The material world is not a perverted reflection of the spiritual world

There is the notion that the material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world.

In no particular order, the material world features things like Facebook, Microsoft, petroleum refineries, nuclear bombs, cell phones, quantum mechanics, Star Wars, electrons, matter, and Michael Jackson. What would the original objects be, of which these items are perverted reflections? Unsurprisingly, none of these are mentioned in the scriptures.

There are some things in Vṛndāvana – like trees and earth and the sun- that are also present in the material world. But these objects in Vṛndāvana are not the same as the material world, because they are not made of matter. Instead of reflection, the word shadow is more appropriate. Reflection does contain some elements of the original object, whereas a shadow does not contain any. Further, not everything in the material world has an equivalent in the spiritual world, and vice versa. Therefore the shadow is only partial.

Furthermore, the word ‘perverted’ used to qualify reflection is superfluous because reflection never produces the original anyway.

The notion that one thing is a reflection of another arises from the limited mind, which can only conceive of the beginning of something, expansion of that thing and then modification of the expansions. Instead, all śaktis of Kṛṣṇa are eternal, have no beginning, and did not arise from one another.  They are eternally existing, distinct in nature and have distinct functions.

2 replies »

  1. How to explain ” Urdhva mulam adha sakham” if the material world is not reflection of spiritual world. Could you please enlighten me more?


    • The verse does not describe the material world as a reflection of the spiritual world. It is describing the cosmos with a metaphor. The translation is: “It is said [in the Vedas] that there is an imperishable Asvattha tree whose roots are upward and whose branches are downward, and the leaves of which are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is a knower of the Vedas.”

      No mention of a ‘reflection’ of the spiritual world here.


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