“But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.42)
अथ वा बहुनैतेन
किं ज्ञातेन तवार्जुन
विष्टभ्याहम् इदं कृत्स्नम्
एकांशेन स्थितो जगत्
atha vā bahunaitena
kiṁ jñātena tavārjuna
viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam
ekāṁśena sthito jagat
Friend1: Do you ever feel that you are overthinking it?
Friend2: Overthinking what?
Friend1: This whole spiritual life thing. Bhakti-yoga. The science of self-realization. The endless exploration, as it seems, of shastra and the culture descending from parampara.
Friend2: What is the alternative? Are you saying that I am not happy doing this?
Friend1: I can’t speak to your personal experience, but another opinion says to just go with the flow. Yeah, life sucks. There is misery, chaos, torture, sadness, despair, and tumult. This very moment in time will be forgotten in a few years. It would be like it never took place.
Friend2: Which is really saying something, if you think about it.
Friend1: Okay, but don’t think about it. That’s the whole point. Move on. Move forward. Take whatever comes your way. Experience life. Enjoy life. When it’s time to go, no big deal.
Friend2: I can’t do that. All the power to you, if that’s the path you choose. I want to know what the meaning to life is. What that thing is, I want to know. More than knowing, I want to experience it.
Friend1: What if what I just described is the experience?
Friend2: It can’t be.
Friend1: Why not?
Friend2: Because there is intelligence everywhere. We see that certain decisions have lasting implications, while others do not.
Friend1: Such as?
Friend2: Eating pizza for dinner versus choosing the right institution of higher learning to attend. Talking to some random person on the street versus looking for a life partner. Staying up all night or maintaining regular habits. Speaking properly with others versus cursing at every person you meet. Learning to read and write as opposed to asking others to help in every situation.
Friend1: You view everything with the eye of intelligence, but in the grand scheme what difference does it make? You can’t control the universe. Just take whatever life gives you.
Friend2: I most certainly will. Life gave me intelligence. Life gave me the opportunity to inquire. I will research into the nature of everything, the sum and substance of an existence. Athato brahma-jijnasa.
Friend1: Alright, if that is the road you take, I won’t object. I’m just saying that you might get too caught up in what to do, what not to do, where to go, etc.
Friend2: There is nothing wrong with deliberating. There is nothing wrong with contemplating the future.
Friend1: Paralysis by analysis.
Friend2: Finally, we agree on something. There is no use in trying to understand everything about God and His creation. Just knowing the Divine nature to His comings and goings is enough. The detailed explanation is not necessary.
जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यम्
एवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर् जन्म
नैति माम् एति सो ऽर्जुन
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ‘rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.9)
Friend1: That is a clever transition.
Friend2: It applies, all the same. It is only rational to question our identity. We should be comfortable with the situation. We should know who we truly are.
Friend1: Okay, that is fair.
Friend2: That is genuine spiritual life. We are not asking anyone to follow blindly. We are not threatening them with eternal damnation should they fail to surrender to a specific institution. Take a sober assessment. Take a look around and tell me what do you see.
Friend1: Pain, suffering, and misery.
Friend2: If you are suffering, do something about it. If you are bewildered, seek clarity. If you are lost, find the proper direction. Don’t just sit by and do nothing. Why be hopeless when there is everything to gain? The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the universal form and more. Knowing Him is like opening the door to the entire universe, experiencing everything you want, including that which is not manifest at present.
Friend1: What do you mean?
Friend2: The spiritual world. That is the unmanifest. We can’t see it. But with proper training, in following the principles of the science of self-realization, we can experience it. Vaikuntha all around me. Everywhere is the land of the Supreme Lord, whose all-attractiveness is evident in every aspect of nature, emanating from His original, transcendental form.
Evidence everywhere around,
With intelligence abound.
That something more to living,
Some consideration giving.
Such that into truth to inquire,
Training and knowledge to require.
Soon that Divine influence to feel,
That behind illusion something real.