...here we could say so many things.
This material world is a very tough place. For gentle folk, it is a terrible struggle to get through. We have so many desires, that have brought us to this situation - and likewise, similar frustrations of non-fulfilment of those desires. It is natural that those who are attached to gaining such temporal pleasures in this world will be frustrated, as much as anyone trying to gain real and permanent satisfaction from a temporary fleeting situation, through these bodies.
If we rely on our sole source of satisfaction and enjoyment on a world that is like a drop of water tottering on a lotus or lilly in the pool of this world, we will be frustrated, depressed and even think that we should look for alternatives to end this repartition.
Actually that is intelligent. Why should one go on suffering in this same way, building relationships, family dynasties, businesses, even empires, just to see them at any given moment without our control, fall smashed along with all our dreams and hopes.
It is important that before you do anything hasty that you read this article; breath deeply and wipe away the tears. I know I've been there. I've lost some of my closest friends before becoming a devotee, six died in the year of my joining; I've had my heart broken in relationships; seen people go out of their way to try to destroy me, and my relationships, ruin my reputation, and turn who they could against me. At times, thinking myself the doer and enjoyer of everything I could, I became depressed when things didn't work out as I'd planned, or when others challenged my position. Especially things hurt me when they were done by or I'd lost someone close. It's not unusual, even in shastra it is there; ".......would not be able to tolerate such unkind words because natural psychology dictates that although one can suffer harm from an enemy and not mind so much because pain inflicted by an enemy is natural, when one is hurt by the strong words of a relative, one suffers the effects continually, day and night, and sometimes the injury becomes so intolerable that one commits suicide."(Srimad Bhagavatam. SB 4:3:19. purport.) I became so despondent, especially from thinking that these people were my friends, that I became close to making a big mistake.
"A confused, frustrated man cannot get relief by committing suicide because suicide will simply lead him to take birth in the lower species of life or to remain a ghost, unable to attain a gross material body. Therefore the perfect course is to retire altogether from sinful activities and take up Krishna consciousness. In this way one can become completely perfect and go back home, back to Godhead." (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam 4:26:10. purport.)
In fact if it hadn't of been for this philosophy of Krishna consciousness, and by the grace and assistance of friendly and supportive devotees, you probably wouldn't be reading this now, as I wouldn't be around in this situation to write it.
Simple as it may seem; the first step is to understand who we actually are. What I mean here is that we are spiritual beings who are not of this world. Furthermore, as spiritual beings our actual nature is full of happiness, and knowledge, for eternity and having a form that is not perishable.
Therefore as such spiritual beings, why should we be so attached, absorbed, even obsessed with the temporary situations that we encounter during our short period of time in this particular body.
There's an interesting and graphic incident that is recorded as happening with Narada Muni and Lord Vishnu, as recorded in the Devi Bhagavat (8th Skandha.)
Once, and to illustrate how the mind of us tiny 'Jiva' souls become covered by the illusory potency of the Lord, He by His unfathomable 'Will' gave Narad Muni (the personality who is often used by the Lord to symptomise the actions or thoughts of us 'jivas') what he wanted when he inquired about his chances of enjoying separately from him, material life. Lord Vishnu assured Narad that material life only occurs due to the influence of 'Maya', the enchantress. Narad then asked if he could see that 'Maya' (illusory realm of enjoyment).
Thus Lord Vishnu, on the request of Narad covered him (Jiva), and turned
him into an attractive female. The story begins:
"...Lord Vishnu riding on the back of Garuda, along with Narada leaves Vaikuntha heading for the material world. Crossing forests, rivers, cities, lakes, villages and mountain they finally reached Kanyakubja. There they saw what appeared to be a beautiful lake. Garuda landed and Lord Vishnu and Narad descended from him. Together they walked along the shore of the lake (an aspect of the sacred Viraj nadi), for quite some time. For a while they sat together under the shade of the same tree. Then Lord Vishnu said to Narad that it was time for him to take his bath in the lake. Pleased at the suggestion of enjoying, Narad immediately gave his deer-skin and vina (musical instrument) to the Lord who kept them next to Himself, on the shore awaiting Narad's return. Then Narad washed his face in the waters, then his feet, and performed 'achaman' sipping water libations, with sacred 'kusha' grass, and finally stepped into the water and immersed himself, bloop!
