108 Ways of Glorifying The Lord - Part 4

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

We have been meditating on glorifying the Lord in the offerings titled, "108 Ways of Glorifying the Lord". In the previous offering on this topic we saw that:

1. The words spoken by the Lord are apaurusheya.
2. Since Lord spoke the Vedas, the Vedas are apaurusheya too.
3. The Lord keeps His promise.

We shall continue to meditate on the next glorification.

Glorification 6: The Lord has inconceivable potencies: It is mentioned in Sri Isopanishad Mantra 4-5:

anejad ekaṁ manaso javīyo
nainad devā āpnuvan pūrvam arṣat
tad dhāvato ’nyān atyeti tiṣṭhat
tasminn apo mātariśvā dadhāti

tad ejati tan naijati tad dūre tad v antike
tad antar asya sarvasya tad u sarvasyāsya bāhyataḥ

Although fixed in His abode, the Personality of Godhead is swifter than the mind and can overcome all others running. The powerful demigods cannot approach Him. Although in one place, He controls those who supply the air and rain. He surpasses all in excellence. The Supreme Lord walks and does not walk. He is far away, but He is very near as well. He is within everything, and yet He is outside of everything.

1. Swifter than the mind: The mind is considered to be the fastest in terms of processing the thoughts. The modern aeroplanes (fighter planes) run at a max of 10 thousand kms per hour and they are considered fastest-moving material objects. Whereas, the mind can travel at thousands of Kms in a split second. For e.g. if one is in the U.S and he thinks of his house in India, he can immediately reach there and can picture everything in the house without having to physically travel to India. The speed of light in a vacuum is approx. 186, 282 miles/sec, but as explained by Srila Prabhupada in a lecture(SB, 5.5.1-8, Stockholm, Sep 8, 1973) the speed of mind is even greater than light or air. Also, the speed of light reduces drastically when travelling through transparent materials like glass, air, etc. Light speed in air is 90Km/sec. Whereas, the speed of mind is independent of the medium. But as mentioned in the above verse the Lord is even swifter than the mind which means He is the fastest of all.

2. Fixed in His abode but controls everything: As mentioned in Brahma Samhita 5.37, the Lord resides in His transcendental abode known as Goloka. He engages in His pastimes there and yet by His inconceivable potencies He can reach and control every part of His creative energy. This is only possible by the inconceivable potency of the Lord. Otherwise, it is impossible for anybody else to stay in one place and also able to reach and control any other parts of the world, universe and other planets especially the spiritual world. This is compared to the fire. As explained in the Vishnu Purana (1.22.53) the fire is situated in one place but it emits illumination (light) and heat at some distance. Another example can be given of the Sun. The Sun is situated in one place but it emits light and heat to all other planets. Similarly, the Lord although situated in His abode can diffuse His different energies everywhere.

3. Walks, but does not walk: One would say this is contradictory. Ordinarily if one can walk, it would be illogical to say that he cannot walk. But, in the reference of the Lord, such a contradiction simply proves the point that the Lord has inconceivable potencies. In this regard, there is a pastime of Srila Prabhupada which should clarify the contradiction. Once Srila Prabhupada was walking with his 4 years old son at night time. The little boy noticed the moon in the sky and he saw that the moon was following them wherever they went. The little boy asked Prabhupada, "oh father, why is the moon coming with us? Prabhupada said to him, "This is very intelligent, Yes. Although the moon is not leaving its position (apart from revolving around itself) it appears to be moving with us." Similarly if one is travelling in a car or a train, one can feel that the moon or the sun is following. So if a material object can walk and not walk at the same time, it's fully possible for the Lord to stay in His own abode and at the same time be present everywhere.

4. He is far away, but He is very near as well: The Lord is present in the spiritual sky which is located beyond the material sky far far away. We cannot even surpass the material sky then what to speak of reaching the spiritual sky. But, despite being so far away if the Lord desires He can at once come in this material world in front of us. A very simple example can be found in the purport of Bhagavad Gita verse 12.5. "We find many mailboxes on the street and if we post our letters in one of these mailboxes they will naturally reach the destination. But any unauthorized mailbox will not work in the same way. Similarly, the Lord has an authorized representation in the Deity form (archa-vigraha). The Lord accepts service through the deity form. In this way, He is near in the form of archa-vigraha."

5. He is within everything, and yet He is outside of everything: In Brahma Samhita 5.35 it is said that Govinda, the primeval Lord enters everything by His plenary portion. He enters the universes as well as the atoms of the universe. He is outside in His Virat form and within everything as antaryami. In Bhagavad Gita verse 9.4 Lord Krishna says, "By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them." The fact that the Lord is present within everything was proved by Himself when He appeared out of a palace pillar which was shattered by Hiranyakashipu. Prahlad Maharaj was asked by his father as to, 'Where is your God?' Prahlad Maharaj answered, "He resides everywhere." Srila Prabhupada gives a very simple example to understand this in the purport of Bhagavad Gita verse 9.4. 'A king heads a government which is but the manifestation of the king's energy; the different governmental departments are nothing but the energies of the king, and each department is resting on the king's power. But still one cannot expect the king to be present in every department personally. That is a crude example. Similarly, all the manifestations that we see and everything that exists, both in this material world and in the spiritual world, are resting on the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead'.

Acintya Bhedabheda Tattva: To understand the perceived contradictions in the inconceivable potencies of the Lord, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the concept of "acintya bhedabheda tattva" or simultaneous oneness and difference joined by the inconceivable(acintya) power of God. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has explained that mutual contradictions can coexist through the inconceivable power of God. By accepting differences we can believe in our own individual existence, with the right to act and choose. By accepting oneness we can acknowledge the perfection that lies behind all the imperfection we perceive. The philosophy of acintya-bheda-abheda allows acceptance of seemingly contradictory statements in the Upanishads: statements of abheda, or impersonalism, and statements of bheda, or difference. Both types can be accepted, without resorting to the indirect interpretation of either type of statement.

Krishna willing, we shall continue our journey of glorifying the Lord in the upcoming emails.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Anand Patil,
Wellington, New Zealand