Where Is Godhead? Is It Possible To See Him?
Delhi, Wednesday 20th June, 1956 (Series #8)
Edited and Founded
Under direct order of His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhakti-Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada
By Goswami Abhay Charan Bhaktivedanta
In the Secretariat Buildings in New Delhi there is an inscription on the stone that Liberty does not descend upon a people but it has to earned before it can be enjoyed. Actually this is the fact and we have seen it that much sacrifice had to be rendered by the people of India before they could gain Swaraj. But in the matter of Godhead some irresponsible people ask, “Can you show me.” “Have you seen God?” These are some of the questions put forward by some irresponsible men who want to have everything very cheap. If for attaining a temporary false sense of liberty in this material world so much labour and sacrifice have to be requisitioned is it possible to see Godhead — The Absolute Truth so cheaply? To see God means complete liberty from all conditions. But is Godhead an attending orderly so that He may be present at my command? The atheist however demands like that, as if Godhead is his paid servant and he thinks that Godhead is an imaginary thing otherwise He would have appeared before as soon as the demand to see Him is made.
Hiranya Kashipu the king of the materialistic atheist demanded like this. His son offended him because he was a devotee of Godhead. Prahlad was the name of Hiranya Kashipu’s son. The boy was entrusted to some good guardian tutors to give him lessons on politics, civics, diplomacy of divide and rule, pacifism, law and order and everything that makes a well established state for lording over the material nature. That was the idea of Hiranya Kashipu to become happy in the material world. He was mainly concerned with Hiranya (gold) andKashipu (soft women and bed) and he wanted to educate his son or dependent in that great Art of exploitation.
Fortunately Prahlad’s idea was different which he got by the mercy of Sree Narada, the great master of devotional science. He (Narada) impressed upon Prahlad that devotional activities for the service of Godhead was the suprme aim of life. Material happiness is no solution of the problems of life but spiritual realisation is the aim of human perfection and the source of real liberty — ‘Swarajya.’
One day Prahlad ‘Maharaj,’ when he was a mere child, was asked by his father to explain the knowledge that he received from his guardian tutors. Prahlad Maharaj replied like this:
Tat, Sadhu, Manny, Ashurabarya, Dehinam-Sada, Samudbignam, Dhiam, Astgrahat, Hitwa, Atmapatam, Griha, Andhakupam, Vanam, Gato, Jat, Harim, Ashrayeta.
Tat=that, Sadhu = goodness, Manny = I do think, Ashurabarya = the Chief of the Ashuras (non-devotee atheist), Dehinam = of the embodied, Sada = always, Samudbighna = with cares and anxieties, Dhiam = of the thinking men, Asatgrahat = from the temporary engagement, Hitwa = leaving aside, Atmapatam= that which kills the soul, Griha = household,Andhakupam = the blackhole (well), Vanam = the forest, Gato = one who has gone, Jat =that, Hari = unto Godhead, Ashrayeta = take shelter of.
Oh, the chief of the Ashuras! I do think that persons who are always disturbed in mind with cares and anxieties of house hold affairs may quit off the place which is like the black hole temporary abode to kill one’s self and take shelter unto the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead by entering into the forest.
Prahlad Maharj thought it right to get liberty first from cares and anxieties of household life. But is there any man who is completely carefree of household life. It is said that the management of a family is more difficult than that of an empire. Nobody is free from this troublesome business. Then what is the remedy? Prahlad Maharaj suggests that one should altogether leave that soul-killing black-hole of house-hold life and go into the forest. Will that solve the problem of cares and anxieties? Are the jungle beasts, the tigers, the wolf, the bear, the monkey etc. free from cares and anxieties? No no they are not carefree. Why they live in the forest. Yes they live in the forests undoubtedly but they have no engagement in the service of the Lord. That is the cause of their cares and anxieties as much as the animals and beasts in the human form. The real remedy lies in the act of accepting the service of the lotus feet of the Lord. That makes one free from all cares and anxieties of life. That makes one able to see Godhead always and everywhere.
