“What is Liberation?”

May 28, 2020 in Articles by Laksman dasa

Unlimited Soul Power: The Meaning of Liberation

By Narasimha das

When having a nightmare, it is generally easy to awaken oneself from the dream. Yet it is not so easy to immediately end the nightmare of material existence, although this can be done, in theory, as easily as awakening from a bad dream. The dream of false identity in material existence is no more real or substantial than a fleeting nightmare or hallucination. Nonetheless, this enduring illusion is difficult to overcome due to our longstanding habit of working hard for sense enjoyment in this material world.

“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of three modes of material nature, is very difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” (Bhagavad-gita 7.14)

Yogis and sages struggle to control their senses and free themselves from illusion but, as Srila Prabhupada explains, it is not possible even for great sages and demigods to transcend illusion unless they engage directly in devotional service via the surrendering process, under the auspices of a genuine liberated devotee.

Our bad habit of thinking in terms of our own bodily existence and the bodily existence of our friends and family and others, is the superficial aspect of our problem. With a little determination and knowledge, habits can be easily changed. The real core problem is our unwillingness to surrender to Krishna–due to fear, distrust and doubts. Most doubts stem from our false idea of self, or our ignorance of the existence of the spirit soul, the Supersoul and the Kingdom of God. A spirit soul exists eternally in all living beings. We may believe in God and the soul but simple believing may not be enough. One needs factual understanding. Srila Prabhupada has explained that realization is achieved when one’s understanding is complete.

Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, “As the embodied soul continually passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, similarly, at the time of death, he enters into another body.”

Lord Krishna further explains: “For the soul, there is never birth nor death. Nor having once been does he ever cease to be. He is unborn eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.” (Bhagavad-gita 2.20)

Death is the final change for the body but the soul is immortal and continues to accept and change bodies unless he is liberated from samsara, or the cycle of birth and death.

For the liberated soul there are two main choices. He can enter the all-pervading effulgence of God, the great white light (brahmajyoti), which is pure consciousness. In the white light, one’s eternal self identity merges into the Absolute Totality and remains conscious in boundless tranquility for an inconceivably long time, yet without self identity. According to all great teachers (acharyas), the far better option for the liberated soul is to fully revive his eternal identity by entering the Kingdom of God (Goloka) for real blissful life in full freedom and full knowledge. All this is described by liberated souls and avatars of God, and all details of this path are recorded in the Vedas, particularly Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Unfortunately, most people are far too dull to take advantage of this science. This is the real sad thing about material existence: it makes everyone exceeding dull and ignorant of God and the real purpose of human life. And thus, as Srila Prabhupada often noted, “People have forgotten what a powerful soul they have.”

According to great authorities cited in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrita and other great Vedic scriptures, an individual soul (jivatma), which resides within the heart of every living being, is full in all mystic power and is unlimitedly powerful in terms of eternality, knowledge, freedom and bliss. A liberated soul, and particularly Krishna’s direct associates, are almost equal to Krishna in many qualities, up to 78 percent. 78 percent of infinity = unlimited.

Dr. Singh: “What Kervran found is this: The amount of calcium is much increased (when a seed sprouts.) So, we do not know where that calcium is coming from. And this phenomenon is beyond our present knowledge of chemistry.”

Śrīla Prabhupāda: “The soul has entered and has germinated the seed—and this has produced the increased calcium.”

Dr. Singh: “Yes. This increased calcium has to be coming from somewhere. There has to be a cause.”

Śrīla Prabhupāda: “That cause is the soul.”

“To answer your second question, you should know that Arjuna and Kunti-devi are not in Krishna-loka. They are eternally associated with Krishna only in the material world. Just like Krishna is always in the spiritual world so similarly He is always in the material world and His pastimes are going on there also. In the material world, Krishna also has eternal associates, such as Arjuna and Kunti-devi. There is a difference between the body and soul of Arjuna and Kunti-devi. But although Arjuna is with Krishna in innumerable different material universes at one time, still there is only one spirit soul who is Arjuna. This spirit soul expands into many different bodies and thus you can understand that there are also incarnations of devotees as well as incarnations of Krishna. This is the power of the spirit soul, that it is unlimited. Such conception cannot be understood while one is still in the conditioned state.” (SP-Letter)

“The bestial civilization of eating, sleeping, fearing and sense-gratifying has misled modern man into forgetting how powerful a soul he has. As we have already described, the soul is a spiritual spark many, many times more illuminating, dazzling and powerful than the sun, moon or electricity. Human life is spoiled when man does not realize his real identity with his soul. Lord Chaitanya appeared with Lord Nityānanda to save man from this type of misleading civilization.”

