His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Eternal Wisdom

Public Lecture Part I delivered in Kouvola, Finland, 21 April 2005
(Discusses Bhagavad-gita Chapter 9, Text 2) 

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilatam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah
 

sri-caitanya-mano-‘bhistam sthapitam yena bhu-tale
svayam rupah kada mahyam dadti sva-padantikam

 
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m very happy to be with you tonight here in Kouvola, Finland.  I’m traveling all over the world to share this eternal wisdom with people in many different countries.  We have traveled from America, and have just done a tour of the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – where this knowledge was very nicely received, and we’re very, very happy to be with you here tonight.

This term “eternal wisdom” is a very wonderful term because the actual nature of wisdom is that it is eternal.  In the normal, everyday life we have so many facts and figures; but those facts and figures are always changing.  Somebody may ask you, “How old are you?” and you may say, “I’m 45 years old.”  But next year you’ll be 46 – that is not eternal wisdom.  Although it’s a fact, that you’re 45 years old, it’s not eternal wisdom.  Eternal wisdom is that which is true in all times, all places, and all circumstances.

This wisdom is the most valuable wisdom.  You may take a course in chemistry at the university; you may memorize so many facts and figures for your examination, and you may make an A+ on your examination.  But 10 years later the facts have changed.  The information you put on your exam to get you’re A+ grade is no longer valid, even.  So I have traveled all the way from America to bring you this eternal wisdom.  This knowledge will give you more benefit than any knowledge you have received in your entire life.  So kindly listen very carefully to what I am going to be saying tonight. 

This wisdom is nothing new.  It’s not some modern thing that was invented.  Invented knowledge is not knowledge or wisdom.  This wisdom actually comes with reality – it’s inseparable from the reality in which we are all living at every minute.  It’s just like when we purchase some new piece of high-tech equipment, like a new MP3 recorder . . . along with that equipment we get an owner’s manual from the manufacturer.  When I purchased this MP3 recorder, I didn’t know how to use it; but then I read the owner’s manual.  By reading the owner’s manual you can know how to use the thing properly and how to get full benefit from it.

The amazing thing that most people don’t know is that this universe in which we are living, and this human form in which we are living, actually has an owner’s manual that comes along with it.  If I had gotten this MP3 recorder without an owner’s manual, I would have had a hard time knowing how to get proper use out of it.  Similarly, without this knowledge, or the eternal wisdom, modern-day society is in chaos.  People are murdering one another; countries are going to war with each other - there’s so much fighting, so much anxiety.  But actually this is completely unnecessary.  All we have to do is read the owner’s manual, and then the whole world can live in peace and harmony.  There’ll be no more wars, no more crime, no more economic difficulties.  Everything will just be – bliss!  All the time – peace, nectar, bliss.  That would be pretty great, wouldn’t it?  So that’s what we’ve come to tell you about tonight.

This original owner’s manual of existence was revealed to ancient sages in India.  It is called raja-vidya, which means “the king of knowledge.”  In one very wonderful book called the Bhagavad-gita, it is stated in the beautiful, ancient Sanskrit language,

 

raja-vidya raja-guhyam
pavitram idam uttamam
pratyaksavagamam dharmyam
su-sukham kartum avyamam

[BG 9.2]

“This knowledge is the king of education; it is the most secret of all secrets.  It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion.  It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.”

This is the wonderful, eternal wisdom which we will describe to you tonight.

So this is the topmost knowledge; it is also the topmost of all secrets.  Even though we are traveling all over the world to make it easily available to everyone, this knowledge still remains a secret.  Why is that?  Because very few people are actually interested in discovering it.  That means that you who are here tonight are the cream of the crop - you are the most intelligent class of people in this city, because you were attracted to discover what this eternal wisdom is.  So even though you are gaining some knowledge tonight about this eternal wisdom, for the general population of Kouvola this will simply remain a secret . . . We are letting you in on the ultimate insider’s secret . . . these are actually the words of Krishna that are spoken in the Bhagavad-gita.  Krishna appeared 5,000 years ago in India and spoke these words on a famous battlefield called the Battlefield of Kurukshetre.  This is a very famous, classic conversation which actually took place 5,000 years ago.