The monkeys live in the forest, they live on fruits and flowers. They live also naked without any dress and there are many many monkeys in the human form who live naked, eat fruits and call themselves as Vancahary (the renounced Sannyasins) but just like the monkey they keep hundreds of women followers as their devotees (?) and enjoy their company exactly like the monkey who keeps such hundreds of she monkeys in their company. Such monkeys sometimes appear in the midst of the urban and rural population and commit tremendous harm to the village economy. Similarly the so-called monkey — vanacharies who have left their home in search of solving the problem of bread, cannot get any happiness liberated from the cares and anxieties of house-hold life. They create another house-hold rendezvous in the order of vanachary’s life and remain always full of cares and anxieties in the matter of protecting their personal interest in such house-hold affairs of monasteries and business of temples. They are not care free. Prahlad Maharaj did not advise to adopt such false life of Vanachary. The real life of Vanachary is exhibited when one has cent-per-cent taken shelter of the lotus feet of Hari (The Personality of Godhead). That is the real position of a Vanachary and it may be possible even without going into the so-called forest. Prahlad Maharaj the author of this great instruction was himself a great king and house-holder but because from the very beginning of his life he practised the art of taking shelter under the lotus feet of the Lord — he remained always a Vanachary even in the dress of a house-holder. He was always free from cares and anxieties because he knew that he was under the protection of the Lord.
His father Hiranya Kashipu did not like the idea of God-worship because he thought God was his enemy? His brother Hairanakhya was killed by the Personality of Godhead and therefore, he thought Him as his enemy of the family.
There are many atheists like Hiranya Kashipuwho take God as their enemy. One German god-brother told us that in the lst World War many people in his country turned to be atheists on account of their family members being killed in the war field. Some body’s husband, some body’s son, or some body’s brother must have had gone to the war field. When the fighting was going on, all of them prayed for the safe return of their relations. Unfortunately almost all of them did not return back forever, in spite of such prayers and therefore they turned to be atheists. They thought that God is their order supplying agent and because the prayer-order of protecting the lives of their relations were not carried out by God, the word ‘God’ is a myth and there is no existence of God. That is the postion of cheap God-seekers. They want to see God without the necessary sacrifice and without knowing His actual position as the order supplying agent and if God is not seen in that way of impertinence, the existence of Godhead must be denied by them.
Foolish people like Hiranya Kashipu (concerned only with Gold and woman) is bewildered to see Godhead. In the Bhagwat Geeta it is said that the Personality of Godhead is not exposed to the eyes of everyone but He is existent always and everywhere by His omnipresent impersonal features.
In the ‘Brahma Sangheeta” it is advised that one can see Him in the Sun which is said to be His one of the eyeballs. As the eyeballs roll within the hole, so also the sun is rolling within its limited orbit. His impersonal features are described in the Bhagwat Geeta and one can see Him everywhere as the banian tree, the lion, the shark, the Himalaya, the ocean and everything that is extraordinarily powerful. He is the seed of growth of every living being and by His potencies the whole universe is rolling on. The strength of gravitation that sustains the planets in their respective positions is also He. He therefore manifests Himself by His diverse energies exactly like the fire which maintains its existence by the power of expanding heat and diffusion of light. He is sometimes compared with the sun. And His different energies are compared with the rays of the sun. The living entities are so many molecular particles emanating from Him as the rays of the sun are innumerable molecular particles of the sun. The sun and the sun-rays are simultaneously one and different. The sun-rays are always at my door, I can feel its intensity of heat, I can see it everywhere. By the sun-rays I can see the sun also, although He is far far away from me. At the same time if I am a sane man I can feel it that the sun-rays are not the the sun. The sun is simultaneously one and different from the sun-rays. We can imagine the intense heat of the sun by our little and partial experience of the portion of the sun-rays.
The living entities being compared with the sun-rays, it is quite possible to see The Supreme Lord by subconscious perception. The living entities are distinct individual souls with minute portions of independence and desire for lording it over the inert material nature, which makes the living entity a superior ‘Purusha’ or enjoyer of the matter. And from this part and parcel’Purusha’ we can feel the power and omnipotency of the complete ‘Purusha.’ The living entity is the particular sample of the Supreme Being. But He is fully joyful by nature. “Ananda-maya Avyasat.”
