An innocent girl approaches a learned teacher. She asks meaningful questions and He provides meaning from answers from the Scriptures.
Who am I and Why am I here?
You are a Spirit Soul (jiva), part and parcel of God! You are here because you desire independence from the Lord, and so He has arranged this world as a playground for you to fulfill your ambitions
How long have I been in this world for?
The decision to be independent of the Lord took place before even time and space were created – and so it is almost impossible to know how much time has elapsed since then. Millions of lifetimes to say the least!
Are we always born as humans?
Not necessarily. There are 8,400,000 species of life. Depending on the kind of activities you do in your life and your desires, you may or may not take birth again as a Human. You could fall down and take birth as an animal in your next life if you do not use your excess capacity!
What do you mean by excess capacity?
The only thing that really differentiates a human and an animal is the ability to inquire about spirituality. Animals don’t have the intelligence to question their origin. If humans spend their life simply eating, sleeping, having sex, and protecting their territory then what different are they doing than animals? So then divine nature arranges that such humans not be given this access capacity and to be born as animals
Isn’t that a little harsh?
Not really! If there is 6000 sqft of office space available and we only use 3000 sqft then naturally The landlord will take away the access capacity. The same happens to us. If we do not utilize our intelligence to enquire about the purpose of life then we are better off being born as Buffalos. And there is nothing to feel bad about. We never hear of Buffaloes complaining that they didn’t become Human.
Why is there so much suffering in this world?
Because of Sinful activities
What are these Sinful Activities?
Meat-eating, Intoxication, Gambling, and Illicit Sex are the primary sinful activities. There are others but these are the main.
Can you explain these four sinful activities and why they are so wrong!
Eating meat is sinful because it involves causing another living being to go through suffering and death, simply for the satisfaction of our tongue. There are so many alternatives which nature has provided. They are healthier, cheaper, and better for the environment. When blood is needlessly spilled, someone will have to suffer for this. In this case, it is all of those who are involved, the animal farmers, the slaughterhouses, their workers, the transport company, the butchers, and the end consumers. All will suffer. Just like a when someone is murdered, everyone involved is punished and not necessarily just the person who committed the murder itself.
Consuming any intoxication is sinful because the substances themselves destroy our inner spiritual energy. As a result, the mind becomes contaminated very quickly and our subtle intelligence is hampered. Which person has ever done any good deeds when drunk? On the contrary, they engage in negative activities. Intoxication encourages illicit sexual affairs, dangerous driving, bad behavior, abusive language, enmity, and many other things. When we are intoxicated, others suffer!
Gambling is sinful because money is sacred. In spiritual terms, she is known as Lakshmi who is the presiding deity of fortune. Fortune doesn’t mean just money but it also means the happiness that is derived when one earns and spends the money in the proper way. For example, buying a nice home for the family and educating children, etc are all proper ways to enjoy one’s fortune. Now if that money spent in a Casino – then one is literally throwing their fortune away. In other words, we are insulting our fortune. Gambling is addictive and eventually, we find that Gamblers are the biggest losers in the equation. They ruin themselves and their families suffer.
Illicit Sex is I think is quite obvious. In a proper marriage we invite, our friends, our relatives, our elders, the Demigods, and the Supreme Lord to come and bless the marriage. It is a sacred affair not to be taken lightly. During this time we vow to be faithful to our partners and look after them etc. When we have an affair we cause so much pain to our sacred partners. We not only betray them but everyone we took vows in front of. This is sinful. Our partners suffer, our children suffer and our relatives suffer! Who will be responsible for this suffering?
In all the above, we see that other living beings have so suffered from our actions. If we can at least refrain from the above four then we will at least get a human birth in our next life. This has been explained in the Manu Smrti and other scriptures.
What happens to those who are Sinful and Spiritual?
Good question! To truly advance spiritually, once must let go of sinful activities. The two are incompatible. No matter who we are, everyone must suffer for their sinful actions. The best would be to avoid them. Though one’s spirituality will help them greatly to overcome these sinful tendencies. Even it takes time, never give up trying. The Lord will help you if you sincerely ask Him.
Who is God?
When one studies all the Vedic Scriptures with scrutiny, then one will easily come to the conclusion that Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Why Krishna and nobody else?
Yes, a lot of people will have this objection because they feel that if Sri Krishna is proclaimed as the Supreme Lord, then their God must be disregarded. But this is not correct! By claiming that David Cameron is the Prime minister of the UK, doesn’t make George Osborne anything! All other divine deities like Lord Shiva, Brahma, Ganesh, Durga, etc have their importance and role and many of them are extremely elevated and divine beings. But we should not also be sentimental and claim everyone to be God.
Is there any Scriptural evidence for this?
Yes, there are many! I’ll give you one from the Brahma Samhita, where it says in the opening verse
ishvarah paramah krishnah
anadir adir govindaha
Kṛṣṇa who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.
Is Krishna a person or a force?
He is both but in the original feature, He is a person. Of course, He is not a person like us who has flesh, blood, bones, and limitations. He clarifies this at the beginning of the 12th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita when Arjuna asks Him this question. His original form is Eternal, fully cognizant, and full of unparalleled intoxicating spiritual bliss! This mentioned in many, many places in the scriptures.
Then why do people believe God to be ultimately formless?
There are many reasons. The first is because most people just inherit their family beliefs. The second is because they do not thoroughly study the scriptures. They take certain subjective statements about God being formless and make it absolute. The third is because they believe the by God having a form, it has to be human and therefore limited. So it’s easier for most people intellectually reason that God is this all pervasive energy of light.
What about Allah? Isn’t he God?
God is given different names in various languages because of His attributes. Because God is Great in many ways, in Arabic He is referred to as Great or Exalted (Allah). In the Sanskrit Language He is known by many, many names because of His many activities and His various qualities. For example, He is known as Vishnu who means one who is pervading everywhere any in everything. He is known as Rama because He gives immense pleasure to all living beings that come to Him. Ultimately He can be addressed Krsna because it means one who is all attractive. God must be the most attractive principle in all of creation otherwise everything cannot rest in Him. In fact in India, the Lord is also lovingly known as Ranchor which means “One who ran away from the battle field.” Loving devotees constantly give the Lord varieties of names based on His wonderful activities. A fanatic may see Allah as Different from Krsna but I do not.
We see people of this world having different names based on their qualities so why not God? Right?
Exactly – Adolf Hitler was just a name but now it is synonymous with someone who is brutal any merciless. By restricting the Lord to one name we are limiting Him. His original name has been mentioned in the scriptures but He has many names and will continue to have many names.
Thank you so much. I will come back next week with more questions