“You are the origin without beginning, middle or end. You have numberless arms, and the sun and moon are among Your great unlimited eyes. By Your own radiance You are heating this entire universe.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.19)
पश्यामि त्वां दीप्त-हुताश-वक्त्रं
स्व-तेजसा विश्वम् इदं तपन्तम्
paśyāmi tvāṁ dīpta-hutāśa-vaktraṁ
sva-tejasā viśvam idaṁ tapantam
The acharya of the Vaishnava tradition claims that it is not difficult to understand God. Forget the dividing line of acceptance/rejection or faith/belief. Use the intellect gifted by nature. The enhanced potential for intelligence is there for a reason.
It still doesn’t require years of study under an advanced scholar to come to a general idea of who God is. Understand a few basic truths and you will have made significant advancement in the purification of the consciousness.
1. First living entity
Look around you. That dual-monitor setup in your home office. That mattress resting on that metal foundation. The carpet spread across the ground. The blinds hanging from the windows. The ceiling fan along with its light bulbs. The light switch on the wall and the chair to enjoy hours of work or video viewing.
Everything has an origin. The monitors arrived through the delivery of a package. Prior to that there was the factory where the assembled parts came together. Before that was the concept-design phase. An intelligent person had to decide which materials to use and what features to include.
“What kind of outputs will the monitor support? How large of a screen size? What about compatibility with docking stations? Screen resolution? Refresh rate? Let’s make this so great that everyone will want to buy one.”
The objective of this review is to illustrate the reality of a beginning to everything. Keep ascending the chain of hierarchy and eventually you reach someone without a beginning. In other words, He is before everyone else. That is one way to understand God.
This feature is known as anadi in Sanskrit. The word is a negation. God is without “adi”, or beginning. This means that He is also the original beginning, if we can grasp that concept. Since He is anadi, God is also the adi-purusha, or the first person.
2. Oldest living entity
We marvel at someone who can make it to one hundred years of age. It is no small accomplishment. This world is a dangerous place. At every step there is the potential for fatal injury. A new disease gathers momentum and creates massive panic throughout society. Suddenly, everyone is walking around with surgical masks on and the stores are out of stock of hand sanitizer.
Since the Supreme Lord is anadi, it means that He is the oldest person. As many years as we can count, He has been alive. As the spirit soul has no beginning and no end, the same applies to the original source of the universe.
3. No signs of aging
Despite being without beginning and having claim to the largest number attached to His age, there is no sign of aging in Bhagavan. This is another name for the anadi Supreme Lord. He is full of transcendental features, which are considered opulences to anyone else.
Vedic literature describes one instance where the oldest person delivered timeless wisdom on a battlefield. At the time Shri Krishna was well advanced in years, in terms of the human calculation based on the moment of exit from the womb of mother Devaki.
Over one hundred years had passed since that time and yet Krishna showed no signs of aging. His body appeared fresh and new, like someone just entering the teenage years. The Sanskrit description is “nava-yauvanam.”
Though He is anadi, God is forever young. That property extends to the devotion dedicated to Him. This explains why activities like chanting the holy names can continue blissfully, day after day, year after year, and lifetime after lifetime: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Like remaining forever young,
Where aging never to come.
Of anadi property a part,
God even before the start.
Since with best features to see,
And all-attractive is He.
As Shri Krishna is known,
Timeless through devotion shown.
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