Friday, April 8, 2011

Everyday Miracles

Lord Krishna “My beautiful dark friend Krishna is far more liberal than the cloud which can fill up the great ocean with water. Without disturbing the cultivator with rain during the day, the cloud brings liberal rain at night just to satisfy him. And yet when the cultivator wakes up in the morning, he considers that it has not rained enough. Similarly, the Lord fulfills the desire of everyone according to his position, and yet one who is not in Krishna consciousness considers all the gifts of the Lord to be less than his desire.” (Sudama Vipra thinking about Krishna, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 26)

The workings of the spiritual hands of Shri Krishna can be witnessed in every sphere of life, even though the influence and power of the distributor of all effects material and spiritual often go neglected. In addition to breeding contempt, familiarity brings about complacency and unwarranted expectation. Taking the everyday wonders of life for granted, the individual is left searching for miracles, paranormal events which may give evidence to the existence of a higher power. Yet these miracles, which can easily occur through the Divine Will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are not required in the least bit, for there are other truly miraculous workings of the universe that take place at regular intervals. One who has a trained eye not only sees and appreciates these events, but they also recognize them as being part of God’s supreme, unending and causeless mercy. Because they are armed with transcendental awareness, the normal workings of the universe bring these individuals possessing a purified vision more pleasure than any seemingly miraculous event brings wonder and amazement to the conditioned eye.

Lord KrishnaThe sun rising every day is taken for granted, as is the falling of the rain. Sudama Vipra, the childhood friend of Shri Krishna, the Supreme Lord, very nicely points out that even though the raincloud showers nourishing water on the field during the middle of the night without bothering anyone, the farmer still wakes up the next day and thinks that it hasn’t rained enough. The cloud in this scenario is very liberal and generous, donating its time and effort so that life may be maintained on the earth. After establishing the cloud to be a kind worker involved in a thankless task, Sudama Vipra points out that Krishna is even more liberal than the cloud, for the rain is only one small representation of the Lord’s immense potency. Everything in this world, including the movement of the sun, the weather, the placement of the various species and the growth of plants, is due to Krishna’s influence. Therefore there is a miracle seen at every corner of existence, with wonderful events constantly taking place that provide further evidence to the Divine’s existence and influence.

Those conditioned by material life and the influence of the senses will not be able to see things properly. Rather than acknowledge the Creator, the original Divine Being who may be addressed by different names in different traditions but still nevertheless exists, the curious mind will try to study the inner workings of inert matter and how various species interact with it. To further their pursuit, the inquisitive souls lacking God consciousness are given full facility to explore the workings of nature, a chase which brings temporary gains that stimulate the mind. Rather than study the man who created the sun, the mind driven by an undeveloped consciousness will look to understand the properties of the sunrays and what molecules are contained within. After increasing their knowledge on the matter, they will then look to harness the energy coming from the sunlight for the advancement of their personal delights, even though the heat of the sun is itself the greatest comfort, the sustainer of life.

Being further illusioned by their discoveries into the workings of external nature, the same individual drifts further and further away from understanding God. When asked about the existence of a higher power, there will be great skepticism, as the dedicated scientist sees no evidence of the Lord’s influence anywhere. After all, the sunshine and earthly elements are entirely composed of various molecules, so unless one can show great ability at manipulating and creating these elements, they can’t be deemed a superior entity. One who knows how to build a spaceship or an airplane is a powerful figure, not the species which already knows how to fly using the body it was given by nature. Members of the animal kingdom can do many things that human beings can’t do, yet no one would ever say that they are more adept or more intelligent than humans are. But when a human being, after much study and physical effort, can replicate a tiny feature naturally exercised by an unintelligent animal, they are praised as having made tremendous progress in the evolution towards a better life.

