Harry Terhanian.com Wisdom from the son of Armenia.


  • Mosquitoes, Bugs, Flies and God

    One day the mosquitoes spoke with God, “Lord, you have given us a stinger nose to suck blood. You have created man with fresh blood. You gave us little bodies with wings so we can fly away when we are in danger. We can quickly fly from one man to another to bite and suck blood as much as we want. We have been truly blessed by you. But we have a terrible enemy. Why did you ever create the cruel wind. For no reason, the wind blows us away when we are drinking the tasty blood. We are pushed away helplessly. We are no match for the wind. Please eliminate the wind so that we can live peacefully.”

    God said, “All my creation is dear to Me. I cannot eliminate the wind without giving him a chance to defend himself. I’ll call him to come and explain his actions. Perhaps, we can find a solution to suit everyone.”

    As the wind approached God, all the mosquitoes were blown away. God could not make a decision because now the mosquitoes were not present. God told the wind that the mosquitoes complained about him. However, He could not proceed with the case until they came back. The mosquitoes could not come back as long as the wind was with God.

    An elder mosquito organized a meeting with other bugs and flies to find a way to destroy the wind. When they all assembled, the mosquitoes spoke first.

    “Dear brothers, thank you for assembling together today to discuss our common interest.
    We each have our strengths and weaknesses. It is in our interest to help each other to overcome our weaknesses so that we can thrive in the face of life’s challenges. We mosquitoes have an enemy, the wind. We need your help to get rid of the wind. We can’t peacefully suck the blood of man without the wind blowing us away. Please make your suggestions how we can eliminate this wind.”

    The bugs spoke. This life is full of illusions due to our imperfect senses. The distant sound of a drum seems pleasant only because it is far away. The grass is always greener on the far hill. A businessman thinks that the life of a teacher is better than his because the teacher has several months vacation. And our brother mosquitoes think that we bed bugs are better off. Actually we are much more miserable. Listen to our tale. We don’t have a stinger like you. We have many sneaky tricks so that we suck man’s blood without causing any pain. Man sleeps soundly as we quietly suck his blood. We hide in holes and cracks, in the mattress, under the sheets, wherever we are unseen.. If we are seen or caught, we remain motionless and pretend to be dead. But cruel man crushes us. There is no way for us to escape. You mosquitoes are fortunate to have wings to fly away to safety. If we talk to God, we will ask him either to give us bugs wings or make man without eyes. Then we will be happy and have no more complaints.”

    The flies spoke up next. “Brothers, in our opinion you are much more fortunate than we are. The mosquitoes hardly make any noise when they land on man’s skin to suck blood and the bed bugs move about unseen and unheard. But, God has made us flies with strong wings and sturdy bodies that make noise. When we land on man’s body to get a taste, he drives us away with a good slap. If we are fast enough to get away, we may go for many days without even a drop of blood. Let us pray to God to create man without hands.”

    Imagine how difficult it is to be God. So many prayers and requests are directed to God that benefit one and disadvantage another. God must make hard decisions based on the ultimate welfare of each entity. There are lessons to be learned and blessings for which we can thank God. The lessons are just as valuable as the blessings. In fact, the lessons are blessings in disguise. We can be thankful for both the lessons and the blessings. Then we will be on the fast track to return to the eternal kingdom of God.

    Our life on this earth has some conveniences and inconveniences. Good and bad are always present as day and night, happiness and distress, riches and poverty. When one is
    not content with his destiny, he becomes restless and considers himself misfortunate like the mosquitoes, bugs and flies. As hard as we try, we cannot escape our allotted happiness and distress in life. We have earned both by our actions in previous lives. The most materially successful person and the most destitute both suffer and enjoy based on their actions from previous lives and in this life. We determine our own destiny by the choices we make and the actions we choose to perform. Whatever I decide to do today, I will receive the reaction some time in the future either in this life or a future life. Similarly, whatever I am experiencing today in terms of happiness and distress, I can understand as the reactions to acts I performed in the past either in this life or previous lives. The Vedas affirm the individual soul has full eternality before birth in a material body and after death. There was never a time that the soul did not exist, nor will it ever cease to exist. Therefore, the soul can be either eternally liberated or eternally in the material world of birth and death. This is the reason why it can transmigrate from one body to another in this material world and be subject to the laws of karma until it awakens and does the necessary to escape from this vicious cycle.

