Finding The True Self - Questions & Answers From The Series


NARADA MUNI DAS: ...Acharya das. We're going to ask him some questions for the live stream for YouTube. This is a 3-part series of Finding The True Self. Actually, Acharya das-- I've known him for over 30 years. He is, actually known my father for-- he had met him ages ago in India.

ACHARYA DAS: Yeah, in India. Forty something years ago. 1972, I think it was.

NARADA MUNI DAS: They were monks together there. Acharya das is coming in the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya-Sampradaya; is a student of Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa as well as His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad.

ACHARYA DAS: Thank you very much for having me here and it's my pleasure to be able to attempt to answer the questions of people that have sent them—these questions—I understand, when we were streaming the other shows.

TANDIS: Thank you. Thank you for being here.

ACHARYA DAS: You're welcome.

NARADA MUNI DAS: I'm going to get a go in here. This is from Part One of the Finding The True Self series. This was sent in from Lucas, from Arizona. His question is, "Acharya das, just wondering if you could explain this significance of happiness and distress in this verse you just spoke about? How that relates to equality? And the verse in reference here is,

"He is a perfect yogi who by comparison to his own self, sees the true quality of all beings both in their happiness and distress, O Arjuna."

From Bhagavad-Gita 6.32

ACHARYA DAS: So the general perception is, of people in this world that there are conditions that are desirable and there are conditions that are undesirable. I'm kind of fortunate in that I've spent a lot of time in the third world and you see just in everyday life a huge difference between the different social and economic classes. And so you know you'll see at a stoplight, some guy sitting in a Mercedes Benz and he's got a driver and he's sitting back there and he's got his Rolex watch on and you know, he's a big tycoon in industry. And outside the car, there's a little kid or an old man or a woman knocking on the car window and, you know, very impoverished and emaciated and begging for a little money. And a person would normally look at that situation and think that the lamentable condition of the person begging at the window, this person is, you know, needs my pity; whereas the person sitting in the backseat of the car, who's obviously made it financially or whatever, that that position is desirable and they are not needing my pity. Whereas for the yogi, there is no difference between the two. That when we really consider the bigger picture, this is like one tiny frame from a long movie. If I've got like, you know, a reel, a movie reel and I roll it out and I take one snippet out of it and I see that that is the situation and I think, "Oh, you know, this guy is, he's made it and the other person is in a very unfortunate situation". But we might find out if we run the whole movie that the guy with everything loses it all and himself becomes subject to being harassed by government or some business opponent who kidnaps his family or, you know, some terrible things happen to him; and the other person, for whatever reason, stumbles upon something, some wealth of some sort, or an opportunity, and suddenly rises from nothing to become, you know, a very prominent personality.

So from the point of view of the yogi, it is not really that that unhappiness is experienced in this world or so-called happiness, either of them are not considered--neither are considered desirable. The desirable situation is to transcend the whole material experience; to reawaken our true knowledge of our true spiritual identity and to experience the ultimate happiness that comes from the cultivation of this taste of actual spiritual love.

So by comparison with his own self and his own life and experience and his observation, the yogi does not consider one of these situations desirable and the other one is not desirable. Both of them are extremely unfortunate. And so this is the perspective. You know, the yogic principle is that in this life, and in the Bhagavad-gita it is spoken about quite frequently, in this life we should be striving for a condition of equanimity, where we are not moved one way or the other by happiness or distress, that we remain neutral. And one can only come to this condition and not be swayed when they have attained a transcendental platform--a platform of actual self-realization. Okay?

NARADA MUNI DAS: Second question here from the first part is from Simon from Brisbane, Australia. He's asking, "If you are not of the world, how can you live a life that is in harmony with the world?"

ACHARYA DAS: Well, hi Simon. Interesting question that's really--- what is this harmony that's been spoken of? I mean what do you guys think? What do people think of when they talk about harmony?

TANDIS: Balance.

