This is the 4th talk in the series “Speaking Truth Matters”.
Words communicate ideas. Untruth fogs the issues and will at some point result in a variety of suffering or unhappiness. To navigate life we need a compass that points to knowledge or truth.
The spoken word can liberate, and it can enslave and cover with ignorance. How do we know if something is founded on ignorance? Well there is an ancient formula: Ignorance = pain/suffering.
So if you are experiencing emptiness, pain, loneliness or suffering then you will have somehow embraced something that is untrue as truth.
To have a balanced perspective and live a balanced life you need to be anchored to Truth. The most foundational Truths are; 1) You Are Not Your Body, 2) You Are Also Not Your Mind. 3) You Are Spirit Soul, Not Matter – an eternal spiritual being, therefore material experience, and matter in general, cannot satisfy you. 4) You Are a Spark of the Supreme Soul bound by an eternal bond of kinship.
Reviving our spiritual consciousness and nurturing this eternal bond of kinship is best achieved by meditation upon transcendental sound. It uncovers our real identity and allows us to taste the sweetness we are always hankering for. This is the truth and the TRUTH will set you Free.
Verses I quoted in this talk:
Therefore, one should not view death with horror, nor have recourse to defining the body as soul, nor give way to exaggeration in enjoying the bodily necessities of life. Realizing the true nature of the living entity, one should move about in the world free from attachment and steadfast in purpose. – Bhāgavata Purāṇa 3.31.47
“The spirit soul is eternal and forever joined to the Supreme Soul by the tie of eternal kinship.” – Sri Brahma-Samhita 5.21
Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
So for a few weeks now we’ve been doing a series called Speaking Truth Matters, and tonight this will be the fifth talk in the series. So one of the things that hopefully we’ve been able to communicate is that words communicate ideas, and when untruth is spoken it really fogs the issues, and will at some point result in unhappiness and a variety of suffering for the living beings. So in order to navigate life successfully, you need a compass that points you in the right direction, and that compass is fundamentally spiritual truth or knowledge.
We have also touched on how sound vibration has—There are two types of sound vibration. One form of sound vibration entangles us in the world and leads to unhappiness and suffering, the other is transcendental in nature, and it brings enlightenment or liberation. So, the question then is, if something is categorized as being ignorance—how do we know if something is fundamentally ignorant? When I say ignorant, I mean the opposite to truth. Well, there’s an old, an ancient, formula. It’s the understanding that ignorance equals pain or suffering. And literally what this means is that in your life, if you are experiencing unhappiness, even great sadness, if you are experiencing a good deal of pain or suffering, it is, or even to a small degree, it is, because of ignorance. Somehow, somewhere, we are embracing something that is untrue.
So if you feel overwhelmed, lost, angry, fearful, if you are being moved by these different things, which are varieties of suffering or leading a person towards suffering, then it means, yes, I have embraced ignorance. There is something that I am hanging on to that is actually not true.
Of course, for the yogis, the transcendentalists, their guiding light was Vedic knowledge, to read and to become immersed in transcendental truth in the form of Vedic knowledge. It was a clear torchlight towards actual happiness.
We see, in the mis—well I’m not going to say misuse, but in the application of words and speaking that is focused on untruth, one of the big things that you always see is massive exaggeration. I mean this is social media: everything is in these over-the-top superlatives, where an ordinary thing becomes, “Oh my God! It was so amazing!” No, it wasn’t. It was okay, but it wasn’t that far out. “Oh, oh, you should have been there! It was like, wow! the best ever!” The best ever? I mean since when? Like one month ago? One year ago? 10,000 years ago? The best ever, that’s pretty heavy. And so everybody has become very accustomed to promoting actually materialistic ideas, and then slathering them with all these wild superlatives to try and just attract other people’s minds and attention, and wanting to feel good about themself through adulation. “Oh, I wish I was there! Oh, why didn’t you tell me about it?” “Okay, next time I will.” And it’s just like, oh my God, this is such an empty life, if this is your focus.
So, when people engage, you’re either going to engage with the world and speak in a way that is sober, or the opposite is what? Intoxicated. And when somebody is intoxicated, they’re just staggering around babbling, not really making sense, telling everybody, [in drunken slur] “I really love you, man. Yeah” It’s just like, oh, come on, you’re just off your head. You’re off your face on something, whatever your choice is. But this kind of intoxicated state actually never leads to happiness. You look at what’s going on, the rates, and (sorry to sound like a broken record) the rates of suicide, of mental illness, of serious depression, which is all coming from this space, where everybody’s over-indulged in superlatives and exaggerations, but actually everything that’s being promoted is material ideas and material consciousness. And it leads to such unhappiness. But when you’re in that state of intoxication you can’t figure it out. You can’t see with clarity.
In the Bhagavat Purana there is a verse, and I don’t know, this might shock you a little bit. The verse states:
“Therefore, one should not view death with horror…”
I mean, just that part alone most people are already freaked out.
“…one should not view death with horror, nor have recourse to defining the body as soul…”
—meaning defining the body as who you are, your identity. And we’re deeply immersed in this right now. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it, where people really think that the adoption of another form of material identity is going to make them fulfilled and happy. No, it will increase your suffering.
“nor give way to exaggeration in enjoying the bodily necessities”
So there’s a recognition, yeah, you’ve got to take care of the body, you’ve got to take care of stuff, which means you’re going to eat, you’re going to taste things, you’re going to smell things, you’re going to experience stuff. And it’s okay, it’s a bit of a rush, it’s nice, but it comes, and it goes very quickly. That which is material has a beginning, and because it has a beginning, it does have an end, so trying to cling on to it forever is unintelligent, is actually ignorant.
