Using the Vedic scriptural writings of India, the author makes an important contribution to our knowledge of man, his universe and the destiny of his life.
In the Brahma Samhita, one of the oldest and most important of Vedic scriptures, in the fifth chapter, there is a description of variegated planetary systems within the material world. And in The Bhagavad Gita such planetary systems in thousands and millions of material universes are considered to be one fourth part of the complete creative energy of Godhead. The major three-fourths of the Lord's creative energy is manifested in the spiritual sky, called "Paravyoma," or the "Vaikuntha Loka."
The declaration of the Brahma Samhita is widely confirmed by material science today, both as regards varieties of habitable planets within the universe, and also insofar as there is the theoretical acceptance of an antimaterial world.
According to the Brahma Samhita there is not only an infinite number of habitable planets within the universe, as is confirmed by most leading contemporary astronomers, but there is also an infinite number of universes. And all these infinite universes with their infinitude of planets are floating on and are produced of the Brahman effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of Govinda, Lord Sri Krishna. This is the Primeval Lord who is worshiped by Brahma, the presiding deity of the universe where we are residing.
Various astronomers throughout the world have asserted their belief that beings capable of reason can and do dwell on the different planets throughout the universe. Such eminent minds as Drs. Nikolai Zhirov and Vladimir Alpatov of Russia, as well as Sir Harold Spencer Jones of England (author of the erudite "Life on Other Worlds") have expressed their agreement that life can adapt to the various atmospheres such as that of Mars which are to be found on the planets.
This adaptability of organisms to different varieties of planets is described in the Brahma Samhita as "Vibhuti bhinnam," i. e., each and every one of the innumerable planets within the universe is endowed with a particular type of atmosphere, and the living beings on some are more perfectly advanced in science and psychology on account of a superior atmosphere for life.
"Vibhuti" means specific power and "Bhinnam"means variegated. Scientists who are attempting to explore outer space and are trying to reach other planets by mechanical arrangements should realize that organisms adapted to the atmosphere of the Earth cannot long exist under the atmospheric influences of other planets. As such, attempts to establish colonies on the Moon and on Mars will be an ultimately futile endeavor on account of the different atmospheres prevailing on those planets, as described in the Brahma Samhita.
Individually, however, one can attempt to go to any planet he desires. But this is only possible by psychological changes within the mind of a particular person. The mind is the nucleus of the material body. The gradual evolutionary process of the material body depends more or less on the psychological changes in the mind. The change of bodily construction of a caterpillar into a butterfly, and in modern medical science the conversion of a man's body into that of a woman or vice versa all depend more or less on the psychological change of the mind.
In The Bhagavad Gita it is said that, at the time of death, if anyone concentrates his mind upon the form of the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, and thus doing relinquishes his body, he at once enters into the spiritual existence of the antimaterial world. This means that anyone who strives constantly for psychological changes within the mind, going from master to the spiritual form of Godhead by the performance of the prescribed rules of devotional service, can easily attain to the Kingdom of God in the antimaterial sky.
And in the same way if anyone desires to enter into any planet of the material sky, he can go there just after quitting the present body i.e., after death and enter into the atmosphere of the particular planet he desires. Thus if someone wants to enter the Moon planet as science is now attempting to do, or the Sun planet or Mars, one can do so simply by performing certain acts meant for that purpose.
The Bhagavad Gita confirms this in the following words: "In whatever condition one quits his present body, in his next life he will attain to that state of being without fail." (8.6) In the Mahabharata, of which the Gita is a part, we find the story of Maharaj Bharata, who in spite of a life of severe penances foolishly thought of his stag at the time of death, and thus became a deer in his next birth. But because of his life of austerity, he was granted clear consciousness of his past. This is a very important point. The atmosphere created at the time of death is but an aftereffect of the actual deeds which one performs during his life.
In the Gita the process of entering into the Moon planet is mentioned. There it states that materialistic men who have no information of the Kingdom of God are generally mad after the acquisition of wealth, fame and adoration. Such men are interested in progress and welfare work for the family and for self-satisfaction, and they may extend these activities into social or national welfare. Such men obtain the desired object by material activities, through the prescribed mechanical or ritualistic discharge of duties, and are thus inclined to satisfy the "Pitris," or the bygone forefathers, as well as other controlling gods by sacrifices such as are presented in the revealed scriptures.
Addicted to such acts of sacrifice and ceremonial observance, such men enter the Moon planet after death. When a person is thus promoted to the atmosphere of the Moon he gets the necessary strength to enjoy the drinking of Somarasa, a celestial beverage.
