No more upadhis-material designations

May 20, 2012 in Articles, Damaghosa Dasa

Jaya Srila Prabhupada

 Na Jayate  Mriyate va kadacinFor the soul,  there is never birth nor death, Nor having once been does he ever  cease to be. (Bhagavad Gita 2.20)

Self realization means to be able to see the soul. I look at you and  see your body, you look at me and see my body. This is not self  realization.
Aham brahmasmi means I am soul, not this body. ..”Dehino’ smin yatha  dehi… Deha and dehi means this body and the owner of this body. When  we  are able too see the soul we are on the brahma bhuta platform. This is  self realization.
If we want to be free of this material bondage and see ourselves as we  are, then we must purify our self of all the upadhis or material  designations.
Prabhupada writes…”Krishna consciousness is  actually a purificatory process. Its purpose is to make people free from  all designations. When our consciousness becomes purified of all  designations, the activities we carry out with our purified senses make us  perfect. Eventually, we reach the ideal perfection of human life. Krishna  consciousness is also a very simple process. It is not necessary to become a  great philosopher, scientist, or whatever. We need only chant the holy name of  the Lord, understanding that His personality, His name, and His qualities are  all absolute.”
Most everyone thinks that if he or she gets a nice  birth in a nice family, has good looks, education and some wealth, then all this  has been Divinely bestowed upon him by God. But from the spiritual  perspective all these things are no more than gifts of the illusory energy,  Maya. These things keep us trapped in the bodily conception of  life.  We see that is true when we hear the story of Nalakuvera and  Manigriva, the sons of Kuvera. They were both devas or demigods, and they were  devotees of some sort of the Supreme Lord, but because of the easy life their  material benedictions gave them, they condemned themselves to a life of  debauchery. They misused their material assets which is quite natural for one in  that position.This is what naturally happens for most if one takes to the field  of material piety instead of trying to purify the heart, thru bhakti  yoga, of all the (unwanted) anarthas present.
Prabhupada gives an example-when we are sitting comfortably in our easy  chair, we have the remote in one hand, our cell phone in the other, some chips  and fizz nearby , and we think , now I am comfortable!
But then somebody comes along and tells us NO, you have to come with me.  You MUST come with me dragging you off, and then your comfortable position  is now ruined. This is called Death. Nobody wants it, but it has to come to us  all. Yet how many of us are ready for this? How many of us are ready to get  ripped out of our comfortable situation and not even complain about  it? Only one who knows without any doubting that he or she is not this  material body.
He gave another nice example-once while on a train ride somewhere in India,  a few others were fighting over their train seat. He mentioned that even though  they know they will only be there a couple of hours, they are taking that seat  as some permanent arrangement and that is why it is worth fighting  over.  And we as kids, also had a similar situation while traveling  with parents in the family car. We would all fight over who got the window  seat !.
So how is this  child like fighting different than what we do as  adults on a daily basis fighting with others over some meager  material gains? Like the childs game of musical chairs whereby a group of kids  will circle a row of chairs which are one short of the number of participating  kids. When the music stops, everyone has to grab a chair. One kid is always  out of a chair ! This is how material life works. Its always a struggle for  everything. Nothing in this material world comes without some sort of  struggle-either with others or with our own limitations to accomplish  something.
Self realization means this material struggle for things related to this  body is over- because we realize without any doubt, that we are not matter,  not this body, not connected to any so called material family or race, do not  belong to some country and in fact have absolutely nothing to do with this  material world. Unfortunately for most of us we think we are free to do what we  like, but at any moment,  if the Devas disagree, we could lose motion  in our arms  hands or legs and become paralyzed. Yet we  all will  say, this is MY body. If its our body then why cant we make it do what WE want  it to do?
This conditional life always will be a source of problems to us.  In  this verse from BG it says we are never born and we never die, so if we  are eternal and believe it, why do we then bother so much- with the  temporary? BG says we dont take birth, yet all of us will say we were born on  such and such a date, and if we consult astrologers,  they say we will die  at such and such time as well. This is body consciousness only- because  according to BG we dont take birth and we do not die.
So the next question would be, then if we were originally with Krsna in the  spiritual world, how did we get ourselves into this present predicament? How did  we become so fallen?