The other day I caught myself feeling sad for a moment that I wouldn't be around for a future technological breakthrough I read about: personal jet-packs. Wouldn't they be great? Strap one on, push a button, and zoom between home and office in no time.
Then I thought, "Do I really want to stay around for that?"
When I explain the philosophy of Krsna consciousness to people, I naturally tell them that the goal of life should be to return to our original home in the spiritual world. Sometimes I sense that the idea strikes people as odd. Their faces show an uneasiness at the thought of having to leave this world to go somewhere else. That other place sounds great, but how can I leave behind everything and everyone I know? That's just too big a price to pay. I have too much invested here.
Because we mistakenly identify ourselves with our bodies, we're attached to our present life. Most of us feel no emotional ties with our eternal home. To think we belong in some other world is difficult. Many of us can't even imagine living in a foreign country, what to speak of a seemingly foreign planet. Goloka Vrndavana? You might as well invite us to move to Mars.
Our reluctance to leave familiar surroundings for the spiritual world shows we're forgetting we're going to have to leave our present situations anyway. How long can I stay in this American body? I'll be kicked out of this body and into a new one, whether I like it or not.
The Vedic literature guides us toward doing the intelligent thing: preparing for the inevitable. The sage Canakya said that we'll lose everything at death, so we'd be wise to use what we now have for our permanent benefit.
Our most valuable possession is our human body, which lets us think about higher things. The Vedas tell us we've had bodies in millions of species before getting a human body. So we'd better make the best of it. Our human emotions may bind us to our temporary life here on earth, but we should rise above them and understand that everything we're searching for here in the lives we've tried to build for ourselves can be found only in our eternal home. No need for jet-packs there. In liberated spiritual bodies we can go anywhere in an instant.
We're travelers who have been away from home so long we've forgotten our real family and friends, especially our dearest friend, Lord Krsna. What misfortune! But Srila Prabhupada, a pure devotee in full consciousness of his relationship with Krsna, has given us spiritual practices to awaken our memory of Krsna and our eternal relationship with Him. When we wake up to the glory of that relationship, we'll be happy to leave this world of misery to return to the world of Krsna's abundant love. As the Srimad-Bhagavatam says, we'll feel like a traveler who has returned home after a troubled journey.