“The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.59)
Religion without philosophy is sentiment. Philosophy without religion is mental speculation. Combine the two and you have a real way of living, something that not only keeps the individual on the right path, but a way to confidently move forward, progressing towards the ultimate goal.
In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna describes what can be translated as “the science of self-realization.” Know who the individual is. There are scientific properties and laws which govern a material existence. Learn through both acquired knowledge and practical application.
At the same time, there is some faith involved. Faith is already extended in so many other places. For realizing the self we are trusting what someone else tells us in the beginning. To gain confidence in the path, there is the collective experience of those who have succeeded in realizing the self. They went beyond and also realized the source of all energies, the person to whom they are still lovingly serving to this day.
1. I’ve tried material life
I’m opening up the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam because I want something more. I’ve tried material life. It hasn’t done much for me. Even the gains, the victories, the successes, seemed to bring more trouble than what was previously there. If going forward I’m supposed to set new goals, work for bigger achievements, I’m pretty sure I’ll be left with the same empty feeling afterwards.
2. Hearing alone brings so much pleasure
Bhakti-yoga includes the process of realizing the self. While I may not be conscious of the distinction between matter and spirit on a constant basis, I’ve gotten a taste of transcendental pleasure already.
That has come simply through hearing. First there is the sacred sound vibration known as the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Then there are the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I will never get tired of hearing how Krishna went into the homes of the neighbors in Gokula and stole their butter. The all-attractive one can be all things. He is the smartest person, the wise teacher, the loyal friend, the reliable disciple, and the adorable child. This hearing has brought a higher taste, something which I now constantly crave.
3. What Krishna teaches is true
The reality of reincarnation is not exclusive to the Hindu faith. In the Bhagavad-gita there is no mention of this religion or that when discussing the important topics of the material nature and the spiritual energy. The foundational teaching of the difference between matter and spirit, where the individual continues to live on through the changes of the external body, is undeniably true.
I’ve confirmed so many other principles to be fact. It stands to reason that the teacher would be right about the most important truth, which comes at the conclusion of the discussion with Arjuna. Abandoning all varieties of religion [dharma] and surrendering unto Him will bring full protection. There is no reason to fear since Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
4. Krishna is all-attractive
The skeptic will ask, “How can you be sure?” They want to know where the confidence comes from. What if, after investing so much time and energy, the whole thing turns out to be false? What if the culture is yet another manifestation of man’s attempt to deal with the fear of impending death?
Confidence comes from Krishna’s all-attractiveness. In His original, two-handed form He gives the most stunning vision. It is the ideal object for meditation, starting with the lotus feet and gradually moving up. The lotus feet are enough, in fact. His words of wisdom are attractive, and so are His deeds, which so many people have described.
5. Look at the people who support Krishna
The people who are engaged in devotional service, the most dear associates who never deviate from the bhakti path, are also attractive. They are of the highest quality of character. They are ideal role models, though their amazing deeds can never be imitated. More than anything else, examples like Shri Hanuman, Prahlada Maharaja, Arjuna, Vyasadeva, Goswami Tulsidas, and His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are the most solid source from which to take confidence that bhakti is the best way to live, lifetime after lifetime.
How so confident of path to be,
Not the potential for falsity to see?
That perhaps God there is not,
Only coping mechanism we’ve got.
Truths of Gita one way clear,
So much joy from simply to hear.
Highest taste, most attractive is He,
From Hanuman and others to see.
Categories: the five