Our goals and objectives

A place to ask Hari, exchange ideas with him, give some suggestions, or share some ideas with him on existence. This forum is not the place to discuss anything related to his former status or situation. Hari will reply to all texts.
Drpta
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Drpta »

Hi Hari,
You wrote:
I think God wishes us to be the best we can be as we are. After all, we cannot be anything else.
Does it mean we are the best every and each moment we exist since we are doing what we suppose the best to do in current circumstances, and even if we do something we feel is wrong, it is our choice, especially if we have to choose only between bad or worst? Of course, we can blame ourselves for our deeds in past, but in present moment we are ever the best we can be, isn’t it? And here a question arises: if we are the best every moment, then we spontaneously will strive to be more perfect in future. In the light of this mood, can we say that the “perfect” state for one is to reach Goloka Vrindavana for example or any other higher place, where God manifested in such a form, which one can have relationships with easy and naturally? Or we should ever do our best and keep ourselves in tension with the goal to be the best we can? And if the second is true, then is there such a place where there is no future, meaning where one doesn’t have to always try to be the best and strive for a better future?
But it is interesting to notice, that now we are naturally having contact with God as His manifestation in form of material nature around us. All things around us are divine, (and you say the same) but people can’t see it, may be because they got used to it and it is too obvious for them? I think this level of being is properly compatible for people living in this world. And may be only few have desire to know something more.
And why we should see any divine at all? I think this question appears only as a result of our frustration and dissatisfaction with our life or us ourselves. The very word “divine” and similar words, I think, create a big gap in our perception of this world. I think this is even harmful word which separates us from reality. Divine reality :D . What do you think?

You said:
We are conditioned by our environment and the people around us. We are taught to think and believe in a certain manner...
May be Prabhupada was right. He tried to destroy common values and believe structures and re-teach people. Of course he used not the best methods. But society very much needs to change its value structure. It is more than obvious.
Drpta
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Drpta »

It is interesting, that previously, in ISCKON as well as in many other religions the main approach is based on the truths reviled in scriptures. You could not argue with scripture even if it has contradictions with sanity and personal experience. But now we sift accent to side of importance of practical experience and it is very respond to my personal strive to use empiric approach in exploring spiritual matter. I am speaking about pure experience, which is not polluted with false premises. But sometimes, in our attempts to find answer we might ought to become cynical. It is normal in common science, but spiritual science is more delicate. How can we avoid going too far and committing something wrong? How to avoid offences in our spiritual exploring? I wonder should we set bounds in our spiritual exploring?

You wrote:
if you saw Radha as your lover then you would be in competition with Krsna. What can you imagine this would mean?
It is suggesting me an idea that only Krisna is man, and all others are women :( .
As I have heard, in Vrindavan Radha had husband and children. And Her husband was not Krisna. Does She love him and Her children? And how Krisna looked at that?
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Hari
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Hari »

It is hard for me to respond to texts if you write multiple times before I can answer. This makes things confusing and hard to reply to!

When we are the best we can be, we are optimal. We cannot do or be anything more. If we can act optimally, then all possible attainable spiritual goals will be reached sooner or later. Nothing more can make this optimal process go faster. This is obvious because no process is faster than an optimal one. But is speed all that matters? Perhaps depth of experience is more important.

To be the best we can be means to be who we are, because we cannot be better than who we are. We are already perfect as the essence we are. There are many methods to connect to that essence, and I have given one that I feel works very well. Indeed, I think it works the best, otherwise I would not do it since my being the best I can be means that what I say or share must be the best I have. Whether what I think is best is good for everyone, or for anyone, or somewhere in between, can only be determined in the course of time. I do not worry about it because I am doing what I can do!

By doing what we can as best as we can, will eventually bring us to wherever there is to go. Being the best we can be means to embrace our essence. Because this is the essence of spirituality, there is no need to worry if this concept is compatible with scriptures.

If we try to attain a goal that requires us to be something other than what we are, this goal is not the final goal. If one thinks that life is primarily a process to attain residence in Goloka, then one is living for that time when one can attain the place where one belongs. With this in mind, one tries to focus on the future and detach from everything within this world. Nothing else matters.

