I am a spiritual person living in this material universe on planet earth. Everything that I touch, see, hear, smell, think, and otherwise experience here is made of material energy. The Vedic yoga literature describes this material energy as consisting of five basic gross elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether, or space, and three subtle elements: mind, intelligence, and false ego. I am not made of material energy, but my body is. It is a combination of the gross and subtle elements.
Scientists have identified many different atomic elements and particles in their attempts to explain the universe, but they are still scratching the surface in developing a full understanding of material energy. The general view of the scientific community is that matter is the only energy that exists. However, the Vedic understanding is that there is another energy, the energy of life, and that is the life-force in all bodies that animates and brings life to matter. Beyond the universe of matter is the universe made of spiritual energy. I am a spiritual being who belongs in that spiritual universe.
What do I experience here in the material world? I am an eternal spiritual being, but I experience death. I am full of knowledge, but I experience ignorance. I am joyful by nature, but I suffer misery. I crave loving relationships and friendship, but they always end in sadness. I am frustrated in so many ways.
One major example of this frustration is time, which measures out my life in this body, and ultimately destroys it, along with everything in the material world. Even the most apparently strong constructions are broken down by time. An enormous ocean-going liner or a powerful locomotive last only thirty something years before they must be scrapped. Time is a mysterious thing. When I need more time, it seems to speed up, when I am bored or waiting in anticipation it seems to slow down. Time frustrates and then ends all my experiences.
I remember sitting in a classroom when I was 10, just looking at my classmates and wondering what we all were. I was looking at their bodies but feeling that there was more to the person than that. Earlier in my life, my stepsister had drowned in the community pool, and we went to the funeral home to see her body in the casket. When I touched her body, it was cold. I knew she was gone, and that the body lying there was not her. When she was present in her body it was attractive, but her dead body was not. What had made it attractive in the past was her presence as a living being, animating her body. It is the presence of a living being that animates the bodies of all creatures in this world.
According to the Vedas this animating force, the living being, is eternal, never dying.
Only the material body of the indestructible, immeasurable, and eternal living entity is subject to destruction; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.Bhagavad-Gita 2:18
For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying, and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.Bhagavad-Gita 2:20
Know that which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul.Bhagavad-Gita 2:17
Although I am eternal, I am covered by illusion that blocks any recollection of my eternal existence. This illusion also makes me believe I am this body, and that I can find happiness by making my body happy. This illusion masks the suffering of life in a temporary body; it cheats me into imagining the material world exists for my pleasure. Like a master magician, an illusionist, it hides the truth from me. I have amnesia and do not even know who I am or why I am here.
But I can come out from under the darkness of illusion. Enlightenment is attainable. I can come to know and experience my true, eternal nature, even while living within a material body in the material world. I can come to realize that the temporary pleasures of the body are not truly fulfilling. And I can begin to inquire about the higher purpose of my existence.
If I understand that I am only temporarily in this body, then I will see that attaining wealth, fame, high position, friendships, and wonderful family do not give me any lasting happiness or fulfillment. When my time runs out, I must leave everything material behind. But there is a world beyond the decaying world of time, birth, disease, old age, and death. My essence is spiritual, and my ultimate eternal home is in the world of spiritual energy.
How do I travel there? There is a process described in the Vedas as being both the easiest and the most sublime method to transcend this world of matter. It is the process of meditation on transcendental sound, mantra, and this allows me to enter that spiritual world even while still in a physical body.
Sahadeva das is an initiated disciple of Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa who comes in a long line of bona fide yoga spiritual masters. Sahadeva das considers it his great fortune in life to have heard and learned from a self-realized soul and is humbly attempting to pass on what he has received.