By Chaitanya Charan Das
During our reflective moments, we may wonder, “What is the purpose of this world?”
Materialists answer that the world is a place for our enjoyment. This answer is problematic because distress and death pervade the world.
Some spiritualists, especially impersonalists, answer that the world is a place of illusion – it is just meant to be renounced. This answer too is problematic because it is largely impractical, and it renders meaningless most of the things we value: our talents, aspirations, contributions.
Presently, our consciousness is at the material level because we are materially attached. Even if we aspire to develop spiritual consciousness, we can’t immediately stop being materially conscious. Acknowledging our predicament, bhakti-yoga offers us a way to the spiritual through the material. Bhakti wisdom sees the world is a resource to take us to the source, to God. While materialism romanticizes the world and impersonalism demonizes the world, bhakti utilizes the world.
How can we utilize the world? Through bhakti wisdom and bhakti practice.
Bhakti wisdom explains how everything is connected with Krishna. We are souls, who are his eternal parts (Bhagavad-gita 15.07). The world emanates from him (10.08) and is permeated by him (07.07). Our abilities come from him (07.08) and are meant for his service (11.33). Even our senses, which frequently act as pathways to illusion, can become tools for purification (05.10). If we work with this divine awareness, our work becomes a form of worship (18.46).
Bhakti practice helps us realize Krishna’s omnipresence, thereby ensuring that our consciousness becomes steadily connected with him. With that connection, we can work wholeheartedly, striving to do justice to our God-given talents in his service.
Thus, bhakti helps us make contributions in this world while progressing towards liberation from the world – for a life of eternal love with our Lord.
Verse 18.46 – “By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, a man can attain perfection through performing his own work.”
Think it over:
What is the problem with materialism’s vision of the world?
What is the problem with impersonalism’s vision of the world?
How can the world become a resource to take us to the source?