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Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • lahv vohrohsoum - good decision
    lahv uhndroutioun - good choice

    A millionaire left a will. He had four sons. His will stipulated, “Each of my sons can choose one thing that he desires most of my estate. What remains shall be bequeathed to my personal slave who has served me faithfully.”

    The court appointed administrator asked the sons to choose the one thing they wanted most. One chose the father’s mansion, another a costly jewel, the third vast farmland.

    The fourth son chose to own his father’s personal slave. This seemed like a poor choice. But, on reflection it was the most astute one because by owning the slave, the fourth son became the owner of the entire estate remaining after his three brothers’ choices.

    Life always presents us with choices. The decisions we make are between short-term or long-term gain. We desire gain and then safety to protect our profits in order to enjoy them. All four sons had a choice to make for their gain. The first three chose the one thing they desired the most out of their father’s estate. Their choices were valuable material things. The fourth son chose his father’s trustworthy servant who would inherit all the remaining estate of the father after his son’s choices. This was a very astute choice because the father apparently appreciated and trusted his servant who served him faithfully for many years.

    This story has an important message. On one level, it conveys the message that becoming a faithful and competent servant can endear the master to the point that he may favor him over his own family members. A good servant can win the heart of his master. In Biblical history, we have examples of Abraham, Noah, and Jesus who all served God faithfully and were bestowed immortal blessings. Joseph served the Pharaoh of Egypt and was rewarded with royal status although he began as a slave.

    The fourth son’s choice of the slave has a deeper meaning. The crucial choice in life is between material gain or spiritual enlightenment. I experienced this earlier in my life when I had to make an important decision between furthering my material achievements in life or pursuing a spiritual path by humbling myself to a genuine servant of God and learning how to also become a servant. A successful person in this world is one who gains mastery over material possessions and uses them to gain power and fame and eventually adoration. In spiritual life, however, one can gain mastery over oneself by becoming the humble servant of God’s faithful servant. It is said,
    “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.”(BG 4.34) One must approach the true servant of God with a submissive attitude, ask important questions and offer service. Such behavior by the student creates a favorable atmosphere to ask questions and get the correct answers from a genuine seer of the truth or spiritual master. One learns to be a loyal servant of God by serving the genuine servant of God.

    There is a proverb that says, “The mother teaches the new daughter-in-law by instructing her daughter.” Similarly, God instructs the world through the humble and dedicated behavior of His genuine servant, who acts as the spiritual master of aspirants to the truth. One who approaches the spiritual guide by submissiveness, inquiries and service will be blessed to understand the following: “Having obtained real knowledge from a self-realized soul, you will never fall again into such illusion, for by this knowledge you will see that all living beings are but part of the Supreme, or, in other words, that they are Mine.” (BG 4.35)

    When one is enlightened by a bona fide teacher of spirituality, one learns to see all living beings as belonging to God’s eternal family. The sense of existence apart or separated from God is illusion. Just as in the family there is a mother and father, God is the original father of everyone and everything. He expands His infinite spiritual and material energies and manifests the spiritual world and the material world. Those eternal souls that are surrendered to God reside in the spiritual world. The material world is the place where rebellious living entities are placed to be gradually reformed like prisoners in a jail. The jail is the temporary material body and the shackles are the forces (or modes) of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance) forcing the body to gradually grow and deteriorate all the while being subject to happiness and suffering.
    The dualities of happiness and suffering, cold and heat, riches and poverty, love and hate keep the living entities bewildered. Only a very few living entities are able to take advantage of a genuine teacher and free themselves from reactive work by developing genuine love of God and all living entities. By such love and dedicated service to God such liberated souls are able to help others to enlightenment.

    Everything that emanates from God is eternal. Only the activities of the living entities are not eternal. The material nature, time, the living entities and God are all eternal. When an eternal living entity decides to separate himself from God, he leaves the spiritual world and comes into the material world where he can attempt to imitate God by controlling and enjoying a part of the material energy. But such a futile attempt only leads to frustration after experiencing temporary success. The material body of the living entity is subject to birth, death, old age and disease and eventually it withers away and the living entity is forced to take another body to continue his escapade in the material world. It is only when he becomes self realized by associating with a genuine teacher or servant of God that he can liberate himself from such illusory entanglement and return to the eternal world.

