A Matter of Scale

Periodic table“He is an undifferentiated entity as there is no distinction between potency and the possessor thereof. In His work of creation of millions of worlds, His potency remains inseparable. All the universes exist in Him and He is present in His fullness in every one of the atoms that are scattered throughout the universe, at one and the same time. Such is the primeval Lord whom I adore.” (Brahma-samhita, 5.35)

Brahma-samhita 5.35The ant is very tiny. It is so small that sometimes we can’t even recognize it. And yet it is moving on its own. Though its mass isn’t so great, whatever it does possess can be used to maintain the body. To the ant the dog is very large. The dog is like a humungous being, something incomprehensible. It looks like a giant-type figure, something out of a dream. And yet the dog is the same as the ant in that it has its own mass. That mass consists of so many atoms. The number of atoms is greater in the dog, and so the dog appears much larger than the ant.

The human being is larger than the dog, and in the same way it too is a collection of atoms. This point is not disputed. In fact, modern science relies on the study of these atoms to figure out how to treat the body. If there is a disease, it means that some atoms have entered and are fighting against other atoms already living there. If you inject some other atoms in the form of drug treatment, then the intruder atoms will go away. Sometimes treatment means the prohibition on certain atoms entering the body, like food and drinks.

Water moleculeWhen the time arrives for discussing God, the concept is so out of this world that it is relegated to the category of faith. “Science is for understanding what we can see. Faith is for understanding that which we cannot. Faith is for you to take comfort in, since you are so unsure of the afterlife, if there is even one. Your God may not be the same as my God, so naturally it is up to faith to decide. To each their own.”

In using the understanding of the atoms, however, we get a slight idea of who God is, something that goes beyond faith. In one view, He is merely the largest collection of atoms. The earth holds everything that we see right now. All the cats, dogs, ants, elephants, and human beings rest on the earth. The earth has its own atoms as well, and so we can just imagine how complex the earth is. And yet we wouldn’t consider the earth’s existence to be a matter of faith, would we? We wouldn’t say that your earth is different from my earth. That would be silly.

“Just as within the earth are found every kind of seed and within the sky live all the stars, Tulsidas knows that Shri Rama’s holy name is the reservoir of all dharma.” (Dohavali, 29)

So now take the earth and add all the planets and the entire outer space to the equation and you further progress in understanding God. He is the complete whole, the largest collection of atoms. This view is confirmed in the Vedas, the oldest scriptural tradition known to man. As a Sanskrit word, the Vedas mean “knowledge.” They don’t mean faith. There would be no use in putting trust in something that may or may not be true.

“All the universes in seed are emanating from the breathing of the Maha-Vishnu, who is but part of a partial expansion of the Lord, and all the universes presided over by the Brahmas vanish when the Maha-Vishnu withdraws His great breath. In this way, the material worlds are being created and vanished by the supreme will of the Lord.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.1.25 Purport)

Lord VishnuThe Vedas say that God is originally a personality. He then expands into other powerful personalities to carry out various functions. As Maha-Vishnu, He breathes out and from the innumerable pores on His body so many universes come. Those universes, which are just collections of atoms, emanate from the largest collection of atoms there is. Indeed, God is the origin of all matter and spirit.

The realization of God as the sum total of all atoms is known as Brahman. It is a basic concept that one who is not even spiritually inclined can slightly conjure up. They may not know that it is called Brahman, but they will understand that since everything is God eventually, everyone is equal to some degree. That equality comes from the fact that within each atom is the Supreme Lord’s presence. This further realization is known as Paramatma, which translates to mean “supersoul.” The sum total is a representation of God and so is the individual, both of which are rooted in the original personality, who is Bhagavan.

So denying God need not be the standard practice. From basic observation of the nature around us, so much of the spiritual component can be appreciated. For that appreciation to reach its most mature stage, one can hear more about Bhagavan, as He is described in famous Vedic texts and by the saints who are familiar with them. From that hearing, one learns that all the rules and regulations of spiritual life are meant to keep one always God conscious, for in that state one is not only wise but very happy as well.

Instead of needing to frantically chase after material enjoyment, one learns that the living entity can stay satisfied with very little. Not that there should be forced austerity to cause pain, but when one is fully immersed in God consciousness, so many desires and objects serve only to distract the mind. If my primary desire is to chant the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” and I’m eating fine right now with a comfortable enough housing situation, what need do I have for change? Not that the change will necessarily hurt me, but once I progress to somewhere else, who is to say that I will be happier? And in the process I might jeopardize my steady devotional service, or bhakti-yoga.

maha-mantraThe supreme juggling act of managing many situations simultaneously can only be done by the origin of matter and spirit. For His innumerable children, the diminished ability requires that a choice be made: either go down the divine route or stay on the material one. The material route means difficulty in understanding even basic things. It means remaining blind to the spiritual presence, which lasts beyond the temporary material manifestation. The spiritual route means finding real knowledge, extending beyond the concept of faith and travelling towards firm conviction in the supporting hand of the greatest maintainer, the Supreme Lord.

In Closing:

With science the atom to see,

Know that present in all that be.


That understanding then extend,

To complete vision knowledge send.


With all atoms God generating seed,

Creates universes when out to breathe.


God in all, come closer and closer,

To Bhagavan and become full knower.


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