We are Spiritual Beings Having a Material Experience. ~ Vrindavan Rao

Via elephant journal
on Apr 7, 2013
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* Editor’s note: In an attempt to begin the week on the best note possible, we have decided to make Everyday Bhagavad-Gita a regular Sunday feature. So be sure to tune in every Sunday morning for your dose of Gita wisdom and be sure to pass the word along.

Everyday Bhagavad-Gita: It’s Not About the Body.

Verse 1.30: I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Krishna, killer of the Keshi demon.

Last time, we talked about fear and how our fear is a result of our misidentifying ourselves with the material world and its experiences, instead of our spiritual selves.

If you were wondering what the material experience is all about, it can be summed up by the phrase “It’s all about me.” That’s the motivating force that drives one when they are entrapped in material consciousness.

The word “material” has now been tossed around a few times and you might be scratching your head wondering what exactly it means. Let’s make one thing clear: I’m not talking about yards of cloth, or the stuff you need to read and study.


“Material,” in the context of the Gita, relates to that which is temporary and seeing the world as separate from its real owner and controller—God.

This material consciousness blinds us to what is actually real and permanent: the spiritual spark, the soul, which is our true self and our eternal, loving relationship with God. By forgetting these two things, we set ourselves up for disappointment again and again in everything that we do.

The problem is that we associate “the me” that’s referred to in our “it’s all about me” behavior with the temporary material body. Since the body is temporary, all our efforts and plans to gratify and satisfy it are also temporary.

I’m sure you’ve had experiences like this . . .c’mon, be honest. We have and hear about experiences of this everyday such as the millionaire that’s never satisfied. Everyone else wants to be him and he’s thinking of how to get another hundred million more. Does he  get to take it with him when he passes away? No. It’s just temporary.

Trying to be happy with the temporary is like trying to convince a fish that it is natural for it to be happy living on land.

photo: No Camels
photo: No Camels

The natural environment for a fish is in the water. Somehow though, we don’t realize that this analogy perfectly applies to us. Our true self, the soul, is eternal meaning that it’s natural for us to be searching for permanence in every aspect of our existence. However, the problem is that due to our mud-stained glasses and some good old fashioned brainwashing, we are being convinced to think we can be happy with the temporary.

Arjuna right now is exactly where we are—identifying himself only with his body.

He’ll soon be informed that the first step to getting out of material consciousness starts by realizing that the actual “me” is the eternal spiritual spark that is within all of us, not the exterior covering called the body.


Vrindavan RaoVrindavan Rao was born into the bhakti tradition and grew up enveloped in it. However, her personal discovery of the bhakti path began in 2004 when she had the opportunity to go to a Vedic College in Belgium and since that time she has embraced it completely. Her love for travel has given her the opportunity to study Vedic texts, such as the Bhagavad-gita, in places such as India, Canada, Belgium, Ukraine and the United States under the guidance of several advanced practitioners.

She especially loves the Gita and refers to it as her “Guidebook for Life” since it contains practical answers for complicated questions and is currently writing a daily blog on every verse of the Gita. In addition, you can keep track of all the happenings of Everyday Bhagavad-Gita on Facebook and via Twitter.

Her background is in science and she not only has a Bacherlor’s degree in Biochemistry, but also a Masters in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. In her free time she loves to write, read, give presentations, sing and work out.

Editor: Thaddeus Haas

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16 Responses to “We are Spiritual Beings Having a Material Experience. ~ Vrindavan Rao”

  1. That's most likely true, but none of us know for sure. Would like to think the universe works like that and reincarnation is how it works. We will find out when we pass on. Or maybe not because it may just be darkness.

  2. Amazing coincidence! Our pastor spoke today about how we are souls first, only given a body to temporarily contain it as we work to do God's will on earth as it is in heaven. I'm reminded, too, by a quote from Christian apologist, C. S. Lewis: "You don't have a soul, you have a body. You are a soul."
    Beautiful, inspirational post, my friend!
    Blessings and love to you!

