The subject of atheism was recently raised in a public talk I gave at Mantra Night. In the Western world there is the idea of two opposing camps and one camp (under the influence of some variety of Christianity or other) holds that atheism is condemnable and the atheist will be “condemned to hell” for all eternity. This idea while common the “Christian world” was not embraced by the rest of the ancient world.
The ancient Vedic philosophy did not hold such an opinion. They did not see the theist and the atheist as being enemies. The view of the ancient sages was far more liberal (in the true meaning of the word) and compassionate. Their explanations about the severe limitations of the bodily senses and the mundane mind and how these “tools” can never reveal transcendental truth or reality and neither can materially polluted consciousness penetrate the transcendental realm.
Some quotes I used:
Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those truth-seekers who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 1.1.2
This is the underlying problem: we have ignored a critical component of the cosmos, shunted it out of the way because we didn’t know what to do with it. This component is consciousness. – Robert Lanza (stem-cell researcher and cloning pioneer) author of “Biocentrism”
Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter. Our current model simply does not allow for consciousness, and our understanding of this most basic phenomenon of our existence is virtually nil. Interestingly, our present model of physics does not even recognize this as a problem. – Robert Lanza (stem-cell researcher and cloning pioneer) author of “Biocentrism”
(Speaking of some theologians) Furthermore, because of polluted eagerness to arrive at the right conclusion, their theories are incapable of revealing You, who are transcendental to their material conceptions. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 6.9.36
For this reason the enlightened person should endeavor only for the minimum necessities of life while in the world of names. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 2.2.3
My dear Lord, the Vedic literatures alone reveal confidential knowledge of Your supreme personality, and thus even such great scholars as Lord Brahma himself are bewildered in their attempt to understand You through empirical methods. Each philosopher understands You according to his particular speculative conclusions. … – Bhāgavata Purāṇa 12.8.49
“Abandon all varieties of dharma (religion, paths, teachings) and just surrender unto Me.” – Bhagavad-gītā 18.66
Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
So the topic this evening is a discussion on atheism from the Vedic perspective. So I’ll just read a little bit that I wrote as part of the promo for the talk:
The subject of atheism was recently raised in a public talk I gave at Mantra Night. In the Western world there is the idea of two opposing camps and one camp (under the influence of some variety of Christianity or other) holds that atheism is condemnable and the atheist will be “condemned to hell” for all eternity. And this idea, while common in the “Christian world”, was not really embraced in the rest of the ancient world.
The ancient Vedic philosophy did not hold such an opinion. They did not see the theist and the atheist as being perpetual enemies. The view of the ancient sages was far more liberal (in the true meaning of the word) and compassionate.
So this is going to be a little exploration of what, at least in the Western world, has often been a very heated debate, where you had two camps sort of firmly set against each other. And the views that are often held by both camps are quite frequently, at least in my perhaps limited experience, their views are often very Eurocentric and often Abrahamic or the Christian perspective also, or world view. So it’s kind of like it falls into this often-held idea that everything is easily divided into that which is good and that which is evil. And so people are going to place each other in these two—one of these two camps.
In the Vedic paradigm there was the, yes, understanding and acceptance of the reality of both good and evil, but there is also a transcendent position, a transcendental position, which was said to be above, or transcendental, or transcendent to both good and evil as it is perceived in this world. And so when you see the way in which people often engage in argument, there is often this framework that has been applied. The Vedic perspective was that they did not look at things in these two dualities, the good and evil paradigm, although as I said it was recognized. There was an appreciation of religion, or religious ideal, but they saw this as being a stepping stone to a higher transcendental position.
So I’m not sure if you’ve picked up on it yet or not, but there was the appreciation that religion can be influenced by materialism, and that was not considered purely spiritual. It was considered like, it’s sort of heading in the right direction, if I can put it that way, quite simply. But there was not—or there was the understanding that the religious point of view is an entry or an entry point into a transcendental realm.
