Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation. – BG 3.3
We live in a world of matter, which is governed by the laws of material world. Matter is fundamentally made up of solids (earth), liquids (water), gases (air), plasma (fire) and space (ether). The laws can be gross or subtle in nature. The gross laws consist of the laws of physics we study in schools. However, the subtle laws are tenuous by nature but are acting on us without our full cognizance of their existence. An example of gross laws is the third law of motion, which posits that every force has an equal and opposite reaction. The law of karma, a subtle extension of this gross law, states that every action has a corresponding good or bad reaction. If we become aware of the subtle laws, we would learn to lead our life with a greater sense of responsibility.
God has two forms of energy: Inferior energy and Superior energy. The material nature governing both the gross and subtle laws of this material world belongs to the inferior energy, while the living entities, the parts and parcels of God belong to the superior energy of God. The living entities are superior to material energy because of possessing consciousness which is absent in matter.
The material energy of God binds and controls us precisely through our desire to enjoy and exploit her. When we try to control the material energy of God, we become the slave of our senses. When we try to become a servant of God, we become the master of our senses. So, no matter how much we declare and celebrate independence, we remain slave of our senses as long as we have a tendency to exploit the material energy of God.
A four year old child, Peter, has pious parents who live a life of theistic conduct. The child soon picks up all the rituals from his parents. However, growing up in a spiritually-nourishing atmosphere, he soon develops a spirit of inquiry. One day, he approaches his father with an innocent question: “What do you do when you go to the kingdom of God?”
The father rendered speechless by the child’s innocent inquiry dismisses the question as mere childish. The child becomes dissatisfied by his father’s response. Being unable to find answers to his questions, he grows up to become an avowed atheist. He becomes absorbed in a materialistic way of life and puts all his energy into amassing wealth. However, Peter soon discovers that no matter how much he is trying to find happiness within his materialistic pursuits, he becomes increasingly dissatisfied. He realizes there is something seriously wrong.
One day, he accidentally contacts a copy of Bhagavad Gita in a public library. The cover picture of the book compels him to open the book and flip through some of its chapters. Intrigued by the details of knowledge on the science of God and His divine energies, he is not able to leave the book aside. He becomes convinced that he is going to find answers to all the unanswered questions which prompted him to become an atheist.
Peter becomes completely satisfied with his findings in relation to his childhood question and develops the following non-sectarian conception of God and His creation:
God is one without a second. All the religious texts refer to the same God who has many names which highlight His particular divine qualities. He resides in His spiritual planet surrounded by His part-and-parcel loving servants, and each of the servants has an inviolable relationship of love with Him. God is eternal, His parts and parcels are eternal and His abode is eternal.
All the living entities within creation are parts and parcels of the same God. They have a unique relationship of service with the Lord. Therefore, devotional service to God is the natural and eternal activity of every soul. Having forgotten this eternal loving relationship with God, we are suffering within this temporary material world, fundamentally because of misidentifying ourselves with the covering of our material body and trying to provide enjoyment to the body while forgetting the natural engagement for the soul.
We all belong to the kingdom of God and we have a specific role to play in our spiritual identity. No sooner do we awaken to this spiritual reality and act on that platform than we can experience a complete spiritual satisfaction – satisfaction on the level of the soul.