This idea has an inherent flaw. When we embrace the idea that only the future is reality, we think of the present as an illusion. Attaining a realm far from where we are presently located is all that matters and all that should be desired. All actions, thoughts, words and relations are dedicated to this ideal.

The idea that the present is illusion and only existence in the future is real is backwards. The future does not exist and never shall exist. It is a reference point holding our desires, fears, ideals, dreams, or death. Everything tangible or intangible, living or non-living, exists within the present. I am essence and I only exist now, nowhere else. I do not now exist in a future time. If I imagine my life in two hours from now and whole heartedly believe that image, I cannot say I validated my image when two hours have passed and I am still here! After all, when that point arrives on the clock, it will be the present and once again, I only exist in the present. Even my dreams exist in the present when I am imagining a pleasant future. All life occurs in the present, exists in the present, and remains in the present at all times, because only the present exists. The idea that reality only exists in the future when some goal is attained is illusion.

The best discipline is to act now, in the present, as best we can so that we can make the next best step forward on our journey of life. Where life leads is part of the mystery. If it leads to Goloka, cool. If it leads elsewhere, we will deal with that place when we are there.

Our value structure cannot be obliterated. It is inherent in who we are and modified by our experiences. We can change our experience, but we cannot change who we are. Therefore, every follower of spiritual disciplines remains to a large extent the same person with the same inherent values reflected in the mirror of their ever changing experiences. A spiritual group can modify this to some extent, but we have seen that people remain very much who they are despite this influence. Otherwise, why is there so much fighting, arguing, posturing, attempts at superiority, domination, exploitation, selfishness, ad nauseum, within spiritual groups? Devotees of any sect tend to express their devotion within the mood and confines of their place of birth and social integration. This is why Indians, for example, never really embrace the Americans, Israelis have a hard time with Germans, and so on.

That society needs a more spiritual value structure is obvious. Enlightened people should have a greater role in developing a win win society, based on mutual respect, appreciation, caring, and the ideal of prosperity for all regardless of the bodily form, gender, race, etc. Broad social change is not usually done within spiritual movements, although there are a few times when a new religion had significant impact on civilization. For example, Christianity transformed society gradually over a long period. Social transformation is a difficult project that requires the cooperation of a large majority of the people.

If you spiritually explore your own values and test them when you respond to events around you, you will rapidly see what works and what does not. How you evolve depends on your perception and honesty.

Radha had children? Are you sure about that?
Drpta
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Drpta »

The best discipline is to act now, in the present, as best we can so that we can make the next best step forward on our journey of life. Where life leads is part of the mystery. If it leads to Goloka, cool. If it leads elsewhere, we will deal with that place when we are there.
What you say is very interesting and new. It makes challenge to common outlooks on life. But I do not quite understand. We should know, were we going to, isn’t it? And we should have desire to go there. Could you explain how to find right, optimal, path and do not get lost? How can I come to Goloka for example, if I even do not know where it is, how it looks, and I even do not know what they are doing there? For example, this year I have been in Greece. Before I went there I heard that there is interesting country, I have seen some movies and decided that it will be interesting to visit this country. But what concerns Goloka, I only read some stories and heard that this is highest abode of God, where He herds Surabhi cows. It sounds like a kind of tale. And having such a knowledge of that place, I am not sure do I want that place or not. It will be very valuable if you describe life on Goloka, could you?
Radha had children? Are you sure about that?
It was one common friend of us who told me that Radha has husband named Abhimanyu, and they have children. I also have doubts in it. Could you say something about their marriage?
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harsi
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by harsi »

Drpta, I want to tell you that many of your thoughtful questions, which inspire Hari to give all this profound and comprehensive answers, pull on my heart strings. It seems that we have more in common than we thaught. I wish you a Merry Christmas time and God''s blessings for the New Year, Drpta, Hari, and and all other persons who will read this.:wink:
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Hari
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Hari »

Is your life a journey from one point to another? Or is your life a process that finds its way to many places, many situations, and many different challenges?

If you wish to go to Greece, you have to move your body to the airport and take the right plane. If you wish to think of Greece, you simply do it. Physical motion and mental motion are different. Indeed, as children we use our imagination to visualize people and places we have never seen.

