“The devotee realizes the presence of God by devotional service, whereas the atheist realizes the presence of God in the shape of death.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Preface)
Science has paved the way for tremendous advancements. Not limited to merely comforts in the style of living, there is progress in thought, also. No more being forced to believe in an invisible man in the sky. No more fearing eternal damnation for not acknowledging a specific institution, which has been involved in so much needless killing for centuries.
Many proudly proclaim that there is no God, and they relegate any thought to the contrary as blind fanaticism or fealty to a culture based on make-believe fairytales. From the spiritual science that is the Vedas we learn that there is actually no such thing as an atheist. Each person is connected to the spiritual energy, because that is the inherent nature. They are never completely separated from the origin of all energies; there are just different ways to realize His presence.
1. In the shape of death
This is how those who are designated as atheists realize God. After all, the Almighty is just the acknowledged highest power. No one is above Him. If nature is worshiped and adored, then nature is the extent to which the Divine is understood.
Atheist means a person who goes against the religious law codes passed on since time immemorial. The theory is that everything we see around us, which has intelligence embedded into every aspect, came about through nothing. Perhaps there was evolution, which causes the changes to nature. Maybe it was just chemicals that started everything.
Regardless, an origin there is. No one is foolish enough to think that there is no origin. The atheist thus at least acknowledges the supremacy of something. Not understanding a higher controller to which they have to submit, they notice the presence of God particularly at the time of death. This is the Divine in a ghastly form, taking everything away by force. Nothing can be done to fight off death completely, who reminds of its presence on a daily basis through the onset of time.
2. By devotional service
Death is the ghastly form, once having arrived in a terrifying half-man/half-lion manifestation to the king of atheists, Hiranyakashipu. The same figure, known as Narasimhadeva, was worshiped in devotion by that king’s son, who was named Prahlada.
Hiranyakashipu realized the presence of God in the form of death, and Prahlada by devotional service. The boy was the lone person on the scene who wasn’t afraid of this incarnation of God. This is because Prahlada had already realized the Lord’s presence. He tried to explain that to his father, that the Supreme Lord is the source of every person’s strength.
The presence is there in the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. It is there in the stories of His pastimes told in works like the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Shrimad Bhagavatam. The presence of God is there in the explanations of the dividing line between religion and irreligion. God exists in the spiritual food offered to Him with love and devotion. In this way the presence is not something to be merely noticed; it can be experienced to the full through the different senses, bringing tremendous ecstasy to last beyond the present lifetime.
In dark no more to remain,
From scientific progress now sane.
Not blind in institution to believe,
Not afraid of damnation to receive.
An acknowledged higher power still,
Atheist seeing time of Divine’s will.
Others their devotion through,
Like Prahlada who all along knew.
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