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When I saw this book at Holy Books.com, I thought it was more about astral
travel, which I spoke of in my article,
Journeys. It isn't quite that, but it still contains interesting information, from a Hindu perspective, and
also complements some of the information I obtained from
The Kybalion. It is about the same length as that book, and also easy to read
and understand. I am very interested in Hinduism, so I am glad I read it.
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami was the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or the "Hare Krishna Movement." The late George Harrison was a devotee of that branch of Hinduism from 1969 until his death. Gaudiya Vaishnavism was founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534), which focuses on devotional worship of Radha and Krishna. A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami started the publication Back to Godhead, and has also authored numerous other works. Easy Journey to Other Planets was written in 1970. Wikipedia has a lengthy article on him, and numerous links about this rather complicated religion.
The purpose of the book is to explain the numerous planets and dimensions available to us, and to make them accessible, our own choice, that is, when we die. (Please note—it is my goal to access them before I die, because I believe death is an illusion that returns us to the recycling bin.) He states that the practice of Bhakti Yoga is a key to prepare ourselves for the day when our spirit leaves the body, so we can be sure to end up where we would like to be. He does not give further information on this type of yoga, but does give many suggestions on being a good person and serving our fellow humans and planet while we are here. He speaks against materialism, and says that people who are concerned with pleasures of the earthly life will not obtain immortality and freedom from the misery of being reborn into the physical body.
I took lots of notes as I read, so here are some points I will share. He first speaks about matter and anti-matter, but disagrees with the scientific viewpoint, which states that when matter and anti-matter meet, they annihilate each other. He is thinking in terms of "anti-material," in other words, spiritual energy as opposed to material energy. He says anti-matter behaves in the opposite way as matter, so therefore anti-matter, which:
. . . is freed from all sorts of material symptoms must also be free from being annihilated from its very nature of existence. If matter is destructible or separable anti-matter must be indestructible and inseparable. . .
In The Kybalion, it is stated that the physical world is in a constant state of change, so it is not real, but the ALL, the Universal Mind can never change, so this is a similar idea. Bhaktivedanta has derived his materials from the Bhagwat Geeta.
Matter is an energy which creates the material world and the same energy in her superior form creates the anti-material world. The living entities also do belong to the superior energy-group. . . .
Matter itself has no creative power. When it is manipulated by the living energy, material things are produced. Matter in its crude form is therefore the latent energy of the Supreme Being. Whenever we think of energy it is natural that we think of the source of energy. For example we may think of the electrical energy but along with it we think of the electrical power house where the electrical energy is generated. Energy is therefore not self-sufficient but it is under the control of a Superior Living Being who controls the energy. . . . The Supreme Living Being is the Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna or all attractive Living Being.
(Similar to The ALL, spoken of in The Kybalion.)
He then goes on to explain that the anti-material energy lives within the material body, which grows and dies, at which point the anti-material energy enters another material body. We should therefore not be disturbed by the impermanence of material energy, or the body, because the anti-material energy is "permanent, blissful, and full of intelligence." He continues to discuss the differences between the two energy types and their qualities.
He also discusses the final destruction of the material world, which happens periodically. The Kybalion also makes this same point, that at the end of each era, the ALL withdraws all its creation back into itself and begins the cycle again. Here is more information from the Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna, speaking through the Bhagwat Geeta:
All the planets within the material world are destructible at the end of 4300000 x 1000 x 2 x 30 x 12 x 100 of solar years. And all the living beings docile in these planets of the material world are also materially destroyed along with the destruction of the material world. The living entities are but anti-material particles. Unless they do elevate themselves to the region of anti-material world by a rigid culture of anti-material activities such living entities or the anti-material particles do remain within the material world in the non-manifested state. They take their material shape along with the rebirth of the material world. Only those living entities who take to the loving service of the Personality of Godhead during the manifested stage of the material life are undoubtedly transferred to the anti-material world, after quitting the material body. Life immortal is obtained by those only who goes back to Godhead by practice of anti-material activities.
In other words, the goal is to break the cycle of death and rebirth by living a spiritual rather than material life.
He also discusses that there are many different planets which are inhabitable to different organisms which are adapted to their particular atmosphere. He mocks the Russian Sputnik, the first one of which was launched in 1957, as a false means to reach these planets, or the moon.
Scientists who are attempting to explore the outer space and trying to reach other planets by mechanical arrangements must know it for certain that organisms adapted to the atmosphere of the earth cannot exist in the atmospheric influence of other planets. As such the attempt to get into the orbit of the moon, the Sun or the Mars, as they are anxious to get into these particular planets, will be completely a futile endeavor of man on account of different atmosphere prevailing in those planets which are described in the "Brahma Samhita" as Vibhuti Bhinnam. Individually, however, one can attempt to go into any planet he desires but this is only possible by psychological changes in the mind of a particular person. Mind is the nucleus of the material body. The gradual evolutionary process of the material body depends more or less on the psychological changes in the mind.
So he is saying that the state of the mind is what will determine where one may "travel," but to my understanding, this travel all must take place after the anti-material energy leaves the body, meaning after death.
Even if a materialist wants to enjoy developed material facilities, he can transfer himself to the other many many material planets where he can experience more and more advanced material pleasures. The best plan of life is to prepare oneself for going back definitely to the spiritual sky after leaving the body; but yet if anyone wants to enjoy the largest amount of material facilities, one can transfer himself in the other planets, not by means of playful sputniks which are simply childish entertainments but by psychological effects and learning the art of transferring the soul by mystic powers.
He then continues to give numerous suggestions on ways to live a spiritual
life, to ensure that one gets to where they want to go upon death.
As I said, I found this material interesting, but I still believe that with the next step in spiritual evolution, we will able to accomplish all these goals without death, in fact, I think that is the whole point of the Ascension process. Unfortunately, the energy on the planet seems to be moving farther away from spiritual development and dangerously close to technological development that we are not prepared to handle. That is making it so much more difficult for those of us pursuing the spiritual aspect. We shall see. I for one think the Hindu "Annihilation" or the Kybalion "Drawing Back" or the modern term, "Reboot" is edging upon us at breakneck speed. Meanwhile, I still vote for concentrating upon spiritual perfection.
This document is an easy and thought-provoking read, and I recommend it if you are interested in different religious perspectives. One note: there are tons of typos here, which most likely are the result of a less-than-meticulous translation into English. I have corrected the ones included in my quotes.
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