“All states of being – be they of goodness, passion or ignorance – are manifested by My energy. I am, in one sense, everything – but I am independent. I am not under the modes of this material nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.12)
ye caiva sāttvikā bhāvā
rājasās tāmasāś ca ye
matta eveti tān viddhi
na tv ahaṁ teṣu te mayi
Boy is your stomach hurting. You can’t understand this pain. It must be something you ate. You’re not throwing up. You’re not losing fluids at a rapid pace. Rather, it’s just that the pain doesn’t go away. Throughout the day it feels like you’re going to vomit, but you don’t. It’s time to finally see a doctor, something you were trying to avoid.
The doctor lays you down on the examination table. He calls someone to check your blood pressure. He looks at your tongue; he takes your pulse. After a few minutes, he tells you that everything is fine. “Take this medicine on a timely basis. You got some virus in the stomach, but it should go away after a few days.” You’re obviously relieved. It appears that nothing major is wrong.
This doctor also happens to be your uncle. A few months later you visit his house to find out that he himself has a stomach bug. He is laid up on the couch, in great discomfort. The situation seems odd to you, for you never considered that doctors can also get sick. Though they treat illnesses, they are not immune from getting them.
Indeed, this is the way for all beings in this world. Not surprisingly, the lone exception to the rule is the Supreme Lord. He does more than just treat patients. He operates on every single aspect of nature. Before He operates, He creates. Everything we see around us is sourced in Him. Sight is only one sense. Also consider everything that can be heard and the objects that make their presence felt through the nose. Think of every palatable dish and the t-shirts that are most agreeable to the skin. There is not one thing that we can point to in this world that doesn’t owe its birth to God.
Despite being the source of everything, He is not affected by that which He creates. If I have some intelligence in the area of computer programming, I can write an application that automatically trades stocks on the open market. I input a few parameters, and it knows when to buy and sell. If I make a small error in coding, however, that application can cause me great harm. Though it is outside of me, not part of my body, it still affects me.
The same is not true for the Supreme Lord. Though all objects are in Him, He is not influenced by their nature. This is difficult to understand, but at the same time worth knowing. It is a way to delve further into the idea of the Supreme. His form of the complete everything is known as the virata-rupa. This is one way to conceptualize God, and it doesn’t involve any kind of sentiment. You don’t have to follow a specific religion in order to collect everything that exists and put it into a single object for analysis.
The virata-rupa consists of the material nature, which is made up of three modes: goodness, passion and ignorance. These modes govern body types, behavior, religious practice, determination, and even charity. They are all-encompassing. When we see someone do something really stupid, they are influenced by ignorance. When someone works really hard to enjoy their senses, they are in passion. When an individual takes a step back and acts with detachment, in the process increasing their knowledge of the difference between matter and spirit, they are in goodness.
There is a higher mode known as shudda-sattva. This is the way to describe God, who is a person. Since He is all-attractive, He is also known as Krishna. Krishna, who is God the person, removes any room for doubt on the issue. He says in the Bhagavad-gita that He is not affected by what He creates. The creation is His without, but since it comes from Him it is also His within. Everything is in Him but He is not in everything. He does not lose His personal existence by creating.
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ
na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.4)
This is a kind of simultaneous oneness and difference which also explains our relationship to Him. We are identical to Krishna in that we are spiritual in nature, just like Him. Yet we are separate from Him. Krishna is not affected by our actions. He does not suffer when we do something bad. His stature does not change with our successes.
Still, He is friendly with those who render service to Him. Since He is unaffected by the modes of nature that He creates, He can grant the same ability to His servants. The most famous example is Shri Hanuman, who crossed the vast ocean in search of someone he had never met. His success came from his sincerity in devotion to Rama, who is the same Krishna. Hanuman is an empowered being and he blesses those who wish to tread the same path. Though our assignment may not be as difficult, the work we do to complete it gets appreciated just as much. Any service to Krishna is recognized, even something as simple as chanting the holy names with love and attention: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Doctor the patients to heal,
But he also illness to feel.
Wise programmer app to make,
But risk of error, a lot at stake.
Though whole world Supreme Lord has made,
By its ups and downs, rise and fall not swayed.
As He is above, so too His devotee empowered,
Like with Hanuman, blessings on them showered.