Where is God?
What is God's true nature?
What is God's relation with the Universe?
When does God come down in a physical finite form on earth?
In what form can a devotee see God?
Where is God?
God really is all pervasive. Space and Time are in Him. Yet His presence can be felt in the very pure heart of man.
eeshwarah sarwabhootAnAm hrddeshe arjuna tishthati
bhrAmayan sarwabhootAni yantrAroodhAni mAyayA ||18.61||
"The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, causing all beings, by His illusive power, to revolve as if mounted on a machine"
Do not remember the Lord as merely a personified power as Siva in Kailas, as Vishnu in Vaikunta, as the Father in Heaven, etc. but recognize Him as one who dwells in the heart of everyone. Just as the address of a person is given in order that the seeker of that person may locate the individual in a busy town, so also, in order to seek, discover, and identify with the Lord, His `local address' is being provided here by Bhagavan Krishna.
While saying that `the Lord dwells in the heart of all living beings', the physical heart is not meant here. In philosophy, the word `heart' is more figurative than literal. It is something like our saying that this individual has a 'large heart', or a 'good heart'. Here we only mean that the individual in question is a man of love and all humane qualities.
Residing thus in the heart-- meaning, in the mental bosom of one who has cultivated the divine qualities of a cultured human being, such as, love, kindness, patience, cheer, affection, tenderness, forgiveness, charity, etc. the Lord lends His power for all the living creatures to act on: He energizes everyone. Everything revolves around Him like the unseen puppets which have no existence, no vitality, no emotion of their own; they are mere expressions of the will and the intention of the unseen hand behind them.
sarwasya cha aham hrdi sanniwishtah
mattah smrtih jnAnam apohanam cha
wedaih cha sarwaih aham ewa wedyah
wedAntakrt wedawit ewa cha aham ||15.15||
"And I am seated in the hearts of all, from Me are memory, knowledge, as well as their absence. I am verily that which has to be known in all the VEDAS; I am indeed the author of VEDANTA, and, the "knower of the VEDAS" am I."
He lives in the Hearts of all living creatures. Here the HEART does not mean the physiological "heart" but it is the metaphysical HEART. The term HEART, in philosophy, means, "mind which has been trained to entertain constantly the positive qualities of love, tolerance, mercy, charity, kindness, and the like". The Infinite 'DWELLS IN THE HEART' means, though He is present everywhere, the Lord is most conspicuously selfevident, during meditation, in the HEART of the meditator. ||1.1||
What is God's true Nature?
God is really the Infinite Reality whose nature is Pure Consciousness.
aham AtmA gudAkesha sarwabhootAshayasthitah
aham Adih cha madhyam cha bhootAnAm antah ewa cha ||10.20||
"I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the hearts of all beings; I am the beginning, the middle and also the end of all beings."
If, in the first half of the verse it is declared that Krishna, as the Self in all, is the essence in the world of multiplicity, the same idea is expressed in other words, in the second line of the verse, "I AM THE BEGINNING, THE MIDDLE AND ALSO THE END OF ALL BEINGS". The world of things and beings is essentially a projection of the mind; the world outside is only the Infinite, mis-interpreted by the finite mind. Every thought rises from the Consciousness, and when it dies away, it merges back to leave behind nothing but Consciousness. There can be no thought where there is no Consciousness.
God is the very Self in us. This Self - the Atman - is the Pure Consciousness that pervades the world, the jagat.
mayA tatam idam sarwam jagat awyaktamoortinA
matsthAni sarwabhootAni na cha aham teshu awasthitah ||9.4||
"All this world is pervaded by Me in My Unmanifest form (aspect); all beings exist in Me, but I do not dwell in them."
The Self, in its essential Unmanifest nature, must be pervading
everything, as the mud pervades all forms and shapes in all mud-pots.
The ghost-vision can come only upon the post. And what exactly is the relationship between the ghost and the post from the standpoint of the post? The innocent post, in infinite love for the deluded fool, can only make a similar statement as the Lord has made here. "The ghost", the post would say, "is no doubt, in me, but I am not in the ghost; and therefore, I have never frightened any deluded traveller at any time". In the same fashion the Lord says here, "I, IN MY UNMANIFEST NATURE, AM THE SUBSTRATUM FOR ALL THE MANIFESTED" chaos of names and forms, but neither in their joys nor in their sorrows, neither in their births nor in their deaths, "AM I SHARING THEIR DESTINIES, BECAUSE I DO NOT DWELL IN THEM".
na cha matsthAni bhootAni pashya me yogam aishwaram
bhootabhrt na cha bhootasthah mama AtmA bhootabhAwanah ||9.5||
"Nor do beings exist (in reality) in Me- behold My Divine YOGA
supporting all beings, but not dwelling in them, am I My Self, the 'efficient-cause' of all beings."