So we’re going to be going over some of these things, but I wanted to share with you a verse. It’s from a very ancient text called the Bhagavat Purana, and it’s from the very beginning of this transcendental literature. And the verse goes as follows:
“Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those truth-seekers who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. And such truth uproots the threefold miseries.”
So there’s quite a lot covered there, but we’ll simply reference this verse from the perspective that they made this very clear distinction between what is characterized as materially motivated religion and that which is truly transcendental.
So in this perspective and understanding much of the activity undertaken by those who are religious was understood to be like a pious form of materialism, and it had its roots in the consciousness of me being the most important person in my life, it all being about me. And so the idea, for instance, of salvation was considered to be a materially motivated desire, because in that situation the pious religionist turns to a higher power, a Deity, a Supreme Lord, and begs, “O Lord, save me.” I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that or that that should not be done, but I am making the point that in that formula I am the central agent, the central personality, and God, while He may be understood or held to be more powerful, infinitely more powerful than me, I am asking Him to do something for me. I want Him to hear my pleas and render me some service. For the transcendentalist this idea is considered actually distasteful, not bad, not wrong, but distasteful.
So the Vedic perspective of this whole arena of argument, debate and fighting was like, there’s something higher, and you will not come to any real knowledge or understanding if you follow this partisan and fighting mood in dealing with each other.
So we generally see the theist, and again I am generalizing, and we’re not touching on everything, we don’t have enough time (and can I just say, what I will discuss and try to present here is really a tiny amount of what we could discuss on the subject, but I’m doing things—and some of them not in tremendous detail—just to try and get to the crux of the matter and to try and understand some important points). So we see the theist’s view of the atheist as being—there is this feeling that the atheist’s view is an attack on my beliefs, and it is an attack upon God, whom I hold most dear. There is also this element of fear that the atheist or atheism might corrupt me or corrupt those I hold dear and love, that they will be corrupted and stray from the path and in so doing will lose their opportunity for salvation.
So this perspective—and let me just reiterate, the transcendentalists had no tolerance for any criticism of a higher transcendental reality or God. They did not tolerate that, and they considered that people that held those views were either of a nature of being envious or not very intelligent. And please don’t react just yet. Please do wait, and so we can explore. I’m just trying to lay out to you sort of like frameworks of thinking.
So there was this element of fear amongst the so-called theists.
And again, I just want to stress, not all theists were regarded as transcendentalists, which is a really interesting idea. The reality is that many people that are religious don’t have, necessarily, a very elevated or developed understanding of this highest spiritual principle or of God. There is often a tendency to attribute all types of human characteristics to a Supreme Deity. And you often find that the atheists argue against some of these ideas and use all of the bad examples in theism to justify their position that God is not real, there is no higher transcendent or spiritual reality. The atheists, their view of theists often is that theists are unscientific and irrational.
So we’ve examined, previously, what transpired in the Western World. I used the terminology before, Eurocentric: Many of the people within academic institutions actually have not been exposed to, in a deep way, to the cultures and thinking of the greater majority of people of this world. And so we have this whole history of where the early Christian Church took it upon themselves to declare their infallibility on all subjects, and so they openly promoted ideas and views that were clearly unscientific. And if people tried to disprove it through science and experimentation, sometimes these people were burned at the stake as being like witches or evils, the evil people, the representatives of Satan, and so we had this terrible history. And funnily enough there were great scientific minds within the early Christian or Catholic Church. Some of them were Jesuits, who were great scientific minds and were at the forefront of scientific exploration. So gradually it came about that the leadership of the Catholic church was pressured to not take such a strident and unreasonable position of claiming infallibility on all things. And so finally there was some form of agreement reached where the members of the hierarchy in the church claimed infallibility on spiritual matters but not to be infallible on temporal matters. And so we sort of had a divergence there between religion and science, a divergence that you did not see in other parts of the world.