The “Purushottam” is therefore the transcendental Supreme Person individual identity like one in quality of so many individual beings. But He is the Supreme Personality above all other persons. No body is above or equal to Him. He is without a Second. He is not therefore imperson as imagined by men with poor fund of knowledge. His impersonal features are diverse manifestations of His innumerable potencies just like the sun-rays are innumerable potencies of the sun dial far far away from the sun-rays at my door. In theVishnu Puranam the matter is described as follows:–
Ekadesha, Stitshya, Agne, Jyotsna, Vistarina, Jatha, Parasya, Brahmana, Sakti, Tatha, Idam, Akhilam, Jagat. (V.P. 1/22/62)
Ekadesh — In one place, Stithasya — Situated, Agne –of the fire, Jyotsna — Light, Vistrina — diffusion, Jatha — As as, Parasya — of the Supreme, Brahmana — of the Brahma, Sakti — Potencies, Tatha — So so, Edam — This,Akhilam — The whole, Jagat — universe.
This whole universe is the manifestation of diverse potencies of the Supreme Absolute Truth just like the fire situated in one place can diffuse its light all round.
The Personality of Godhead does not become impersonal for the matter of His impersonal potencies. He is non-different from His impersonal manifestations but that does not make Him without Personality. His omnipotency suggests that He is originally the Supreme Person and He has expanded Himself by plenary portions and differentiated parts and parcels. Atheist Hiranya Kashipu wanted to see Godhead and he asked Prahlad his son where is his (Prahlad’s) God? The child Prahlad answered that his God is seen everywhere. That is the vision of a devotee. The devotee does not see anything except his Godhead. Anything animate or inanimate exhibits Godhead in the eyes of a devotee. The devotee’s eyes are annointed with the pulp of Love for Godhead and as such he sees nothing except in relation with Godhead.
Sometimes we see the notice in a public garden as follows:– “The garden belongs to you and you should try to maintain it by the such feeling.” The same notice is sometimes seen in the railway carriage. And the purpose of such notice is to awaken the national feeling of the citizen. A good and trained citizen knows that the Government is run on by his representative and therefore the Government is his own Government. And the property belonging to the Government does also belong to him and he behaves in that way. Therefore he can see everything inter related with the Government and if he has the necessary national feeling he can see everywhere the Government power in its impersonal feature represented. The power and Personality of the Government is felt by a good citizen everywhere in the country and this feeling is made possible out of a feeling of national consciousness. This national feeling and love for the country and Government are all products of sincere service for the cause of the nation. And the same thing is applicable in a wider sense when you speak of serving Godhead. Godhead is not therefore a cheap orderly of the materialistic atheist.
Godhead can be seen only by sincere service mood and not by challenge. A person who sees God cheaply in the ordinary way and a person who argues that God cannot be personally seen — both of them are misguided. The Personality of Godhead reserves the right of not being exposed to the vision of a challenging Hiranya Kashipu. That is not the process of realising the Personality of Godhead everywhere. To the eyes of a devotee everything is simultaneously one and different from Godhead. He sees Godhead in everything and everything in Godhead. And that is the highest stage of realisation of Godhead.
The impersonal material conception of Godhead under the headings of Pantheism, Henotheism, Monotheism and Polytheism etc., is the beginning process of seeing the Godhead. The next higher stage of seeing Him is the stage of seeing the Supersoul residing within every individual soul and the highest stage is to realise the Personality of Godhead in the supramental stage of loving service, the spiritual existence.
The revealed scriptures therefore warn us against cheap realisation of Godhead. The revealed scriptures definitely say that Godhead cannot be seen with our material eyes, neither He can be perceived by material senses. The eyes and the senses of the devotee must be trained up in the art of transcendental service. The Supreme Lord is sentient and He is clever enough to know our modes of such transcendental loving service and with progress of such service attitude only the Godhead is realised by the mercy of Godhead. Nobody else can realise Him by a fraction by speculative habit of flickering mind.
The speculative habit of the mind in the velocity of air or light year conducted for thousands of years can hardly reach the vicinity of Godhead but one who is constantly engaged in His transcendental service with love and pleasure can realise Him by His mercy only. That is the process for finding out where is Godhead. In the Bhagwat Geeta it is said like this:
Tesam, Satata, Juktanam,
Bhajatam, Priti, Purbakam,
Dadami, Buddhijogam, Tat,
Jena, Mam, Upajanti, Te.
“I do give more facility of transcendental service to the devotees who are constantly engaged in my service with love and affection, which will help them come unto Me.” God helps them who helps themselves by the service attitude of Godhead.