher realm.
If one has no eyes but another can see, the blind man will naturally seek help from the one who has vision. We are also blind to what is within ourselves. Otherwise, what is the necessity of consulting a doctor? The doctor can see what we cannot: he will diagnose and then we will undergo treatment. Naturally we shall have respect and will give him something for his assistance. It is not unreasonable.
The divine guide or bona fide guru is the specialist docotr, and we shall understand his or her qualification when we come to see that what he or she says is real – and not imaginary. Such vision will depend upon the degree of awakening of the eye. If one who is blind is treated by a capable doctor, he will gradually directly perceive, "Yes, I begin to see something. I now have some eye experience.“ From that time on, he will not care for the speculative opinions of the other blind people, but he will have his direct capacity to see. With the coming of sight, he can understand that the application of the medicine has had some real effect.
Scientific understanding is also similar. In earlier days when Faraday discovered electricity, many people laughed, "What is this? It is mere curiosity. What utility can we derive from this electricity?“
I once read an account of Faraday demonstrating an experiment to show the effect of his discovery. He generated electricity with a machine and then he showed small pieces of paper being moved by that electric current. Many were satisfied to see his new discovery, but then a lady remarked, "But after all this, Mr. Faraday, what practical benefit shall we derive from this luxury play of yours?“
Faraday replied, "Madam, can you please tell me what is the utility of a newborn babe?“ His point was that when a baby is born we are to take care of him. Then, when grown, his energy will be put to work usefully. Similarly, some consider that God consciousness is only a luxury, a fashion, or like playing, i.e. that it has no practical application or direct utility.
But when God consciousness becomes intense, those who experience it will see that all other activities, however apparently important, have no permanent value. Why? Because ultimately we want to live. We don’t want to die. To live is the main necessity and the general necessity of us all. No one can deny that they want to live. And not only live, but live happily, properly, and consciously. Furthermore, we want to avoid all affliction and misery. When God consciousness arises within someone, he can see clearly, "Why is everyone engaged in a wild goose chase in this material world? Everyone wants happiness, but all are running after an imaginary phantasmagoria.“ Happiness can never be produced from mortal things.
We are making a transaction with the mortal world, but that cannot bring satisfaction: it can only lose our energy. What we collect on one side, disappears on another. A person should neither accept nor tolerate this sort of waste of energy as the principle of life. Such a wise person can see another plane of life. They can see that they are not a party to this mortal world that is like the domain of a playground. They will feel, "I am immortal. I am a member of the eternal world but I have somehow become entangled in this mortal aspect of existence.
So, as soon as I can shake off this connection, I shall then stand in my proper, normal position.“ They will find that they themselves – the soul, the feeler, the conceiver – is a member of another soil but they have become entangled within this mortal pain-producing world. Yet still, with the strength of their realization, they can make improvement in their progress to the immortal plane. As proof positive comes before us we shall feel sure, "Now I see these things and hear these things, and this experience is so much more real than the world about me. The world is vague, but what I now see and hear is more real than that.“
A direct transaction is possible with the soul, with God, and with God’s land. Where we are presently living is the plane of indirect transactions: first the eye, ear, and other senses collect experience, then it goes to the mind before we can have experience of this world. But in the case of the soul, we feel everything directly ourselves without the help of any instrument, without the intervention of an intermediary.
Through the microscope we see one thing, and through the naked eye we see something else. There is a difference. Through the eye, ear, nose and tongue we have some experience of this world, but concerning the soul, if we can withdraw from the "progress“ in the negative side, we shall be able to feel, "Oh! This is the nature of the soul.“ We shall directly feel who we are without the help of any instrument. So, ironically, hpelessness here in this mortal realm is a prerequisite to hope in the divine realm.
The soul can see himself, he can focus upon himself and through introspection, he will realize his own innate nature. Through the process of introspection, the soul – without the help of any other instrument – will perceive all possible conceptions of himself directly. He will then understand his own soil: he will gain the conception of a higher type of soil. On that positive side he will discover: "I do not die.“
The material plane is the plane of misrepresentation and misunderstanding, but in the higher plane there is no misunderstanding. Once admitted there, our conception, though it may be partial, will be clear and true. Anyone having that experience will be convinced and he will be determined to go forward.
