Thursday, April 28, 2016

Our Only Function

So, one day you wake up, look around, and realize....You're in a prison; you were born into this prison.  It's not that it just happened - it has always been that way. But something awoke in you where you suddenly realized it and it became absolutely crystal clear - "I'm in prison!"  What a revelation! 

So what do you do???

There are a number of possibilities for what might occur:  You might begin to wonder "How did I get here?"  You have no memory of it. Nothing comes to mind. You simply found yourself in prison, and no amount of memory dredging or speculation will reveal an answer. You're just HERE!

Assuming you went through "How did I get here?" - the next thing would probably be, "How do I get OUT of here?"  If we figure this is a relatively normal prison, there will be many other inmates, to whom you pose your question - but for the most part, they have no great answers either. After all, they ARE in the prison as well, which would suggest that if they DID have a way out, they probably would have used it.  Of course, that doesn't stop people from explaining THEIR opinions about it to you, and or telling you about the legend of So-and-so who is said to have gotten out. 

But for the most part, no one really seems to know, and even more amazing is that nobody really cares. In fact, when you present the question of 'How do I get out', most people just sort of shake their head and move away from you, as if you were a sad and pathetic little person that is best to avoid.  Not only because you're weird, and perhaps crazy, but you're also 'killing their buzz'. They're trying to enjoy, and your talk of 'getting out', subtly suggests that there is something better than their lives and their attempts at maximum enjoyment.

Truth is, you recognize that up until that point that, you too, had been trying to enjoy everything you could to the max!  You did everything possible to increase happiness and pleasure, and to avoid suffering, pain and misery. But no matter how much you tried and to what extremes you employed to do so - suffering would always come. It couldn't be avoided. And even the 'enjoyment' wasn't really THAT enjoyable, as much as a simple relief from the suffering, an intermission from the reality that was a miserable existence...

Until you 'woke up' and really and truly saw that you were in prison.

Akinchana!  Akinchana is a Sanskrit word that means 'poor, destitute, that which is worth nothing, disinterested.'  In Srimad Bhagavatam, the Lord is described as "akinchana gochara" - One who is easily approached, BUT only by those who are 'akinchana' - completely and totally materially exhausted!  In other words, by those who have woken up, and truly realize that they are in prison; that the prison has NOTHING to offer them, and that their ONLY function is to get out!  This position...this recognition, that the prison is NOT our home, and that it offers nothing for us is, in itself, a fairly rare and amazing blessing, because until we actually recognize that... we are going to continually try and find SOME way to enjoy; some method for increasing happiness and avoiding distress; some situation that will make it all 'okay' and bearable or even special; some way to "Succeed!"  But having woken up to the 'Prison reality', it becomes 100% crystal clear that there is Absolutely Nothing For Us Here!  We are officially 'Akinchana" - Materially exhausted! 

NOW, we become serious about getting out!  But as I asked before, who can tell you how? The people who are here, if they are still here, probably don't have the method out, or to a huge extent, haven't even woken up to the fact it's a prison. They're all still trying to enjoy it to its fullest - and can only offer you THEIR version of how to turn hell into heaven, prison into paradise.

But you're not interested in that!  You've seen through that ruse. You have no interest in so called spiritual powers or abundance or even material 'peace'. You want 'OUT'!  And now you're stuck in a dilemma - you're in...anyone who knows the way out probably IS out, and you're left to suffer and wonder.

The Vedic scriptures also tell us that WHEN the student is TRULY ready, the teacher will appear. There may be teachers all along the road, but when you are truly ready to get out - when you are materially exhausted - when you are ready to fully surrender - THEN the bona fide spiritual master will come; OR you will actually be ready to recognize him (her) as they may have been there all along. Because the bona fide spiritual master is not really a resident here. They are NOT an imprisoned being like we are. They are 'just visiting' so to speak. They have a travel pass - something like a guard or warden in the prison - they appear to in the prison, but they area also out of it, as well. 

There are two kinds of spiritual masters - One is called nitya-siddha - eternally perfected, (who are sent into the prison to rescue us), and the other is called sadhana-siddha or  kripa-siddha - perfected due to their spiritual endeavors or perfected by 'grace'.  But neither is a convicted and incarcerated inmate like the other prisoners. They ARE perfected. They have the way out.

The Bhagavad Gita tells us - tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva darsinah - "To know they way out - one should humbly approach with inquiries and service - the spiritual master who has SEEN the Truth, for ONLY they can impart this knowledge to you."

But first, one must become 'akinchana' - materially exhausted, because as my spiritual master said, "Spiritual life and material life go ill together."  You can't really enjoy one place, while, at the same time, trying to get on the boat to escape it.  You just have to want to escape it!  And escaping the prison is Our Only Function.

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे    
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे


  1. Wow. Well put, and clarifying to me. I appreciate it. Thank you.

  2. The best of all your posts I have read. "I was born and I'll die here, against my will. I look like I'm moving but I'm standing still." Bob Dylan. Happy birthday, Aja!

  3. "You did everything possible to increase happiness and pleasure, and to avoid suffering, pain and misery. But no matter how much you tried and to what extremes you employed to do so - suffering would always come. It couldn't be avoided. And even the 'enjoyment' wasn't really THAT enjoyable, as much as a simple relief from the suffering," - yes, this rings true. why if we know it won't work do we keep going after it in the same way? like a fly hitting itself against the window pain over and over. meanwhile, 1 inch away is the open window.

    1. Because:
      1. We often don't REALIZE we are in prison. Just like 'this' reality, and your night-time 'dream' are pretty much the same - but in both cases, at the time, we assume THIS is it - This is the reality.  It takes a large amount of discernment to actually recognize the reality of the situation. 

      2. And THIS is because of Maya - Maya has 2 functions  or energies - avaranatmika and prakshepatmika - to project and to cover - One pushes you down, and then the other covers you over. This is to TEST one's sincerity to 'get out'.  

      3. Enjoyment - Our natural tendency IS to try and enjoy. However, the enjoyment of the Soul, and enjoyment of the Body are very different. Being identified WITH the Body, we assume the enjoyment of the body is the all-in-all!

  4. Nowadays, it seems (yes, I am about to make a sweeping general statement) that people in certain spiritual circles, don't seem to mind flying to Hawaii for a retreat, staying in an expensive hotel, doing yoga on the beach, and other luxurious type activities-- while the majority of the rest of humanity is unsure of their next meal and has not one penny to their name.

    In this way, many of the spiritual paths that are supposed to lead one out of prison, merely put a foam cushion and silk sheets on top of the prison cot and gold curtains over the prison bars.

    Is there a word in Sanskrit for the feeling of anger and aggression towards spiritual materialism?