“This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.10)
1. Living in the countryside
“I decided to stay out there for a while. I don’t live in a busy metropolitan area, but I am on the outskirts. Basically, owning a car is a must. You can’t really walk to important places, like the supermarket or place of employment.
“The rural area is totally different. It is like everything changes. I immediately realized how little in control of things we are. Everything is moving at its own pace, with minimal human intervention. The trees have been there for years. No one decided to create the lake or the waterfall. The animals survive on their own, without elaborate planning schemes.
“I am not sure I could survive in such a place permanently. I guess you would have to be born into such a situation and then get used to it. My ancestors grew up on farms, where there was no electricity, television, or automobiles. It probably explains why they are generally of good character and strong morals.”
2. Sitting on the deck in the backyard
“I like to go out there every now and then. In truth, I would love to spend an entire day in that setting, relaxing and escaping from the daily responsibilities. The dream never manages to manifest, but even a few minutes does me good.
“I noticed how there is so much going on and how little control an individual has over the outcome to events. I see the various animals climbing on the trees. Even the condition of the trees is interesting to observe. A few months ago the branches were bare. We could see through to the adjacent road, which has cars travelling by in a constant stream.
“It is easy to forget, since now there are leaves everywhere. The squirrels are eating from those leaves, and a variety of birds travel along. Different colors. Different shapes. Sometimes you will see one bird chasing after another. It is difficult to remain an atheist after observing the scene.”
3. Helpless to a severe weather event
“This happened to me one time while stuck in traffic. We were not moving. I was not overly frustrated, since I have grown accustomed to the possibility. Whenever I settle in for the evening commute, I understand that we might get delayed due to the high volume of cars on the road.
“While we were stuck, there was an awesome thunderstorm. The first notice was the cloud cover. It had just been bright and sunny, but this darkness enveloped the sky in a matter of moments. Then came the rain to end the world, it seemed.
“Luckily we were safe in our cars, but after a while I started to wonder if we would be washed away. It hit me [no pun intended] that we have so little control in this world. Someone else is managing the affairs, and only in illusion do we consider ourselves to be so important.”
Spiritual life practiced in the science of self-realization is meant for being aware of this truth on a constant basis. That is to say a trip to a secluded area is not necessary, though it may be recommended. Observing nature is not the only way, as the same principles witnessed through direct experience get passed on through instruction.
For instance, Bhagavad-gita explains that the entire material nature works under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is responsible for placement of the many living entities in their various conditions, who then become susceptible to that changing nature. The shifts are determined by actions [karma], which trigger time [kala].
The human being should understand the authority of God. They should realize that He is always in control. They should be humbled in their navigation of this world, which features birth and death and the many dualities falling in between.
The person in total control is also my best well-wisher. This means that the more I realize His potency, the happier I will be. This explains why someone immersed in sanatana-dharma can regularly chant the holy names and feel ever-increasing bliss: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Vairagya is another vital component, as the voluntarily imposed austerities help to both create and maintain the realization of the Almighty’s supreme control over the outcome to events. Though a separated energy, this material world is still His, and He can make our stay in it as comfortable as possible.
In countryside to stay,
Realizing different way.
That not everything by man alone,
Nature can survive on its own.
Bhakti life for this realization to hold,
Witnessing God’s grace to unfold.
Since evidence of Him everywhere abound,
And connected to Him through sound.
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