by Satyanarayana Dasa: The material creation is a manifestation from a very highly concentrated point of energy. So do the scientists believe? They are experimenting to simulate the beginning of creation in a special 27 km long tunnel in Switzerland built for this purpose. In Vedic literature the highly dense energy point is called prakriti. The word prakriti means great product or great action. It can also be translated as the great flow. Prakriti is a great source from which the universe flows and towards which everything seems to be flowing.
by Satyanarayana Dasa
he material creation is a manifestation from a very highly concentrated point of energy. So do the scientists believe? They are experimenting to simulate the beginning of creation in a special 27 km long tunnel in Switzerland built for this purpose. In Vedic literature the highly dense energy point is called prakriti. The word prakriti means great product or great action. It can also be translated as the great flow. Prakriti is a great source from which the universe flows and towards which everything seems to be flowing. It is the unmanifest state of matter. In fact being very subtle it is matter in the state of energy. All the gross perceptible and subtle imperceptible matter manifests from this energy or primordial matter. Manifest matter has the tendency to flow towards its source. Water flows to the ocean, flames move up, and any object thrown up into the air falls back on earth. Prakriti itself is in a flow in the form of creation, existence and annihilation. Like prakriti, the source, all its products beginning from atoms up to the galaxies are flowing in some cycle.
Flow is necessary for the universe to continue. Flow is progress and is pleasurable. It is compared to swimming along the stream. Working against the flow is troublesome. The tendency of matter is to follow the natural flow.
In Flow with the Source
Human beings, however, have the ability to be in the flow or out of flow. Consciousness has the property of choice. We can choose to be in the flow of the samsara, the material world, or get out of it and enter into the flow of love. These are the only two choices available to us.
As prakriti is the source of material objects, the Supreme Consciousness is the source of individual conscious energy, for it will be illogical to think that consciousness can have its origin in matter. Therefore, the real inherent drive of all conscious beings is to be in flow with their source, the Supreme consciousness.
However not having the knowledge of our real source we mistake it to be prakriti and struggle within the realm of matter. Even being in this realm we can feel comfort and peace if we are in flow with our own material nature which is part of the big nature, the prakriti. This happens when we function according to our acquired nature with complete absorption without being distracted by the result. Flow also called “Optimal experience” is a concept developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of the famous book ‘Flow’, and propagator of the Flow psychology. He calls it “the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”
The Yoga of Action
For the wellness of an individual as well as of the society flow is needed. If there is no flow in an individual’s life there will be frustration, dejection, insecurity, anger, violence, corruption and terrorism. Individuals make the society. Thus without flow in the life of individuals the whole society will be disturbed and full of unrest, as can be seen at present. To bring flow in one’s life is thus a necessary step.
This flow, called yoga in Bhagavad Gita (Niskama Karma Yoga to be very specific), is not some kind of reclusive meditation but a part of one’s daily activities, be it in the office, at house or in the sports field. It is the Yoga of action and not the Yoga of renunciation.
Interestingly Sri Krishna speaks of another type of flow which is superior to the flow described by Csikszentmihalyi. That is the spiritual flow. As human beings we have a material body and a soul distinct from it. The material body is the product of prakriti, and it feels great to be in flow with the prakriti. But higher than this is to be in flow with the Supreme consciousness, which is the source of our individual consciousness, the soul.
Therefore, being in the material flow, although superior to not being in it, is ultimately unfulfilling for the consciousness or the soul. Although Csikszentmihalyi advises to get into flow in our professional duties ultimately it will prod one to get out of it. Sri Krishna has stated in Bhagavad Gita (4.33) that all material flows culminate in spiritual flow. Spiritual flow is the ultimate flow, and most fulfilling. Having attained it one never hankers for anything else (BG8.21).
Perfection and Supreme Wellness
To reach the ultimate flow, it is important to understand and have the experience of the lower or material flow. Material flow will bring material wellness, and spiritual flow will grant the ultimate wellness for which we are hankering, unknowingly and sometimes knowingly. Since we have a material body which has material needs it is necessary to fulfil those. But one should not remain engrossed only in gratifying the lower needs.
Even if one achieves flow while functioning at the lower level of prakriti sooner or later one will feel empty. The reason is that once the physical needs are fulfilled the real need of our real being, the soul, comes into play. This need cannot be satisfied by any material situation including the flow of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which I call the material flow.
Therefore, in essence a human being can have three situations- a situation without flow, material flow and spiritual flow. The first situation is unhealthy. The second is good, but only from a material perspective. In fact it is good only if used as a steppingstone to spiritual flow. Otherwise it will soon deteriorate into an unhealthy state. The third state is the state of perfection and supreme wellness.
There is no happiness if mind is not peaceful. Mind that is full of material desires can never be peaceful. People want happiness but don’t want to give up material desires. Thus they fail continually.
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