“Atheism is simply a non-prophet organization.”
– George Carlin (American stand-up comedian)
An atheist declares God doesn’t exist and uses a common phrase: God is nowhere.
A devotee is intelligent; he agrees with the non-believer’s
expression, but divides the word ‘nowhere’ into two: ‘now’ and ‘here’.
The phrase now can be reread as ‘God is now here’. A devotee thus
takes every aspect of his life as an offering to God, in the here and
He treats every other living entity with respect, for, after all, they
are children of God. Although a devotee’s life is a sacred service to
God, at the same time, he sees God beyond this world as well.
The main difference between a sincere spiritual practitioner and a
champion of sense gratification is in their aspirations. A devotee
desires to get out of the material world after doing his duties nicely
in this life. A non-devotee on the other hand aspires to make this
world a better place, and he has no idea of life and a world beyond
this temporary life. Since he believes this is the only life, he seeks
to squeeze as many pleasures as possible, even as his body dwindles
rapidly, to the onslaught of time.
A sense gratifier admits there are some problems in this world but he
is confident that he could solve them. But a devotee of Krishna, on
the basis of scriptures, says this world is itself a problem! So he
appeals to us to get out!
In ancient Greece, a prisoner was forced to push a huge, round stone,
uphill. The police would simultaneously lash him, even as he struggled
to cope with the punishment meted out. Finally, he’d reach the top of
the hill, with his stone. His respite was however short-lived, for no
sooner did he reach atop, the stone was pushed down by the police. He
had to go down and then roll up the stone again.
This is the art of punishment by the material energy on the hapless
living entities of this material world. We struggle day-in and day-out
and finally, at the age of seventy, manage to get a two-bedroom house
and decent savings to lead our lives. But that’s when our time in this
body is over. Death soon arrives at our doorstep- it’s akin to the
stone coming down in the Greece punishment story. Then again we begin
a new life all over, trying to take the ‘stone’ up.
The struggle is the name of the game in this world and a devotee
understands this and decides he’d struggle only for one last time, and
that is in this life. Next life, he is determined to go back to
Krishna’s kingdom and serve his beloved Lord, without interruption and
At the same time, a devotee sees this world and his duties here as a
sacred service to his dear Lord. He never abandons kindness and
ensures he leaves behind an example of contribution and service. He
treats this world as a bridge- a medium to go to Krishna’s world, and
not a place to permanently settle down.
We don’t make houses on a bridge; we use them to cross over the
islands. Therefore let’s leave behind this world a better place, but
let’s leave for sure!