“Realizing the true nature of the living entity, one should move about in the world free from attachment and steadfast in purpose.”
So this is the prescription for living a very balanced life. It’s going to be shaped by purpose, to have an actual true, an actual true, as opposed to a false purpose in life. That which is really in your interest, is of utmost importance. So, in order to have such a balanced life and a balanced perspective it has to be anchored on truth, on great and transcendental truth.
So I will share with you what has been shared for thousands of years, as being the platform of truth that you can actually anchor your life to. It can serve as a compass to direct your life.
The first is, of course, that you are not the body. You’re not! The body is not you. Oh my God, how much suffering is endured by people because of this false idea that the body is the self. This is the foundation for all fear, for all unhappiness, for all suffering, is this one illusion.
The second is that you are not the mind. And of course, when you actually embrace that it’s incredibly empowering, because you realize that I don’t have to be swept away by whatever’s going on in my mind. I can step back. I can disengage from that. I can become more immersed in spiritual understanding. I can calm down and actually make decisions, choices, choose courses of action that will make my life very wonderful. So knowing that you’re not the mind is really central to that.
The third great truth is that you are (‘cos the first two is what you are not)—you are a spirit soul. In Sanskrit this is called atma. You are an eternal spiritual being, and because you, you the person within, are an eternal spiritual being, no amount of material experience, no amount of stimulating in the body, the body and the mind, can actually fulfill you or satisfy you. It’s impossible. So to live in the world with that understanding, yeah, there’s nice things that happen, and I can experience, and there’s a lot of bummer things that happen, and I can experience. Either way my focus should not just be on that and chasing that. This is chasing mirages.
So, the fourth great truth is that you are a spark of the Supreme Soul, in the same way that the rays of sunlight stream from the sun, all living beings, all spiritual beings emanate from the Supreme Soul. We have an eternal connection with our source, which is only natural. Shouldn’t we have a connection with our source? Most people have no idea what their source is.
This connection is described in the Brahma Samhita, where it states:
“The spirit soul is eternal and forever joined to the Supreme Soul by a tie of eternal kinship.”
The Supreme Soul is actually our soul mate. Another material personality in this world is not your soul mate. You can be really good friends. You can really get along. You can be deeply affectionate with each other. But you are an eternal spiritual being. You have an eternal connection with the Supreme Soul. This is a bond of profound—an affectionate kinship.
But when we turn away from that and become focused on this world, then in effect we forget about our eternal and dear most friend. We turn away from that which is all blissful, and we become absorbed in that which is temporary and filled with sadness, material existence. Because of that, we then suffer from loneliness, a sense of helplessness, and a sense of meaninglessness. All of this arises because of this choice that we make. So we in effect become like an abandoned child living in the streets, as if we have no shelter. We have no one to love or to love us.
And that, my friends, is the truth, and the truth shall set you free. If you meditate upon this truth, if you try to integrate it into your life, if you live by truth, if you live a spiritually directed life, if your purpose is fundamentally spiritual in nature, you will be able to find happiness, you will be able to find the actual peacefulness. So of course, the key to actually be—
I’ll just make a thing about—because I mentioned about being free: There is this really dangerous and toxic idea that’s floating around the world, especially in the modern materialistic and hedonistic society in which we live; and that idea is, freedom means I can, without any impediment, choose to do whatever I want. The great sages would say that is the dumbest thing that you could say. Because what you’re missing, the point that you’re missing, while you may be free, and yes, you are free to make decisions, to do things, you cannot escape the consequences of your choices.
You pay for everything. You make really good choices, you have wonderful results in your life. You make bad choices, you will be unhappy. If you’d feel troubled, lonely, unhappy, heartbroken, fearful, any of these things, this is the result of choices that we have made. We bring ourselves to these places by our choices. Freedom is not the freedom to make the choice. That’s there with everyone. That’s never lost. But to become free from the consequences, that means to become transcendentally situated.
So this key to becoming free, of course, is in rediscovering our true and eternal spiritual identity, to find our way home and to rest our heart in that ocean of love who is the Supreme Soul. And the way to do that, of course, is through the use of spiritual sound, of transcendental sound. You can make your practice of chanting, whether it’s quietly with beads in meditation, whether it’s alone singing aloud these spiritual sounds, whether it is in groups, you can make this a heartfelt cry, a desire to again find this home, this place of shelter. In Sanskrit it’s called ashraya, our shelter.
In this world it is called durashraya, false shelter. When we take shelter in that which is material we will always be disappointed. And when we are disappointed, we will then seek to relieve our pain by again making a mistake, by choosing something else material. And we become now implicated in this ongoing hoping against hope: maybe this time, maybe this next person, maybe this amount of money in the bank, maybe this experience is going to fulfill me. And no, it just perpetuates the problem.
I hope I have not been—I—it’s pretty direct, yeah? Is it a turn off? Or it’s cool? Feel free to speak up. I—really it is utterly heartbreaking when we choose, voluntarily, courses in our life that only bring unhappiness and suffering. And as I said, that is because of ignorance, choosing that which is not eternal and true. And so speaking yourself, and listening to others speak, if we are immersed in speaking truth it actually really matters, because it really shapes your life and your life’s choices.
With that we will chant. I am going to chant the Mahamantra. It has sometimes been described as the Great Hymn for Deliverance, to be delivered from great suffering that results from ignorance, the desire to bathe in spiritual knowledge and transcendence, and that which is good and pure, that which is ecstatically happy, that which is overflowing with love.