The regular reader of this journal is already acquainted with the object as well as method of the spiritual exhibition as conceived and organized by the Viswa Vaishnava Raj Sabha. The first exhibition was held at Sridham Mayapur in connection with celebration of the anniversary of the Supreme Lord year before last. This was followed by the exhibition that was organized at the Gaudiya Math in Calcutta a few months back on the occasion of the installation of the Sree Bigrahas in the New Buildings of the Math at Baghbazar. The interest which was called forth by the exhibition in Calcutta may be gauzed by the number of visitors which exceeded all calculations passed beyond all arrangements for the proper regulation of traffic within the limited space at the disposal of the organisers It is intended to hold the exhibition this year on a more spacious plot of land which has been kindly placed at the the disposal of the Sabha by the Corporation.
The possibility of the spiritual exhibition is ensured by the real and substantive existence of the realm of the Absolute of which the mundane world is the perverted reflection. It is for this reason possible to represent the spiritual by mundane contrivances. It is not only a merely practicable but the most effective method of propaganda and one which is also free from the ordinary current misconceptions on the subject of religion. This method has a boundless possibility of expansion in the future and if it really sets forth the Truth it will quickly revolutionize the current views on religion. It is both a fully scientific as well as an effectively popularizing method of propaganda.
Those who are opposed to the principle of representation of the spiritual by the mundane categories overlook the moiety of the whole and indivisible Truth. The realm of the Absolute is no doubt categorically different from the mundane. It is also perfectly inaccessible to reasoning that chooses to start from and take its stand on mundane experience. The objectors of the representation of the spiritual by the mundane rightly maintain that the mundane representation is mischievous in as much as it is bound to produce and perpetuate the impression that the spiritual is in some conceivable way similar to the mundane. This objection holds good so far and we have every sympathy for those who are so anxious to emphasize the difference that eternally separates the mundane from the spiritual.
But this is only one side of the shield and the dark side. There is another and the brighter side, one that renders worship of the Transcendental possible to the conditioned soul. If it is to be possible for man to progress towards the transcendental service of the Absolute Who by every definition is wholly inaccessible to the limited vision of man both by reason of its want of range and of its aptitude to present the misleading view of the objects seen by its means, there should be a way of using our present equipments in the proper manner for the purpose.
Accordingly the Scriptures declare that the phenomenal world is not wholly out of touch with the Absolute. There is a relationship between the two which may be described by a mundane analogy. The Scriptures say that the mundane is the perverted reflection of the Absolute. This is a most momentous announcement. It no doubt makes worship possible without throwing it open as it is to the view of unredeemed humanity. Worship is rendered to the Absolute by the scriptural method under the constant and unconditional guidance of the redeemed souls.
Let us go a little more fully into the details of the function, of worship itself. Who renders worship, to Whom does he render worship, by what method does he offer worship and why does he worship? It is necessary to try to understand these matters in terms of the mundane vocabulary in conformity of the plain meaning of scriptural revelation as interpreted by the bonafide spiritual guide to the entire satisfaction of our receptive rational judgment fully prepared to admit the real existence of the Absolute. The function of worship belongs to the soul in his natural state and it is not a function of the limited mind. This implies admission of the existence of an entity who is not accessible to the mental outlook. But the mind is apt to think that it is the owner of the particular form of an imperfect consciousness which appears to it to be a part and parcel of its own nature. This is a mistake on the part of the mind according to the Scripture. In the conditioned state the soul is enabled by a power of the Divinity to delegate his function to the limited mind and to remain inactive himself. In the mental consciousness there is no trace of evidence regarding the supermental existence of the soul in the unconditioned state. All mortal speculation on the nature of the soul is therefore bound to lead away from the direction of the real quest.
The object of worship is the Absolute Truth Himself. The mind as long as it is limited in its function by the mundane categories can have no access to the object of worship. That this must be so is not, however, incomprehensible to the mind itself. The mind feels itself effectively obstructed on all sides by the resistance of its own constitution in the quest of the Truth. Not to recognize this is nothing but sheer hypocrisy on the part of the mind. Therefore the quest of the Truth is incumbent upon the mind also by its constitution. This is seemingly the insoluble riddle which confronts the empiric enquirer. Unless the empiricists can find a way out of this difficulty he can not claim even to himself to be on the path that leads to the Truth. He can receive no help in this matter from his own mind or from the whole race of those who depend on their minds like himself. In other words he cannot work up to the Truth with the help of those appliances and resources that are at his disposal. Under the circumstances he may like to despair of being ever able to find the real Truth. But by the constitution of his mind be can never stop in the midst of his quest. He must either go forward or backward. If he exercises his habitual method he cannot go forward and, therefore, must be continually moving away from the Truth Whom he professes also to seek.
