The materialistic conception impels a living being to assert himself in different contexts of life. When everyone is conducted by the same impulse, a strong, envious, negativity pervades the environment which self-propagates as people respond to it. Dominance becomes the standard for success. Life transforms into a constant struggle punctuated by successes and failures in heinous attempts to prevail. In such a state the heart is flooded with ungodly thoughts, feelings and intentions-the instruments for survival in embattled circumstances. These are the workings of a typical mundane community, delicately held together by a threadbare fabric called civility.
The Spiritual Society
The spiritual world is an entirely different society. No one cherishes illusions of being a dominator. With Krishna as the center of their very lives, everyone intensely aspires for His pleasure. Just as everyone single-mindedly strives for his own happiness in the material world, in the spiritual, the central interest is the gratification of Krishna. Thus souls live in perfect harmony, co-operating and supporting each others’ devotional efforts. The community of cowherds in Vrindavan during the pastimes of Krishna was a prime illustration of the spiritual society. Srila Prabhupada writes in the Srimad Bhagavatam, “The vṛndāvana-vāsīs—mother Yaśodā, Kṛṣṇa’s friends and Kṛṣṇa’s conjugal lovers, the younger gopīs with whom He dances—have very intimate relationships with Kṛṣṇa…The pure devotees who inhabit Vṛndāvana do not possess any bodily conception. They are fully dedicated to the service of the Lord in sublime affection, premā.”-SB 10.9.21 Purport.
At the same time, the Lord offers immense pleasure to the devotees with His pastimes and His beauty. While the devotees seek to please the Lord, the Lord delights the devotees. A sweet service attitude pervades the spiritual kingdom.
The Differentiating Factor
The contrast in the nature of the two worlds is due to one factor-lust. Its absence characterizes the spiritual world and its prominence the material. Lust is the self-serving drive in the soul to be the Lord and enjoyer. Instead of rendering service, he wishes to accept service. For the tiny living being, such desires are puerile. It is a symptom of envy of the Lord. With minute potencies he desires the position of the infinitely potent. To exercise perfect control over something, one requires complete awareness of the entity, unfettered by time and space. One should also possess the infinite power to predominate it. The tiny living-being possesses neither the vast cit (awareness) nor sat (potency) required to lord over and enjoy anything. In the absence of such powers, his endeavors for complete dominance are woefully inadequate and headed for certain death. Whatever he creates under the misconception of lordship after intense labor and struggle (because of lacking sufficient power) brings only a measly moment of illusory happiness. Be it a house or an entire civilization, with misconceived notions, the endeavor is fuelled by the pain and suffering of struggle and is driven by fervent hopes of happiness shrouded in lurking futility-not unlike the promise of the proverbial carrot on a stick.
Setting it Aright
To correct the situation, it only requires the soul to abandon lust, to give up the endeavor for lording by realizing his actual position. This development is called self-realization. Without the immense pressure to assert his dominance, the soul becomes rid of anxieties, concerned neither with success nor failure in such attempts. His world transforms as his activities assume a humble character. His perspective accommodates the equality of all fellow creatures, and further development awakens his nature of pure devotion to Krishna-the Supreme Being, actual Lord of all that exists.
Curbing the False-Ego
The false-ego is the element of material covering that-manipulated by the material energy-validates his improper will and urges the soul to lord over. Under this influence, the soul aspires for exalted positions and despises slights. Aggression and defense become the facets of his outlook on life. Anxiety prevails like a fog covering all the avenues of happiness.
By curbing the urges of the false-ego, a great opportunity arises for the soul. His vision, devoid of artificiality, develops clarity. His heart dissociates from the duality. His use of energy starts benefitting him, and life becomes more and more peaceful despite seemingly intractable circumstances.
Blessings of the Holy Name
By attentively chanting Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, one receives the priceless blessings of transcendental realizations as gifts of the Lord incarnated as sound. It enables in the practitioner the knowledge and power to enervate the false ego. Enlightenment helps him catch a glimpse of the world beyond material duality. As such experiences build up with the regular and intense practice of Japa (chanting of Hare Krishna Mantra), the devotee is more and more empowered to make spiritual choices. He learns to avoid the pitfalls of material consciousness and gradually transforms into a person existing in perfect consonance with the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead – Lord Krishna. His life is then sublime.