The Spiritual Exhibition at Sreedham Mayapur Part I

March 1930

THOUSANDS of people from all parts of the country have had the good fortune of visiting the spiritual exhibition which has been manifested at Sreedham Mayapur by the grace of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj.

For those who have been sincerely desirous of making the real acquaintance of the summum bonum, the globes symbolising the gradual stages by which the soul progresses towards his natural function, must appeal more strongly than anything else.

The extension of Nityananda, the alter Ego of the Supreme Lord Sri Gaursundar, for the purpose of serving Sri Gaursundar in endless ways, and the Nature of Sri Gaursundar, the Principle of service Himself in His Own Divine Form, has been made visible to the mortal eye, in relation to the Object of all service, viz. the lotus Feet of Sri Krishna.

Sri Krishna is served thoroughly in Goloke. He is served less confidently in Vaikuntha. These are the inner and outer chambers of the Absolute Realm. The Absolute Realm is separated from the phenomenal world by successive spheres in the shape of the realm of the undifferentiated Brahman and the stream of the neutral zone. On the further side, away from Vaikuntha, of the neutral stream are located the fourteen globes of the phenomenal world, where there is no conscious service of Sri Krishna.

The soul that is located in the phenomenal world does not serve Krishna but the material mind and gross physical body which are objects of the phenomenal world with which the soul is deluded into identifying himself by the compelling power of Maya, the energy of Godhead that manifests herself as the phenomenal world.

The soul that is averse to Krishna is placed by Krishna, out of His causeless mercy, in this phenomenal world to enable him to regain his natural function of the willing service of Krishna, by the realisation of the true nature of the misfortune of aversion to Him.

But the soul that finds himself located in this phenomenal world, due to his aversion to the service of Krishna, is unable by his own endeavours to regain his natural condition of love for Krishna. Love for Krishna may be obtained only by His Grace. Aversion to Krishna is tantamount to refusal to receive love for Krishna by His Grace.

Krishna cannot be loved according to the deluded caprice of the soul that has his face turned away from Him. He can be loved only if we are prepared to serve Him vis-a-vis. It is only by serving Krishna's will with the faculty of love that love is prevented from being replaced by its distorted shadow viz. lust. So long as there remains any lust or aversion to Krishna the soul deluded by it has no access to the spiritual realm lying on the further side of negative or neutral zone that is devoid of any distinctive quality either mundane or spiritual (Biraja). The deluded soul may catch the first glimmering of the Absolute Realm only after being thoroughly cleansed of all mundane quality by the process of crossing the neutral zone.

Let us, therefore, try to visualise the course of the soul's progress from the state of bondage to the highest platform of spiritual service by following up the suggestion represented by the elaborate system of globes set up in the purely spiritual section of the Exhibition.

The first thing that we notice there is that the phenomenal worlds are not one but fourteen in number and disposed in a descending order on the mundane shore of the neutral stream. Our world occupies the middle position in the scheme of the phenomenal universe, there being six higher and seven lower worlds extended in an order of gradation above and below it. These are the limits of the sojourn of the deluded soul. He wanders up and down in this system of worlds. He is prevented from escaping from this prison by the moat-stream of the neutral zone into which he cannot carry any of his mundane activities. It is, therefore, necessary for the soul to be ferried across this stream.

The question at once arises what and who is to be ferried across the neutral zone? It cannot be any principle with which the deluded soul is already familiar. Because it will dissolve in the process and simply cease to exist. This non-existent state has been considered as the goal of all endeavour by those who have tried to form an idea of the termination of the worldly course in terms of mundane experience. No mundane experience can survive in the long run. As this experience is bound to fall off by its nature there can be no end of the journey, as long as any of mundane qualities retains its effective existence. The ideal condition is accordingly conceived to be absolutely featureless or zero. But as the principle of consciousness cannot be imagined to exist at all in a state of perfect inaction, the Buddhists, quite consistently suppose consciousness itself to be a derivative principle or as the symptom of disturbance of the ideal state which is featureless and non-conscious. Buddha says that it is not possible to cross the neutral zone which forms the limit of the phenomenal universe and into which all mundane activities tend naturally to merge.

So if the neutral stream has to be crossed at all we require a principle that is capable of surviving in the region where nothing can conceivably exist. This principle has been shown in the form of a creeper which has to be brought into active existence and helped to grow, in the same way as any material creeper of this world.

The seed of the creeper of spiritual function is obtained in this world by the grace of Sri Guru and Krishna Who manifest Their mercies simultaneously. There is no principle that bears any analogy to the so called laws of physical Nature that governs this manifestation of the grace of Sri Guru and Krishna. It is rarely, indeed, that the individual soul pre-occupied with the activities of the mundane sojourn, is privileged to attain the high fortune of obtaining such grace. The implication of the grace disposes of all claims based on worldly merit as a pre-requisite qualifying a person to be the recipient of it.

The germ of the active spiritual function has to be received by an utterly unfit person from the spiritual Teacher and the Supreme Lord, as Their causeless favour. Before the simultaneous appearance of the grace of Sri Guru and Krishna the spiritual function remains in the dormant condition long as the spiritual function is inoperative the mundane function continues to delude the soul. It is not, therefore, possible for the soul, engrossed in worldliness, by any form of activities, to attain to the pre-requisite of spiritual enlightenment. During the period of spiritual ignorance the soul is, however, helped, unconsciously to himself, to approach towards the light by the same causeless grace of Sri Guru and Krishna that manifests itself to his consciousness by the process of enlightenment.

But in the ignorant state also the dormant soul is not wholly irresponsible for the continuation of his ignorance. The dormant soul can also accept or reject the grace of Sri Guru and Krishna that appears to him in the unconscious state. The subconscious acceptance of Divine Grace in the dormant state is the only pre-requisite for the attainment of spiritual enlightenment. This is the meaning of the declaration of the Scriptures that any form of 'friendly' association with the devotees of Krishna is the cause as well as the effect of spiritual awakening. Or, it may also be stated thus, sub-conscious association with Sadhus alone can lead us to realise the nature and necessity of conscious association with them, which is identical with the service of Sri Krishna, the eternal spiritual function of all individual souls.'

(To be continued)