What a surprise! When Narad came out of the waters his spiritual form ('svarup') had assumed the external form ('bahya') of a woman of stunning beauty. She, like us, had no memory of her previous birth.
She came from out of the water and stood there on the shore of the lake admiring the scenery, and watching the surroundings there. Then a king called Taaladhvaj ('one who is like the fruit of the taal palm; or palm bannered one', (Maneka Gandhi, 1992. Book of Hindu Names. page 433.) came by on horse-back and addressed the beautiful damsel as Saubhagyasundari, 'a beautiful maiden of fortune' (Maneka Gandhi, 1992. Book of Hindu Names. page 383.), and started talking with her. Within hours they were married, and Taaladhvaj took her to his palace and spent their honey-moon there together.
Twelve years passed, and Saubhagyasundari became pregnant, and in due course gave birth to a son called Viravarmaa. After another two years she got another son, Sudharmaa. Every two years after that she gave birth, for twenty four years, becoming the mother of twelve sons. After some time she bore eight more sons also. When all the twenty sons had grown they were all married 'according to family tradition', and in due course each of them had sons. Thus Taaladhvaj and Saubhagyasundari became the heads of a veritable dynasty, of children and grandchildren, and lived happily.
However, one day a king and his army who came from a distant place marched on Kanyakubja and surrounded it. In the battle that followed most of Saubhagyasundari's son's and grandsons were killed. The king fled from the battle-field and returned to the palace. Saubhagyasundari was in such distress for her family members that when the opposing king finally left the area with his men, she went down to the battlefield and searched among the dead, and dying for her a last look at her son's and grandson's. the sight terrified her, the mutilated bodies lying there, some without heads, other without limbs too, their eyes protruding, their stomach's cut open, intestines lying out and blood everywhere. She fell to the blood sodden ground and wept bitterly.
Then Lord Vishnu appeared, but in the guise of an old brahmin (priest) and spoke with her. He gave her instructions on the nature of materialistic life, and its futility's. Saubhagyasundari then called for her king Taaladhvaj and together they went to seek out the reservoir where they had first met so many years before, as instructed by the old brahmin. Saubhagyasundari now quite realised did as the brahmin had told her to do entered into the waters. Lo!!! She became Narad Muni again!
When Narad got up from the lake's waters Lord Vishnu was standing there with Narad's deer-skin, and vina, and smiling at him. Seeing Lord Vishnu standing there in this way invoked remembrance of what had happened. For a moment Narad stood there recounting in his memory what had happened.
'Come on Narad finish your bath, you're such a dreamer! what are you thinking about?' Lord Vishnu said to him.
Perplexed at seeing his wife now gone, and a mendicant standing there before him Taaladhvaj Maharaj asked where she had gone. Lord Vishnu went to him to console him saying, 'that all these ties that we have in this world are ephemeral', and encouraged him to take his (purifying) bath in the lake. Taaladhvaj after his bath was dispassionate to the affairs of the material world and after performance of penance in that forest attained moksha, release too!"(Devi Bhagavat Purana. 8th Skandha.; Vettam Mani. 1964. Puranic Encyclopaedia. page 784.)
"The instructions of Bhagavad-gitä and the descriptions of Srimad-Bhägavatam are so pleasing that almost anyone suffering from the threefold miseries of material existence will desire to hear the glories of the Lord from these books and thus benefit on the path of liberation. Two classes of men, however, will never be interested in hearing the message of Bhagavad-gitä and Srimad-Bhägavatam — those who are determined to commit suicide and those determined to kill cows and other animals for the satisfaction of their own tongues. Although such persons may make a show of hearing Srimad-Bhägavatam at a Bhägavata-saptäha, this is but another creation of the karmis, who cannot derive any benefit from such a performance. The word pashu-ghnät is important in this connection. pashu-ghna means “butcher.” Persons fond of performing ritualistic ceremonies for elevation to the higher planetary systems must offer sacrifices (yajnas) by killing animals. Lord Buddhadeva therefore rejected the authority of the Vedas because his mission was to stop animal sacrifices, which are recommended in Vedic ritualistic ceremonies." (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam SB 10:1:4. purport.)
