Now let’s have a little talk about how men and women perceive this world. We need to understand this in order to adjust our efforts in spiritual life. Prarabdha-karma doesn’t let us easily extricate ourselves from material conditioning that plagues us since very birth. And as long as we can’t escape the tenacious grip of our karma, we must learn to understand it and use it for our own purposes. Scriptures say, whatever we use in the service of the Absolute Truth or for the welfare of all living beings, gives us eternal benefits. These benefits never fade away, as time passes. In short, if you can’t forgo or avoid something, learn to use it properly.
And there’s only one peculiarity to be comprehended. Male consciousness depends on the opinion of the many, while female consciousness depends on the opinion of only one person. Accordingly, we can identify strengths and weaknesses of men and women on the path of spiritual growth. A woman may find it easier to focus on the Absolute Truth because her consciousness is targeted towards devotion to one and only one person. But unfortunately, for the same reason it’s uneasy for her to maintain relations with those she was attached to before. This is why there are so many women in spiritual organizations. And it is for the same reason that they often commit follies on the path of spiritual growth. They are simply unable to regulate the desire to focus in only one direction. In this regard, women are more fanatic than men, and this must be taken into account. A person must be reassured, cooled down until they become able to develop harmoniously in all directions. One shouldn’t forget to perform their mundane duties.
Men face another problem: they are too multifaceted and independent. This is why they can’t settle to anything and become fully dependent on the path they have chosen. Men think long and hard before making that decision. They have to overcome ego and desire for diversity. This mentality also leads to the fact that men frequently change jobs. They tend to move from one place to another and are more likely to cheat on their partners.
When it comes to choosing a spiritual path, a man carries himself with the same ease. He agonizes over the choice he has to make. He takes notice of how society accepts him; how other people evaluate his behavior. All this brings on even more confusion. As a result, a man makes up his mind rather slowly. This is called masculine sentimentality.
His family may be accustomed to the fact that a man easily changes and switches from one activity to another. However, it may be hard to endure, if a family was created for the sake of spiritual advancement only. At the same time, that’s precisely what we must be prepared for, when making a spiritual marriage.
I hate to disappoint you, but when we make a spiritually-directed family, we often underestimate ordinary feelings of love and affection. If this is not a love match, how will you be able to put up with the changes in your partner’s personality? These changes are quite natural and may happen at any time. One may change their philosophy or belief system – and nothing will create a bond between us, except ordinary love. If it wasn’t strong enough, there’s nothing else than commonplace divorce, and thus, sin and shame, ahead of us. We often hear that we should start a family only with a spiritually advanced personality. But who can say how long this spiritual advancement will last and whether it will develop in the same direction as ours?
Take a good piece of advice. Create a spiritually-oriented family if except for spiritual unity you have common, strong, deep earthly love for each other. Scriptures say, “it’s better to die than to preserve this life by incurring disgrace”. Stupidity may cause temporary pain, but ‘disgrace brings grief every day of one’s life’. We can tolerate austerity, we can tolerate stupidity, changes, and even adultery, but only if we really have love, or at least some level of affection for each other. Love is not obliged to develop after we have started a family. It doesn’t depend on our will. Sometimes it happens, but we can’t make arrangements with Cupid for that. All the more so, Cupid can’t be bribed.
The Vedas warn us that sin can be very pernicious. During many lifetimes, one has to perform austerities, give to charity and acquire knowledge. Results of these activities are accumulated birth after birth, if they are linked by yoga. At some point in time a yogi develops the ability of discernment and his/her good qualities increase even more. They begin to shine as the most expensive jewelry. But if at that moment one starts committing sins, one loses not just a husband or wife, not just good name, honor or dignity. One loses the efforts of hundreds of lives, and this is very, very sad…
This is why nonsense leading to sin is sometimes called greedy and treacherous by the scriptures. Sages say that nonsense is our enemy. It can lead to sin and destroy all our achievements (impose life imprisonment with confiscation of property). Keep in mind that struggle against the enemy may take four different forms. These include 1) trying to make peace with him/her, 2) bribing, 3) sowing discord between the enemy and his/her allies, 4) punishing him/her. The first way of dealing with stupidity doesn’t suit us: we can’t become friends to nonsense since it will gradually ruin our life. One cannot maintain relations with those who break the law; otherwise, one will sooner or later drift into crime.
Bribing doesn’t suit us, as well. You can bribe only someone who is not insatiable. Nonsense, however, is insatiable by nature. A man who has a taste for nonsense and impunity is capable of outraging all decency.
And so, we are limited to the last two methods which seem rather tough. That is, discord and punishment. Someday a man blinded by foolish desires becomes unruled. In Sanskrit such an obsession is called udaranam. It means that passion becomes stronger than reason and human consciousness gets fully bewildered. Actually, this is a state of insanity. Therefore, we must stir up a discord between stupid things and our consciousness. Our consciousness must learn to distinguish. It must be able to see the difference between advancement and degradation.
Being physically strong is not enough. What we need is the power of intelligence and thus, the ability to discern between right and wrong. Without it, we won’t be able to cope with stupidity. We won’t be able to implement our last method – that of defeating nonsense. By the way, real power of intelligence is impossible to gain without maintaining sexual purity.
Vedas tell the following story. After the great Dhanvantari taught His disciples the science of Ayurveda, they asked Him about the key to the whole science of life. And His answer was short and simple: sexual continence is the most powerful medicine that kills disease, old age and death. It gives superior knowledge and the greatest power. It is for this reason that some people become monks. They want to rise above stupidity as soon as possible. Owing to sexual continence, dharana-shakti and vichara-shakti develop. Dharana-shakti is the ability to ask questions, and vichara-shakti is the ability to assimilate the truth.
But we should remember the warnings of the sages. “Premature renunciation will bring nothing but suffering to those who are not ready for renunciation. The one who externally denies oneself the carnal pleasures, but whose mind is constantly focused on them, is called a hypocrite.” First, one must get really attached to spirituality. Not until then will attachment to material things begin to decrease.
Once a shepherd came to the saint Vyasatirtha and begged for initiation into spiritual tradition. Vyasatirtha looked at him and said: “I see you’re a worthy person. I’ll give you initiation.” Vyasatirtha’s disciples seethed with anger. They hated the idea of studying together with just an ordinary shepherd. Seeing this, the saint decided to teach them a lesson. He loudly pronounced the mantra containing the word ‘Mahesh’, the name of the bull bearing Lord Shiva. As a rule, mantra of Maheshvara-Shiva is given. But Vyasatirtha removed one syllable, and mantra now became addressed not to Shiva, but to His bull Mahesh. It made Vyasatirtha’s disciples roar with laughter. They thought: “See how our teacher made fun of this scoundrel! Instead of God’s name, he made him chant the name of the bull!” But having received this mantra, the shepherd started to chant it with great faith and enthusiasm. Within only a few days he got mantra-siddhi. Mantra-siddhi is the perfection of chanting when the object of our worship appears right before our eyes.
It happened early in the morning. Disciples woke up and saw there was no light coming through the window. It was blocked by someone from the outside. When they ran out, they saw a giant bull, the size of a mountain. Next to the bull, the shepherd was sitting with his eyes closed, and kept chanting: “I worship you, o Mahesh!” And Mahesh stood before him, waiting for orders.
They sent for Vyasatirtha. When he came, he said: “This is my worthiest disciple. How many years have you chanted the mantra for Lord Shiva? But I can’t recall a single instance when Shiva would come to any of you!”