“When a sensible man ceases to see different identities, which are due to different material bodies, he attains to the Brahman conception. Thus he sees that beings are expanded everywhere.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 13.31)
Friend1: Let’s talk about vision.
Friend2: Okay. Is this about wearing glasses?
Friend1: Don’t forget contact lenses.
Friend2: Oh man, there is a classic example of the truth that no convenience comes without an inconvenience.
Friend1: How so?
Friend2: Well, the convenience is being able to see clearly throughout the day. You don’t need to put on glasses or take them off. You don’t have to carry anything around. The contact lenses are always with you.
Friend1: Technically, that’s not entirely correct. If you’re travelling you have to bring a case for the lenses. You also need the right solution. Oh man, one time I borrowed someone else’s solution. That was a big mistake.
Friend2: What happened?
Friend1: When I put in my contacts in the morning, my eyes started burning. It was painful. Even after I took the contacts out, the redness remained throughout the day.
Friend2: It was bad solution?
Friend1: It was suited for a different kind of lens.
Friend2: I see. Yeah, well there you go. There’s so many inconveniences. You have to remember to take them out each night. The thing that happened with me was a condition called “dry eye.”
Friend1: What is that?
Friend2: Basically, for one of my eyes the vision got so bad even with the contacts on. When I would take them out at night, I could barely see out of that eye. I think it’s from sitting in front of a computer all day. They say that your eyes don’t blink enough. Without blinking there isn’t enough moisture.
Friend1: And the same wouldn’t happen if you were wearing glasses?
Friend2: Let’s put it this way. Within a few months of discontinuing use of contacts my eye got way better. It is completely healed now.
Friend1: That is interesting. Anyway, I’m talking about the spiritual vision.
Friend2: As in seeing Brahman?
Friend1: That is the proper vision. Brahman is the spiritual energy. A person who truly sees notices this spiritual spark in everything that is living.
Friend2: As opposed to noticing distinctions, vishesha.
Friend1: This person is old. That person is young. This is a tiger. That is a cow.
Friend2: Which are just external coverings. At the core everyone is the same.
Friend1: Not that they are the same identity. The quality of the spiritual substance is the same, but each person retains their individuality.
Friend1: Here is my question. What is the benefit to having such a vision?
Friend2: Umm, first off it’s the proper vision. You would rather have improper?
Friend1: No, I understand that it’s the way to properly see. There are different qualifications given for proper vision.
Friend2: By whom?
Friend1: Shri Krishna, in the Bhagavad-gita. There is the idea of seeing the spiritual equality. There is also seeing the Supersoul accompanying the individual soul in each living thing.
“One who sees the Supersoul accompanying the individual soul in all bodies and who understands that neither the soul nor the Supersoul is ever destroyed, actually sees.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 13.28)
Friend2: That’s a good one. Then there is seeing action in inaction and inaction in action.
Friend1: That’s more for karma, but I understand what you are saying.
Friend2: We’re talking about vision, right?
Friend1: No, I get it. You are correct. There is also the idea of seeing the original cause of the different bodies. Desire, kama, is the reason for the variety we see.
Friend2: Exactly. I like to compare it to people who play videogames. Many of the newer games have some sort of create-a-player feature. You get to customize a character. You’ll notice that hardly anyone comes up with the same looking character. This is because everyone’s desires are different. This correlates to the bodies themselves. Whatever state of being we have while quitting the body, that state we attain in the next birth.
Friend1: Okay, so I think we’ve thoroughly covered what constitutes the proper vision. Still need an answer on why it’s important to have it.
Friend2: You don’t want to see properly?
Friend1: What is the benefit I’m gaining? I’ll give you an example. A police officer has to notice distinctions. They treat the criminals differently than they do the law-abiding citizens. The person in the forest would be foolish to think the tiger is kind and gentle. We treat children in a different way than adults. There is a benefit to applying distinctions.
Friend2: No doubt about it. I see what you are asking now.
Friend1: Good. What is the explanation?
Friend2: Attachment. Aversion. They are essentially the same thing, the two sides to material desire. They come about through the improper vision where only distinctions are seen. The Brahman vision removes this duality. A person who reaches the Brahman vision no longer hankers or laments. They are well-situated to progress further, into bhakti-yoga. That engagement will bring them the purest experience in living, which equates to real and lasting pleasure.
When Brahman vision to get,
Then eyes properly set.
Otherwise with distinctions to see,
This person and that different from me.
But spirit inside so same are we,
Sight this properly situated to be.
Benefit that from bhakti then to enter,
Divine lotus feet supreme shelter.