    There has always existed a contrast between what is permanent and impermanent, or permanence and change. Most people are concerned with the impermanent and hope desperately to make it permanent. This desire is impossible to achieve. Although the material energy is permanent, the transformations of it by man will always remain impermanent. No amount of intelligent adjustment can transform the material creations of man into something permanent.

    In the ancient wisdom it is said, “Those who know the truth understand that of the impermanent (the material body and all things material) there is no endurance and of the permanent (the soul and all things spiritual) there is no change. They have concluded this by studying the nature of both.”

    The ancient Greeks discussed permanence and change. The Greek philosopher Heraclites propounded the theory that everything in this world is in a state of flux or change, “”Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers .” Plato interrupted Heraclites views as “Everything changes and nothing remains still.” In contrast the Greek philosopher Parmenides set forth the doctrine of permanence. He explained, “reality is one, change is impossible, and existence is timeless, uniform, and unchanging.” Parmenides considered the material world perceived through the senses as illusory appearances that deceive the common man.

    Parmenides believed that the ultimate eternal reality is an unchanging, ungenerated, indestructible whole state of existence that may be described as an undifferentiated oneness. The world of appearances (the material world) in which there was movement, change and duality was an illusion and only the state of static eternal oneness was real.

    Both Heraclites and Parmenides had significant partial realizations of the truth of existence. But, their understandings were incomplete. The following story illustrates this point.

    Once there was a town that was connected to the railway line. The designated day arrived when the first train would pull into the town. Many villagers from surrounding villages excitedly dressed up in the their best clothes and came to town for the festive occasion. They had only heard of the train, but never seen it. They waited with excited anticipation at the train station.

    From the distance of at least a half a mile the townsfolk heard the train whistle blow a shrill high pitched note that scared the wits out of everyone. All eyes turned toward the distant approach of the train. One group of spectators from a mountain village near the town heard the whistle and saw a black cloud of smoke.” They reported back to their family and friends in their village that didn’t come that the train was a dangerous black cloud like a tornado. It made a horrible noise that scared everyone.

    The train continued its approach to the town. Just outside the limits of the town, the train spewed a thick black cloud of smoke from its boiler. Sparks and occasional flames jumped from its chimney. The engineer of the train continued to blow the train whistle without stop. The spectators could feel the ground vibrating like an earthquake. A second group of villagers became so frightened that they also hurriedly left in a state of panic just before the train pulled into a full stop. They were convinced it was a black, iron demon spitting flames and smoke and so heavy it was could cause an earthquake.

    The remaining spectators were frightened by the spectacle of the arriving train. They didn’t know what to expect. Many stepped back as far as they could from the train station waiting to see if they should run away like the other villagers. When the train came to a full stop, they were amazed to see that there were many people like themselves waving to them from the train. They observed that the train was a series of different vehicles connected by metal hinges. There was an engine car with a furnace and a smiling engineer with black faced assistants. The other cars were filled with passengers, cargo and mail. The atmosphere became festive as the passengers poured out of the train cars. The townsfolk and remaining villagers mounted the train and looked in amazement at the metal and wood construction that seemed so frightening from a distance. They welcomed the passengers and questioned the engineer and his assistants. Their fears were dissipated and they realized that the train was a useful invention made by intelligent men.

    The ancient Greek philosophers had realizations of the truth of the universe, but it was incomplete. They were like the villagers that observed the train from a distance. The limits of intellectualism are due to four fundamental defects every human being has. They are,
    1- mistakes - due to imperfect hearing or seeing
    2- illusion - accepting a mistake as the truth
    3- imperfect and limited senses
    4- tendency to cheat.
    These four defects disqualify a human being from arriving at perfect knowledge either by intellectual or experimental means. The ancient Greeks depended entirely on observation and reasoning to arrive at knowledge. In the story of the train and the townsfolk, observation led to three levels of knowledge. The group of villagers that left first thought the train was a dangerous black cloud like a tornado. The second group of villagers that left thought the train was a black, iron demon spitting flames and smoke and so heavy it was could cause an earthquake. The third group observed that the train was a series of vehicles that were connected. There was an engine car and passenger cars, and cargo cars, etc. And there were many passengers or people like themselves.