The Moon planet is the place where the demigod Chandra is the predominating deity. The atmosphere and amenities of life there are far more comfortable and advantageous than those that we have here. But, reaching there, if a person does not utilize the opportunity to get promotion to still better planets, then he is degraded and is made to come down again to this planet or some other similar to Earth. And even though such materialistic persons may attain to the topmost planetary system, they ultimately are annihilated at the time of the periodic general disappearance of the cosmic manifestation.
So far as the planetary systems in the spiritual sky are concerned, there is an unlimited number of such "Vaikunthas" there, and the ratio is that that manifestation of the lord's internal potency is three times greater than this material sky, which is manifested by the external energy.
The yoga of space travel
The poor materialist is busy making his political adjustments in a place which is most insignificant in the evaluation of God. Not just to speak of this planet Earth, the whole universe with its innumerable planets has been compared by one saint with a grain of mustard seed amongst all the mustard seeds packed in a bag. But the poor materialist makes his plans to live here comfortably, and thus he wastes his most valuable human energy on a cause which is never to be realized. Instead of wasting time in that plan-making business, a plain and simple life with high thinking after spiritual matter would save the misguided human being from perpetual unrest, the only gift of matter.
Even if a materialist wants to enjoy developed material facilities, he can transfer himself to the many, many other material planets where he can experience more and more advanced material pleasures. The best plan of life is to prepare oneself for going back to the spiritual sky after leaving this body; but yet if anyone wants to enjoy the largest amount of material facilities, one can transfer himself to other planets not by means of playful sputniks, which are simply childish entertainments but by psychological effects and by learning the art of transferring the soul through mystic powers.
The Yoga system is also materialistic inasmuch as it teaches one to control the movements of air within the body. The spiritual spark or soul is floating on air within the body, and inhalation and exhalation are the waves of that air containing the soul. Therefore the Yoga system is the materialistic art of controlling that air. By practice of such Yoga, the soul with all its energy and consciousness can be transferred from the stomach to the navel, from the navel to the chest, from the chest to collarbones, from the collarbones to the eyeballs, and from there to the cerebellum. From the cerebellum the expert yogi can convey his own soul to any planet he desires.
The velocity of light must be taken into consideration by the materialscientist as the highest speed theoretically attainable by any object in travel, but the scientist has no information of the velocity of such forms of matter as the mind and intelligence. We have some experience of the velocity of the mind, because, in a moment, we can transfer the mind to places hundreds and thousands of miles away. Intelligence is a still finer form of matter. And finer than even intelligence is the soul, which is not matter at all but is spirit or antimaterial, and which is many, many times finer and more powerful than intelligence. We can thus barely imagine the velocity of the soul and how quickly it can travel from one planet to another by its own strength, without any help from any sort of material vehicle.
Our animal's civilization of eating, sleeping, fearing and sense-gratifying has misled contemporary man and he has forgotten how powerful the soul is. The soul is in fact a spiritual spark which is many, many times more illuminating, dazzling and powerful than the Sun, the Moon or electricity. Human life is spoiled by not realizing this as one's own true identity.
How the yogis can travel to all the planets of the universe is described in the Srimad Bhagwatam as follows: When the vital force is lifted to the cerebellum there is every chance of this force bursting out from one of the bodily holes like the eyes, nose or ears. These places are known as the seventh orbit of the vital force. The yogis can, however, block these holes by complete suspension of the passing air, and then the yogi carefully concentrates the vital force in the middle position, in between the eyebrows. At this point the yogi can think of which of the planets he wants to go to after leaving this body. He can decide either to go to the abode of Krishna in the Vaikunthas, which are transcendental places and from which no one is required to come back to the material world, or if he wants to travel to the higher planets in this universe, he is at liberty to do so.
For a perfect yogi, one who has attained success in the practice of leaving this material body in perfect consciousness, the process is as easy as it is for an ordinary man to go from one place to another. As we have already indicated, the material body is just a covering of the spiritual soul. Mind and intelligence compose the inner covering, and the gross body of earth, water, air, etc. is the outer covering of the soul. Any advanced soul who has realized himself by the yogic process (which means, literally, the linking up of matter with spirit) can leave these shirts and coats of the soul in perfect order as he desires. Such a one has complete freedom by the grace of God.
