“For a devotee, the Lord is the supreme spirit soul. Since He is supremely powerful, His various powers are also spiritual. For a devotee, there is nothing material, for material existence only means forgetfulness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.24.61 Purport)
What is perfect vision? Is it reading off the numbers and letters correctly on an eye exam? Is it being able to watch television without the help of glasses? Is it noticing something about to take place from a distance, in one way predicting the motions of other independent beings?
The bhakta has a unique way of looking at things. Their vision is perfect, even if it is sharpened only through sound. The daughter of King Bhishmaka had her heart set on marrying a specific person. She knew Him very well, though she had never seen Him. She was not to be denied, as Rukmini Devi sent a letter to Shri Krishna and even gave Him instructions on how He would be able to marry her.
The bhakta sees in a different way, and the various aspects to their vision are important for helping to guide life in the proper direction. After all, who doesn’t want their time on this earth to be saphala, or successful? A life well lived is valuable time well spent.
1. They see God as the supreme spirit soul
That brand new person that entered your world, who in a matter of seconds emerged from the womb and into your heart – they are actually a spirit soul. The body is used for identification purposes throughout the various stages of life, but the constant factor is the atma. That atma is individual, and it is not the same from person to person. The qualitative makeup is identical, but each soul is still unique.
The devotee sees God as the supreme spirit soul. That is to say they notice the Almighty inside of every person, as well. This feature of God sits alongside the individual soul. The primary distinction is that the supreme spirit soul is a singular identity. This greater soul, Paramatma, is distributed throughout the entire known and unknown space, while not dividing.
2. They see that God’s various powers are also spiritual
The earth, the sun, the moon, the clouds, the rain, fire, the mountains, the hills – these are different aspects of the material world. They are different energies in a sense or different ways that a specific energy manifests. The different aspects carry potency. The sun has a particular power, as does the moon.
The bhakta sees that these powers are spiritual, since the supreme spirit soul is present in the background. I may decide to arise from bed in the morning. I make the choice, put in the effort, and see the successful outcome. Despite these associated factors, I am not the doer. Paramatma had to give sanction for the result to arrive; otherwise no amount of willing would be able to produce a successful outcome.
That sanctioning power is spiritual, since it comes from God. In this way, the devotee sees God everywhere, even if they don’t necessarily have the personal form standing in front of them. They know the powerful through His powers.
3. They don’t see anything as material
The first truth taught to aspiring transcendentalists in Vedic culture is that the individual is not the body. Atma is the eternal spark of energy inside, and the covering is matter. Material life is associating with this covering instead of what is on the inside.
The bhakta advances to the stage where they no longer see anything as material. They know that both the material and spiritual energies come from God. They know that when used properly, the body can be a valuable vehicle for bringing positive change.
This doesn’t mean the bhakta is naïve. They still have an opinion on the material energy. They know that it exists. The difference is that they understand material life to be simply a kind of consciousness. Forgetfulness of God is material life and remembering Him is spiritual life. This simple formula translates to the dedicated practice of chanting the holy names, which helps to maintain spiritual life in the face of so many objects of illusion: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Everything from God to say,
But distinguished in one simple way.
Material when His presence forgetting,
Spiritual when into remembrance setting.
So that soul in every living being found,
His energy too that dirt on the ground.
Knowledge to devotion translated,
Finally that bliss long awaited.
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