Vanity thought #185. Oneness.

There’s one aspect of the material energy, maya, prakriti, that I haven’t considered before oneness.

There’s only one maya, as far as we are concerned. It can surely manifest a great variety of things and appear to everyone as something different but it is truly one and only energy. It is said so in Bhagavat Gita 13.31 – nice verse number, mirroring the chapter, don’t you think?

Anyway, the verse says that we see a great variety of different and separate things and identities but they are all created by one and the same illusion.

Actually, I’m not sure I can safely use words like “illusion”, “prakriti” and “maya” interchangeably, there must be differences depending on context and the POV. Liberated souls can see the prakriti but they don’t fall in illusion over it, for example. Generally speaking, however, I assume no liberated soul would ever waste time on reading this blog so there’s no harm.

So, one illusion creates the perception of great variety of living and non-living forms. We perceive them as objectively different but they are not. Yes, there are spirit souls inside some material forms and there aren’t inside others but forms are still material.

We tend to give more value to life, as we see it, and we tend to give more value to human life and less value to insects or plants. This is an illusion – they are all the same, all created by the same prakriti and have nothing to do with the souls within.

Making such distinctions is practical for aspiring spiritualists as we have to navigate the ocean of material existence but once we have safely crossed it we will see all other forms of life as equally precious. Forget the Gita for a second – a devotee sees all living entities as equally dear to Krishna regardless of their material forms and he is eager to serve each and every one of them, too. Why do you think that happens? Because all the material differences we see in the “real” world are illusory.

So there is a place of a bit of mayavada in Krishna consciousness!

Oneness – never thought I would advocate it but it seems it is a necessary step on the path of self-realization.

There are several practical applications. First is bhava as mentioned twice in Siksashtaka – <bhava maha davagni and vishame bhava ambudhau, blazing fire of material existence and ocean of nescience respectively. When I recite the first verse I always assume that I’m talking about MY blazing fire of MY existence. This is wrong.

I assume that my “bhava”, my material existence is objectively mine, objectively different from anything else I perceive, as a subject. Well, not according to the Gita verse – I should develop the vision to see that ALL material manifestations of EVERYBODY’s existence is one and the same thing, being made of and situated in the same prakriti.

It is an illusion to see them as different and separate.

Maybe it’s easy to make this mistake when thinking about the first Siksashtaka verse, and equally easy to make the mistake when thinking about the fifth, but not if you carefully look at word for word translation – bhava ambudhau – the ocean of nescience. Ambudhau is ocean, bhava is nescience – you can’t possibly think of it as MY nescience. It’s just an ocean everybody has fallen in, one ocean for everyone, and it’s called bhava.

Now I have to make the shift in my (!?!) consciousness when reciting the prayers and trying to absorb their mood – it should no longer be about me. It’s not like chanting can extinguish my blazing fire but leave everybody else’s blazing on. I can’t wrap my(!?!) mind around it yet. This is exactly what I think is going to happen, isn’t it?

Well, objectively speaking, from the POV of myriads of bodies all objectively existing on their own, this is what will happen – one tiny soul, me, will cease to be under the illusion. This objective POV doesn’t exist, though. This transformation in my heart, if it ever happens, will be observed differently by my family members, for example. Some would say I’d gone nuts, others would be mildly understanding, but they all don’t exist as separate entities – it’s the same energy.

It’s one and the same illusion creating appearance of objectively different opinions that I am supposed to react to differently. So, it’s basically for my entertainment only – some opinions might enrage me and some might soothe my mind, and it’s maya’s choice which opinions to present. It might choose to hide what my uncle thinks and my mother might have an opinion but express something else in public.

Ultimately, the only judgment that matters is whether I agree to go along with this illusion of things that matter or stick to Krishna consciousness instead and let the maya play it out to her satisfaction and remain unperturbed. I’m perplexed how I would express my unperturbedness if the only means to do so are the ones provided by the same illusion – my mind, emotions, and intelligence. Probably I’ll have to figure out the way not to take it personally – stop looking at life from “what’s in it for me” angle.