The Lord is so kind upon us that we can live anywhere, either in the spiritual sky or in the material sky, and in any planet thereof. The misuse of this freedom makes one fall down in the material world and live a conditioned life, subject to the threefold miseries (those imposed by Nature, by other living beings and by the bodily condition itself.) To live a miserable life in the material world is a choice of the soul, as is nicely illustrated in Milton's "Paradise Lost," and is not a matter of chance. And from the material world, also by his own choice, one can go back to home, back to Godhead.
The Upper Planets
So in that critical time of placing the vital force between the eyebrows, one has to decide where he wants to go. If he is completely reluctant to keep any connection with the material world, he can do so and within less than a second he can reach the transcendental Vaikuntha sky and appear there in a spiritual body just suitable for the spiritual atmosphere. One has simply to desire to leave the material world both in finer and grosser forms, and then fix the vital force at the topmost part of the skull and leave the body from the hole of the skull called "Brahmarandhra." That is the highest perfection in practicing the Yoga system.
But the yogi is endowed with free will, and as such if he does not wish to get completely free from the material world, but prefers to enjoy a life of "Brahma Pada, " or to occupy the post of "Brahma," and if he wishes to see the place of materially perfect beings called "Siddha Loka," where every living being has full capacity to control gravity, space, time, etc. then he doesn't have to leave the mind and intelligence (finer forms of matter), but can simply give up the grosser matter and thus go up to the highest place of the material universe.
The sputniks and other man-made mechanical planets will never be able to carry human beings very far in interplanetary space. The reason is, again, that in the higher planetary systems the atmosphere is different from here. Each and every planet has its particular atmosphere, and if anyone wants to go to any planet anywhere within the material universe, he has to get his material shirt and coat (his body) made exactly adaptable to the climatic condition of that planet.
It is just like this: If a person wants to go from India to Europe, where the climate is different from India, then one has to change his dress accordingly. Similarly, a more complete change of dress, to the extent of changing the body itself, is necessary if we want to go up to the transcendental planets of Vaikuntha, or even to the upper worlds of this universe.
If we want to go to the highest material planet we need not change the finer dress of mind, intelligence and ego, but we do have to change the gross dress of earth, water, fire, air, etc. When we go to a transcendental planet, however, we require to change both the fine as well as the gross body and we have to arrive in the spiritual sky completely in spiritual form.
The change of dress will automatically take place simply by desiring it at the time of death. This desire, however, is possible only if we practice it during the conscious state of life. Such desires, when practiced in relation with the material world, are called fruitive actions, or Karma. When such desires are conducted in relation to the Kingdom of God, they are called divine or devotional service.
One can prepare himself for an easy journey to the Vaikuntha or antimaterial planets, where life is free from birth, death, disease and old age, by pursuit of the following principles:
1. The desiring candidate must accept a bona fide spiritual master in order to be trained scientifically to use the senses in devotional service. The senses are made of matter, and as such it is not at all possible to realize the Transcendence through the material senses. Therefore the senses have to be spiritualized by the prescribed method offered by the proper guide, who is himself Krishna conscious, or perfect in antimaterial activities.
2. When the choice of a bona fide spiritual master is made, the candidate must take rightful initiation from the spiritual master, which is the beginning of spiritual training.
3. The candidate must be prepared to satisfy the spiritual master in every way. A bona fide spiritual master who is fully cognizant of the effects of spiritual science, learned in the spiritual scriptures like The Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta, Bhagwatam, Upanishads, etc. and who is also a self realized soul, having made tangible connection with the Supreme Lord is the transparent medium to help the willing candidate on the path to Vaikuntha. He must therefore be satisfied in all respects, because simply by his good wishes a candidate can make wonderful progress in the line.
4. This service of the spiritual master is meant for the intelligent class of candidates who can place relevant questions before the master in order to clear the way. The spiritual master shows him the way not whimsically, but on the principles of authorities who have actually traversed the path. The names of such authorities are also disclosed in the scriptures and we have simply to follow them by the direction of the spiritual master. The true spiritual master never deviates from the path of the authorities .
5. The candidate must always try to follow in the footsteps of the great sages who have practiced the method and obtained success. This must be taken as the motto of life. Not to imitate them, but to follow them sincerely, in terms of the particular time and circumstances.
6. The candidate must be prepared to change his habits in terms of the instructions contained in the books of authority, and he must be prepared to sacrifice sense enjoyment as well as sense abnegation for the satisfaction of the Lord, as Arjuna did.
7. The candidate should live in a spiritual atmosphere.
8. He must be satisfied with as much wealth as is sufficient for maintenance only. He should not try to amass more wealth than is necessary for maintenance in the simple way.