Do you go to some spiritual destination by determining where you want to go and then moving there? Certainly not! Depending on your process, you engage in disciplines and develop the capacity to evolve faster towards your desired goal. Even if someone tells you what that goal is like and paints nice pictures of it, this knowledge does not get you there faster, although you might feel better having a clearer goal. Your own spiritual evolution brings you to where you should be in due course. This is why I said what I said.

You cannot get lost on your path because you are always on it. You can slow down your evolution or speed it up according to your choices. Even when you are confused and depressed because you think you are going nowhere, your true nature and capacity will eventually get you going again. Sometimes feeling stalled in nowhereness is required! Sometimes this is the catalyst for further development. It depends on who you are and what you need.

I do not think Radha had children or even that she was married in any typical sense. Even is someone tells me that she had children, I would not believe it, or if I had to, I would suggest that we are all her children in the philosophical sense of the origin of it all, but I would not extend this role to her being the mother. That role is Durga devi's. Stories are just that -- stories. Whether you believe them or not is up to you. Whether you have faith in who is telling the stories or not is your own decision. I am not suggesting you should disbelieve or believe anything. I am just responding to your question with a definitive, "I don't think so." My answer should not matter to you, however, because you have to determine truth for yourself. After all, it is what we do all the time. We decide what to believe in and when we make that decision we further empower that which we have focused our belief on.
Drpta
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Drpta »

You wrote:
Essence is that beyond which you cannot go. It is what makes something what it is.
Here I have a question about svarupa. Can we say that our svarupa is our essence?
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Hari
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Hari »

Again, old days...

Essence is enough. It is sufficient. We do not need to dress it up with a sanskrit word. If we defined swarupa as essence then these terms would be equal, but I am not sure if those who previously used the word would agree. They might see essence as merely the spiritual energy. They might call it a spiritual dot encased in matter. They might say that essence requires to be developed, to grow, to become this or that. I disagree. Essence is. And it is all that is. When you accept this, you start to see far more than when you think that "your swarupa" is attained after so many austerities and tons of mercy and disciplined concentration on the supreme. This has been the point of all that I have said throughout the last 17 years.

The word swarupa carries with it many implications. It is something to be attained after much work and effort. Before one attains it, one has little or no connection to one's true spiritual identity and remains a student of the art, investigating how to attain the self. One can have a discussion about whether the spiritual identity is immediately attained, as in the case of Narada Muni's lightning illumination, or it is gradually attained and one just flows into it over time. Both might be true, or probably are true depending on who you are, but neither concept interests me. The first carries with it the burden of unattainability and the second makes little sense but sounds reasonable enough if you do not examine it in detail. The second concept carries a bit of an organic mood to it, like a growing flower, so it feels good in some way as it is familiar and easily recognizable. The lightning bolt is easily understood because all we need to do to accommodate the idea in our life is to consider that we have not had this experience and we might have it one day, perhaps at death (who really knows?) or maybe when we get some mercy from someone who really likes what we did! We can relate to someone walking in the door and giving us a million dollars as this image fits within our realm of "possible ideas," although we do not know anyone who got money like this and we do not really believe someone will give it to us.

Essence is such a nice word. So very peaceful, calm, kind and considerate. Without demand, without expectation. Simply awaiting for you to accept it. If I am spirit, then I do not have to become spirit. I will not become more spirit just as I cannot become less spirit. I have to accept myself, fully and totally, as the essence I am. I am pure spiritual energy and I have never been anything else. When I accept this, embrace this, and love this without allowing myself to hold onto any other idea, then I become familiar with myself and know who I am. I stop listening to others who ceaselessly attempt to define me. I think this idea of self identity is superior due to its unencumbered simplicity. Occam's razor kind of thing.
Drpta
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Drpta »