  3. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    Hi Catarina! The only way we can know for sure is to experience it. That's what bhakti yoga is all about – stripping away all the material coverings that prevent us from realizing "I am the soul." Would love to have you join us in our journey of reading the Bhagavad-gita which explains how to do this a practical way! 🙂

  4. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    Hi Martha! Wow! That is amazing, how serendipitous that your pastor spoke about this very point today. Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful quote. I love it. It's so true….we have a body, we are the soul. Blessings and love back to you!

  5. This so reflects what we learned in Sunday school, Vrindavan. My understanding now is that we learn to enjoy the present moment with all its beauty and that is what happiness is all about.

  6. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    Thank you so much for your reflection Corinne! Yes, by learning to appreciate the present moment, we get an opportunity to experience gratitude for God's grace instead of simply being stuck in an "expectation and entitlement" attitude. We are receiving exactly what we need at every moment so that we can reconnect with our true selves (i.e. realize we are the soul )and remember our forgotten love for the Divine.

  7. Susan Cooper says:

    I love your analogy of the unhappy millionaire. It is so true that you cannot take anything with you when you pass on. I always believe in making each day a memory and not worry about the "material" stuff. Great Post 🙂

  8. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks for sharing your great attitude – "Making each day a memory and not worrying about the "material" stuff." It's definitely easier said than done, but the key this is – it can be done! 😀

  9. galenpearl says:

    I had to chuckle about your premise here (which I totally agree with). I read once that the largest living organism on the planet is a fungus, a giant mushroom fungus which spreads under the earth for miles. What we normally think of as a mushroom is actually the fruit of the fungus. I got to thinking about how we are all spiritual beings united at a deep level but appearing as individuals at the material level. I asked what if we are a giant fungus having a mushroom experience?! A funny look at a serious topic!

  10. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    LOL! Galen, I love how you took something so obscure as a fungus and were able to relate it as a deep spiritual truth! This is exactly what bhakti is about. Seeing the Divine in everything, even something as comical as a fungus! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  11. Suzy says:

    Great post. My father's death brought home this meaning of "spiritual beings having a human experience" for me. His death affected me profoundly and walking down the CBD one day I had this sudden view of this world as maya (illusion), a feeling of being here but not belonging here. But his death has also taught me to appreciate my life and all who come and go within it. Embracing Namaste in it's true meaning, brings your post to life. Namaste.

  12. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    It's amazing how much we can learn from loss, but it takes a strong person to allow the lesson to come through. Thank you for sharing something so personal and the truths and lessons you took away from it. It's so inspirational that you realized this. Namaste.

  13. Jessica says:

    One of the most important spiritual lessons I have learned over the last couple of years has been the impermanent nature of things. It puts everything into immediate perspective and causes the soul to long for the eternal. Great post!

  14. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that Jessica. Sometimes spiritual truths can seem far away and unattainable. It gives so much inspiration when we hear about other's understanding and realizing these truths. It gives hope that we too can realize them!

  15. Vrindavan, have been doing yoga for 15 years. The best instructors are Indian, by the way. It's wonderful and has fantastic effects on not only me but everyone. However, none of us knows how the universe works and we are not meant to know, for some reason. Hindusism is beautiful and hopefully a lot of what your religion is all about is how the universe works. By the way, have you noticed that all religions have a lot in common?:-)

  16. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    Hi Catarina! Thank you so much for your reply. I hope you don't mind, but I just wanted to clarify one thing. The Gita actually isn't a book of Hinduism. It stems from the Vedas which encompasses all knowledge on all material and spiritual things (and is not limited to the Indian subcontinent). As a yoga practitioner, perhaps you've already heard of the Vedas. 🙂 The Vedas describe how there are different paths and religions for different people according to where they are on their spiritual journey. Therefore, as you put it so well, it only makes sense that all religions have a lot in common! 😀 Bhakti is different in the sense that although it could be considered a religion, the true definition is that it is the occupation of the soul (love through service). We are loving beings and so it only makes sense that we reconnect with our true selves. You're right though that none of us knows how the universe works. But God certainly doe!. Since Krsna (another name for God) is speaking the Gita, by reading it we can actually start to get a glimpse of how it works as well. 😀