Krishna further explains of this knowledge that it is the purest knowledge.  When we talk about pure knowledge, this implies that some knowledge might not be pure.  Knowledge which is always changing, like that which we were describing previously, contains impurity.  Pure knowledge does not change.

So Krishna says this knowledge is the king of education; it the topmost secret; it is the purest of all knowledge.  Then he says – and this is very, very significant; try to understand this point – he says, “and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion.”

“Because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion.”  This brings us to the essence of the eternal wisdom – to actually have direct perception of the self.  We normally think that by looking in the mirror, we get perception of the self – you know, that’s me; how do I look today?  We normally think of that as “perception of the self.”  But I ask you to consider these points:  Do you remember experiences you had when you were a little child?  The body you had when you were a little child - the chemicals that made up that body - is an entirely different set of chemicals from the set of chemicals that make up the body you have now.  Yet you remember experiences you had in that little child’s body, even though the chemicals are quite different now.  So are you those chemicals, or are you something different from those chemicals?

It’s just like today, you see, you have on a blue-jean jacket.  Tomorrow you may wear a red sweater.  Are you that blue-jean jacket?  No, you’re not, because tomorrow you can wear a red sweater and still be you.  So too, right now you are wearing a body which is composed of a certain combination of chemicals.  Just as your blue-jean jacket is a combination of chemicals, so your body is also a combination of chemicals.  And just as you can change that garment you are wearing, that blue-jean jacket, likewise during your lifetime you’ve gone through so many changes of body, because the chemicals are changing at every second.  But you’re still the same person, even though the body is different.

Thus by simple, logical analysis, you can easily realize that you are not that body.  You’re not that body.  So that means that if I think that I am male, or I think that I am female, or I think that I’m American, or I think that I am Finnish, or whatever, based on this body - then that is an illusion.  Anybody ever tell you that it is an illusion to think that you are a man or a woman . . . ?  I have traveled all the way from America to tell you that if you think that you are a man or a woman, then you are in an illusion.  I have come here tonight to tell you that you do have an identity: it’s tangible; it’s real.  The fact that you can hear what I am speaking to you right now proves that you exist because you have consciousness, you have cognizance.  You have awareness.  You have the ability to perceive through your eyes, through your ears, through your sense of smell, through your sense of taste – you have existence, but it has nothing to do with this material body.  This body is being utilized by you right now, but it’s not you.

Consider this point: Are you eyes seeing, or are you seeing through your eyes?  Are your ears hearing, or are you hearing through your ears?  Is your nose smelling, or are you smelling through your nose?  Is your tongue tasting, or are you tasting through your tongue?  The reality is that is you have a non-material, spiritual self that is actually eternal.  When one of our dear loved ones dies – our father or mother, our brother or sister or grandparent – when a loved one leaves us, when he dies, we may go to the funeral; we may see the body is lying there, yet we are crying, saying “he is gone, he is gone.”  But if our beloved relative were indeed his body, and the body is still lying there – then he hasn’t left.  So it’s very obvious, when a loved one dies, that he was not his body, because the body is still there yet we feel he is gone.  Just see the clear distinction that exists between the body and the self.

You may wonder, what is the use of all this talk – why don’t we talk about sports or politics?  What’s the use of all this dry philosophy?  Well, the fact is that what I am telling you tonight will enable you, if you follow seriously what we are describing to you this evening - if you can understand this knowledge and put it into practice - to become a spiritually enlightened being.  Tomorrow night we will give you detailed information on how to actually put it into practice.  It’s not very difficult.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, you’re retired, you’re a housewife, or a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, or a prime minister – it doesn’t matter what you are – we will teach you how to put this knowledge into practical application.  If you can understand this knowledge very carefully and clearly, and then you can actually put it practice, you will transcend all the miseries of material existence.  You will enter into a state of consciousness which is eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss.