9. He must observe certain fast days, such as the eleventh day after the growing and again after the waning moon (called Ikadasee).
10. He must show respect to the banyan tree, the cow, the learned Brahmin and the devotee.
11. One should avoid offenses in the discharge of duties, in devotional service and in chanting the Holy Name (the Hare Krishna Mantra).
12. He must leave the company of nondevotees, i. e., not associate with them intimately.
13. He must not create unlimited disciples. This means that a candidate who has successfully reached up to the 12th stage can also become spiritual master himself, just as a student becomes monitor in the class. He should have, however, a limited number of disciples.
14. He must not pose himself as a vastly learned man, simply quoting the statements of books. He must have solid knowledge from others.
15. A regular and successful practice up to the 14th item will enable the candidate to have equilibrium of the mind even if there is a great trial of material loss or a great material gain in life.
16. And the next stage is that the candidate does not become afflicted by any lamentation or illusion.
17. He does not deride another's mode of religion or worship, neither does he indulge in deriding the Personality of Godhead or His devotees.
19. He must not indulge in topics regarding the relations of man and woman, or in the useless topics of others' family affairs.
20. He must not inflict pain either in the body or in the mind of another living being, whosoever he may be.
The latter ten items are negative injunctions while the first ten are positive. Out of these twenty the first three positive items are imperative and most essential for the desiring candidates. There are 44 other items to be followed by the desiring candidates, but Lord Chaitanya, the great Avatar of Godhead whose mission was to deliver the souls of this age, selected only five items from them as being most important, having regard for the conditions of the present mode of life. These five are as follows:
1. To associate with devotees. The association of devotees is made possible by hearing them attentively, by asking them relevant questions, by supplying them with foodstuff and accepting foodstuff from them, by giving them charity and accepting from them whatsoever they offer.
2. To chant the Holy Name of the Lord in all circumstances. The chanting of the Lord's Name is an easy job and the most inexpensive attempt also. One can chant any Name of the Lord from among His innumerable Names at any time, and try to make it offenseless. There are ten offenses in the method of such chanting of the transcendental Name, and those offenses must be avoided as far as possible. But at all cost the Holy Name of the Lord can be chanted without any restriction at all times.
3. One should hear the transcendental topics enunciated in The Bhagavad Gita. This hearing is made possible through platform lectures as well as through press propaganda. And this item includes the other two items above.
4. One should make his home at Mathura or the birthplace of Lord Krishna or should make his home as good as Mathura by installing the Deity of the Lord at home to be worshiped by all the members of the family after proper initiation from the spiritual master.
5. To worship the installed deity with attention and devotion so that the whole atmosphere at home becomes the replica of the Lord's abode. This is made possible by the direction of the spiritual master, who knows the transcendental art and can guide the candidate in the proper method.
The above-mentioned five items can be adopted by any man in any part or place of the world. Thus one can prepare himself for going back to home, back to Godhead by the simple method recognized by such authorities as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who specifically advented Himself to deliver the fallen souls of this age.
The whole process of transferring oneself to the spiritual sky is to gradually liquidate the material composition of gross and subtle coverings over the spirit soul. And the last-named five items of devotional activities are so spiritually powerful that their performance by a devotee, even in the preliminary stage, can very quickly promote the sincere executor to the position of "Bhava" emotion on the spiritual plane which is above the intellectual status of the mind. And complete absorption in such spiritual emotion is the perfect change which makes the candidate perfectly fit to be transferred to the spiritual sky just after leaving the present material tabernacle.
Such emotional perfection of the devotee that is to say, the development of love of God causes him to be situated on the spiritual platform even from outset, although he may remain superficially fixed in the way that an iron made red hot completely ceases to an iron, and acts like fire. These things are made possible by the subtle cohesion of the Lord's inconceivable energy, a realm of action which material science has very little scope to calculate.
One should, therefore, engage himself in the task of devotional service with absolute faith, and to make that faith a steadfast affair the candidate should seek the association of standard devotees of the Lord. This will gradually develop into factual devotional service to the Lord, causing the disappearance of all material misgivings like a flash of lightning.
All these different stages of spiritual realization will be personally felt by the candidate and that will create in him a firm belief in this means of making positive progress, resulting finally in sincere attachment for the Lord and His abode. That is the gradual process of evolving love of God, the prime necessity of human life.
