Vanity thought #649. The sense of belonging

Thanks to the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and his representatives we have been recruited into Lord Chaitanya’s army. If not His followers we are at least His hangers-on. This is where we belong and this is not going to change, not unless Lord Chaitanya suddenly changes His mind and tell us to seek shelter elsewhere. We are not going to be abandoned but that doesn’t mean our sense of belonging cannot fail us.

What happens to every neophyte is that we get a lot of enthusiasm and we think that we’ve done with this world, that we don’t belong here anymore. This is true of our souls but not true of our bodies.

Imagine you went out on this fine Sunday for some people watching. You got yourself a nice little place where you can see everyone, you can see every facet of human behavior, you see people’s aspirations, people’s joy, people’s sadness, their hopes, their dreams, and their reality of not living up to it. You can sit there and think to yourself: “This isn’t for me, I’m done with it. I don’t want to be the part of this rat race anymore and, luckily, I’m out anyway. I’ve got a guru, I’ve got wisdom from our books, I’ve got mercy, I don’t belong here anymore.”

Reality, however, is that we are not invisible. We might think that we don’t belong but we are still very much a piece of a jigsaw that is this great illusion and there’s nothing we can do about it. We belong here.

We think that we’ve become transcendental but we still occupy some space, we chose our spot in relation to other people and other people do not walk through us, they notice our presence and take their positions correspondingly. We might appear alone for the moment but we are still breathing air which we share with all the other living organisms. We eat food that has been grown through other people’s hard labor, we use toilets, we throw our garbage and it gets picked by someone else. Our footprint on this Earth might be small but it’s still there and it will be there at least until our death.

What is transcendental to this world is our service to guru and Krishna, everything else is still pretty much down here. We have our physical bodies and they belong to our father and mother or to the state and community. We have to go to work and our energy thus belongs to our employer. We might say that we do this voluntarily, it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement but we can’t opt out of it – someone owns our labor and pays us for it. No one can live in this world without work, it says so in Bhagavad Gita.

We are owned the moment we are born – by our parents, by demigods and by sages – that’s from Vedas.

What we should realize is that these debts are not ours, however, they are debts of our bodies. We as spirit souls do not belong here but our bodies are, and so we shouldn’t make a mistake of confusing our roles here.

We cannot say “my body does not belong here and it doesn’t owe anyone anything.” We can say “As a spirit soul I don’t belong here but as an embodied being I have to live out the rest of my karma,” because that’s what our debts are – it’s our karma.

We can hope that Krishna releases us from our karmic reactions but that is true only regarding our service and only when it’s pure and uncontaminated by any material desires. Even then He’d release us as spirit souls, not that He’d break the laws of karma to accommodate our illusions.

If we still see ourselves as our bodies we won’t get liberated and we’ll still suffer consequences (or enjoy consequences, same thing). I suppose it goes without saying that no one is feeling himself liberated already and if he does he most likely isn’t, for it doesn’t work that way – the sign of advancement is realization of inadequacy, not feeling of great spiritual achievements.

You can’t think “I’m liberated” and then trot off to the toilet because your bladder is getting weaker every year. You can’t seek a shelter of a clean, private stall and think “I don’t belong in this world.” It’s ridiculous. Our bodies will always live according to the laws of nature, they will always belong here.

Anyway, my point today is that we can’t afford to feel superior to people around us, we can’t think that we are above them and their mundane world. They can always come back at you and claim their ownership, in the form of taxes, for example.

Service to the Lord is not our own, it was given to us by our guru and it can be taken away at any moment, so we can’t boast about it either. We should purge ALL thoughts of superiority from our consciousness, it’s the devil talking, to borrow from Christian terminology.

Greatness is all around us – externally as this wonderful creation and spiritually as our guru, Krishna, and all His devotees. Greatness is everywhere we look but we can’t seek it inside ourselves, that would spell our doom.

Well, I guess I’m rambling but that is an important point to remember – purge all desires to feel superior to anybody else. We are not above anybody, either in this world or in Krishna’s service.

Krishna is great, that position is already taken, we shouldn’t usurp it.

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