In this regard, the Buddhists have a similar story that reveals the
nature of this world in connection with the soft-hearted Prince Siddhartha
(Buddha) and His leaving the kingdom:
As is tradition, astrologers cast their charts but to the King's dismay, for it was predicted that this boy was not ordinary, and at a young age he would renounce this world upon seeing an old man, a diseased man, a dead man and a monk. Seven days after this, the Queen passed away, leaving Siddhartha in the care of a co-wife named Prajapati who loved Him dearly. The King, however, was always worried about the prediction and as Siddhartha grew up, the King noticed He was different from the other Princes. He didn't like the hunting trips and engaging in the cruel sports some of the Princes participated in, but instead spent much time in contemplation under sacred trees like the 'sala' and 'bodhi' ('banyan').
Once when another prince shot an arrow into a dove, Siddhartha protected the dove and restored it's life. The other prince complained, saying it was his dove as he shot it and now he wanted it. Siddhartha went to the King's court for a decision. Prince Siddhartha said, "I removed the arrow and restored the poor bird to well-being, and so this bird owes it's life to me. If the dove is given to this boy who tried to take it's life, I feel this not proper, and an injustice is being done. Surely the life of this bird belongs to one who gave it life, and not to one who tried to take it's life." The court agreed and the bird was set free, but by now his father was extremely worried about his boy.
Siddhartha was now coming to an age suitable for marriage, so
to try to make him entangled in materialistic affairs, the King decided
to get Siddhartha married to a stunningly beautiful and talented daughter
of one of the King's noblemen. A 'swayamvara' was held so she could choose
her own husband, but some envious princes, knowing how much the beautiful
Yasodhara liked Siddhartha, complained that the 'swayamvara' was not difficult
enough for no real tests had been made of the princes' qualities. These
princes thought that since Siddhartha didn't go hunting, etc, he was not
a real prince, for he was not a warrior. Really they were all lusty and
wanted her for themselves to enjoy. A competition was held, but Siddhartha
beat all the other princes in archery and horse-riding and so won the hand
of Yasodhara. Siddhartha at this time was just sixteen years of age, healthy
and strong, so when upon gaining a bride He had gained her entourage of
young maid servants, everyone thought that now he would succumb to bodily
pleasures. It was arranged that Yasodhara's maidservants were all scantily
dressed and all exquisitely beautiful for the purpose of bewildering Siddhartha,
but He wasn't in the least bit intimidated, what to speak of interested
in or attracted to them, instead referred to and treated them as his mothers.
The King pressured Siddhartha into making Yasodhara pregnant and to the
King's pleasure, the dutiful Siddhartha did was was asked, and later a
male child was born, but Siddhartha remained detached.
Up until this time King Suddhodana had arranged that Siddhartha had not been out of the palaces in his whole life, for his palace was like a city with all kinds of jewels and luxurious items to which again Siddhartha had no attachments at all. Siddhartha continually asked his father to arrange a journey outside of the palace for him, but the King feared, for he remembered the predictions of Siddhartha renunciation. Shortly after his twenty-ninth birthday the King made all necessary arrangements for Siddhartha's chariot ride outside the palace. The route was cleared of old, infirm, dead and young persons to avoid the hand of fate, but on that journey, as Siddhartha rode through the city, the demigods took special forms upon the Lord's order to prompt the execution of the princes' mission. Siddhartha asked his chariot driver, Channa, "Who is this? His hair is white, he is appearing very weak, his back is bent, and his skin is wrinkled?" Channa replied even against the King's instructions as if his jaw worked on it's own, and his tongue talked as if of it's own accord. "He is an old man and he is bent double with advanced age." "Does everyone get old Channa?" asked the prince. Channa replied, "Yes, everyone has to grow old." Siddhartha fell silent.
