The saints and sages of Bharata-varsa, as India has long been known, never tried to cultivate or satisfy artificially the needs of the body and the mind exclusively; they always cultured the transcendental spirit soul, which is above the material body

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"The saints and sages of Bharata-varsa, as India has long been known, never tried to cultivate or satisfy artificially the needs of the body and the mind exclusively; they always cultured the transcendental spirit soul, which is above the material body"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Message of Godhead

The saints and sages of Bhārata-varṣa, as India has long been known, never tried to cultivate or satisfy artificially the needs of the body and the mind exclusively; they always cultured the transcendental spirit soul, which is above the material body and mind. And even now, the saints and sages continue to do so, in spite of all difficulties. But it would be sheer stupidity if Indian people attempted to do good to others without first themselves attaining transcendental knowledge.
Message of Godhead 1:

A Hitler, a Mussolini, or any other leader of that materialistic persuasion may offer his followers the mental concoction of doing good together in violent or nonviolent programs, and by such acts of so-called benevolence the leader may get recognition from his followers for some time. But the followers for whom this kind of leader has endeavored to do good will never get any lasting benefit out of such temporarily beneficial work. A void will be felt with the progress of all such benevolent activities. In fact, the followers will be put into more and more distressed conditions by following the path chalked out by this kind of so-called leader. If a blind man pretends to help another blind man cross a road, then both the blind leader and the blind follower shall fall into the further darkness of some unseen ditch. Everyone who is devoid of transcendental knowledge is just like a blind man; such a blind man must first eradicate his blindness before he can attempt to lead others to light.

Everyone who happens to take his birth in India is a potential benefactor of others, because it is on Indian soil alone that the culture of transcendental knowledge has been most elaborately presented, from ancient times to the present. The saints and sages of Bhārata-varṣa, as India has long been known, never tried to cultivate or satisfy artificially the needs of the body and the mind exclusively; they always cultured the transcendental spirit soul, which is above the material body and mind. And even now, the saints and sages continue to do so, in spite of all difficulties. But it would be sheer stupidity if Indian people attempted to do good to others without first themselves attaining transcendental knowledge.

Now, if we want to acquire transcendental knowledge, our first duty will be to understand that the spirit soul is eternal truth. The external ingredients, the body and the mind which develop around the spirit soul, are all relative or partial truths. In the second chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, the Personality of Godhead explains this fact elaborately:

"The spirit soul which pervades this body is eternal, and thus one should understand that no one can destroy the eternal, ever-existing spirit soul. Although this material body is subject to annihilation, the proprietor of the body is eternal. Therefore, O scion of Bharata, knowing this eternal truth, you can go on with your fighting engagement.

"Both the person who thinks the spirit soul can slay and the person who thinks that the spirit soul can be slain are ignorant of the fact that the spirit soul is neither slayer nor slain at any time. The spirit soul is never born, nor can he ever die. He has no past, present, or future, because he is eternal. And although very old, he is always fresh and does not become annihilated even after the annihilation of the body. One who understands the soul as eternal and indestructible—how can he hurt or kill anyone? It is only the outward body and mind that are destroyed.

"The body and the mind are just like a person's outward clothing. The clothing is changed when it is old, and the living person takes on a new set of clothing after giving up the old one.

"The spirit soul can never be struck by the sharp sword, nor can he be burnt by fire. He can never be affected by water or air, and thus, the spirit soul is eternally indestructible, nonflammable, nonevaporable, and noncorrodable. He is permanent, all-pervading, and eternal. He cannot be explained by any human language, nor can he be perfectly conceived of by any human mind. He remains always unchangeable, and knowing all these facts, one should not lament over his disappearance."

In the language of Bhagavad-gītā, the spirit soul is called kṣetrajña, the knower or tiller of the field, whereas the body and mind, the coverings of the spirit soul, are called kṣetra, or the field. In the eleventh chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, discusses the subject matter of kṣetra, kṣetrajña, and also prakṛti (nature, or the phenomenal world, which is enjoyed) and puruṣa (the enjoyer of the phenomenal world). Lord Kṛṣṇa explains that all actions and reactions that take place in this phenomenal world are the actions and reactions of this combination of kṣetra and kṣetrajña, or nature and the enjoyer of nature. For instance, rice paddy is produced by the action and reaction of the field and the tiller, or a child is begotten by the combination of prakṛti, the enjoyed, and puruṣa, the enjoyer. In the same way, whatever we see in the phenomenal world is produced by this combination of kṣetra and kṣetrajña.