big bangOnly in the human form of body can intelligence be used to appreciate the true miracles of the surrounding nature that take place every single day. Those who believe the universe and all its species came into existence due to a collision of chemicals have no way of reproducing the same purported reactions using the same set of elements. The chemical explosion theory of creation also doesn’t explain the origin of the chemicals. From where did the elements required for collision come? By taking matter to be the supreme worshipable object, the atheist leaves no tangible base of authority to guide man’s conduct. Without a central authority figure, any and all activity becomes acceptable, as long as it doesn’t prove immediately detrimental to the individual making the judgment. Piety can never be universal under this model because wherefrom would anyone get their authority to tell others how to live? Yet the scientists make precisely these types of assessments by confidently asserting that there is no God. But if we used their own mentally concocted model of creation, these genius deliberators would have to be considered mere collections of chemicals anyway, so why should we believe anything they say? While the spiritualist is rejected by the scientist as being a believer in something that can’t be proven, the rational thinker will rightfully consider the scientist to be a sycophant of their senses and the observations drawn from them, perceptions which, by definition, will be faulty many times over, as to ere is human.

Aside from using the authority of the Vedas or any other set of scriptures to realize the intelligent design behind the creation, we can also take the non-randomness of many of nature’s workings. For instance, the sun rises and sets at regular intervals wherever one lives. The calendar year is another regular measurement that points to the predictable movement of the various planets around the sun. The seasons, which are set weather patterns, also show intelligence, as during certain times of the year the average temperatures are guaranteed to be hotter or colder than normal. The wise person will attribute the intelligence of nature to its creator: God. One deluded by ignorance and led astray by the inner workings of material science, a discipline which has historically had drastic shifts in conclusions, will be left to look for other miracles as evidence of God’s existence.

“In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.8)

Krishna's adventsIronically enough, even when the Supreme Lord does descend to earth and perform such miracles, the miscreants still won’t believe it. What to speak of those who take the accounts of such historical events to be mythology, there are many who personally witness these awesome exhibitions of strength and knowledge and still don’t believe in the performer’s superiority. Lord Krishna, the original Personality of Godhead, the all-blissful master of the universe, kindly descends to earth in every millennium during the Dvapara Yuga, the third time period of creation. Since we currently live in the last yuga, Kali, the accounts of the most recently completed Dvapara Yuga are contained in various books like the Mahabharata and Shrimad Bhagavatam. The compiler of these works, Vyasadeva, wrote so much literature about Krishna and His expansions that the dull-headed fools of today posit theories that Vyasadeva did not exist. Not only do they take the accounts of events contained within these works to be mythology, but they take Vyasadeva himself to be a mythical character, one who couldn’t possibly have written so many wonderful Sanskrit poems.

Evidence of Vyasadeva’s existence is not only proven by the splendid nature of the works he compiled, but also by the seemingly miraculous efforts of his followers. In recent times, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, an acharya following in the line of disciplic succession descending from Vyasadeva, authored a similarly ridiculous amount of literature, most of which was compiled after the swami had reached seventy years of age. Fortunately for humanity, the swami’s daily activities, lectures and conversations were recorded and preserved on distributable media. Therefore, no sane man can legitimately claim that Prabhupada didn’t write all of the books that he did in such a short amount of time. Surely the miscreants would have liked to believe that Shrila Prabhupada was also a mythical character who couldn’t have compiled such transcendentally sound and bliss-evoking literature over so few years, but due to the preponderance of evidence available, such claims can never hold any water.

“The Trinavarta demon who took baby Krishna on his shoulder went high in the sky, but the baby assumed such a weight that suddenly he could not go any further, and he had to stop his whirlwind activities. Baby Krishna made Himself heavy and began to weigh down the demon.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 7)

Krishna and the Trinavarta demonPrabhupada’s amazing effort validates the existence of Vyasadeva and the ability of any individual, provided they are pure enough at heart, to write volumes and volumes of work describing Krishna and devotion to Him, which is known as bhakti. The Shrimad Bhagavatam, the crown jewel of Vedic literature, especially details Krishna’s seemingly miraculous feats. As a small child living in the town of Vrindavana, He battled and defeated many of the most powerful demons the world had ever seen. As a small infant, He was hoisted into the sky by a demon named Trinavarta, who was trying to kill Krishna by trapping Him in a tornado. Though in an infant’s body, Krishna killed the demon and managed to land safely back on the ground. Krishna similarly subdued a powerful and venomous snake named Kaliya and lifted a gigantic hill and held it above His head for seven consecutive days to protect the residents of Vrindavana from the onslaught of rain triggered by an envious Lord Indra from the heavenly planets.

