Seek specialty through authenticity, not novelty

It is a natural human urge to want to be special, to stand out from the crowd, to be original.

Today’s mainstream materialist culture capitalizes on this urge through, among other things, the fashion industry. The Bhagavad-gita (14.12) declares that such a relentless greed for new material things and experiences is the characteristic of the mode of passion. This mode keeps us alienated from the spiritual level of reality, wherein we can actually relish specialty.

Gita wisdom assures us that our longing for specialty is natural, because we as souls who are parts of the supremely special person, Krishna, are special, being unique individuals. Even at the bodily level, we all have our distinctiveness. But the bodily level being material is peripheral to our core self. That’s why seeking specialty through things connected with the body doesn’t provide lasting fulfillment.

But if we can redirect that quest for specialty in our devotional relationship with Krishna, then the resulting purification progressively peels away the layers of illusion that obscure our true spiritual self. As we go deeper and deeper in our relationship with Krishna, we gain the courage, the clarity and the conviction to experience and express our authentic self, both spiritually and materially. Authenticity at the spiritual level refers to the deepening and intensifying of our unique relationship with Krishna as his beloved child. Authenticity at the material level refers to the expressing and enacting of that relationship in this world according to our present distinctive set of psychophysical attributes.

The process of bhakti-yoga for reclaiming this authenticity may seek standard and thus the opposite of novel, for it involves chanting the same names of God, for example. But as we go beyond external appearance to internal substance, we will relish not just authenticity but also novelty – the ever-new sweetness of Krishna’s all-attractiveness.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 14 Text 12

Choose not faith in the eyes; choose the eyes of faith
Emotions come from reality and return us to reality
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3 Comments

  1. Why is it necessary to come to the mode of goodness to practise bhakti? If bhakti is transcendental and does not depend on any material condition can’t it be practiced being in the modes of passion or ignorance? Also, how to utilize the modes of nature in Krishna’s service?

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  2. Hare Krishna Prabhuji,
    A very simple but very powerful explanation. I have experienced sometimes of what you said prabhuji in this statement: “As we go deeper and deeper in our relationship with Krishna, we gain the courage, the clarity and the conviction to experience and express our authentic self, both spiritually and materially.”

    Hare Krishna!

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