A little further along the road Siddhartha saw a diseased man and asked, "Channa, what is wrong with this man? He appears to be suffering, his face shows pain." "He is ill my prince, and is crying due to his bodily pains," Channa replied. "Channa, tell me, is disease particular only to him?" "No, my prince," replied Channa. "Anyone may become ill, and at any time of his life." "Even I?" asked Siddhartha. "Yes, even you," replied Channa. Again the chariot proceeded down the road until Siddhartha saw a procession. "Channa, why are those people carrying that man, and Channa, why are they all so upset?" Channa replied, "The man's body that you see being carried has died and those following him are his friends and relatives. They are naturally upset due to their affection for him, and now the separation that the death of their dear one has caused." "Channa, please tell me, has anyone else ever died besides that man, and will others die also?" "O my prince," replied Channa, "Every person who is born in this world will die at some time. That is as sure as death."
Prince Siddhartha suddenly felt sick and asked Channa to return to the palace. On the way they saw a man sitting peacefully by the side of the forest road. The prince was mystified by the saintly man's aura of inner peace. "Channa, stop. Who is this man? He appears different from the others we have seen. Why is that?" He replied, "O my dear prince, he is a saintly renunciate, a sadhu, having given up these worldly pleasures and pains, instead he has taken to the path of looking for the key to truth and enlightenment, by understanding the nature of spirit."
From that day on, Siddhartha had changed. He became more introspective
and grave and had thoughts only for renouncing this world to go to the
forest. Before long, at the dead of night, and unseen by the palace guards,
Siddhartha left the palace for the forest. Shaving off his long hair and
swapping his opulent clothes for that of a beggar, Siddhartha took to extreme
austerities, fasting, only sometimes taking water. Only occasionally he
would take fruits. In Buddhacharita it is described how for six years he
spent his life in the forest in this way living on 'jujube' fruits, sesame
seeds and the occasional few grains of rice. Until giving up sleeping
and eating he took only one hemp seed daily. Due to emancipation of his
body it became weak, due to his bodily weakness he collapsed. Though it
is described that despite it's frailty it shone like the moon on the ocean.
In the forest a herdsman's daughter brought him some fruits and again he
ate. Some criticised him for this, but now Siddhartha, devoid of even fame
and the prestige that follows renunciation, was free.
At this time the Buddha met with the beauty Maara who tried to shoot arrows of lusty desires at him, but the Buddha did not heed. This expert seductress Maara was however frustrated in her advances, and announced that when arrows of lust were shot at Lord Shiva who was in the presence of the daughter of the Himalayas, Parvati he succumbed to her advances, but how is it that Buddha did not? Maara then decided to throw all kinds of things at him, demons, goblins, ghosts, magic, everything one could think of, but Buddha did not budge.
He took to sitting under a 'bodhi' ('banyan', sacred fig) tree and took to introspective analysis of why suffering takes place. After some time, looking at various activities of pleasure and giving them up, he came to the conclusion that eating, sleeping, mating and defending, and especially that of material desire, were the causes of sorrow. They were likened to a deep dense forest. To obtain eternal bliss, one must be pure, true and righteous in thought, deed and words (mind, body and speech). One must give up this existence base on life in the forest, no more forest and desire for material things, and instead seek out the truth. This was his basis, then he started to go and preach. Search for 'Nirvana', 'Nir' means no, and 'vana' means forest.
