“Tulsi says that one who insults Hari has their entire society and kingdom go to dust, like with what happened to Duryodhana, his family, and everyone associated with him.” (Dohavali, 67)
tulasī hari apamāna tēṁ hō’i akāja samāja |
rāja karata raja mili ga’ē sadala sakula kurūrāja ||67||
Friend-One: Tell me this. What’s wrong in wanting to see God?
Friend-Two: Who said there was anything wrong with it? What else should you want to see in life? Maya? Illusion? Man is born with four principal defects. One of them is easily falling into illusion. God is the real thing. He is the truth. The wise person desperately wants to see Him.
F1: Why are you playing the other side of the argument here? I know I’ve heard many times that we shouldn’t be so eager to see God.
F2: Athato-brahma-jijnasa: now is the time for inquiring about Brahman. Brahman is spirit, the best term in Sanskrit to equate with our concept of God.
F1: I thought Ishvara was the best term. That’s what I see used in movies anyway. It’s more generic; it doesn’t offend anyone. It is nonsectarian.
F2: Ishvara is good too, but the literal meaning points to a personality. Brahman is an energy. We don’t know who God is or whether or not He exists. We don’t know what He looks like. Therefore the general conception of Him is more of an abstract, something not well-defined. Brahman fits better than Ishvara here.
F1: I see. So the wise person in the human species inquires about Brahman. Is that the same as wanting to see God?
F2: It’s the first step. It’s desiring to see something beyond eating, sleeping, mating and defending. These four things can be done in the animal species. You don’t need an advanced degree to figure out how to eat. Sex desire transcends rational thinking all the time; so we know that the advanced human brain is not required for this, either.
F1: Alright. You can try to pretend all you want, but I know I’ve heard the thing about it not being good to want to see God.
F2: The idea is that the vision alone won’t do much for you.
F1: Ah, there we go. Okay, why not? Maya is illusion. I understand that seeing things in maya has no benefit. But God is Brahman. He is the source of the spiritual energy, no? How can seeing Him not be a good thing?
F2: What if you still have the maya-vision afterwards?
F1: What do you mean?
F2: Think of it like when you’re extremely passionate about something. If I’ve got pizza on my mind all day, I won’t be able to think clearly. Someone can tell me that it’s not good to eat pizza today. They could give me all the reasons why I should eat something else. But it’s like I’m not even hearing them. The words are coming and I’m capable of understanding, but due to my passion my sense perceptions are not accurate.
F1: I get it. Like they’re distorted. It’s sort of like you’re wearing your reading glasses when trying to see something far away.
F2: That’s a good way of putting it. You could see God at any time, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get the proper benefit. There are so many mistakes that can be made. You might think that He is impersonal, without form. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that for one who is embodied the path of impersonalism is very difficult. This is because if you have the maya-vision, you won’t be able to understand what a spiritual form is. When God is described as nirguna, the actual meaning is that His form is spiritual.
F1: Right. Like He has hands, legs, ears and a mouth, but those things act in superior ways than to what we’re accustomed.
F2: There are examples to help us understand. Do you know of the time Krishna went to broker a peace deal between the Kauravas and the Pandavas?
F1: I remember that He went, but I don’t know the details of the meeting.
F2: Shri Krishna is antaryami. He is God in His original, personal form. Therefore Krishna knows past, present and future. He knew that the peace deal wouldn’t happen. The Kauravas were too set in their evil ways. They were not willing to give up even an inch of land to Arjuna and the Pandavas.
F1: So why did He try for peace?
F2: Krishna’s actions take care of so many things simultaneously. By trying for peace, He showed the way of diplomacy. War should be a last resort. It also gave an opportunity to show how seeing God does not always lead to the desired result.
F1: But Krishna is God. Duryodhana and his family saw Krishna all the time. What was special about this meeting?
F2: They had seen Krishna before, but not in the proper way. For starters, they didn’t know that He was God. They also lacked love for Him. In this meeting, Krishna showed the universal form. This is awe-inspiring; think of everything that exists in the universe all packed into one vision.
F1: Why did He show this?
F2: Duryodhana wanted to insult Krishna in front of everyone by binding Him.
F1: Wow. That’s pretty stupid.
F2: Exactly. Krishna’s universal form scared them straight for the time being. The Kauravas continued with their sinful ways regardless. They saw a vision of God, one that the typical seeker so desperately wants. Yet that alone didn’t do anything. Later on Arjuna saw a superior version of the universal form and then decided that he would rather look at Krishna as He is. This means that Krishna the person is the one worth seeing. More importantly, He is the one worth serving.
F1: Can you serve Him if you don’t see Him?
F2: You serve Him so that you can become worthy of seeing Him. Then after you see Him properly, you continue serving. Seeing is not the end. It can occur at any point, and when viewing with the proper mentality, that sacred vision remains in the mind at all times.
Vision of Krishna’s virata got,
But Duryodhana still knowing Him not.
Spiritualist desperately for this goes,
But that not everything incident shows.
Arjuna saw virata-rupa special even more,
Still chose Krishna’s own form to adore.
Devotee acting in ways purifying the eyes,
And devotion increasing even after vision to realize.