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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami


The Official Source For Srila Prabhupada's Original Books

Physical and Transcendental Worlds

In the physical world, materialistic science states that objects are composed of a hierarchy of subunits. For example, a tree is composed of cells, which are made of proteins, nucleic acids, etc. These are composed of various kinds of atoms, such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. These atoms are composed of various kinds of subatomic particles, such as protons, neutrons and electrons. Physicists believe that protons and neutrons are made of quarks. Modern scientists continue to break it all down till they reach the limitations of their tools of perception. Everything that they don't understand or have tools to perceive beyond this they call dark matter or create other such labels so it fits into their understandings and (by default, imperfect) perception.

The Vedas and the Krishna consciousness philosophy recognize the existence of this material world but do not stop there like materialistic science does. The Vedas are famous for their elaborate, perfect, and complete teachings on both the material world as well as the transcendental world. In the Vedic texts the transcendental world is called Vaikuntha. In Vaikuntha the objects and living beings are not composed of such subunits nor does matter exist there on any level, or influence that realm on any platform. There everything is made of pure transcendental energy/spirit/consciousness. This pure conscious energy is characterized as sat, chit and ananda.

Sat means indestructible, eternal, unchanging. The self that animates our material body and leaves it at the time of death is of the same nature as that transcendental world. Although our body made of matter is temporary and subjected to the laws of the material world like time, space, sickness, heat, cold etc. our self cannot be altered or destroyed by any means. It is therefore completely eternal, as opposed to the fallible physical body which will be born at some point and also in turn die. Extensive empirical evidence for the transcendental body published by professors at major universities is described in our article Evidence for Reincarnation.

Chit means conscious, and ananda means constitutionally full of ecstasy. When we are reinstated in our real transcendental situation, we experience ever-increasing transcendental ecstasy in our loving relationship with God/Krishna. This ecstasy keeps on increasing forever, although it already seems so intense that it is inconceivable that it can increase!

The process of Krishna consciousness as described in the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is is a practical process to reawaken our original loving relationship with Krishna. Since the real eternal nature of the self is to be constantly absorbed in an ecstatic loving relationship with Krishna, the various practices of Krishna consciousness aim at reawakening this dormant relationship.

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