    The first group had an impersonal realization. The second group had a nebulous personal realization and the third group had a definite personal realization of the train. The impersonal realization remains blind to the fact that behind every manifestation there must be a person who is the prime mover or creator. A nebulous personal realization can discern someone behind the phenomenon but cannot see clearly who it is. The personal realization knows without a doubt that behind every movement or organized structure there are intelligent persons.

    The third group had more knowledge of the train than the first two groups, but their knowledge was still incomplete. Although they knew more about the train, they still did not understand all the technology that produced the train. Such knowledge would require many years of training by expert teachers to fully understand the functioning of the train and the depth of organization by intelligent people required to create and manage the useful functioning of it.

    The Vedic knowledge states that there are three levels of understanding God: impersonal, localized presence of God in the heart of every living being and the Supreme Personality of God who is the origin, controller and maintainer of everyone and everything. The impersonal understanding of God can be attained with personal endeavor. Just as we see sunlight that is the source of energy and potential in this world, we can understand that there is an all-pervading spiritual energy that supports and sustains all life. Beyond the impersonal realization, we may attain the awareness that there exists a localized presence of God in the heart of every living being and even in every atom of the universe. Beyond these two levels of understanding, it is impossible to access the understanding of God as the Supreme Person from whom everything emanates and yet He remains perfect and complete as the infinite source. His individuality and personality are always perfect and complete and everything that emanates from Him is also perfect and complete. Without help from an expert and perfect teacher it is impossible to understand the transcendental nature of the Supreme Person as the cause of all causes, omnipotent and possessing all fame, wealth, knowledge, power, beauty and renunciation. The name Krishna indicates in Sanskrit the person who possesses these aforementioned six opulences. Only one who is completely dedicated to God with love and devotion and pleases Him is such knowledge revealed. It is impossible to understand the transcendental nature of God by using the blunt senses or imperfect reasoning. Revealed knowledge is the ultimate mercy of God to his sincere devotee.

    Returning to the story of the deceased millionaire and his four sons, the last son that chose his father’s servant and thus inherited all the remaining assets of his father was the wisest of the sons. Similarly, in life each of us chooses what he desires the most. Some choose wealth, others knowledge, or family, fame, etc. But the person that chooses the loyal servant of God and accepts to learn from him how to serve God purely is the wisest of all. Such a person will inherit the
    greatest assets of the God the Father, namely eternal life in the spiritual world.

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  • ahkahoutioun - greed

    There was and there wasn’t a proud king whose kingdom was prosperous. He had a powerful army and all his enemies feared him. He exacted taxes and tribute with impunity and filled the coffers of the kingdom with vast riches.He employed learned priests to perform religious rituals so that he could cull favors from God for his continued success. His passion for accumulation of power, prestige and possessions eventually corrupted his mind with obsessive feelings of wanting to overlord everyone and everything. Blinded by such lust and pride, he inappropriately offended people whenever they expressed the slightest hesitation to satisfy his lust for power and wealth.

    It is said in ancient texts of wisdom that there are three gates leading to hell - lust, anger and greed. A sane person should give these three up because they lead to the degradation of the soul. One may try to satisfy his lust, and when he cannot, anger and greed arise. The laws of society and especially of the holy scriptures act to protect people from such degrading influences. They regulate social interaction so that lust, and greed do not become the norm of behavior. However, when a person’s mind is overwhelmed by lusty thoughts, the tendency is to become reckless and whimsical in following the laws of society and holy scripture. It said in the ancient wisdom that a person who disregards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination of life.

    Everyone is aware of the regulations of good human behavior and they are expected to follow them. A person who knowingly violates these rules acts under the influence of lust, anger and greed. He knows that such things are forbidden, but still he acts. This is called whimsical behavior. Unless this whimsical behavior is corrected by the remedial advise of saintly persons, such persons will ruin the opportunity afforded by the human form of life to reach the potential of self-realization and evolve to the stage of love of God.

    Human life is meant for understanding the purpose of existence in this world by purifying oneself of all degrading attitudes and behavior. This is done by following the laws of society and scripture and thus one has the freedom to attain real happiness and love.

