“For a devotee, the Lord is the supreme spirit soul. Since He is supremely powerful, His various powers are also spiritual. For a devotee, there is nothing material, for material existence only means forgetfulness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.24.61 Purport)
Friend1: When someone says that everything is spiritual, is that valid?
Friend2: What do you mean by “everything”? What is the context of that statement?
Friend1: I think I heard it from a purport by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Something about the elevated souls no longer seeing the distinction between material and spiritual.
Friend2: There is a title assigned to such a person, if dealing with formalities. Paramahamsa. If you separate the component words, a literal translation is, “supreme swan.”
Friend1: I guess because the swan is a respected species?
Friend2: The idea is that the swan knows how to separate milk from water. You take a heterogenous mixture and the swan can extract the individual pieces.
Friend1: I see.
Friend2: The comparison is to the supreme swan because the most elevated person in spiritual life is able to extract the essence of living, God, from everywhere.
Friend1: Really? So they basically see God all the time?
Friend2: He is never lost to them, nor are they lost to Him.
यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र
सर्वं च मयि पश्यति
तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि
स च मे न प्रणश्यति
yo māṁ paśyati sarvatra
sarvaṁ ca mayi paśyati
tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśyāmi
sa ca me na praṇaśyati
“For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.30)
Friend1: I will be a wise guy here, because I think that is my job. How do you see God in something horrible like obstructing the breathing of children, locking them in their homes, forcing them to take experimental injections, and the like?
Friend2: Is that the best you have? You think that is a sufficient challenge?
Friend1: It is one of the horrors of modern day living. In seeing this situation, I am sure a person on the fence might indulge atheism, acknowledging that there cannot be a loving God who would allow this to happen.
Friend2: And you want the paramahamsa’s view?
Friend1: Yes. Tell me how you see God in that situation. How do you take that to be spiritual instead of material?
Friend2: For starters, gross ignorance subtly pays honor to the illusory energy of maya. Someone acting so foolishly is proving that the Almighty’s potency pervading the material world works.
Friend1: Because they have been fooled into doing something foolish.
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)
Friend1: You know, that has crossed my mind. These people are acting as if no one has ever died before. It is like they have just discovered contagious respiratory illnesses. They never knew that diseases transmit from one person to another?
Friend2: Further evidence that maya works. She is successful in her mission. It is tragic to see children treated this way, when even the material observation concludes to the contrary in terms of treatment and mitigation, but you cannot remove God from the picture. Another way to think of material life is forgetfulness of God.
Friend1: Which means we are all in material life.
Friend2: But there is always the chance to quickly change. You don’t necessarily have to wait for the afterlife. Make a shift in consciousness now, today. We might not reach the level of paramahamsa, but even a little progress can make our experience more pleasant, with further progress towards perfection along the way.
How to believe in Divine being?
When daily tragedy seeing.
Like children tortured so,
Obstructed in breathing to go.
Injected this way and that,
With harmful toll to exact.
Idea that illusion rooted there,
In truth God always where.