We’re not imposing anything artificial upon you.  Try to understand very clearly: all we are doing is giving you the natural state of consciousness.  All we’re doing is teaching you how to know who you are and be who you are.  We’re not trying to convert you or subvert you or revert you or anything like that.  We simply want to give you some insiders’ information on how to actually be who you are.  And when you actually learn how to be who you really are, you’ll enjoy life like anything.  You’ll be the happiest person . . . you wouldn’t believe that such happiness could even exist in this world.  And the amazing thing is that this is the eternal wisdom that everybody in the world is supposed to know about.  But the problem is that for the last 5,000 years the leaders of the world have been throwing away the owner’s manual.  They have rejected the wisdom that the ancient sages of India had passed down for thousands, even millions of years.  I don’t know how the political leaders could be so stupid - although by studying the political leaders we have in the world today, I could get some idea how they could be so stupid [laughter from audience].  So all we want is to give you some valuable information.

Krishna continues to explain in this verse that this knowledge is the perfection of religion.  Nowadays in the world, religion is a big point of controversy.  But this is not the original essence of what religion is.  Man has invented this religion and that religion and this religion and that religion - and then he fights.  But actual religion is one.  “Religion” comes from the Latin word religio; it means to reconnect yourself with the Supreme.

So here we are in Kouvola, Finland.  We see that there are so many buildings, so many people going here and there, and so many changes of season – sometimes it’s snowing, sometimes the sun is shining – and there are so many forests around.  We see that there are so many things existing here.  All over the universe there are so many things that are existing.  And everything we see was caused by something prior to it - just like this very nice library auditorium that we’re sitting in right now.  These nice chairs - these chairs came from some manufacturing plant.  They took various raw ingredients and put them together to make a chair that you can sit in tonight.  We can trace everything that exists back, back, back – one thing that was caused by something else that was caused by something else that was caused by something else that was caused by something else.  And then we can finally reach that original something that was not derived from anything prior to it.  That something is called the Origin; it is called the Source; it is called the Supreme.  So everything actually has a relationship with that original source, the original energetic point from which everything else has come.  Even the scientists are trying to find out what that is.  Now they are saying, well, what caused the Big Bang?  They want to know, what is the origin of the universe?

There is an original source from which everything has come.  And one who realizes what that source is, what his or her relationship with that source is, and how he or she can live in perfect harmony with that source - that person has realized the eternal wisdom.  And that’s what we have come to explain in Kouvola:  How to understand that source, how to understand your relationship with that source, and how to make that relationship absolutely perfect.

Consider this: Gopinatha was very nicely playing his guitar for us earlier this evening.  But you know, in order for the guitar to sound very nice, the strings have to be properly in tune.  The guitar player might be very nice, but if the guitar’s strings are not properly tuned they will sound horrible.  Likewise, modern-day society is very nicely constructed – with so many nice people walking around, so many nice buildings, so many nice automobiles, so many nice fashions of clothing – so many nice arrangements all over Finland, all over the world – but because it is out of tune people are not happy, people are frustrated.  It doesn’t take a very big change to make things very nice.  All you have to do is get it in tune, that’s all.  We have come here tonight to teach you how to fine-tune your consciousness, to bring it back into a state of perfect harmony with the Supreme Consciousness.

We were doing some nice chanting earlier in the evening -

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

 This is called mantra.  Mantra is a Sanskrit word.  It breaks into two syllables – man and traMan refers to the mind, and tra means “that which delivers.”  So by chanting a mantra the mind becomes in tune with the Supreme Consciousness.