NARADA MUNI DAS: No distress.

ACHARYA DAS: Yeah, no distress; everything's—actually coming to a position where everything's going well, well for you.

TANDIS: Right.

ACHARYA DAS: Whereas the real transcendental platform is such that even when things are not going well for you, one is not swept away by that. You know, we have to accept this reality that life in the material world means that we will not be able to experience unlimited and endless happiness within the framework of the material world. This experience can only be had on a transcendental platform. And so if we are cultivating the idea, for instance, and I'm not sure exactly what Simon means by this harmony, but if it is this common idea that we see even within the yoga communities or the new-age type communities. You know, how-- when we talked about the series, we actually talked about a person's essence, position and natural function and in relation to a position and this world, it is important to recognize that this world is not mine. I cannot lay claim to even one atom within this world. It was all here before I showed up in this body and when I leave this body, it will all still be here and the idea of laying claim to it and utilizing it for my enjoyment and everything, is actually illusory; illusory in the sense that it does not last - it comes and it goes.

And so seeking harmony in relation to this world has a lot to do with this appreciation and understanding that this is not my creation, it is not--I cannot lay claim proprietorship or ownership to it. If I see this world as actually God's property and I see myself as a steward of that property and I try to live a life where I am doing good and where I can tolerate the excesses that exist within this world—you know I have to recognize that the law of karma is much bigger than me.

Right now everything might be going well for me; I could have a whole load of karma coming down the track from previous activity in this lifetime or even in previous lifetimes where it's suddenly going to manifest and I'm going to be put into a very distressful condition and the idea that if somehow I'm in harmony with this world everything's going to suddenly work and be wonderful and be okay. No, that's not true.

Everything is going to be okay when I realize I am not of this world and that I've lived out my current life doing good, serving others, serving the Supreme and trying to cultivate this transcendental awareness of my spiritual nature, my spiritual identity and trying to live on that platform. If I am doing that then I can be said to actually be in harmony with things. And this may be a little bit different from what many people think constitutes harmony but this is what it means to live harmoniously with this world; to accept things as they come and to accept the consequences of my actions in this life and previous lives; not seek to avoid, you know, the consequence of previous choices I've made and to tolerate these things but now to try live in a way where I can attain a true transcendental position and be able to live a life where I am untouched and unaffected by the normal cause of things in this world.

TANDIS: Because the harmony is within.

ACHARYA DAS: The harmony is within and it has to do with the harmony of understanding my true essence, position and natural function and living in that, then I will be fine no matter what happens to my body; no matter what situations I find myself in, I will be fine. I don't lament, I don't exert huge effort to try and change the course of things when I may be suffering as a result of my past karma, and I definitely do act in a way as to not make things worse.


TANDIS: There’s another question. Ooops, I turned it off. Just a sec. Okay, we have a question here from Samantha from Gold Coast, Australia. “When you were talking about the mother who suffered the terrible plane crash you spoke of how she said that the most important thing mothers could teach their children is that they are not their body. As a mother I love this idea and I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on how I can teach this to my kids.”

ACHARYA DAS: Yeah, Samantha, actually she was, the woman was speaking in relation to her daughters, because she was speaking of what it is that women often go through when they are put under such pressure by society and by, you know, the way in which they have been raised to identify so closely with the body as being the self, and then the ideas of my self-worth, my ideas of desirableness or loveableness or acceptableness being so tied to the particular body that I have.

You know, children are far more perceptive than most people think. Number one: your child, yeah, is a child, but on the other hand they are not. They’re actually people. They are people that have gone through so many experiences previously, and by whatever arrangement they have shown up on your doorstep. (Laughter) Not exactly like that but, you know you find—and you are playing the role of being their parents and them being your kids. And they are totally locked into the idea that they are little kids but the reality is that they are spiritual beings that have also gone through so much experience.

