“The Lord is present as antaryami in everyone’s heart and is visible in the individual soul covered by a body. Indeed, He is everywhere at every time and every condition, but because He is covered by the curtain of material energy, to an ordinary person there appears to be no God.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.6.20-23 Purport)
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is everywhere. The modern-day word is “omnipresent.” Wherever you go, wherever you turn, in whichever direction you seek, God is present. It does not matter from where you begin or to which place you cease the effort.
In relational database management systems, there is something known as the index seek. If you have a large table full of data, to find a particular record or set of records may be difficult, based on the attributes supplied.
For instance, if I want to find every person in a table of names who has the first name of “John”, it might not be so easy. I will have to sift through the pages of the table, read the names, and then mark the records that match. This could take a long time if the table is large, and the process is not very efficient.
Creating an index on that column in the table helps. Now I just need to seek into the index, which is already sorted, and begin reading records from the proper place. I will retrieve the correct result set much faster. The difference between the scan, the first method, and the seek is the place from which the search begins.
With the Supreme Lord, using a scan or a seek makes no difference. He will always be there, wherever the place being searched is. Since He is everywhere, He is known as the all-pervading witness. This antaryami feature has several distinctions of note.
1. He witnessed everything from the past
It could be from moments prior to my birth. That is the demarcated start-date for this lifetime, though I can’t remember the event. I trust that it occurred based on the authority of my parents, confirmed by witnessing the commonplace event that is birth which happens for every person entering this world.
It could also be from millions of years ago. Bhagavan has witnessed everything, in fact. He assures the disciple Arjuna that both of them existed in the past. The distinction is that Krishna has knowledge, while Arjuna does not.
बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि
जन्मानि तव चार्जुन
तान्य् अहं वेद सर्वाणि
न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप
bahūni me vyatītāni
janmāni tava cārjuna
tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi
na tvaṁ vettha parantapa
“The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.5)
2. He witnesses everything in my life
That time I crossed the road even though the traffic sign said to wait. That time I fudged my expenses on the yearly tax return. When I helped that destitute person and didn’t tell anyone. When I cried after my favorite player lost the big match. When I yelled at my child for no good reason.
Krishna has seen it all. Nothing escapes His view. He is something like a disinterested observer. The analogy is to two birds sitting on the branch of a tree. One bird is tasting the nearby fruit and suffering or enjoying the consequences. The other bird is not doing anything. It does not interfere with the first bird’s choices in either direction, pious or impious.
But the enjoying or suffering bird is never alone. The Supreme Lord is always with me. He is antaryami with my existence, spreading over a seemingly infinite number of lifetimes. I am never alone, though I tend to forget.
3. He witnesses everything for other lives
This bird accompanying me in my travels is not the sole representation of God. It is something like an expansion, known as Paramatma. The feature of Paramatma is how Bhagavan accomplishes omnipresence.
There is a witness to every activity. I was not there when my friend may or may not have told the truth to the authorities in a criminal investigation. No one knows for sure, as sometimes even the police lie due to corruption or the desire to emerge victorious in a court case.
Paramatma always knows the truth, and the proper result manifests at the appropriate time. Something like the trees blossoming in season, the criminals never truly escape authority.
अवश्यं लभते जन्तुः फलं पापस्य कर्मणः।
घोरं पर्यागते काले द्रुमाः पुष्पमिवार्तवम्।।
avaśyaṃ labhate jantuḥ phalaṃ pāpasya karmaṇaḥ।
ghoraṃ paryāgate kāle drumāḥ puṣpamivārtavam।।
“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)
4. He does not forget what He has witnessed
Just consider this lifetime. I know that I have witnessed so many things. The issue is that I can barely remember. People remind me of things I have said, but I can’t envision saying anything resembling that. But it certainly happened. There are video recordings and still images capturing moments in time, but even with the reminder I am not able to pinpoint the exact circumstances.
Paramatma never forgets. He is more powerful than any computer, as the queries to the database return instantly. God can also process the information, which is something the human being and its limited thinking ability cannot accomplish to perfection.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that God is everywhere. Accounting for both time and space, there is never a reason to think that God does not exist. But due to the covering of the curtain of material energy, we think that He is not around.
Krishna Himself can never be covered, in the same way that the individual soul is not contaminated from contact with the material energy. We say that God is covered by a curtain to help explain the situation for the conditioned souls. The curtain is covering their ability in perception.
This means that only a simple process in purification is required to change things completely. From ignorant to fully intelligent, from despair and hopeless to daily renewing bliss, enthusiasm and excitement, from the process of bhakti-yoga the curtain starts to pull away, and I can notice, appreciate and serve the Almighty in all His glory.
As antaryami everywhere to be,
Within the heart, so cannot see.
Not directly I can perceive,
My karma not to receive.
But remembering the past,
And information returning fast.
Everything in this life and future aware,
Bhakti like curtain of ignorance to tear.
Categories: the four