There are many instances in Vedic history of great personalities both kings and sages who attained perfection in this line. Some of them attained success by adhering to just a single item of devotional service with faith and perseverance. Some of the more important examples of such devotees are as follows:
1. Emperor Parikshit attained the spiritual platform simply by hearing from a great authority, Sri Sukhadeva Goswami.
2. Sri Sukhadeva Goswami attained success in this matter simply by recitation ad verbum of the transcendental message, as he had received it from his great father, Srila Vyasadeva.
3. Emperor Prahlad attained success in this matter simply by remembering the Lord constantly, in pursuance of the instruction of Srila Narada Muni, a great saint and devotee.
4. Lakshmiji, the Goddess of Fortune, attained success simply by sitting and serving the Lotus Feet of the Lord.
5. King Prithu attained success simply by worshiping the Lord.
6. Akrura, the charioteer, attained success simply by chanting prayers for the Lord.
7. Hanuman (Mahabir), the famous nonhuman devotee of Lord Sri Rama Chandra, attained success simply by carrying out the orders of the Lord.
8. Arjuna, the great warrior, attained the same perfection simply by making friendship with the Lord, who delivered the message of The Bhagavad Gita to enlighten Arjuna and his followers.
9. Emperor Bali attained success by surrendering everything unto the Lord, including his personal body.
These are the nine standard items of devotional service to the Lord, and a candidate can make his choice to adopt any one, two, three, four or all the items together as he likes. As all these forms of service are rendered to the Absolute, the services themselves are Absolute and there is thus no real difference in quantity or quality, as in the case of inert matter. These are different varieties on the spiritual platform, where everything is identical with everything else.
Emperor Amburish stands as a very prominent example of devotion because he adopted all the above nine items in his practical life, and he also attained the supreme result. He engaged his mind just on the Lotus Feet of the Lord, his words in describing the spiritual world, his hands in cleansing the temple of the Lord and his ears in submissively hearing of the words of Lord Sri Krishna. He engaged his eyes in visualizing the Deities of the Lord, his body in touching the bodies of the devotees, his nostrils in smelling the flowers which had been first offered to the Deities, his legs in visiting the temple of the Lord and all his energy of life in the services of the Lord without the least desire for sense gratification. All these activities helped him to attain the perfect stage of spiritual life, a stage beyond the vision of the most brilliant experiment in material science.
It is therefore incumbent on all serious human beings to adopt these principles of spiritual realization for the perfection of life. A human being has no obligation whatsoever save and except spiritual realization in his life. In the modern setup of things, human society is very busy in the discharge of national duties. But, in fact, national, social or humanitarian duties are obligatory only to those who are bereft of the spiritual duty.
As soon as a man takes his birth in any part of the globe he does not only have national, social and humanitarian obligations, but also has his obligations to the demigods who supply air, light, water, etc. He has obligations to the great sages who have left behind them a vast treasure house of directions in the conduct of human life. He has obligations to all kinds of living beings, to his forefathers and family members, and so on and so forth. But as soon as one engages himself in the single duty of spiritual perfection, he automatically liquidates he in fact fulfills perfectly all other obligations without any separate effort.
A devotee of the Lord is never a disturbing element in society, but on the contrary he becomes an asset to all others. As far as possible no devotee is attracted by any sinful action, and as soon as a man becomes a devotee he can do inestimable service to his society, bringing peace and prosperity to all concerned, both in this life and in the next. Even if by chance a devotee may commit something undesirable, the Lord Himself rectifies that in no time.
Therefore, there is no necessity for a devotee to culture superfluous knowledge or abnegation. A devotee can safely remain at his place and execute devotional service smoothly in any order of life. There are instances in history where the cruelest man became the most kind-hearted simply by the execution of devotional service. Knowledge and abnegation follow automatically in the life of a pure devotee without any extraneous effort by him.
This spiritual art and science of devotional service is the great contribution of the Indian sages to the rest of the world. Everyone, therefore, who has taken his birth in India has an obligation to make his life perfect by adopting the principles of this great art and science, and then to distribute this to the rest of the world, to offer mankind the ultimate aim of life.
Human society is destined to reach this stage of perfection by the gradual development of knowledge. Many Indian sages have already reached this position, while other men still have to tread on the path for many more thousands of years. It is this writer's hope that the true sages of India today will make a serious and sustained effort to give the world this sublime information immediately, in a systematic way, so that they may not only save humanity's time and energy for this progress of life, but also so that all men may immediately take advantage of this human form of life a form which they may well obtain again only through the labor of millions of years.
