“Everywhere are His hands and legs, His eyes and faces, and He hears everything. In this way the Supersoul exists.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 13.14)
सर्वतः पाणि-पादं तत्
सर्वतः श्रुतिमल् लोके
सर्वम् आवृत्य तिष्ठति
sarvataḥ pāṇi-pādaṁ tat
sarvataḥ śrutimal loke
sarvam āvṛtya tiṣṭhati
“Throughout the ages criminals have always had their go-to arguments in terms of defense. If someone presses them on their illegal activity, they have a few tricks that they rely upon. The classic one is forgetfulness. If asked under oath about something they know they did wrong, they can reply that they simply cannot recall. This way they aren’t technically lying, or at least lack of memory is almost impossible to prove.
“Well, I have noticed that there is a new line of defense gaining in popularity. If you are caught red-handed, on surveillance camera footage, doing something like stuffing a ballot box in the middle of the night when counting votes for an important election, you simply continue to deny. You say that it wasn’t you on the video. Or that everything you were doing was completely normal.
“After a few weeks of denial, you later switch to saying the other side has no evidence, that their claims have been debunked. Repeat this enough times and the side accusing you gets intimidated into silence. They get tired of trying to convince others of the guilt. Everyone knows exactly what happened, but people are too afraid to speak the truth.
“This brings me to the idea of God and an omnipresent witness. Does He actually see everything? Doesn’t it seem like the criminals get away with their behavior? They get rewarded with high posts in government. They suppress dissent. They implement widespread censorship of incriminating evidence through control over big and powerful technology companies.
“How are we to believe that God is actually in control? Maybe He doesn’t really witness everything. Is that a possibility?”
Bhagavad-gita provides the truth. To begin, God the person is generally not interested in what goes on in the material world. It is run by His inferior energy, after all. He creates the many universes through effortless breathing, while lying down in rest; hence the vision of Narayana sleeping on Ananta Shesha Naga while being massaged by Lakshmi Devi.
In all His glory, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is so kind and compassionate that He accompanies each individual in their fall to these temporary worlds. He is inside of everyone. No place lacks His presence. That tree falling in the forest does make a sound, since at the very least Narayana is there to hear it.
This feature is known as a plenary expansion. It is invisible. Just as we cannot perceive our identity as spirit soul through blunt instruments, so the presence of Narayana within the heart will not show up on an image taken by a medical machine.
This plenary expansion is known as Paramatma, or Supersoul. There is another vital function. Paramatma is the ultimate sanctioning authority. Two people want to jump. They crouch down and then thrust upward. One person reaches the ceiling in the room, and the other is not even close. The difference is due to nature in the perceived sense, but there is the subtle factor of Supersoul. He decides what will occur and what will not.
This means that the criminal activity we witness in plain sight is allowed by Paramatma. So is the subsequent adjudication or lack thereof in the courts. If there is no correction within our lifetime of experience, be certain that the future will settle any unresolved issues. This is the way of karma, or action and reaction. No one has enough money to pay off or bypass this unconquerable force of nature.
Paramatma also witnesses my acts in devotion. Every time I light a lamp and offer it with faith and love in front of the deity, Narayana takes note. Every time I call out to Him for help, to rescue me from this place of duplicity and ignorance, He hears.
समाश्रिता ये पदपल्लवप्लवं
महत्पदं पुण्ययशो मुरारे:
भवाम्बुधिर्वत्सपदं परं पदं
पदं पदं यद् विपदां न तेषाम्
samāśritā ye pada-pallava-plavaṁ
mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ
bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ
padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām
“For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Mukunda or the giver of mukti, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoofprint. Param padam, or the place where there are no material miseries, or Vaikuntha, is his goal, not the place where there is danger in every step of life.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.14.58)
This type of devotion carries an exception. Paramatma remains steady, but Narayana Himself decides to intervene. He is ultimately in charge. He can do whatever He pleases with His many energies. Those under His shelter find the vast ocean of nescience to shrink to the size of a footprint left by a calf.
Narayana omnipresent is He,
As Supersoul everything to see.
My desperate prayer to hear,
Responding with vision clear.
For the purpose real,
And illusion to heal.
Karma over the rest accounting,
Devotion for nescience surmounting.