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Feeling God’s presence – part 1

“When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.”
– C.S. Lewis (1898-1963, British novelist and theologian)

 

“I want to feel God is present here, not just intellectually know that he exists. I want to be loved by God, not simply be aware that I need to love him.” If these thoughts ever came to your mind then read on…

Daksha was a sincere devotee of God who approached the Vindhya mountains and performed severe austerities and offered heart-felt prayers to God. His prayers-known as the Hamsa Guhya prayers (found in Srimad Bhagavatam 6.4.23-54) – and the Lord’s response to his petitions, reveals how we too could perceive God’s presence in our own lives.

Humility is the foundation

Daksha first expressed his inability to figure out God by his own powers. He begins with an honest confession that God is above the evidence of experimental knowledge, and we on the other hand are conditioned to accept this material world as everything.

In simple words, this means God is beyond our vision because our vision is material, and He is beyond matter.

It’s like using vernier calipers to test the chemical acidity or alkalinity, or using a microscope to read the dimension of an object. Each branch of knowledge has its own measuring instruments. Similarly to know God who is by definition spiritual or above matter, we need to seek spiritual instruments, and not merely our own material mind and intelligence. If someone diligently uses the microscope for hours, he still can’t figure out the acidity or measure the dimensions. Likewise we may speculate for years and still come nowhere near God. We could understand all the atoms of this universe; still God could remain inaccessible to us. We may travel at the speed of light or even the mind, yet come nowhere near God. And the reason is simple; He is not of the material dimension, while we seek His presence through our limited material abilities.

Daksha recognizes this inherent limitation in our attempts to know God and offers a graphic example to explain the point. One’s nose can perceive the fragrance of a flower but the flower cannot understand how the nose perceives it. In the same manner, God being the Supreme spiritual personality can control us but we can’t capture him with our tiny brains.

Matter cannot perceive spirit, but spirit can understand matter. For example a table cannot know its own nature or that of other tables, not to mention the nature of hand that perceives the table. We, the living entities are spiritual in nature and can know our body, life airs, senses and sense objects. Still we can’t perceive the omniscient and unlimited God by our senses because He is by definition situated above us, just as we are placed superior to our own hands and a table.

To be continued…..

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