13th October, 2014. Gurgaon
Q: How can I attain self realisation ? I know I am a spirit soul but I still act all the time as a material bodily?
Answer : Srila Prabhupada teaches us a very scientific and practical way to attain self realisation in the purport to the below verse.
You should always know that this cosmic manifestation is created, maintained and annihilated by the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently, everything within this cosmic manifestation is under the control of the Lord. To be enlightened by this perfect knowledge, one should always engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord.
Prabhupada writes in his purport :
Self-realization, understanding oneself as Brahman, or spirit soul, is very difficult in the material condition. However, if we accept the devotional service of the Lord, the Lord will gradually reveal Himself. In this way the progressive devotee will gradually realize his spiritual position. We cannot see anything in the darkness of night, not even our own selves, but when there is sunshine we can see not only the sun but everything within the world as well. Lord Kṛṣṇa explains in the Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā (7.1):
mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha
yogaṁ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ
asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ
yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu
“Now hear, O son of Pṛthā [Arjuna], how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.”
When we engage ourselves in the devotional service of the Lord to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, we understand not only Kṛṣṇa but everything related to Kṛṣṇa. In other words, through Kṛṣṇa consciousness we can understand not only Kṛṣṇa and the cosmic manifestation but also our constitutional position. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness we can understand that the entire material creation is created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, maintained by Him, annihilated by Him and absorbed in Him. We are also part and parcel of the Lord. Everything is under the control of the Lord, and therefore our only duty is to surrender unto the Supreme and engage in His transcendental loving service.
Q: Can a soul get liberated while still being in this material body ?
Answer : Sure, provided that he wishes for the same.
Having undergone austerities and penances at Kapilāśrama, King Prācīnabarhi attained full liberation from all material designations. He constantly engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord and attained a spiritual position qualitatively equal to that of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (SB 4.29.81)
Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport of the above verse :
There is special significance in the words tat-sāmyatām agāt. The King attained the position of possessing the same status or the same form as that of the Lord. This definitely proves that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always a person. In His impersonal feature, He is the rays of His transcendental body. When a living entity attains spiritual perfection, he also attains the same type of body, known as sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]. This spiritual body never mixes with the material elements. Although in conditional life the living entity is surrounded by material elements (earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, intelligence and ego), he remains always aloof from them. In other words, the living entity can be liberated from the material condition at any moment, provided that he wishes to do so. The material environment is called māyā. According to Kṛṣṇa:
daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te
“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” (Bg. 7.14)
As soon as the living entity engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he immediately attains freedom from all material conditions (sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]). In the material state the living entity is on the jīva-bhūta platform, but when he renders devotional service to the Lord, he is elevated to the brahma-bhūta platform. On the brahma-bhūta platform the living entity is liberated from material bondage, and he engages in the service of the Lord. In this verse the word dhīra is sometimes read as vīra. Actually there is not very much difference. The word dhīra means “sober,” and vīra means “hero.” One who is struggling against māyā is a hero, and one who is sober enough to understand his position is a dhīra. Without becoming sober or heroic, one cannot attain spiritual salvation.
Q: What is the jīva-bhūta explained above ?
Answer: Such is the transcendental knowledge given to us by Srila Prabhupada in his books that the title Bhaktivedanta is so very apt, all the knowledge is there in his books.
The five sense objects, the five sense organs, the five knowledge-acquiring senses and the mind are the sixteen material expansions. These combine with the living entity and are influenced by the three modes of material nature. Thus the existence of the conditioned soul is understood. (SB 4.29.74)
Srila Prabhupada explains it in the purport of the above verse
Here it is also explained that the living entity comes in contact with the sixteen material elements and is influenced by the three modes of material nature. The living entity and this combination of elements combine to form what is called jīva-bhūta, the conditioned soul that struggles hard within material nature.
All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.