“Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvan is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.4)
Friend1: Do you really think there is a God?
Friend2: Are you serious?
Friend1: No, no, I understand what you’re all about. I’ve read all the books, too. I know your philosophical conclusions. I must say, the knowledge I’ve found in works like the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam is unparalleled. I never thought religion could be so intellectual. Not only does this philosophy challenge my ability to comprehend, but it teaches me to think in ways I never considered before.
Friend2: So why are you asking me if there is a God or not?
Friend1: You don’t have any doubts? Not even a little?
Friend2: Maybe in the beginning, but certainly not now. After chanting the holy names for so long, I’ve developed a little faith. I’m by no means a liberated soul, but I have confidence in the existence of the Divine. I feel His presence in the name itself. Don’t you feel it too?
Friend1: By saying Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, certainly I feel something different. It’s a feeling of comfort, of security. It’s pleasure and enthusiasm mixed into that as well. It’s ecstasy really, especially if I’m not distracted by the mind while chanting.
Friend2: Right. So that is your proof. Why do you still harbor doubts?
Friend1: Well, I just know that if other people hear things like “Krishna lifting a giant hill with His pinky finger,” they’re going to think it’s mythology. And a blue God? They’ll say that it’s a legend. And in the worst case, they’ll tell me that I have no evidence for God’s existence. Science has proved God to be a myth, they’ll tell me.
Friend2: First off, what has science proved? There is no empirical evidence showing that chemicals are God. They can’t reproduce something simple like a sun, so why should we believe what they say about the origin of the creation? If chemicals made everything randomly, why not put some chemicals together in a laboratory and make a sun? I don’t need a big one, either. Just a tiny one will do. Make sure that it stays in place for eternity, that it never requires maintenance, and that it gives off heat and light without interruption.
Friend1: I see what you mean.
Friend2: And surely the brain of the scientist is superior to randomness? If you randomly put the parts together, you won’t get a smartphone. If you have the intelligent engineer, however, the same parts come together to make a very powerful device. So the intelligent scientist should be able to create on a much grander scale than the nature that supposedly operates on randomness.
Friend1: Okay, but how do you prove that Krishna is God? Or anyone for that matter – how can we believe their claims? People want to see God; then they’ll believe in Him.
Friend2: I agree with your claim. People do seem eager to see God. But have you ever considered what it would be like if the Supreme Lord manifested before someone today and revealed His identity?
Friend1: Not sure where you’re going with this.
Friend2: Well, let’s assume for this argument that all the people involved acknowledge the existence of a God. They simply want to see Him to make sure, to remove any doubt.
Friend2: So say that God comes before me, where I am playing the part of someone who needs to see to believe. He shows up and tells me that He is God.
Friend1: Right, so you will ask Him to prove it.
Friend2: Exactly. So maybe God will do something amazing. Maybe He’ll lift a mountain. Perhaps He will read my mind. Maybe He will hold His breath for a very long time.
Friend1: Yeah, those things are pretty amazing. He’ll do some miracles. But I think that wouldn’t prove it. Am I wrong? I mean some mystic yogis can do some pretty amazing things right now, and we know that they are not God.
Friend2: I like the way you’re thinking here. So there is more to God than just doing amazing things. One thing we would have to agree on is that God is ageless. He never takes birth and He never dies.
Friend1: Absolutely. And from meeting Him we already know that He exists. The key is to see whether or not He dies.
Friend2: Yes. This is a very important point. So let’s say that I go up to God and challenge Him to prove that He never dies. Can He do it?
Friend1: Sure. If He’s God, then He’ll never die.
Friend2: But don’t you see the problem?
Friend2: If I have to die myself, how the heck am I going to know if God stays around after me? If I can’t live forever, how can I ever tell if someone else does?
Friend1: Oh man, that is so true. I never thought about that before!
Friend2: This means that you can never prove God’s existence by seeing. We are all destined to die, so we can never perceive everything there is to perceive.
Friend1: Wow. So what do we do then?
Friend2: This was addressed in the Bhagavad-gita. Shri Krishna told Arjuna that He spoke the ancient science of self-realization to the sun-god at the beginning of the creation. Arjuna was perplexed by this since he thought that Krishna was his contemporary. He asked how Krishna could have spoken to the sun-god back then, since the sun-god was apparently senior to Him by birth.
Friend1: Yeah, especially if Arjuna wasn’t around then, how would he trust that Krishna was telling the truth?
Friend2: So then the Lord told Arjuna that both of them had appeared many times on the earth previously. The difference was that Krishna could remember those appearances, but Arjuna could not. Hence God has perfect memory. We don’t, so we will never be Him.
Friend1: And even if we lived for a long time, we couldn’t remember everything from the past. So if we saw God, it would be very easy to forget Him later on.
Friend2: Right. So that’s why in the Vedic tradition there is not much stress placed on seeing. Hearing is more important. You can hear God from the words of the Bhagavad-gita, which live on to this day. More importantly, you can hear Him in the sound of His name. You’re going to put faith in somebody regardless; might as well make it someone who provides timeless wisdom and gives protection which no one else can offer.
How a God there can be?
Insist on in person to see.
But thinking this way before,
Consider how endless He’ll endure.
When death somewhere else myself to send,
How to prove that He lives til the end.
Put faith in words and intellect use,
The wise sound prefer to choose.