“Real religious principles are enacted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although fully situated in the mode of goodness, even the great rishis who occupy the topmost planets cannot ascertain the real religious principles, nor can the demigods or the leaders of Siddhaloka, to say nothing of the asuras, ordinary human beings, Vidyadharas and Charanas.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 6.3.19)
Friend1: Is it safe to say that what we talk about on a regular basis is bhakti-yoga, the science of self-realization, sanatana-dharma, what have you?
Friend2: If you don’t know by now, that is pretty sad.
Friend1: Just bear with me a moment. We focus on escaping the cycle of birth and death. No more swimming aimlessly in the ocean of samsara, which has suffering throughout. Happiness and distress are like in a dream. It is illusion only. Real living is dharma. It is above the material nature.
Friend2: And once you have that consciousness fixed through to the time of death, you get liberation.
Friend2: Beyond that. Something higher. Maintaining individuality, the transfer is to the real body, svarupa. This is identical to the spirit soul for identification purposes, unlike the duality with which we are familiar at the moment.
Friend1: Okay, and to that end we focus on raising consciousness of the Supreme, especially in His personal form. That is why we can say bhakti-yoga is also Krishna consciousness.
Friend2: Yes. Krishna is God the person. The all-attractive one, Bhagavan, who can be described as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Friend1: We both acknowledge what the discussions focus on. Let’s transition to what is not discussed.
Friend1: To raise my question. We don’t really go into issues of the day. We don’t focus on the different styles of government: communism, capitalism, autocracy, dictatorship and the like. We don’t deal with social issues of the day: gay marriage, feminism, abortion rights, divorce, racism and the like.
Friend2: I mean the list is endless. You can spend your entire life studying history. Not even over thousands of years, but maybe a few decades, like the Revolutionary War that led to the founding of America. There are people who are scholars in the topic of a single historical figure, like Churchill, Franklin, Washington, Napoleon.
Friend1: Very good. I’m glad you expanded on my original thought. Here’s the thing. What do we tell people as the reason for avoiding these topics? Isn’t it important to discuss the merits and demerits of communism or capitalism? Shouldn’t we talk about the roles people play in marriage and how women should be treated in society?
Friend2: You want me to be more direct, I take it. “Do this.” “Don’t do that.” “This is right.” “That is wrong.”
Friend1: Exactly. Be more assertive. Don’t skirt around the issues. Be direct and to the point.
Friend1: So you’re going to do it?
Friend1: Why not?
Friend2: It’s simply not possible. Those topics you mentioned are in the realm of duality.
Friend1: They are material? Is that what you are saying? But shouldn’t aspects of material life be adjusted so as to make life more conducive to Krishna consciousness?
Friend2: Now that’s a different argument, but I think the same rule applies. Duality means that the quality of absoluteness is missing. That is to say what is good for one person may not be so for another. With politics, you see so many arguments from every angle of vision. There is some validity to each side. Sometimes one party is right and another is wrong. Sometimes one party has to be punished in order for there to be reform. You can’t come up with these blanket rules for areas which are essentially arts.
Friend1: Whereas we think they are sciences.
Friend2: Political science. That is a field of study at universities, but there can be no such thing. Politicians come along who break all the previously established rules of the science and win office regardless. They can be wildly successful, too.
Friend1: That is true.
Friend2: Then you have to go back and reconfigure the so-called science.
Friend1: Is it the same for every topic, though? What about studying the failures of a spiritual institution whose original purpose was to propagate Krishna consciousness? By discussing such issues doesn’t that make life better for people? Isn’t such an endeavor spiritual?
Friend2: It’s fine to discuss those things if you have some good solutions. My focus is always on bhakti-yoga practice. I can spot duality when I see it. Perhaps I should be hypocritical and state some preference that I deep down know not to be an absolute rule. I can’t be dishonest that way, though.
Friend1: Just some helpful hints would be nice.
Friend2: Listen, there is that famous verse from the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Dharmam tu sakshad bhagavata pranitam. Real religion comes from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That should always be the focus. The material world goes through cycles, such as with the weather. At one time some group is prominent and at another time a specific philosophy gains prominence. Try to stay above. Just because you think someone is wrong about politics or exhibits poor behavior doesn’t mean they are excluded from liberation.
Friend1: Okay, but to be liberated a person has to be intelligent. They have to be conscious of God.
Friend2: Right, but your definition of intelligence expands to areas of interest that aren’t very important. Do you really think Krishna polls to see what political party a devotee is from? There is the verse in the Bhagavad-gita where Krishna says that women, shudras and vaishyas are eligible for reaching the supreme destination. By definition these occupations/body-types are inauspicious as compared to others. That is to say those groups generally have a lower potential for intelligence. Everyone is still eligible because it doesn’t matter where they stand on a particular issue or what they know or don’t know about specific details to the temporary situation of the manifest world. All that matters is if they are conscious of God while quitting the body, and that is why the acharyas recommend the chanting of the holy names above anything else: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Each side with story to tell,
So on day’s issues not to dwell.
In world of duality we live,
Permanent fix none to give.
So all others reject.
With Shri Krishna in loving mood,
Whose body like raincloud hued.