The Self "BRINGS FORTH AND SUPPORTS ALL BEINGS" just as the ocean gives birth to, supports and nourishes all the waves in it. "AND YET", says Krishna "I MYSELF NEVER DWELL IN THEM". Just in the same way the ocean can cry that "I am never the waves". The mud is the womb of all pots, the sustainer of their shapes, the nourisher of their forms, and yet, none of the pots, nor all the pots put together, can ever define or give a total knowledge of the mud. Pure Consciousness, Divine and Eternal is the Substratum that sustains and illumines the entire panorama of the ever changing plurality.
ajah api san awyayAtmA bhootAnAm eeshwarah api san
prakrtim swAm adhishthAya sambhawAmi AtmamAyayA ||4.6||
"Though I am unborn, of imperishable nature, and though I am the Lord of all beings, yet ruling over My own nature, I am born by My own Maya."
The Supreme on account of His un-questioned freedom, in His Own perfect free will, takes upon Himself the conditioning of matter and comes to A driver is bound by duty to the vehicle, while the owner of the vehicle is lord of it. He uses the vehicle for his purposes, and whenever he reaches his destinations, he leaves the vehicle with all freedom, and enjoys his own independent activities. But, the poor driver, bound to the vehicle, will have to guard it against all intruders and serve the vehicle as its servant. The Lord uses the matter envelopments and their limitations as a convenience and as a set of necessary tools in his game of protecting the creation.
Thus, though the Lord is Unborn, Changeless in His Nature, and a Lord of matter, yet, keeping perfectly his Maya under His own control, He comes into the world, through His own free will. All the time He is fully conscious of His own divine status and unchallenged prerogative. He does not come into being as others do compelled by His past Karma, to live here in the world under the thraldom of Nature. He is not bound by His mental temperaments but He is ever free from the mischief of His own Maya.
You ask your servant to take your heavy motor-cycle to the nearby garage for purposes of refilling it. If you watch him doing it, you will have some idea of what the Lord is trying to express here. To that poor man, the unwieldy machine is a thraldom, a suffering. To push it across the road is a risky adventure for him, because the machine in its own law guides him, he being powerless to assert his mastery over it. On the other hand, if you yourself were to ride the motor-cycle to the bunk, you would joyously do so, because the vehicle remaining the same, in your hands, it becomes a slave to carry you, while the poor servant was being dragged by the clumsy weight of the heavy mechanism.
To an ordinary man ignorant of his vehicles, it becomes a painful agony and a difficult responsibility to make use of these instruments. To the Lord the world is no problem and His personal equipments and their appetites are perfectly under His own control. He comes to lord over every situation.
This perfect freedom of a Godman could not have been more beautifully brought out in so few words as in these incomparable lines. ||1.2||
What is God's relation to the Universe?
God Himself is the Universe. To lift our mind to this height of understanding, the scriptures describe Him first as the Cause of the Universe and the very Essence of the Universe.
pitA aham asya jagatah mAtA dhAtA pitAmahah
wedyam pawitram omkArah rk sAma yajuh ewa cha ||9.17||
"I am the father of this world, the Mother, the supporter and the
grandsire; the (one) Thing to be known, the Purifier, (the syllable) OM, and also the RIK, the SAMA and the YAJUH also."
The Self is not a vague imperceptible Spirit of Existence in all fields of divine activities-sans-emotion, sans- relationship, sans-qualities. In order to show that there is an ardour of love that permeates the very essence of the Self everywhere, the finite relationships of the world are mentioned to indicate the mass of love that the Self is. "I AM THE FATHER, THE MOTHER, THE SUSTAINER, THE GRANDSIRE, THE PURIFIER OF THE WORLDS". ||1.3||
When does God come down (avatar) in a physical, finite form on earth?
God's incarnation takes place when evil overpowers good on earth. He brings back an atmosphere conducive for the pious to learn and grow.
yadA yadA hi dharmasya glAnih bhawati bhArata
abhyutthAnam adharmasya tadA AtmAnam srjAmi aham ||4.7||
"Whenever there is decay of righteousness, O Bharata, and rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself."
Whenever there is decline of Dharma, I create for myself a body. Dharma "The Law of being" is a sacred Truth, and when the majority of the members of the community obeys not this great Truth, there is a conquest of the world by a herd of biped animals, rather than a co-operative happy living of a man in his full dignity as an intelligent social being. In all such dark periods of history some great master comes to present himself as the leader of the times to revive `the standard of life' and its moral valuations. This is generally done not only by giving a fillip to the existing nobler values but also by a accompanying policy of total elimination of the wicked.
It is for this purpose that the Infinite from time to time puts on the "matter-uniform" and appears on the scene of activity, just as the owner of an estate, who now and then would pull himself up in his gum-boots to inspect and reorganise his estate. Even while he is on the work spot, in the burning sun among the workers, he is conscious of his Lordship over and the ownership of the entire estate. Similarly, the Supreme, which is the substratum for the pluralistic world, puts on the body-gown and, as it were, walks into the dusty atmosphere of the manifest immoral life among mankind, for the purposes of reorganising and conducting a thorough spring-cleaning of the bosom of man.