Many writers of philosophy and even of fiction advocate the concept of the eternal life of man. They contribute various literary suggestions to the rest of the world indicating that scientific progress can help man to live forever. But they do not generally believe in the concept of a Supreme Being as the Creator. We welcome the suggestions of such writers because we know that any actual progress in scientific knowledge will certainly take man to the spiritual sky, and that the advancement of knowledge will ultimately inform the scientist that the Supreme Creator exists, full with inconceivable potencies that lie beyond the calculation of material science.
As suggested hereinbefore, although every living being is eternal in form, one has to periodically change his outer coverings of gross and subtle matter. This changing process is technically known as life and death. So long as a living being has to wear the shackles of material bondage there is no relief from this changing process, which continues even at the highest stage of material life.
Our fiction writers may go on with their imaginings, as fiction writers are apt to do, but the saner section of the people, in studying natural law, will not agree that man can live forever within this material world.
A naturalist can observe the overall action of material Nature by simply studying fruit on a tree. A small fruit develops from a flower, and it continues to develop more and more. It stays for some time and then it becomes full grown and ripen. After the ripe stage it begins to dwindle day by day, and on some day it falls down from the tree to the earth and begins its decomposition. And at last it becomes dust, leaving behind its seed, which again springs up to become a tree and produces many, many fruits which in due course meet the same fate already described.
Similarly, a living being (the spiritual spark which is part and parcel of the Supreme Being) takes its organic form in the womb of the mother just after sexual intercourse. It grows little by little within the womb, and afterwards outside the womb, gradually becoming a child, a boy, a youth, an adult and so on. In old age a man begins to dwindle, and at a certain period he falls down in the grip of cruel death in spite of all the good wishes and desires of all sections of humanity, fiction writers included. So, by comparison, there is no difference between the two organic bodies namely, the man and the fruit. As such the man may leave behind him seeds in the form of numerous children, but by Nature he cannot exist permanently within the material body.
How can our writers ignore the law of material Nature? No material scientist can change the stringent rules of Nature, however boastful he may be. No astronomer can change the course of the planets, although he can manufacture a toy planet under the name and style of Apollo. Foolish children may give much credit to the flying of a modern space capsule, but the saner section of the people will give more credit to the Creator of the truly gigantic "capsules" namely, the stars and planets. If a small playful capsule has a creator in Russia or the West, why should the Creator of these gigantic capsules not exist in the spiritual sky? If a toy spaceship requires the assistance of so many scientific brains, why should we not believe in the existence of a more perfect and subtle brain which has created the gigantic spaceships? So far we have received no good answer from the nonbelieving class of men with their poor fund of knowledge about this suggestion of the Supreme Creator.
These unbelieving men put forward their theories of the Creation with so many doubtful wordings, some of which are as follows: "It is hard to understand … Our imagination cannot conceive of it … But it is quite possible that … " etc., which shows that the ideas put forward by such men are not based on authorized and scientific data. They are simply hypotheses resulting from imperfect induction.
But we can give an authorized account from The Bhagavad Gita of how, within this material world, there are living beings who possess a duration of life covering 1,000 x 4,300,000 x 12 x 2 x 30 x 100 solar years of our calculation. We call The Bhagavad Gita authorized because this bookof knowledge has been widely accepted by India's great sages even in modern times, and by many of the greatest spiritual personalities, such as Sri Shankaracharya, Sri Ramanujacharya, Sri Madhyacharya, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so on.
Varieties Of Planetary Systems
Even possessing so long a duration of life does not guarantee deathlessness within matter. Therefore, all material shapes are subject to the law of change although potentially the material energy is conserved. Potentially everything is eternal, but in matter the form, or phase as the scientists sometimes call it, takes place, remains for some time, develops to full maturity, becomes old, begins to dwindle and at last disappears. That is the position of all material objects. The current suggestions of the scientists that beyond the material sky there may be some other form, lying outside the boundary of visibility, strange and inconceivable, is a faint idea of the basic principle of the spiritual sky.
This basic principle of spirit is present within all living beings. When the spiritual principle is out of the material body, then no change takes place in that body. Within the body of a child the same spiritual principle is there, and therefore changes take place in the body and it develops. But if somehow or other the spirit has to go away, the same body may be preserved by chemical adjustment; but there will be no more development.
This law is applicable in every material object. Matter transforms from one shape to another when it is in contact with the spirit. Without spirit there is no such transformation. The whole universe is developed in this way. It emanates from the energy of the Transcendence, and on account of the spiritual force the body develops into gigantic forms like the Sun, Moon, Earth, etc.
