Four Concepts About God To Understand From The Bhagavata Presentation

[Shri Krishna]“Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is active; and again the night falls, O Partha, and they are helplessly dissolved.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.19)

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भूत-ग्रामः स एवायं
भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते
रात्र्य्-आगमे ऽवशः पार्थ
प्रभवत्य् अहर्-आगमे

bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaṁ
bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate
rātry-āgame ‘vaśaḥ pārtha
prabhavaty ahar-āgame

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada recommends that every person should hear the presentation of Krishna consciousness, as passed down in the Vedic tradition. There is the acceptance of the existing relationship with God.

That is to say, every religion has some sort of relationship as the foundation. There is the first person, the individual, and the second person or concept. The first connects to the second. This is a relationship. There is a connection to God.

Even if a person has their preferred religion, their preferred way of living based on that religion, and some idea of how to proceed, they will still benefit from hearing the bhagavata presentation. This is because several concepts and issues get cleared up, resulting in an increase in faith. They will become a greater lover of God, which is the perfection of living.

1. What is God

Is it a concept? Is it merely an abstract? Or is it a person, who is a distinct individual? Is He like you and me? Or is He different?

The Vedic explanation, as clarified by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, is known as achintya-bhedabheda-tattva. This is the truth of simultaneous oneness and division, which is inconceivable. God is a person like you and me. We are made in His image.

[Shri Krishna]God is also different. He receives prayers. We offer them. He is satya-sankalpa. Whatever He desires will manifest. We make plans, but ultimately we are not the doer within the jurisdiction of the material energy.

प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि
गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः
कर्ताहम् इति मन्यते

prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate

“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.27)

2. How can we understand Him

The Sanskrit word is abhidheya. This is the means for attaining the goal. We have the relationship, which is sambandha. There is a way to understand God. There is a process for achieving a successful end of enlightenment.

A person does not start day one as a doctor. They have to learn. There is a training process. They have to learn theoretical principles and then also apply them in the field. This way, they get both jnana and vijnana.

Understanding God is no different. The exact implementation may vary based on time and circumstance, but there is always a way. The understanding will not happen by a magical touch or some secret formula purchased on the open market.

3. How He is working by His different energies

We know that there is a God. We have a way to understand Him. What about the different energies? Why are some people worshipers and others not? Why are some people behaving as if God doesn’t exist at all?

There are different classifications of energy. The internal and the external. We are in the marginal position. We should be with God all the time; at least in theory. Since we have the vulnerability to forgetfulness, to associating with the external energy, we are of the marginal classification.

4. How He is creating, maintaining, and annihilating

When the sparks of the marginal energy choose in favor of forgetfulness, there is a place to which they go. That place gets created. Then there is a phase of maintaining, followed by complete annihilation. The souls of the marginal classification stay within that place for as long as they wish.

God creates again and again, upon which there is population. This is actually an act of kindness. There is never force applied. No one should be compelled to follow the path for reaching liberation. There is always choice.

इति ते ज्ञानम् आख्यातं
गुह्याद् गुह्यतरं मया
विमृश्यैतद् अशेषेण
यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु

iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ
guhyād guhyataraṁ mayā
vimṛśyaitad aśeṣeṇa
yathecchasi tathā kuru

“Thus I have explained to you the most confidential of all knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.63)

[Krishna and Arjuna]In the most well-known presentation of the bhagavata philosophy, the teacher asks the student to deliberate. This is at the end of the presentation. Though every argument is in favor of following God, the student has to make up their own mind. They have to be convinced for themselves.

In Closing:

Myself convinced already,
To follow that path steady.

From bhagavata presentation shown,
Relationship to Almighty known.

And how working in different ways,
Potency with Him stays.

His shelter the only relief,
Appreciation steadying belief.

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