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It is Beyond Me

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains how we should conceive of transcendence within the world.

We shall not try to attain anything that is food for mind or food for senses. We must hanker for food for the soul.

nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād
bhavauṣadhāch chhrotra-mano-’bhirāmāt
ka uttamaśloka-guṇānuvādāt
pumān virajyeta vinā paśughnāt
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.1.4)

Of course, the Lord’s līlā is sweet, but that sweetness and mundane sweetness differ. They are not one, and we must always be careful not to mix the two together.

archye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr
(Padma-purāṇa)

When we look to the Deity, we must warn ourselves and be very cautious not to identify the stone with the Deity. The same goes for Ganges water and charaṇāmṛta. We should not identify the experience of our senses with these holy things. They are separate. They are separate things and beyond my sense experience. “I can’t understand. I can’t see.” This should always be our feeling. “I can’t approach the reality. It is there, but I can’t understand it. If it happens to make me understand, then I will understand it, but otherwise, it is all unknowable and unintelligible. It is there, but I can’t see it.”

In this way, we must not identify transcendental objects with our sense experience. We must try to approach something beyond the senses. Transcendental objects cannot be amongst what I can command with my senses. They may appear in that mood, in that colour, in that show, but they are not that. What are they? “I can’t feel. I can’t understand.” They are aprākṛta. They are transcendental. They are not one with the things of my sense experience. We should always have this sort of feeling when we attend to any transcendental object.

They are always on the subjective side, the super-subjective side, not the objective side. They can never be experienced by our senses, our mind, or even our intelligence. They are higher subjects. There is matter, the senses, the mind, the enjoyer, the intelligence, and then the soul, and on the other side is the Supersoul. He is the knower, the feeler. We should try to trace the symptoms of that higher subject. Transcendental objects are on that side. They are all subjective, and not on the objective side. Only to remind us do they come in some symbolic form, but they should not be identified with that form. The outer form is only there to help. A watch is not time itself. A watch can show us some conception of time, but time is not contained within a watch. A watch may be wrong or disordered, and we may be frustrated. So, what we can feel here, that can help, in some sort of corresponding way, to remind us of the higher thing, but that higher thing is not this lower thing. We should always have this sort of feeling.

Source

Spoken 26 February 1983

References

nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād
bhavauṣadhāch chhrotra-mano-’bhirāmāt
ka uttamaśloka-guṇānuvādāt
pumān virajyeta vinā paśughnāt
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.1.4)

“Glorification of the Lord is constantly sung by those who have overcome material desire, is the cure for material existence, and is the delight of the ears and heart. Who could give it up other than those who slaughter animals?”

archye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matir vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhir
viṣṇor vā vaiṣṇavānāṁ kali-mala-mathane pāda-tīrthe ’mbu-buddhiḥ
śrī-viṣṇor-nāmni-mantre sakala-kaluṣa-he śabda-sāmānya-buddhir
viṣṇau sarveśvareśe tad-itara-sama-dhīr yasya vā nārakī saḥ
(Padma-purāṇa)

“Those who consider the Deity of Viṣṇu to be stone, Śrī Guru to be a man, a Vaiṣṇava to be a member of a particular caste, the wash from the feet of Viṣṇu or the Vaiṣṇava, which destroys the contamination of Kali, to be water, the Name of Viṣṇu and mantras for worshipping Him, which destroy all contamination, to be ordinary words, or Viṣṇu the Lord of all lords to be equal to others are doomed.

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