So we had this age of Enlightenment, which started around the end of the 1600s, and ran through to the very beginning of the 1800s, and they referred to it as the great Age of Reason, and there was a “rational thinker” movement. And of course, the implication was that if you weren’t on board the science train, if you were a simple person who went to church and believed in God, you were labelled as irrational. But if we look at things objectively, we see in the Western world that—and I know people are going to object to this, but—more or less the belief in God is viewed as a threat to the supremacy of science.
And so in many leading universities in the Western world scientists are not allowed to openly say that they are at least open to the idea of some higher spiritual reality or God. If you do that your prospects for advancement through the academe become reduced to zero. You’re not going anywhere, nor will you get funding to do research, even though you’re doing research on non-religious or non-spiritual things. You will become a pariah. You become ostracized. So in that regard it’s become a little bit like a movement of religious fanatics.
So on one side you’ve got the religionists with religious fanatics which are identifiable, but then on the other side you have people that are also manifesting the qualities of being like religious fanatics, and you have to embrace their view and their opinions, and if you try to be open to more than what’s been presented then you are literally ostracized.
So if we look at the dictionary definitions of these words: “theism” in the dictionaries is defined as—it is “broadly defined as the belief in the existence of a supreme being or of deities.” And atheism has been defined as follows: “In the broader sense atheism is an absence of belief in the existence of deities.” And I can see that these words are carefully chosen: “the absence of belief in deities.” So it’s sometimes categorized as a disbelief in God.
But in reality, from the Vedic perspective, both of these positions would be considered belief systems. One is saying, “I believe in God,” and the other one is saying, “I don’t believe in God.” Yeah, that is also a belief system, whether you want to categorize it or not. And if we look at some of the elements of the type of arguments that people make on both sides there is sometimes seen elements of kind of like blind faith and blind acceptance, which is not very often going to be productive and helpful for anyone. Even those who are seeking the highest spiritual experience, we must go beyond simply blindly believing and accepting. And this is something that the Vedic transcendentalists, the great sages, quite strongly promoted. So there was this recognition.
There are some people that are stating that the Vedas openly embraced atheism, and that is not factual. That is a misunderstanding. And it’s based upon the limited understanding that people have now of the sankhya philosophy. The sankhya philosophy was the very rational and logical analysing of nature and material elements to develop a higher understanding and appreciation.
It was, in the most ancient of times, taught by Kapila Deva, who is considered, actually, in the Vedas, as an incarnation of God. Much later, after this most ancient time, there was another Kapila Deva who promoted also what he said was sankhya philosophy, and in his presentation he denied the existence of God or the need for any God. But many historians, even, are confused on this point, not knowing that there were two distinct personalities, and the originator of sankhya philosophy was definitely a theist and a great transcendentalist.
So—and this is going to be a little bit of an eye-opener, perhaps, for some people—the Vedic philosophers and saints, they viewed atheism as the claim of omniscience. Not sure if everybody’s familiar with the word “omniscience,” which means “all-knowing.” And you would—some people may in their defense say, “No, I’m not claiming to be all-knowing,” but if you are to make the claim that there is no higher transcendent reality, there is no such thing as God, then you are making a claim to know everything that there is to know. You are in fact claiming omniscience and God-like power to yourself. You are claiming to be God. And so that’s kind of like a stunningly ignorant position, to say that you know everything. You can say, “I don’t believe in the existence of God,” but you can’t declare there is no God based upon just my declaration.
From the Vedic perspective the agnostic is a far more intelligent person, because the agnostic holds the view that “any ultimate reality such as God is unknown and probably unknowable,” and that view would be completely embraced by the great Vedic saints and teachers. And someone may think, whoa, well, I thought they were—tended to be more theistic.
Well, it’s based upon this: The materialist has a two-dimensional paradigm, or what I refer to as a two-dimensional paradigm. You have the body, and you have the mind, and that’s kind of it. Whereas the transcendentalists hold that, yes there is a body, there is a mind, but there is also an animate or an animating spiritual being who is the one that is bringing life and consciousness to the body. And if one is only going to rely on the mind and the material senses, then truly, God or any higher spiritual reality is unknowable. It’s not that God or a higher truth cannot be known, but it cannot be known through the senses and the mind.