In this predicament the Scriptures come to his help. What they want to say is in effect not anything to which he is invited to assent against his own better judgment. But the proposition that is put before him by the Scriptures is at the same time also incomprehensible to his limited understanding if he is disposed to believe nothing to be truth which his limited mind does not fully comprehend by the inductive method. He is of course free to stick to his own futile method and be in a state of perpetual and increasing ignorance. It is not our business to consider at this place this aspect of the case.
The Scriptures propose that the enquirer will have to submit to receive the consciousness of the real nature of the Truth from the Truth Himself. The Truth is not an inanimate entity formed of a number of ideas existing no where except in the brain of the supposed knower. This would make Truth a constituent part of the knower. He would thereby cease to be either an object of quest or of worship. A person is under no necessity of seeking a part of himself. Neither is he under any rational obligation of rendering homage to a portion of himself. The inanimate can be by its nature a comprehensible part of the mind. But the mind cannot include in this way the indivisible entity which is apprehensible to it as the principle of pure consciousness. The Scriptures, therefore, direct us to offer our homage to the principle of pure consciousness which transcends the mental existence.
The process of worship is the function of individual detached entities of pure consciousness towards the plenary indivisible pure Consciousness. The Object of worship is plenary Consciousness. The worshipper is the detachable portion of the plenary Consciousness. The detachable portions are maintained in their position of detachment by their eternal specific nature. They are thereby enabled to serve the plenary Consciousness from their detached position. The necessity of such service is also a part of their nature and the fulfillment and justification of it. But they are not complementaries of one another. The detached portions are under the necessity of rendering service for their own benefit. The plenary Consciousness is under no obligation of receiving any service but is in the habit of allowing the detached portions to serve Him out of His causeless mercy.
The worshipper receives perpetual enlightenment from the plenary Consciousness. The process of receiving enlightenment by his own consent is the nature and basis of all spiritual service on the part of the worshipper. In other words the worshipper is informed of what he is to do. But this guidance is of such nature that helps the guided to realize the possibility of serving the plenary Consciousness without losing his own individuality in any way. The service of the Absolute is realized as the only really free function of his individual nature in perfect harmony with the equally fully free functioning of every other individual serving entity.
Once possessed of this real enlightenment the worshipper finds himself in a position to use his present appliances and materials in a way that will take him forward towards the Truth. It is the case of Truth drawing His worshipper towards Himself. This need not be impossible for the Truth although it must be perfectly incomprehensible to the limited mind. The service of the Truth in this world is not a symbolical affair only. It is by no means a make-believe. The appliances and the materials used by the worshipper of the Absolute share the spiritual nature of the process and applier of the process.
The service of the Truth on the plane of the Absolute bears a very real resemblance to the activities of the physical body and the materialized mind of the conditioned soul functioning on the mundane plane. We may ask our readers to return to our observation on the subject in the opening paragraphs of this short article to the effect that the mundane world is the perverted reflection of the realm of the Absolute. In other words the activities of the enlightened soul are only apparently concerned with the mundane categories. As a matter of fact, however, they really transcend those categories not symbolically but substantively.
The point that is to be particularly noted in this connection is that the worship, including process, material and worshipper, can be really spiritual if it belongs to the transcendental plane. The worshipper of the Absolute has to be actually lifted to the higher plane for the purpose of performing his worship with other appliances and materials than those that are used for the mundane activity. The worshipper, process and material, however, do not cease to appear as mundane to the mundane spectators even while they are substantialised by the Grace of the Object of worship in the act of rendering Him worship. The physical body and mind of the person who submits to the servant of the Absolute for being initiated in His service become, by such process, by the Will of Krishna, similar to but not identical with the spiritual essence, thereby rendering the worship of Godhead practicable.
The spiritual exhibition, therefore, is not a symbolical display of the mundane. It is substantive display of the spiritual. The symbol of the mundane is also and wholly mundane. This spiritual realism of bonafide worship is not likely to be grasped by those who are not prepared to cut themselves off entirely from their empiric moorings in approaching the Absolute. It is only crude empiricism that can have any objection to the reality of worship. The spiritual exhibition, including organiser, process and material, is a spiritual affair, not in any sense which may be read into it by the empiric pedants but in the absolute sense of the only reality. One can have no access to it’s real nature unless he is prepared to cease to try to understand it by his own resources and submit to receive enlightenment from the exhibition itself which can take the initiative in informing him about its own nature. The spiritual exhibition is really, as its name explains, the Absolute realm itself appearing in the form of the mundane to the perverted vision of the haters of the Truth, but disclosing its spiritual nature to all sincere servants of Krishna.
Source: The Harmonist – Shree Sajjana toshani Vol. XXIX, August 1931, Chaitanya-Era 445, No. 2
To order “The Harmonist As It Is” visit http://touchstonemedia.us8.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=2bbd4c21e8af7b1012ea0ee73&id=79de405778&e=057bc42d0d
For a special 25% discount, enter the code: WVA25