“The Brahma-saṁhitā also confirms that the spiritual body of the Supreme Lord is so powerful that any part of that body can perform the functions of any other part. We can only touch with our hands or skin, but Kṛishṇa can touch just by glancing. We can only see with our eyes; we cannot touch or smell with them. Kṛishna, however, can smell and also eat with His eyes. When foodstuffs are offered to Krishna we don’t see Him eating, but He eats simply by glancing at the food. We cannot imagine how things work in the spiritual world where everything is spiritual. It is not that Kṛishna does not eat or that we imagine that He eats; He actually eats, but His eating is different from ours. Our eating process will be similar to His when we are completely on the spiritual platform. On that platform every part of the body can act on behalf of any other part.” (Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, Introduction)

“… Some devotee wants to serve Kṛishna as flower; they become flower there. If I want that ‘As a flower I shall lie down at the lotus feet of Krishṇa,’ he becomes flower, voluntarily. And he can change his…, from flower to human body. That is spiritual life. There is no restriction. If some devotee wants to serve Kṛishna as cow, he serves Kṛṣṇa as cow, as calf, as flower, as plant, as water, as ground, field, or as father, as mother, as friend, as beloved, anything. ye yathā mām prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham [Bg. 4.11]. That is Kṛishṇa’s all-powerfulness, spiritual life.” (Srila Prabhupāda Conversation)

“This is self-realization. Self-realization means to see one’s proper identity. At the present moment we are not finding out our proper identity. We are seeing to the body. I see you, your body, and you see me, my body. We have no vision of the real person who is occupying this body. This is the first lesson we get from Bhagavad-gītā: dehino ‘smin yathā dehe [Bg. 2.13]. Dehi… This body is called deha, and the owner of the body is called dehī…. So, when we can see that we are not this body, ‘I am not this body,’ that is beginning of self-realization. That is called brahma-bhūta [SB 4.30.20] stage. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi: ‘I am not this material body.’ Ahaṁ brahmāsmi. This is self-realization.” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Bombay)

The conclusion here is that almost everyone is chasing illusory political and economic goals and social objectives only for the false hope of achieving flash-in-the-pan material benefits for temporary material bodies and illusory ideas of national and cultural identities. Materialists work hard for material progress due to ignorance of the soul and doubts about the nature and identity of Lord Krishna and His Pure Devotees. Such doubts and the consequent deviations from Srila Prabhupada’s directives have greatly damaged Srila Prabhupada’s missionary institutions.

“A nitya-siddha is one who was never contaminated by material nature. Nitya-siddha never came in contact with material nature… All the associates of Lord Chaitanya are nitya-siddha, or eternally perfect. We should understand that as Lord Chaitanya, Krishna Himself, is transcendental, similarly His personal associates are also nitya-siddha, or eternally transcendental. Simply by accepting that the associates of Lord Chaitanya are eternally free, one is immediately promoted to the transcendental abode of Lord Krishna.” (Narottama das Thakura’s Savarana-sri-gaura-mahima, Purport)

It is certainly a great misdeed and sin when those posing as religious or spiritual leaders fail to represent the truth about the perfection of pure devotees but rather deliberately create doubts about the divinity and perfection of Srila Prabhupada (as fallen Jewish leaders did with Jesus Christ) for the sake of legal, political or social maneuvering, or for the sake of lowering the bar for voted-in imitators.

Srila Prabhupada is “the real acharya for this age.” Indisputably, He is the Jagat Guru for the Golden Age. Bona fide preachers accept disciples only on His behalf.