Life is a sea of troubles and naturally the wise person seeks to end all suffering. That state of zero suffering is called nirvana in Eastern Buddhist and yoga traditions. But what happens then? Unknown to most, the focus of the Krishna yoga tradition is to go beyond nirvana. Here I’ll explain this fascinating concept.
Nirvana means “blowing out,” extinguishing anything that was causing a disturbance in your consciousness, ending all suffering. Sure, sign me up for it! Every sane person should seek this. No combination of material things, people and situations will ever bring you peace and joy. We’re hounded by problems, always. And then we die. A real bummer. So, the smart move is to seek a solution beyond matter, beyond merely adjusting external things in your life. This is the starting point of your spiritual quest.
Anyone who takes their spiritual lives seriously experiences amazing results. It really works, and it’s been working since forever. And it works everywhere. There are many different paths, but, in the beginning, the similarities abound and the results are the same. Awed by these results, few practitioners question what, if anything, is to happen after all troubles have ceased.
Yoga tradition, specifically the Krishna-bhakti tradition, much older than Buddhism and certainly much older than the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, spoke of a goal beyond Nirvana, and gave details of it, too.
And the issue is not just academic. It has real life implications, right here and now. Knowing better what the end-game is, allows you to understand better the path to spiritual success and to make more sense of life.
The core issue is understanding your real nature. Who are you, really? Beyond all the mistakes, beyond illusion, beyond death itself… who are you? In fact, what is the nature of the underlying spiritual reality?
Krishna teaches that we are eternal persons. You can see how your entire existence is personal. And it’s not all a big mistake. Sure, you become emotionally hurt, and your hurt others emotionally, but the solution does not lie and giving up emotions completely. What would that even entail? No joy, no love, no personal interaction? Yikes!
Some spiritual paths propose this annihilation of your personal and individual existence. They claim your entire concept of self is misguided. You don’t exist, they say. You’re just energy. And so is God, who also doesn’t really exist. Only existence exists, you just are. And everything else is a giant mistake. You are only a mind flux, brahman, light… the terms vary, the concept is the same. In the end, you’ll merge into the sum total of existence. No more troubles!
But also no more anything! Hold your horses! This is the biggest case ever of throwing away the baby with the bathwater. Life isn’t that bad. Certainly, we can salvage the good stuff.
In the yoga tradition, the end goal is to purify your personal and individual existence, not erase it. After all, thinking and feeling are not the problem. Dancing, eating, painting, talking, swimming and kissing are not the problem. It’s doing those things in the wrong mentality, and even worse, stuck in a decaying material body, that’s the problem. So, yoga proposes we clean up our act, learning to (again) be pure loving persons, free from the constraints of a dying body and dead matter as a background for our activities.
By giving up hurtful behavior, such as desiring external outcomes, instead of focusing on acting according to your best nature right here and now, and being selfish instead of loving, we gain an increasingly better experience of life even before nirvana. By understanding that the problem is not having emotions and thoughts, but the quality of them, we can embrace the best of life as we progress towards spiritual perfection.
Better yet, by understanding our eternal personal nature, we can understand the root cause of all existence also must have a personal nature. Thus, we come to understand the personal nature and transcendental form of God, and the infinitely loving relationship that we can derive from that.
Beyond nirvana is prema – beautiful spiritual love, centered on but not exclusive to the supreme person, God. This is why yoga values bhakti (devotion) as the highest and most powerful practice of yoga, and why there is such great bliss to be experienced right now by activating bhakti.
In the book “The 3T Path” (https://3tpath.com/books/) there is a thorough explanation of bhakti, prema and the personal concept of God, as well as a brief presentation of Krishna, to explain what lies beyond nirvana and how this affects your life here and now.
Watch my video on this topic here.
Look what they’re saying about The 3T Path book: “I loved the book. A wonderful experience!!!” – Elton Orvate