Spirituality is not an escape from Reality but to Reality

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.08.04 - Spirituality is not an escape from Reality but to Reality(download mp3)
by Purushottam Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

 SB 11.8.4
 bibhrad deham akarmakam
sayano vita-nidras ca
 nehetendriyavan api

A saintly person should remain peaceful and materially inactive, maintaining his body without much endeavor. Even though possessed of full sensual, mental and physical strength, a saintly person should not become active for material gain but rather should always remain alert to his actual self-interest.

The word vita-nidrah in this verse is very significant. Nidra means “sleep” or “ignorance,” and vita means “freed from.” In other words, a transcendentalist should always be awake to his eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and should carefully cultivate Krsna consciousness. Being confident of his relationship with the Lord, he should not endeavor for his personal maintenance, knowing that the Lord is protecting him in all respects. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that the example of the python is given so that one will not uselessly waste his time in bodily maintenance.

One should not think, however, that the purpose of life is to lie on the ground like a python or to make a show of starving the body. The example of the python should not encourage one to become completely inactive. One should rather become active in spiritual advancement and inactive in material sense gratification. If one becomes completely inactive, that is certainly nidra, or the darkness of ignorance, in which one remains asleep to his identity as an eternal servant of the Personality of Godhead.

A transcendentalist is eager to execute his service to the Lord, and therefore he is grateful when the Lord provides material facilities for such service. Mere renunciation of the material world is phalgu-vairagya, or an immature stage of spiritual understanding. One must come to the stage of yukta-vairagya, engaging everything in the service of Lord Krsna. It is our practical experience that a devotee absorbed in spreading Krsna consciousness automatically receives all facilities for his personal maintenance.

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