    The arrogant king’s behavior became unbearable for his people who he continually oppressed to satisfy his whims. There was a saint who lived in the kingdom. He could see the suffering of the people due to the king’s greed. He decided to undue the veil of illusion that was shrouding the king’s intelligence. Usually, people who are very attached to their material possessions have a deep-seated anxiety about losing what they have accumulated in life. If they do lose their cherished possessions, the effect is devastating and can have various effects. Some people will commit suicide and others will go crazy with depression and frustration. Yet, there are others who become very sober and realize they were living in a fool’s paradise where they were obsessed with temporary things that can be lost at any time. The saint devised a plan that would gently bring the king to his senses.

    Once a month the king would give a pittance of charity to the poor as a gesture of his magnanimity. This was to counteract his image as a ruthless tyrant whose only preoccupation was to fleece the productive members of his kingdom. The saint stood in line with the poor supplicants. When his turn came to ask for the king’s modest offering, he extended his small begging bowl and remained silent. The king looked at him and smiled and placed some coins in his bowl. He expected the beggar to move along. However, the saint began to shake the bowl as if there was nothing in it. Strangely, the coins disappeared from the bowl and it was empty. The king noticed it and and again placed some coins in it. The same thing happened again. This time the king was perplexed. He took the bowl in his own hands and filled it to the brim with coins. He was shocked to see it immediately empty. He looked at the bowl by turning it upside down and up again.

    Then he addressed the saint, “What kind of trick is this. Are you trying to bewitch me?” The saint looked sternly at the king and said, “I am a poor man who has approached you for alms. Why can’t you satisfy me with a pittance of your great wealth?” The king felt his words were a challenge to him. He declared, “I am the richest and most powerful king in the world. You dare to say I cannot satisfy a poor man by filling his wretched little begging bowl!” He ordered his treasurer to bring a large sack of heavy gold coins and continually fill the bowl until it was full.

    The treasurer brought a laden cart of gold coins and began to fill the little bowl. By this time a large crowd of courtiers and townsfolk had gathered to see the spectacle. As the bowl filled, it also emptied just as quick until the gold in the cart completely disappeared. The passionate nature of the king overwhelmed him and he ordered precious jewels and other heavy things brought from the treasury to fill the bowl. Again the same thing happened and everyone was amazed at the magical bowl of the saint. The king became fearful and humbled by the solemn saint. He did not want to insult him or in any way hurt the saint who was possessed of some supernatural powers. In a humble gesture, he bowed to the saint and asked him about the mystery of the bowl.

    The saint smiled and said, “The little bowl represents your infinite greed that no amount of wealth will ever satisfy.” The power of the saint’s words and its deep meaning humbled the king even more. He supplicated the saint to enlighten him by what means he could to overcome his greed.

    The saint spoke the following words of wisdom. “Greed is the mother of sin. It can cause hatred and anger, which if unchecked, can drive one to crime. Urged by greed even a man of learning and knowledge can kill his closest relative, his dearest friend or his kindest mentor. Greed is a road to hell.”

    He continued, “There were once four thieves who had just stolen a large amount of money.They were jolly as if intoxicated by their success. They planned their heist and worked long hours to execute their plan. Now that they achieved their goal, they were hungry and wanted to celebrate. The leader of the thieves sent two of his men to fetch food and drink for their celebration. While the two men went to shop, the chief and the remaining thief discussed how much more they could have if they murdered the other two cohorts. Greed is the mother of sin.

    While doing the shopping the other thieves made plans to kill their two partners so that they could each have a greater share of the stolen money. They decided to mix poison in the food they purchased.

    When the two thieves returned with the food, they prepared a table for the feast. They invited the chief and his assistant to dine and drink in celebration. Suddenly the chief and the assistant attacked the other two with weapons and murdered them summarily. Elated by their treachery, the two murderer thieves sat down to eat. They both died by eating the poisoned food.”

    The saint concluded, “Oh king, you are obsessed by your greed for wealth and power. You don’t care for the welfare of your subjects because you are blinded by your unbounded greed. The best remedy for such a sick mentality is association with the virtuous who can teach you to find contentment by discovering presence of God within you. The person who dedicates himself to serving the Divine attains steady peace because he offers the results of all his activities to God. However, one who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, and ignores the Divine, becomes entangled.”

