The Primrose Path: In My Opinion
Luis Alfonso Leon
“Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service, he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated.” Bhagavad-gita 9.30
This is my feeble but humble attempt of serving Krishna. What follows are my opinions and sources of said opinions. Any questions or feedback can be emailed to me at xKrsna@icloud.com
“Some consider the soul to be amazing, others describe the soul as something amazing, and still others even after hearing on topics of the soul, are unable to understand it at all.”
-Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 2 Text 29
This text should serve as a filter and as an explanation to the audience reading this book as to why others simply never take to spiritual life. There are some people that just are never interested in meta-physical or religious topics regarding our Eternal Body, Eternal God and the ultimate goal of uniting the aforementioned in Sanatana-Dhama or the Eternal Abode. This may interest you or it may not, but the fact remains that your level of understanding depends on your interest. This interest cannot be given, it must first be sought by you and without further ado; what follows are my realizations and personal opinions.
These memoirs speak on my inner war during my Federal confinement and how what I’ve learned in my concrete environment relates to what I’ve studied from Vedic literature. I’ve only lightly studied this impactful literature for short bursts at a time but it I learned the most during my short stay at The Rupanuga Vedic College of Philosophy while associating with bramacaris(student monks.) These self-realized souls invited me into their ashram and I gladly accepted. For the purpose of getting my point across I will do my best to keep things short and simple, however, I make no promises!
Growing up I was taught about God by a devoted Christian mom in the non-denominational church scene. Aside from Vedic literature Jesus Christ’s teachings also permanently influenced me. It’s because of Christ’s teaching that I was able to click so well with Vedic philosophy so seamlessly. Therefore, I will be quoting BOTH Vedic texts and Bible verses from several different sources in order to help me bring a more open-minded understanding. I am convinced that the philosophy of Jesus Christ and that of Krishna are one and the same.
Several Vedic books will be mentioned but I would like to shine light on the most important book of my life, The Bhagavad-Gita, more specifically, Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, translated and explained by our spiritual pitamaha, his grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Many have traveled the world to bring happiness to others in the form of Krishna’s words which were first imparted to the sun god Vivasvan and later repeated to Mahabaho (great armed) Arjuna the legendary bowman but no one has ever been as successful as this very special acarya (spiritual master.) Srila Prabhupada will be mentioned and quoted along the way because it is by his words, not mine, that will best explain things and enlighten the reader.
The Bhagavad-Gita was spoken by Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead and it’s content directed to His disciple and intimate friend Sri Arjuna. This transcendental conversation between Master and disciple contains the summarization of all knowledge found in Vedic literature and contains information not found anywhere else. The knowledge rediscovered within these 700 texts are life changing. No one can exceed God in anything this especially includes knowledge (Prabhupada, 1972) where it was first affirmed in the Brahma-samhita: isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah which means that God is the Supreme Controller, most attractive and is Eternal Bliss and Knowledge embodied. The Bhagavad-Gita was spoken by God Himself and this can be affirmed personally by one who reads and studies the word of God all the while one scrutinizes, compares, asks pertinent questions and eventually puts theory to the test.
The 5 main topics that the Bhagavad-Gita speaks about are The Supreme Isvara Krishna(God), The individual atma or jiva(the soul), prakrti(nature), kala(time) and karma(work or activity.) These 5 topics in unison make up what is known as the Ultimate Truth. How all these topics relate to one another is the key to bliss, a successful life and ultimately in finding salvation which is the summum bonum of life or in other words the goal of life.
The phrase “primrose path” means a life lead solely for the satisfaction of the sense or as the Oxford Dictionary states it, “the pursuit of pleasure, especially when it is seen to bring disastrous consequences.” It was also known by the Greeks as Hedonism. Most of the world leads a primrose path style of living and many of those people also claim to be part of some religion or spirituality yet curiously enough most religions advise against it. Our willingness to ignore this sound advice is the reason why we continue to be materialistically bound. Nescience is therefore our biggest downfall.
