Why not have it all?

My guru Bhaktivedanta Swami said, “Godhead is light. Nescience is darkness. Where there is Godhead there is no nescience.” If one is in God consciousness, one can live in, work and enjoy the pleasures of the material world without attachment. Indeed, the material world becomes spiritualized when one is engaged in service of God. Therefore, one can engage in married life and enjoy the material pleasures of life, including sex, without them being an impediment to one’s spiritual consciousness. If one sees God in everything and everyone, one is already living in the spiritual world. God is in everything and everything is in God which is called panentheism. Everything is God’s energy. The spiritual world is not some far off place to be experienced after death. It is here and now in our midst. Those engaged in the pastimes of Radha and Krishna throughout the day can testify to this.

Therefore, why the emphasis on renunciation and celibacy? Sri Chaitanya, a 15th century incarnation of God, took sannyasa, the renounced order of life, at the age of 23. He was warned not to because it would be too hard to maintain. He was God and managed to do it. I took sannyasa at 23. I am an individual soul, and was not able to maintain it.

Why not have it all? Why not enjoy this material world, honor and maintain our bodies as temples of God and enjoy the spiritual world all at the same time? Why emphasize dualism rather than non-dualism when both are true? Why can’t married persons be gurus? Why do world denying renunciates often dominate religious and spiritual discussion? Why is celibacy considered better than sexuality when Krishna is a sexual God and we are parts and parcels of God containing all God’s qualities? Everything is a gift of God. Why not enjoy it?



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