    If you desire to gain the world, then be friendly to all, be kind, be generous and sweet-spoken. Use your wealth for charity, your learning for good deeds, your thoughts for ascertaining God, your words for uplifting others. Learn contentment with what God gives you and be satisfied with the minimum so that you use the maximum to serve God and humanity. Do not try to take take from others to satisfy your lust for power and money. Everything you are not destined to have will be lost in an instant and this will cause untold misery. Know that there is no disease greater than greed, no virtue greater than kindness.”

    The king was thrilled by the powerful words of the saint. He bowed his head in humility at the feet of the saint and begged for forgiveness. The saint said, “A man is judged by four tests: his manners, qualities, actions and generosity. Oh king, use your wealth and power to uplift your people to spiritual knowledge and help them achieve the goal of life, self-realization and love of God. Become greedy to attain the mercy of God and his saints.”

    “Rise above the dualities that arise from doubts, engage your mind within to revive your lost relationship with God, stay busy working for the welfare of all living beings, stay free from all sins and thus achieve liberation by developing divine love for God and share it with all others.”

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  • uhngahreleen gahrellee cheh yehv gahrelleen nuhgahdellee gullah. gahrkuh choureen vuhrah chehrtah, yehv votch nahvuh hoghee jahpoun vurrah

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  • geerkuh guh gouiyrahtzneh - passion makes one blind

    People in this world become mad after sense gratification or the frenetic attempt to please the senses. Thus they seek pleasure by seeing movies, television, internet, plays, etc. (eyes), listening to music, talk shows, telephone and internet chat, etc. (ears), tasting delicious food (tongue), smelling good perfumes (nose) and experiencing sensual pleasures (skin), and reading or listening to tantalizing descriptions and concepts (mind). These sense pleasures can be uplifting when engaged in for offering them for the pleasure of God or degrading when engaged in for selfish pleasure.

    Although the body is temporary, it has five highly developed senses and the mind which is referred to as the sixth sense. The attempt to pleasure the senses and the mind can consume all of a human being’s energy and thought for an entire lifetime. One may become obsessed by such an endeavor and completely ignore the real goal of human life which is self-realization by which one can attain eternal love for God and share it with others.

    The dictionary definition of passion that is appropriate for this proverb is the following:
    1- any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love, hate, pleasure
    2- strong sexual desire; lust.

    All material activities in the world are conducted under the influence of the modes of material nature called goodness, passion and ignorance. A mode of material nature is a conditioning force sometimes likened to a rope that binds one to a certain mentality and body constitution and which limits or colors one’s range of perception, thought and decision making. Every living entity that is under the influence of the three modes has a particular type of body and psychological and biological activities. It is said in the Bhagavad-gita, “Material nature consists of three modes: goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by these modes.” (Bg 14.5)

    The real identity of a person is spiritual. Everyone has an eternal, individual soul that has nothing to do with the material nature. However, by illusion one falsely identifies with the material body and becomes conditioned by the three modes of material nature. Due to having a temporary material body which is the result of previous karma and desires, one is forced to act according to the influence of the modes on the body. One encounters happiness and distress due to having made decisions previously based on material conditioning and the false thinking that the purpose of life is sense gratification.

    There is a proverb in India that says, “A little bit of a pure thing is much better than huge volumes of impure, adulterated things. No amount of selfish and passionate endeavor for sense gratification will lead to a good thing. It just makes a situation and relationships deteriorate. For example, if you have two friends and one is always giving and the other is always taking from you, which one would you prefer? Now, put yourself in God’s place. Would you prefer the servant who always gives or the one who always wants to take? By analyzing oneself carefully, it is possible to understand much about God because we are made in the image of God. We are not God nor can we become God by any amount of endeavor, but we have many things in common with God qualitatively.

    If we develop the culture of unselfish behavior based on understanding that there is a supreme God and we are all His eternal servants, then our actions will liberate us from the influence of the modes of material nature. God is the Supreme proprietor of everything. Therefore, we should recognize His proprietorship and accept only our minimum needs and use all the rest that we may be blessed with to serve God and share with all others.

    In the Bhagavad-gita, it is said, “One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.” (Bg 5.10) Engaging everything in the service of God frees one from the reactions of work and anxiety over the result. One acts as a matter of duty knowing well the God is the proprietor of everything in existence. Such a mentality and action frees one from sinful reactions just as the lotus leaf, though remaining in water, is never wet due to having a protective covering.