Bottom line – there aren’t any people giving me any opinions – all of it is just maya’s play. Objectively they don’t exist.

There’s another practical implication and I think it’s a very useful one. You know how people often put you in hypothetical situations to try and prove that our adherence to vegetarianism is not absolute. Typically it goes like this – imagine you are one of the survivors of an airplane crash, ala that movie “Alive”, when people had to eat the flesh of the deceased crash victims to survive.

The question posed to us is – “What would you do if you life depended on it?” “Would you eat fish if you were on the deserted island?” is another variation.

To be honest, I never knew a good answer. All I could do is to hope that I will never be put in such a situation. Today, however, brings a whole new take on this. There’s no such thing as a combination of a miraculous survival, non-existent means of subsistence, and an odd Hare Krishna vegetarian. None of these things/conditions actually exists as separate entities free to combine or fall apart. People pose questions like this only from the POV of someone overcome by the illusion that the world we perceive has variety and freedoms. Those with better vision see it as manifestations of one and only material energy. There’s the soul, here’s bhava, and there’s the Lord, that’s all there is to it.

Maya serves the Lord and does only what He allows her to do. God is not expected to interfere in the dozen survivors, one fish, one frozen corpse scenario – none of those things exists. For Him there’s just the soul and the energy that can convince the soul to believe in this or that, or in eating fish or even cannibalism.

Of course, cannibalism is not conducive to self-realization and neither is fish eating and the question is better be posed this way – What would you mind and intelligence make your body to do if maya had manifested a situation like this? The correct answer would be – I don’t really care, it has nothing to do with me. Maya can do whatever she wants, I’m not in control of my mind and intelligence, she is.

Of course a conditioned soul can’t give this answer on its own, without engaging the same mind and intelligence that is not under the soul’s control, but, reversely, a conditioned soul won’t pose a question like this either – it can’t, it’s the same old maya playing the same old tricks on us. There’s no one to ask us questions, if we don’t imagine them ourselves, maya creates and illusion for us that they are real but they are not.

That’s why there will be no judgement day when I will have to answer questions under oath and my answers will seal my fate. This trial of a lifetime is also an illusion.

And the same goes for this blog, too.

Urghh, it’s so hard to find Krishna in this mess…

Vanity thought #162. Limitations.

Are there any? I mean limitations on one’s progress and success in devotional service, I mean any limitations for me in particular.

For one thing, we were raised to believe that there are not limits on Lord’s mercy, and there are certainly no limits on Lord Chaitanya’s mercy. Thinking that the Holy Name and its power has any limitations is an offence, too, but let’s take things in perspective.

There were at least two examples of dogs becoming devotees from Lord Chaitanya’s time so even animals have not been left out but that’s two dogs out of how many?

Once Srila Prabhupada told one of his disciples to chant Hare Krishna to a passing slug in the garden. Any living entity certainly benefits from hearing the Hare Krishna mantra but no one expects a slug to give up his mortal shell and ascend to heavens right away. Why?

Are slugs offensive? Do they even have enough consciousness to offend the Name?

I suppose they are being offensive by simply identifying themselves with their bodies, they don’t need to commit any other of ten nama aparadhas. Same goes for dogs and all other animals. Can the same logic be applied to people?

We expect slugs to get a better birth next time and get a chance to engage in devotional service. We believe that they should take births in human forms to get the full benefits of chanting. Why? Isn’t it limiting the power and mercy of the Holy Name?

We were raised to believe that the human form of life is the most precious because it’s the only chance for us to become devotees. Why?

One explanation is that denizens of the heavenly planets are to busy with sense enjoyment to be attracted to devotion and, similarly, denizens of the lower planets are experiencing too much suffering. Okay, how much is too much?

The Lord puts His devotees through some calamities to strengthen their faith and dependence on Him. People in hell must be crying their guts out, praying to God, too. How is that different?

