“Being beyond the range of limited sense perception [adhokshaja], You are the eternally irreproachable factor covered by the curtain of deluding energy. You are invisible to the foolish observer, exactly as an actor dressed as a player is not recognized.” (Queen Kunti speaking to Lord Krishna, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.8.19)
न लक्ष्यसे मूढ-दृशा
नटो नाट्यधरो यथा
na lakṣyase mūḍha-dṛśā
naṭo nāṭyadharo yathā
Kunti Devi, the mother of the Pandava brothers, describes the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be adhokshaja. There is no way to use instruments to measure the different features to the person who is beyond birth and death and who forever lacks a distinction between body and spirit.
Find that bathroom scale. Locate that measuring tape in the kitchen drawer. Reset the stopwatch, keeping it in hand. Be prepared to view through the telescope, as the object of interest travels far into the distant.
Shri Krishna is beyond any measurements such devices can bring. We may see His deity form in the temple and assume that He has a certain weight and height, but this is merely a manifestation of His causeless mercy. God is bigger than the entire universe, and He is also smaller than the smallest unit of understanding, the atom.
Probably His most amazing ability is fooling the population into thinking that He doesn’t exist. The comparison is to an actor. From studying the different levels of appreciation, we see how even the atheist can be considered one of the greatest worshipers of the Supreme Lord.
1. Appreciating the presentation
“What a beautiful presentation. The lighting was perfect. The background music, the location, the shots from the camera – absolutely magnificent. The director did a terrific job. The story was rock-solid, also. Never was I bored while seated in the theater.
“Let’s not overlook the actors. Casting understood the lead role. It was just the man for the job. I have seen many of his previous films, and his reputation is surely deserved. Bravo. I would be willing to sit down for another showing in the future.”
2. Eliciting emotion during the showing
“I think that movie changed my life. Emotionally, I went to places I never thought I could. I really took a deep look at myself and how I’ve been living. My priorities must change. That final scene really got to me. I had to hide my emotions; though really there was no need. The people seated around me were shedding tears.”
3. Believing the actor is actually the person they portray
“I saw the strangest thing while walking the streets of the big city today. You know that picture we saw a few weeks ago, the really good one? Well, I spotted the hero sitting down to eat at a restaurant. It was outdoor seating, so people were passing by and giving compliments. I guess he is so famous now that he gets recognized wherever he goes.
“Then there was this one person who was really emotional. They were obviously a great admirer. Yet they kept referring to the actor by their character’s name. They asked questions relating to the plotline of the movie. It was as if they didn’t understand that the depiction on screen was fictional, that there were actors hired to play different roles.”
In these situations, the actor would have to be flattered the most by the last category. If I can give such a riveting performance that members of the audience completely forget that I am an actor, though they should have known otherwise, then I must be really good at what I do.
Shri Krishna can act so well that sometimes the staunchest atheists fail to recognize Him during an in-person meeting. They see evidence of His existence in every sphere of the world, during every second of the day, yet they are so fooled by the illusion of maya that they insist He does not exist.
ये यथा मां प्रपद्यन्ते
तांस् तथैव भजाम्य् अहम्
मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः
ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ
“All of them – as they surrender unto Me – I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pritha.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.11)
While a nonbeliever gives tremendous honor in this way, indirectly, they remain far from Him in terms of association. The devotees appreciate both sides, how Krishna can fool through maya and how He can rescue and give transcendental pleasure through His features and pastimes. This latter category is the better of the two, but as Krishna confirms in the Bhagavad-gita, every person follows Him in one way or another.
A response not to expect,
That fictional nature to reject.
And actor as person to believe,
Highest honor this way received.
Supreme Lord in similar way,
Where atheists against to say.
Despite evidence before them best,
Believers in higher standing blessed.
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