At this week’s Mind Body Soul session at Bhaktivedanta Manor, Bhakti Vijnana Goswami gave a wonderful talk on the life of Lord Rama, who was the embodiment of virtue, integrity and morality.
The first point that he made was that, like us, God is a person. He then explained that many people find it difficult to comprehend this fact – in this material world, people have faults and make mistakes, so they reason that since the Supreme is perfect, He cannot be a person. But the scriptures of the bhakti tradition emphatically proclaim that God is a person, and that He therefore feels emotions.
However, as our speaker went on to explain, His emotions are nothing like the emotions of this material world, which always result in disappointment and suffering. Rather, He experiences spiritual emotions, which are always blissful. To put it simply, spiritual emotions are the natural emotions experienced by the Supreme Soul and all other souls (that includes you and me).
This material world is characterised by lust, and thus the general mentality is that happiness has to be taken by force. The great demon Ravana was very attracted to Sita, the beautiful wife of Lord Rama, and believed that she could satisfy his desires, so he kidnapped her. Rather than bringing him happiness, however, this act led to his destruction.
As Ravana discovered, all attempts to obtain happiness from external things inevitably result in disappointment. When this happens repeatedly, some people become fed up with life and decide to suppress their emotions to prevent further disappointment. They may decide to escape to some solitary place and perform meditation, but even if they are motionless, they cannot become emotionless; emotions are a natural and unavoidable part of life.
Practitioners of the bhakti tradition understand that spiritual emotions are the only thing that can give us the happiness that we are searching for. But such emotions are completely pure – they are not contaminated by lust, envy, and other vices. This means that if we want to experience them, we also need to be pure.
As souls, we are already pure entities, but we have forgotten this fact due to our belief that we are the body. Thankfully, there is a way to reawaken our natural purity – we simply have to hear regularly about the incredible purity of personalities like Lord Rama, and meditate on their wonderful qualities.