“Relations of the soul, established in relation with the Supreme Soul, are factual relations. When Kuntidevi wanted to cut off the family relation, she meant to cut off the relation of the skin. The skin relation is the cause of material bondage, but the relation of the soul is the cause of freedom. This relation of the soul to the soul can be established by the via medium of the relation with the Supersoul. Seeing in the darkness is not seeing. But seeing by the light of the sun means to see the sun and everything else which was unseen in the darkness. That is the way of devotional service.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.8.42 Purport)
“A lot of this is based on my personal experience, so bear with me. I am getting the feeling that we are moving backwards as a society. In many areas I am noticing things that I never saw before. The people behaving the new way think they are progressing, but they are actually regressing.
“I will give you a few examples. I have eaten out at restaurants my entire life. Pizza, Mexican food, Chinese food, American chain restaurants – you name it. I never once cared about the ethnicity of the people working there. I never noticed their skin color or what language they spoke.
“Lately, these restaurants are highlighting how immigrants work there. They put some political statement on the receipt. It strikes me as odd, since almost everyone who has come to this country is originally an immigrant. Who cares, then? Why should I take notice of where you are originally from? We are all living here right now. You are really no different than me.
“There are new holidays on the calendar, celebrating things no one has ever heard of. It’s like they want you to first notice what someone looks like and then treat them accordingly. I know that it should be the other way around. That is why I say there is regression. Am I wrong? What can be done?”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada refers to this as an unofficial “skin disease.” It won’t show up in a medical journal or be incorporated in the training of a physician, but the affliction hits practically every person since the time of birth.
I mistakenly base my identity off of bodily attributes. I make the same judgments with others. I have affection for family, immediate and extended, based on skin relation. This issue comes up both in Shrimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita.
Kunti Devi asks to be devoted to the Supreme Lord instead of to other people. Shrila Prabhupada describes this is a soul relationship. The individual connected to the Supreme. Jiva linked with Paramatma. This is the real meaning of yoga. A union of souls. A spark of the Divine, amsha, returning to the source of the spiritual energy, Vishnu.
Arjuna had so much affection for family that he was reluctant to proceed in a war. The timing wasn’t ideal, either. The decision was reached long before to commence hostilities, that the cause was right. Everyone was assembled on the battlefield, ready to go.
Arjuna got the worst case of cold feet, but he knew something was faulty with his decision-making. Fortunately, Shri Krishna was there in both instances to fix the “skin disease.” The link to Him automatically clears up any confusion a person may have with the world around them.
As I am linked to Krishna, the Supreme Lord who is also in the heart of every living entity, I am also linked to everyone else. This extends beyond the human species. If I give attention to a specific race of people on one day and cut the throat of a cow on the next, I am not very intelligent. I have not really learned anything.
The more distinctions I make, the less intelligent I am. Genuine spiritual life means spiritual education, simultaneously. In approaching God, I should also learn who I am and what others are. I should know where I fit in the grand scheme of things.
If society appears to be progressing, it means there is less of a connection with God. It means that any semblance of spiritual life is for personal profit only, viewing God as an order supplier. If we humbly approach Vishnu and seek His pleasure instead of our own, every misgiving and misunderstanding will eventually be cleared.
Eventually misunderstanding to clear,
When to Vishnu coming near.
Of the soul identity to learn,
And with proper eye to discern.
That everyone the same as me,
Since identity of soul to be.
So that distinctions reducing,
And intelligence producing.