In most other religious traditions, it is fair to say that the personality, nomenclature, entourage, pastimes and activities are indeed shrouded in mystery. Even the Vedas and the Vedanta Sutra are replete with philosophical reflections into the nature of God and one is easily misled into thinking that God is an impersonal and judgmental force acting from some undefined dimension in the non-material realm. However, a deeper exploration of the Srimad Bhagavatam, which is considered as the cream of the Vedic Literatures, reveals a concentrate of wisdom around the personal aspect of God.
In there is expounded the whole science of God realization which holds that the process occurs in 3 stages, the preliminary being realization and experience of the impersonal aspect of God (Brahman). The second and more advanced stage is realization of the localized aspect of God which is the Supersoul (Paramatma) and which pervades the entire spectrum of creation and accounts for God’s omniscience. The last and most advanced stage consists of realization of the intimate personal aspect of God (Bhagavan) which has been described by innumerable names, the most consistent and fitting one being Krsna which means all-attractive. Yogic experience progresses in these 3 stages although the Bhagavan stage which is the aim of bhakti-yoga includes realization of the 2 penultimate stages, just as complete knowledge of the sun-planet includes the knowledge of the sun god or the presiding deity of the sun Vivasvan, the sun planet itself and the rays of the sun.
The Vedic literatures are thorough in their description of the personal attributes of God, Vishnu [Krsna]. Upon a complete know-how of the Vaishnava literature, we come to know in truth everything about who God is, where does He reside, what is His entourage like, what is the spiritual realm and why does He create. There are many secondary creators and aggregates of creation but ultimately, Krsna facilitates the creation of the material realm simply to accommodate the liberty of choice we have by dint of our free will to align ourselves with the spiritual nature or to choose to be independent lords ourselves.
Because our very constitution as a jiva is marginal, meaning intermediate between the spiritual and material, we are free to traverse the boundary between the two. The non-spiritual realms are temporary are where we can bring to fruition our desire to be independent masters of all we survey and thereby exploit the resources of these universes to carry out our plans. But soon we realize that there is something amiss. Then we begin to inquire and that inquisitive nature becomes the cause of our good fortune for when our spiritual education begins, we realize that we are inseparably linked to God via an eternal relationship. If we dovetail ourselves with this relationship, we become like fish in water or in other words, naturally blissful.
Somehow, saying that God has a judgmental nature stems from our experience with the concept of sin and piety. It takes spiritual time to believe in the concept of sin and that it ultimately is averse to our personal and collective wellbeing. One who is sinless doesn’t have to encounter the onslaughts of suffering, for indeed the signs of sin are visible on the bodies of all those who have material forms. This particular aspect of physiognomy and the transmigration of the living entity through the hellish planets is given full description in the Garuda Purana in the form of a conversation between the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu and in the Srimad Bhagavatam as well when it is spoken by Lord Kapila. Sin merely means to perform an action that is contrary to our spiritual benefit and piousness is earned when we act in accordance to spiritual law. But we can transcend both sin and piety by worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. This is because He absolves us of all reactionary results by His Supreme Prerogative after we have fully surrendered unto Him.
A little end-note here: I address God as Him very often but I would like all my readers to appreciate the fact that God also exists as the Divine Feminine, embodied by Sri Radha, the Queen of all Goddesses of Fortune. In fact, spiritual advancement isn’t possible without the benediction of the Divine Feminine, for she bestows upon us Divine Love – a love so complete that it fulfils the purpose of our existence.
By Krishna Leela Prakash ©