That Difficult Thing To Find

[Vishnu incarnations]“It is very difficult to find the origin of the cosmic manifestation; therefore material scientists conclude that nature is the ultimate cause of all manifestations. But from shastra, or authentic literature like Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic scriptures, we understand that behind this wonderful cosmic manifestation is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and in order to maintain the regular procedures of the cosmic manifestation and to be visible to the eyes of persons who are in the mode of goodness, the Lord appears.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.1.57 Purport)

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You’ve been having a problem with your phone for a while now. There is this strange streak of discoloration along the top. You’re not sure how it happened. It looks like something is pressed against the screen, distorting the pixels. It started out small, but now it’s grown, out of your range of acceptability. You took it to the store that sells these phones and they said they will only replace it for a new one, a move which is quite expensive.

You ask around and everyone has the same opinion. “Just do the upgrade,” they tell you. “These phones aren’t meant to last forever.” It doesn’t seem right to you. You would rather just repair it, but it seems those stores don’t exist. You search for them on the internet, but to no avail. Then one day your luck changes. You’re driving past a shopping center and notice a sign for a store that says they do such repairs. You only came across this area because you had a visit to the dentist; otherwise you would never travel there.

[iphone screen repair]You walk in, and sure enough, they do exactly what you need. A mere hour later you have a working phone that looks almost new. You tell your skeptical friends about it and they are amazed. “Huh. Who knew,” they tell you. They thought it was impossible, that since you and others could not find such a store that it did not exist. Through good fortune you found something important that you were seeking after.

This is but a simple example dealing with an issue that is trivial in the grand scheme of things. In the larger picture, man has been looking for the origin ever since he has set foot on this earth. We know that life comes from life. In spite of the promises of scientists in the name of progress, there has yet to be any new life created without the ingredients of existing life. As everything has an origin, what came before this earth? Who was the first human being? Was it even a person?

Unable to find that elusive origin, the consensus of scientists have decided that nature is the cause. Never mind that nature right now can’t do anything on its own. We don’t see objects colliding to create astral bodies capable of heating the entire universe without requiring an external fuel source. We don’t see objects randomly gathering together to make large masses that float in the sky in perpetuity, that rotate and revolve in predictable patterns.

Though the origin is hard to find, it exists. It can even be seen by an individual right now; a special machine is not required. What is needed, however, is the proper consciousness. More specifically, a person should be in the mode of goodness. If they are looking to exploit the resources of this world, then they are out of luck. If they want to know the origin so that they can imitate it or somehow usurp its standing, they will never find that hidden treasure.

If their inquisitiveness is genuine and they are actually free of desires for material gain, mystic perfection and renunciation, then they are eligible to see the origin. One way to describe that origin is Bhagavan, which means “Supreme Personality of Godhead.” The origin is an individual, and He is a supreme one. Intelligence belongs to intelligent beings. There is intelligence to the creation, which means that an intelligent being created it. He is the most intelligent, since His creation operates continuously without outside intervention. No one can do anything to the sun. You can’t stop it from shining light. If the sun stopped functioning, life would not continue. All our future plans would be nullified. There would be no hope for anything.

Yet the sun continues to operate, as does the entire material nature. Bhagavan appears in this world to make it happen. He directly reveals Himself to the people in the mode of goodness from time to time. They appreciate His presence, understand His position, and then continue to serve Him afterwards. Some even record their impressions to be preserved for future generations. I may not have been around in 18th century America, but I know who George Washington is, what he did, and what he looks like. This is because of the written word that describes him. It gets passed on to future generations.

We can know of Bhagavan in the same way. He has come to earth in a form visible to the pious many times. The impious see Him too, but they fail to recognize Him. In the same way that the scientists fail to recognize His hand guiding the workings of the creation, the biggest enemies to pious behavior see the Supreme Lord and His amazing ability and still don’t realize who He is.

[Shrila Prabhupada]The origin is already there. Nothing can change the fact. The only way to find it is to first rise to the mode of goodness. Follow procedures laid down in Vedic philosophy, which is taught to the time and circumstance by the acharya. The acharya is also a kind of avatara of the Supreme Lord. He is God appearing in the form of an instructor. The acharya is the guru who leads by example; they have the shakti, or power, to deliver fallen souls out of darkness.

They actually change the consciousness. They don’t simply touch someone to effect a magical change. Through following the principles of devotional life under their guidance, there is elevation to the mode of goodness. Then one is eligible to see God; but beyond that there is more. There is an origin for sure, but why? Why does Bhagavan create everything? Why is He so difficult to find?

The elusiveness of the origin is intentional. If God were so easy to find, then hardly anyone would be in ignorance. They are how they are because that’s how they wanted it. They want to be separate from God. Vedic philosophy reveals this to us and by carefully studying man’s behavior we can come to no other conclusion. The population is in a stiff competition to see who can be a greater origin, who can rule the world in terms of beauty, wealth, strength, fame or wisdom. For as long as the desire to compete remains, the clear idea of God continues to be elusive.

[Vishnu avataras]This material world is known as durga, which means “difficult to overcome.” It is like a fort that has high walls, the biggest fence to keep the prisoners inside. Yet Durga Devi works for the Supreme Lord Krishna, which means that the devotee of Krishna can pass across easily if they so desire. The key is to see with the proper vision, to give up exploitation and competition to become God. Sincerity is everything in spiritual life, and today the best way to make sincerity known is to chant the holy names with love and attention: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Despite scientists remaining unaware,

Origin to everything is there.

An individual, a person is He,

Only in mode of goodness can see.

Many times in past has appeared,

Obstructions from devotional path cleared.

By the envious never to be known,

His divine mercy only to the sincere is shown.

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