So, in looking at the modern scientists, the Vedic perspective would be that the modern scientist is a kindred spirit to spiritual exploration, in that scientists are seeking or searching for both understanding of how everything is working and ultimately to be able to explain the original cause. Whether people want to admit that or not, that in reality is what the attempt is. Even you’ve got physicists, astrophysicists who—I saw one book, A Universe From Nothing, that it came from nothing. Okay, even if you want to embrace that you are still embracing the search for the ultimate cause, in that its ultimate cause is, “It was eternally existing.” Yeah, that’s not a cause in the way we want to generally use the word, but we are looking for a deeper understanding.
But something that’s not embraced by many of the scientific minds is the consideration of the nature of consciousness itself and the role it plays in scientific exploration and in spiritual exploration. There’s an American scientist, his name is Robert Lanza, Robert Lanza is a stem cell researcher, and he is one of the pioneers in cloning. And he wrote a book called Biocentrism, where he’s putting forward a whole new approach to trying to find causation and ultimate realities. He was listed by Time magazine as one of the five most influential scientific minds in the world, one year, so he has a reputation. And of course, people are going to disagree, but it’s kind of like if we’re going to shut down exploration then we’re not going to really come to significant conclusions or advance the search of knowledge. But in addressing this problem of consciousness he has stated in a book that he wrote:
“This is the underlying problem: we have ignored a critical component of the cosmos, shunted it out of the way because we didn’t know what to do with it. This component is consciousness.”
I mean, that’s a pretty radical statement. And then in another part he states,
“Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter. Our current model simply does not allow for consciousness, and our understanding of this most basic phenomenon of our existence is virtually nil. Interestingly, our present model of physics does not even recognize this as a problem.”
So he has these discussions on the most critical component to any scientific exploration is consciousness, and people engage in experimental science and theoretical science and do not in any way recognize consciousness and the role it plays in this search. And so he finds this to be much to be desired in true searching.
So you’ve got the question of consciousness. The Vedic understanding was that consciousness is a characteristic of a specific type of energy. They say that in the material world there are only two types of fundamental energy. One is the material energy, which in its most basic form is called pradhana and then later as prakriti; and then you have what is called the atma, the jiva atma. The jiva atma was understood to be a spiritual form of energy, and it’s characterized by life and consciousness. So any place that you see a manifestation of life and of consciousness it will be because there is a spiritual being, a jiva atma, there.
We could have a big discussion about how observation of things occurs. And we’ve just used the example many times: I look at something, like I look at my hand: the reason I can supposedly see something is because there is light reflecting off that hand. If we were in dark, I could see nothing. So the light enters through my eyeball—the eyeball does not see, all it does is transmit light through a lens, in reverse, and that stimulates photo-electric cells at the back of the—or light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye, which then emit electrical impulses that travel down the optic nerve into the visual cortex of the brain and stimulate brain cells. But that still does not explain what is seeing, and more importantly, who is seeing, and where are all these experiences actually stored.
Robert Lanza, also, he had this comparison: it’s kind of like trying to take apart a computer, and a hard drive in a computer, looking for all the information that’s contained there. And it’s kind of like, the computer doesn’t contain information. It contains a representation, and the machinery makes it so that it can take these ones and zeros in the binary system, and then turn it into an image or something, but that that information is not actually contained within the hard drive, if we understand the deeper meaning of information.
So apart from the question of consciousness, which is just monumental, and we don’t have enough time to discuss, there is also the reality of different states of consciousness, how different categories of—and let’s just limit it to human beings, can exist in different states of consciousness, and those states of consciousness actually very much affect both how we see and what we see. This is like a really, really deep idea, how people, two people can look at the same thing, and one can be utterly repulsed by it, and one can be infinitely attracted by it, and even stimulated and excited by it. That example shows you how diverse states of consciousness just produce different types of perception and different ways in which people react and respond to things.
