What’s the higher consciousness?

By Radhanath Swami - 27.2 2017

What’s the higher consciousness? How to awaken that Consciousness?
Transcribed by Madhavi devi dasi

Discourse at NY Sanctuary on: What’s the higher consciousness? How to awaken that Consciousness?

Life is a journey. A quest of fulfillment, for seeking pleasure. Some people find that pleasure in wealth, in glory, or other material comforts of life. But for ages, people have taken an inner journey – to fulfill this quest.

(Maharaja asks permission from the audience to quote a story) He was in the Himalayas couple of months back. He was sitting on a rock in the midst of the river Ganges, mediating. The river Ganges was flowing in from all the direction. It was wearing the dress of Aqua blue and was very radiant under the sunshine.

As Maharaja looked up in the sky, there was a huge hawk flying in the sky. Gradually, he started to descend downwards with its huge brown wings wide open and came closer and closer to the surface of the water very slowly. Then “ Whoooshh!” it plunged its claws in the river and had a fish grasped in its claws. The fish was struggling hard for its survival. It became totally disoriented and was flapping for dear life. But all in vain. We all are like that fish. Fish was just going on with its life. It was born there, flown there for its entire life. Had all its friends and relatives in that water.

It knew no other existence than that water. It was a routine day for the fish. It had not expected that day a life changing event. But fate ripped it from its comfort zone that it was not prepared for. Similarly, at any moment, we can be that fish. But our tendency is to be complacent without taking seriously what life is for. There were recently two major disasters in the world, the earthquake in China and the Cyclone in Burma. None of the people who died, had thought, that I may not be able to see tomorrow morning. The pleasures, pains, success and tragedies, we should learn from them. we should not become complacent to what comes to us. This is not a pessimistic view, this is the realistic view.

We are all seeking happiness, but it is within ourselves. If the fish swam deeper in life, it won’t have been bothered by the hawk. But it swam just around life. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krsna says: A person who has peace within, who is self-realized in consciousness is very deep, like an ocean. The deeper you go in the ocean, the calmer it becomes. The more it becomes unaffected by the storms swirling on the surface .so, one who goes deeper realizes the self. Bhagavad-Gita tells what it to be above it is. Bhagavad-Gita explains different levels of realizations.

Object of perception: the entire world around us. Sense of Perception: We use the eyes, ears, senses, to perceive the world around us. But, the mind is subtle than the senses- it attracts, it hates. The Intelligence is subtle than the mind- it rationalizes, it reasons, it finds logic. Subtle than the intelligence is the false ego- it causes our consciousness to identify with mind, intelligence and senses. Subtle than the ego is the realization of the self. Atman- soul. The nature of this consciousness is “Sachid-ananda-vigrah” ( Eternal knowledge & Bliss). It is eternal, imperishable, and unbreakable.

How to discover that consciousness, is the art of finding that knowledge. Dharma means religion. According to the Vedic Shastras dharma means that which is intrinsic nature of everything. Just like Sugar is sweet, salt is salty. Our dharma is to serve. Sanatana Dharma means eternal natural occupation for us, which is to serve god, serve the inner truth within us. According to Vedanta Sutra the truth is him from whom all illuminates. The Lord is all attractive- he is the absolute truth, origin of all. To awaken that natural love within us is the ultimate journey in life. But real test is it transforms us. Otherwise, in religion people just adapt another type of ego- it’s dangerous. If the path we follow has dogma, then it is not real.

But real path should reveal contentment, compassion, humility. Any one can protest religion, but others follow these divine virtues. We should have a strong foundation in life for stress and anxiety cannot affect us. We have the greatest technology in the world now. But where do we stand spiritually? It is predicted that by the year 2020, depression would be the greatest cause of suffering. All the rich and the poor both are suffering. If someone would ask a question of a building that what do you like in this building? Someone might say, oh, I like the windows. I like the beautiful painted ceiling. Etc. Would someone say, Oh, I like the foundation of this building? =) No! Nobody sees the foundation, but it exists.

