Lecture held on 12. October 2020 at Sri Sri Radha Govinda Gaudiya Math, Traiskirchen, Austria by
Śrīla Bhakti Sādhaka Muni Goswāmi Mahārāj
Disciple: Gurudeva, Srila Sridhar Maharaj used to say that we have to die to live. What does he mean by that?
Śrīla BS Muni Mahārāj: This is very nice and it is very important. If you want to know what life means, then you have to die. For example, when somebody is born with a human body in this world we say „now life starts, now life begins“. But actually, reality is that death starts. As soon as you take birth, you have to know that you will have to die. So when we are here in this world, we will die and that means that we do not know what it will happen afterwards. We do not know what life means. The body dies, the body disappears, it becomes lifeless. We have to understand what is life. This we have to understand first. Life is this power that lets us move in this world, it is consciousness. Consciousness is life. Consciousness is always there, consciousness means real life. But when we identify with this body, when we think „oh, this is my body“, then we are not conscious that I am an atma or a soul. Life means we have been before this body, everyone of us, millions of times. Die to live means we have to consciously reject the understanding that I am this body. This is not me, this is my body. It belongs to me. You don't say „I body“, you say „it is my body“. And we also say „this is my mind“. My mind, it is not me. It is my mind. My head, my feet, my name. What I call mine is just borrowed. It is used like a boat to cross over the ocean. It is not me. Who is this who says „this is my body?“, somebody has to be there to say this. This is my mind, my intelligence, this is my country, my, my, my. This is always like this in this material world. But who is saying this? When I say „my mouth“, yes, it belongs to me so that I can speak, but who is beyond this? Who is the person who says this is mine? and this is I? So die to live means that I must understand that all these things are not me. I should not identify with something that even though it comes to existence, it will die. Now I think „I am a lady, I am this, I am that, I am man, I am tall, I am a tree“. But what happens when I have to leave? When I am getting realized I can understand „oh, I am spirit, I am not something temporary“. So this conception of „I am this body, I am this mind, I am my intelligence“, this thinking, has to die. It does not mean you go to a skyscraper and you jump down, or you take some pills or poison for you to die. This is not meant by this. Die to live means that I understand that this is not me. This conception of „I am body, I am mind“ has to die. Then I will understand what life means. I am spirit, I am jivatma. I am not dying, I am not taking birth. I just identify. Like when I go to the cinema, I see a nice film and then I identify with the film and with the character. You identify with this, and when you come out you want to be like him… how is he called? Rambo? When you come out you identify with him, with house, with family. You identify with all these material things. And because I am getting attached to these material things, I have to come again, and again, and again to this material world to experience or to try to enjoy these things. This makes me a prisoner. I am forced to come here to the law of karma. Karma means every action, every desire, has a result. So many, many births we took in this material world like this, not understanding who I am. This is the basic mistake. Unfortunately, many religions do not know the real purpose. They support the experience of „I am the body, I have to be good, I have to be nice“. Of course you have to be like this, but this is only a mundane conception. We have to realize and understand that our real nature is that we are souls and that we are eternal. This where we are now is only transit. And we have a home, a spiritual home, from where we are coming from. What makes us come here? Why we come here? Because we wanted to come here, we wanted it. It is like when a man goes to the toilette and passes stool. He eats so many things that what comes out is dirt. We have to also understand that we want to enjoy but we have to pay the price in this world. And what is the price? birth, disease, old age, death. I am saying just facts. I do not believe that one who kills animals and who is enjoyer of this material world will understand where he is coming from. Because he wants to enjoy separate from the Supreme Lord, Bhagavan, so he has to pay the price being here. All of us.
Die to live means leaving out this mood of enjoying and creating karma, because if we do, then we have to come again and again. In India, especially, it is like this that 90% of the people come to the temple asking „give me this, give me that“. They think that God has to become their servant. But we need to understand that I am the source of all my happiness and all my distress. Do not blame anybody else, this is a very important point we have to understand. I am just getting what I deserve according to my past activities. If you blame others you will never understand how this law of karma, of action and reaction, is working. I am suffering now because I have given suffering to others in my past, in my past lives. There are so many souls here, but we cannot see them. We cannot see, for example, the demigods. We cannot see there are so many Rakshasas, demoniac personalities, who have no gross body. Our vision is so limited and still we think we are gods. We are insignificant in this universe, what to say about the million of millions of universes. We always become very proud.
If you want to know the truth, then:
tad viddhi praṇipātena
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: „if you want to know the truth, you have to approach a bonafide Spiritual Master. A Guru, a teacher. You have to serve Him, you have to ask Him questions in a humble way“. Why can He tell you? Why can He tell you the truth?
Disciple: because He has seen it.
Śrīla BS Muni Mahārāj: yes, because He has seen the truth. He knows the truth, He is very a very advanced, high class devotee. He is coming from this truth, from the transcendental world, but we cannot see Him, because we can see only the body. We see only the external things. So if we want to know eternity, if we want to know ecstasy, if we really want to know love, if you want to experience all this then you surrender and your life will change completely. We never experience this. We are running, looking for water in the desert. We have to go to the mountains, to the water fount, where the water comes from. When we are sincerely searching for it, for understanding, for knowing the truth, then everything will be arranged by a higher power, by higher personalities. We will meet such person, but that we get the opportunity does not mean that we are getting the truth. We get the chance to understand. If we are sincere then we will know all the things, we will know why they happen and what is their real meaning. We have to learn after many, many births, that there must be something more. And when we realize this, we will be guided by the Supreme, He will support us, He will help us to get the information, to get the opportunity to understand. We are just insignificant. We are really very insignificant and we like to live in our imagination that we are very special. But actually nobody cares, we are like ants. There are millions of them struggling in this world. All of us are like ants. All this, what keeps us here, this has to die. This means die to live. „Die to live“ comes from one of our great Acaryas, Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. He was respected all over by the most respected devotees, Vaishanvas and Acaryas and also by his Gurudev, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupad. He told him „you have understood the truth“. He took these words from Hegel. Everybody knows who is Hegel? He was a great philosopher in the 19th century. He understood also a little bit of this truth. So to understand the truth, you have to die to live. If you want to understand life, you have die. So these conceptions of „me and mine“ have to die. This is just the beginning. This is the ABC. Unfortunately, there are so many religions that have forgotten the real meaning of what is the goal. They just want to live comfortably in this world. But this is not the goal, if you do like this then you will just continue and continue coming to this world. You will just take birth again and again.
One has to become sincere and then we will get the result.