The November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month is In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All.
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[Dr. Nikhil said: Swami, I am unable to concentrate much on the propagation of Your spiritual knowledge due to the pressure of my job. The concepts of Your spiritual knowledge are really amazing and deserve propagation. But the results of the propagation activities are not seen due to my insufficient attention to the propagation.][/i]
Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! The job is the basic stage on which both the dramas of worldly life (pravṛtti) and spiritual life (nivṛtti) can be enacted. If one has a good lot of property, then thinking of leaving the job can be justified. It is also justified, if one does not have a family to take care of, like Śaṅkara, Vivekananda etc. But, having entered into family life, one should not go back. Even Arjuna tried to withdraw from the war, before the war began. He did not try to withdraw from the war after it started.
Moreover, worldly life is essential for an ordinary soul, even though the soul is interested in the spiritual life. Worldly life, including having a job and so on, provides variety in life. A change is needed, now and then, for a person involved in spiritual activity. While you are eating sweets, a hot dish becomes necessary, now and then, to provide a change. The point is, whether you are eating sweets continuously and using the hot dish only as a side-dish or whether you are continuously eating hot dishes and using the sweet dish as a side dish.
So, what matters is, whether your main activity is worldly life and you are using spiritual life only as side dish or whether your main activity is spiritual life and you are using worldly life only as a side dish. Of course, worldly activity is very much essential to support you and hence, you must be mainly engaged in the worldly activity and use spiritual activity as a side-dish. But, in course of time, the worldly activity becomes a very easy routine activity, due to your long experience. This is called as yoga (Yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam—Gita). Until you become skilled in worldly activity, you have to concentrate mainly on the worldly activity.
At any stage, try to do your best for the propagation of spiritual knowledge, which is God’s work. You need not bother about the result of your work because, God is not bothered about the result of your work. God can achieve the result, just by His will, in just a fraction of a second. Hence, God does not aspire for the result of your action. He only sees whether you have full sincerity and full dedication in His work, as much as possible. It is only for testing your interest, sincerity and dedication to His work, that He has assigned the work to you. He has not assigned the work to you for the sake of any result.
His service is not like target-oriented marketing job. His service is only dedication-oriented. Hence, you should never worry about the result of your work done for God. If God Rāma had wished, Rāvaṇa would have turned into ash and Sītā would have stood by His side, in a fraction of a second. All the drama of building the bridge on the sea was done by Him only to test the dedication, devotion, sincerity and interest in the hearts of the angels towards Him. As you know, the angels were born as monkeys to serve God. The occasion was only an opportunity meant to prove the sincerity of the angels towards God. It was not actually about building the sea-bridge, at all.
Among knowledge (jñāna yoga), devotion (bhakti yoga) and service (karma yoga), knowledge is the most important. The jñāna yoga or knowledge is like the right path along which your vehicle is moving. It is the most important aspect. The actual movement or journey of the vehicle is karma yoga and the speed of the vehicle is bhakti yoga. If the path is wrong, both the journey and the speed of the vehicle totally go waste. God is incarnating, again and again, to remind the devotees about the right path, because devotees often slip from it due to the influence of wrong guides. Preaching the right spiritual knowledge is the main program of any Incarnation of God. The director of an institute gives right direction to his staff, so that the institute can progress in the right way. Hence, the director is the most important person and he holds the topmost postition. In every generation, God incarnates because the direction once given by Him is frequently misinterpreted and twisted by wrong preachers (Sa kāleneha mahatā, yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa—Gita).
Whenever devotees slip from the correct path due to wrong interpretations, God incarnates to redirect them to the correct direction (Tadātmānaṃ sṛjāmyahaṃ—Gita). Hence, God said in the Gita that the propagation of correct spiritual knowledge gives Him immense pleasure (Jñāna yajñena tenāham…—Gita). Everywhere in the Gita, God has praised the propagation of the correct spiritual knowledge, which is greatly needed in every generation (Nahi jñānena sadṛṣaṃ…, Sarvam jñāna plavenaiva…, Sarvaṃ Karmākhilam…, Jñānāgniḥ…, Śreyān dravyamayāt…etc.). Every time and everywhere, everybody is putting in a lot of effort for attaining devotion and performing sacrifice and service. Hence, there is no need to propagate devotion, service and sacrifice.
Only the missing correct direction needs to be propagated. So, Śaṅkara, Rāmānuja, Madhva, Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, Vivekananda, Jesus, Buddha, Mahavir, Prophet Mohammad etc., worked only for the propagation of the right spiritual knowledge and they became the most beloved devotees of God. All these preachers were actually Incarnations of God acting in the roles of devotees. A devotee can connect more freely with another devotee. If the Incarnation expresses Himself as God, that free connection with the devotees will get suppressed. Hence, all the Incarnations of God always act as devotees and as ideal examples for other human devotees to follow. Rāma was the topmost Incarnation because He never exposed Himself as God, but instead, always behaved as an ideal human being, without doing any miracle.
2023 Philosophy Books of the Month
2022 Philosophy Books of the Month
Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches
by John N. (Jake) Ferris