In Buddhacharita (chapter 18.) the kind of approach he took in His preaching is outlined. Some of his points were that, if a creator produced this world then why is there a process of birth and death, and surely there would be no need for men to perform any activity if a creator had created. He would have already done everything necessary. Surely also everyone in the world would worship the "one creator," and not so many other deities, idols, or mundane men. All men would feel no doubts in their hearts that the creator as father would look after them and show affection for them. And if this creation were for saying sake created and actuated without any intention then surely the creators creation is like that of a child's who creates what he has no control or dominion over. They go on to say that there are too many defects in this created world so one should give up such a creator and simply follow me to the path of enlightenment. In fact with this philosophy He, Lord Buddha even convinced the great Kasyapa Muni into becoming his follower and to give up the worship of Agni in the fire 'yajna', and to leave home. Actually there is no defect in what he preached, if one follows such assumptions as propounded by Him, there are many problems in this world. Another statement of the Buddha's was, "All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else..!" The essence of what is being said here is our philosophy, it is only the lack of emphasis on God, and the emphasis on the ......nothing entirely existing alone, relation to everything else...! Knowing the atheistic, and envious ideals of the population of the time Lord Buddha preached to serve His goals. For some would naturally choose to remember and serve the Supreme Lord, while others opt for forgetfulness. As even today within Buddhism simply it was left to the natures of the persons of the day to become either purified or to go right off the track and seek out the impossible, annihilation of the eternal spirit ('Jivatman').
Once whilst on his way to Rajagriha he saw a herd of sheep, and
upon finding out they were on their way to King Bismisara's big 'yajna'
to be the offering into the fire, Buddha decided to accompany them and
preach to the King his philosophy of 'ahimsa' (non-violence), along with
his new disciple Kasyapa. Buddha preached to the King to give up these
'Vedic yajnas' and Kasyapa echoed the same, that by worship of fire and
offering of poor and innocent animals into the fire, one will not become
free from the miseries of this world. The King then gave up the offering
of animals into the fire and all other Vedic rites, and became a follower
Another time a woman came to Lord Buddha whose child had died and begged him to restore the baby to life. Lord Buddha told her to go to every house and collect a mustard seed from any house where there has been no death taken place, and return with a handful of mustard seeds to him. The woman went from house to house, but at each house someone had lost a husband, father, grandfather, daughter, son, two children, servant or animal. Alas, in tears of disappointment she returned to Lord Buddha. He preached to her that all living entities that have taken birth must die, so ultimately there is nothing but sorrow gained from this life. He told her to give up this desire for controlling destiny, and be free from sorrows. Actually this is also the philosophy of the Vedas, but He presented it in a way that was palatable for their ears, at a time when it was greatly needed. In this way he lived His life and preached to those who were atheistic, caught up in so many ritualistic sacrifices and superstitions just for the satisfaction of their senses, either directly or indirectly.
Lord Buddha's preaching had to be along these lines, for people of this time were only thus philosophically evolved, and so seemingly he had to preach against the Vedas, though in actuality he was doing the people a great service stopping their deviations.
The Vedas are never meant for sense gratification, but are meant for satisfying the senses of the Supreme Lord, Who's glories are sung throughout the Vedas. Unfortunately, persons who look to the Vedas with an aim of fulfilling their own desires will rarely come to know the knower and revealer of the Vedas, nor are they particularly interested in Him. Vedic literature is unchallengeable and stands without question of doubt. Whatever is stated in the Vedas must be accepted completely or one challenges the authority of the Vedas.
The following is a summary taken from the introduction of Srimad Bhagavatam,
"The Vedic injunctions are self authorised, and if some mundane creature
adjusts the interpretations of the Vedas, he defies their authority. It
is foolish to think of oneself as more intelligent than Srila Vyasadeva.
He has already expressed Himself in His Sutras and there is no need of
help from personalities of lesser importance. His work, the Vedanta Sutra
is as dazzling as the midday sun, and when someone tries to give his own
interpretations on the self-effulgent sun like Vedanta Sutra he attempts
to cover the sun with the cloud of his imagination."(A.C.Bhaktivednta Swami
Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam Canto one, Volume one, Page 21., summary.)
So though Lord Buddha was the Personality of Godhead His plan was to take the general populous, who had deviated away from Vedic principles, right away from the Vedas. "Reject the Vedas, there is no God, you just follow Me."
Just as to properly retrain a person who has taught himself to play a musical instrument, learned to use a vehicle etc., one has to "un-train", I mean get the fool to reject all that he has speculated upon by his own means, and then when deprogrammed, free from his own misconceptions, re-programming can begin. To execute this method of retraining Buddha developed an "unusual" school of thought which can be looked at briefly here.
