All the information that I present comes from the Vedic scriptures. The Vedas are very ancient scriptures and they were written down five thousand years ago. “Veda” actually means “knowledge” or “truth.” So this knowledge itself is eternal and therefore prior to being written down it was passed down orally from one perfect master to the next. We call this “a disciplic succession” or “parampara”. You see, a line of perfect masters passing on the absolute truth is unchanged. It does not deviate, it does not lose anything, nothing gets added. It is just purely passing through these transparent mediums. We are in the parampara known as the brahma-sampradaya and we feel very fortunate to receive our knowledge through this lineage.
So as I am always trying to point out: this is not my opinion. Many times people ask me “Oh, what is your opinion on this or that?” It does not matter what my opinion is. What is a truth? Everybody has got an opinion and that is what we do today: we are always debating, “I think this and you think that”. Difficult relationships often arise from different opinions, you see. Therefore the absolute truth eliminates this problem. What is the truth of the situation. And that is what we should see – the truth.
Actually the Holy Bible has a very, very clear statement, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” We should be very interested in the truth, not in opinions. And unfortunately we get so attached to our own opinion, our own world view, how we think it is, how we see things, what we believe and so on, that it prevents us from actually knowing the truth. We will not let it go. We are so determined to hang on to do what we think, then when we hear the truth and if it opposes our opinion we reject it. We cannot let it go, we are so attached to our being the authority. Big problem. That is why we are in the material world, that is why we stay here, that is why we have all this difficulties in life, including relationships. Because I am the authority and nobody can tell me what to do. You see, complete arrogance.
So the whole process of purification, the setting free part (you shall know the truth and truth shall set you free), one of the big steps to freedom is surrendering my opinions, my authoritative position. Very difficult, but necessary. There are two things that are actually opposite: arrogance and humility. And the world today promotes arrogance. We come to this world because of arrogance, we remain here because of arrogance. The conflicts in the world today are basically because of this. Nobody wants to give up anything: it is my – opinion, truth, life, whatever. And our relationships suffer as a result.
The opposite of arrogance is humility. So as we advance spiritually, truly advance spiritually – not just airy-fairy spiritual advancement, which is nonsense completely, but true spiritual advancement – we become more and more humble. That is a very, very definitive sign of spiritual advancement – humility. The most saintly people, those who are on the pure position of perfection of life are the most humble. Those who are far away from this consciousness are the most arrogant.
So this is a big journey, we talk about the spiritual journey. And again people think it is some going into the clouds and flying around in the astral world or, you know, cosmic visions, or hearing voices from the universe or whatever. You see, it is not spiritual advancement. Spiritual advancement is coming down, down, down to the real position of humility.
So this is a big journey. But what we think is the journey up is actually the journey down. And what is a real journey up we consider, “Oh, that is down.” You see, we have got everything backwards. This material world is a backwards place. You see, everything is perverted. It is described that the spiritual world and the material world are the opposite.
The material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. When you look in the mirror everything is backwards: left is on the right, right is on the left. You see a tree reflected in the lake. The roots are up and the branches are down. On the real tree the roots are down and the branches are up. The reflected image is the opposite. So we are living in this reflected image of life. So what we think is a good relationship basically may not be, it might be actually very, very detrimental to us.