Found in Sanga, Sanga 2001.


February 27th, 2001 | No Comments

Q. I was highly surprised by your answer about accepting “feelings” in terms of understanding how far the sun and moon is from the earth. Well, in that case, couldn’t someone “feel” that the moon is closer to the earth than the sun as well?

A. In the sense that I have explained, one cannot say that the he feels the moon is closer. What I mean is that the sun’s influence if far greater on our lives that of the moon. Thus, even if it were further away physically, it is closer in feeling and influence, just as one may be physically closer to someone, yet feel and actually be closer to another who is a greater distance away.

Granted, the Bhagavatam appears to be talking about physical distance in the chapter discussing the sun’s and moon’s distance from the earth. However, in all of this it is really talking about the feeling, the bhava of Sukadeva, its narrator. We want his feeling and corresponding vision. We don’t care for anything else.

Is this rational? Is it rational to think, feel, and live one’s life as though sense objects are pleasurable? This is the question the Bhagavatam asks us to ponder.

If we answer no, our whole world turns upside down.

Q. In your description of the rasa dance in Aesthetic Vedanta, you say, “The gods and goddesses turned earthward, where love finds its fullest expression.” Isn’t the fullest expression of love found in the spiritual world, not the earthly material world?

A. According to the Goswamis, the manifestation of Krishna-lila on earth is a more complete expression of divine love than that which is experienced in the unmanifst lila. Krishna-lila when played out on earth is caled nara-lila (human-like lila). This lila is facilited best in human society. Just as movies filmed “on location” get special billing, so Krishna-lila manifest on earth (the prakata-lila) is extra special.

Q. If emotions have their origin in the Absolute, would that mean that certain souls who are more emotional have more opportunity to experience Real spiritual emotion? Or can a person gradually change her emotional reality to be spiritualized?

A. When we say that emotions have a spiritual origin we mean that material emotions arising from the mind are but a reflection of the spiritual emotional reality of God. The soul in search of its emotional potential and life cannot realize such when it misidentifies with matter. With sober introspection one can calm the sea of material emotion. With proper discrimination between matter and consciousness (identifying oneself with the latter) and devotional culture one can begin to understand the soul and its emotional potential beyond finite material existence.

Those more emotional in this world are not more fit to experience spiritual emotion. The school of knowledge (jnana) is on one end of the spectrum, denying emotion in this plane as illusion, yet also denying the soul’s potential for spiritual emotion. Those in ignorance in this world are on the other end of the spectrum. They deny knowledge of the self, placing all emphasis on material emotions. Such thinkers consider the emotionally balanced to be the enlightened. In the school of devotion we trace out the spiritual origin of material emotions. Thus through devotional culture we cultivate knowledge of the self and its spiritual emotional life in God’s play (lila), converting material emotions into spiritual ones.

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