What of my personality will be lost?

When I was younger than 10, I was with my mother and two siblings. My mother gave me some sweet and when my siblings came, she didn’t have enough for the three of us so she took the sweet and gave it to my two other siblings instead and said “You will get a sweet at another time instead”. When she said it, I thought to myself: “That never happens”. I understood at that moment that my siblings were the preference before me.

Experiences I have in life changes me, hopefully for the better. Experiences, thoughts, life philosophy shapes my personality.

So when I die, what part of my personality will be with me when I become reborn?

Brajanath dasa: Vidura Prabhu is actually asking his question: Is there any similarity between our material conditioned personality and our spiritual personality?

Srila Narayana Maharaja: No. We now have a different soul, mind, body and senses. In this world there are twenty-eight categories, including the eleven senses, the sense objects and other elements, and they are all different with respect to one another. On the other hand, in the spiritual world all these aspects of a person are one. The jiva in the spiritual world has senses, mind, body, and soul, and they are all one spiritual substance.

Walking with a saint 2008, page 287.

How can I reconcile this with my own experience?

I try to spend a portion of every day on doing japa and reading. These spiritual activities and beliefs are hard-grained in me and if a day goes by without some spiritual activity I feel like I have wasted that day. That my life has become worthless because I missed out on just that day.

I have no problem that my masters degree in IT will be lost when I die, but all the life experiences I’ve had that makes up parts of my personality – I don’t want to loose those skills. The skills and perceptions I’ve gained, aren’t they equal to spiritual realizations that will stay with me? I always thought that the personality changes made me closer to my spiritual personality. 

How can I reconcile this? It doesn’t make sense to me.

Once one is advanced in devotional service, his spiritual assets are never lost under any circumstances. Whatever spiritual advancement he has achieved continues. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā. Even if a bhakti-yogī falls, he takes birth in a rich family or family of brāhmaṇas, in which he again starts devotional activities from the point where he left off. Although Vṛtrāsura was known as an asura, or demon, he did not lose his consciousness of Kṛṣṇa or devotional service.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Purport 6.17.38

So what stays? What leaves? I thought that spiritual advancements in this material life affected ones personality, making the personality gradually more spiritual.

I get that there is a difference in ones material personality and ones spiritual personality. I just thought the material personality very slowly changed into a spiritual one. So when one receives ones siddha deha (spiritual identity), the process of shedding the material personality to a spiritual personality is finished.

There seem to be a contradiction here where on one hand one states that spiritual advancement is never lost, but on the other hand it is stated that ones spiritual personality is different from ones personality here in this material world.

So what is it?

Westernized karma philosophy

Ever experienced an unpleasant person which acts badly, and afterwards thought to yourself: “What goes around, comes around”? That’s a westernized version of karma philosophy.

How about this one – “Good deeds pay off”? Every action results to a consequence, but when we apply this thinking to people and actions that have no apparent consequence, we would like to think that there is some justice above ourselves that apply itself. Like a natural law – which is what karma is. A natural law that applies itself whether we see it or not.

The truth is that when you and I insist on that all-too-comfortable paradigm of cosmic score keeping, we’re no longer talking about Christianity. In fact, what we reveal is that we’ve adopted (unwittingly) a Westernized form of Hinduism. We are talking, in other words, about karma. If you are a bad person and things are going well for you, it is only a matter of time before karma catches up with you and “you get yours.” If you are good person, the inverse is true: just be patient and your good deeds will come back to you.

Read the post which inspired this train of thoughts