If the foundation is weak, noting can stand. It is quoted from the Bible that Build your house on rock and not on Sand. So we have to attentive to deep consciousness so that dualities cannot conquer it or disturb our happiness or ideals. Integrity means to be fixed in our ideals. No matter what comes: Fear, anxiety, temptations, etc. To maintain integrity build solid foundation. Yoga means to reunite ( Sanskrit translation) Religion means to bind back (Spanish translation), which is the Sananatana Dharma –Chanting the holy names of the Lord. We awaken that which is innate within us. Mantra means to deliver the mind from illusions or anxiety. So when you chant it’s a scientific process by which humility, compassion, etc. are awakened. If we learn the art to do it practically, it becomes our experience of our ideal. Bhakti Yoga means we connect everything in our life to our ideals, which is to serve God according to our capacity. Everyone seeks the highest pleasure- which is to love and to be loved. If you are the emperor of the world, but left lonely, you would become miserable.

Why? Because in our consciousness our nature is to be happy. Krsna is all attractive. When we live to connect, to the service of the Lord, than all aspects of life is Yoga, beautiful. It brings us deeper in our consciousness. The Hawk is waiting for all of us in different ways. What are our real ideas, our spiritual pursuit, should be taken very seriously. It’s a tragedy to become complacent. We don’t know when our last moment will come. Everyone has a different perspective of New York City. Some love and some hate it. Some think, its filthy, it’s dirty, its claustrophobic, whilst others think it’s interesting, it’s diverse, it’s full of surprises. When Srila Prabhupada (Founder Acharya of Iskcon) came to NYC from Vrindavan (Krsna’s material abode in India), with only $7 (!!) at the age of 69 (!!!), he would see everything in the city. Drugholics, alcoholics, Prostitutes, homeless, beautiful apartments, limousine, etc. How did he perceive it? In spirit of service.

Not to take anything, just to make understand others the great within ourselves. Srila Prabhupada was asked by a news reporter in one of his interviews: Why are you here? We have our own religion. He replied: I’ve not come here to convert one from your religion. I’ve come here to invite one, to make you remember our eternal relationship with god. Some student asked Radhanath Swami at a college lecture: What nonsense are you talking about Yoga and all? We have to outlaw all religion and all spirituality, if we want to solve all the problems. He replied: Everything you are saying is correct. (For the moment, the student was stunned, not expecting this answer as his own defeat) except the last part. If you have something powerful, it has the greatest potential to bring amongst all, the best of all. But in the wrong hands it can bring the worst amongst all.

Knowledge is very powerful. Like science, with the knowledge of science you can make either medicines or you can make bombs. So in spirituality and consciousnessfaith is very powerful. Religion or faith is believing. Why should I believe it? The Sun appears very small, but it is indeed very huge. We have heard from people that the sun is huge and we believe it, we haven’t seen the experienced in reality in that magnified form. We have the Washington Sq. Park, in the memory of George Washington. Have we ever seen George Washington? No. But we have heard about him in the history books, written by other people. Where does the faith come from? You know who your mother is, since you have faith that she is your mother. Did you know when you were born, that she is your mother and you said: Hi, Mommy. Very nice to meet you! (HEHE!!).

So, which is more logical? Everything comes from nothing, or everything comes from something. Have we seen anything that comes from nothing? So, that something can reveal to us – that is god. Sarva Karana Karanam- Cause of all causes (Krsna- BG). The power to reveal us who we are. Real evidence that it is true is the experience we gain from it. Soul supports life. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krsna says that I’m the seed giving father of all souls. You cannot hate anyone if you love god. You’ll love everyone, every species of life. We’ll see all as equal. So, why be selective in loving, if we don’t have a personal relationship with them? BhaktiVinod Thakura (Former Acharya and a very learned scholar) says when we love, everything flows out of compassion. What else we need in the world more than compassion. Greed no. Lust- No. Anger- No.

We can initiate to accept that faith, to change our values, from greed to charity. And when we show symptoms, real spirituality is taking place. This is no greater power than faith. Faith if not directed correctly can have worse effects. But when we gain real experience, something beautiful manifests. So to build a foundation in this ideal, the too is: Chanting of the holy name. It’s simply meant to awaken that divine essence within us. So that we can be instrumental in our life from which god’s love can flow through us. Thank you very much. Questions and Answers session:

1) In order to love, we have to love ourselves first. So, when I feel I’m unlovable what should I do? A) On a spiritual perspective, we understand every living being is a part of god. Like the ray of the sun is qualitatively like the sun only smaller in magnitude, not qualitatively. Just like that. First, is theoretical knowledge and to have faith. We see people who follow faith with historical evidence and from the examples of the people who follow it. We set stronger faith. Srila Prabhupada says:” There may be thousands of counterfeit $20 bills, but there would be one Real $20 bill. The fact that there are counterfeit notes proves for itself that there is a real note. So, where is real religion amongst hypocrites? When the philosophy, it makes sense, it creates faith. We understand faith gradually. First we go through logic and than spiritual practice. Hate the disease not the diseased. Ignorance and illusions bring the soul to behave in unfortunate ways like greed, anger, lust, etc. they are like disease. But the person is a soul. We become compassionate to them. We apply that to ourselves.