Maybe the answer lies in fact that not everyone calling out to God is a devotee. Potential devotee, yes, a devotee deserving respect, yes, a devotee engaged in unalloyed service to Krishna – no. Just like in some of our literature a kanishtha adhikari is called only an imitation vaishnava, or “shadow vaishnava”, not the “real thing”. By “real thing” our acharyas meant one engaged in devotional service, in pure devotional service, not one begging God to become his servant and supply him with all kinds of necessities and pleasures.

Real vaishnava is humble, tolerant, respectful to others and he doesn’t desire any material benefits and he always engaged in serving the Lord. The closer we get to this ideal the closer we get to becoming real vaishnavas that are glorified in all the scriptures.

So today’s question is – are their any natural limitations to become a real vaishnava?

One must be a human. There hasn’t been any known conversions since Lord Chaitanya’s times so in practical terms it’s an iron clad rule. Theoretically it’s not a limit, of course, but I’m calculating my own chances, all other dogs might get a busload of mercy anytime and I hope I will be happy for them when it happens.

Another limitation is too much bad karma, too much suffering. To engage in devotional service without any self interest one must first be situated on a goodness platform. Passion and ignorance misdirect our endeavors and suffering is a result of too much ignorance and it forces living beings to be reminded about their bodily connections every living moment. In that situation one cannot be content and so cannot offer himself to the Lord without wanting anything in return.

Yet another limitation is a life form on heavenly planets. When Lord Chaitanya, or any other incarnation of the Lord, for that matter, appear here, the demigods always show up, too. Not born as humans but showering flowers and singing songs. They came to Mother Saci’s house and worshiped the Lord there on several occasions, the first time when Lord Chaitanya was still in the womb, then they came at His birth and then they were summoned a few times later on, if my memory is correct.

Question – if they came to worship the Lord, if they sang the Holy Names for Him, how come they didn’t get devotional service as “real vaishnavas”? In Chaitanya Mangala by Lochana Dasa Thakura they complained about this exact problem at least once. Why can’t they be blessed with ecstatic love of God themselves, despite being there, serving the Lord, glorifying Him, chanting the Holy Names etc.

It seems there really is a restriction, at least a practical one.

What about human forms? There are 400,000 of them, are they all suitable for devotional progress? First, what’s with 400,000 human forms? Even if we take racism into an account we won’t get more than five kinds of people. If we take all existing nations and tribes into account we will still be in hundreds.

We have no idea what a definition of species is according to the vedic tradition. The best explanation is that they are graded by levels of consciousness, not by number of wings or fingers, so, perhaps, there are 400,000 levels of human consciousness, some must be more suitable for devotional service, some less. Or could there be humans living on other planets? They might have their own criteria for becoming vaishnavas and they might decrease the number of human species in our own society but we are still left with plenty of variations here.

Could it be that some human forms, ie some people living among us, are, just like slugs, are expected to be born in better conditions next time to become devotees? People who get prasadam, people who meet Hare Krishnas on the streets and smile at them? They’ve come in contact with Krishna already but it’s impractical to expect all of them turn into real vaishnavas in this lifetime.

What about people like me – we’ve come a long way already, we got initiated, we engage in service of some sorts, we expect to go back to Godhead at the end of our lives if we stick to our contract, but do we have a real chance of becoming devotees now?

That would be heartbreaking if the answer is no, not all of us get a real chance. Too much enjoyment or too much suffering to offer any service without wanting anything for ourselves.

Hmm, if my body is nagging me and it’s distracting me from chanting – does it mean it’s the case of too much suffering? If I can’t seem to forget my pain even for a moment – does it mean I’m disqualified for the rest of my life? Or at least until the pain subsides?

Should one manage his life so as to become fully content with his lot in order to progress to the next stage?

Questions … questions…

I’m afraid that my chance to chant the Holy Name will be taken away from me and I’ll be forced to get a real job. What will I do then? I don’t believe in long distance relationships, not in Kali Yuga anyway. Separate me from the service and I’ll never take it up again, I’ll fill my day with all kinds of other things that would seem necessary at the moment.

