108 Ways of Glorifying The Lord - Part 5

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, we saw that the Lord has inconceivable potencies; some of them are listed below -

a) He is swifter than the mind.
b) He is fixed in His abode but controls everything from there.
c) He walks but does not walk.
d) He is far away but He is very near as well.
e) He is within everything and yet He is outside of everything.

We shall continue to meditate on the next glorification.

Glorification 7: The Lord can only be known by devotion and faith

In the Bhagavad-Gita (10.2) the Lord says that not even the great rishis and demigods, suras can know Him. And what to speak of the asuras, for whom there is no question of understanding the ways of the Lord. If even the powerful demigods and great sages cannot understand the Lord by mental speculation, what is our position? The foolish scientists and speculators, who don't have even a tinge of devotion, try to speculate mentally for years and years and fail to understand the Lord. Srila Prabhupada states in the purport of Mantra four "In the Brahma-samhita (5.34) it is stated that even if a non-devotee philosopher travels through space at the speed of the wind or the mind for hundreds of millions of years, he will still find that the Absolute Truth is far, far away from him." So if the Lord cannot be understood by mental speculation, how does one go about understanding the Lord? The Lord has so many inconceivable potencies, but without having devotion and faith for the Lord we cannot understand any of these potencies. As mentioned in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.234:

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Sri Krishna through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.

In the Brahma-samhita (5.38) it is stated, premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti - one can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, always within himself and outside himself, if one has developed the transcendental loving attitude towards Him. Thus for people in general He is not visible. Here it is said that although He is all-pervading, everywhere present, He is not conceivable by the material senses. But actually, although we cannot see Him, everything is resting in Him.

Once Srila Narada Muni was travelling through a village and he came across a learned brahmin who was reading scriptures. Impressed by this Narada Muni stopped and asked him whether he regularly recited scriptures. To which the Brahmin proudly replied, "I get up early in the morning, take a bath, do my regular arti/archana of the Lord, and then recite scriptures regularly." To show off his knowledge he even recited many verses from the Vedas glorifying the Lord. Having seen this Narada Muni was very impressed and blessed the Brahmin. While he was leaving, the Brahmin asked Narada Muni if he could ask a question to Lord Krishna when he sees him next time. Narada muni said, "Definitely, what is your question?" The Brahmin responded, "When will I get liberated from birth and death?" Narada muni was pretty sure in his mind that the brahmin would get liberated pretty soon. He left the brahmin's house and carried forward. At some distance under a tree, Narada muni saw a cobbler singing various bhajans glorifying the Lord. He learnt from the people around that the cobbler was very poor but he would regularly worship the Lord and would spend part of his income daily for worshiping the Lord. Narada muni was impressed with the cobbler and blessed him as well. The cobbler asked the same question as the learned Brahmin.

After this Narada Muni went to Vaikuntha and met Lord Narayana. The Lord is very happy to meet His devotee. After exchanging obeisances and having glorified the Lord, Narada muni narrated his conversation with the brahmin and the cobbler. He asked the Lord when will the two get liberation. To this, the Lord answered, "The cobbler will be liberated at the end of his present life, whereas the brahmin has to go through a lot of births before liberation." Hearing this, Narada muni was surprised. He asked, How is this possible? The Lord promised that he will understand in due course of time. He asked Narada muni to go back and tell both of them that the Lord was threading an elephant through the eye of a needle.

Narada muni came back to the village and first went to the Brahmin. The Brahmin was very happy to see Narada muni again and after paying his obeisances and worshiping him he asked whether he met the Lord and what was the Lord doing? Narada muni said he did meet the Lord and that the Lord was threading an elephant through the eye of a needle. The Brahmin is astonished and says "That's impossible, I don't believe it. Don't talk rubbish." Narada Muni at once realised why the Brahmin won't be liberated immediately. He then visited the cobbler and the cobbler asked the same question. To which Narada Muni gave the same answer. Hearing this, tears started rolling from the eyes of the cobbler and he said, "My Lord is so wonderful, so great." Narada muni asked, "Did you believe that, and if so how?" The cobbler responded, "Certainly I believe you. I am sitting under a banyan tree and daily see that many many fruits fall from the tree. In each fruit there are many many seeds and each seed has the potential to grow into a big banyan tree. If the Lord can put such a big banyan tree into a small seed, is it difficult for the Lord to thread an elephant through the eye of a needle?" After saying this the cobbler started dancing in ecstasy and chanting the Lord's name. Narada muni at once understood why the cobbler would be liberated at the end of this life.

The moral of the story is that one should have strong faith and devotion in the Lord in order to understand and realize the Lord. If one does not have faith and simply reads the books, follows the rituals like the brahmin in the story, then the Lord will not reveal himself.

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.