SPIRITUALISM – THE NEW ADVAITA THEORY OF NON-DUALISM:
I am sharing my view in response to a view shared by Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness in his book, Science of Self-Realization.
Firstly, I must state that Srila Prabhupada has not taken into consideration “The Totality of Things.” To describe “The Totality of Things”, the ‘Three Fundamental Distinctions’, or the Three Fundamental Dualisms must be recognized. The Three Fundamental Distinctions are, 1. the distinction between the natural and the supernatural, 2. the distinction between the material and the spiritual, and 3. the distinction between the living and the non-living(animate/inanimate).
Substance, material, or matter is a fundamental requirement to establish man’s existence in the physical world. But, this existence becomes a reality if, and only if there is separation of living, and non-living matter or material. A living thing exists by separating itself from its external environment. This separation is supported by implantation of “KNOWLEDGE” in the substance of the matter that gets transformed into living matter. The evidence of the “KNOWLEDGE” that is implanted is detected in two fundamental characteristics of living things; 1. the ‘Consciousness’ or ‘Awareness’ of the fact/state/condition of its own energy-dependent existence by which the living thing knows that it needs energy-yielding molecules found in the matter present in its external environment, and 2. ‘Intelligence’ that involves the cognitive ability to acquire information, process information, store information, and use information to recognize the presence of other ‘Things’ present in the external environment and use them to gain energy and to make structures and perform functions to maintain its own living condition.
Consciousness, and Intelligence are the two basic ‘spiritual’ functions of all living things. These are not physical, or chemical functions that are entirely determined by the Laws of Physical Sciences. These are not functions that are dependent upon man’s physical, or mental work.
If soul or spirit is defined as the vital, animating principle common to all living things, its presence can be known if the matter is conscious and is intelligent. The separation of man into material body, thinking substance or matter called mind, and an immaterial part or principle called spirit or soul is not correct. The biological existence of man demands Unity.
There is no Mind-Body dichotomy as the complete human organism is derived from a single fertilized Egg Cell. The human person will not come into existence if there is no functional, and structural unity between mind, body, and the various tissues, organs, and organ systems. The entity named spirit or soul does not belong to the transcendental, or metaphysical realm or domain. Spirit and Soul belong to the corporeal substance or matter. Man is not an embodied soul and in reality man is a living soul. The purpose of Self-Discovery is not that of God-Discovery. The concern is not about the existence of God, or the verification of God’s existence. Man has to discover his own true or real nature. For this, man has to understand as to what it is to be a substance and as to what it is to be in a condition, or state called existence.
Spiritualism, the new ‘ADVAITA’ Theory of Non-Dualism seeks the Unity of man in body, mind, spirit, and soul. Such unity establishes the dependent condition called existence while man desires freedom in his thoughts, actions, and behavior.
R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162, USA
The following is an article based upon the view shared by Srila Prabhupada in his book, The Science of Self-Realization.
Discovering the Self:
Who are you? Are you your body? Or your mind? Or are you something higher? Do you know who you are, or do you merely think you know? And does it really matter? Our materialistic society, with its unenlightened leadership, has made it virtually taboo to inquire into our real, higher self. Instead we use our valuable time maintaining, decorating, and pampering the body for its own sake. Might there be an alternative?
This very important Krishna consciousness movement is meant to save human society from spiritual death. At present human society is being misled by leaders who are blind, for they do not know the aim and objective of human life, which is self-realization and the reestablishment of our lost relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the missing point. The Krishna consciousness movement is trying to enlighten human society in this important matter.
According to Vedic civilization, the perfection of life is to realize one’s relationship with Krishna, or God. In the Bhagavad-Gita, which is accepted by all authorities in transcendental science as the basis of all Vedic knowledge, we understand that not only human beings but all living entities are parts and parcels of God. The parts are meant for serving the whole, just as the legs, hands, fingers, and ears are meant for serving the total body. We living entities, being parts and parcels of God, are duty-bound to serve Him.
Actually our position is that we are always rendering service to someone, either to our family, country, or society. If we have no one to serve, sometimes we keep a pet cat or dog and render service to it. All these factors prove that we are constitutionally meant to render service, yet in spite of serving to the best of our ability, we are not satisfied. Nor is the person to whom we are rendering that service satisfied. On the material platform, everyone is frustrated. The reason for this is that the service being rendered is not properly directed. For example, if we want to render service to a tree, we must water the root. If we pour water on the leaves, branches, and twigs, there is little benefit. If the Supreme Personality of Godhead is served, all other parts and parcels will be automatically satisfied. Consequently all welfare activities as well as service to society, family, and nation are realized by serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
It is the duty of every human being to understand his constitutional position with God and to act accordingly. If this is possible, then our lives become successful. Sometimes, however, we feel challenging and say, “There is no God,” or “I am God,” or even, “I don’t care for God.” But in actuality this challenging spirit will not save us. God is there, and we can see Him at every moment. If we refuse to see God in our life, then He will be present before us as cruel death. If we do not choose to see Him in one feature, we will see Him in another. There are different features of the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He is the original root of the entire cosmic manifestation. In one sense, it is not possible for us to escape Him.
This Krishna consciousness movement is not blind religious fanaticism, nor is it a revolt by some recent upstart; rather, it is an authorized, scientific approach to the matter of our eternal necessity in relation with the Absolute Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Enjoyer. Krishna consciousness simply deals with our eternal relationship with Him and the process of discharging our relative duties to Him. Thus, Krishna consciousness enables us to achieve the highest perfection of life attainable in the present human form of existence.
Ref: Science of Self Realization authored by Srila Prabhupada (Founder – Acharya, ISKCON)