Buddhism has nine principles with two ways of understanding philosophy, one way is called 'hinayana', and the other is called 'mahayana'. These will be explained a little later. The nine principles to which this is applied are:
1. The creation is eternal; there is no need to accept a creator.
2. The cosmic manifestation is false.
3. "I am" is the truth.
4. There is repetition of birth and death.
5. Lord Buddha is the only source of understanding the truth.
6. The principle of 'nirvana', or annihilation is the ultimate goal.
7. The philosophy of Buddha is the only philosophical path.
8. The Vedas are compiled by human beings.
9. Pious activities, showing mercy to others and so on are advised.
These are all based on logic and argument, and as we have stated on
the section touching on 'pramanas' (ways
to find truth) logic and argument can indeed reveal the truth, but unlike
ideas that Buddhist logicians propound truth is not relative. Therefore
by the standards of Vaishnava theology and theosophy the Vaishnava
acharyas have dealt with these nine principles with swift strokes.
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada dismembers their nine limbs in
the Bhaktivedanta purports to Chaitanya Charitamrta (Madhya 9:49., page
316.), quoting Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, which we have summarised
"Their first principle is that creation is always existing, but if this is the case, there can be no theory of annihilation. The Buddhists maintain that annihilation or dissolution is the highest truth. If the creation is eternally existing, there is no question of dissolution or annihilation. This argument is not very strong because by practical experience we can see that material things have a beginning, a middle and an end. The ultimate aim of the Buddhist philosophy is to dissolve the body. This is proposed because the body has a beginning. Similarly, the entire cosmic manifestation is also a gigantic body, but if we accept the fact that it is always existing, there can be no question of annihilation. Therefore the attempt to annihilate everything in order to attain zero is an absurdity. By our own practical experience we have to accept the beginning of creation, and when we accept the beginning, we must accept a creator. Such a creator must possess an all-pervasive body, as pointed out by Bhagavad Gita (13:14.):
sarvatah pani-padam tat
sarvatah srutimal loke
sarvam avrtya tisthati
'Everywhere are His hands and legs, His eyes and faces, and He hears
everything. In this way the Supersoul exists.'
"The Supreme Person must be present everywhere. His body existed before the creation; otherwise He could not be the creator. If the Supreme Person is a created being, there can be no question of a creator. The conclusion is that the cosmic manifestation is certainly created at a certain time, and the creator existed before the creation; therefore the creator is not a created being. The creator is 'Param Brahman', or the Supreme Spirit. Matter is not only subordinate to spirit but is actually created on the basis of spirit. When the spirit soul enters the womb of a mother, the body is created by material ingredients supplied by the mother. Everything is created in the material world, and consequently there must be a creator who is the Supreme Spirit and who is distinct from matter. It is confirmed in Bhagavad Gita that the material energy is inferior and that the spiritual energy is the living entity. Both inferior and superior energies belong to a supreme person.
"The Buddhists argue that the world is false, but this is not valid. The world is temporary, but it is not false. As long as we have the body, we must suffer the pleasures and pains of the body, even though we are not the body. We may not take these pleasures and pains very seriously, but they are factual nonetheless. We cannot actually say that they are false. If the bodily pains and pleasures are false, the creation would be false also, and consequently no one would take very much interest in it. The conclusion is that the material creation is not false or imaginary, but it is temporary.
"The Buddhists maintain that the principle 'I am' is the Ultimate Truth, but this excludes the individuality of ' I ' and 'you'. If there is no 'I' and 'you', or individuality, there is no possibility of argument. The Buddhist philosophy depends on argument, but there can be no argument if one simple depends on 'I am'.(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Chaitanya Charitamrta Madhya lila 9:49., page 316.)
Therefore sometimes this kind of philosophy is called "the sound of one hand clapping" - singular perception of whatever I think of or imagine, then that I am. Because I have imagined you, then you are here for me, but actually you are just an extension of me, or my mind, actually you do not exist. This is what they called 'swacitta' philosophy.