    I may complain about my fate, but I must understand that I am the cause of my happiness and distress. No one else can be blamed. But how do I know this is true? It is confirmed by the Bible and the ancient Vedic scriptures and, in particular the Bhagavad-gita.

    The Bible says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 KJV); “and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:23c KJV)

    BG 13.20: “Material nature and the living entities should be understood to be beginningless. Their transformations and the modes of matter are products of material nature.”

    The Bhagavad-gita (Bg) gives very detailed information about causes of the suffering and enjoyment of the living entities. In verse Bg 13.20, it says that both living entities meaning everything that lives including plants, insects, birds, reptiles, mammals and human beings have an eternal and individual soul that is temporarily covered by a material body. All the souls are equal in their potential to achieve love of God and return to the eternal spiritual world. However, the temporary material body limits their potential. It is only in the human form that the soul can liberate itself from material entanglement. All living entities gradually move up to the human form by the process of evolution of consciousness. There is no evolution of bodies like Darwin theorized. All the different species of material bodies are created with the creation of the universe. The evolutionary process occurs when the living entity transmigrates from one species to another according to the type of consciousness for enjoying the material sense pleasures. Among the species lower than human beings the evolutionary process is systematic elevation or progression to the human form. It is only in the human form that limited free will is exercised and one can go up or down according to the type of consciousness developed and the merits or demerits one accumulates by his actions during the lifetime.

    The material nature and the living entity are both eternal. They existed before the creation. The material nature goes through two stages, manifestation and non -manifestation. It continues to exist even when it is not manifest but it goes into a dormant stage wherein the time factor and the modes of material nature do not interact. At the same time, the living entity continues to exist. As long as the living entity maintains material attachments at the moment of death, it must remain in the material creation in a dormant stage waiting for the next manifestation to continue its entanglement. Every manifestation is a chance for the living entity in the human form to free itself from material entanglement and return to the eternal spiritual world. The destiny of the living entity is to understand that it does not belong in the material world where there is illusory happiness and much suffering.

    The living entity is originally the spiritual part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, but due to his rebellious nature, he is conditioned within material nature. One can fall even from the spiritual world due to the living entity’s limited free will. It is possible that the living entity becomes attracted by the allure of the material world. The allegorical story of the Adam and Eve gives an indication how such a thing is possible. Eve was convinced by the Devil that God was hiding a greater pleasure than she had ever known before. He convinced her to disobey God’s instruction and eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge and evil. Once she did so, she became ashamed and then convinced Adam to do the same. God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden to suffer in the material world. Later, Jesus came to redeem mankind by teaching them to resist the temptations of the Devil and submit to the will of God by following His instructions. Thus, they can again return to the heavenly paradise of eternal life without suffering.

    All the transformations that we see in the material world such as the changing of our body from youth to old age, or the changing of seasons, etc. are produced by the material nature and its three modes of goodness, passion and ignorance under the influence of the time factor. Everything in the material world is a mixture or blend of these three modes. A man may be good with his children. Then, he may become passionate with his wife. Later, he may become addicted to ignorant activities like drinking and drugs. At every moment these modes are influencing us to act in one way or another which binds us to material life. It is only under the influence of the mode of goodness that one can understand what is happening and attempt to free oneself from the cyclical chain of birth and death. Our soul is eternal but it is chained by the illusory allure of the material world very similar to a thirsty man seeing water in the desert and walking into the desert seeking water. There is no real water in the desert but he sees a mirage and walks into the hot sands to his death.

    Once we come to the material world, we receive a material body which is controlled by the forces of nature. We think we are the controller, but the truth is that we are forced to do everything by the laws of nature acting on our material body. For example, we get hungry. Did we choose to get hungry? No. Then we are forced to eat and drink water not because we want to eat and drink but because we are forced. We are forced to sleep, to work, to get old, get sick and die. All the time we believe falsely that we are the doer. The truth is that the body we have and the destiny attributed to the particular body by our previous karma forces us to enjoy and suffe. Enjoyments and suffering come by the force of destiny.

