We all can do it. That is where yoga comes in. The lifestyle of yoga.
Before I begin I always offer my respects to the great yogis, the vaishnava acharyas, that bring us this possibility, this opportunity. The word acharya means teacher by example, and the vaishnava acharyas are the highest level of perfection of yoga. They do not just talk one philosophy and live another. They teach by their live’s example. And again, this is perfect. They are perfectly attuned to the will of the Supreme Lord. They offer us the opportunity to become attuned in the same way. Those who are actually wise and those who are fortunate take advantage of this, they pursue this lifestyle. And those who do not, can only be described as unfortunate. A missed opportunity.
We come into the human form of life. “We” meaning the spirit souls that we eternally are. Our bodies are material. We have two bodies: the physical body that we all see and deal with and consider to be ourselves. And then, the subtle body which is the mental body, the body of desire. So, these two bodies comprise our material vehicle or tabernacle, but we are actually the opposite of our bodies. Our bodies are material energy.
All energy comes from the Supreme Lord. But there are two categories of energy. One is called inferior. That is the material energy. One is called superior. That is the spiritual energy. The material world is basically composed of the inferior material energy. In the Vedas it described as composed of earth, water, fire, air and ether. Those five energies make up the material physical body. It is described as the gross energy. You can see it with the gross eyes. And then, the subtle body is made of three subtler energies: the mind, the intelligence, and what is called false ego. And, they go from the most gross to the most subtle. But underneath the gross and the subtle energies, the two bodies that we have, lies the spirit soul – our true self, our eternal self.
But again, in the illusion of material life we identify with our two bodies and do not even know who we are. The worst scenario for a person in life is to experience or suffer amnesia due to some cause: some accident, some mental disarrangement, whatever it is. They forget everything. They do not know who they are, “What am I? What is my name? Who are my parents? Where do I live?” I do not know anything, I am lost in life. I do not have a clue of who I am, what I should do or anything. This is incredibly desperate situation. No one would want to have that experience. As we get older our bodies get older, our subtle bodies get older. We forget things. You know how frustrating it is when you cannot remember something. Like a person’s… You cannot remember his name… like “Who is that? I know, but…” And the more forgetful we become, like in a case of Alzheimer’s disease. My father died of Alzheimer’s disease. I saw him as he went through the various stages and he got more and more desperate. Fear, he was afraid to go out of a house, “Where am I? I am lost. Where is home?” And in the cause as disease progresses they forget who their wife is, who their children are. Everything becomes so confusing. Not a good experience, I can tell you.
But the reality is we all are in the much worse condition than that because we do not know who we are either. We do not know we are spirit souls, we do not know we are the eternal parts and parcels of the Supreme Soul. We have forgotten who our father is. We have forgotten where our real home is. We have forgotten this relationship completely. We do not know what we are supposed to do in life. So, we have to make up something.
So, we get busy in life doing things. There is always this question in the back, “Is this what I am supposed to be doing? Is this really who I am?” Of course this is for the people who think a little bit. Most of us do not think. We do not want to go that deep. That is why we always turn on the television, turn on the radio, drink some vodka. We stay aloof from the depth of thought, because it is too mysterious, it is too confusing, it is too unknown. So, we just go along on the surface of life one day to the next, living from, basically, one meal to the next, one weekend to the next, one party to the next, one new movie to the next, whatever it is. We are just getting through life somehow, never going deep, never contemplating this necessary truth.
So, we waste our whole life. We are lost but we do not want to admit that we are lost. We do not want to admit, “I do not know anything, I do not know who I am, I do not know where I am going, I do not know where I came from”. But this is reality. We are just stumbling alone. If we have been lost in the forest you just can stumble alone. You do not know where you are going. Not a good feeling.
And finally we come to the end of our term in this body. And then, it all comes crushing down on us. It is too late now, too late to find out these things, too late to do something different. I cannot change it now, it is all over now. Very frustrating, very frightening. So, this is the way we leave our bodies in most cases: in desperation, in fear. Not good.
The human form of life is meant for one purpose and one purpose only. And bear in mind, there are so many different forms of life for the soul. We saw the flowers, we saw the penguins, we saw the dolphins, we saw the whales, we saw the deer and the horses, on and on. So many different bodies which we can live in and have lived in. There are 8, 400, 000 species of life and according to the Vedic knowledge we have been in all of those. We have been in a body of a fish and a dolphin, and a flower, and a tree, and a bird and on, and on, and on, all of them. We do not remember any of them. Again, forgetfulness, completely forgetful of everything, but we have been there.
And now after so many lifetimes in other forms of life, we are finally in a human form of life. And his is a wonderful thing because now we have the opportunity to realize who I am, to overcome the amnesia, to wake up, to come to some realization of truth. The humans have advanced mental facility and intelligence that is not present in the lower forms.
And this is specifically for the purpose of self-realization. That is the purpose, that is the meaning, that is the function of the human form of life.
But have we used it for that? Has humanity used this facility for that purpose? And of course the answer, “No, we have not”. We have used it to create a false world, a false world that is not in harmony at all with God’s arrangement. It is a false world that is full of chaos, quarrel, confusion, conflict, etc, etc. So, we have this facility but incorrectly used. It causes nothing but trouble for everybody.
The great minds, the great thinkers, what are they thinking about? They are discovering all kinds of things over many years, but for what purpose? To enjoy the material world, to facilitate the sensual pleasures of the body and the mind. And by gone ages the great thinkers contemplated spiritual truth. In the modern age the great thinkers contemplate material degradation. Even knowingly or unknowingly. Basically, it is all about “how I can get further away from God” plan. It is picking up speed, it is becoming very rapid now.
We do not have to be a part of that, we do not have to be victims of this movement. We still have a human form with all the facilities to use it as it is intended. So, all of us have to make a choice: What am I going to do with this human form of life? Am I going to use it as it was intended for spiritual realization? Or am I going to completely waste it and enter more and more into darkness and forgetfulness.
So, the human form of life comes with a lot of responsibility. That is the form where I am responsible for my actions, it’s controlled by the laws of karma. It is full of responsibility. So, am I going to choose the goal as I should, in the direction of spiritual perfection or choose the other direction? We have an eternal free will to choose this or that one. No one can choose it for us. Mum cannot choose it for the child, the husband cannot choose it for the wife or the wife for the husband, etc, etc. Everybody has to make their own choice. That is our responsibility.
And if we make the right choice the human form of life will be a wonderful thing. If we make the wrong choice then it can be a very detrimental thing. So, if we choose to pursue spiritual life than the door is wide open in the form of bhakti-yoga, and specifically mantra meditation.