These events prove Krishna’s divine nature and also bring great pleasure to the devotees, those sincere souls who need no further evidence of Krishna’s existence. Sudama Vipra, a poor brahmana, once went to visit Krishna while He was ruling as the king of Dvaraka. Sudama’s wife asked him to visit Krishna to seek some benediction from Him. The two friends, Sudama and Krishna, attended the same gurukula, or school of the spiritual master, in their youth, so Sudama felt a little ashamed to ask the Lord for any personal benediction, but due to his wife’s persuasion he went anyway. After reluctantly offering a small quantity of chipped rice to Krishna, Sudama returned home. While walking back home after leaving the royal palace, Sudama couldn’t help but think of the Lord’s merciful nature and His great kindness. Upon approaching his home, he saw that his house had been converted into an opulent palace, full of every amenity possible. Sudama, knowing that only Krishna could have done this, felt supremely grateful and awe-stricken at the fact that simply by offering a little chipped rice to the one person who is need of nothing such a benediction could be received.

“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 9.26)

Krishna eatingThough Krishna already gives us so much in the form of food, family, friends, shelter and the ability to hear His names and pastimes, it is the nature of the individual entities residing on earth to neglect this mercy, or at least to not appreciate it to the fullest. The rain provided by the cloud created by Krishna gives sustenance to the farmer, but he is always thinking that he needs more and more to maintain his livelihood. Meanwhile, if one offers something as simple as fruit or water to Krishna, the whole world becomes satisfied. The man who has everything and is served by the goddess of fortune herself accepts any small offering made out of love and devotion. Through this behavior Krishna automatically becomes the most magnanimous, kind-hearted, merciful and generous of all entities. These qualities only further support His unwavering position as the Supreme Lord for all of humanity.

Goswami Tulsidas, a celebrated poet and devotee of God, makes a similar observation to prove God’s existence. Tulsidas says that Rama, who is another form of Krishna, is certainly God because all the necessities in life are relatively inexpensive and highly abundant, while all the things we don’t need are expensive and rare to find. This is quite a brilliant observation because generally the reverse viewpoint is adopted. Those items which are rare and not readily found are considered valuable and thus become expensive, whereas abundant items are deemed worthless enough to throw away at times. Things like water, grains, fruits and milk are actually necessary to sustain life, to maintain the vital force within the body. Whenever these items become expensive, man has to suffer. Indeed, due to the large natural abundance of life’s necessities, we see that shortages can only occur wherever the influence of the demon class is strong. Otherwise, even the animal community has no problem securing basic necessities, which are readily provided by the Supreme Lord.

Lord Krishna Expensive items such as gold, jewelry, and more recently things like heavy machinery and fancy electronic gadgets, are not necessary for maintaining life. Krishna has kindly made these items more expensive and less in supply than water, milk and grains for our benefit. From the observations of Tulsidas and Sudama Vipra, we see that the indications of God’s existence and kind nature are endless. One simply has to clear their vision through steady practice of bhakti to be able to see and appreciate all of these miracles of nature. Of all of God’s energies, benedictions and direct exhibitions of strength and power, there is no greater miracle than the potency packed into the transcendental sound vibration that represents His original and complete feature. The name of God, when recited regularly and without any ulterior motive, brings one directly into the presence of the Supreme Spirit. The same cannot be said of the recitation of the name of any other object, spiritual or material. By chantingHare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”, one can produce God right in front of them and enjoy His association. The name brings all the forms, pastimes and qualities of the Divine, and since there is no charge for chanting mantras that call out to Krishna, there is no financial limitation placed on the ability to see God and appreciate His mercy. By taking to bhakti as a way of life, Krishna’s miracles are seen, appreciated and enjoyed every single day.