Thursday, March 27, 2008

Looking In Instead of Out

In my last post i wrote about moving on, meaning to give up old attachments. We get stuck in things to the point where we stop being aware of them. We can't even tell how we got stuck. When we are forced, by circumstance or time, to let go, it comes as a shock. Painful. But we should prepare for these shocks, because they are as natural and common as tremors in Tokyo.

The solution to moving on, of course, is to move within. To focus on the internal life, the reality of our real life as a jiva soul. That is what sages and yogis and bhaktas do. But try being a sage in our society. A society fixated on externals, packaging, glamour, appearance, outward achievement. Even when we join a spiritual society or movement whose goals are to achieve realization of the self and God, the conditioning of the followers does not encourage true introspection. Those personalities who invariably rise to the surface and become prominent are motivated by looking out, building alliances, taking credit, grasping for power. Thus, every church or temple has atheism built into its foundation due to the nature of conditioned souls, as the great Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati once observed.

How does this happen? It's the mind: best of friends, worst of enemies, according to the Supreme Mind, Sri Krishna, who told this to Arjuna in the Gita. The mind, which is an energy of the Lord, and is originally situated in the mode of goodness, becomes overcome by dualities. Dualities that are populated by impressions mostly in the modes of passion and ignorance. It is these dualities that prevent us from seeing the unity in diversity that is God and His creation. Krishna is in everything and everything is in Krishna. vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah (Such a great soul who knows that Krishna is the source of everything is extremely rare. Bhagavad gita 7.19)

Duality prevents us from seeing how Krishna is the source of all. Duality prevents us from looking within to see the inner beauty of ourselves and others and from seeing the divine beauty of the Lord. Even the people closest to us become like mirrors of our own outward looking nature. So we struggle within ourselves and with those around us.

There is everything to be grateful for and everything to praise when one has conquered his mind. The great challenge and theme for the neophyte transcendentalist is to change the direction from looking out to looking in. It cannot be done by seminars or meetings, by resolutions or edicts. It can only be done by an individual who has become exhausted by the dualities of this world and wants to surrender. Such a sincere person is very rare.

He or she is one amongst millions who can go from riding the waves on the surface of the modes of nature (and consistently drowning in her sorrows), to diving deep into the waters of dedication and love. Such a person, by the grace of God, is able to see the pure goodness of their Beloved Lord, unity in the diversity, even in the midst of the most disturbing duality. Such a person is happy in this world of misery. His only grief is to see the suffering of others. sa mahatma sudurlabhah.