There are fourteen divisions of planetary systems, each different from the others in dimension and quality, and everywhere the same principle of development holds good. Therefore the spiritual force is the creator, because, entirely on account of this principle, transformation, transition and development take place.
So far as life is concerned, we can know definitely that life is not generated by any kind of material reaction, like a chemical combination. Material interaction, set in agitation by a Superior Being, creates a favorable circumstance for accommodating the spiritual living force, and the superior energy handles matter in a suitable way by the free will of the spiritual being. For example, building materials do not automatically react and then turn into the suitable shape of a residential house. The living spiritual being handles the matter suitably by his free will and thus constructs a residential house.
And so matter is only the ingredient, while spirit is the creator. The creator may remain unseen in the background, but that does not mean that there is no creator. Such a faulty conclusion will be made by a men with a poor fund of knowledge. One should not therefore be illusioned simply by the gigantic form of the material universes, but must learn to admit the existence of a gigantic brain behind all these material manifestations. The Supreme Being who has such a gigantic brain, quantitatively greater than ours, is the ultimate Creator, the all-attractive Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. For one who does not have the necessary information about the Creator, there is definite information of Him in the Vedic literature, and especially in the Srimad Bhagwatam.
When a capsule is thrown into outer space, a child may not understand that it is sent aloft by some scientific brain, but an older man knows fully well that there is a brain behind the machine. Similarly, a less intelligent person may not have any information of the Creator and His eternal abode in the spiritual world, but actually there exists a spiritual sky more spacious with spiritual planets more numerous than in the material one. From The Bhagavad Gita we get information that the material planets are only one-fourth of the Creation or a third the number of spiritual planets. Such information is extensively available in the Bhagwatam and other Vedic writings.
A Universal Socialism
If living energy could be generated in the physical laboratory by the interaction of chemical compositions, why then are creatures not being manufactured by the boastful material scientists? We should know definitely that the spiritual force is distinct from matter, and that it is not possible to produce such energy by any amount of material adjustment.
At present the Russian nation, though undoubtedly very much advanced in many departments of technological science, is of all nations most glaringly lacking knowledge of spiritual science. The Russians have yet to learn from the superior brain in order to make a perfect society of progressive humanity, and the practical breakdown of their so-called Communist system can be traced to this.
In the Srimad Bhagwatam a socialist philosophy is most perfectly described which our Russian brothers have yet to learn. The Bhagwatam directs that whatever wealth arises, either by agriculture, mining or otherwise, is supposed to be given by the ultimate Creator, and therefore every living being has a right to partake of such wealth. It is said there that a man can possess only as much wealth as will be sufficient to maintain his body, and if he desires more than that, then he is liable to be punished. It is further said there that all living beings who live with man, like cats, dogs, camels, cows, mice, monkeys or even serpents all should be treated as one's own children.
I believe that no nation on the globe can conceive of socialism so perfectly as it is thus described in the Srimad Bhagwatam. Living beings other than humans can be treated as brothers and children only when one has a full conception of the Creator and of the actual constitution of the living being.
The principle of deathlessness is possible in the spiritual world. A desire for eternal life or deathlessness is in fact the sign of one's dormant spiritual life and the aim of human civilization should be to develop the fullness of spiritual awareness. It is possible for every human being to transfer himself to that spiritual realm by the process of Bhakti Yoga, as described above. This is a great science and India has produced many scientific writings for such a perfection of life.
Bhakti Yoga is the eternal religion of man. At a time when material science is preponderant over all subjects, including the tenets of religion, it will be a greatly enlivening event if we can see the principles of this eternal religion from the point of view of the modern scientist. Even Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the famous philosopher and former President of India, admitted at a world religion conference held some time ago in Delhi that religion will not be acceptable in modern civilization if it is not offered from the scientific point of view. And in reply to all these different propositions the writer is very glad to put forward in this article for the lovers of Truth the firm idea that Bhakti Yoga is the eternal religion of the world, and is meant for all living beings.
Sripad Ramanujacharya has explained the word "Sanatan," eternal, as that which has neither any beginning nor any end. And when we speak of "Sanatan Dharma," eternal religion, we may take it on the authority of Sripad Ramanujacharya that this has no beginning and no end. The thing which has no beginning and no end cannot be sectarian or limited by any boundary. In the light of modern science it will be possible for us to see Sanatan Dharma as the business of all the people of the world of all living entities of the universe. Noneternal religious faith may have some beginning in the annals of human history, but there cannot be any history of Sanatan Dharma because it continues always within the history of the living entities.
