Spiritual knowledge is not learned academically. It is not discovered in remote places. It actually descends from God Himself. The truth comes from the source of the truth and that is the Supreme Lord. So the religions of the world today have some beginning, “Oh, it began at this place and at this time,” and so on like this. But that is not the beginning. It begins at the source – the Supreme Lord. And it is His perfect arrangement that it descends through perfect teachers. So we are always very thankful about that and are also very appreciative of the fact that we have met this knowledge coming through this line of disciplic succession as it is called.
For many people this is not important, they don’t care. Where the knowledge came from, who it came through – it doesn’t matter. They read books, “Who wrote that book? I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, I like what it says.” But for a serious person it matters the most. Is this authorised, is this bonafide, is this actual knowledge or is it just partial knowledge, is it an imitation? Because we are dealing with our lives here, we are not dealing with just some casual thing.
Life is very short. We are born, very quickly we grow up, we get involved in many different activities in our life, and then we die. And it is over in a very short time. And what did we do? What did we accomplish? Some people have the idea that, “Oh yes, when I get old, then I will start to think about spiritual things.” So everybody is under some illusion that they are going to live to be very old. “Oh, I am going to live to be 70-80.” Every day thousands and thousands of people die on this planet at a young age. There are no guarantees.
But whatever time we have, until that moment we should use it wisely. And very rare is it that one makes wise use of his time. There is a very popular song, it was actually by a Christian musical artist. She was young, she made this song when she was about 18 or 20, a very young age. But I remember one verse in the song was, “I have a lot of time and I am wasting it slowly.” And that says a lot. It is not a wise way to live. So the fact that you are coming to us for the third night shows you have a little interest in using your time wisely, intelligently.
We study Bhagavad-gita as our main scripture. Scriptures are also very important in spiritual life. This is how God presents His message in a written form. So this Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literature were written down by an incarnation of God known as Srila Vyasadeva. I have often been presented with the argument, “Why should I read or follow or believe this book? This is written by some man.” But actually that is not true. You see, God incarnates in different ways, at different times, to do different jobs, to enlighten us, to help us. So He has presented this Vedic truth in these scriptures and the Bhagavad-gita is the essence of all the scriptures.
So in Bhagavad-gita it declares that a person who is endowed with sufficient intelligence will use the human form of life for spiritual pursuit. Also Bhagavad-gita defines intelligence as the ability to see things in their proper perspective. So how do we view our life, how do we view ourselves? This is important to consider. An intelligent person will view himself as spirit soul. And he will view his life as a very important time to develop this spiritual perfection. Priorities. In everything we do we have to prioritize things. What is first on the list, what is second on the list, what is third on the list? So for the wise person, the intelligent person spiritual life is in the first place. And then that person will be successful.
This process of mantra meditation is actually designed, given to us and recommended by God Himself. It is not just a nice thing to do. It is a very nice thing to do, very nice, but there is much more than that. This is declared as what we should do with our human form of life – the congregational chanting of God’s names.
Throughout all scriptures, the Bible, the Koran, Bhagavad-gita, it refers to the names of God. It declares also that the names of God are not ordinary names, these are spiritually potent names. Material names are not the same. Last night one person asked me, “Can I chant another mantra?” People say, “Can I create my own mantra?” You can do whatever you want to do, of course, but it does not mean that the potency will be there.
If you have some medications and each one looks exactly like the other, it doesn’t mean they are all equally potent. One can be the absolute potency that you need to cure the disease, the second one can be a placebo, the third one can be designed for another disease completely. Looks is not the criteria. What is the potency?
So these mantras that you have received are mantras that have come down through our disciplic line since time immemorial. And it is declared they are endowed with full spiritual potency so therefore a wise person is very attracted to this, “Oh, that is what I want.” And another person says, “Can I do something different? You got any other mantras? Can I make up my own?” So you can see the difference in individuals.
If we are so concerned about what we like, what we think, etc., we are not very good candidates for spiritual realisation. We are the judge, we decide, “Oh, it is good, it is not good.” And the declarations of the Supreme Lord and His great devotees don’t mean anything to us. See, we tend to put ourselves in the position of authority. But are we? Are we authorities? What is our qualification? So all these factors play a big part in success or failure in spiritual life.