Whether you believe this or not we are all desiring to God or at least godlike. The world is trying to kill God or kill the idea of God while trying to be God themselves through their own endeavors. God is known as Bhagavan which means one that is infinitely opulent in 6 main aspects; wealth, power, beauty, knowledge, fame and renunciation (I always have trouble remembering that last one.) No one can exceed God in opulence yet who today isn’t trying very hard to become the richest, most powerful, most beautiful, etc.? Little do they know that none of that is permanent and we can never find lasting happiness in the temporary.
“There are many personalities which poses qualities of Bhagavan(God), but Krishna is the Supreme, and His body is eternal and is full of bliss and knowledge. He is Govinda, the primeval Lord, and the cause of all causes” -Brahma-Samita 5.1
Our attempt in becoming God is in vain, we are similar in a very minute way, but we are not Him nor can we ever be on His level at any stage of our existence. Our nescience is thereby capitalized when we try and own these opulent qualities while claiming we are the doers and enjoyers completely forgetting where it all comes from and who it all belongs to – God. We collect opulence in order to build prestige and prestige without acknowledging God is where our primrose path begins.
Material prestige is necessary for an opulent sex life in today’s modern society. Of all sense enjoyment sex is the boss, in fact, sex is so powerful that we go out of way to get it and thus, in order to acquire it, we need to impress. This type of lust – sexual or otherwise – is impossible to fully satiate or satisfy. As soon as we get something or someone we eventually start to contemplate, “ok, what’s next?” We get a car and a couple years later want a newer one, we find a partner and eventually break that off to find a newer one. This goes on perpetually creating tidal waves of materialistic anxieties. The Bhagavad-Gita 2.62-64 says, “While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises. From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool. One who can control his senses by practicing the regulated principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord and thus become free from all attachment and aversion.”
One can now see that when this self-destructive path of satisfying our senses that all intelligence is undoubtedly and inevitably lost. That’s the problem. The solution lies in the halting of the satisfaction of our own insatiable senses and in focusing our energy instead in the satisfaction of the Lord.
In the proceeding chapters I may repeat myself but like Srila Prabhupada says “Repetition of something is necessary in order that we understand the matter thoroughly without error,” in the purport of Bhagavad-Gita 2.25.
A Drive on Primrose Lane
I used to do a lot of driving, just as many do. I would drive wherever I needed to be like to work, the park, the store to pick up some groceries and the occasional Redbox, across the country to deliver some drugs, etc. It’s kind of a contradiction enjoying the road and sightseeing meanwhile the intentions of poisoning an entire community is lingering heavily in the air. Nonetheless I would witness first hand the beauty of the country side, all it’s different wildlife, majestic mountainsides seemingly dipped in snow, serene lakes and raging rivers, both up close and afar. Of course we would have to include the unlimited variety of vegetation and colorful flowers in ever color, all designed or hand painted by God, Himself.
Lord Krishna says, “This material nature is acting under My control.” Bhagavad-Gita 2.27 says, “The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” Then again in chapter 7 text 4 it says, “Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego – altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.” Srila Prabhupada explains this very expertly when he says, “whenever and wherever you see something marvelous occur in cosmic nature, we must come to realize that there is a Controller behind it all. It would be foolish or childish to not consider that Supreme Controller.” Although I am driving these “P’s” or pounds to their destination still I can’t ignore to ask myself questions like “is all of this random molecules scattered in such a way that is looks this nice or is there a Designer behind this beauty?” I can throw paint at a wall randomly and maybe the colors may look pretty but it would be very abstract and there would be very little recognizable shapes. Plants and animals do not look like abstract pieces of art! This cannot be random! At least that is my opinion.
I was pretty lucky to have felt God’s presence in my life in my adolescent years while church hopping with the folks like holy crickets. I experienced many different spiritual environments and although there were always different vibes the goal remained the same – get to know God, accept Him and then finally go to heaven. Naturally even the slightest feeling of God’s presence was familiar to me. I am talking about those butterflies you get when you start to really like someone except in this case you know that person likes you back probably even more than you like them. In spiritual logic, that is a fact because unlike us God exceeds at everything infinitely and that includes loving. Imagine the butterflies without the anxiety of rejection.
