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Active Spirituality

Of course, any Joe can’t just come waltzing into the room, demanding “Show me Krishna!” and expect the Supreme Personality of Godhead to show up on his doorstep. You can’t just waltz into the White House and demand to see the President. They’ll throw you out on your ear.

If you want to see an important person, there’s a process you’ll have to go through. If you want to see Krishna, the most important person – and if you want to directly experience spiritual reality – it’s definitely possible, but there is a process.

Preliminary Preparation

 Let’s say I’m trying to see some little one-celled do-dads in my Biology class. The first thing I need to do is make sure the microscope is clean. Without clean instruments, I’ll never get an accurate result.

If I’m trying to see the reality of spirituality, the first thing I need to do is make sure my instruments are clean. What are the  “instruments?” The instruments are the senses.

The self peers out at the world through the senses of the body, which have become clogged and fogged by our attachments and illusions. Thus, we have trouble seeing anything as it really is. To prepare our senses for perceiving Krishna, we need to sweep out the dust of our attachments and wipe off the mist of illusion. There are four ways to do it:

1. Meat-eating

There will be a whole article on this later, but right now let me just say this: Meat-eating is totally unnecessary violence, not only to the animals slaughtered, but to the tons of plants needlessly stuffed into the poor animals to fatten them up, to the human beings who eat the flesh at the risk of their own health, and to the ecosystem of the entire planet earth which is forced to support this insanely decadent “agriculture.”

When you get angry and violent, you can’t see straight. Meat is the end product of violence. Eating it clouds our mind and senses, impairing our ability to perceive reality.

Besides that, as long as one chooses to live by unnecessarily causing pain to other living creatures, one will not be admitted into spiritual reality – where life is full of selfless compassion. So if you want to cultivate spirituality, become a vegetarian, putting aside all meat, fish, and eggs.

Becoming vegetarian will change your consciousness. Try it for a few weeks and you’ll not only feel better, but you will think differently. And you will contribute to a less violent world.

2. Intoxication

 Relief. Let me escape this boring sameness, this grinding gray monotony. I need some excitement, some spice; some crack, some mesc, some snow-white. Let me think I’m funny. Yeah, let me think I’m sly. Let me think I’m sexy and strong. And having a good time. Oh make me think I’m having a good time. Genie in my bottle, let me lie it all away. O genie in my bottle. O genie in my bottle.

I can totally relate to that whole situation. We all know material life is boring as hell, if not outright painful. But your smack, crack, and six-pack isn’t but a loser’s proposition for burying your head in a beer can, like an ostrich in the sand.

Society has you bought and sold, and you gulp down the bait. Society doesn’t want you to change. They teach you to deal with the thorns of this world by getting blasted so flat you can’t even feel the pain. Society wants your mind a mess, your vision so blurry that everything starts looking real soft and pretty.

Denounce this lie.

I do not pretend, and I don’t believe the pretense of others. The thorns I suffer are real. Don’t let anyone tell you different. We can pull out the thorns of material life only by reviving our original spiritual consciousness, Krishna consciousness. Give up the crutch.

3. Illicit Sex

This is a difficult subject to understand for many because we have been raised in a sex crazed culture, and what we are going to say here could sound Victorian to you. I have lived on both sides of the fence and can testify that we waste a lot of valuable energy – and money – being controlled by both the gross and subtle manifestations of sex ( spending lots of time, money, and our precious mental energy looking good and hoping others think we look sexy).

As soon as I subscribe to the whole sex-craze of modern culture, I sign away my free will and become a puppet on the strings of the advertising industry, whose number one priority is to keep me in illusion so I’ll buy their products. A puppet cannot forge ahead in self-realization; a puppet can only dance to the whims of the puppeteer.

“Illicit sex” means unnatural sex. “Natural sex”  is sex intended and allowed to develop to its natural fruit, a baby. It is also natural that the baby should be raised by loving, married parents in a stable home, being carefully given the opportunity to fulfill the highest potential of human life, self-realization.

In other words, illicit sex means sex outside of marriage or unrestricted sex in marriage. Animals also eat, sleep, mate and defend, so if our consciousness is too much focused on any or all of these activities, we aren’t doing much better than the animals. And human life is meant for something much greater than fulfilling the urges of the body.

Can sexual control change your consciousness and life? India has a long tradition of the practice of celibacy for men before marriage (and some men for their entire lifetime) called brahmacarya, because they understand the mental, physical and spiritual benefits it offers. (Eastern medicine understands that life force – called prana, ojas, or chi, is weakened every time a man discharges semen.) Even boxers and wrestlers understand this principle as  they practice celibacy weeks before a match. In addition, many ancient cultures understood the immense benefits of controlling sexual lust.

Many great men of the world, such as Gandhi, Pythagoras, and others, practiced celibacy. It is an ancient practice that has gone so out of fashion in our modern culture it is unfortunately often looked at with repulsion.

Experience the many wonderful benefits of sexual control – including a calm mind and body –  by abstaining from sex for a period of time.

 4. Gambling

You can’t get something for nothing. Gambling nourishes the cheating mentality, giving birth to greed, selfishness, and envy – all of which are diametrically opposed to the spiritual qualities that help us achieve an undistorted experience of reality.

Gambling is another tool of the used to keep the population docile. Another false hope for happiness which occupies our time and divers us from real personal and social advancement.

Positive Spirituality

As the four preliminaries are being practiced, our instruments are getting tuned up and polished, fit to begin directly perceiving God and the spiritual world.

I divided this article into two main sections, “preliminary preparation” and “positive spirituality.” But it’s not like one has to be perfectly complete before you can proceed to the other.

The two are not sequential. Rather, they both give strength to the other.

Now, we can say that there are two knowables: things and persons, or objects and subjects.

If you want to know an object, you can stick it under your microscope, heat it up, stretch it out, hurl it through space, whatever. It’s an object, and you can control it. You can experiment with it as you like.

If you want to get to know a person, you don’t bring him into the laboratory and stick litmus paper on him. You do nice things for him. You develop friendship and gain his trust. Gradually he will tell you all his most intimate secrets. Only then can you really know a person.

God is a subject, not an object; a person, not a “thing.” We can’t stick God on a slide and clamp Him under our microscope. As long as we treat Him like an object to be conquered by our intelligence, we will never understand or experience Him.

Spiritual reality is personal, and Krishna is a person. To know this person, do nice things for Him – simple devotional service. Develop a friendly relationship. Gradually, He will reveal His intimate secrets to you – even to the point of coming directly before you in an intimate relationship.

The key element in experiencing spiritual reality, more important than an impressive vocabulary and a high IQ, is this: service.

Service to Krishna is very simple and easy. You can quickly become dear to Krishna just by rendering a little simple service to Him. Respecting our free will, Krishna allows us the choice to leave Him and do our own thing in the material world. But that unfortunate decision brings only headache and grief. Krishna wants happiness for everyone. He looks forward to our return to the spiritual sky.

The most potent and simple service of all is just singing or chanting Krishna’s names

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

There is another article on this site that explains the chanting.

So what you have here is an outline for a truly alternative lifestyle. A revolutionary approach to living. It’s not all talk, no action. It peels off the conditioning of illusion and gradually brings first-hand experience of the highest realities, including, ultimately, Krishna Himself.

Try it out and experience it for yourself.