Why can't we see God?

Now a days many of us are wondering whether God exists or not. What is the reason of so? Why do we not think whether the sun exists or not? Do we think “Is there anything called moon” and some such? The reason is simple. We are not seeing God like the way we do for the sun or moon. Neither we hear God the way we do for sound. So what is the reason? There were many great saints who could interact with God just like we talk with each other. When they could why can’t we? Let us try to analyze the causes with respect to Bhagavad Gita.

Attachment and repulsion

In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna gives several reasons for this. Lord Krishna says in verse 2.63-64, “While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person developsattachment for them, and from such attachment desire develops, and from desire anger arises. From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one perishes.” Hence see from here that the attachment to the worldly objects like making money, getting fame, etc. destroys us and we cannot reach Him. Lord Krishna further says in verse 3.40 The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.” This means if we can get rid of lust then the real knowledge will get exposed helping us to reach God.

In our day to day life, we always rejoice after any success and break down after any failure. Why so? It is because of attachment to the sense enjoyments. In Gita verse 2.44, Lord Krishna states “In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.” So when we are not able to do any devotional service to God, then how can we expect to see Him? Can we see ever meet a person without pleasing him? Hence if we want to meet God then first and foremost is to please Him.

Now the question arises “Can we repel worldliness to avoid attachment? If we start liking sensory pleasures then attachment is created. So can we hate others to avoid this attachment?” The answer of these questions is “No.” We should not hate or repel others as well. In BG 3.34 Lord Krishna says, “We should come under the influence of neither attachment nor repulsion as they are our foes.” Attachment binds us to certain objects while repulsion to certain objects bind us to those which are opposite to those objects which we hate. So both are hindrances in our path to God. Consider we get attached to our friends and that creates a binding. While we get repulsed by our enemies which indirectly again binds us to our friends. So we should always remain balanced without hate and desire or any such pairs of opposites. Lord Krishna says in BG verse 7.27, “By the delusion of the pairs of opposites springing from desire and hate, all beings are deludedas soon as they are born.” However if we surrender ourselves to God then we can free ourselves from all the pairs of opposites. Lord Krishna says in verse 7.28-29, “The doers of good deeds, whose sins have come to an end, are freed from the delusion of the pairs of opposites. They worship Me, steadfast in their vows. Those who take refuge in Me and strive for deliverance from old age and death, know the self and the entire karma.”

Gunas and Maya

World is composed of three gunas- sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva represents knowledge and happiness. Rajas represents attachments to the earthly objects which bind us to the world. Tamas deludes us by binding us to ignorance, laziness destroying the knowledge. However God is beyond these three gunas. Hence to reach Him we must free ourselves from these gunas. Lord Krishna says in verse 7.13 Deluded by the three gunas, the world does not know Me, who am above the modes and inexhaustible.” From this we can find if we can get rid of attachments to the earthly objects, ignorance and laziness, then we will be in sattvik guna. Then slowly we can go beyond sattva also and thus can reach God.

The above gunas- sattva, rajas and tamas- constitute another factor Maya which is a big hurdle in reaching God. Lord Krishna says in BG verse 7.14, “This divine Maya of Mine consisting of the three gunas is hard to overcome… He continues in BG verse 7.25 Veiled by My Maya (consisting of the gunas), I am not manifest to all. Maya is like cloud due to which we cannot see the sun even though the sun exists always.

So “how to get rid of the three gunas and this Maya”? Lord Krishna answers this in the continuation of BG verse 7.14 Those who refuge in Me alone shall pass beyond the Maya.” Lord Krishna also repeats the same in verse BG 14.26, “Who serves me with unswerving bhakti yoga crosses the three gunas…”. Bhakti is like a scissor which cuts the ties of attachment and aversion due to the the gunas.

The three gates to hell

Who are the people who go to hell? Who are those who can escape hell? Lord Krishna says in verse 16.21-22, “Lust, greed and anger- are the three gates of hell. Therefore one should abandon these three. One who has been released from these threefold gates of darkness, works for the good of the self. Hence he reaches the supreme state.

Hence we should always avoid the above three evils to escape from hell.

