Five Distinctions From The Classroom Setting

[RamaLakshmana]“The king went and received blessings and then paid so much honor and respect after that. When he saw Rama, he experienced a happiness one hundred times that of Brahman realization.” (Janaki Mangala, Chand 5.2)

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नृप गहे पाय असीस पाई मान आदर अति किएँ।
अवलोकि रामहि अनुभवत मनु ब्रह्मसुख सौगुन किएँ।।

nr̥pa gahe pāya asīsa pā’ī māna ādara ati ki’em̐ |
avaloki rāmahi anubhavata manu brahmasukha sauguna ki’em̐ ||

1. The teacher

“Hello, class. I will be your teacher for the year. We will be meeting at this same time every day. I look forward to getting to know all of you. Hopefully, we will learn a lot together. If everyone behaves and does their work on time, there shouldn’t be any problems.”

2. The student

“This is the first year that it really hit me. Just how much I hate going to school. All of my friends are in a different class this year. I am stuck with people I don’t know. I have to sit here every day, for many months. I would rather learn from reading a book, but that is not an option now. This place is like a prison.”

3. The subject matter

“They say that what we will learn this year will be useful during adulthood. They say that if we are able to grasp the fundamentals, the concepts upon which the advanced stages are based, then we will have an easy time in many different occupations, when we turn professionals. I hope that I am able to study and absorb the knowledge, as it is explained to me.”

4. The morning

“The day starts with the pledge of allegiance. We have to stand up at the same time and recite the words in unison. Then the teacher takes attendance. The dreaded day of instruction begins from there. My only saving grace is lunch-time. That is what I look forward to.”

5. The afternoon

“Upon the sound of that last bell ringing, I can’t put the excitement into words. It is the most blessed sound in the entire universe. We are finally set free. Once I get home, I don’t want to do anything. I sit down on the couch and watch television. I put off doing homework for at least a few hours.”

In Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna gets asked directly about the ranking system with respect to different methods of realization of the Absolute Truth. Given only two choices, the impersonal and the personal, which one is better.

It is an interesting question since Krishna is the personal. He is right there, standing in front of the person asking the question. You can’t find any easier path than having the destination right next to you. A straight line. Why walk around for miles and miles, with the chance of getting lost along the way, when you don’t have to move at all to reach your destination?

[Shri Krishna]Krishna answers for the case of general interest. If the charioteer of Arjuna does not happen to be standing close by, what would the answer be? If someone feels as if they are equally far away from both the personal and the impersonal, which path is superior?

क्लेशो ऽधिकतरस् तेषाम्
अव्यक्ता हि गतिर् दुःखं
देहवद्भिर् अवाप्यते

kleśo ‘dhikataras teṣām
avyaktā hi gatir duḥkhaṁ
dehavadbhir avāpyate

“For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.5)

Krishna explains that the impersonal path is difficult for those who are embodied. Achieving the end-result is not impossible. It just might take a little longer. The reason for the difficulty is based on the embodied condition.

As in the example described above, from a simple classroom setting we identify so many distinctions. These are differences in states. We might base identity based on these differences, though they do not always last.

For instance, the student might one day become the teacher. While it is afternoon and time to go home, the morning will come again, signaling a return to the setting of instruction. The identities are not fixed when based on the distinctions.

The impersonal realization is erasing the distinctions. It is seeing both the student and the teacher as equal. It is accepting morning and night to be the same. Outside and inside are only relative positions, based on changing matter, prakriti.

The steady constant is purusha, who is the living being inside. Those instances of purusha are identical in quality. Taken collectively, they are known as Brahman. Brahman is the objective of the impersonal realization.

The personal path is easier and less prone to errors precisely because the embodied are already accustomed to drawing distinctions. In this path, they see the object of worship as a separate entity, who has its own residence, form of address, and visual display.

Arjuna saw Krishna standing before Him. That was one way to identify the personal side, though the same Krishna is actually the virata-rupa and more. Krishna was standing before Arjuna, but the same Krishna was simultaneously accepting worship at temples dedicated to Him around the world.

Setting aside the priority system for a moment, there is another factor to consider. The personal path brings more joy. We see evidence of this in historical incidents, as described in shastra. In one case, King Janaka feels a thrill that is one hundred times that of Brahman realization.

This is from meeting the personal God, in the avatara of Shri Rama. Janaka is already known as Videha. He is without a body in the sense that prakriti does not negatively influence him. His consciousness is always linked to the Supreme. He is a yogi, through and through, though carrying out work as a king.

[RamaLakshmana]The personal path is less error-prone, easier to follow, and provides more bliss in the end. The impersonal is based on the personal. Better to go to the source, which is the basis for everything else. This is the appeal from the Vaishnava acharya, who has experienced the bliss of direct connection for themselves.

In Closing:

Rather abstract from detection,
Better in direct connection.

Rather negating this or that,
A clear understanding exact.

That from personal impersonal came,
Behind Brahman individual with name.

Easier and with joy increasing,
Bhakti the separation releasing.

Categories: the five

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1 reply

  1. Radhe Radhe ❣️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❣️ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Jay Jay Shree Siya Ram

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