And being able to speak, you know, directly to them about these things—we should not avoid this or think that they can’t understand. And it is important for them to hear at a young age so that their view of the world is not being shaped by television, it’s not being shaped by ideas that advertisers are pushing upon them, it’s not being totally shaped by the values that other people on social media are ramming down each other’s throats, that we give them an actual chance, an actual chance, by providing them with a clear understanding. So speaking to them in a very simple and straight forward way and encouraging enquiry.

I mean if you start talking about these things you’ll find kids have all kinds of—maybe not immediately, maybe—and it’s not like you sit them down and indoctrinate them. No, it’s nothing crazy like that. It’s about having an actual conversation and encouraging them to think.

One of the things that really inspired me when I became exposed to the Vedic process of spiritual life was that it is like really important to actually learn how to question. And I considered it my, you know, very great responsibility as a parent and with my own children, and with other children that are in my sphere of influence, to really help them try to think about things very critically, and not just go with the flow, not just adopt everybody else’s way of thinking, but actually ask the hard questions and to seek answers.

I was raised as a Catholic and I can remember as a—when I was a kid, you ask a tough question from, you know, some person, an authority, and you’re usually told, “No, you can’t understand that. You’re just a kid. You just need faith.” You know. “Just have faith and you’ll come to understand later.” No, that’s an incorrect approach. And it’s—people say this because they actually don’t have an answer.

And I found that within the system of yogic learning or Vedic learning, Vedic wisdom that so many answers are provided and it was actually a critical part of our development to learn to question. There is one verse in the Bhagavad-gita, in the fourth chapter, the 34th verse, it says that if one wants to know the Absolute Truth one should approach a spiritual master and inquire from him. But then it says, submissively. So to enquire doesn’t mean in a challenging way, where you already think you know the answer and you’re asking someone to see if you can trip them up or what they have to say about it.

The spiritual system is I must approach someone who is a spiritual authority and enquire from them and to do it and actually really take on board what is being said. I may completely disagree with it because I’ve got my head going down some other place and I’m convinced that this is reality and they may say something that is completely different than what I’m currently accepting. I need to take that and go away and actually spend time contemplating and considering and trying to look into the truthfulness of that.

So teaching children to question is really, really important, and talking about things that are actually really relevant and important for them and will shape their future, what quality of life they will have. And more importantly, how they will leave this particular life. Everybody, we all face the same end, which is death and the death is the ultimate test of our life. And so helping someone along this journey of life and helping them to leave in a highly dignified and in a very transcendental way is really important. And so speaking to children about truthful things; it doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bummer and you’re going to be, you know, just pouring all this negative stuff on them. No, it’s about being realistic and practical. And also exploring where I am actually going to find happiness, where I’m actually going to find perfect love and complete fulfillment.

So it’s an important question, you know. Don’t hesitate to speak to your children in a direct and straight forward manner.

In speaking about things though, I give some warning. One should never make something up. If you don’t know, if you have not heard yourself from some spiritual authority, whether it is a spiritual master, a spiritual teacher, whether it is the yogic scriptures, if you don’t—have not heard on it, and someone asks a question, say, “That’s a good question. I will try to find an answer for you.” And go away and actually try to find the answer. Don’t just fluff over it. Don’t brush it off. Don’t push back on them. Don’t feel embarrassed. If we don’t know something, it’s, wow a wonderful opportunity to really find answer.

Okay? Kids 101.

NARADA MUNI DAS: That helps me, cos we have two children.

TANDIS: Yeah, thank you.

NARADA MUNI DAS: This is another question. Philippa from Brisbane, Australia: “If I am the atma, not my body, and I didn’t begin at conception where did I come from?”

ACHARYA DAS: Okay. This is actually a big subject Philippa. And—Oh, it’s probably Philippa, [pronunciation change] in Australia.


ACHARYA DAS: It’s a big subject. I will only address it somewhat briefly but concisely.

