“O son of Kunti [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.8)
“It was the darnedest thing. I had a tough day at the office. So much work was piling up. People were coming at me nonstop. As soon as I finished one task, I checked my email and I had at least five more new requests. At one point I had so many things to do that I didn’t know which one to start first. So I just sat there and did nothing for like five minutes. The burden was great, and I was only saved by the bell of quitting time. Finally, the emails would stop. No more requests until tomorrow.
“When I drove home, things didn’t look so great. It was a little chilly, and there was a cloud cover. Then on the highway there was a lot of traffic. There was an accident here and a lane shut down there. Then the amazing thing happened. While traffic was stopped, I decided to look into the horizon. No reason for doing this other than to try to forget my frustration for a minute or two.
“What I saw was beyond belief. It was the dark raincloud. It had a unique color. It was unlike anything else. Immediately, I thought to myself, ‘Krishna. This is Krishna.’ I’ve heard it described many times that the Supreme Personality of Godhead pointed out in the Vedas has a bluish complexion. Obviously we don’t see too many blue-skinned people, so more descriptions are given to back up the claim. It is said that Krishna looks like the tamala tree. But this tree is only found in India, and there are just a few of them left. Therefore I don’t really know what this tree looks like.
“The most common comparison made is to the dark raincloud. There are so many clouds, however. How will I know which one is Krishna? Up until this point I just accepted it on faith. I had no reason to doubt the words of the authorized texts like the Shrimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. I believed what I heard, but I didn’t really understand until I saw that cloud today. I knew it was Krishna. I must have seen a cloud like that many times before, but lately I’ve been practicing bhakti-yoga a lot. I’ve always been interested in hearing the tales of the divine, but I’ve been a little more serious since I’ve learned the life story of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He gave up everything enjoyable in life so that others could enjoy the association of the bluish Krishna. From his dedication I’ve been inspired to chant, ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,’ on a regular basis. And now today I believe I have received the fruit of my chanting. I have seen Krishna in the sky.”
In philosophical works we find so many statements that are difficult to apply to the modern times. The Vedas are considered the oldest books of knowledge in existence. Therefore so many comparisons found in them seem strange to us. For instance, in describing a beautiful woman it is said that she walks like a mad elephant [gaja gamini]. What does this mean exactly? Why is a woman walking like an elephant a good thing? In other places it is described that a woman who is excited to meet her lover dances like the peahen. How many of us have actually seen a peahen to know what this means? In other places when describing how a fiend was warded off, the comparison is made to the lion scaring away an elephant with its roar. A lion can defeat an elephant? That seems strange.
“(Hanuman did not see Sita) who was aggrieved over the separation from her husband, whose throat was choked up with tears, whose neck was adorned with the most valuable golden jewelry, who had lovely eyelashes, who had a sweet voice, and was like a peahen dancing in the forest (when with her husband). (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 5.25)
And yet these descriptions are all valid, and they are tied together by the singular purpose of explaining God. That explanation is valuable because every person is seeking out God. Every person is looking for perfection in all areas of opulence. The atheist seeks out God in the material nature, and as a result the highest force they know of is death. The person who is spiritual in mind but not very advanced in knowledge sees God in the non-differentiated energy known as Brahman. The person who meditates sees God’s manifestation within the heart. The devotee sees God in His personal form, where He has bodily features that can be understood through comparisons and descriptions.
The original form is considered to have a bluish hue. It is very difficult to understand this, and yet through observing nature with the right frame of mind one can indeed see God. The Supreme Lord can also be seen in the sunlight, tasted in the water, and heard through sound. These things are told to us by God Himself in the Bhagavad-gita, which is a summary of Vedic teachings presented by God in His original form of Krishna.
“I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.9)
Since we are born into the darkness of ignorance, it is difficult to comprehend how God can be seen in the nature around us. Everything we know of is flawed to some degree. The material nature is also considered to be without life. Water is without a soul, as is heat. Therefore how can God be represented in these things? Through enough practice in bhakti-yoga, however, one can see God everywhere. One can see Him in both the thief and the priest. One can see Him in the cow and the elephant.
His influence spreads everywhere, and yet He still has an original home. The light of this universe emanates from that realm, where the Supreme Lord lives in a self-effulgent body. There is no need for external lighting in that land, as Krishna provides all the illumination necessary. That dark raincloud in the sky is poised to pour down life-sustaining water, and in the same way one who sees it and thinks of Krishna is ready to revive their dormant spiritual consciousness and return to the Lord’s realm in the afterlife, where due to the absence of miseries the apt name of Vaikuntha is given.
At office today had to go the extra yard,
Fatigued from having worked so hard.
Stuck in traffic let out hopeless sigh,
Then looked out into dusk’s sky.
Dark raincloud triggered unique thought,
Complexion of Krishna, image of God brought.
Previously same reaction from vision not there,
Only now since chanting with attention and care.