Bhakti-yoga—A Method of Nonmechanistic Science: Part II
by Sadaputa Dasa
Perhaps the main reason for the widespread dismissal of religion as “blind faith” is that many systems of theistic thought are not backed up by any verifiable direct interaction with the Supreme Person. Why is this so, we may ask, if the Supreme Person is as readily accessible as the proponents of bhakti-yoga claim? The following statement from Srimad-Bhagavatam [2.6.41] suggests an interesting answer to this question:
"The great thinkers can know Him [Krishna] when completely freed from all material hankerings and when sheltered under undisturbed conditions of the senses. Otherwise, by untenable arguments, all is distorted, and the Lord disappears from our sight."
As indicated here, one of the most important principles of bhakti-yoga is that higher realization is impossible until the material senses are brought under control, In the materially conditioned state of consciousness, the jivatma (living entity) desires to enjoy his material situation and is completely preoccupied with the barrage of stimuli presented by his material senses. ‘With his sensory channels overloaded, the jivatma is unable to perceive the presence of the Supersoul (the form of the Supreme Person in one’s heart), although constitutionally able to do so. Since direct access to the Supreme Person is denied the jivatma with uncontrolled senses, he is prone to indulge in fanciful speculations that simply lead him further and further from the truth.
To understand some of the practical problems involved in controlling the senses, we must first understand the concept of the material mind. As already pointed out (Bhakti-yoga—A Method of Nonmechanistic Science: Part I), the jivatma is a complete conscious individual and, as such, is inherently able to carry out the mental functions of thinking, feeling, and willing. Yet the machinery of the body includes a psychic subsystem that duplicates some of these functions. This subsystem acts as an intermediate link between the natural senses of the jivatma and the sensory apparatus of the body. Before reaching the jivatma, data from the bodily senses pass through this subsystem, which enriches and modifies them by additional information representing various thoughts, feelings, and desires.