Civilization and Transcendence
Civilization and Transcendence:
Table of Contents of Civilization and Transcendence:
Chapter 1. Religion With No Conception of God
Chapter 2. Progressing Beyond “Progress”
Chapter 3. Concocted Religion
Chapter 4. Caste System Cast Out
Chapter 5. Eternal Truths vs. Everyday Realities
Chapter 6. The Ultimate Knowledge
Chapter 7. Getting Spiritual Guidance
Chapter 8. Civilization Means Regulation
Chapter 9. Cleansing the Heart
Chapter 10. The Process of Purification
Chapter 11. “Feel the Oneness”…with a Difference
Chapter 12. How to Love God
Chapter 13. The Way to Peace
Chapter 14. Return to Real Life
The Vedic civilization of self realization begins from the varnashrama system of social organization. Varnashramacaravata purushena parah puman vishnur aradhyate: [Cc. Madhya 8.58] “Everyone should offer up the fruits of his occupational duty to the lotus feet of the Lord Vishnu , or Krishna.” That is why the Vedic system is called varnashrama—literally, “social organization with a spiritual perspective.”
The varnashrama system has four social and four spiritual divisions. The social divisions are the brahmanas [teachers and priests], kshatriyas [administrators and military men], vaishyas [farmers and merchants], and shudras [laborers and craftsmen], while the spiritual divisions are the brahmacaris [students], grihasthas [householders], vanaprasthas [retirees], and sannyasis [renunciants]. But the ultimate goal is vishnur aradhyate—the worship of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu , by all. That is the idea.
But the members of the modern so-called civilization do not know of varnashrama. Therefore they have created a society that is simply a dog’s race. The dog is running on four legs, and they are running on four wheels. That’s all. And they think the four-wheel race is advancement of civilization.
Vedic civilization is different. As Narada Muni says, tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatam upary adhah: [Bhag. 1.5.18] the learned, astute person will use this life to gain what he has missed in countless prior lives—namely, realization of self and realization of God. Someone may ask, “Then shall we do nothing?” Yes do nothing simply to improve your material position. Whatever material happiness is allotted for you by destiny, you’ll get it wherever you are. Take to Krishna consciousness. You’ll get these other things besides.
“How shall I get them?”
How? Kalena sarvatra gabhira-ramhasa: by the arrangement of eternal time, everything will come about in due course. The example is given that even though you do not want distress, still distress comes upon you. Similarly, even if you do not work hard for the happiness that is destined to be yours, still it will come.
Similarly, Prahlada Maharaja says, na tat-prayasah kartavyam: you should not waste your energy for material happiness, because you cannot get more than what you are destined to have. That is not possible. “How can I believe it—that by working harder I will not get more material happiness than I would otherwise have had?”
Because you are undergoing so many distressing conditions even though you do not want them. Who wants distress? For example, in our country, Mahatma Gandhi was killed by his own countrymen. He was a great man, he was protected by so many followers, he was beloved by all—and still he was killed. Destiny. Who can protect you from all these distressing conditions?
“So,” you should conclude, “if these distressing conditions come upon me by force, the other kind of condition, the opposite number, will also come. Therefore why shall I waste my time trying to avoid distress and gain so-called happiness? Let me utilize my energy for Krishna consciousness.” That is intelligence. You cannot check your destiny. The magazine’s question touches on this point.
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