 Krishna concludes His verse by saying su-sukham kartum avyamam: “It is everlasting and is joyfully performed.”  So the result of fine-tuning your consciousness - getting it back in harmony with the Supreme Consciousness – is that you become absolutely ecstatic.  Now you might say to me that if I won the lottery, then I’d be ecstatic - I’d be jumping up and down, running up and down the street in complete ecstasy if I won the lottery.  But I’m telling you this: if you can fine-tune your consciousness by bringing it in perfect harmony with the Supreme Consciousness then you will be more ecstatic than somebody who won the lottery.  We see many people who win the lottery actually become very miserable.  There was one man in America [who had won the lottery] who ended up getting arrested for driving while under intoxication.  Even though he had so much money, he couldn’t enjoy it - he was miserable.  The problem was that his consciousness was not in harmony with the Supreme Consciousness.  If you can harmonize your consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness, then you will be absolutely ecstatic - whether you’re rich, whether you’re poor, whether you’re famous, whether nobody cares about you - whatever position you may have in this material world.  Whether you’re a dancer, whether you’re a singer, whether you’re a paper-mill worker, whether you’re a PhD, whether you’re an elementary school student – whatever you may be, it doesn’t matter.  If you have learned the art of how to fine-tune your consciousness, you will fully realize the eternal wisdom, and you will be happy in all times, all places, and all circumstances. 

 Does anybody have any questions?

 Q1) If we are different from this body, then why are we within this body?

 A1) Because we had a desire that was out of harmony with the Supreme Consciousness.  We had some desire to enjoy the material energy. 

 Q1.5) But that that is not the question.  Her question is, if our consciousness is separate from this body, then what is this that we are right now?

 A1.5) If we’re not the body, then what are we?  Actually, our nature is that we are eternal, spiritual beings.  The Supreme Consciousness is known by different names.  In scientific terms we can say “the supreme source of all that exists.”  Or in religious terms we can say “God” or “the Supreme Being.”  Our actual identity is that we are the eternal servants of God, or the eternal servants of that original source of everything that exists.  We’re actually spiritual by nature.  The body gets born, the body gets sick, the body gets old, the body dies - but the spiritual being doesn’t.  The spiritual being is eternal.  It’s always existed, and it always will exist.  So that’s who we actually are:  we’re servants of that Supreme Being. 

 

Q2) So what is our purpose?

 

A2) Our purpose?  This is very easily understood.  That original source, or God, is emanating from Himself, us.  Just as a husband and wife will get together and have children because they want to expand the loving relationships in the home, so that original Source, that original Person, is emanating us from Himself for the purpose of enjoying a loving relationship.  So the fact is that each and every one of us exists for the sole purpose of having a loving relationship with God.  That’s why you exist.  You see, you don’t exist because your mother and father wanted to have a baby.  The original, supreme Person is eternally emanating you from Himself.  Just like the sun is shooting out sun-rays, that original Person is also emanating you from Himself, manifesting you out of Himself.  If you die in a state of harmony with that supreme Person, then you go back to Him.  If you’re still out of harmony, then you remain in the material existence until you get back in harmony with Him.  Harmony means . . . actually, the Bible gives a very good example.  Christ says, “Father, not my will, but Thy will be done.”  That’s a state of perfect harmony – Christ is in a state of perfect harmony.  When your will and the will of the Supreme are one in the same, when there’s no difference – when your only desire is to please and serve Him, and you have no separate interest from the Lord – that is perfect harmony.

 Q3) Why did God not reveal this user’s manual in the beginning of time, when creating Man, knowing what kind of suffering he would have to undergo?

 A3) Actually, this knowledge has been available from the very beginning of the universe.  In India this knowledge has been known.  The first intelligent, created being in this universe was named Lord Brahma.  In the very beginning of the universe, from within the heart of Brahma, this knowledge was revealed to him.  It was passed on by oral tradition until 5,000 years ago, at which time it was put into written form (Brahma put it into writing also).  That knowledge has been transmitted since the beginning of the universe - it has been available.  And we’ve come here tonight to make sure you have it available for yourself now, you see.  Actually, God has sent us here to Kouvola as His messengers to give you this knowledge.  If you take home one of these books [Bhagavad-gita], then you will have the knowledge.  You can study it; you can write letters to our devotees in Helsinki, and they’ll answer your questions; you can personally write to me also - if you can communicate in English you can send me emails, and I will give you personal guidance. 

