“You are the original Personality, the Godhead. You are the only sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You know everything, and You are all that is knowable. You are above the material modes. O limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.38)Download this episode (right click and save)
tvam ādi-devaḥ puruṣaḥ purāṇas
tvam asya viśvasya paraṁ nidhānam
vettāsi vedyaṁ ca paraṁ ca dhāma
tvayā tataṁ viśvam ananta-rūpa
How many people do we know who have actually seen God? If they were to say that they have seen Him, how many of those people would we actually believe? The numbers are small, which makes accepting genuine spiritual life rather difficult. Nevertheless, it takes just one person seeing, and then remembering and sharing with others, to get confirmation.
We can think of it like a hunt for a treasure. The pursuit continues for as long as the treasure has not been found. In the meantime, there is the possibility that the treasure doesn’t exist. After all, everyone is still searching. No one has reached the coveted end. Once completed, though, the doubt vanishes. The reality is there for everyone to see.
The bona fide spiritual master of the Vedic tradition confidently says that they have seen God. They know what He looks like, what He desires, what He does for fun, where He lives, where He wanders to, and what He wishes from those who are connected with Him. The spiritual master does not talk in vague, abstract terms, either. They can describe God endlessly, day after day, year after year.
They use timeless Vedic classics like the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam as evidence. After all, man is born into delusion. He needs the help of his fellow man to survive in the early years. This means that at some point even the self-realized soul had no direct perception of God; at least to their recollection.
The bona fide spiritual master learned from their own teacher. The chain goes all the way up to the Supreme Lord Himself, who sometimes descends to earth to reinstitute the principles of dharma, to help those who are trying to stay within virtue and religiosity. Simultaneously, He annihilates the miscreants, those who deny the existence of God and use force to try to prevent others from ever seeing Him.
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge
“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)
Despite the assurances, anyone can say anything. Why should I believe the words of the guru? Why should I trust that they have seen God? The Vedic tradition is unique in that God describes Himself in so many places. In the Bhagavad-gita He explains the conditions for His appearances on earth. He explains how He lives inside of everyone in an unmanifest form known as the Supersoul. Before the eyes of the devoted souls are His manifest forms, like Krishna, Vishnu, and Rama.
There is also the testimony of Arjuna. He was face to face with Krishna on so many occasions. He offered direct words of praise when He realized the divine nature of his friend and cousin. Arjuna explained in detail the supreme standing of the origin of the creation, the all-attractive one who is known by so many names, across so many different time periods. From Arjuna alone, doubts as to what God looks like and how one can serve Him in lifetime after lifetime are removed.
Since vision of the Divine without,
Of His existence itself a doubt.
With my eyes haven’t seen yet,
But actually from guru the vision to get.
Their guru too, up the chain ascending,
Supreme Himself sometimes to world descending.
Arjuna saw and then praise in detail gave,
His testimony our valuable time to save.