Mystical experiences open a person’s mind to a greater perception and give way to real knowledge, converting abstract concepts, such as divine love, into a vivid and personal reality.
A myth is a time-honed accounting of a historical event that takes us beyond the boundaries of our logical-reasonable mind. We might consider something mythic that we cannot understand, but none-the-less we become captivated by the breadth of its narration which ultimately awakens us to a deeper perception by its mystical means.
Ordinarily we gather data through sensory perception. Our minds are as impossible to control as the wind, and our senses are imperfect, and thus our conclusions may also be incomplete. Hot, cold, happy, sad, good, and evil are mental notions relative to our conditioning. The same day may be cold for one person and not to another. The very same stimuli may be good for one and bad for another. The phenomenal world may be real, but our perception of it is usually without real clarity. Because of our clouded perception, we get caught in a purposeful illusory web—Maya— We appease our self with sensory gratification until we are so sick and tired of its vapid temporary nature that nothing other than liberation from such meaningless experiences will do. A Jiva’s desire for actual knowledge must be so great that nothing other, no form of diversion or distraction, will pacify the hunger one feels for God Consciousness. The need for self-realization must be so pressing that all else pales. That is when a spirit-soul is ready for self-realization.
Bhagavadgita, The Song of God, is the revelatory foundation for all yogi’s and serious spiritual aspirants. The purpose of yoga is to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the source of all things. A genuine seeker will not give up or give in until he or she knows this Supreme Truth. Such a profound realization is not merely given to us. Yoga implies action. Therefore Patanjali, the time honored Indian scholar who compiled The Yogasutras— one of the most important texts in the Hindu tradition—laid out a systematic means to reach the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord.
Some who make an effort will ascend the yoga ladder through following the Yamas and niyama’s while others in Krishna Consciousness,—Bhakti yogis—will cleanse the impurities from their heart by pure devotional service, which is realized by chanting the Holy Name and serving the Lord’s devotees. This topmost rung of the yoga ladder is Bhakti-yoga; a reciprocal love of God. The secret of the Bhagavad-gita is this; Krishna loves our love.
The first chapter of the Bhagavad-gita; Vishada Yoga, the yoga of lamentation, puts us on Kurukshetra, a battle field some miles outside of New Delhi, India. There the Pandavas and Kauravas face the most difficult situation. The family is divided, and the battle lines drawn. It’s a rare person who understands the circumstantial depth of the opening chapter.
In his introduction, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says: “Therefore Bhagavad-gita should be taken up in a spirit of devotion. One should not think that he is equal to Krishna, nor should he think that Krishna is an ordinary personality or even a very great personality. Lord Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at least theoretically, according to the statements of Bhagavad-gita or the statements of Arjuna, the person who is trying to understand the Bhagavad-gita. We should therefore at least theoretically accept Sri Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and with that submissive spirit, we can understand the Bhagavad-gita. Unless one reads the Bhagavad-gita in a submissive spirit, it is very difficult to understand Bhagavad-gita because it is a great mystery.”
Chapter two is the summarization of The Bhagavad-gita’s contents. It opens when Krishna finds Arjuna in a state of lamentation. Here we find Krishna telling Arjuna that compassion for his kin along with lamentation and tears are for the sudra. A sudra—used this way— is a person without knowledge of The Supreme Personality of Godhead. The sudra exists solely on the material platform, unaware of the goal of life. They believe they are the body. Srila Prabhupada enlightened us about our real identity – that “I am not this body, but a spirit soul.” On this level of insight, compassion has a much deeper significance. Srila Prabhupada taught; “Material compassion, lamentation, and tears are all signs of ignorance of the real self. Compassion for the eternal soul is self-realization. He goes on to say; “No one knows where compassion should be applied. Compassion for the dress of a drowning man is senseless. A man fallen in the ocean of nescience cannot be saved only by rescuing his outward dress – the gross material body.”
Anything we do with Krishna Consciousness is yoga. To understand this one must have faith in the Supreme Lord and come to Krishna with an open mind and open heart. One must set aside all preconceived notions. Without which a person cannot know this information from any view point other than his or her experience thus far. Admitting that we are not qualified, we then have to decide how to study this information. If we chose to study from an emotional place of personal reference, we wouldn’t get very much out of our time. But if we relinquish all beliefs and come with an open heart and open mind, genuine knowledge will come, and falsity will naturally fall away. To realize the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita, one must have humility and develop determination, from those qualities fearlessness will arise and then we begin to actualize our eternal-spiritual life. Consequently, we become unafraid to choose a side, or speak the truth or remain silent. When we recognize our spiritual identity and no longer live on the bodily platform, we are liberated from the oppression of material life. As Krishna begins to explain to Arjuna in chapter three of The Song of God— Karma Yoga, the intellect cannot purify itself. It is flawed because it is materially conditioned. Meditation, when done with intensity and repetition, shows us the nature of the mind but without Krishna Consciousness we remain spiritually narcissistic. Chanting japa, The Lord’s Holy Name; Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna; Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare; Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare, Hare is the particular medicine for this quarrelsome age of Kali. By chanting the Maha Mantra, we begin to develop a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By chanting we rise above the rewards or punishments of our karma. The process of Krishna Consciousness has begun. We then start to see signs along the way. We are starting to question what we once accepted. Our mind starts to expand as our heart begins to open to the possibility that we are little spirit souls on a journey home.