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Not This Body, Not That Body: The ABC's of Enlightenment

This is an article from the Matchless Gift magazine, volume 1. Matchless Gift is a brand new Krishna conscious magazine designed, written and edited by the BLISS devotees. All funds go towards spreading Srila Prabhupada's movement. If you like what you read, please support us and buy a copy here!


Not This Body, Not That Body: The ABC's of Enlightenment

Before one can proclaim themselves 'woke'.... and certainly beforeone is permitted entrance into the most esoteric realm of the supramundane–first and foremost–one must practically understand the basics of what consciousness is NOT. That foundation upon which one can build an awareness that has real longevity is the assertion that "I am not this body." This is the ground level of being.

His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on his vyasasan
Have you read any of Srila Prabhupada's books?

Our Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada, propounded this timeless truth again and again, almost ruthlessly, in his lectures, conversations, books, and letters. The reason is because although many of us have had our experiences of an other-worldly reality, those experiences in themselves were not sufficient to maintain our presence there in that higher dimensional space; we are not yet qualified to enter into this luminous spiritual world. These experiences, whether induced by means of intoxication, or simply spontaneous, did not have the longevity that is needed, but they gave us a momentary glimpse of something which we are all hankering for; BLISS. Bliss, knowledge,and unending existence; our deepest desire, the desire for purity of consciousness. The flickering nature of these glimpses, their appearance and disappearance, can tell us that these understandings have not yet a place to stand–they have no ground on which to putdown their roots.

Although we may understand that "I am spirit soul" and that "I am not this body," still, unless we have been able to cease eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, we cannot truly say that we havefully realized this information. A realized soul, an authentically 'woke' person, they do not require to maintain the body by the means which we are accustomed to. They are completely detached from bodily consciousness and wholly engaged in Krishna Consciousness... the original state of all spirit souls.

Krishna in His transcendental form with his eternal associates
Lord Sri Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

We can observe this not-body phenomena in every aspect of our daily lives. When we speak to our friends and relatives, we will say "I think, I feel, I am..." But at the same time we subconsciously understand that the "I" does not refer to my head, my brain, my hands, my body. Because we are not these designations, we say "my" head, "my" hand. Who is that "my" that is claiming this body and its respective parts?

That is you, and you are separate from the material body, yet you are inhabiting a material body. You have accepted that I am male, female, young, old, tall, short, fat, thin, American, Indian, Russian, white, black, and so many other false designations. But that is not you. Any one can come to this logical conclusion. Yet, we find ourselves ever identifying with how we look, how we are perceived by others, with our bodily comforts and discomforts. This is a symptom of the harsh reality that we have not yet purified our consciousness enough to be able to completely detach from the material conception of identity and transcend to the spiritual conception. Ultimately, we all want to experience bliss without cessation, this is the platform we are seeking to come towards.

So let us begin with the first step, like a child learning to walk, we do not go directly from crawling, to driving a car. First we must crawl, then take a step, then we may walk... but not so gracefully, for it requires so much practice. To develop the understanding that "I amnot this body" means to develop our original, pure consciousness, our Krishna Consciousness. We have been covered in so many layers of material conditioning, like a mirror covered in dust, so, we are unable to see things as they are. All that is required to return to our natural blissful state of being is to cleanse these layers of contamination which have come about due to our own choice to play the enjoyer. This whole material world is created to meet our desires, and subsequently we have had to accept the laws and consequences that come along with this desire to enjoy independently of Krishna. One of those consequences is this dense covering over our pure consciousness. It is not something that has been done to us, it is a natural consequence of the execution of our own free will. All choices come with consequences, this is an easily observable law.

Krishna, God, and the maha mantra Hare Krishna
Simply chant, and all will become clear

Actually, this bodily consciousness is the real intoxication. We are addicted to exploitation of Krishna's material energy and we are very expert at becoming more and more entangled in its intricacies. When we begin to chant Krishna's names, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, we will experience practically the gradual lifting of this dense veil of ignorance. The clarity of our identity in relation to Krishna will be slowly revealed to us, so long as we persevere with sincerity and determination! Hare Krishna.

Front cover of the Krishna conscious magazine, Matchless Gift by Expand the BLISS London
Issue 1, out now

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