“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)
sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
Unfathomable are the depths to which the deniers of the divine presence will sink to try to support their claims. They will say that everything happened by accident, that there is no way to prove that God exists. They will say that pain, suffering and misery show that if there is a supreme deity, He is not very kind. He must be mean and spiteful if such things occur.
Some of their doubts seem to have more validity than others. For example, for many years the consensus of opinion was that the earth was flat. It has since been accepted that the earth is round. Then there was the issue of looking to the sky. “Tell your story to the man upstairs. He will hear you.” Thunder and lightning were thought to be the revenge of God, brought to punish the sinners. A soon to be famous printer in Philadelphia in the eighteenth century devised a test, whereby he was able to prove that lightning was nothing more than electricity. He then devised a system to help protect buildings against lightning strikes. Yet even this was met with opposition, as if it were an act of defiance against the great punisher in the sky.
Man continued in this path, inventing the airplane and the spaceship. These pierced the clouds in the sky and showed what was beyond. They didn’t find anyone. There was no large hand to greet them. There was no old man waiting to punish their deviant behavior. To the deniers, this meant that God was indeed a myth, created by those who are against fun. “The weak look to some invisible figure to solve their problems, while the strong take fate into their own hands.”
This is a belief anyway, but the Vedas give the actual understanding. The Supreme Lord isn’t so petty a person that He stands on guard from afar, waiting to torture His children. He isn’t only accessible via the aerial path, either. He is not situated miles and miles away, though He can live anywhere He chooses.
The Supreme Deity is resting within every heart. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, where the Personality of Godhead speaks the confidential philosophy known as the science of self-realization. It is the king of education, the secret of all secrets. It is the perfection of all religion, and those who practice it do so joyfully.
pavitram idam uttamam
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam
“This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.2)
To do something joyfully means to act without fear. You are compelled to do something when you are afraid, and so there can be little joy in that case. The perfection of religion is pleasing because there is knowledge that the Supreme Deity is all around. There is also knowledge of God’s true nature; which includes compassion, kindness, protection and empathy.
He rests within every heart as the Supersoul. The individual is a soul at the core; jivatma. The Supreme Lord is paramatma, which is similar to the jivatma but also significantly different. I cannot enter into someone else and know what they are experiencing. That other person also has the same limitation. Paramatma, on the other hand, is the same. It is like a single person watching so many different camera angles at the same time.
Though distributed everywhere, Paramatma is undivided. Simultaneously, there is the Personality of Godhead Himself residing in His spiritual home. God is inside of us and also all around us. He is within every atom. He is within the earth, the water, the fire, the air and the ether. Not a blade of grass moves without His sanction, and so He is in every single law of nature. Those laws that the less intelligent use to try to deny the existence of God actually have their origin in Him. Only intelligence could create such intelligence. The laws of nature are so perfect that they can be counted on, time and time again, without fail.
As God is within every heart, He is there for both the sinner and the pious man. He is there for the law-abiding citizen and the criminal. He hears both their prayers and their curses. He sees when a person looks up and also when they look down. He realizes their strong attachments and their aversions. Yet within the heart He stands by as a neutral observer. He is a witness to activities, but He does not directly influence them.
He is not incapable in this area. He can influence, but He does so only when asked.
How can He be asked if the person inside doesn’t even know that He exists? How can He help if every desire is for something that will further increase that forgetfulness of Him?
Indeed, He fulfills desires through the functions of material nature, but in that space the rewards are finite. Only one person fills the vacant position in that new company. Only one person is crowned the champion at the end of the season, despite many vying for it.
As God is all around, the request for His personal intervention in the matter of advancing in spiritual life is always granted. There is no race to the finish here, as everyone can enjoy His company. The easiest way to make the call is to always chant the Lord’s holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The meaning to this mantra is different from what we would typically associate with religious life. This mantra asks God to come and be with the person and to allow service to take place. This mantra asks the energy of God for help in executing that service, in a mood that is pure, free of outside motives. The man who is both behind the sky and within the heart listens to this request, and the more times it is made, the more pure the person asking for it becomes, the quicker the divine mercy appears, giving a life of happiness beyond anything previously expected.
Not necessary to look in the sky,
Or beyond the clouds to fly.
Supreme Lord found heart within,
For both pious man and one of sin.
Within law of material nature each,
So not necessary for long to reach.
Humble call with holy names make,
And advantage of His association take.