There are three basic views of the world we live in. One is the very materialistic view wherein people see this world as the only real reality. Another is that world is an entirely an illusion, and the third is the best of view, that the world is the sacred property of God. It is real but it is temporary in its manifestations.
Now the conception that the world is the only true reality leaves one with the consciousness that it really doesn’t matter what we do as long as we get what we want. If we hurt people, if we trample on moral values, ethical principles, if we get money, fame, power, sensual and emotional pleasures, its all justified because as that saying goes, “eat drink and be merry because tomorrow may never come”. When we believe that this world is the only reality then even our so called moral principles are built on a very weak foundation because when temptation and fear come, why not break our moral and ethical values if I can get something better. Then we become victimized by greed, envy, lust, anger, arrogance and illusion. We see it so prevalent in the world today. This conception that if it feels good now it doesn’t really matter what else. What matters is me. So much is based upon what makes me happy, what can I acquire what I can call “mine”. In other words, its a world that is so much conquered by this tendency of selfishness and egoism, and so much of that is born from the conception that the world is the only reality.
Another conception is that the whole world is nothing but an illusion. It doesn’t actually even exist. The truth is real but the whole world is an illusion. For those who are thinking like this it is a good impetus for liberation after death because if the world is an illusion it doesn’t matter if we live or die, what matters is that somehow or other we get out of it as soon as possible. Now the environmental and ecological conditions of the world today is extremely precarious. This philosophy that this world is an illusion, if we see all these environmental issues happening, who cares. It doesn’t exist. Let everyone pollute the rivers and air because this world is an illusion. Our impetus is to just get out of this crazy contaminated condemned world and what we really leave behind doesn’t really matter because this world is an illusion. Where is the call for action within the world we live. The call of action is only to get out.
But then we have the Vaisnava philosopy of Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita, that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Vallabhacarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacharya, all these great souls taught. They taught om purnam adah purnam idam according to Sri Isopanisad. The Absolute Truth is the source of everything that exists. It is perfect and compete and everything eminating from the Absolute Truth is all perfect and complete. The material world and the spiritual world – everything is coming from Krishna. Sarvaloka mahesvaram, Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita, this whole world is God’s property. If we see it in this way we are free from that greed, envy, lust and anger because we understand I am not the proprietor, I am the caretaker. If we see someone else doing well we celebrate their good fortune because we understand we are all brothers and sisters, we are all spirit souls, children of God. We are not envious. Exploitation is the symptom of the disease of the selfish egoistic heart. Compassion is the symptom of a person who has actually found inner fulfillment within their hearts.
So this is so important for the world to understand today – that we must build our lives and relationships with other living beings, humans and other species of life, with Mother Earth and the environment on the principle that everything is sacred.
Maya means the energy of God and maya is categorized in two ways: mahamaya and yogamaya. It’s the same energy. This whole material world is God’s energy. All the manifestations within this energy are under the influence of time and therefore are temporary and under the three modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. The spiritual energy is sat-cit-ananda, eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. But what is the difference between these energies? It really is under the basis of our perception. If we see this world as God’s energy, as Krishna’s property then we are seeing it in its true spiritual nature. But if we don’t see it in relationship to God then we see it as” this is mine, this is yours”. This results in so much conflict. But true religion is meant to unite people not divide people. These religions are all manifestations of God’s grace on humanity to come to this earth to give us an understanding how we are all children of God. Wherever there is life there is a sacred child of God. Everything is the property of God and we are meant to be a family to utilize it properly.
This conception understands that everything in this world is meant to be used for the purpose of seva, or unselfish service. It is our sacred duty to God to honor and respect everything in this world as his sacred property and to use it in a spirit of service. If you own a business, own a house, have a family, have wealth, property, it’s all the property of God and used in harmony with God’s will which is to keep it all very very pure as far as possible. So in order to engineer a better world it has to begin by engineering a proper preceptive and realization of the world. Engineering our own inner consciousness to the degree we actually understand the beauty and the love and the greatness of Krishna, to that degree we will actually love Krishna and we will see everything in this world as a beautiful opportunity to serve Krishna and to elevate people’s lives and consciousness. – Radhanath Swami