You cannot get lost on your path because you are always on it. You can slow down your evolution or speed it up according to your choices. Even when you are confused and depressed because you think you are going nowhere, your true nature and capacity will eventually get you going again.
Does it mean that the same is attracting the same? By having the inner knowledge of who I am and what is my true nature or let us say inclination or resembling with, I feel and am automatically attracting to an appropriate direction. It is like that when my essence, which has a particular frequency of vibration, is coming in resonance with the respective “place” in existence, and then a vector of force is appearing and gravitate me towards that sphere. So now I ever know where to go. It is attracting me like a magnet. Thanks a lot dear Hari!
Akhila L
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Akhila L »

When I talked to the people about the message of Vedas (or whatever you call it, if you want to get them believe you are an authority worth listening to), which was an absolute and unquestionable reference point for me at that time (= many years ago=old days), now, when I look back, there was one question when I started quoting different "vedic" or Sanskrit texts or terms they frequently used to ask: but what is YOUR opinion on that? "I do not care about the texts you quote, but I want to talk to YOU and hear YOUR voice, not you citing some books or terms". In this context, I sympathise with Hari when people use predefined terms or quote something assuming this must be true per definitionem. But where is the proof? What do you mean by the word you use? What is YOUR story behind the story you quote? In a wider context, people who fanatically stick to someone else's interpretation are sure to create problems because they blindly follow the path that may not be theirs. I am sorry for this bit of bitterness.
Frankly, I have always hated all these "satya svarupa" - stories discussed by many. It felt somewhat artificial to me, just as other aspects of the "highest and ultimate position", which, not unexpectedly, created unresolved debates among people who claimed to promote the Ultimate Truth, ironically.
I think the most difficult part of it is to find a natural balance between following your own nature and accepting help from others keeping your (spiritual) integrity in the same time. I also like the word "essence" more. Because I can immediately feel its meaning. Please, comment on it, if you can, Hari.
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Hari
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Hari »

Drpta: Your comment is nice. Well said!

Akhila: Essence is the fundamental quality of something that cannot be broken down further. It is what makes a thing what it is. You are spirit. Spirit is essence by its nature, but you are a particular essence just as a pure etheric oil is the essence of a particular plant or flower. The energy you manifest is your essence because your energy and yourself are not different. You are essence. When you allow yourself to simply be what you are, you experience essence and you rightly say, "I Am." You feel your energy as the essence it is without dilution or coloring from anything that is not you. We cannot use the phrase, "your essence," without creating a conflict because you cannot possess essence, you are essence. This is important. There is nothing beyond essence that can possess it. It is you, you are it.

Does this help?
Akhila L
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Akhila L »

Thank you for this explanation. I know you may feel tired by being asked many times about the same issues (you mentioned that in one of your posts). However, just discussing it brings relief and remembrance of who we really are. And it definitely helps, even if your intuition tells you the same thing.
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Hari
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Hari »

I agree Akhila. Because we think we are not good enough, we are more inclined to reject our intuition even though our first impression of something is often the most significant one. Perhaps the relief you feel comes from me encouraging you to feel good enough and trust your intuition?
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Akhila L »

Yes, that is exactly how it works! We all need support, helping hands, and loving parents and teachers. Or friends. I feel we are very afraid of giving ourselves "too much" because we think we will be cheated. So, we disbelieve our intuition. I find your consoling words very important and encouraging in this context. When I look back into the (spiritual) texts I once studied there is one theme that comes back again and again. "Do not be afraid" (eg BG 18.66 or Bible but not exclusively, of course). I guess many of us share the same experience. The inner feeling of not being good enough is strongly related to the feeling of fear. Strangely, you feel the greatest satisfaction in your life if your are able to overcome that fear. We fear about our health, money, being rejected etc. Then, we fear of death. If you asked me what I dislike most it would be that fear. And now, looking back at the title of this thread, "our goals and objectives" - it looks like an introduction to a scientific paper on our life's agenda :-).
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Hari
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Re: Our goals and objectives

Post by Hari »

In Conversations with God it is stated that the fundamental and primary motivators in life are love and fear. When you act with love for yourself, you act with love for others. If you are afraid, or fear something about yourself, you act with fear towards others. Fear creates conflict, distrust, anger, resentment, false expectations and all the negative qualities that crush us. Love creates all good in ourselves and in our lives. Love tends to flow to those who are around it. This love is not mushy or sentimental. It is our essence and the polar opposite of fear.
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