On Seeing Krishna part 1
An educated, wealthy man came to hear a talk given by our spiritual master’s guru, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakur. After the discourse, the man requested a private audience with the learned saint. Considering the man’s position, the great guru agreed, and in a short while the two faced one another in a beautiful garden. Unbeknownst to either of them, a new disciple of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta had raced to this spot and hidden in the bushes, fascinated to know what the man would ask his guru. The man look in all directions to make sure they were alone, and asked his host, “Have you seen Krishna?” Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati replied that this was not a spiritual question. If he said that he hadn’t seen Krishna, the man would discount him, whereas if he said he had seen Krishna, he would seem proud.
On occasion we are challenged with such a question—as if God’s apparent absence proved he didn’t exist. There are a number of ways to answer, as well as to think about this idea. Some may consider this is a fair question. I invite them to understand the exalted position of God, and also ask what are their—or any of our—qualifications for such an audience? All the Vedic texts are meant to educate us about the superlative greatness and omnipotence of God, and his many different spiritual aspects. For example we read Krishna’s words in his Bhagavad Gita 8.9 :
“One should meditate upon the Supreme Person as the one who knows everything, as He who is the oldest, who is the controller, who is smaller than the smallest, who is the maintainer of everything, who is beyond all material conception, who is inconceivable, and who is always a person. He is luminous like the sun, and He is transcendental, beyond this material nature.”
In our material experience, we will not be able to see a very important person, like the president, or a big CEO. From this we can understand the necessity of having a method of approach where our efforts will be rewarded. Krishna reserves the right—as does any responsible, or important person—of not being visible or available to just anyone, especially to a challenging, envious person, who wants to deny or take their position, and possibly harm them. This attitude would be a great disqualification for anyone, and at least to some extent, we all have it.
Krishna consciousness is a means of learning about the nature of Krishna, his many spiritual forms and energies, and how we can please him. Although Krishna tells us in the Gita that he is the supreme owner, controller, and enjoyer, he also tells us, that he is the dearest friend and benefactor of everyone, and specifically for his devotees. This means that although God is inconceivably great and powerful, not to be under anyone’s beck and call, he is also extremely merciful and accessible to one who loves and serves him. Krishna appears in an apparently finite form, to reciprocate in loving exchanges with his devout. In fact he prefers his loving relationships with his devotees, to his position of God. That is why Krishna expands into his Vishnu forms, where he is worshiped as the God of the Universe.
The truth that love is supreme is universally spoken about, but this is much truer when we speak of love of Krishna, or prema. We find that to please his devotee, he also serves his devotee, and becomes subservient to their love. Imagine this! This is the secret of bhakti, and Krishna is the highest aspect of God, where he is fallen in love with his devotee, and they with him. Krishna is beckoning us to come to him, and is willing to do everything in his power to help! He sends his pure devotees to encourage us, and gives himself in his holy name, Deity, and scriptures to purify, and bless our lives! Our personal story of finding the love of our life and living, eternally, happily ever after, is yet to be written!