Socrates could feel that the soul was immortal. He was so intense with his feeling that he did not give any value to his own life in this mundane world. He neglectfully disconnected himself from this world because, with great conviction, he knew the soul to be immortal. Christ also was so much convinced of his Lord that he did not give any care for the happiness and pleasures of this world: he neglectfully rejected it all.
There are many things invisible to this fleshy eye that are visible with the eye of knowledge. We can concede that the eye of knowledge can see many things that the fleshy eye cannot. Similarly, a deep vision exists by which we can see things in a different, more hopeful way: "Come and see!"
An eye cannot see when it is covered by cataract: but when the cataract is removed, the eye can see. Ignorance is like a cataract in our eye that causes us blindness. Our vision is only superficial, but deeper vision can see many things. This eye backed by the eye of knowledge can see many things – deeper and deeper. Our apparent sight has no value. Real value is present in the seer who can see with deeper vision. And all are not equal: there are the wise, the wiser, and even the wiser still. There is gradation, and according to his capacity, the seer will see.
It is easy to see that at present we are members of this mortal world: but by what are we connected? It is our body that is the member. If we can go above the body we can go to the mind, then on to the intelligence, then to the soul. We shall find that the plane where the souls live is eternal, and the soul himself is also eternal. From there we can go on to search after the Supersoul.
The Supersoul is likened to the sun that is the origin of all rays of light. These rays or particles of light are the individual souls – to which we belong. Once we find a ray of light we can approach the sun from which all rays emanate. Similarly, from the conception of our own selves, knowing ourselves to be particles of consciousness, we can search out a plane of super-consciousness, super-knowledge, and super-existence. In this way we can progress to the Ultimate Cause, the Source from which everything flows. But we cannot go just according to our own whim and minute freedom. Some sort of help and guidance from that plane is indispensably necessary. Such help comes in the form of guru, the Vaisnavas, and other agents of that land. With their help, we can make honest progress towards the goal.
At present we are like monarchs of all we survey, but what we survey is all transient, mortal, and reactionary. What is pleasing today will later turn into pain, therefore we must seek a good position somewhere else, a good place to build our home elsewhere. In the course of that search we shall find that we do have our own home, and it is all-perfect.
In the beginning, we may think that we shall be going to some unknown quarter: "Innumerable living entities are here around me in my present world, but where I am now trying to go, that is uncertain. It seems imaginary and abstract.“ However, when we begin our journey we shall gradually find that almost all existence is in that side, the side where all are truthful. We shall find that this material side is very meager and limited, and here there is only a tiny representation of the truth.
From here, we may think that most of the existing universe is ensconed here and only a very few special souls go from here to the immortal world such as Socrates, Mohammed, and Buddha. But gradually we shall come to understand that the higher world is infinitely greater than the mundane portion we see here. We shall gradually come to understand that, as in a country, a few people are confined to a hospital or a prison and are suffering. Similarly, a paltry few persons are here in this mundane plane to be rectified. As this becomes clearer to us, we shall feel more courage to proceed, and with greater speed we shall run towards our home. Let us go home, and the nearer we are to home, our speed will increase more and more, "Oh. This is my homeland!“
At present, we are outside and our mind is also focused outside. We are helplessly moving. Our hope lies only in the grace of the divine agents. They come to pick us up and warn us. "What are you doing? Do not go on that side. It is the land of danger, the land of death. Come along with me. I shall take you to the land of eternal nectar.“
Those agents come to arouse us from our slumber, our ignorant madness. They are the Vaisnavas, and they have also given the Vedas that give some history of the divine realm and of the saints who have gone there. Through the scriptures, our faith will gradually develop and we shall increasingly keep association with the saints. In so doing, we shall make ever more quickly, intense progress towards our true domicile.
"Home, Back to God, back to home – sweet, sweet, home.“ This sort of feeling we shall find within us if we are fortunate to be allowed a little participation by the grace of the canvassers of that land – the agents of the Lord, the messengers of love divine. We shall be taken to that proper soil and we shall gain some solid familiar type of conception of what our real home is like. In this way we shall progress to that side.
Gaura Haribol, Gaura Haribol, Gaura Haribol.
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