I hope you all are faring well. Last week was Janmashtami; the appearance day of Sri Krishna. This is a day that Gaudiya Vaisnava’s, Hindu’s, and all those who adhere to Vaishnavism, celebrate the apparition of God on earth some 5000 plus years ago. To the uninitiated, this is like Christmas to Christians, just that Christians celebrate the birth of the Son of God, while Janmashtami celebrates the appearance day of God on Earth.
The festival had lots of activities meant to make the day sacred and also fun filled. Usually, adepts will observe a dry fast until the time of the Lord’s appearance as a sign to show that they are fully committed both in mind and body, to welcome the Lord. This year’s celebration was particularly interesting for me as I got to spend it in the company of other devotees and also loved ones.
Naturally, when the festival was over, I wanted to write a blog about it, to shed some light on the entire celebration, however, I remembered that I had done a blog on The Lord’s Descent. In that blog, I had explained the reason why God descends to Earth and what his activities are while He is here. Thus, doing another blog on the Lord’s appearance would seem more like a repetition hence I felt I discuss something somewhat different instead.
I feel like now is a perfect time to speak about the nature of the material world in which we live and so dearly call home. The reason has been that we all are in contact with material energy or at least it’s various tentacles in some form or another. The most important attribute of the material energy is that it is a part of God’s energy. Material energy just like the spiritual energy comes from the same source; God, even though they have different functions.
The spiritual energy helps us to connect with the absolute on a metaphysical platform, while the material energy reminds us that we should be connecting with the spiritual platform. To lose sight of this crucial point is to lose focus on what really matters. Too often, I see many people “fighting” about how “bad” the material world is and how “hopeless” it is for a spiritual practitioner to be here. This kind of mentality has led some people to become fatalists, to become impersonalists, and to become overly inimical towards the material energy. Of course, the material energy is not on the same platform as the Spiritual energy and we shouldn’t wallow in it, however, we should not despise it too. In the Isopanisad (one of the shortest Upanishads; a part of the Vedas. There are close to 200 Upanishads), it is mentioned that “only one who can learn the process of nescience and transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality”.
The verse goes a long way to show us that knowledge of nescience (the material energy) is not a bad thing in itself, however, the application of that knowledge is what could lead to degradation if not properly harnessed.
The ideal or seasoned practitioner of spirituality knows that for one to achieve real success in his/her spiritual journey one would have to be at peace with both energies. When we “despise” something, we fail to learn about it as it should be. In order to learn about the nature of the material energy we would have to go to its source; the Supreme Lord, who mentions in the Bhagavad Gita, that the material energy is but one of his energies. When we understand that the material nature is also trying to serve the Lord, only then do we begin to see properly. The Lord mentions that trying to overcome material nature on our own is futile. Thus, we have to surrender to him and by his grace, we can cross over it. The process of surrendering is accompanied with constant practice and detachment. Constant practice refers to certain “Do’s and Don’ts” that allow us to build the required strength to detach ourselves from the snare and enticement of the material nature. If we do not have a solid resolve to systematically rise above the enticement of the material energy, then sooner or later we will find ourselves in serious trouble. Naturally, one may ask at this point; why is the material energy so intricate?
First is because it is part and parcel of the Lord and as such is difficult to understand and surmount. Second is due to the fact that when factors like Karma interplay with the material energy it becomes really difficult to navigate. Whenever I take a look at some of the events that have occurred in my life, it’s kind of given me an avenue to fully appreciate the power of being consciously connected to a spiritual energy. To be connected to a spiritual energy means to be in sync body, mind, and soul. Our activities have to match our talk and our soul has to shine through our bodies. Spirituality is not a party trick or a weekend retreat, it is a way of life, and as such our lifestyle has to reflect our deepest level of connection to a spiritual energy. Just to be clear for those who may be reading my blog for the first time, there is a difference between spirituality and religiosity.
As long as we live in a material world, we are sure to get a dose of what the material energy is about. We are sure to be influenced or even shaken by the material nature, but what matters most is our inner connection to the absolute via a method of conscious and personal devotion to the Supreme Person. It is through this connection that we can weather the storm of life and also hope to find inner peace and enlightenment. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.