“The fallen souls are very eager to receive novel informations every day, and the transcendentalists like Vyasadeva or Narada can supply such eager people in general with unlimited news from the spiritual world.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.5.13 Purport)
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who was affectionately known as the lion-guru, was at one time publishing a daily newspaper. This publication was unique in its content. It did not feature the latest happenings in the community. The reporters were not running to different locations to gather eyewitness testimony. Instead, the newspaper was exclusively about the science of self-realization.
One could say that it was a religious newspaper, but there wasn’t sole reliance on faith. Moreover, there was still news to report. A person once questioned the famous guru as to how he could find enough content to publish on a daily basis. The response was that the news from the spiritual world is endless and far more important than anything happening in this world.
That news is also pleasing to the heart; the reason being that the spiritual realm is the original home of all creatures. Spirit comes from spirit, and in our present surroundings matter is the dominating force. Though matter is inanimate, the bewildered living beings think it to be more important than spirit. One who regularly hears news from their original home finds great relief from this problem.
Devi was explaining this to her friend one day. She relayed a story from her own life to help get the message across.
Ever since I got married, I wanted to visit Paris with my husband. I kept hounding him about it. I am a little ashamed to admit that I pulled the classic move of comparing him to other husbands. Many of my friends had gone to Europe on vacation, so I made sure to mention that to him.
I guess my persistence paid off, since one summer we finally got to go. I was excited. I had our whole trip planned out. I knew which places I wanted to see. We weren’t going to waste any time over there.
Unfortunately, a day after arriving I got sick. I must have eaten something bad, because my stomach hurt so much. I could barely get out of bed. I was like this for a few days. I don’t know how to describe it, but I felt so awful there. It was like I was trapped in a prison or something. Europe was very different; not what I was used to.
I’ll never forget that one night I was flipping channels on the television in the hotel room. I was looking for anything that wasn’t in French. Finally, I stumbled upon a show from home that I really like. They had it in English too, with French subtitles. I can’t tell you how happy this made me. I watched that show for the next four hours. It was like I was back home. That was the turning point. I immediately started to feel better. The rest of the trip carried on, and I tried my best to stay connected to home in any possible way. Just hearing the national news headlines made me feel good. I usually don’t follow the news that much when I’m home, but that changed when I was abroad and homesick.
Devi then explained to her friend that the spirit souls in this world have the same kind of homesickness. Sense gratification, chasing after money, competing with their fellow man to the death – these things are not natural. Human beings would rather love and serve. This is the soul’s dharma, or essential characteristic.
Devi explained that just as she felt better by getting news from home while in Paris, the spirit souls can immediately reverse their anxiety by hearing news from the spiritual realm. The planets there are known as Vaikuntha, or the place without anxiety. In the topmost planet, the Supreme Lord, in His original form, is constantly enjoying. He is playing His flute, running on the pristine fields with the cows, and delighting in the association of His friends, male and female, young and old. The news travels to our realm through the via medium of the spiritual master. The news the guru carries is so powerful that simply hearing it puts a person on the path back to home, back to Godhead.
In a foreign place feeling alone,
Sickness from missing your home.
Then day brightened by news to hear,
Though far away, to comfort again near.
In the same way from Vaikuntha coming,
Through sound of Krishna happy becoming.
Spiritual master the via medium from to pass,
Putting countless souls on homeward bound path.