 Q4) Is God a personal or impersonal spiritual being?  I think He has a good sense of humor.

 A4) Yes, He does have a very good sense of humor.  God is actually a person.  He does have an impersonal side to Himself also.  The atheists experience His impersonal side.  Those who love Him experience his personal side.

 Q5) It is said that there is a heaven, and that everybody goes to heaven.  So if I reach this state of harmony, will I go to some other place?

 A5) Well, they say that everybody goes to heaven, and that’s a very nice idea, but I’m sorry to inform you that not everybody goes to heaven.  The kingdom of God is actually a place for those persons who have learned how to live in harmony with God.  You have to be in a state of harmony, or total agreement with the Lord, to be qualified to enter into His kingdom.  Actually, if you were not in a state of harmony you wouldn’t even be happy there.  So the key is this: if you want to enter into that kingdom of God at the time of death, you learn how to enter into that kingdom of God right now.  By living in a state of perfect harmony with God right now, then actually you’re already as good as in the kingdom of God, and that passage into the kingdom of God at the time of death will be guaranteed.  But consider this: if I’m not living in harmony with God now, how would I possibly fit into His kingdom?  I would be a cause of conflict in the kingdom of God.  If I cannot harmonize myself with God now, then how could I, all of the sudden, at the time of death, change my mentality?

 Q5.5) My little sister died when she was 3 years old.  So where did this little sister go?

 A5.5) I don’t know.  If she was in harmony with God, then she went to Him.  If she died in a state of harmony with God, then she went to Him.  It’s a very simple thing.  So we have to learn how to live in harmony with God and encourage everyone to live in that state of harmony with God. 

 Q6) I think there must be a fear now, that if you are not going to heaven, then you are going to hell, because that is what Christianity teaches.

 A6) Well, actually, in one sense we are already living in hell right now [i.e. in this material world].  Especially these Finnish winters - that is definitely hell [laughter from audience].  According to the Vedic wisdom, at the time of death you either take birth again in the material world or you go back to the kingdom of God.  According to the Vedic understanding, you keep taking birth after birth after birth until finally you learn how to harmonize with the will of the Lord, and then you enter His kingdom.  But it’s not difficult to learn how to live in harmony.  All you have to do is find persons who have mastered the art of living in harmony with the Lord and associate with them.  Then it’s very easy to pick up the art - just like when a mother duck swims in the water, the little baby ducks easily swim in the water behind the mother duck.  This is called “guru.”  You have to find a person, a spiritual master, who knows the art of how to live in harmony with God.  And by following such a guru, or spiritual master, then automatically you’re properly situated.  All these devotees here, they have come to a state of harmony by surrendering to a guru, a spiritual master. 

 Q7) We are different people, and you are speaking about this harmony.  So if we don’t know where our emotions originate from, can we reach this state of harmony?

 A7) Yes.  Actually, everything originates in God.  So the emotions that we have are actually meant to be experienced and expressed in relationship with God.  By nature, that is the natural position for our emotions.  So under the guidance of an expert spiritual master, we learn how to feel our emotions in relationship with God.  Since those emotions actually come from God, since He is the origin of the emotions, those should be offered back to Him.  And then He increases our feeling even more – our feeling of love.  And then that loving emotion is again offered to the Lord, and then He increases our feeling even more.  This is a type of yoga called bhakti-yoga, the science of emotional love.  The emotions are not denied, but they are engaged in a spiritual way that uplifts your consciousness.

  

[End of session – next session is Bhakti-yoga Techniques, recorded the following day]

__________________________________________

Transcribed by Her Grace Labangalatika devi dasi

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