“Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahma, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.8.7)
न केवलं मे भवतश् च राजन्
स वै बलं बलिनां चापरेषाम्
परे ’वरे ’मी स्थिर-जङ्गमा ये
ब्रह्मादयो येन वशं प्रणीताः
na kevalaṁ me bhavataś ca rājan
sa vai balaṁ balināṁ cāpareṣām
pare ’vare ’mī sthira-jaṅgamā ye
brahmādayo yena vaśaṁ praṇītāḥ
For good and decent people genuinely interested in spiritual life, it is one of the difficult issues to resolve. At first, they are comforted to learn of the universal disposition of Supersoul. This is known as Paramatma in Sanskrit, and it is one of the features of the Almighty.
Supersoul travels with every individual. From lifetime to lifetime. From birth to birth. From species to species. In this way, no one is ever truly alone. If a tree falls in an empty forest, it indeed makes a sound. At the very least, Supersoul is there to serve as the witness. Since that witnessing capability is all-pervading, Supersoul is described to be antaryami.
While it is a comforting thought that God is always with me, the difficulty arises when I view the unpleasant aspects of the living experience. Many of the unpleasant experiences are caused by aggressors. Those who violate the long-established virtues which make for a properly functioning society.
If I am to believe the teachings of Vedanta in truth, it must mean that Supersoul is with these people, as well. God is the observing witness, though neutrally situated, to so many horrible deeds carried out by the worst characters we could ever imagine.
“That person is the worst. They can lie with a straight face. They lie without remorse. They feel justified because of their pessimistic outlook of the world. I cannot stand people like that. They will get what is coming to them. Hear me now, believe me later. One day, you will see.”
“Can you believe that person? They tried to cheat us out of that house. We paid them thousands of dollars. We have the transactions documented. Everything is in writing. Still, they are trying to find some trick in order to take back possession. What kind of people do that?”
3. Killers of men
“Can you believe that person? They killed so many innocent people. Why? For what reason? It was not like an argument or heated discussion got out of hand. This was senseless violence.”
4. Takers of respect
“Can you believe that person? What they did to women is unmentionable. I don’t even want to think about it. How can such people be allowed in our society? Where do these people come from? I hope they get the worst punishment imaginable.”
5. Abusers of the innocent
“Can you believe that group? They dress in spiritual garb. They dare lecture us about the meaning to the pages of shastra. They know nothing. They hate children. They have abused so many. There is no excuse for their behavior. I hope they get what is coming to them, in the manner of the sinner’s fruit delivered at the appropriate time.”
अवश्यं लभते जन्तुः फलं पापस्य कर्मणः।
घोरं पर्यागते काले द्रुमाः पुष्पमिवार्तवम्।।
avaśyaṃ labhate jantuḥ phalaṃ pāpasya karmaṇaḥ।
ghoraṃ paryāgate kāle drumāḥ puṣpamivārtavam।।
“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)
From Shrimad Bhagavatam, we learn that Supersoul is one of three features to the Almighty in the manifest world. God is always God, whether we notice Him or not. The sun is always there, whether we can see it in the sky or not. During the nighttime, the sun does not cease to be, and it is not born during the dawn.
Since we are covered by illusion, we have different ways of realizing fixtures of the world in which we live. The same applies towards transcendence, and so there are the three features known as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan.
Paramatma is Supersoul, and we see how this feature is everywhere, though situated within. Supersoul is inside of every living being. Realization of Supersoul is not easy, but it is important to acknowledge.
At the same time, there is a different interaction with the full realization, with knowing Bhagavan. This distinction is nicely highlighted in the famous story of Prahlada Maharaja. He knew God as Bhagavan. Prahlada knew other names to describe the same figure, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Prahlada was only five years old at the time, and his father had a different mindset. Hiranyakashipu was against God. He did not like that Prahlada, his son, was so fond of worshiping, in directing thoughts and prayers to the one who is also known as Vishnu.
Since Supersoul was inside of both father and son, activities were carried out. Prahlada succeeded in worshiping, despite interference from the father. Hiranyakashipu was allowed to at least make the attempts. He tried to kill the five-year old son in a variety of ways. Supersoul was there all along, witnessing everything.
समो ऽहं सर्व-भूतेषु
न मे द्वेष्यो ऽस्ति न प्रियः
ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या
मयि ते तेषु चाप्य् अहम्
samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)
From this distinction, we see the importance of knowing God as Bhagavan. That knowledge creates the opportunity for service. The person who serves Bhagavan becomes a friend. The neutral disposition gets left behind. God then takes an active role in that person’s welfare.
This distinction was lost on Hiranyakashipu. He could not understand his own failure. How was Prahlada surviving the attacks? What kind of special power did the child possess? Why wasn’t the exercise of force enough to bring success?
Prahlada explained that the source of strength is the same in everyone. Vishnu is everywhere. He is inside of everyone. Hiranyakashipu could have received the same favor, of accepting the mercy of Bhagavan. Stuck in his atheistic ways, one of the wickedest characters in history had to rely upon the neutrally situated Supersoul, whereas Prahlada had the direct protection of Bhagavan, for the purpose of continuing in his devotion.
For honest comparison to make,
Case of Prahlada take.
How to Bhagavan bound,
And lethal trouble found.
His father with Supersoul inside,
But no other favor to preside.
Such that the child succeeding,
Witness to Narasimha proceeding.
Categories: the five