Reason and Love

Bhaktivinoda Thakur

Bhaktivinoda Thakur

SRILA BHAKTIVINODA THAKUR (Sep 15, 1871) – We do not mean to say that Reason is a foolish principle. On the contrary we do not find better admirers of Reason than our humble selves. We hold that man’s superiority amongst all created beings consists in man’s possessing the noble gift of Reason.

What we maintain is this, that independent of this noble principle there is another higher gift in man which goes by the name of Love. Reason helps Love to maintain its proper bounds in the Spiritual world. Love often tends to degrade itself by exercising its function on objects other then God and converts itself into lust for women, wine, meat and gold. Here Reason advises her to rise higher till she reaches her proper sphere above.

Thus we find that the object of Reason is to help Love and not to create it. Reason may be properly styled as the servant of Love and must always be subject to her in all her hopes, aspirations, and holy works.

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Unlimited Sky of the Absolute Truth

“The arrival of clouds, accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning all over the sky, provides a picture of life-giving hope. Covered by deep bluish clouds, the sky appears artificially dressed. The thunder and lightning within the clouds are signs of hope for a new way of life.”

A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI (from The Light of the Bhagavata) – The serene sky, limitlessly expansive, is compared to the Absolute Truth. The living entities are truths manifested in relation with the modes of material nature. The deep bluish cloud covers only an insignificant portion of the limitless sky, and this fractional covering is compared to the quality of ignorance, or forgetfulness of the real nature of the living being. A living entity is as pure as the limitless sky. He becomes covered by the cloud of forgetfulness, however, in his tendency for enjoying the material world. Because of this quality, called tamas (ignorance), he considers himself different from the Absolute Whole and forgets his purity, which is like that of the clear sky. This forgetfulness gives rise to separatism in false ego. Thus the forgetful living entities, individually and collectively, make sounds like thundering clouds: “I am this,” “It is ours,” or “It is mine.” This mood of false separatism is called the quality of rajas, and it gives rise to a creative force for separate lordship over the mode of tamas. The flash of lightning is the only beam of hope that can lead one to the path of knowledge, and therefore it is compared to the mode of sattva, or goodness.

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Behind Nature is the Brain of God

“Attracted by electricity throughout the sky and driven by forceful winds, clouds gradually cover the surface of the earth to satisfy the needy people by supplying water, which is the substance of their life. The clouds bestow rains upon man as the mercy of the Lord, who is always kind to the needy living being.”

A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI (from The Light of the Bhagavata) –We should always know that God is ever kind to us. Despite our gross disobedience to the laws of God’s nature, the Lord is kind enough to look after our maintenance. Water is one of the most important items for our maintenance, because without water we can neither produce food grains nor quench our thirst. Water is also required very liberally for many other purposes. Thus the Lord has preserved water on three fourths of the globe and has made it salty to preserve it. Salty water does not decompose, and that is the arrangement of providence. The Lord has engaged the powerful sun to evaporate the water of planets like earth and distill it into clear water in the clouds and then stock it on the peaks of mountains, as we stock water in overhead tanks for later distribution. Part of the stock of water is refrigerated into ice, so that it will not flood the earth for no good purpose. The ice melts gradually throughout the year, flows down through the great rivers, and glides down to the sea again for preservation.

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Transcendental World

There is a transcendental world that is only accessible to self-realized persons. This world is radically different from the physical world in that there are no insentient objects in it. In the transcendental world the grass, trees, animals, water, land and sky are all fully conscious persons engaged in ecstatic, loving relationships with Lord Vishnu. Unlike their counterparts in the physical world, these forms are not composed of insentient elements. In the physical world, a tree is composed of atoms such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. The nuclei of these atoms are themselves composed of more fundamental elements, such as protons and neutrons, which are also composed of more fundamental elements, such as mesons and quarks. But a tree in the transcendental world is not composed of a hierarchy of insentient subunits. It is immutable, indestructible and eternal under all conditions. This is described in Caitanya Caritamrta (Introduction) and Srimad-Bhagavatam (Canto 3, Chapter 15, Text 18, Purport). The experiences and perceptions in the transcendental environment are far more intense and relishable than in the physical world. The colors are infinitely more intense. The tastes, smells, and sounds are overwhelmingly attractive.

But the most radical aspect of the transcendental environment is the fact that, although all perceptions and experiences are already so intense that the residents are constantly overwhelmed and enchanted by them, their intensity nevertheless increases at every moment. We simply have no experience of this in the physical world. All pleasures derived through the physical body and mind reach a peak and then decline. But transcendental pleasures continuously increase, although they already seem infinite, and there are no negative side effects since transcendental pleasures are a completely natural by-product of the psychological dynamics of self-realized persons.

We should not think, however, that self-realized persons are only interested in intense pleasures. They also work very hard and perform great sacrifices to bring transcendental knowledge to others so that they may also come to the exalted state of self-realization. This is the highest welfare work. In fact, this is the only real welfare work, since anything else that you might do for a person can only give him limited and temporary benefit. Of course, it is very good to feed a hungry person, but if you do not simultaneously give him knowledge, you have given him only temporary help. If you give him only knowledge pertaining to the physical world, you have also helped him very little, since he is not a product of the physical world. He is constitutionally transcendental and superhuman, but he has now forgotten this fact under the spell of ahankara. Clearly, the best thing you can do for him is to give him a process to directly experience his transcendental nature.

To be fully absorbed in an ecstatic loving relationship with Lord Vishnu is the natural state of being for all conscious selves. Pain, suffering, deficiency, lamentation, frustration, disappointment, illusion, hunger, thirst, disease, old age and death are unnatural for the conscious self. Bhakti yoga offers each one of us the chance to evolve from an unnatural and restricted condition to a state in which we experience ever-increasing inspiration and satisfaction in association with Lord Vishnu and other self-realized conscious selves in the transcendental state of existence.

The Celestial Science of Bhakti Yoga

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, who was born in 1838 during the British occupation of India, was the most exalted Vaishnava (devotee of Krishna) of his time. Although he was a highly respected district magistrate, he tirelessly served the mission of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by writing hundreds of books and songs about bhakti-yoga, revealing lost holy places and giving invaluable guidance to all inquiring souls.

SRILA BHAKTIVINODA THAKUR – The practicing devotee, being mercifully graced by the Lord, experiences the walls of time and space dissolve. He perceives and experiences the boundless depths of the spiritual dimension. All is revealed in the ten directions – at every point of the compass as well as all that is above and all that is below – to be totally saturated with the divine bliss of His sweetest presence. At that point the devotee discovers a youthful personality within whose age is not measured from the year of his birth, but who is made of eternity. He then understands that this world of sensual pleasure and bodily experience is quite void of any real love or affection, which is the innate craving of all of mankind.

The Lord’s eternal consort, Srimati Radharani, is the complete embodiment of bliss, and within Her heart resides capacity to give the sweetest pleasure. Only She can give absolute bliss to Sri Krishna Himself. To become aware, even fractionally, of the depth of His love for Her and Her love for Him, is the greatest perfection achievable. Even higher than this, however, is to perform service to Them. And an even higher ecstasy envelops the aspirant when he yearns to serve that embodiment of bliss, Sri Radha, with his entire self. All this can be directly experienced through the chanting of Their holy names. Our line of self-realized masters has revealed that the totality of this can be experienced by chanting the sacred Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare  ॐ हरे कृष्णा हरे कृष्णा कृष्णा कृष्णा हरे हरे। हरे रामा हरे रामा रामा रामा हरे हरे॥ ॐ