“So we are perceiving life through the ego, then through the intelligence, then through the mind and then through the five senses. And our particular understanding of reality is according to that perception.” – Radhanath Swami
So what is real? Lord Chaitanya makes it very simple! There is beautiful song in which he is singing:
jīv jāgo, jīv jāgo, gauracānda bole
kota nidrā jāo māyā-piśācīra kole
Wake Up sleeping Souls, Wake Up!
You are sleeping on the lap of Maya!
“Spiritual life is not about interpreting reality according to our different conceptions and conditionings. Real spiritual life is about ‘waking up’ to the internal, underlying substance of truth that is within everything!” – Radhanath Swami
According to the Vedic system, there are five levels of perceptions that we can gain.
1. The first is pratyaksha, which means through direct perception of the mind and senses. But that is very faulty!
2. Another is paroksha, which means indirect knowledge, receiving understanding from higher authorities who know more than us.
3. The third stage is aparoksha, after we receive that knowledge, we apply our senses to those teachings and we gradually get some understanding, some realization.
4. The next step is adhokshaja, which means revealed knowledge, knowledge that is beyond the mind and beyond the senses that is revealed through Guru, sadhu and sastra, the Holy Scriptures or through divine revelation.
5. And the perfection is aprakrita, which means transcendental knowledge and realization of the spiritual essence of life. Sometimes, aprakrita is also called divya pratyaksha, where we can actually perceive the presence of God with our spiritual senses everywhere and in everything, where we can actually perceive and participate in the beautiful pastimes of the Supreme Lord.