    Our free will is limited to either accepting the instructions of God and living by them and eventually attain liberation or rejecting them and becoming entrapped by the laws of material nature of action and reaction until we come to our senses. Adam and Eve similarly remained in the Garden of Eden as long as they voluntarily chose to follow God’s instructions. When they disobeyed, they were forced to leave and come under the laws of nature which are controlled by God. Jesus, the son of God, according to the Christian belief, gives a chance for humankind to free themselves from this entrapment by again following the instructions of God and believing in the redeeming power of Jesus. I use the example of Adam and Eve and Jesus Christ because most people in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic tradition know the Biblical history.

    The Bhagavad-gita continues,
    BG 13.21: Nature is said to be the cause of all material causes and effects, whereas the living entity is the cause of the various sufferings and enjoyments in this world.
    Birth in a particular body, disease, old age, and death during our life are all caused by material nature which is acting under the control of God. However, the happiness and distress we experience is caused by our desires and acts. God is not responsible for the happiness and distress we encounter. We have the free will to accept or reject God’s instructions. If we accept, we are protected by God. If we reject, we are put under the control of the laws of action and reaction in nature until we realize our folly and rectify our behavior.
    In the material world, everyone is struggling hard to acquire different kinds of pleasure for the body. One receives a body and senses which are instruments for gratifying desire. The living entity is blessed or damned according to past desire and activity (karma). Once one is placed in a particular body he receives suffering and enjoyment due to his past deeds and desires. If one is put into the body of a dog, he must act like a dog. That is the law of nature. For example, if I buy a plane ticket to go somewhere and board the plane. My destiny is tied up with that of the plane. If it goes down, I go down with it.
    God always accompanies the soul of the living entity as the friend and overseer. If we decide to surrender to God, He takes care to help us break our unwholesome attachment to temporary material pleasures and suffering and free ourselves from the cycle of birth and death.
    The Bhagavad-gita continues,
    BG 13.22: The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil among various species.
    During our lifetime, we experience an amazing mysterious transformation. We change our body dramatically from a tiny embryo in the womb of our mother to a baby, then childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, old age and death. We change our body but remain the same person witnessing all the changes. This is a mystery. Where is the body we had when we were in the womb of our mother. Where is our body during our childhood. In truth, we have had many different bodies in this lifetime while remaining the same person. This is a mystery that we do not reflect upon seriously. What does it mean? It means that the witness is different than the body. The witness is remaining the same while the body is changing. This is one fundamental indication that the witness is an eternal soul represented by consciousness and the body is like a material covering that is constantly changing. The last change is death during which the soul discards a used and wasted body.
    The Vedas explain death in the following way. There is no death for the soul just as there is no birth for the soul. It is a part and parcel of God and is fully eternal. (This is affirmed in the BG 2.20) What appears as death pertains only to the body. However, there are two material bodies that cover the soul’s eternal spiritual body. The gross material body is made up of the five primary gross material elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether or space. The subtle material body which is the second covering of the soul is made up of mind, intelligence and false ego.
    At the time of death, only the gross material body dies. The subtle material body, which is the repository of the soul’s material desires and memories of past deeds, is much more durable than the gross material body. It will last as long as the soul remains attached to dominating and enjoying the material nature. The goal of Vedic education is to purify the mind, intelligence and the false ego from the misconceptions that keep the soul bound up to the unnecessary cycle of birth and death.

    The subtle body carries the soul at the point of death to its next material body which is determined by higher authorities according to the actions one has performed during life and the reactions one deserves as well as the unfinished desires one has at the moment of death. One receives a suitable body to continue the quest for illusory sense enjoyment and its concomitant sufferings. Therefore, the change of gross material body is due to attachment to material existence. As long as one remains captivated by the illusory allurements of material happiness, one continues to transmigrate from one temporary body to another. Because the soul is eternal, this transmigration can continue eternally if the individual does not wake up and understand the reality of his situation.