So speaking to this point, there is a verse from the Bhagavad-gita that talks about these polar opposites in terms of states of consciousness. So there is one verse that says,
“What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.”
So some really key words there, “introspective sage,” people that are really very deeply thinking and really going within to find a greater meaning. But it said, “What is night for all beings is a time of awakening for the self-controlled.” The Sanskrit word here is—it’s interesting because there was this understanding amongst the yogis and sages that if you are simply going to be a hedonist and surrender constantly to the urges of the mind and the desire of the body and the senses, then you will remain always blind to the reality of your own spiritual being and existence. You’ll be lost in the idea of the body as being the self. And so one of the characteristics of the great spiritual seekers were not that they tortured their body and mind, but they showed tremendous restraint, and they didn’t just wantonly chase after things that actually do not produce happiness.
So there is another idea that’s raised in another verse in the Bhagavat Purana (and this is just part of the verse that I’m reading), and they were speaking about theologians engaged in debating what is the truth. So this is not the atheist, this was the theologians, who were debating. And it said:
“Furthermore, because of polluted eagerness to arrive at the right conclusion, their theories are incapable of revealing You, who are transcendental to their material conceptions.”
That’s just like staggering, that you could be a philosopher and a theologian, but if you have not cultivated an understanding of the reality of your spiritual existence, if you have not embraced the understanding that the mind is rather a blunt instrument, and it does not have the power to reveal deeper spiritual and transcendental truth, then you will often be moved by this desire to be right, and that desire to be right will cover your perception and experience of what is actually true, because it is an egotistical desire to be right.
Guys still with me here? Or…? I mean, I’m just trying to do the real easy version. This is—I mean the way that the great saints and spiritual teachers explored these things was just totally amazing. They spoke about the empirical method of trying to gain knowledge. So the definition of the empirical method in the dictionary, it means, “capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment; originating in or based on observation or experience.” So this is the empirical view. And of course, this is one of the less intelligent questions that are put to religionists by the disbelievers: “Can you show me God?” and there is no thought that possibly if He did exist, I couldn’t even see Him or perceive Him with this gelatinous blob in my head anyway, known as the eye.
So one of my spiritual teachers said that, “Empirical knowledge deals with our ephemeral experience of the sense objects generated by material nature.” That is the limitation. I mean just going back a few minutes ago we were talking about, who is the actual seer? The Sanskrit word for this is drishta, the actual seer, which was understood to not be the brain, or the eyeball, or the physical body, that there was an actual seer within. And when one limits their exploration only to the material energy you will never have any spiritual perception or experience based on that.
So another thing that was always—the spiritual aspirants were made aware of very early on, is that the human condition, the embodied condition where we take the body to be the self, and the consciousness that accompanies that, means that we will be covered by four defects.
The first one is called bhrama, which is the tendency to commit mistakes. I mean if we actually embrace this then we would never be overly confident, because there’s always going to be the question, “Am I mistaken here?” Because yes, you could be mistaken.
Pramada, to be subject to illusion. And there’s a whole science on how the brain reacts to different types of sense stimulation, visual or otherwise, and how we can end up seeing something that is not actually there. And this is what, in the old days magicians, are now known as illusionists, this is how they operate. They create something that looks like it could not possibly have happened, but you saw it happen right in front of you, and you cannot understand or perceive—actually you were tricked. There’s always tricks involved. It’s not magic.
Then there is vipralipsa, or this tendency to cheat, particularly to cheat others, but also to cheat ourselves.
And karanapatava which means sensory inefficiency. Your senses have inefficiencies and limitations, and even when you attach powerful scientific instruments to them or use powerful scientific instruments as extensions of them that fundamental flaw still exists.
