Did it ever occur to you that perhaps 98% of our time we are in illusion? This illusion comes about when we think: “I am so and so.”, “I am this body, that is so and so many years old now and celebrates its birthday.”, when we believe the friends and guests who come to congratulate, “Yes, that’s me!” As long as one believes this, one has to remain in this material world, as Srila Prabhupada expresses it in this text: “The whole material world is working on the basis of ‘I’ and ‘mine.’ This is the root of attraction to the material world. If one is attracted by this root of illusory conceptions – ‘I’ and ‘mine’ – he will have to remain within this material world in different exalted or nasty positions.” (Srimad-Bhsgavatam, 4.11.30, purport)
Most of our life is unfortunately spent in the identification with our physical body and our own concepts of who we are and who others are. Most of our life is not spent on knowing, “I am an eternal servant of Srimati Radharani. And I am serving Krishna. I am not this body. I am not this mind. I have nothing to do with the positioning of my soul in this present human existence. I have only so much to do with it in that my body has a brilliant opportunity to become free from illusion. My mind and body are not identical to me. My interests are different. And I refuse to be a servant of the illusory life based on wrong identifications. I do not want to be the servant of the body and mind any longer. I wish to make this statement to my body and mind: ‘You are very welcome in my life, because you can help me render service. But please agree to be engaged by me since my interest is to experience love
of Radha and Krishna.’”
As long as one is not fixed in this understanding one will live amongst shadows only. Let’s come out of the darkness and walk into the light! That happens when we learn the art of bhuta-suddhi. Bhuta-suddhi essentially means to become aware of our spiritual nature. If we want to serve Krishna – who is spiritual – we also have to become spiritual. At least the concept of our self has to be spiritual. Srila Prabhupada expresses it like this, “Without becoming brahman, one cannot approach the supreme brahman. Just like without being fire, nobody can enter into the fire.” (L.A, January 31, 1969)
Of course, as we go through life we have to be practical. For example, when someone calls us by our name, we might not want to reply, “I am not here, I am practicing spiritual life. I am not the body, I am not the name you know.” Or it may not be beneficial to reply “This is not me.” when we have to sign our passport or get a visa with our legal name. For practical reasons we must keep a foot in this world, but our inner orientation – and this is the important
point here – must be that “I am really a servant of Krishna. I am a servant of Radharani.”
Often we are not very interested in this. But this is of just as much interest as our next breath: If you want to wake up from the material existence of repeated birth and death you need to practice now: “I am not this body.” And positively: “Aham brahmasmi: I am an eternal spiritual soul.” This is the beginning of sadhana (a daily spiritual practice).