We have eternally existed. And this is, just like, hard for people to get their head around. We are an eternal parcel, a spark, a part and parcel of the Supreme Being.

We are one of His multifarious energies. The particular energy, it is called in Sanskrit the tatastha shakti or the jiva Shakti; shakti meaning energy. And it describes the living being and the nature, when we say tatastha, the nature of the living being: being able to exist within the material sphere, meaning being overwhelmed by material life, taking on this false identity that this particular body I’m currently wearing is me, and being oblivious to what has gone before or what will come after; or I can come to the platform of actual self-realisation and reside in a transcendental atmosphere rather than a material atmosphere. The living being has that borderline position and can go either way. That’s part of the eternal nature.

So there was never—in the Bhagavad-gita Krishna speaking to Arjuna, He says that there was never a time, when I, nor you, nor all these kings, you know, did not exist, nor will there ever be a time where we cease to be. So that is a practical reality. The mere fact that I cannot remember, you know, past lives and where I’ve come from doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. The idea of, if you can remember something it’s real and if you can’t remember it, it’s not real, is a little bit loopy.

So I have existed eternally. It’s just like the rays of sun from the sunshine. There was never a time that the sun existed and there was no sunshine. It’s not like the sun existed and then after some, even brief moment, the rays of the sun started emanating from it. No. The rays of the sun have existed as long as the sun has existed. In the same way the living being has existed forever. We are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and therefore eternal, both into the past and into the future.

TANDIS: Co-existing.

ACHARYA DAS: Co-existing eternally with the Supreme Being.

NARADA MUNI DAS: Thank you. Okay, this one is from Oscar in the Philippines. He says, “Thanks so much for this lecture. How can we remember the state of self-realisation in our day-to-day life?”

ACHARYA DAS: So, you know, this is really what the process of spiritual life, or the cultivation of spiritual life is really all about. It is a process of cultivation. There is this Sanskrit word, sadhana. Sadhana means, like, a daily practice, habits, spiritual habits that you build as part of the process of purifying one’s heart and mind and creating an environment where I am both pleasing to the Supreme Being and where there is a dawning, and when I say this dawning, we’re talking like in the morning when the—


ACHARYA DAS: —the dawn when the sun is coming up. First there’s a dim light in the sky and then it gets brighter and eventually the sun itself rises. So self –realization is a dawning process. That term is actually used in the Vedanta Sutra, and also in the Bhagavata Purana.

So this experience will come about when I take shelter of and engage in the direction of a spiritual teacher and I take onboard the spiritual processes that will bring about this purification so that my eternal spiritual nature will gradually begin to manifest.

And so there are regular things that we do. For instance, in my life, I perform kirtan every day. I also engage in another type of meditation called japa, where we use beads. And on these beads we chant these spiritual sounds, these names of God. And apart from that, there are periods of time in the day when I will read from scripture or I will listen to some lecture, audio lecture or video lecture of my spiritual master or from other transcendentalists. And by regularly engaging in this activity, then I become constantly reminded. And I will catch myself, I will see when I’m getting off-track and then I will be forced to contemplate and think about how did I get off-track here? How did this really happen? How did I lose the plot? And what should I have done? How could I have—This introspection and reflecting on things is part of that spiritual process.

So hearing the truth is important, and understanding, yes, I am a spiritual being, not this body. But then constantly reminding myself and constantly evaluating how I am dealing with things in this world and when I am not acting on that platform. All of these things are helpful as well as engaging in the activity that will gradually purify my heart and my mind so this full realization will take place.


NARADA MUNI DAS: Yes. So you have to make an effort—

ACHARYA DAS: Yeah. You have to make a—it’s just like somebody decides—they just had the Olympics, you know? It’s not like somebody sitting in front of the TV and they see someone, you know, Usain Bolt, you know, run the hundred meters and go, “I can do that!” You know? And they just go out and buy all the gear and they’re going to – what? – show up at the Olympics and think they can run? No. You have to go through a—many, many years of practice that brings about a physical transformation and gives you the ability to react and to perform on a certain level where you can excel in that particular sport.

