Sacred Or Mundane? will be discussed at the American Vedic Association Bhagavad Gita as It Is Fellowship: How do you differentiate between spiritual and material? What’s the difference between visiting a place of sacred pilgrimage and mundane tourism? Learn how the sages of India made this distinction at the next AVA meeting. 7pm Mar 21, 2017
Sacred Or Mundane?
Normally when you hear of someone going on “pilgrimage” you think of them going to Mecca, Jerusalem, Lourdes or Vrindavan, India. The act of pilgrimage is defined as: “a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion.”
OK. But we also know that some people seem to have the same type of religious devotion towards the journey required to go every year to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana. If you own a motorcycle you might choose to make the pilgrimage ride in August to Sturgis, South Dakota for the Annual Motorcycle Rally. On the west coast artists of all life styles erect a temporary city in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada to host the “Burning Man Festival” which is a place of pilgrimage for many adventurous souls.
So what’s the difference between 70,000 people rallying to watch an effigy of a man burn in the desert of Nevada, and the millions of people who travel to Haridwar India to bath in the Ganges river during the Kumbha Mela?
Some would no doubt say there is no difference because pilgrimage is all about the “Experience” and what further definition does one need? Ok. That may be a satisfactory answer for some… but the purpose of this newsletter is to push the reader for a deeper understanding about the application of the word pilgrimage.
It is clear by the results gleaned from the answers given by volunteers who take the Spiritual IQ test that many people are not clear about how to discern the difference between spiritual and material. Most people get the answer to this question wrong.
The way to discern the difference between spiritual and material is…
A. That which is spiritual can be felt in the heart, reaches beyond the mind and is real. That which is material is made out of matter, can be measured with physical instruments like a ruler or a scale etc., and is unreal.
B Everything that exists is a pure expression of Gods unadulterated highest energy and to think of anything as ‘material’ is part of the grand illusion.
C Whatever is used in the service of God is “spiritual,” everything else can be properly described as “material”.
Clarifying how the Vedas define the difference between spiritual and material will be the focus of the Next AVA gathering. We invite all of you in the local vicinity to join us for this festive gathering. Those who are too far away to participate are welcomed to contact us by email if you like. We will be happy to send you the full spiritual IQ test so you can study on this subject more and eventually become clear about what the difference is between a spiritual pilgrimage and a material tourist holiday.
For now let us all consider the wisdom of the Srimad Bhagavat Purana:
Those words (places, novels, events, TV shows, movies, gatherings etc), where the glories of the Lord are not described, cannot sanctify the atmosphere of the whole universe and are considered by saintly persons to be like unto a place of pilgrimage for crows. Since the all-perfect persons are inhabitants of the transcendental abode, they do not derive any pleasure there.10 On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.” – Srimad Bhagavat Purana Canto 1. “Creation” Chapter 5 “Narada Instructions on Srimad Bhagavatam for Vyasadeva” Text10-11. Link: https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/1/5/10