Srila Narayana Maharaja

"Whatever is subject to decay is material, not spiritual. Material gain always brings only temporary, flickering happiness."

This is an exerpt from the booklet Beyond Liberation


Adapted From the Commentaries of
His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
and Compiled by BV Tridandi Svami.
Material Gains are not the ultimate path.

By good fortune, some begin to understand the futility of chasing ephemeral material goals and they inquire about and seek out an authority who can guide them to a deeper level of awareness. At this time, one may hear scriptures, such as the Bhagavad-Gita, which explain the following Truth.

  • In The Bhagavad Gita Chapter 5 Text 22 Lord Krishna says
  • ye hi samsparsa-ja bhoga duhkha-yonaya eva te ady-antavantah kaunteya na tesu ramate budhah
  • An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise person does not delight in them.”

Realizing that our chronic pursuit of material pleasure does not actually bring any real or lasting happiness, we may long in our hearts to become completely free of persistent material desires. We might then begin to seek liberation from this cycle of constant activity in which all of our actions create pleasurable and unpleasurable consequences. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, just as the movement of a pendulum in one direction secures its inevitable swing back the other way.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

 Whatever happy state we may achieve is transitory, followed by a miserable one not far behind. In the same way, a small child seems happy one minute and is crying the next. Even if our performance of worthy actions brings us pleasurable results, the happiness we experience is only temporary and, when it passes, misery again ensues. We thus conclude that liberation from this cycle of performing actions and receiving their reactions is the only goal worth pursuing. Furthermore, the external material path does not bring any lasting pleasure and is simply a cause of bondage. Whatever is subject to decay is material, not spiritual. Material gain always brings only temporary, flickering happiness. The Vedic scriptures inform us that we are more than our temporary, physical bodies. We are the eternally blissful souls within these bodies. Therefore, transitory, external pleasures do not bring us, as souls any real happiness. As we reflect upon these truths, our outlook will be broadened and we may choose to turn to a path of inward contemplation. As intelligent spiritual beings, why should we settle for less? Why do none of us wish to die?

We are the eternally blissful souls within temporary bodies.

One great sage declared it most amazing that in this world everywhere around us all forms of life, including people, trees and animals, are dying, yet we don’t believe death will actually come to us. The Vedic scriptures state that the soul is eternal in nature and, therefore, never dies. They also reveal that the soul is full of bliss, so it is inherent within our mind to seek out our true and higher blissful nature, which is also our real wealth and happiness. The nature of the soul is to reside peacefully in the eternal present, free from the dualities of past and future and from the burden of material desires. The nature of an uncontrolled mind is exactly the opposite. It is to be always restless and full of desires, constantly engaged in the process of planning for one’s future enjoyment. Understandably, the path of liberation from the sufferings and sorrows of worldly life appears very attractive. In fact, many of us pursue this goal and often perform rigorous practices, called austerities, to achieve its end. Pursuing liberation from the cycle of activities and their ensuing results is certainly a higher and nobler goal than endeavoring to enjoy material pleasures.

  • Liberation from the attempt at enjoyment of the material world is an eternal aspect of the soul. One can reach this consciousness by following these four practices: 
  • Completely self illuminated and self satisfied 
  • Discriminate between what is temporary or perishable and what is eternal or spiritual.
  • Renounce all desire for the temporal rewards and pleasures of this world and also those of the higher heavenly planets, which have been described as temporary in the Vedas. 
  • Develop control of the mind and senses. 

Attentively cultivate the desire to become a liberated person.  The nature of a liberated soul is to be completely self illuminated and self satisfied.  As previously mentioned, the Vedic scriptures are like a wish-fulfilling tree that can give us anything we may desire. They illuminate life’s different goals and clearly define the practical methods necessary to achieve them. Liberation is described as a state of purified consciousness wherein the soul realizes his individual nature, thus becoming self-realized. The nature of the liberated soul is to be completely self-satisfied and fulfilled. The soul resides inter-nally in a blissful state of autonomy, beyond and free from all desire to enjoy anything within this material world.

All spiritual souls are individual parts and parcels of Krishna

One can imagine such a state of consciousness with the help of a material example. Suppose we have just finished eating a healthy meal. As we lie back on a comfortable bed and peacefully enjoy the company of our family members, all of our senses feel satisfied. Because the senses are pacified at this point and because we are not suffering, our consciousness is able to dwell in the present moment. We are neither hankering after nor making plans for our future happiness, nor are we remembering anything from the past. Instead, we are relishing the present moment through experiencing some cessation of suffering in the material world. That internal “thought generator”– the talkative, demanding mind – is switched off momentarily. In this condition, we consider ourselves to be happy. Such a condition is likened to the consciousness of one who is liberated from desires because, momentarily, we have no desires. Being satisfied, we appreciate for an instant the essential present. This example is mundane, as the moment of satisfaction is flickering and brief. In contrast, the fortunate soul who achieves liberation from the bondage of material desires experiences a much greater satisfaction. Furthermore, that bliss is everlasting in nature. 

Copyright: Gaudiya Vedanta Publications used with permission


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