So spiritual life is very similar in that regard. You know, we have become very much covered by material concepts and material consciousness and by engaging in this regular practice – sadhana – that one is constantly reminded, going through a process of purification and that transformation will take place. That change of vision will be there.

All good?

HOSTS: Yeah.


NARADA MUNI DAS: We’re going to actually go into some more—this is some questions that were sent in from Part Two of this—the Finding The True Self series.


NARADA MUNI DAS: And there’s actually two questions here that are kind of similar so I’m going to—I’ll just ask them together. I’ll read them both out and then—

ACHARYA DAS: Okay. Then I’ll try and answer them.

NARADA MUNI DAS: So the first part is from Tiana in California and then from Blake in Oregon.

So the first one is, “I really enjoyed your talk and I was wondering what you thought about the idea that because you are part of the whole, as such, it would be—only be natural for you to have an ability to communicate with the universe and to connect to it in such a way that you can influence how things manifest in the world at large.”

That was the first one, Tiana, and then Blake in Oregon is, “Isn’t it possible that we can choose to be happy or unhappy? I’ve heard that on some level we have asked for everything that happens in our life, so can’t we learn to attract or manifest positive experiences?”

ACHARYA DAS: This is—maybe I’ll borrow that off you so I can refer to it. This is actually a pretty big subject. And before I speak about this I’m probably going to end up offending some people and for that I do apologize in advance.

You know, there are so many ideas that people have adopted - and you see it very frequently in the so-called yoga community – where they have adopted ideas, ideas that are popular and what people consider, you know, really cool. And everybody starts buying into it because other people have bought into it and, “It appeals to me.”

When I say, “Appeals to me,” when someone says that, mostly we are not saying that it appeals to my actual inner spiritual self. It appeals to my mind. It appeals to my senses. And because of this I find it very acceptable. And I’ve seen situations where literally millions of people are buying into ideas that are completely unfounded or completely wrong or erroneous. And nobody’s asked the question, “Well why should I accept that? Who is the authority that has spoken on this subject?” Just because somebody stands up in front of a group of people and they can speak in a very positive and charismatic and engaging way doesn’t mean what they say is right. There is this question of where is this philosophy or idea coming from and does it really have any foundation or relevance?

So just referring to their questions here: isn’t it possible that we can choose to be happy or unhappy. I can say yes, that is true on some level. But I don’t think anybody wishes themselves to be unhappy.

And before I speak about the subject, usually people that are bringing up these ideas and speaking about these ideas, number one, most of them are living in a first world country. They are a very small minority, that by karmic chance they have been born in a very developed and more peaceful and more organized and cleaner society. You know, if you think that you can go and get rid of all your money and your position and go and live in a squatter shanty in Manila with another, you know, one and half million people all living in squalor just in that one area, you know, along a river that’s filled with pollution and smells and there’s malaria and everything—or you go to Mumbai, you know, or Calcutta, or you go to any of the major cities in much of the world and you go and live in that kind of condition and you think that just by thinking positive thoughts that you’re going to make a huge transformation to your physical environment, no. That is not realistic. That is not realistic.

Another thing that’s not been accepted is that you don’t know what’s coming down the track. You have engaged in lifetimes of activities. And karmic result exists in three forms. One: which is fruit that is currently ripening and you are about to experience that flavor, whether it’s distressful or whether it’s fantastic. Or it is immature fruit, like a little, tiny mango that has not yet fully grown and formed, and it is going to be some time before you experience it. And yet there is still another. This is bijam, the seed that is planted within the heart that maybe, even after a long time, is going to manifest as a plant that grows and bear fruit that you will taste in the future.

