“As long as one does not inquire about the spiritual values of life, one is defeated and subjected to miseries arising from ignorance. Be it sinful or pious, karma has its resultant actions. If a person is engaged in any kind of karma, his mind is called karmatmaka, colored with fruitive activity. As long as the mind is impure, consciousness is unclear, and as long as one is absorbed in fruitive activity, he has to accept a material body.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 5.5.5)
पराभवस् तावद् अबोध-जातो
यावन् न जिज्ञासत आत्म-तत्त्वम्
यावत् क्रियास् तावद् इदं मनो वै
कर्मात्मकं येन शरीर-बन्धः
parābhavas tāvad abodha-jāto
yāvan na jijñāsata ātma-tattvam
yāvat kriyās tāvad idaṁ mano vai
karmātmakaṁ yena śarīra-bandhaḥ
1. Application for a scholarship
“I cannot explain to you the level of sadness. Defeated, and for no good reason. They had announced the timeline on the loudspeaker in the morning at school that one day. There would be scholarships available for those graduating and entering college the next year. We simply had to fill out a form and give it back by a specific date.
“Well, that happened to be weeks into the future. I put the application away somewhere and completely forgot about it. There were no reminders. Then it was too late. By the time I remembered, the deadline had passed. I tried submitting the application anyway, but the school denied me. I was late by one day.
“I couldn’t believe it. They then had an awards ceremony to announce the winners. We were seated on the stage, even if we hadn’t submitted the application. One by one I saw my classmates winning, while I just sat there. Parents were in the audience. It’s a traumatic moment that I seldom intentionally revisit.”
2. Applying for a mortgage
“Record low rates. A way to boost housing sales during tumultuous economic times. With businesses closing down and people losing their jobs, the government wants to make sure that the real estate market doesn’t crash. To help sales, they have lowered interest rates to levels never before seen.
“Well, it took me a while to find a house that I liked. Then there is the process of making an offer, negotiating a counteroffer, signing a contract, and running an inspection. By the time I was ready to apply for a mortgage, the low rates weren’t available anymore. I was quite disappointed, as the only reason I decided to purchase a home was because of the financial incentive.”
3. Visiting a sick relative
“This happened to a friend of mine. They were just with their ailing mother. It was a long distance travel, halfway across the world. When their stay ended, when they had returned home, the mother passed away. Time ran out. They thought she had more time remaining, but things don’t always work out as planned.”
4. Improving my health
“I see so many others with health problems. I see pictures of myself taken by others at social gatherings. I know that something needs to be done. I am on the wrong track. I need to eat better and exercise more. That won’t prevent disease entirely, but it will surely help.
“The problem is procrastination. There is the saying, ‘Start on Monday.’ I know that I have to change my ways, but I keep putting it off. I use the excuse that for now I will continue to indulge, but on Monday things will be different. It doesn’t work out that way, most of the time. I need to change today, immediately; otherwise before I know it time will run out.”
5. Planting a garden
“We bought a new house, and one of the reasons was the extensive land in the backyard. I have always wanted a bustling garden, to eat fresh fruits and vegetables grown from it. Well, I kept putting it off. I was ready to get started, to plant the seeds and everything, but other responsibilities got in the way. Now wintertime is approaching and I missed my opportunity.”
In so many ways we put off important tasks until tomorrow, but there is no guarantee that tomorrow will come. Everything could end in an instant, as we are living in vessels that are something like bubbles which float in the air. No one knows for sure to which direction they will carry and how much force will cause the bubble to dissipate.
With the human birth, the clock starts ticking immediately. There is urgency from the very beginning. The Sanskrit aphorism is athato brahma-jijnasa. Inquire into Brahman, which is the spiritual energy. Inquire immediately, because the same chance is absent in births in other species.
This inquiry is worthwhile and brings substantive results. In the material world, there is always defeat. Even soaring to new heights of achievement, there is the eventual crash to the bottom. Shri Rama explains how for the ripened fruit there is no other fate than to fall, so the adult human being has no other fear than death.
यथा फलानां पक्वानां नान्यत्र पतनाद्भयम्।
एवं नरस्य जातस्य नान्यत्र मरणाद्भयम्।।
yathā phalānāṃ pakvānāṃ nānyatra patanādbhayam।
evaṃ narasya jātasya nānyatra maraṇādbhayam।।
“As a ripe fruit has no other fear than to fall, so a man who is born has no other fear than death.” (Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 105.17)
Better to learn about the spiritual science today, even if it is only at the entry level. This is the distinction between body and spirit, becoming aware of my identity as Brahman. I am part and parcel of the collective spiritual energy, and there is a corresponding source, who can be known as Parabrahman.
अहं सर्वस्य प्रभवो
मत्तः सर्वं प्रवर्तते
इति मत्वा भजन्ते मां
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.8)
We are one and the same, and simultaneously different. The Supreme never has to inquire into anything. Parabrahman is never in illusion. Rather, everything emanates from Him, and the wise who know this engage in His service.
Time now running out,
Success endeavor without.
Many cases this way so,
This direction and that to go.
Most urgency on spiritual need,
How in transcendence to proceed.
Discovering my spiritual identity true,
How different and identical too.
Categories: the five