śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 7, Issue 10
Posted: 11 September 2014

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

We Cannot Rely On the Mind

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

(Portrait of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda)

We cannot rely on the mind and our mental speculation. All of us are busy making our mind control everything relating to ourselves. This does not admit the conception of the Absolute. Mental conceptions are all changeable. The property must not be confounded with the proprietor. Our external body is our property. It is perishable and there is no certainty of its retention. In Egypt the body was preserved. The process was thought necessary for the re-awaking of the soul. The materialists see the externality of things. They observe that the combination of material particles produces animation, so the external is scrutinised by the materialistic sciences.

But the idea propounded by intellectual people is that knowledge is eclipsed and obscured by the interception of ignorance (vivartavāda – i.e., erroneous conception, which deludes us in regard to the Absolute Truth). The background of time and space intercepts our visual range. Perfect knowledge is required in order to know what we are. This view is different from that of the materialists who want to establish all knowledge as identical with the background of our conceptions. One party thinks that the spirit comes out of these things by a process analogous to that of effervescence. The other party holds that knowledge is impeded by the material molecules that form the opaque mass that disturbs and prevents us from examining the entity. This gives rise to the conception of immanence. There is an inner face in regard to which we are liable to be deluded by the operation of the external face.

In the first place, we should undertake to determine the nature of the self. We should know that we are eternal. Had our life been of a few days duration, our prospects would be very dark, indeed. It is the idea of the Semites that this is the only life we have. According to them, the conception of metempsychosis is a hallucination to dissuade us from the immediate necessity of learning the Absolute Truth.

The empiric truth is to be carefully distinguished from the Absolute. It is analogous to the distinction between the glow-worm and fire or between the mirage and water. The outward feature is not to be trusted. Lime-water outwardly resembles milk. The apparent face is not identical with the immanence, the soul or the substratum. In determining the self, it is necessary to find our real position. Are we products of material things? Are we the Oversoul? This problem requires solution as we shall leave the external body after a time.

When the question of ‘time’ is brought forward we find that we are eternal. When we attend to the problem of ‘knowledge’ we find that our mixed ignorance cannot give us any relief. The soul should be blissful. We do not require unpleasant things. The external body and astral body do not serve our purpose. If they were our sole concern, life would be troublesome and we would necessarily be pessimists. There is an optimistic view to oppose pessimism. If both are discarded we will know what we are. It will result in our considering that we are part and parcel of the Absolute, but liable to foreign invasion. Incorporation with the world requires severance for the realization of our permanent situation.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya has told us that we are part and parcel of the taṭastha-śakti (marginal potency) of the Absolute, Who has numerous potencies. These potencies are classifiable into departments. The human soul is situated in an intermediate position as distinct from the bahiraṅga-śakti (external potency), which is perishable, and that antaraṅga-śakti (internal potency) which is eternal. The external potency offers the reflected, intercepted view of the activities of the Absolute. This supplements the system of viśiṣṭādvaita (Distinctive Monism), or rather that system is given some additional knowledge by the introduction of the taṭastha-śakti (marginal potency).

Adapted from The Gaudiya, Volume 26, Number 8
by the Rays of The Harmonist team

Rays of The Harmonist On-line, Year 7, Issue 10, "We Cannot Rely On the Mind" by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License to ensure that it is always freely available. You may redistribute this article if you include this license and attribute it to Rays of The Harmonist. Please ask for permission before using the Rays of The Harmonist banner-logo.