We emphatically disagree with this philosophy saying that there must be a 'you', or another person also. The philosophy of duality - the existence of the individual soul and the Supersoul - must be there. This is confirmed in the Second Chapter of Bhagavad Gita (2:12.), wherein the Lord says:
na tv evaham jatu nasam
na tvam neme janadhipah
na caiva na bhavisyamah
sarve vayam atah param
'Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these
kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.'
"We existed in the past in different bodies, and after the annihilation of this body, we shall exist in another body. The principle of the soul is eternal, and it exists in this body or in another body. Even in this lifetime we experience existence in a child's body, in a youths body, a man's body and an old body. After the annihilation of the body we acquire another body. The Buddhist cult also accepts the philosophy of transmigration, but the Buddhists do not properly explain the next birth. There are 8,400,000 species of life, and our next birth may be in any one of them; therefore this human body is not guarantied.(This is our philosophy.)
"According to the Buddhists fifth principle, Lord Buddha is the only
source for the attainment of 'Vedic' knowledge. One must accept a principle
of standard knowledge because one cannot attain the Absolute Truth simply
by intellectual speculation. If everyone is an authority, or if everyone
accepts his own intelligence as the ultimate criterion, as is presently
fashionable, the scriptures will be interpreted in many different ways,
and everyone will claim his own philosophy supreme. This has become
a very great problem, and everyone is interpreting scripture in his own
way and setting up his own basis of authority. ('yata mata tata patha')
Now everybody and anybody is trying to establish his own theory as the
Ultimate Truth. The Buddhists theorise that annihilation, or 'nirvana',
is the ultimate goal. Annihilation applies to the body, but the spirit
soul transmigrates from one body to another. If this were not the case,
how can so many multifarious bodies come into existence? If the next birth
is a fact, the next bodily form is also a fact. As soon as we accept a
material body, we must accept the fact that the body will be annihilated
and that we will have to accept another body. If all material bodies are
doomed to annihilation, we must obtain a non material body, or a spiritual
body, if we wish to be anything but false. How the spiritual body
is attained is explained in Bhagavad Gita
janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vettir tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so 'rjuna
'One who knows the transcendental nature of My (Krishna - God's) appearance
and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in
this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.'
This is the highest perfection by which one can transcend the transmigration of material bodies and return home, back to Godhead. It is not that existence become void and zero, existence continues, but if we positively want to annihilate the material body, we have to accept a spiritual body, otherwise there can be no understanding of the eternality for the soul.
Nihilistic attempts in any way to do away with what we are experiencing is so much foolishness. In psychological circles when something is happening, but a person tries to artificially negate that thing without coming to terms with it, by understanding what it is, they call it "denial".
So any form of suicide is counter productive to resolving the root cause of our frustration, confusion, disappointment, etc. Rather what is needed, is to fully understand who we are, the nature of the world, the nature of its creator, and the interactions between them.
There are five major differences according to Sripad Madhwacharya in
his panch-beda philosophy.
The difference between God and the tiny jiva souls - like the quantity of gold in a mine and that in a ring.
The difference between God and the inert material nature - jada.
The difference between you and I, as individual living beings.
The difference between us living beings and the inert matter.
The difference between different aspects of material inert matter - earth, fire, water, air, ether, etc.
Then we can understand our relationship with each and everyone of these items/persons, and act accordingly - it is certainly not all one in every regard.
If we can understand the nature of each and interact accordingly - spiritual with spiritual, and keep material temporal things in their place knowing the nature of them up rather we properly engage them in the service of the Lord who has the proprietorship rights to them.
In other words; why try to do away with something that we are not. We are not this body, so then why lament for it, and its extensions, lost pleasures? We need to understand positively who we are, and thus become fixed in that understanding to transcend the 'dukha' (suffering of this world). The suffering is real, of that there is no doubt. Just as the suffering or anxiety one experiences in a dream when one is too close to a tiger - even though in a dream, what we experience is real.