We are part of Krsna, all attractive, all beautiful. Then how can I hate myself? I have all love in me. When we appreciate the greatness of god, we realize our own greatness in our smallness. The more we understand the greater you realize your greatness. We should love ourselves in terms of our origin, no based on whatever sins we have committed in the past. In essence, you are divine. You have to cultivate that essence and that hope. So, we should have love not to make ourselves, egoistic, rather at the humble service of god.

2) How to develop the foundation on which everything is based? A) It begins with establishing ideals in our life. When we associate with people with good ideals, we start building good foundation. It is our natural inclination to become like them who we associate with or are influenced by. Just like the example of Iron and fire. When you hold an Iron rod in the hand, it is cold and is iron. But as you put in the fire, it becomes red hot, than in spite of it being iron, its fire. We should associate with those people; those actions that help us develop strong ideas. We associate with people with good faith in order to develop good faith.
(adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya, tato ‘nartha-nivrttih syat, tato nistha rucis tatah athasaktis tato bhavas, tatah premabhyudancati, sadhakanam ayam premnah, pradurbhave bhavet kramah, Translation: “In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for selfrealization.

This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service.” Bg 4. 10 purport) Then we associate with people who fortify those ideas. We can develop spiritual practice then. Then we experience the on our own and it makes our foundations stronger. We do activities like chanting, singing and dancing for the holy names. It helps us overcome temptations in our life. The association and activities we choose make the foundation we desire.
3) We see the Sun in the sky, which has the direct light and we soon the Moon which shines because of reflected light. When Krsna says that he is father, so are we the suns or the moons of Krsna? A) The example of rays of Sun & the Moon is the perfect analogy. Whatever brilliance we have is not because of ourselves, it’s coming from a higher source, the Supreme Lord. Our nature is by the grace of being part of the Lord. It’s dependent on him.

Just like the sunrays and moon rays. We are both like the Suns & the Moons.

4) What is the religion that all religions are fighting? How can we try to prevent it? A) Real religion is used to cure a disease, not to proliferate new ones. People have a very selfish demeanor. The real religion clean the heart ( Ceto (heart)- Marj (cleansing)- Darpanam(to see the self) The normal tendency of individuals beings is “ I want to feel better than you do”. If you are really religious than you want to see good in others too. That is what we see in the history of sages and saints. Jesus Christ asked for forgiveness of everyone who had crucified him. The real spirituality is the love of god and to share that love with others by uplifting them. but if we seek a rustication to hate people, it’s our ego. I’m Hindu, so I’ve a religion better than yours. I’m American, so my country is better than yours. If you’re not what I am, than you are a Devil. This is the mentality. HH Sachidnandan Swami told a story one time of Hitler’s General getting a foot massage .

He was telling the Masseuse about “ Ahimsa” (non violence) .so the Masseuse asked, if you believe in non-violence than why are you murdering so many people? To which the General replied, “ Actually it is very unfortunate, so we have to do this for the sake of humanity, to cleanse it”. Religion is not to confirm superiority or false ego over others. Faith is based on philosophy and logic. It can go deeper than racism or nationalism. Because there is so `much substance in it. Srila Prabhupada said that Religion without philosophy is fanaticism. And philosophy without religion is simply mental speculation. Religion = virtue + devotion. If not based on sound philosophy or faith, it is not religion. We often abandon our religion for materialistic purposes. If we follow religion without faith and philosophy , it only brings ego, I know more than you. If you want to pluck a thorn, sometimes you need to another to pluck it out. But if you do it in the wrong manner, you end up getting two thorns =) and then you get a third one to take those two out and then you end up having three! It goes on and on, until you do it correctly.

If we want to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution- that’s our choice. By the power of our integrity , we can be that change. End of discourse…