“Just then the child inhaled, drawing Markandeya within His body like a mosquito. There the sage found the entire universe arrayed as it had been before its dissolution. Seeing this, Markandeya was most astonished and perplexed.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 12.9.27)
On the surface it seems like a reasonable enough request. Require visible evidence. Empirical proof. Not just belief. When the man knocking at the door says he is with the police, there has to be some validation. Show me the badge. Otherwise, I am right to be skeptical.
When boarding an airplane, the pilot has a specific uniform. If further credentials are requested, they can be provided. That is to say there is some certificate or written evidence substantiating the claim that this person is capable of safely operating an aircraft.
What might get overlooked in these instances is the element of faith. The passengers did not personally witness the training of the pilot. They were not there to see the evidence. They accept the information on faith, from other people who are deemed authority figures. The same goes for the badge on the police officer.
Yet with the highest subject matter, that has perplexed man since before anyone can remember, faith from authority figures is insufficient. Science has changed the rules of the game. So many aspects of life explained by myths and legends have been demystified. Science has revealed the truth.
God should be explained in the same way. Otherwise, the safe option is to not believe in His existence. If He did happen to appear before us, perhaps there are certain ways He could prove that He is who He claims to be.
1. Part the seas
Do something amazing. Parting the seas would be pretty neat. No human being is capable in this area, as far as we know. The ocean represents a large body of water. Its potency is unfathomable. When there is an oil spill and environmental destruction appears imminent, somehow the ocean manages to clean itself. If the person standing before us were to divide the ocean in half, clearing a path for walking, then that would go a long way in establishing trust.
2. Lift a mountain
The ocean is a massive collection of the material element of water. Something comparable but with a different constituent element is a mountain or hill. Here earth is in abundance. There are competitions to show who is the world’s strongest man, but never do they try to lift mountains. If the person standing before me were to exhibit such strength, maybe there is something to take note of.
3. Read minds
What am I thinking right now? Can you tell? Alright, maybe you guessed correctly a few times, but try the same with other people. What are they thinking? How about in the past? In the future what will be on my mind? You better have a one hundred percent success rate; otherwise a defect is present and therefore you can’t be God.
4. Appear and disappear at will
Bodies change. There is birth, youth, adolescence, adulthood and then old age. That is the standard progression. It is not guaranteed that a person makes it to old age. Life might end prior. The idea is that the body is defective, or at least eventually becomes that way.
The person claiming to be God should be different. Their body should not be subject to the influence of time. They should prove that they are without death, but that might be difficult since I won’t be able to maintain my power of perception forever. No one knows what will happen after I am gone.
How about if this person appears and disappears whenever they want? One second they are standing in front of me and the next they are out of sight. That would be pretty neat. I don’t know anyone else who can do that.
5. Change shape
Similarly related to the external form, how about shrinking and enlarging size? One second they are a certain height and the next they are different. That would be pretty amazing, since the body is known to change naturally only after considerable time has passed. If the same could be accomplished instantly, that would be an indication of being different.
While such exhibitions would certainly be interesting to behold, none of them actually provide the empirical evidence insisted upon. We know this for certain based on historical accounts given in Vedic literature. People have been able to move mountains. Expert yogis could appear and disappear at will. Even bad characters, like the ten-headed Ravana, could change his shape whenever desired. He was anything but God, as he had no control over his senses.
The idea is that there has to be an element of faith. As man’s power of perception is limited, they can never properly understand someone who is beyond perception. Markandeya Rishi, for instance, one time lived long enough to witness the destruction of the world. When no one was left, He saw a beautiful boy lying on a leaf, sucking His toe. This was the Supreme Lord, the same Shri Krishna who later appeared as the cousin and well-wisher to the Pandava brothers from Hastinapura.
That should be evidence enough of the existence of God. A better way to get confirmation of His nature is to accept and understand His teachings, like those found in the Bhagavad-gita. Spoken directly by Shri Krishna, the principles practically realized through dedicated practice give the best evidence there can be of the reality of spiritual life and the promise of eternal bliss and happiness that await the person connected to the Supreme Lord.
On direct evidence insisting,
Like body displayed persisting.
Or a giant mountain to move,
Current shape in moment to lose.
Reading my mind a start,
Or the great ocean to part.
But by the mortal already shown,
Know Bhagavan by bhakti alone.
Categories: the five