    A person without divine consciousness acts with the wrong concept that he is the proprietor and that he should use his body and senses for sense gratification. Whereas, a person in divine consciousness knows that the body is the property of God and should always be engaged in the service of the Lord. In the Bible, it is said “And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”
    Malachi 3:17-18 (NIV)

    Lord Krishna explains to His disciple Arjuna, “The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.” (Bg 5.11) Engaging all one’s energies, mind, body, and everything in the service of God, one is purged of all material impurities. Such purified action does not produce any material reactions.

    One acts without false ego or the wrong belief that one’s real identity is the body which he thinks is his to do anything he pleases. Being situated in his real ego, he is convinced that he belongs to God and that his body should only be used in God’s service. He is continually connected with God by directing everything he produces with his mind, body, intelligence, words, wealth, etc. in the service of God.

    Lord Krishna continues, “The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.” (Bg 5.13) Someone who has a false ego and believes his real identity is the body remains attached to the results of his activities. A person, however, who is a genuine servant of God is attached to God. Such a person is factually liberated and is not feeling anxiety over the result of his work.

    The cause of anxiety for the result of one’s work is due to functioning in the conception of duality. When one lacks knowledge of God or does not believe in the existence of God, he is beset always by duality, such as honor and dishonor, success and failure, heat and cold, riches and poverty, love and hate, fame and infamy, etc. If one is always concerned with making a profit for sense gratification, it is impossible to have peace or be free of anxiety. One remains attached to the result and anxious either to achieve it or fail to achieve it.

    However, if one is uniquely concerned with pleasing God by sincere service and dedication, understanding that God is the supreme proprietor, maintainer and creator of all that exists, then one is not in anxiety about the result of work. One performs his duty as best possible and offers the result to God. By serving God, one remains aloof from constant preoccupations of sensual pleasures for the body.

    In material life, everyone wants to satisfy his senses, and he wants God to be the order supplier for such satisfaction. God will satisfy the senses of the living beings as much as they deserve, but not to the extent that they may desire. But, if one assumes the opposite path, by trying to satisfy the senses of God without selfishly desiring to satisfy one’s own senses, then with the help of God all such spiritual desires of the person are satisfied. One is no longer controlled by the strict laws of material nature of action and reaction, but comes under the protection of God to act unselfishly for His pleasure.

    This fundamental change of world view that produces a state of peace and unselfish love for God can be summarized by the following. Pure knowledge resulting in transcendental vision begins by understanding that God is the Supreme Person. Understanding His transcendental personality is the goal of spiritual realization. We understand ourselves better through relationships with others. When we begin to relate to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is greater than the greatest, no one is equal or greater than Him, He is not subject to the laws of material nature or its conditioning modes, He controls material nature and its modes and is the controller of time, He is the Supreme proprietor, the best friend and protector that we have and the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and offerings we give, then we begin to understand that we are eternally subordinate to Him is a loving, reciprocal relationship. Being in a loving relationship of affectionate exchanges with God eliminates any residue of false ego, envy, competition, or negativity in the relationship and we become peaceful and fulfilled because because we offer everything to Him and He reciprocates by offering His limitless love to us.

    In the beginning of our relationship with the transcendent God, we try to give up attachment to materialism, but there is a tendency to consider God as impersonal. However, if we are guided properly and advance further, we understand that there are activities of devotion or unselfish service that bring us closer and closer to God in loving exchanges. The offering of service results in increasing self-knowledge and expertise in arts such as singing, dancing, cooking, speaking, dressing, writing, etc. that are necessary to express the different feelings of love one experiences. Realizing this tremendous surge of affectionate exchanges with God and the gentle sharing of such feeling with others, one becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and confidently surrenders to Him. At that time the name, personality, form, pastimes, preferences of God become understandable. One realizes that the mercy of God is everything. He is the ultimate controller of the material and spiritual worlds and that nothing is independent of Him. One sees that the material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. By dedicating everything material in this world to the service of God one can lift the veil of perverted vision and understand how in everything we perceive, there is a relationship with God. The sense of existence separate from God or seeing things without understanding its relationship to the Divine is illusion. Anything seen as existing apart or independent of God is an illusory conceptual thought or belief.

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