I worked so hard to forget about them now, would it all be in vain?

Maybe that’s why we call it a causeless mercy, so that we could hope against hope.

At least in my own case I don’t see a practical, workable solution on the horizon. I just hope that somehow or other it will work out better for my opportunities for devotional service, but if history is any indication – it’s a hope against hope.

Vanity thought #104. What am I thinking?

Still exploring better ways to chant japa.

A few days ago I mentioned semantic satiation – a psychological reaction to repeating a word many times over. Generally the word loses its meaning. Does it affect our practice of chanting?

At first I hoped to find some zealous anti-cultists on the Net who surely have covered the evils of repetitive chanting and then I would try and refute their arguments. That is not very interesting, however. We already know they are wrong, so why bother?

The phenomenon itself is fascinating enough to think of its implications. And why not?

I must admit I know very little on the subject but no one ever studied the effect chanting Hare Krishna from this angle either and I am not writing a doctoral dissertation, just a blog post.

So what is semantic satiation? How does it work?

First of all, semantic refers to meanings. Words must mean something first and then lose the meaning later.

In earlier experiments, about a hundred years ago, people were just asked to report when they thought satiation took place. Later on scientists figured out better ways to measure it.

When people are asked to repeat numbers, for example, you can always give them a test and measure both the accuracy and speed of solving numerical problems before and after.

The results are indisputable – meanings really gets lost.

But can we equate numbers with names? In as much as both carry the meaning, and here we run into a little problem of what our Names really mean. Do they have any objective meaning? Not really, I don’t know anyone who has seen Krishna in person, most of what we mean by “Krishna” is what we ascribe to Him ourselves. How can we measure something so subjective?

We can separate, however, when the Name really doesn’t mean anything to us and when we say it with feelings and intensity.

When scientists studied effects of similar words, words that are loaded with all kinds of personal meanings, they’ve found that satiation is not a straightforward process. At first the meaning actually becomes clearer and more, well, meaningful. Then the increase in appreciation of the word slows down, reaches its highest point, and then drops off into satiation itself.

I bet everyone can observe exactly the same behavior during japa – waves of intensity and concentration when the Name really starts making sense followed by periods of downs when the mind wanders away.

See, the effects of satiation are temporary, the meaning never gets lost forever, there’s just this temporary mental fatigue that goes away after a while.

There’s also a stage where people LOAD new meanings into the words they repeat, they generate these new meanings themselves. Happens a lot when I chant, too. I just had  a blog post about it a couple of days ago.

Scientists also discovered some very useful applications for semantic satiation. People with phobias, for example, need to confront their fears to realize that they are groundless. One way to get them to face their nightmares is to bring them to the satiation point. At first people would freak out, going up the inverted U curve where their fears actually magnify, but after prolonged exposure and repetition the they will move down the inverted U and that’s when their fears become meaningless and they become cured.

I wonder how it works on people with Tourette syndrome, you know, guys who swear uncontrollably.

Another practical application is in education where drills and repetition have long been the staple food. Scientists discovered that retarded and culturally deprived children have very high tolerance against satiation. They never seem to get enough, never become fatigued.

When applied to Krishna Consciousness it sounds a lot like calls for being simple and not thinking too much. Some devotees can indeed read the same chapter from Bhagavat Gita again and again and never feel bored. That is great, but, psychologically speaking, it’s not normal. Culturally deprived children, for example, lose their interest once they assimilate into the “normal” group and acquire about the same amount of experience.

By culturally deprived I mean someone who’s never seen a television and so can sit and watch the same cartoon or a movie replayed again and again, and the ads, too. This doesn’t last long, however.

So, while re-reading Bhagavat Gita might mean the devotee has real love and appreciation for everything related to Krishna and thus never gets bored, or it might mean he hasn’t reached the same amount of exposure yet. Eventually everyone will get curious about going beyond Prabhupada’s books. That’s just a stage, like getting married and starting a family. Not the best for spiritual practice but if you don’t do it you’ll literally go mad.