And so if we have these flaws, then one must always question our conclusion. And of course, then there’s something else which I won’t go into any detail here: There was this understanding of a pervasive powerful illusory energy that permeates material nature, and it is manifest in limitless ways. But one way it is manifest, when we embrace the false idea that the body is the self, in that condition one is considered to be deeply in illusion. And all the things that will come from it are considered an illusion: the idea that this world, I can make it my home, I can find perfect happiness here, I can find perfect love, none of these things are true, and yet we live by these ideas.
So you see it, the scientists are quite often not very—No, I’m not going to say that. That’s incorrect. Some of the greatest minds are deeply humble people. I mean they’re just so humble. They don’t make the kind of ridiculous statements that people that want to use science as a bat to bash people that believe in God or have any attraction to any higher spiritual reality with. They’re not like that at all.
But I mean if you look at it, the development of scientific theory, and all these different fields over time, there’s just constant change. What was held to be a fact one day becomes not factual another day. I mean it’s stunning, when you look at the newspaper, and they say they’ve discovered some footprints of homo sapiens that carbon date, and according to the nature of the rock and everything, the geology, they date back now a hundred and twenty thousand years prior to when people supposedly first got up and started walking around. I mean, what, you can be off by 120 thousand years, and you’re not ashamed, and you want me to still believe you? Yeah, it’s in reality, its best efforts, but there are shifting and developing truths that come out of science. It’s always kind of like, “to the best of our knowledge.”
But yet in the sphere of debate between theists and atheists, the atheists often want to put themselves forward, like the people, the religionists of the Middle Ages, where they wanted to claim infallibility. And it’s just like, oh my God, this has gone from being objecting to that type of influence and thinking, to now fully embracing it.
The reality is that dark matter makes up, meant to be about 85 percent of the matter in the universe, 85 percent, and people don’t actually know what it is. Then you’ve got dark energy which chips away another part of the—of what is known. So the stuff that you claim to know about represents less than 15 percent of all the matter in the universe, and you’re going to claim a position of being all-knowing? That’s not very smart.
So there is an additional problem for what I’m referring here to as “the materialists.” They have a word in Sanskrit. It is adhoksaja. Adhoksaja means that which is imperceivable to, or cannot be approached by, the mundane senses. And so God and the spiritual realm, the soul, the spiritual realities are all categorized as adhoksaja. It means that they cannot be approached or are imperceivable to the gross senses. And of course, “That’s not fair! You’re saying I can’t perceive it. I can’t smell it, taste it, touch it. I can’t do any of these things. And my mind which is a product of—is of material energy also, it cannot embrace this higher spiritual reality?” And the answer is, yeah, that’s the issue, and that’s the problem.
And yet you’ll see the materialists have very extraordinary belief in matter and the material energy. One of my spiritual masters, he spoke about, one time, how people have this blind faith and belief in material so-called “reality” and say that spiritual experience or reality is an illusion, whereas in reality, from the perspective of the transcendentalist, the opposite is true. That which is spiritual is the reality. That which is material is a constantly changing and temporary and ephemeral truth. It is not an absolute truth. It is a temporary truth.
So in speaking to that point, I’ll just quote another verse from the Bhagavat Purana, where they refer to this world as “a world of names.” So:
“For this reason the enlightened person should endeavor only for the minimum necessities of life while in the world of names.”
So they spoke about not seeking to find fulfillment and complete happiness by material experience. They had the vision that there was no difference between, excuse me, dog shit and gold or chocolate. There was the understanding that the basic atomic particles that make up chocolate are the same, the same neutrons, same protons, same electrons that are making up dog shit. The distinction is how we are relating to, and how we are giving value to one thing over the other. So they saw these things in the most amazing and extraordinary way.
Was a higher spiritual reality actually perceivable? And they say, “Yes, it is perceivable.” I know it to be perceivable, not perceivable by the gross mundane senses. The reason that the body has the capacity of senses is because—this is not an attribute of the body, but it is an attribute of the living being, the eternal spiritual being who is residing within the body and lending this facility to the body. Transcendental perception is real, but one has to undergo transformation, one needs to have—to go through a process of purification, that there will be a great change in our state of consciousness and how we are beginning to perceive and look at things.
