The Process of God Realization - Part 1

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

Recently I came across an interesting story in relation with God realization.A King had a very intelligent minister who could answer all types of questions. The King once asked his minister a question, "If God exists and is present everywhere, why we are not able to see Him? Can you practically prove this point?". The minister was very knowledgeable in all branches of knowledge except spiritual science. So he couldn't answer this question. He asked for one week time and tried to find out the answer himself and failed. The servant of the minister, who was a sincere devotee of the Lord, noticed that his master was worried and asked what happened. The minister explained everything and the servant said, "Don't worry master. I will answer the King tomorrow". The next day the servant went to the palace in royal robes and the King asked the same question. Immediately, the servant asked for a vessel full of milk. When the milk arrived, the servant asked the King, "Can you show me the butter which is present in this milk?". The King was unable to answer. The servant asked, "Ok. At least can you show me where is the butter in this pot of milk?". The King couldn't answer. The servant said, "Actually butter is present everywhere in the milk. But we cannot see it with our naked eyes, because it is present in a very subtle form. To extract it, the milk has to be boiled, curdled (adding curd to the boiled milk) and churned. In the same way, God is present in every atom of the creation. But to see Him we need to qualify ourselves by hearing about Him (boiling the milk), associating with devotees who can transform our lives (curdling the milk to transform into curd) and constant remembrance of Him by chanting His holy names and glories (Churning our consciousness). When we are purified by these processes, we can see Him by His Grace". The King was wonder struck and very happy to hear this practical explanation. This point is very nicely explained in the Vedic language as follows.(Svetasvatara Upanishad I-16)

sarvavyāpinam ātmānaṃ kṣīre sarpir ivārpitam
ātmavidyātapomūlaṃ tad brahmopaniṣatparaṃ tad brahmopaniṣatparam

As butter is present in milk (completely pervading it), the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is attained by spiritual knowledge and devotional service, is present everywhere (He is All pervading). This Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supreme Truth declared by the Upanishad. This is the Supreme Truth declared by the Upanishad.

That is why in the Bhagavata purana we find many verses stressing on seeing God through our ears first. When we are thoroughly purified by this process of hearing and chanting, we can see the Lord who is pleased with our devotional service. This is confirmed by Lord Brahma in his prayers as follows.(3.9.11)

tvaṁ bhakti-yoga-paribhāvita-hṛt-saroja
āsse śrutekṣita-patho nanu nātha puṁsām
yad-yad-dhiyā ta urugāya vibhāvayanti
tat-tad-vapuḥ praṇayase sad-anugrahāya

O my Lord, Your devotees can see You through the ears by (shrutekshita) the process of bona fide hearing, and thus their hearts become cleansed, and You take Your seat there. You are so merciful to Your devotees that You manifest Yourself in the particular eternal form of transcendence in which they always think of You.

In the commentary Srila Prabhupada explains this as follows. "Here in this verse it is particularly mentioned: tvam bhakti yoga paribhaavita. This indicates the efficiency achieved through execution of matured devotional service, or premaa, love of Godhead. This state of premaa is achieved by the gradual process of development from faith to love. On faith, one associates with bona fide devotees, and by such association one can become engaged in bonafide devotional service, which includes proper initiation and the execution of the primary devotional duties prescribed in the revealed scriptures. This is clearly indicated herein by the word shrutekshita. The shrutekshita path is to hear from bona fide devotees who are conversant with Vedic wisdom, free from mundane sentiment. By this bonafide hearing process, the neophyte devotee becomes cleansed of all material rubbish, and thus he becomes attached to one of the many transcendental forms of the Lord, as described in the Vedas."

In the Caitanya Caritamrta also Srila Prabhupada beautifully explains the above verse with the following words. "The word shruta in shrutekshita-pathah refers to the Vedas, and ikshita indicates that the way to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead is by proper study of the Vedic scriptures. One cannot imagine something about God or His form. Such imagination is not accepted by those who are serious about enlightenment. Here Brahma says that one can know Krishna through the path of properly understanding the Vedic texts. If by studying the form, name, qualities, pastimes and paraphernalia of the Supreme Godhead one is attracted to the Lord, he can execute devotional service, and the form of the Lord will be impressed in his heart and remain transcendentally situated there. Unless a devotee actually develops transcendental love for the Lord, it is not possible for him to think always of the Lord within his heart. Such constant thought of the Lord is the sublime perfection of the yogic process, as the Bhagavad-gita confirms in the Sixth Chapter (verse 47), stating that anyone absorbed in such thought is the best of all yogis. Such transcendental absorption is known as Samadhi. A pure devotee who is always thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the person qualified to see the Lord. The Lord expands Himself in innumerable svamsa forms. When a devotee, hearing about these innumerable forms, becomes attached to one and always thinks of Him, the Lord appears to him in that form."

So even though the Lord is beyond the vision of the material senses and mind, if one follows the bonafide process of devotional service and develops pure love, then one can see Him. In the present conditional state also one can see Him through the ears (by the process of hearing). Srila Prabhupada's great contribution is that he has propagated the process of hearing and chanting all over the world so that wherever we go we have the facility to chant and hear about the Lord and in this way become qualified to see Him.

Krishna willing we will see the next example cited by the minister's servant to convince the King about God's existence and the process of realizing Him.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das
Chennai.