When a man professes to belong to a particular type of faith with reference to the particular time and circumstances of his birth, thus claiming to be a Hindu, Moslem, Christian, Buddhist or member of any other sect, such designations are not Sanatan Dharma. A Hindu may change his faith to become a Moslem or a Moslem may change his faith to become a Hindu or a Christian, etc. But in all circumstances such a change of religious faith does not allow one to change his eternal engagement rendering service to others. A Hindu or a Moslem or a Christian, in all circumstances, is the servant of someone and thus, while to profess a particular type of faith is not to be considered Sanatan Dharma, the constant companion of the living being the rendering of service is itself Sanatan Dharma, the true eternal religion.
The Fountainhead Of Existence
In The Bhagavad Gita there are several references in this matter of "Sanatanam." Let us see some of the statements of the Gita and try to take the import of Sanatan Dharma from the authority.
There is one reference to the word Sanatanam in the 10th verse of the Seventh Chapter, in which the Lord says that He is the original Fountainhead of everything and, therefore, Sanatanam the Eternal or Unchanging. The Fountainhead of everything is described in the Upanishads as the Complete Whole. All emanations from that Fountainhead are also complete in themselves, and in spite of many such complete units having emanated from Him, this Eternal Whole and Eternal Source does not diminish in quality or quantity. This is nature of the Unchanging.
Anything that wears or tears under the influence of time and circumstances is not Sanatan. Therefore, anything which has a circumstantial change in whatsoever form or quality cannot be accepted as Sanatan. The Sun is disseminating its rays for hundreds and millions of years and yet there is no perceptible change in the formation or radiation of the Sun. That is a materially created object, but the substance which is never created cannot, therefore, have any change in form or quality, even though He may be the seedling Source everything.
The Lord claims to be the Father of all species of life. He claims all living beings, regardless of form or species, as parts and parcels of Himself. And The Bhagavad Gita is meant for all these beings.
In The Bhagavad Gita there is information of the Sanatan nature of the Supreme Lord, of His abode which is far away from the material sky, and of the Sanatan nature of the living beings. He also gives information that this material world is full of miseries in the shape of birth, death, old age and disease, and even up to the topmost planet of the universe that is to say, in the Brahma Loka the same miseries are current in some form or other. Only in His own abode is there no misery at all. In that abode there is no need of light from the Sun, nor from the Moon, nor from fire. And the life there is perpetual, with full knowledge and bliss. That is called Sanatan Dham the Eternal Abode.
It is quite natural, therefore, to conclude that the living entities must go back to home, back to Godhead to enjoy life in the Eternal Abode along with the "Sanatan Purusha," the eternal Lord, Sri Krishna; and further to conclude that they must not rot in this miserable land of material existence. There is no happiness in the material sphere, even including the Brahma Loka, and the plans and activities to elevate oneself to the higher planes within the material universe are done by those who are less intelligent. The less intelligent men also take shelter of demigods and various objects of devotion other than the Lord Himself, and derive some benefit which is to endure for a limited period. In this way all such noneternal religious principles are only temporary measures for the temporary benefit of the less intelligent.
The intelligent person gives up all such engagements of religiousness and takes shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; and there is the absolute assurance of immunity from sin from the part of the Almighty Father. Sanatan Dharma eternal religion is, then, the process of Bhakti Yoga, by which one can know the eternal Lord and His Eternal Abode, and by that process only can one go back to the Sanatan Dham, the Kingdom of God, to take part in the eternal enjoyment prevailing there.
Those who are followers of the eternal religion of devotional service to God may henceforward take up the principles of Sanatan Dharma in the spirit of The Bhagavad Gita. There is no bar against anyone taking up these eternal principles, and even those who are less enlightened can go back to Godhead in this way. Such is the verdict of the Srimad Bhagwatam, as well as of the Supreme Lord Himself in the Gita.
People should be given the chance to take advantage of this opportunity, and, because The Bhagavad Gita was spoken in the land of "Bharatavarsha," every Indian has the responsibility to broadcast the message of real Sanatan Dharma in the world. The misguided men of the world, especially at the present moment, are suffering greatly in the darkness of the material atmosphere, and the result is that the so-called advancement of learning has only helped foolish mankind to discover lethal weapons in the form of nuclear bombs. Humanity is practically on the verge of ruin because, as soon as there is a declaration of war, no one knows what will happen to the human race on earth. The eternal religion will teach man about the real aim of life, and all will benefit by such propagation of Krishna Consciousness.