So reading from a another verse from the Bhagavad Purana:
“My dear Lord, the Vedic literatures alone reveal confidential knowledge of Your supreme personality, and thus even such great scholars as Lord Brahma himself are bewildered in their attempt to understand You through empirical methods. Each philosopher understands You according to his particular speculative conclusions…”
So once again this is a confirmation of what I was speaking about earlier, that empirical methods, seeking to verify the reality of something only through the mind and the gross physical senses, which suffer from these four defects I mentioned earlier, mean that it’s not going to be a possibility when we are trying to perceive or enter a realm that is beyond the mundane senses and mind. But when people try in this way, then they develop different types of understandings according to their speculative conclusions. And for this reason there are such a variety of religions and anti-religions in the world, where people are limiting or having such faith in these temporary and limited material faculties to try and come to enter a world that is limitless, that is fully spiritual and transcendental.
So in this Vedic perspective it’s not like—You know, in the beginning I talked about the battle between the theists and the atheists, how people see it as being like this battle between good and evil, there are only those two choices. The Vedic position is, no, there is a transcendental platform which is above both good and evil. And religion, as it is practiced in this world, and often worldly religion, is a better position than being an atheist, in that there is the possibility of you being redeemed. You’re kind of heading in a direction, but you’re utilizing only material consciousness and the limitations of the mind and the senses to try and approach God, and you are—you have a self-centered drive, all of which are not part of the actual soul itself; and hence the term “materialistic religion.” Religion that is materialistic cannot—has severe limitations. And we are called upon to actually transcend material conception and material limitation, to know a higher spiritual and transcendent reality.
In the very conclusion of the Bhagavad-gita there is a verse (and I’m just going to read part of it to emphasize this point), where Krishna states,
“Abandon all varieties of dharma (meaning religion or path, spiritual, and teachings) and just surrender unto Me.”
This is a massive topic. This is not a call to blind faith or blind acceptance. This is a call to something much more amazing and wonderful. In the Bhagavad-gita Arjuna had been listening to and hearing about all of these different processes that are laid out, and different forms of meditation and austerity and sacrificial offering and charity, and all these different paths and different paths of yoga were laid out by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. And then after laying all of them out He comes to this conclusion, sarva-dharmam parityaja. Sarva means all, not just all like amongst a few. It’s like a vast array, sarva-dharma, all forms of dharma. Give it up, and just surrender to Me, meaning, enter that transcendental approach, that transcendental platform.
So this is a massive topic, and of course, we haven’t got to speaking about how that would happen. But this idea, yeah, it is true that many religious practitioners are materialistic, but that is not a disqualification for coming to a higher transcendental platform. But once people have begun moving in that direction the possibility of going higher and approaching the transcendental platform is very real. Whereas those that turn their back on any higher transcendental reality, and as—out of blind faith, and enviousness to some degree, want to take upon themself the mantle of omniscience, that they know everything. That’s just like—that’s a massive eye roll. It’s sort of like—that’s sad and unfortunate. There’s nothing to redeem you once you head down that path. The materialistic religionists, the path that they’re heading, yes there is the possibility of that which is redeeming; but when you head down the other path there’s no redemption there. There’s nothing that will save you from yourself and the material condition.
So okay, this was probably a little bit tough for a lot of people. I’m hoping that you were able to stick with me and follow this. You probably have to listen to this talk a few times, and like I said, we’ve only scratched the surface. It’s much deeper than this. But those who are non-envious, those who are very intelligent, will actually see the light in some of the things that we spoke of, and will no doubt be moved.
So thank you very, very much for giving me the opportunity to speak about this, and I invite you to join me in chanting. This is the means to transform us. This is the means to purify the material consciousness. This is the means. It is like the sun that comes out in the morning when the land is covered by a dense fog, and the rays of the sun as it rises gradually dissipate the fog and burn it off, and then one can see with great clarity. This is the transcendental Sun.