Thinking positive thoughts is not going to be able to turn back the karma, the karmic reaction, that you are obliged to receive as the result of past activity. So you can have all the positive thoughts that you want in the world. If you have engaged in sinful or cruel or unfortunate activity in your past you will experience the consequences and trying to will it away is not possible, I am sorry.

There is one way to eliminate all past karmic reaction that you should—or karmic reaction from past activity that you have not yet experienced and that’s through attaining a level of actual self-realization, to exist on a totally transcendental platform, and to be fully under the shelter of the Supreme Being. In that state one can become relieved from, or not have to experience the result of past karma.

So isn’t it possible that we can choose to be happy or unhappy? Yes, in a very limited way. In the big picture, I’m sorry, you cannot make those choices. Happiness will come of its own accord and distress will come of its own accord. And it will be caused by how you have lived previously. “I’ve heard that at—

NARADA MUNI DAS: Sounds like—

ACHARYA DAS: Let me just finish. “I’ve heard that on some level we have asked for everything that happens in our lives so can’t we learn to attract or manifest positive experiences?” Yes, you can learn. And that is actually what the transcendental experience is about. Learning to try to attract positive experiences, if we’re talking about, you know, positive material experiences, in and of itself is not the answer because all that will do is tie you to continued material existence.

You were going to ask something?

NARADA MUNI DAS: I was just going to say that it sounds like, well, whether it’s a positive or negative experience, they’re both fleeting. They’re still—

ACHARYA DAS: Yeah. They’re both transitory and they just do not last. And maybe we can speak to that a little in relation to the first question. It is true that we are all part of the whole, and I don’t know actually what is being spoken about here when it says to ‘communicate with the universe’. You know—I’m sorry, I’m going to have to break some bad news. (laughs)

Within the material, the whole material existence, there are considered three levels, fundamental levels of existence. One is categorized as being hellish, meaning it is filled with suffering. This suffering here doesn’t mean to be deprived of a lot of things. One may be engaged in very hedonistic lifestyle but that lifestyle, that type of lifestyle, always ends badly. You never see people come out of it all brilliant and glowing and healthy and happy and peaceful. It’s—you know, the very hedonistic lifestyle is a downwards spiral.

Within the material creation there are parts of this creation that are categorized as being heavenly - where one’s life can go on for vast amounts of time, where there is very limited suffering experienced. And there are a whole part of the Vedas that is dedicated to teaching people how to attain those conditions, those worlds. But it must be understood that even that is not an eternal situation. When you attain those heavenly worlds, you must eventually, eventually, whatever you got in the bank in terms of fantastic karma it runs out. And when it runs out you are forced to fall from that situation and start all over again.

So in these three spheres of existence you’ve got very heavenly, earthly and somewhat hellish. In the earthly existence it is considered better than the heavenly existence because in the heavenly existence it is so easy to lose the plot and think, “This is it, I’ve made it. It’s going to be like this forever,” and not see that this is just like a snippet from a long movie and there’s going to be so many changes that take place.

The earthly existence you will find that there is both pleasure and pain. There is enjoyment and suffering and generally you will see that for most people, almost all people, the amount of suffering that they experience even in a mild form actually exceeds the so-called happiness that is experienced. So trying to perpetuate that experience of so-called material happiness, trying to speak to the universe so everything becomes, you know, wonderful for me, I get to enjoy, I’m just cruising, it’s all just wonderful. You know how long can you keep that up? You try doing that when you’re like eighty years old and you’ve got arthritis and your teeth are falling out and you can’t digest food anymore and somebody has got to help you to go to the bathroom or you’re already passing stool in your pants or diaper and somebody’s got to change that for you. Tell that person why don’t you just have some positive thoughts and be one with the universe, you know. They are lying there suffering in the most horrific situation that we all may face sooner or later or got cancer or some disease. You can’t just wish all of this away. This is part of the reality of material existence.

