Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.
This Sally Quinn essay from The Washington Post struck me as a provocative piece. In writing about the search for meaning in our lives, she describes an anti-pastor, an anti-gay atheist and Billy Graham at the end of his career.
The piece is worth the read if only for the part about the “tattooed Lutheran pastor, weight lifter, stand-up comic, former alcoholic and drug addict and hard-swearing Nadia Bolz-Weber.”
At the end, Quinn, in talking about the search for meaning, asks: Aren’t we all searching for community and wonder?
How would you answer that question?
How would you describe your search for meaning?
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas
The nature of the self is sat-cit-ānanda, eternity, knowledge, and bliss. Our present body is not sat-cit-ānanda. It is called asat for it is perishable. It is acit, full of ignorance, for we have very meager knowledge of this world and practically no knowledge of the spiritual world. And nirānanda, for instead of being full of bliss it is full of misery. All miseries of this world arise from this temporary body and mind but one who remembers Krishna, God, at the time of death, attains a sat-cit-ananda body.
It is our very nature to be full of bliss. Because the highest bliss to be known is from loving relationships, we seek community and love. However, because the body is temporary the relationships remain temporary and thus they cannot satisfy the self and also they create anxiety. In addition to that, the love found in this world is not pure and most often it is tainted with selfishness.
Because our nature is to be fully conscious, we are not only bliss-seeking but also knowledge-seeking. But our instruments of information are dependent on so many factors. Our eyes only see when there is light. Our ears and nose function when there is air. We are so ignorant that we are not even consciously aware as to how we are digesting food or whether there is cancer somewhere in our body.
Meaningful life is found when we act according to our nature. When we, the eternal, lovingly connect to the Supreme Eternal, Krishna.