The Kingdom of God

By Radheshyam Dasa

Freedom from painful impediments

In Kingdom of God, there is no hunger, thirst, birth and death, old age, disease, etc. Thus without these sufferings that draw our consciousness in the material world, keeping us absorbed in sorting out problems of life in material world, one can simply focus on service to Supreme Lord without any impediments.

Freedom from material desire

The Vaikuntha residents while travelling in their Airplanes condemn the fragrance of Madhavi flowers in ponds, which indicates that they don’t care for insignificant sense gratification in comparison to the joy they derive in Lord’s service.  The only desire the Vaikuntha-vasis have in their hearts is eternal loving service to Lord and nothing else.  They have no desire even for Mukti, what to speak of Bhukti or Siddhi.  Such purity of desire renders one’s heart clean, fit and offerable to Supreme Lord.

Freedom from craving for opposite sex

Sex life is eulogized as the ultimate in the material world and it is being promoted everywhere especially in the modern times through media, bill-boards, sensuous movies, love songs, romantic novels etc.  Even though the devotees of God practice devotional service and develop higher taste, still the attraction for opposite sex keeps lingering in one’s consciousness thus weakening one’s determination to serve the Supreme Lord whole-heartedly.  In Kingdom of God, though Vaikuntha men and women are extraordinarily beautiful, they have no attraction for sex life due to attraction for Lord’s service.  This is a great hope to aspire for a sadhaka.

Freedom from envy

Material world is characterized by Envy, cut-throat competition, craving after position power and political influence over money, followers, property etc.  Such mentality burns the heart of living entity creating enmity between man and man, family and family, state and state, one country and another.  In Vaikuntha, all living beings joyfully serve the Supreme Lord without any envy for Him and without any malice for the special living entities like Tulasi or Bumble bee who attract Lord’s special mercy.  Even as practicing devotees envy, like a disease of heart, does not allow us to appreciate other devotees’ good qualities.  Vaikuntha gives us hope for a healthy heart devoid of envy and prejudice.

Easy benedictions in lord’s service

In Vaikuntha, one gets an Airplane made of Lapiz lazuli simply by bowing down to Lord only once!  On the other hand, if a man in the material world wants to give up a scooter and go for purchasing a Santro car, one has to do some hardwork to earn money.  There are kalpa vriksha desire trees in spiritual world which provide anything one may desire to engage in Lord’s service.  Thus spiritual world is a great hope to give up futile hard material endeavours that one is forced to do in material world, for making two ends meet.  Lord’s service is the only activity and all facility is provided for it.

No prestige or status issue

Even beautiful goddess Laxmi, dressed and decorated with costly garments and ornaments, engages in sweeping marble floors, while twirling lotus on her other hand.  This she does, to gain the favor of Lord Visnu, to please Him.  In the material world everybody wants to show off their greatness, as someone possessing money, position or influence.  Spiritual world is filled with people, whose hearts swell with love for Lord’s service without any reservations, even upto Laxmiji, who is Lord’s consort.  Such freedom from false prestige, renders our minds free of burden of want for respect from others.  Thus one can remain happy, joyful and peaceful in Lord’s service without material ambitions.

FAITH-LIFT

By Caitanya Caran Das

Once a person prayed to God, “Please give me a flower and a butterfly for my garden”. When he opened his eyes, he found a cactus and a caterpillar instead. He was dismayed and wondered why God had misunderstood his request. “Maybe God has too many people to care for,” he rationalized and decided not to complain. After some time, when he went back to the garden, he found, to his surprise, that the unsightly caterpillar had transformed into a charming butterfly and the thorny, ugly cactus had a beautiful, fragrant flower on it.

Moral: God always answers our prayers, but often His answers manifest as per His supremely wise time and plan, not ours. God always gives the best to those who leave the choices to Him. But leaving the choices to God is almost impossible unless we tap the power of faith within us. Faith is innate to us; one of our first life-sustaining activities in life is based on faith. After birth, when our mother lovingly offers us her breast-milk, we drink it promptly without doubt. A research conducted to simulate the conversion of ‘one piece of bread into blood’ found that the industry for it extended to three kilometers! The conclusion: the work that we do in our entire lifetime for our survival is less than the work required to convert a handful of food into blood inside our body. The Bhagavad-gita ( 15.14) confirms that God sustains our life through the mechanism of digestion. But as we grow up, that faith of the heart is often obscured by the undesirable emotions – especially by sorrow, illusion and fear, which misdirect our consciousness, as stated in the Shrimad Bhagavatam ( 1.7.7). Sorrow makes us look behind – at all that has gone wrong in our life, illusion makes us look around – for some instant gratification to forget everything that has gone wrong and worry makes us look ahead – to everything that may go wrong in the future. Faith alone empowers us to look up – to see the benevolent hand of God guiding us out of our problems, to understand that everything is actually alright even if it appears wrong,

When we are faced with adversities, as is inevitable in this world, our peace and happiness will depend not on our wealth, but our faith.

However, if our perceptions are dominated by a materialistic conception of religion, “God is meant to provide me material enjoyment”, we often blind ourselves to God’s benevolence. We are intrinsically spiritual beings and without spiritual devotion for God, nothing can make us happy, just as a fish cannot live without water. Of course we need material things in life and God wants to provide those too; but not if they distract us from our eternal spiritual legacy in the kingdom of God . God is thus like a father, whose entire estate is ultimately meant for his son, but who may stop or decrease even his son’s pocket money, if he sees his son squandering it in addictive indulgences. How can we increase our faith in God? The Vedic scriptures explain that hearing the message of the Lord as revealed in the sacred scriptures from His dedicated devotees and chanting His Holy Names strengthens our faith. Hence this divinely uplifting association of spiritual scientists constitutes a “faith-lift”.

So when things apparently go wrong and our hearts become wrinkled by anxiety, let’s go in, not for a face-lift comprising of artificial smiles, but for a “faith-lift”. Then instead of jumping to short-sighted conclusions and falling into the ditch of ignorant distress, we will find ourselves taking a leap of faith into the protective arms of God.