The Spiritual Exhibition at Sreedham Mayapur Part 2

(Continued from P. 315, March 1930).

May 1930

The seed of the creeper of spiritual function is obtained by the fortunate dormant soul as the result of sub-conscious friendly association with serving souls, by the Grace of Krishna and Sri Guru. This is the beginning of conscious service.

The principle of devotion is a transcendental form of activity inherent in the soul in the state of Grace. This principle grows by exercise. By its means the soul is quickly relieved of all mundane activity. This is the crossing of the neutral stream. The soul now finds herself on the further shore of the stream that separates the spiritual realm from the mundane. She feels a new joy by being relieved of the burden of the world. The light from the spiritual world has come to her. But she cannot yet actually perceive either the objects or relationships of the new world. She feels relieved of all necessity for mundane activities but finds no other form of activity to take their place. This is the sphere of the un-differentiated Brahman or the realisation of God-head as the Great Unknown.

But the soul finds no function to perform in the sphere of the Brahman. She cannot, therefore, stay there for long unless she has a principle on which she can take her stand. This principle is nothing else than the merciful guidance of Sri Guru from whom she has received the new enlightenment. If the Guru can supply the soul with the spiritual function for which she does not yet possess the active aptitude she is not only enabled to maintain herself in this apparently baseless position but to go forward towards the concrete realm of the Absolute viz., Vaikuntha.

The Sphere of the Brahman has been described in glowing terms in the Scriptures. Self-realised souls on gaining the fringe of the transcendental realm have failed to find suitable language to express the joy of their new experience. There is no exaggeration in the praises of the Scriptures that refer to the sphere of the Brahman, regarded from the mundane point of view. But the texts in regard to the Brahman have been misunderstood and misapplied by persons who have no experience of the nature of the light issuing from the spiritual realm that greets and intoxicates the traveler to the realm of the Absolute with an inexpressible anticipatory joy for the Unknown. The sphere of the Brahman has accordingly been misrepresented as the goal, instead of being the beginning, of the spiritual journey, and the experience of the soul on attainment of the realm of light as merging with the undefinable God-head. The sphere of the Brahman has accordingly been represented in the system of the Universe at the Exhibition by means of a void separating the mundane worlds surrounded by the moat of the neutral stream of Biraja from the Absolute Realm proper or Vaikuntha.

The creeper of devotional function has to grow under the fostering cure of the spiritual guide in order to be enabled to attain to the concrete realm of Vaikuntha, the kingdom of Sri Narayan Who reigns there in all His Glory and Majesty. The soul now finds definite occupation that connects her with the Supreme Lord and His happy, loyal servants who are not only free from all the imperfections of a cramped existence but have an unlimited scope of concrete spiritual activity directed to the service of the Supreme Lord.

Vaikuntha is represented by a hemisphere situated on the further side of the void of the sphere of the Brahman. The hemisphere is divided into an infinity of spheres where an infinity of the manifestations of the benign Majesty of the Supreme Lord are served by a corresponding variety of appropriate moods, by servants possessing suitable dispositions.

But the service rendered to the Majesty of the Supreme Lord in Vaikuntha, although free from all taint of unwholesomeness, is lacking in the elements of intimacy and confidence resulting from spontaneous love that dares everything for the sake of the Beloved. This is the reason that has led Vaikuntha to be represented by a hemisphere to indicate that the superior half of spiritual service is there suppressed by the prominent display of the Majesty of the Lord.

The visualised hemisphere of Vaikuntha is surmounted by the full sphere of Goloka, Krishna's own Realm. Goloka in its turn is divided into the two regions of predominating Beauty and predominating Mercy. These twin regions are simultaneously distinct and identical. They are the double aspect of the one. The difference between them consists in the fact that Mercy is more accessible than Beauty. Or it would be truer to say that Beauty becomes accessible through Mercy and Mercy in its turn becomes realisable when it is seen to be identical with Beauty. This simultaneous distinction and non-distinction which underlies all Divine spiritual manifestation cannot be really grasped by the limited intellect of the aggressively aspiring disloyal soul.

Participation in the intimate and perfectly confident service of Sri Krishna in Sri Brindaban by the spiritual milk-maids of that happy realm, is the birthright of all individual souls. They are deprived of this supreme privilege by the tactless assertion of their particular predilections in the unserving way. The merciful Aspect of the Absolute can alone wean the individual soul from this tendency towards perversity by admitting him, against the cardinal principles of rationality, to a glimpse of the realm of Beauty, Sri Brindaban, as being identical with Swetadwip, the realm of Mercy co-sphered in the highest realm of perfect loving service of the Divine Pair, Sri Sri Radha-Govinda.

To us all this may seem to be nothing more than an allegory, although possessing a most fascinating charm. It is in this way that the poets and litterateurs have been content to regard and use the information manifested to us by the Bhagabat. But a very little reflection in a truly detached mood should suffice to convince any reasonable person that the allegory possesses the further quality of shattering all the day-dreams of every school of philosophy spun by the vain ingenuity of the human mind. This ought to make us pause a little before we pronounce any adverse judgment. After all this world, including our apparent selves, may be itself the dreaded allegory that is keeping us from the Truth and Reality. It will no doubt involve the most acute searching of the heart to admit unreservedly what after all is bound to appear to us in our present circumstances as merely a hypothetical conclusion of the intellect.

The only way by which we can get rid of this killing indecision is to really seek for further enlightenment in the true spirit of humility. It is only reasonable to look for this also from the quarter from which the original impulse ia eternally pouring in upon us.