Monday, 27 February 2012


After a great deal of telephoning the various colleges in Perth, Amogha had finally encountered some success at the University of Western Australia. Kim Cornish, a tall, blonde, blue-eyed young man, was a student of philosophy there and had agreed to come and speak with Srila Prabhupada at 10am. Soft-spoken Kim, who was working on his Master's degree in philosophy, inquired submissively about the soul.

"What is the nature of the atman?" he asked politely.

"The nature of the atman," Prabhupada replied, "is eternal -- eternity, knowledge and blissfulness. Anandamayo bhyasat: atma is joy, ananda, blissful."

Prabhupada expertly gave evidence of these three qualities of the soul -- eternity, knowledge and blissfulness -- by means of crystal-clear examples. Indicating a fragrant rose on his desk, Prabhupada asked Kim: "Why have I placed this flower here? Why do I like this flower? What is the reason?"

"Because it's beautiful, perhaps?" Kim replied.

"Yes, therefore you want to enjoy. This is the nature of atma. I want to enjoy, this is blissfulness."

Similarly, Prabhupada explained, the fact that Kim was trying to be a philosopher indicated that the desire of the soul was to attain knowledge. "And why do you not like to die? Because you are eternal. Therefore atma's nature is eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. Sat cit ananda." Kim wondered about the connection between the soul and consciousness.

Prabhupada expounded further. "Consciousness is the symptom of atma. Because the atma is within your body, therefore your consciousness is there. Now, because the atma is within your body, if I pinch it, or if you pinch my body, I feel pains and pleasures. As soon as the atma is not there, even it will be cut with a chopper, still there is no protest. So that atma is present within this body, that is understood by the presence of consciousness."

He gave another example: "Just like we are here in this room, but this light is the reflection of the sunshine. We understand there is sun in the sky because we are experiencing its light and heat. Similarly, because our consciousness and knowledge are there, that means that the atma is there. The same atma, when it will go out of this body, there will be no more consciousness, no more knowledge and no more feelings of pains and pleasures."

Prabhupada asked Amogha for a copy of Sri Isopanisad and requested Kim to read aloud from the invocatory verse and purport. Kim read: "The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete. And because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as a complete whole. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete by itself. And because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance."

Kim read on, but, scarcely through the first paragraph, he paused. "I don't understand that. I read the words but..."

Prabhupada was reassuring. "That requires elucidation," he said, and proceeded to give a clear explanation of the term "Complete Whole", by way of another practical analogy. Prabhupada pointed to a goblet of water on his desk: "Here is a glass of water; I am drinking. Drinking part by part. And when it is finished, the water is finished. No more complete."

On the other hand, Prabhupada explained, the Complete Whole could be compared to a glass of water that, after emptying, is still full. "A glass of water, I throw, and water again is coming. Again I throw, again it is coming. Incessantly coming, all the energies. This is the idea of God.

purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate
purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate

One minus one equals one, not zero. One plus one equals one, not two. This is the Complete Whole. This is the idea of God."

Prabhupada further expanded his water analogy: "Just like the ocean. You take many thousands of buckets of water out, still it is complete. And again you put back many buckets, thousands, millions of buckets of water, it is the same depth. This is a material example. Try to understand God's completeness. You take millions of buckets of water from the ocean, you'll find not a drop is lost. And if you put millions of buckets of water again, not a drop is increased. Purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate. If you try to take out the complete ocean, still it will remain the ocean. This is the idea of complete."

- From "The Great Transcendental Adventure" by HG Kurma Prabhu


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