And while it is desirable to live in a stage of peacefulness and things and there is nothing wrong with that, one has to be very open-minded and realistic about things. That this world is not our home, it is not designed for us to be here eternally existing in unlimited happiness and free from all suffering and pains. No; these things are part of what’s called material existence and this is why the foundational teaching of all yogis was that one must learn to transcend or to rise above. First you must learn to become tolerant of these experiences. To tolerate them and not be overwhelmed by them, whether it is the happiness or the distress, to live in a very neutral state where you are free from being tormented one way or the other by these things. And then to come to the platform of actually transcending this.

So I’m not sure if we’re going to be able to do this or not but I’ve asked one of the guys helping us out here to put out—there’s actually a couple of verses from the Bhagavad-gita that speak to this situation about how we should endeavor to try and live and in this first verse in the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says:

O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent [the word is non-permanent], the non-permanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.

O best of men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.

Bhagavad-gita 2.14-15

So this is the actual yogic view, this is the spiritual view. This world is not our home and trying by positive thinking or some artificial means to create heaven on this earth where we can live happily ever after, is simply a fantasy. It is not part of the reality of the material world and material creation. One must learn to simply accept what comes our way. We should live in a very positive way and to try and do good, but over and above that we should begin to try and live and exist on a transcendental platform. And when we attain this condition, one is truly liberated even though they may still exist within this body; we may still be embodied. In due course of time we will be able to leave this body behind and we will not have to or be forced to take birth again in the material world.

There is one other verse I would like to share with you and I think they can also bring this up. This is from the Srimad Bhagavatam and it speaks to this journey. It says:

O my Lord! O infallible Supreme Person! When a person wandering throughout the universe becomes eligible for liberation from material existence, he gets an opportunity for saintly association. When he associates with such saints, his attraction for You is awakened. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead—the highest goal of the topmost yogis and devotees of the Lord of the universe.

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.51.53

So you know this is a little bit different than what many people think and what many people are trying to do which is to try and make this world a perfect place and to have a perfect life here. A perfect life here means living a spiritual or transcendental life, and being not overly moved by the so-called positive things and the so-called negative things that, you know, appear or show up within this world. It is a big subject and it’s hard to deal with it, you know, in the short time that we have.

NARADA MUNI DAS: Is that—when you get—is that part of karma when you get to meet—this association of these saintly persons?

ACHARYA DAS: Yeah. Well can I say, you know, the coming into contact with an actual spiritual teacher or saintly person, number one it is not a result of karma. Karma is something that is tied an activity that is, and the karmic reaction to activity of this world is—spiritual thing is something different. What happens—there is a very simple principle: it is God Who gives Guru and Guru who gives God. So there is a particular form of the Lord, the Supreme Person who resides within your heart, and your heart, within my heart, and the hearts of all living beings. This form is known as Paramatma, the Supreme Atma. And the goal of the mystic yogis was to visualise in meditation and then through a process of purification to have the realisation of that form of the Lord standing within their own heart as their most intimate and best friend. This form of the Lord guides us actually in our life and appears to people as like their conscience. And when we express the desire to—we ask what is this actually all about? What’s this for? Or who am I? Is this it? You know, when we have any of those thoughts at all then as surely as the sun rises we will be directed towards and we’ll come into contact directly or indirectly with such a saintly personality from whom we can receive such guidance and where our life can be utterly transformed. We can come to the liberated stage to attain full knowledge and wisdom and to experience the wonderful experience of perfect spiritual love.

So I think we’ve just about run out of time.

NARADA MUNI DAS: Can we invite you to have some kirtan?

ACHARYA DAS: Yes sure. That’s a very nice way to conclude our discussion. So we will be chanting the mahamantra again and I will lead the chanting and I invite all of you to join in along with Narada and Tandis.

Thank you both very, very much for inviting me along to do this and I hope that we have provided some answers that are helpful to the people that asked them and to other members of the audience. So thank you very much and thank you to everybody.