Wisdom in Practice

Transformation of Mind and Transcendent Action

Dear Babaji,

I’ve just returned from three days in Honolulu attending our annual conservation conference.  It was a good conference.  As usual there was a lot of disturbing information being shared about the plight of Hawaii’s native species.  So many are critically endangered or have already gone extinct.  It’s pretty alarming.

But the whole time I kept hearing your voice say, as you have said so many times, that we needn’t be concerned about endangered species because with Mother’s infinite potential for creating there is no such thing as extinction.  I do understand the underlying points you are making with that statement.  I believe in Mother’s infinite potential for “creating” anything at anytime.  I also understand the dreamlike and impermanent nature of the world around me.  I close my eyes and it disappears.  Perhaps when I open them again the Oahu Akepa will return to the skies – what is there to stop it?  I’m also doing alot better at not being so attached to the condition of the world that it sends me into a deep spiral of despair.  I’m not depressed about all the bad news I heard at the conference, but I do see cause for concern and reason to take action.

Early on, you helped me to understand that I couldn’t possibly save the forest because it doesn’t really exist.  That really helped me to remove my ego from what I’m doing and see it more as my dharma.  I have taken on working for the environment as my dharma and I’m trying to do it in the most conscious and well-informed manner possible, keeping it all within the context of my spiritual beliefs.  I suppose that’s why it confuses me when I hear that my concern for endangered species runs counter to the teachings of Vedanta.

But why is it that my dharma in particular runs counter to Vedanta? Wouldn’t anyone’s concern about anything in the world be unfounded because all is Maya?  How then does one choose a career?  I mean, couldn’t we choose to do just about anything and, as long as we’re doing it dharmically, stay in keeping with the teachings?

I honestly do see cause for concern about endangered species.  I’m concerned about it in the same way I’d be concerned if my house was on fire.  The ecological fabric that supports life on this planet is unraveling, one species at a time, and soon our home will be a pile of ashes.  I know my house doesn’t exist but I still try to protect it from burning.  I know my body doesn’t exist and I don’t ultimately need a planet to live on.  But it still makes sense to me to protect the home our bodies depend upon while the Atman is associating with them here.

I realize I’m fighting an uphill battle.  The general public is not really all that concerned about endangered species, and a lot of misguided mainstream media attempts to push their agendas by continually telling people they needn’t be concerned, and I guess I let that push my buttons.  I also realize that I can’t succeed in preventing the extinction of endangered species, not only because they don’t really exist, but because if they did, our sun, which also does not exist, will go supernova in about 100,000 years and make life on Earth impossible, so all species are eventually going to go extinct no matter what I do or don’t do now.  And Mother can bring it all back again if She so desires.

All this being said, I’m seeking clarification: I really just want to know whether, in this context, it is still wrong for me to be concerned about endangered species.

With heartfelt sincerity,


Dear K,

Your concerns are both well-intentioned and legitimate. Seeing the wearing out of the planet due to mankind’s misuse of resources, and people’s insensitivity to nature, what to speak of their resistance and ignorance of dharmic action, you must act according to the dictates of your conscience in the matter…especially seeing that the problem falls in the area of your particular occupational accent and expertise.

Vedanta never asks people to become less sensitive to what seems to be (relativity), only more sensitive to what is (Reality).  Its emphasis is on the Truth.  You have heard the Truth of Vedanta, including the part about the indestructibility of Brahman/Atman.  Well and good.  As you say, it has helped you immensely.  Now you can go forward and act with nondualism as your base, whereas before you could not; before you got about as indignant and overwrought as those who wage war on people and the planet.  That was not good.

We must never act out of these two things: ignorance and anger.  All actions must be accomplished in these two things: knowledge and peace of mind.  I would venture to say that, if ills were done to the world via people with ignorant and angry minds, and remedies were successfully instigated by people without true knowledge and peace of mind, then the entire exercise was only a vanity and vexation of Spirit…..that the host of remedies that had been implemented would only break down again and worse ones rise up in their stead. It’s the old “rub your hands with the oil of the coconut before opening the jackfruit” teaching.