That’s why we, devotees in general, also like to look at our philosophy and the shastras from different angles. That’s how we keep our interest going, and this practice is actually thousands years old – even great scriptures like Bhagavatam must be delivered in a way that reflects the level of the audience. It’s in this captivating exchange between the speaker and the listener that Krishna appears in full, not in droning on and on, reading lines from a book. I know it’s my fault that I think listening to this it’s boring and you can leave me here, rotting in material consciousness, but wouldn’t I and people like me make a lot more progress if the subject matter is presented in a more appealing way?

I hope my own blog does not often disappoint in this regard.

In cases where high satiation point is desirable, like in education, there are ways to keep students attention and prevent slipping in meaningless stage. Teachers are taught how to repeat the same things over and over again but each time with a new twist, present a new angle to the same concept.

In experiments with word repetition they try changing speed, volume, and pitch. That’s exactly how devotees chant their japa, too. Every now and then someone would start chanting louder or faster or quieter or tries a bit different rhythm. This is totally normal for someone fighting the mental fatigue and trying to keep concentration on the Names.

Another observation concerning words with multiple level meanings is that people might start with assigning one meaning to the word and end with assigning completely different. Usually they’ll start with more complex one and end up with the simpler one. The word “soft”, for example, might start with connections to “soft music” or “soft heart” and end with basic “soft to the touch”.

I’ve noticed the same change when chanting Krishna’s names, too. Multidimensional awe and inspiration first, with lots of details and flavors, and then slipping into “just that one, can’t feel the greatness anymore”.

One of the best ways to fight semantic satiation is subvocal repetition, when you say the words in your mind but not out loud. Some say that this is how japa must be chanted, btw. They say what we do in ISKCON is not japa, it’s kirtan.

Whatever, Srila Haridasa Thakur has established the superiority of loud chanting five hundred years ago. No need to start that old argument again.

But then one might say that Haridas Thakur didn’t have a problem with semantic satiation. It happens to devotees only on the stage of offensive chanting, when the Name behaves like an ordinary material sound. On the next stages Its spiritual potencies take over and all this psychological mambo-jumbo loses all relevance.

Until we get there, however, I don’t see the reason we shouldn’t try all available means to keep our attention on japa. Changing speed, changing positions, getting up and walking or sitting down – whatever helps us avoid slipping in meaningless, mindless repetition. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of determination at the cost of damage to our false egos.

Yes, a great devotee might chant all his rounds sitting cross-legged on the floor with a straight back and eyes half-closed, deep in meditation. Most of us are not there yet and so we shouldn’t pretend.

Perhaps we should try to mentally repeat the words, too. Not just say the mantra on autopilot but get the mind to follow each Name, each syllable, as in subvocal chanting.

Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with taking a break and doing something else if the Name has stopped meaning anything to us. I don’t think chanting in the state of mental fatigue is very productive. If all we do is sixteen rounds a day then getting these sixteen rounds rights is probably more important than simply chanting through regardless of quality.

So what if it would take two and half hours with all the breaks? As long as we have time for that, then what’s the problem? Many of us would have wasted that extra hour on something else anyway, after or in between the rounds – what’s the difference?

When I think of applying it to my own schedule I see that all objections come from the little guy inside of me who wants his “me” time all to himself. That little guy who thinks that japa takes too much of my time already.

Should I listen to him? I don’t think so.

Whatevs, my own mental fatigue has fully settled in already. Will resume tomorrow.

Vanity thought #85. Surrender.

The rebellion didn’t last very long and I’m prepared to surrender. Not surrender to the Lord, surrender to my conditional existence and lack of devotion.

I can’t chant 24/7 and piss everybody off by doing that instead of performing my other duties. Maybe I could, theoretically, but it’s just not happening, I don’t have enough faith and I have too many attachments instead. I tried doing it last night but everybody was already sleeping and so no one noticed, and this morning I forgot about it and it was too late to start when I remembered.

