“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.3)
कश्चिद् यतति सिद्धये
यतताम् अपि सिद्धानां
कश्चिन् मां वेत्ति तत्त्वतः
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada simplifies things. The many courses offered at the local university. That degree program which would leave the average person bankrupt, should they be required to pay upfront. That honorary title bestowed upon the person able to complete the specific list of courses and demonstrate a new idea, advancing the cause of the researchers.
Everything mentioned above, the university experience, is actually part of a single category. Moreover, no matter the level of success, there is always a glaring flaw. The second category, however, automatically explains the first.
1. Material education department
Math, science, social studies, literature, composition – these are subjects of material life. The root word is matter. The Sanskrit descriptive is prakriti. Delving further into root definitions, we get, “that which is enjoyed.”
This means that the subjects taught in school are for enjoyment. Specifically, the living entity interacts with matter, and in this case with the objective of exploiting to a degree. Something like finding a bag of flour at the supermarket. Tomato sauce and shredded cheese accompanying the purchase, the purpose is to cook something tasty upon returning home.
Math and science may be based on higher principles that apparently don’t touch on enjoying, but the result of acquiring the knowledge is the same. An advanced degree lands me a high paying job. It also brings esteem and honor from the community.
Cover the full spectrum of material knowledge. From knowing a little during childhood to understanding how to launch a rocket ship into outer space, the end result is always manipulation of prakriti. This has been repeated throughout the history of creation. The meaning is that today’s enjoyers are no more advanced than those living on this earth thousands of years ago.
2. Spiritual education department
This is an area many people might not even know exists. It is likely not part of their study in formal primary education. A course or two as part of a wing at a university, but the focus is more on studying similarities than actually learning the philosophy and practically applying it to everyday life.
A person who even makes the endeavor in this department of knowledge is very fortunate. Out of thousands they emerge, and from there success is still rarely achieved. Yet the effort is entirely worth it. This is because the spiritual explains the material.
Only in this spiritual education do I learn about the difference between purusha and prakriti. The individual is purusha with respect to the material nature. They enjoy the dull and lifeless matter. They find different ways to satisfy that enjoyment, as variety is the spice of life.
Purusha also refers to a person, and from the spiritual education we learn that matter itself is derived from a person. This applies to both the individual and the collective. Look no further than the body. The eyes, the legs, the ears, the hands, the stomach – these are all due to the presence of purusha.
The spiritual is the source of the development, and once that purusha has exited the body, the development ceases. This event is known as death, and in terms of the spiritual science it is the final change of body.
देहिनो ऽस्मिन् यथा देहे
कौमारं यौवनं जरा
धीरस् तत्र न मुह्यति
dehino ‘smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
dhīras tatra na muhyati
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)
Juxtaposing the two, the spiritual education department is obviously more significant. It is not something to be put off until later, since focusing only on prakriti will get me nowhere. It may seem like I am advancing, but I am just finding different ways to enjoy something that is sourced in spirit.
In the larger scheme, the origin of the entire universe is an enjoyer. He is the greatest purusha, and in relation to Him even the living beings are prakriti. Let Him enjoy us to the fullest, which will happen when we voluntarily accept the full maturation of spiritual life: devotional service.
Education by departments done,
But goal only one.
The material nature enjoying how,
In the future and also now.
But when spiritual education gaining,
Automatically both sides explaining.
Emphasis thus on shastra should be,
And how Krishna’s pleasure to see.
Categories: the two