The world is not the benchmark of reality – Krishna is

When we want to evaluate things, especially things that seem unbelievable, we often ask: “Is this for real?”

For discerning what is real, we need a benchmark. We frequently think of the world that we can touch and see and taste as the real world, and from this world we extrapolate and evaluate whether anything else is real or not, based on how well-founded it is in this world.

For our daily functioning, we consider the physical reality that we experience as the benchmark of reality. However, when we sleep and dream, we no longer experience the physical world; we experience something else. Even if that world comes back every day when we wake up, one day we will go to sleep and won’t wake up to our present physical reality. So, the objects that we touch can be considered real at one level, but what is even more real is our own consciousness because it is through our consciousness that we experience those objects.

Our consciousness is the reality that enables us to experience all other realities, and the Bhagavad-gita explains that our consciousness comes from the soul which is an eternal part of Krishna. This underscores that Krishna is the foundational reality. Without him, nothing could exist (Bhagavad-gita 10.39). Like the ground which makes various kinds of buildings possible, the ground of all existence is Krishna.

When we connect with him by practicing bhakti-yoga, we experience a profound fulfillment, sublime strength and ineffable conviction – all far beyond anything available in the most attractive sense object. Compared to the reality of the supreme reality, compared to his greatness and sweetness, compared to the security and satisfaction we experience by remembering him, all other things including even the real things in the world don’t matter all that much.

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