In the Descent of God explained here it is very clearly said that the Lord takes upon Himself a body, projected for the purpose by Himself and that He reserves to Himself the divine freedom to be in it and yet not of it: "Then I body Myself forth".
paritrAnAya sAdhoonAm winAshAya cha dushkrtAm
dharmasamsthApanArthAya sambhawAmi yuge yuge ||4.8||
"For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked and for the establishment of the righteousness, I am born in every age."
It is evidently clear that the Infinite cannot project itself forth unless there is some desire. The State of Desirelessness is the State of Actionlessness. Without some equipment or other, electricity cannot of its own accord glow. Similarly, the Supreme cannot and need not project out into a Divine or an Undivine form - as an Immortal Omniscient God as a mortal foolish ego unless there is some desire or other to precipitate the manifestation. A super saturated solution if left alone undisturbed can carry its extra amount of crystals in its own womb. But, the moment a minutes particle of the same substance is thrown into that beaker, immediately all the extra crystals get thrown out in crystal-form. Similarly, the Dynamic Supreme, the Womb of Infinite potentialities cannot bring forth any form or forms unless there is an intention - may it be Divine, may it be good, may it be bad.
Then what was the desire that brought the Supreme into the Divine form of Krishna - the Enchanting Cowboy, the Blue Lover of all - the stanza explains in Vyasa's own words. In the stanza, Vyasa makes Krishna confess His initial desire, that caused His manifestations.
The divinest of all desires is, indeed, a selfless thirst to serve the world; but all the same it is a desire. Nicotine may not be immediate death to man; but all the same, it is a poison. Thus, in order to "protect the good" when the Absolute starts Its Godly career, in the very necessity of Maya, He, the very Lord of Delusion, had to take upon Himself one more added mission. "The destruction of the wicked"
Here ~destruction" is not annihilation of the individuals as much as the removal of the wrong tendencies in the individuals. It is a process of refitting the wardrobe wherein sometimes some old clothes are irredeemably bad, and they have to be eliminated from the box in order to give more space for the new ones and other refitted items. Similarly, Prophets, no doubt, when they come, encourage the good, rejuvenate the
bad and often eliminate the poisonous specimens from the garden of life. ||1.4||
In what form can a devotee see God?
All are His forms. The devotee may choose to worship Him in any form.
pashya me pArtha roopAni shatashah atha sahasrashah
nAnAwidhAni diwyAni nAnAwarnAkrteeni cha ||11.5||
"Behold, O Partha, forms of Me, by hundreds and thousands, of different sorts Divine, of various colours and shapes."
If gold is the essential stuff in all the ornaments, every ornament in the world must be available in the total gold. To see the gold in the ornaments is relatively easy, it being a PHYSICAL PERCEPTION. But to detect the presence of all ornaments of different shapes and colours in the total gold is comparatively difficult, in as much as it is the VISION OF THE INTELLECT. Keeping this idea in mind, when you read the opening lines of the Lord's words, it becomes strikingly significant. "BEHOLD, BY HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS, MY DIFFERENT FORMS CELESTIAL, VARIED IN COLOURS AND SHAPES".
It was not necessary for Krishna to change His form to that of the CosmicMan; all that Arjuna had to do was to BEHOLD THE FORM right in front of him. But, unfortunately, the instrument-of-perception was not tuned up for the object of his investigation, and therefore, Arjuna could not perceive that which was already in Krishna.
That which is lying beyond the focal length of a telescope, cannot be viewed by the observer even though the object may be present in line with the axis of the instrument. In order to bring the farther object within the span of vision, the observer will have to make the required adjustments in the telescope. Similarly, Krishna did not TRANSFORM Himself into His Cosmic- Form, but He only helped Arjuna to make the necessary inward adjustments so that he could perceive what was there evidently in Krishna. Naturally, the Lord says, " BEHOLD ".
pashyAmi dewAn tawa dewa dehe
sarwAn tathA bhootawisheshasanghAn
brahmAnAm eesham kamalAsanastham
rsheen cha sarwAn uragAn cha diwyAn ||11.15||
"I see all the gods, O God, in Your body, and (also) hosts of various classes of beings. BRAHMA, the Lord of Creation, seated on the Lotus, all the RISHIS and celestial serpents."
In the Virat-form of the Lord even the Devas are represented. The same ADHIDAIVA-idea is very directly insisted upon by Arjuna in this stanza when he describes among the things that he saw in Krishna, the Creator, Brahmaji, (Brahmaanam), the Annihilator, Siva, (Isam), and the Sustainer, Vishnu, (Kamalasanastham); along with a host of ancient seers! ||1.5||