“The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the scriptures as adhokshaja, which indicates that He is beyond the perception of all material senses.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 46)
It’s part of the routine. Like bringing your car in for an oil change on a predictable schedule, for the newborn it is important to visit the pediatrician. The expert can look for warning signs of potential trouble. In addition, they measure the height and weight of the baby. Then there is a report as to which percentile the child is in, i.e. how they measure up to other children of a similar age.
That is the basis for comparison. The greatest of all-time in a particular field earns the title based on how well they perform in comparison to others. A person is considered poor or rich based on the value of their possessions in comparison to someone else. In some place a person is considered poor despite having indoor plumbing, central air conditioning, a flat screen television and multiple automobiles.
The Sanskrit word Adhokshaja says that the Almighty, the Supreme Lord, Bhagavan, or whatever the preferred name, is beyond the measurement of blunt instruments. That is to say there is no way to get an accurate measurement on His height or weight. He does not fit into any percentile because there is no contemporary; there is no accurate frame of reference to use for comparison.
This might serve as justification against the practice of deity worship. The less intelligent will say that God cannot be reduced to a single manifestation, and so to worship an inanimate object is a kind of idol worship, which should be strictly prohibited. From a deeper understanding of the spiritual science, we see that Bhagavan is able to turn around many impossibilities.
1. Impossible to see
How do you see someone who is taller than the tallest building? We see a mountain from a distance, but that is not seeing completely. It is only a taste of what is too large to appreciate with the eyes alone. God is this planet and more. He is the source of the sun, which can’t even be approached.
The universe is one side to the story, that of greatness. The Supreme Lord is also smaller than the smallest. He is the atom, described as Paramanu in Sanskrit. He is the basic functioning unit of life. Without Paramanu, nothing would exist. Bhagavan does not divide to act in this feature. He simply expands, and the identity of the different atoms remains one. There is the individual anu, the spirit soul, but there is always Paramanu residing adjacent.
Despite being impossible to see, there is the deity. This is the merciful incarnation. Known as the archa-vigraha, it is the transcendental body meant specifically for the purpose of worshiping. We don’t have the eyes to see God, but that does not preclude us from worshiping. Since we can’t understand the meaning of transcendental features, Bhagavan arrives in a form that we can comprehend to some degree.
2. Impossible to hear
There are five senses, and so proof of the existence of the Divine is not limited to sight. But just as we can’t accurately see God, there is no way to hear Him, either. He is more than the favorite song that plays on the radio. He is more than the radio waves broadcasting to multiple cities. He is the greatest sound, and beyond. Not to forget, He is that inaudible sound, as well, heard only in close proximity. He is the loud bang and also the silent whisper.
Despite this impossibility, there is the mercy of the holy name. Repeat a sacred sound vibration, one blessed by authority coming in a descending line of teachers, and you will receive God. That is one reason the maha-mantra comes so highly recommended: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
This sound is so powerful that it works magic even when heard only in the background. If your intention is not to hear God, to focus on material pursuits instead, the sound will still have an influence. It is the way to hear the person who is beyond the range of the senses.
3. Impossible to feel
This ties in with the transcendental body. Bhagavan is the virata-rupa and more. Take the universal form, the complete picture of everything, and know that Bhagavan is beyond that. This is one of the reasons He is able to show the form on demand, whenever He decides. If He can choose to display the virata-rupa, it means that Bhagavan is above it.
One way to feel God is through the clothes offered to the deity. Touching the lotus feet of the statue authorized for worship is another way to connect. There is also the wave of devotion. Feel the transcendental energy exuded by the people dedicated to Him in thought, word and deed. That wave is strong enough to carry you back to the spiritual world.
4. Impossible to taste
Turn this impossibility around by offering authorized food to the Supreme Lord. Stay within the mode of goodness; avoid meat, fish, eggs, onions, garlic and other items that cloud the consciousness. Most importantly, make the offering with love and devotion, bhakti.
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.26)
The Bhagavad-gita confirms that God accepts. The benefit is that the items usually remain. The food thus becomes known as remnants. Sacred mercy labeled prasadam, honoring is a way to taste God. It is a transcendental taste that has the same potential to heal as direct contact with any of the other senses.
Even with so many impossibilities the human being has the chance to succeed in life. The mercy is there from the most powerful person, who has no intention to remain hidden. He is there to be seen, interacted with, and remembered from lifetime to lifetime, should the choice in His direction be made.
As Adhokshaja is known,
Never from measurements shown.
Features like height and weight,
Both too small and too great.
But even impossibilities to turn around,
Experienced through sight and sound.
From the deity seen and prasadam tasted,
Not anymore this birth wasted.
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