But now that you have rubbed your hands with oil, you may enter in and do your utmost to improve the condition of people and things – all without the slightest attachment to outcome, knowing that the Universal Mother will decide and decree, not mankind.  For, if the Truth be known, She has millions upon millions of potential planets in the dark black skies of infinite space upon which She can manifest Her precious Consciousness if She so chooses.  The one song that comes to mind in this accord is that Mother Kali possesses countless planets, like a kid holding dozens of balloons on strings in his hands.  Occasionally this child pops one for the fun of it.  Thus, too, does Mother Kali destroy planets, which is akin to playing with insentient matter.

In the Bhagavad Gita, The Lord, Sri Krishna, tells a dejected Arjuna: “The unreal never is; the Real never ceases to be.” So, it is not so much that the world of name and form in time and space, consisting of the five elements, “does not exist,” as you wrote here.  It is more that, when the single eye of Truth opens in us, and we truly see, only Brahman exists.  The world is cited by Vedanta to be “unreal” because, if one were somehow able to take Brahman away, the world would disappear.  However, if the world disappeared of a sudden, as the entire universe eventually does in pralaya, at the end of interminably long cycles, Brahman would remain nonetheless, untouched and all-pervasive.  Besides, Brahman is sentient, while the world is insentient.  That fact alone proves the point, clarifies the mind, and concludes the matter.  So, meditate on these words in conjunction with the Vedantic declaration, Brahman satya, Jagad mithya – Brahman is real, the world is unreal.  A clear understanding will be the outcome, and peace and bliss, the result.

And one thing further I might say, as reminder – that if one improves the minds of people, the conditions of the world and nature will improve as a matter of course.  For nature came out of the mind. Knowledge of this little-known, little-thought about fact will require the selfless worker to espy what is sentient (real) and what is insentient (projected). “Birds have nests, foxes have holes” means that those born of prana simply return to prana (as do poor human souls who give themselves to nature instead of realizing their essence as pure Spirit).  “But the son of man hath no place to lay his head” means that humankind are not of this earth, and not of nature.  Oh, they are something marvelous…even more marvelous than the wonders of heavens, earths, planets, nature, and the five elements – for all of this came out of the mind!

We need more divine workers on this planet, even much more than we need environmentally sound policies.  For no matter how careful we live, time will pass and changes be wrought which will dash all our fine plans for civilization to pieces.  Pure world or impure world – these are both in the mind. Make sure that your mind is at peace, and availed of the highest wisdom.  Be an example, yes, of how to act and how to live, but more importantly be an example of transcendent action and eternal life.

What is it, and who is it, that outlives all and everything? A statue of this personage, a book about that personage – what are they in the end? Who is left standing when all else falls?

In the meantime, you have come here to realize God and live a dharmic life of service to others….in that order, ideally. Ironically, the challenges you face attempting these two feats, and how you handle these challenges, is more important than the ground or playing field that they are enacted upon.  For now, settle your mind in Atman.  Worlds will come and go, as will lifetimes, but the worlds of the future will manifest according to what state our minds are in at the time of our passing.  Peace, Peace, Peace!  All worlds exist in Peace; stand steadily and inextricably in Brahman.  Realize that and move about the earth accordingly.

A few souls must stand for ideals that are considered by the masses as obsolete or unimportant.  Your guru, here, is certainly standing up and against the flow for one of those ideals – the attainment of spirituality.  You have been made his mind-born daughter, and you have work to do before merging in Ma Kali.  So make people aware of their situation on earth, but also their predicament in maya.  To transform a mind is the greatest of miracles; there is none greater – not even in nature. Show people nature, but also their perfect Nature.  They will respond in kind, treating all with reverence.  Thus will our vision of a harmonious life and world be fashioned and preserved.

Peace x 3,


Dear Babaji,

I can’t thank you enough for this beautiful response.  This really helps me to put the whole picture together.  I’m so grateful because now I can go forward with my work fully encompassed by my spirituality.  Everything is in perfect perspective.  Thank you for reminding me what the most important work of all is: transforming people’s minds.  I will work to do just that, in the context of working for the environment.  Thank you for working to transform my mind.  It’s really working!

Much love,