THE LORD RESIDES WITHIN OUR HEART
Gautam Saha: Many a times we wonder, where is God ? Some say He is everywhere, some say he is only within a place of worship and not outside. So where is He ?
The Lord resides within the heart of every living entity in His expansion as Ksoradakasayi Visnu, the Supersoul residing within each and every living entity, as a friend and companion to each and every individual soul. Within the core of the heart of every living entity, the Lord, in His expansion as paramatma, resides together with the individual soul, the individual atma, just like two friendly birds that are seated on a branch. One bird, the atma, is eating the fruit of the tree. The other bird, his friend, the paramatma, is both permitting as well as observing him. The Lord confirms this in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita ( 7.21 ) :‚ÄĚI am in everyone‚Äôs heart as the supersoul.‚ÄĚ
This means that the Lord is within trillions of creatures, huge as well as tiny, and all creatures in between, spread thoughout the creation. Does it mean that the Lord has divided Himself into trillions of tiny parts ? No. In spite of manifesting this exercise of expanding Himself into trillions of supersouls within the infinite number of living entities, He is still one, and His opulences are still undiminished as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This inconceivable opulence of the Lord has been described by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as acintya bheda bheda tattva ( the potency of being simultaneously one and multitudinous ). Once one realizes this, he is firmly in the correct spiritual perspective. The Srimad Bhagavad Gita ( 18.20 ) confirms this : ‚ÄúThat knowledge by which one undivided spiritual nature is seen in all existences, undivided in the divided, is knowledge in the mode of goodness.‚ÄĚ
THE LORD‚ÄôS PASTIMES IN VARIOUS INCARNATIONS
The Lord appears in innumerable incarnations throughout the history of creation, in various universes, in bodies suitable for the understanding of the localized living entities in the worlds in which He appears. These incarnations are as numerous as the waves in a river and are countless. Each of these incarnations is a direct expansion from the transcendental body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and is not composed of material ingredients like our own mortal bodies. Each of these incarnations is pure visnu tattva, and is untouched by the material qualities or the three modes of material nature, neither is each incarnation diminished in transcendental potencies from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Hence, whether the Lord appears as Lord Boar ( Varaha ), as Lord Fish ( Matsya ), or as Lord Tortoise ( Kurma ), or as baby Krishna, sucking milk from the breast of his foster mother Yashoda, He is still the Supreme Personality of Godhead, complete with the six primal opulences, namely, wealth, beauty, fame, knowledge, strength and renunciation.
Each pastime of the Lord is meant to give solace and pleasure to His devotees and to neutralize the demons and miscreants. The Lord Himself states in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita ( 4.7 & 8 ) : ‚ÄúWhenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, and a predominant spread of irreligion, I descend, O descendent of Bharata. In order to deliver the pious, and to annihilate the miscreants, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.‚ÄĚ
THE LORD DSIPLAYS HIS INCARNATIONS AND ACTIVITIES FOR OUR BENEFIT
We need not be disturbed by these various incarnations of the Lord, as this infinite variety of pastimes displays the infinitely variegated nature of His potencies. A Supreme Lord diminished in any potency ceases by definition to be Supreme. These variegated pastimes are meant for the intelligent living entities to be attracted to the Lord and begin to love Him. If the Lord remained far away and remote from His creation, all intelligent living entities would forget Him and would flounder forever in the mire of material life and its attendant miseries such as birth, aging, disease and death. The Lord therefore descends, to attract the forgetful and sinful living human beings to remember Him and worship Him. By so doing, those living entities who thus understand the Lord and surrender unto His lotus feet, are relieved of this material suffering on the gross material planets and no longer have any debit of karmic reactions to undergo. At the end of this life, they are no longer obligated to assume another material body and to continue to be punished by maya, the Lord‚Äôs external illusory energy, which keeps punishing the forgetful or sinful living entities for wanting to enjoy matter separately from the Lord. The Lord personally delivers the living entities from material life. He states ( Srimad Bhagavad Gita 12.6 & 7 ) : ‚ÄúFor one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Prtha, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.‚ÄĚ Whichever be the form of the Lord described in scriptures such as the Srimad Bhagavatam, with which we are familiar or comfortable, that form we can remember and worship to gain our own salvation from material life.
THE ABSOLUTE MERCY AND GOODNESS OF THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD
The Lord is the Supreme Absolute Truth, and being so, is free from all dualities of gross material life that the living entities are immersed in. Thus, for the Lord, there is no like and dislike, there is no attraction and repulsion, no happiness or sadness. He is sacchidananda vigraha, a transcendental body eternally full of knowledge and bliss. Thus, whether He is enjoying playing or frolicking with his confidential devotees such as the gopals and gopis of Vrindavan, or whether He is engaged in killing most sinful and inimical demons such as Ravana, Hiranyaksa, Hiranyakasipu, Kamsa, Sisupala, and so on, He is still blissful. His mercy toward all living entities is pure and impartial, as while killing a demon to deliver his soul, or engaging with a confidential devotee in friendship such as Sudama, to relieve him from material miseries.
Since the Lord is the Supreme Absolute Truth, there is no difference between Him and His appearances, pastimes, paraphernalia, and holy name. The Lord is therefore identical to His name, form, appearance, pastimes, etc; by remembering any one of these or more of these, one can always remain close to the Lord and hold Him close within one‚Äôs heart.
By thinking of the Lord as many times as possible, by seeing Him with our mental eyes in His sacchidananda vigraha, by worshipping His deity in the temple or in our homes, we are cleansing our soul from the material infections and contaminations we have accumulated in our long and chequered karmic journey so far. The Lord is so kind that He has entered our heart so as to be near to us so that we can perceive and see Him without difficulty. The arcana murti, or deity of the Lord within a temple, is another manifestation of the mercy of the Lord upon us. Since we are so immersed in our material activities, He enables us to see Him in His beautiful deity form, so that we may be attracted to Him and in the process, cleanse ourselves of the karmic material baggage we have collected so far. The Lord in our heart is most merciful, most wonderful, most loving and most attractive. So why do we need to wander aimlessly in the material world in this life and in future lives, searching for temporary material and mental happiness elsewhere, which is not only fleeting, but illusory, being products of maya, inevitably ending in separation or tragedy ? Only the Lord within our heart is our eternal friend and well wisher.