The Process of God Realization - Part 2

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

This is in continuation of the offering "Process of God Realization" that was sent yesterday. We'll see the next illustration given by the minister's servant to demonstrate the process of God realization to the King. The servant asked the King to arrange for a two pieces of fire wood (called the 'arani' stick). He asked the King, "Can you please show me the fire inside this fire wood?" The King was unable to answer. The servant then arranged for the two pieces to be placed one over the other and started churning them. (In the Vedic times, for sacrifices, fire was created by this method/chanting Vedic mantras. This method is called Hand drill method). After a few minutes of churning, fire manifested from the pieces of fire wood. The servant then said to the King, "O King, the fire is already present inside the fire wood, but not visible. When it is churned, the fire is manifested due to friction. In the same way, the Supreme God is present everywhere. We need to churn our consciousness by the process of devotional service and He will manifest in our hearts. For this, you need the guidance of a spiritual master, just as we need a person to teach/demonstrate us how to extract butter from milk and fire from firewood." This point is very well explained in the Vedas as follows - (Svetasvatara Upanishad I-14, 15)

vahner yathā yonigatasya mūrtir na dṛśyate naiva ca liṅganāśaḥ
sa bhūya evendhanayonigṛhyas tadvobhayaṃ vai praṇavena dehe
sva-deham aranim krtvā pranavam cottararanim
dhyāna-nirmathabhyāsād devam pasyen nigūdhavat

As the fire in wood cannot be seen, although it is present there, so the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be seen, although He is present, everywhere. As fire is manifest by rubbing sticks together, so the Supreme Personality of Godhead is manifest by chanting the sacred syllable Om. Making one's body the lower arani (fire wood) stick and the sacred syllable Om the upper arani (fire wood) stick, and rubbing them together in the trance of meditation, one can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead as by rubbing two sticks in the process of churning one can see the fire hidden in wood.

In the above verse, it is mentioned that one should meditate on the Pravana (Omkara) so that the Supreme Lord will manifest in our hearts. In Kali yuga, we are blessed with the Mahamantra

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

which includes the Omkara and the entire vibrations of the Vedas. Chanting Omkara involves so many rules and regulations whereas the Hare Krishna mantra can be chanted by anyone irrespective of any prior qualification. By chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra, we can perceive the Supreme Lord, who cannot be seen otherwise.

And the story ends like this. The King was very much impressed by these explanations of the minister's servant and amply rewarded the minister's servant. The minister felt ashamed for ignoring transcendental knowledge so far. He and the King then seriously adopted the process of devotional service (inspired by the minister's servant) and attained perfection in their lives.

Srimad Bhagavatam being the distilled essence of the Vedas contains the above example and Srila Prabhupada in his unparalleled commentary explains how one can perceive the Supreme Lord. SB 1.2.32

yathā hy avahito vahnir dāruṣv ekaḥ sva-yoniṣu
nāneva bhāti viśvātmā bhūteṣu ca tathā pumān

The Lord, as Supersoul, pervades all things, just as fire permeates wood, and so He appears to be of many varieties, though He is the absolute one without a second.

Srila Prabhupada comments "Lord Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by one of His plenary parts expands Himself all over the material world, and His existence can be perceived even within the atomic energy. Matter, antimatter, proton, neutron, etc., are all different effects of the Paramatma feature of the Lord. As from wood, fire can be manifested, or as butter can be churned out of milk, so also the presence of the Lord as Paramatma can be felt by the process of legitimate hearing and chanting of the transcendental subjects which are especially treated in the Vedic literatures like the Upanishads and Vedanta. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the bona fide explanation of these Vedic literatures. The Lord can be realized through the aural reception of the transcendental message, and that is the only way to experience the transcendental subject. As fire is kindled from wood by another fire, the divine consciousness of man can similarly be kindled by another divine grace. His Divine Grace the spiritual master can kindle the spiritual fire from the wood like living entity by imparting proper spiritual messages injected through the receptive ear. Therefore one is required to approach the proper spiritual master with receptive ears only, and thus divine existence is gradually realized. The difference between animality and humanity lies in this process only. A human being can hear properly, whereas an animal cannot."

It is the unique contribution of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva that he has brought people from different social and cultural backgrounds of the world into one family of devotees by the process of chanting and hearing the glories of the Supreme God. I pray at the lotus feet of the all merciful spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada and the Supreme Lord so that I will realize the importance of devotional service and perform it with a bit of seriousness.

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