“Since Krishna is the supreme father, His affection for the living entity is eternal. When the living entity falls down into the material world, the Supreme Lord, through His svamsha expansion (Paramatma), keeps company with the living entity. In this way the living entity may some day return home, back to Godhead.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.28.53 Purport)
“There was a recent news event that featured heartbreaking images. There was some sort of uprising in a part of the world. The government was being overturned, in a violent manner. I know there is nothing new about the story. Such transfers have been taking place since the beginning of time.
“I guess this one sort of caught everyone by surprise. Some of the people living in the affected area were so terrified of the new government that they started handing off their babies to rescue agents. Infants were literally passed over the top of a fence to an awaiting soldier on the other side.
“Basically, these parents were trying to save the children. There was little hope for a bright future, otherwise. Who knows if those families will ever be reunited? There have been films featuring a similar story, but this was real-life playing out in a dramatic fashion.
“It got me to thinking. It would be nice if there was something passed on to the child so that they could unlock the secret at a later time. When they are mature enough to understand, they can find the missing link. They can connect again with their family from birth.
“Is that sort of how our relationship with the Supreme Lord works? We have been separated from Him since time immemorial. Is the guru the person who knows of the link and points us in the right direction?”
There is a similarity, but the difference is that there is never true separation. We only think that we are alone in this world, that there is no God or that He remains far in the distance. Because of this forgetfulness, we may even foolishly speculate that God must be angry and someone who takes out revenge against those who fail to follow His instructions.
In truth, we are never separated from Him. The living entities are expansions from the origin. We are like God, samples of Him. He expands at His own will, whenever and wherever He desires.
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य
ग्लानिर् भवति भारत
तदात्मानं सृजाम्य् अहम्
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion – at that time I descend Myself.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.7)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that through the svamsha expansion the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always with us. He accompanies us in every birth. It is like two birds sitting on a tree branch. One is enjoying fruit and then dealing with the consequences. The other bird is simply observing.
The bird with the fruit might be so engrossed in the interaction that they fail to notice the presence of the second bird. The first bird continues in this way, digging holes, filling them up again, turning in this direction and that, to the point that many lifetimes can pass by without paying any attention to the second bird.
But the svamsha expansion, known as Paramatma, is always there. It is a steady force, and it is responsible for the manifestation of outcomes. That is to say nothing would be possible without the approval of the Supreme Lord.
The guru is the outward manifestation of God’s mercy, who reveals the Divinity inside of us. They explain the presence of the two birds and how one has been lost in the shuffling of sankalpa and vikalpa. They teach how to tap into the Divine consciousness, how to not only notice the second bird but take direction from it.
This is the setting of Bhagavad-gita, with Krishna as the Supersoul and Arjuna as the individual soul. Krishna is the guru for the moment, and He teaches how the individual is never alone. They have God inside of them, and He is ultimately responsible for remembrance and forgetfulness.
सर्वस्य चाहं हृदि सन्निविष्टो
मत्तः स्मृतिर् ज्ञानम् अपोहनं च
वेदैश् च सर्वैर् अहम् एव वेद्यो
वेदान्त-कृद् वेद-विद् एव चाहम्
sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)
We humbly submit before Him a prayer to always remember. If He grants this remembrance, then we will forever be in transcendence. That greatest well-wishing friend will take it from there, guiding us along the proper path.
Though feeling all alone,
To guru secret is known.
That someone else inside,
In every birth to reside.
Who our original friend,
Through time to extend.
Secret from Vedic tradition learning,
That all changed when His way turning,