That reality is coming from our real experience and understanding of that object or situation outside of the temporal dream-like state. Thus sometimes this world is considered to be like a dream, as in the spiritual realm away from this dream-like Matrix a life of spiritual fulfillment exists.
The wonderful thing about this Krishna conscious philosophy and the life-style that it brings one to, is that by careful daily practice of the spiritual process, which is the goal, we gradually gain access to that realm more and more as the days go by.
The key is to understand who everything belongs to, and who has that right of ownership. Another angle is that these bodies are not ours to enjoy or kill as we like or dislike anyway. When we understand that, and also understand that we do get our allotted situation, with which to work out our lives (and previous karmas - attachments), things can be very positive and progressive. Sometimes there's a great misunderstanding of the word or term 'nirvana', to mean some utopian dream state that is beyond the world. We have to be careful to understand this correctly or further confusion, frustration and nihilistic/neo-Bauddhic thought may develop.
The term 'nirvana' is sometime taken to mean to do away with this world,
but as we have said before literally means "to leave the forest of material
existence." This understanding is also there in the Vedic literature's.
In Dhamapada, Lord Buddha preaches the principals of celibacy as follows,
"Cut down the forest of lust, not just one tree. This real danger of material
existence comes from this lust, when one cuts down the forest of lust and
its undergrowth, subtle sense enjoyment, then oh monks, then you will be
rid of the forest and be freed."
In his ultimate and practical wisdom, Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says, " .......if the seed of the tree had been void, how would this body have developed? Nirvana means not to accept another material body, don't try to make it void, that is another nonsense. Void, ...you are not void. Void means......to make void this material body. It is full of all miserable condition this body. Just try to grow your spiritual body."(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Yoga System tape 3..)
Buddhists talk in this way of being free of "all" desires. If one is
desireless how one can aspire or want something. Surely that is a desire
isn't it, which again is a contradiction to their philosophy.
This same subject is discussed in the Bhagavad Gita (3:36., to 3:43.), but Lord Krishna tells Arjuna to curb this bodily mis-identification, which comes about due to lust, as we have stated which comes into action through the desire to enjoy separately from the Lord, which originally has its roots in envy. Lust as we know is a perverted reflection of our original love for Krishna, just to do away with the negative (lust), will as we observe with the Buddhists only bring about bitterness, cynicism, and anger towards those who rightfully enjoy, and often a suicidal mentality - but in a transcendental spiritual way, free from lust and focused on the positive side of who we really are, as spiritual beings, and who that spiritual being is in relation to the Supreme Being, brings us to the humble and satisfying stage of being again able to render loving service, out of gratitude, and sincere friendship, in service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.
There is an interesting statement in the Dharmapada which says, "Those who have high thoughts are ever striving; They are not happy to remain in the same place. Like swans that leave their adopted lake they rise into the air, they leave that temporary home to fly for a higher home."
Those things which are obviously out of our control, why should we lament after. Rather we need to come to terms with them. There is no point in our attempting to finish our present existence, especially with the knowledge that we are eternal beings, here for a short while, to change bodies at what we call death, and to again take birth according to our activities ('karmas').
guru krsna prasad paya bhakti lata bhija
brahmanda bhramita kona bhagavanjiva
"After wandering in the material world for countless years one is extremely fortunate if by the grace of the Lord one meets the Lord's representative and the seed of devotion is planted in one's heart."
We are not professing to be any such representative, although in all humility, we are aspiring to be a good devotee of the Lord. So if in any way we can help you, feel free to contact me, and we can at least try to be a friend. We need to address the problem at hand to gain a solution. Suicide is no the solution to anything, rather it's the cause of further suffering.
If after reading this still your mind has not been changed, then please, please please seek out further counseling through local professional help, who have a warm and friendly disposition toward you. In many cases that is the greatest step.
...but please keep in mind Who is our ultimate friend, and that He wants us to sort our lives out and like the story from the Devi Bhagavat, is there waiting for our return to the spiritual abode, our original home.
us a line if you like !!!
...back to the Death pagesmoving on to new life pages