An excerpt from On the Way to Krishna, by His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
“You cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes, so that you can behold My mystic opulence” (Bhagavad-gita 11.8)
How can we get the eyes to see God? How can we become God conscious, Krishna conscious, in every step of our life? Actually, Krishna makes it very easy for us: “O son of Kunti [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man” (Bg. 7.8).
In this verse Sri Krishna is describing how we can become Krishna conscious fully, in all stages of life. For instance, all living entities must drink water. The taste of water is so nice that when we are thirsty, nothing but water seems to do. No manufacturer can create the pure taste of water. We can thus remember Krishna when we drink water. No one can avoid drinking water every day of his life, so God consciousness is there—how can we forget?
There are nine different processes for associating with God, and the first method of association is sravanam-hearing. By reading Bhagavad-gita we hear the speeches of Sri Krishna, which means that we are actually associating with God. (We should always remember that when we speak of Krishna, we refer to God.) Inasmuch as we associate with God, and as we go on hearing the words of Krishna and His names, the contamination of material nature is reduced. If we understand that Krishna is sound, illumination, water, and so many other things, we cannot avoid Him. If we can remember Krishna in this way, our association with Him is permanent.
Association with Krishna is like association with sunshine. Where there is sunshine, there is no contamination. As long as one is out in the ultraviolet rays of the sun, he will not be diseased. Western medicine recommends sunshine for all kinds of diseases, and the Vedas say a diseased man should worship the sun to be cured. Similarly, if we associate with Krishna, our maladies are cured. By chanting Hare Krishna we can associate with Krishna—and we can see Krishna in the sun and the moon, and we can hear Krishna in sound and taste Him in water.
It is especially useless to speculate about God. Therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam recommends that one give up all sorts of speculation. Instead, one should become submissive, realizing not only that he is an insignificant creature, but also that this earth is only one small point in the great universe. New York City may seem very large, but when one realizes that the earth is such a small spot, and that on the earth the United States is just another small spot, and that in the United States New York City is but a small spot, and that in New York the individual is only one out of millions, then one can understand that he is not so very important after all. Realizing our insignificance in the face of the universe and God, we should not be artificially puffed up but should be submissive.
We should be very careful not to fall prey to frog philosophy. Once there was a frog in a well, and upon hearing of the Atlantic Ocean from a friend, he asked, “Oh, what is this Atlantic Ocean?”
“It is a vast body of water,” his friend replied.
“How vast? Is it double the size of this well?”
“Oh no-much, much larger.”
“How much larger? Ten times the size?” In this way the frog went on calculating. But how could he ever understand the depths and far reaches of the great ocean? Our faculties, experience, and powers of speculation are always limited. We can give rise only to such frog philosophy.
After giving up speculation, what should we do? Bhagavatam recommends that we become humble and hear God’s message submissively. We may hear His message also from the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures. The only qualification is that we receive the transcendental message from a realized soul—a pure devotee of God.
In the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Sri Krishna gives additional ways to perceive Him in every step of life: “I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics” (Bg. 7.9).
Only Krishna can create flavors and fragrances. We may synthetically create some scents or fragrances, but these are not as good as the originals that occur in nature. When we smell a good natural fragrance, we can think, “Oh, here is God. Here is Krishna.” Or when we see some natural beauty, we can think, “Oh, here is Krishna.” Or when we see something uncommon, powerful, or wonderful, we can think, “Here is Krishna.” Or when we see any form of life, whether it be in a tree, in a plant or an animal, or in a human being, we should understand that this life is part and parcel of Krishna, for as soon as the spiritual spark, which is part and parcel of Krishna, is taken away from the body, the body disintegrates. “O son of Prtha, know that I am the original seed of all existences, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the prowess of all powerful men” (Bg. 7.10).
Here again it is obvious that Krishna is the life of all that lives. Thus at every step we can see God. People may ask, “Can you show me God?” Yes, of course. We can see God in so many ways. But if one closes his eyes and says, “I shall not see God,” then how can he be shown?
The easiest way to see God is to chant Hare Krishna always. Never mind whether you are in a factory or in a hell, in a shack or in a skyscraper—it doesn’t matter. Just go on chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. There is no expense, there is no impediment, there is no caste, there is no creed, there is no color—anyone can do it. Just chant and hear. Then, by Krishna’s grace, you will have the eyes to see Him everywhere and always.