“We may be very proud of our eyes, but we cannot even see our next-door neighbor. People challenge, ‘Can you show me God?’ But what can they see? What is the value of their eyes? God is not cheap. We cannot see anything, not to speak of God, without sunshine. Without sunlight we are blind. At night, we cannot see anything, and therefore we use electricity because the sun is not present.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Easy Journey To Other Planets, Ch 2)
1. Can you make me a doctor?
“Oh, you are a doctor? That is pretty cool. A lot of my peers were steered in that direction growing up. I did not follow, likely because I was concerned with the extraordinary effort required in studying. It is a major commitment, and what if I didn’t like the occupation later on? Hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and so many years of your life gone.
“Anyway, can you make me a doctor? You know, just for a day or two. They do that with other jobs, as I’ve seen on television. If you win a contest or something, you get a contract as a recording artist. Perhaps there could be something similar with your profession.
“It doesn’t seem that difficult to me. Just the basics will suffice. You know, tell people to cover their face, obstruct their breathing, due to the new discovery of contagious respiratory illnesses that could kill people even who are asymptomatic. In all seriousness, could I borrow your stethoscope and coat for a day? It would be fun.”
2. Can you make me an airline pilot?
“It was a dream of mine ever since I was little. My parents bought me so many toy airplanes. I would pretend to fly them around the house. I might have even promised to purchase an aircraft when I grew up and take my mom on trips around the world.
“Things didn’t quite work out that way. Would I be able to steer the ship for a few flights? People could refer to me as ‘captain’ and I could make announcements from the cabin. The uniform and hat would look great; we could take some pictures.”
3. Can you make me a champion wrestler?
“I watched all of your matches when I was little. At the time I did not know about the choreography. It’s okay; I don’t resent anyone. I had so much interest that I look back at the period fondly. The performance you guys put on was spectacular.
“Can you make me a wrestler, also? I would love to get in the ring and battle it out with the best of the best. You could help me find a unique finishing move. It would be so much fun. I want to win the championship and hold onto the belt for the longest time, breaking the existing record.”
4. Can you make me a PhD?
“Growing up, my dad had a favorite joke he liked to tell in this regard. He used a word from the Hindi language and mixed it together to describe a PhD as being a fake doctor. It was really funny, and people always laughed when he told it.
“Nevertheless, people do get respect with that title. There are some teachers and heads of academic institutions who insist on being referred to as ‘doctor’. They consider it an insult, otherwise. Can you make me one of those? I really don’t think it is difficult. Celebrities get awarded honorary degrees all the time, so why not just give me a real one?”
5. Can you make me president of the country
“You are the leader of the free world. You actually won your election fair and square. There wasn’t a synchronized halt to the vote-counting in the middle of the night across several key states. There weren’t suitcases of ballots wheeled out when no one was looking. Observers weren’t denied access to the counting through boarded-up windows and locked doors.
“Wouldn’t it be neat if I could sit in your seat for a day? I could deliver an address to a joint session of Congress. I could veto that latest spending bill. I could fly on that amazing airplane. Just for a day or two; I’m sure you could make that happen.”
These questions in one sense are an insult, as the people being approached put in significant time and effort to reach their position. They did not become a doctor overnight. If they did, who would trust approaching such a person for medical treatment? The aspiring pilot must log many hours of training in order to be trusted with an aircraft full of passengers.
In the same way, to demand the spiritual master reveal God immediately belittles the entire endeavor associated with spiritual life. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not so cheap a thing that simply by removing a curtain at a carnival show, everyone gets a vision.
As His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains, we cannot see anything without the sun. Even with artificial lighting during the nighttime, the strength and potency by comparison is laughable. The sun is infinitely more powerful than any light man could produce through electricity and the like.
If we cannot see without the sun, then how can we see God so easily? We obviously require assistance. There must be some training beforehand. There must be some effort, some sacrifice, some dedication, and later some indication that we are worthy of the high achievement.
The guru can certainly help me to see God on my own, but there is a process. I must earn their favor. I must meet the qualifications described in Bhagavad-gita.
तद् विद्धि प्रणिपातेन
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं
tad viddhi praṇipātena
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.34)
Inquire submissively and the spiritual master will provide helpful hints. The speed of the progress depends on my willingness to follow the instruction, to be patient, and to understand who or what I am trying so desperately to see. I might even learn that there are other ways to connect with the Almighty, that sight is not everything: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Some ridiculous questions to ask,
Like pilot assigning captain’s task.
Or overnight a doctor to be made,
Or respected scholar by institution paid.
Idea that required some training,
Same with vision of God gaining.
Only after spiritual guide pleased by me,
The true realm of Divinity to see.
Categories: the five