The whole episode made me think of who is actually responsible for all of this. There’s me, the conditioned spirit soul, there’s Paramatma, Hari, there’s Lord’s external energy, maya, there’s Lord’s internal energy, yoga maya, there’s Krishna, there’s Lord Chaitanya, there is the guru parampara, there’s Rama, which probably refers to Balarama, the supplier of all Krishna’s parafernalia – too many cooks, I’d say.

Could it be that at some point they are all pointing fingers at each other, passing the blame and tossing the hot potato? Who exactly is supposed to fix things when I go rogue? What is this “I” anyway? Which part of my rants is enacted by maya, which part is advised by Paramatma and which part is merely sanctioned by Him? Is there a possibility that yogamaya pools her own wool over my eyes from time to time?

Ultimately the buck stops with Krishna but He has so many management layers for a reason and each of His agents here is perfectly capable of dealing with me on their own.

Besides, what’s with being a part of Krishna, qualitatively the same but quantitatively different? Does it mean I have my own powers I can exercise in some way, too? Say, if I want to sacrifice some of the resources provided by maya, or Ananta Shesha, in the service of the Lord, does it mean I’m exercising my own powers? I do have a spiritual body perfectly capable of serving Krishna and that body has all the relevant powers required for the service, is it possible that I can project some of them in this world, too? I sure don’t realize it but the powers are still there, even if dormant.

Say, if I get angry at Krishna, which everyone probably does every now and then, even Mother Yashoda and Srimati Radharani, would it be a legitimate spiritual feeling as long as it’s directed towards the Lord? I don’t imagine I am some sort of demoniac creature like Kamsa but anger towards the Lord is a common enough emotion even if there are no demons in Goloka Vrindavana.

Well, enough with the excuses, I better shape up and humbly accept that I can’t perform any supernatural devotional service right now.

So I surrender.

[insert “Quietly plotting my revenge in the meantime”]

Vanity thought #67. Intoxicating new world.

Nurse Jackie is back, in case you don’t know, it’s a TV show about a nurse working at some New York hospital named Jackie. Jackie has worked there for twenty years and has an impeccable reputation of the most dedicated professional who saves countless of lives everyday and who is worshiped as a living angel by some newer staff.

What they don’t know is that Jackie is actually a drug addict who supports her addiction by having sex with hospital pharmacist, what they also don’t know that she is also “happily” married with two kids.

Really troubling character – that Jackie.

The most worrying part of the story is that she is the heroine, that in this new world people are ready to accept deeply flawed personalities as role models. The rest of the characters are slightly better than her but only because they don’t do much yet.

The overall message is that if you want to achieve anything in this world you are bound to break many rules and giving in to the most shameful sides of your character is an inevitable trade off.

Jakie is trying to be good, she really does, but her back is killing her and so drugs are indispensable, and they have a nasty side effect of being addictive. She loves her husband but she likes to have sex with the pharmacist, too, though only for fun and the poor sod has no idea she has a family and believes he has a future with Jackie. She can’t care less in return and is somewhat happy that at least that embarrassing addiction is over.

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for her attempts to be good, but, as I said, there’s simply no escape for Jackie and millions of people like her.

I’m in two minds about this show – on one hand it is a brutal portrayal of reality behind the illusion of this world, on the other hand is entices people to settle for this new low. In the olden days stories like this inspired people to be better, now it’s pure nihilism. Which is better? Which is worse?

I’d say inspiration without turning to God leads to deeper, tighter bondage but people understand this very well and don’t expect much from cheap happy endings anyway. Nihilism, on the other hand, is healthy for spiritual life but if it leads to settling for prescription drugs and and normalcy of extra-marital sex then why bother?

Another show with a similar effect is House MD. Gregory House is also a brilliant doctor with unmatched track record and he is also a drug addict who can’t make any sense out of life. He knows all the usual human stuff inside out and realizes the futility of it all but he can’t find any working solutions. His attempt at building a family failed miserably and he wasn’t surprised by it. For people of his stature religion is long dead, too. So what is left? Nothing. He just tries to fill the void in his life with little everyday pleasures and saving lives.