    The false ego that drives the individual in his folly of illusion is the desire to dominate or lord it over material nature and enjoy it.The more he enjoys the more he becomes attached to temporary material pleasures. Thus, he is placed in various circumstances that invariably end up as misery under the influence of material desire. The eternal soul is sometimes a heavenly being, sometimes an earthly member of mankind, sometimes a beast, a bird, a worm, an aquatic, a saintly man or a bug. In every incarnation or birth in a gross material body the soul thinks himself to be the master of his circumstances, yet, the truth is, he is being controlled by the forces or laws of nature. These laws are created by God just as a government has penal laws and builds a jail for the small percentage of criminal types in society. The laws of karma are the penal laws and the material body full of material desires is the jail.
    The entrapment of the soul is explained in this verse BG 13.22. It is due to association with the modes of nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. For example, a child is born seemingly innocent. He or she does not manifest peculiar behavior immediately that can be classified as anti-social, psychopathic, murderous, drug addiction, thievery, sexual addiction, bi-polar, suicidal, etc. However, as the child grows older, he or she associates with the different modes of nature in the environment of the home, school, church,etc. This association can be real or virtual. For example, the child may become addicted to video games. Each game creates an environment of goodness, passion or ignorance, Usually, it is passion and ignorance. The child lives in that virtual environment and becomes seriously affected by it.

    The purpose of Vedic education is to rise above the influence of the modes of nature and become transcendental to them or unaffected by them. Just as Jesus was able to resist the temptations of the Devil, so every person must learn to resist the temptations of the false material pleasures and dedicate oneself to the higher purpose of life.

    There is no real pleasure in this world unless one is freed from the vicious cycle of birth and death. We can all admit that our hope is that modern science can stop inevitable death. That is the ultimate goal of science. Along the way to achieving this goal, science offers us increased facilities for temporary pleasures. This appears as a sort of incentive to keep our hopes up that science will one day stop old age and death which is our real enemy as seekers of sense enjoyment.

    Vedic education teaches us to transfer our mental preoccupation from enjoying temporary pleasures and temporary objects of pleasure to the eternal reality of spiritual life and truth. This is called God consciousness or Krishna consciousness. Christians call it Christ consciousness. Becoming fully conscious of Jesus Christ, the son of God, and His ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of mankind is the meditative means for a Christian to rise above the influence of the modes of nature. Similarly, in the Vedic path, one meditates on Lord Krishna, the father of Christ, and the eternal instructions given by Himself and His representatives for elevating oneself from the cycle of birth and death. There are two operative elements, one’s personal endeavor and the causeless mercy of Lord Krishna and His representatives. The mercy of God prevails but one must still endeavor to follow because we have limited free will that we exercise at every moment to either follow or not. This is called Krishna consciousness.

    Unless one is Krishna conscious, his material consciousness will oblige him to transfer from one temporary material body to another because of material desires. But such desires can be changed to transcendental desires to please Lord Krishna. That crucial change can only be effected by continually hearing this transcendental knowledge explained by genuine and authoritative persons who can repeat the words of Lord Krishna without adulteration. The paradigmatic example is Arjuna who hears the science of God from Krishna. Arjuna accepts Krishna as his teacher and submits himself to humbly hear the Vedic knowledge. Lord Krishna is the original teacher or guru of the Vedic knowledge. Anyone who claims to be a teacher of Vedic knowledge must precisely repeat the original words of the Lord without any change for the knowledge to be effective.

    The result of hearing from Lord Krishna or His bona fide representative is one loses the immemorial desire to dominate material nature, and gradually and proportionately, as he reduces his desire to dominate, he comes to enjoy spiritual happiness. This is the real destiny of man. Not that he should rot forever in the cycle of birth and death chasing illusory happiness and suffering untold distress. His destiny is to be with God and his saintly servants and enjoy unending happiness in the spiritual world where there is no birth, old age disease and death.

    Published on December 24, 2009 · Filed under: ;
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