Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Five Angles Of Vision From Which To Understand God

[Krishna meditating]“Out of His many religious duties, the first was to offer oblations into the sacrificial fire and silently chant the Gayatri mantra. Lord Krishna, as the ideal householder, executed all the religious functions of a householder without deviation.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 15)

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In Vedic philosophy there is a teaching that no matter where a person stands with respect to desire, they should approach God the person instead of one of His deputies. Of course this contradicts other teachings, but that is an issue of time and circumstance and potential for understanding in the society at large. The deputies are known as devas, and they grant specific material desires. Even freedom from again having material desires, known as liberation, is a kind of desire. The idea is that from wherever point you come, approaching Bhagavan will be purifying. His association is beneficial for everyone.

Along similar lines, no matter a person’s angle of vision they can find a way to relate to God and appreciate Him. For this to happen, He must have attributes, saguna. In His nirguna feature, He pervades the entire creation, looking like He is unmanifest. Saguna is where there are different transcendental attributes that can be noticed, studied, and appreciated. He is always above the duality of the material nature, so nirguna and saguna are simply concepts for our understanding.

In whichever way I choose to identify myself, I can relate that identification to God. He is full of transcendental goodness, shudda-sattva.

1. Animal lover

Let’s say that I am a big lover of animals. I keep many pets in the home. Dogs, cats, parrots, fish - you name it and I probably have it. I just feel so much love having these guys around. I don’t eat meat, as I am aware of the violence that goes into putting that on the dinner table. I love all animals, not just the ones that are cute and fuzzy.

Someone of this persuasion can easily find a friend in the Supreme Lord. One of His many names is Gopala. He is the protector of the cows in Vrindavana, both of this world and the spiritual planets. The cows are especially dear to Him since they help humanity. The aid arrives through pure love; the cow gives milk simply upon seeing the calves.

[Krishna with cows]The name Gopala means that Krishna is the protector of the cows. He loves other animals as well, including parrots, bees and deer. Indeed, all life forms are intimately tied to Him. Shri Krishna can be understood to be the greatest lover of animals.

2. Business tycoon

Whenever a new deal is in the works, I get this rush of adrenaline through my body. I’m guessing it’s similar to what Olympic athletes feel when competing for a gold medal. Though I have so many successes already under my belt, I love adding on. They say that if your business isn’t growing, you’re in trouble.

Though typically equated with the material mode of passion, this kind of greed can translate to God as well. He is the wealthiest person in the world. This is true by definition, as He is married to Lakshmi Devi, who is the goddess of fortune. In the spiritual world anything can manifest at any time, as limitations are absent. In Vaikuntha, one minus one can equal five. This is the magic of the spiritual energy.

Evidence of Krishna’s amazing opulence was seen in Dvaraka, where He ruled as king. This was a beautiful kingdom, built by the architect of the demigods, Vishvakarma. The buildings weren’t considered opulent due to running water, electricity, or internet facility. Rather, there was real wealth, where gold and jewels were everywhere. Such palaces would be impossible to create today. Dvaraka, the city of gates in the sea, shows how Krishna can expand His empire as much as He desires, more than the mind can fathom.

3. Ascetic

I am the opposite of the just mentioned group. I don’t want stuff. I can’t handle managing so many things. My head starts to spin. I’d rather have as little as possible. This spirit is known as renunciation, tyaga in Sanskrit.

There are so many paradoxes found in God, and this area is one of them. Despite being the ruler of the opulent kingdom of Dvaraka, Krishna is completely renounced. He is the greatest ascetic. Evidence can be seen from His daily routine. He would regularly arise early in the morning and chant the Gayatri mantra. Though He has no need for asceticism, He shows the proper example for others to follow.

[Krishna meditating]Indeed, in His incarnation of Shri Rama, the Supreme Lord left behind an opulent kingdom to live like a recluse in the forest for fourteen years. A person can relate to God’s devotees as well, such as King Janaka. He was another perfectly renounced person living as ruler of a great kingdom. He worked, but wasn’t attached to the results of his work.

4. Bookworm

I love to read. Books are my real friends. They are always there for me. When I’m reading, the conversation doesn’t get interrupted. I can sit down with the author and not have anyone judge me. It is my preferred method of gathering wisdom. I’ve made a test of it. In comparison to days where I mostly watched television, the days spent reading made me feel so much better afterwards.

This identification translates very well to Shri Krishna, who is responsible for the vast wealth of knowledge given to mankind through Vedic literature. A person’s reading can be both omnivorous and voluminous when accessing the many works of the Vedic tradition.

“I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge both phenomenal and noumenal, by knowing which there shall remain nothing further to be known.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.2)

If a person prefers to simply read one book over and over, there is the perfect candidate in the Bhagavad-gita. This is a short work, but it has everything needed to be known. Krishna makes precisely that claim to Arjuna in one of the verses.

5. Thief

How can a person who follows adharma, or sinful life, relate to Krishna? He is the antithesis of sin. He is virtue personified. As mentioned before, God is above the duality of the material world. Even when He appears to do something bad, the ultimate result is a benefit to everyone involved.

In this way even the thief can relate to Krishna. The Supreme Lord is the best thief. In Vrindavana, He stole butter from the homes of the neighbors. He did this repeatedly, even after they tried to hide their stocks up high in the storerooms. Krishna is all-pervading, so He knows where everything is.

“I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.36)

Krishna mentions in the Bhagavad-gita that of the cheats, He is gambling. Basically, if cheating is what gets a person ahead in something, Krishna will be the best at it. Gambling gives life to the cheat, and Krishna is identical with that essence.

Another example the unethical person can appreciate is the time Krishna fled from the battlefield. Jarasandha had attacked Mathura so many times. On the last attempt, Krishna and His brother Balarama fled. This earned Krishna the name Ranchor.

No matter a person’s temporary identification, they can find a way to relate to God. Even the drunkard can stay conscious of Krishna. When they indulge in their beverage of choice, they can remember that Krishna is the taste. The all-merciful one knows that there is variety in the material world, and so no one is shut out from making advancement in spiritual life.

In Closing:

People from persuasions different coming,

Can relate to Krishna, more conscious becoming.

 

Lover of animals to Gopala and cows zone,

Business tycoon to Dvaraka and palaces to own.

 

Ascetic to Lord’s daily chanting,

And to bookworm Bhagavad-gita granting.

 

From Ranchor even one given to theft,

Something for everyone, behind no one left.