“One should give up all other processes of self-realization and simply execute devotional service in Krishna consciousness. That will enable one to reach the highest perfection of life. There is no need for one to consider the sinful actions of his past life because the Supreme Lord fully takes charge of him. Therefore one should not futilely try to deliver himself in spiritual realization. Let everyone take shelter of the supreme omnipotent Godhead Krishna. That is the highest perfection of life.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 12.6-7 Purport)
1. Human life is based on spiritual ground
Not the place of birth. Not the country of origin. Not the link in ancestry to a ruling family. Not the machines used in aiding the birth process. Not the cost of the vehicle of transport and not the amount of money to be later earned as a professional.
The human birth is actually not rooted in anything human, for the very classification is based on something not spiritual. The individual, the animating force inside, is of a different substance.
भूमिर् आपो ऽनलो वायुः
खं मनो बुद्धिर् एव च
अहङ्कार इतीयं मे
भिन्ना प्रकृतिर् अष्टधा
bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.4)
The human form is a collection of material elements – five gross and three subtle. This is true for every living being in the manifest world.
The subtle elements are something of a ladder in the category of fineness. The entry point is mind, which is finer than any of the gross elements like earth, water and fire. Everyone acknowledges that mind exists but no one can touch it.
Finer than the mind is intelligence, and ego even more so. The spirit soul, atma, is the finest of them all, on a level equivalent to the tip of a piece of hair divided into ten-thousand parts.
This tiny fragment is what animates the body. From the ant to the elephant, everything is powered by soul inside. Thus the entire basis for existence is spirit.
2. Spirit is separate and an element superior to matter
You can’t judge by size alone. A larger television doesn’t mean a better one. The picture quality might be poorer. There may be an increased, unnecessary consumption of electricity. There may be higher maintenance costs involved.
In the same way, the subtle nature of the soul, finer than the other three subtle elements that constitute the individual, has no bearing on its potency. Though no one can see the soul, nothing can live without it. Death is defined by its absence. Nothing else has to change. The same gross elements can remain, but the subtle ones go along for the ride with the soul, who is off to another destination.
It is sometimes seen that a person endures several tragic events which leave the body severely debilitated. The person can no longer walk or move their arms properly. Yet they are just as much alive as before. This means that spirit is superior; it should be the prime focus of attention in an existence.
3. By spiritual culture only can the human society be brought into perfection
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada one time asked that these three points be raised at a congress of important and intelligent world personalities. Even before reaching the sacred shlokas of Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam, a person has a perfect entryway towards success in life through these basic principles.
Material culture has been attempted since before anyone can remember. It continues to be tried, with seemingly increasing failure linearly related to success on the other side. That is to say the more materially advanced a society becomes, the less peaceful and happy they are.
In some nations the poverty question is essentially solved. The poorest people have one or many automobiles, own their own home, enjoy air conditioning and high-speed internet. They are considered poverty stricken due to a strict comparison of net-worth values, but to the logical person there really is no issue economically.
On the other side, not only will spiritual life bring perfection in the present snapshot of time, but the best future gets simultaneously created. Feeding the needs of the soul is beneficial both today and into the future.
Upon accepting these higher principles, the next issue is how to exactly follow the spiritual culture. This is where the descending knowledge of the Vedas becomes of practical use. Know that simply enjoying like the animals, bhoga, is not the way, and neither is strict renunciation, tyaga.
A higher taste is from bhakti, which is devotion to the source of spirit. Not for any purposes of personal advancement, conducted simply for the pleasure of the object of worship there is a reciprocal benefit. The devotee becomes further inspired to continue in their service, and they become enlightened in the process. They connect in the beginning through the chanting of the holy names, and they subsequently never let go : Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
For life properly to see,
Should understand principles three.
That human life on spirit based,
All else by time erased.
And an energy superior,
To material elements inferior.
With spiritual culture to perfection brought,
Through descending tradition taught.
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