In his case there’s the nagging feeling that there really is something more to life than that but he can’t quite put his finger on it. I bet off the screen his character prays a lot but has no words to put it out publicly.

Endless search for happiness in a place where there isn’t any.

These are examples of gifted people with the ability to see beyond the welcome smile of this world, people who actually see very sharp teeth behind it and the hopelessness of fooling themselves. In short, prime candidates for surrendering to the Lord.

In reality they resort to intoxication which, in a sense, is a form of suicide. The world has this effect on people – once you get to know it better you can’t stand it anymore, you wish you didn’t know it, didn’t know anyone, didn’t have any awareness of it, didn’t have any consciousness.

Why am I wasting time on this entertainment? Well, if it helps me to shed MY illusions regarding MY material prospects, it is time well spent, isn’t it? These are very valuable lessons for the occasions when I get too excited about this or that – don’t. It is not going to work, I’m just fooling myself. This world does not deserve too much attention and certainly none of the excitement.

The only valuable thing about it is the opportunity to chant the Holy Names, nothing else matters at all. Apart from that unique opportunity the world is only a giant distraction.

Vanity thought #66. Who am I?

I’ve been told I’m not this body, and I sort of get it. I’m not my arm or my leg, arms and legs are MINE but they are not me. I’m not my mind and I’m not my emotions and desires, they are separate from me and I put MYSELF under their control.

But who am I anyway?

When I’m told I have to surrender to Krishna – what exactly is this “I”? I can surrender my body, I can surrender my mind, I can surrender my desires, in a sense that I can engage them in the service of the Lord, but how can I surrender myself if I don’t even know who I am?

I have absolutely no idea what that “I” really is, I’ve been told it’s a spirit soul, I’ve been told it’s an eternal servant of the Lord but what do I, the spirit soul servant know about this? Nothing.

As a soul I have certain qualities and attributes, I have a spiritual form, a spiritual body. Right now I’m not aware of any of it, I have no idea I have any spiritual senses, any spiritual shape, any spiritual identity.

How can I surrender this “myself” I an absolutely unaware of?

No wonder every time I try I find out I was doing something else for some other purposes.

After careful observation I found out that what I really mean by surrendering myself is engaging my material body, taking my mind and ego along the way because that’s what I feel I really am.

I expect to meet the Lord, if He shows me mercy, as this worthless sack of flesh, and I expect the Lord to reveal His spiritual form to this material abomination. No wonder it doesn’t work!

When Sri Hanuman met Lord Rama for the first time he changed himself to look like a brahmana and he didn’t recognize the Lord. Only when he returned to his original form he was able to see the Lord as He is. Lord Rama didn’t want to reveal Himself to a made up image but He was perfectly visible to Hanuman in his original form because it’s in this original form that Hanuman is His dearest devotee.

Could the same principle be at work with me, with the rest of us? We can’t see the Lord as long as we are wearing these made up bodies, pretending to be something else. We look at the Deities and we see nicely decorated dolls, we listen to the Holy Names and we hear sweet songs, and that’s all our bodies are ever be capable of perceiving.

I’d rather stop pretending to be my body right away but, actually, this thought is flashing only in my mind. I do not see the “I” that should stop pretending, and the “I” that I can perceive as me is not pretending at all, this “I” is absolutely convinced of its non-spiritual nature, and why shouldn’t it be? It’s a material element after all.

So who am I and how can I see my real nature? What does it mean to “see” my real nature? What senses are there to “see” it? None at all, none at all.

This is like a newly born kitten, blind and senseless, searching for his mother’s tit. He knows nothing of the world, he knows nothing of his form and shape, he knows nothing of what he is looking for, he knows nothing of what his mother looks like, he just tries to follow his instinct, and he can’t even hope for anything because he has no organs able to express hopes yet, but in due course of time his eyes will open and he will finally be able to see.

Just like that, I have to follow my instinct and search for the Lord no matter what, I’m totally at His mercy in this regard, that’s the only way to my dormant consciousness.

I, the soul, need His nourishment to see myself.