We can acquire a cheap feeling of “imitation love” with drugs or sex but in the end, we will find only emptiness and anxiety due to unsatisfied desires. What is it that we seek in drugs and sex or any sense enjoyment? It is definitely not anxiety, depression or sorrow. Who the hell wants any of that? Materialists seek instead the rush of immediate happiness through chemical euphoria acquired through any given substance. That pursuit of happiness is just that, a “pursuit,” and it was all in vain. We can conclude this based on personal experience or from other’s mistakes – either inductively or deductively. However, we are still perpetually in search of pleasure in every direction. This pursuit remains so while seeking answers in the material plane. There must be a way to end this troublesome hunt for happiness and that can only be found in a higher transcendental realm.
The name Krishna literally translates to “Fountain of Pleasure,” or “All Attractiveness.” No mundane person or drug in all of material existence can supply pleasure that God can, therefore God, once found, is the final conclusive step which ends our journey and what awaits us with Him is unimaginable bliss.
Pleasure can be found in many places such as stability in money, prestige, social status etc. but none of these pleasures are everlasting and there is no stability in perishable things. God on the other hand is imperishable. Bhagavad Gita 14.27 says, “And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness, and which is immortal, imperishable and eternal.”
When we really connect with Krishna as instructed by His word in Bhagavad-gita you feel a rush like no other substance can give you! Real pleasure, transcendental euphoria, a rush so intense that you can’t help but smile and cry all while trying to keep your teeth from clicking together. A feeling that begins deep within so subtle but powerful that there is no way of denying His ever-present existence.
How then can we connect to such a source of eternal bliss and knowledge? It’s as easy as connecting to a plug. Either a plug like an outlet or even a direct source of narcotics. Take it however you want but the process is the same for both. You want to get put on to some happiness then you must connect. Just like the cord of an appliance connects directly to an energy source hundreds of miles away via a simple electric outlet. The outlet can be compared to the spiritual master, the source is God’s word and the appliance is the union of the perishable body and the insoluble atma or soul which is who we truly are. Now the cord may be the most important which is our sincere desire to connect with God. If we genuinely want to connect and feel that promised bliss, then we must try our best to remember God but if that sincerity is missing then, also by His Grace, we will forget Krishna. We must remember that Krishna is our memory and forgetfulness, Bhagavad-gita 15.15, “I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.”
The true device which connects to God is the soul, not this vessel or shell which the soul is currently bonded to. Srila Prabhupada says, “the atomic soul is beyond the appreciation of materialistic scientists, some even confirm stubbornly that the soul doesn’t exist. The atomic soul is found, without a doubt, in the heart, together with the Super Soul(God), which is why the most vital energy in the body comes from that part of the body… but they still deny that the source of energy of the heart is the soul. Nonetheless modern science still admits the heart to be the center of all corporal energy.” Therefore, if we want to connect then we must be sincere, we must understand the soul, believe in it’s existence and search where it came from. This will take us on a path of understanding our spiritual Father which will then lead to Krishna Prema or Love for God because how can we love that which we do not know? My biological father was murdered but I never met him and when I was told of this I didn’t cry or feel a loss. Why? Because I did not know him. Getting to know God will not just lead us to loving Him but it will lead to us loving ourselves and others. Lastly, getting to know and love God will connect us to that blissful all-knowing person which is where our “pursuit of happiness” ends. It’s where we get of the primrose path, out of illusion.
This book will take you into my life and into the gravest error I committed thus far but a mistake that brought me closer to God. Bhagavad-gita 7.16 explains, “O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.” Being locked up and facing life in a federal prison I was relating to the one who is in distress!
Please excuse my offensive style of writing when I opine and please excuse my poor grammar for, I am an amateur writer writing for the first time. Look past these imperfections and try to grasp my message which is that we cannot find peace or happiness in anything here on Earth if it is not related directly or indirectly to Krishna. That happiness is found only in our Sweet Lord.