This question we may have in the pursuit of self realization is a very pertinent one, and one which is not very easy to answer. Knowing the workings of the spiritual laws that govern God’s coming and going, we at least know for one thing that God or Vishnu takes His incarnations (Avatars) and descends into this material world periodically whenever there is “a predominant rise of irreligion or adharma, and a decline in the practice of Dharma”. It is worthwhile noting that God incarnates repeatedly to guide the evolution of all species, not only humans. I see in the evolutionary process of the Dashavatars the very concept of evolution itself and how Vishnu manifests his plenary portion as the One who allows speciation. In fact, the main stages of the Dashavatars illustrate the concept of evolution from aquatic (Matsya) to amphibian (Kurma) to land mammal (Varaha) and onwards through the successive stages of human evolution characterised by the man who wields weapons (the axe bearing Parashurama), the King and Lawful ruler (Rama), the evolved and accomplished human in all its facets (Krishna) and the technological rage who comes with all his weaponry and associates to usher a new era on the face of the Earth (Kalki).
Hence, the answer to why He doesn’t show Himself and why He rules from afar is simply that because He is all-powerful, He doesn’t need to be physically present so that His presence is felt. It is us who are not attuned to this all-pervading presence. His Supreme Control exists at all times and in this material world, His destructive force in the form of Supreme Time is what is tangibly felt by all those who live against the laws of nature – both spiritual and material. He reveals Himself only to the unalloyed pure devotees “whose eyes are anointed with the salve of love of God” and remains veiled by his illusory energy Maya to all the atheists, sceptics and agnostics who are merely lost in speculative processes about His identity, when He in fact manifests Himself across all cultures and in bona fide revealed scriptures.
It is also true that while God’s rule is absolute, His love also is all-encompassing. Actually, He has facilitated our desire to enjoy by accommodating us in this temporal world where we can lawfully satisfy our desires in accordance with Dharma and then return to Him. This is in fact the cycle of human life but nowadays knowledge that we need to return to Him has been blotted out from all systems of pursuit of knowledge which do not systematically investigate the nature of our Source. Rather, the pursuit of knowledge is a secular one, often liable to the vagaries of our imperfect senses, including our mind. This is actually where a paradigm shift is required and where a common platform is needed for the understanding of God. Srimad Bhagavatam will fill that need for it is the most complete exposé on the science of God realization. The aim of the Krishna Consciousness movement is not essentially to convert people, it is to break our atheistic and demoniac proclivities to pave the way for God’s love into our hearts.
Once in a day of Brahma, i.e every 4,320,000,000 human years, Sri Krishna incarnates Himself in His original two-handed human form to exhibit the super-excellence of His pastimes and in order to attract our minds to our original Home, the spiritual world. Man is made in God’s image it is said and so we are fashioned exactly as the sons and daughters in the two-handed form. It is only the human form that is most propitious towards the attainment of pure devotional service, and hence this Earthly birth of ours is coveted even by the gods. As such, flouting the purpose for which this human life was designed runs counter to all the laws of nature, and hence we experience all sorts of reverses from nature which rob us of our peace of mind.
The secret to a successful human life is to live a life of austerity, simplicity, self-satisfaction, service and love. The more we can develop spiritual tendencies in life, the more we will find that our hearts are gladdened. Ultimately, if we are catering only to the material facets of life, then we are merely “cleaning the cage, and not feeding the bird”. The bird is symbolic of our souls within our hearts and the cage refers to our bodies. The dichotomy spiritual vis-à-vis material denotes duality but it is essential only due its pedagogic value, ultimately everything is derived from the spiritual nature which is Absolute.
By Krishna Leela Prakash ©