There are virtues like humility, forgiveness, tolerance, charity, tranquility, compassion and some such which fall in the divine qualities (BG 16.1-3) which help us to attain liberation. On the other hands there are some demonic qualities as well besides the three gates to hell. They are pomposity, arrogance, self-conceit, rudeness and ignorance (BG 16.4) which bind us and take us to hell.

Consider during the game of dice in Mahabharata, when Draupadi was being disrobed by Dushashana, she called out for Lord Krishna and He immediately helped her out by increasing her saree. This act of Lord Krishna was easily realized by the Pandavas, Bhishma, Dronacharya, Vidura and the virtuous ones. But that remained a mystery for the people like Shakuni, Dushashana, Duryodhana and Karna who were full of greed for kingdom and other powers .

Similarly all the gopies realized Lord Krishna's greatness and enjoyed His presence. However the king of the deities, Indra did not realize that as he always enjoyed the luxury and lust towards the celestial dancers. He was greedy for adoration from the people and that made him play various tricks when the people of Gokula started worshiping Govardhan hill on the consent of Lord Krishna. So when Indra tried to punish the people of Gokula for not worshiping him by bringing huge rainfall thinking none could defeat him i.e. having a false ego, Lord Krishna saved them by lifting the Govardhan hill on His little finger and demolishing all Indra's powers. Then Indra realized Lord Krishna's grace.

So we should always be associated with the divine qualities and avoid the demonic ones in order to see God.

Boatman in the form of a guru

Suppose we want to cross a river. Then we need a boat for that. The boat in turn again has to be sailed by a boatman. Without the boatman there is no use of having just the boat. Consider another example, if we go to an alien place. There without a guide we will find it really difficult to explore that. There is a high chance that we will be lost totally.

Similarly if we want to cross the river of nescience and explore the spiritual world, we need the aid of a guru. Without guru we can’t attain spiritual world and God. That is why Lord Krishna advaises us in BG 4.34 “Approach a self realized person and enquire from him the truth in a submissive way”.

So we can find God wants us to know about Him from a mediator. If we want to meet the CEO of a company, it is always advisable to approach him through his secretary else it will be very tough to get his appointment. Similarly guru is must for God realization.

Bhakti, an easy means to see God

Unalloyed devotion will help us to view this form of Lord Krishna

As we saw above, Lord Krishna said by taking His refuge and through true devotion we can go beyond the hurdles like the gunas, Maya and the pairs of opposites. Lord Krishna also says in BG verse 11.53-54, “Not by the (mere) study of the Vedas, nor by austerities, nor by gifts, nor by sacrifice, can I be seen in such a form (Universal form). But by the single-minded devotion it is possible to truly know, see and enter into Me, who is of this form.

So we can see here Lord Krishna encourages us to have unalloyed devotion towards Him rather than mere reading Vedas or such scriptures, austerities, gifts or sacrifice. When Arjuna asks Lord Krishna in verse 12.1 “Who is greater devotee, the one who worships You being ever integrated with You or he who worships on the imperishable and the unmanifested self? ” Lord answers (verse 12.2-5) “He is superior who, ever integrated with Me and possessed of supreme faith, worships Me, focusing his mind on Me. The other one who worships Me as unmanifested and imperishable controlling his senses also reach Me. But the latter way is difficult to follow.

Hence we can find Lord Krishna encourages us to worship Him in His direct form rather than in other form like imperishable, unmanifested self which cannot be perceived by senses. The former way of worshiping is bhakti yoga while the latter is jnana yoga. Hence bhakti yoga is the easier one compared to jnana yoga.

Lord Krishna says in verse 8.14 , “I am easy to access to that Yogin who is ever integrated with Me, whose mind is not in anything else but Me and who ceaselessly recollects Me at all times. ” Hence if we constantly meditate on Him, then we will surely access Him.

Now to summarize, the reasons why we cannot see Him are attachments to the worldly matters and thus getting bound by the three gunas and Maya. But if we surrender ourselves to Him (like Arjuna, King Mahabali, the residents of Vrindavana) and have constant devotion for Him, then we will surely be freed from all kinds of bonds and then reach Him.

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