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Chapter Thirty-one


DEVOTEE: In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna reveals His universal form to His devotee Arjuna. This is a very special form of the Lord that is not one of the Lord's eternal spiritual forms. After revealing this form, He says to Arjuna, "O Arjuna, whatever you wish to see, behold at once in this body of Mine! This universal form can show you whatever you now desire to see and whatever you may want to see in the future. Everything - moving and non-moving - is here completely, in one place." [Bg. 11.7] In other words, Arjuna was able to see what even the greatest scientists cannot see - everything past, present, and future, everywhere in the universe, even while sitting in one place. Do the Jewish scriptures describe any visions of God similar to this universal form?

RABBI: There is a statement similar to this. It says, "When an individual looks into these permutations in a proper manner, he can see all of the creation. He is like a person looking into a glass mirror, who sees both his own face, and the faces of all who pass by." [Meditation and the Kabbalah, p 78] In other words, when a person properly chants the names of God, he can become qualified to see this form.

DEVOTEE: Because of Ajuna's purity, Lord Krsna agreed to give him divine eyes to see His universal form. The statement you just quoted from Meditation and the Kabbalah clearly says, it was by properly chanting the names of God (looking into the permutations in a proper manner) that a person could qualify himself to see this form. According to Vedic understanding also, if one chants the holy names of the Lord properly, without offense, the Lord will reveal everything to us according to His pleasure. Pure chanting ultimately means to chant the Lord's holy names while not maintaining even a tinge of desire separate from the desire of the Lord. That is pure devotion. Arjuna was not known for always chanting the Lord' s names like a religious monk, priest or rabbi might, but he was certainly a soul fully surrendered to Lord Krsna and thus became qualified to see the universal form.

Chapter Thirty-two


RABBI: In the Torah, God says, "Behold, the former things have come to pass, and I am declaring new things. I am telling you of them before they spring forth. [Torah, Halftorah of Beresthith, Isaiah 42:9] I think that any religion in the world accepts that God knows everything - past, present and future.

DEVOTEE: Yes, Rabbi, I think that you are right. In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna says, "I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me comes remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas." [Bg. 15.15] Not only is the Supreme Lord omniscient but His pure devotees are also omniscient by the grace of the Lord Who is the source of their knowledge.

RABBI: According to the Vedas, how can an ordinary person know everything past, present and future?

DEVOTEE: The answer to your question is in the verse I just quoted. God as the Supersoul is in the heart of every living entity. Our intelligence comes from the Supersoul. Since the Lord knows everything, if He wants to give intelligence to someone, it is not difficult for Him. The Lord is always ready to give us direction from within the heart, but generally we are not receptive to His good instructions. We have many material desires that oppose the desires of the Lord. The pure devotees however are souls fully surrendered to the will of the Lord. When the Lord speaks to them from within the heart, they understand fully. Thus pure devotees are known as tri-käla-jna, or those who can understand everything past, present and future.

RABBI: Moses was able to speak directly with God, and the Lord constantly gave him specific instructions of what would happen in the future and how to act in His service. For example, God, already knowing the mind of the Pharaoh, instructed Moses how to convince him to permit the Israelites to leave Egypt. God told Moses, "Observe! I will be making you like a god to the Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You must announce all that I order you to, and your brother Aaron will relate it to the Pharaoh. He will then let the Israelites leave his land. I will make the Pharaoh obstinate, and will thus have the opportunity to display many miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt. This is why the Pharaoh will not pay attention to you. But then I will display My power against Egypt, and with great acts of judgment, I will bring forth from Egypt my armies - My people, the Israelites. When I display My power and bring the Israelites out from among them, Egypt will know that I am God " [Torah, Exodus, VeEra 7:13] Moses and Aaron did exactly as God instructed and the Pharaoh responded as God predicted. This was the prelude of the ten great plagues brought about by God against the Pharaoh and his people. Not only did God know everything, but He also gave perfect intelligence to Moses and empowered him to act as his instrument to free the Israelites from the Pharaoh's control.

DEVOTEE: In the Vedic culture, there were saintly persons like Moses who had direct communion with God. The most recent was the Founder/ Acharya of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Although Srila Prabhupada, as we would affectionately call him, did not openly perform miracles of the magical quality shown by Moses, he was fully empowered by God, Krsna, to propagate Krsna consciousness throughout the world. The real miracle that Srila Prabhupada performed was that he transformed millions of miserable people addicted to all kinds of sinful life, and made them happy by giving them Krsna consciousness, or devotion to God.

One of his most important contributions was his elaborate translations and commentaries of Vedic literatures, the Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and Caitanya-Caritamrita. Unlike ordinary scholars who must write and rewrite their books until they feel they are ready, Srila Prabhupada would simply dictate them once. The information and instructions given in his books are flawless. Without being directly instructed and empowered by the Lord, no one can successfully propagate pure God consciousness. Srila Prabhupada said that Lord Krsna constantly directed his actions, and that he never acted independently of the Lord's instructions.

RABBI: So once again I see that God does not discriminate against any religious path. He will give the necessary intelligence and ability to any of his pure servants to carry out His mission.

DEVOTEE: Yes, and not only that. Besides the Lord empowering His servants to act wonderfully on His behalf, He personally arranges to glorify His pure servants or pure devotees who have no tinge of desire other than to please Him. As God predicted, in spite of His sending calamity after calamity to the Egyptians for their unwillingness to let the Israelites leave to serve God, the Pharaoh became more and more hard hearted. In fact, the Lord said that He would make the Pharaoh obstinate just so that He could display many miraculous acts in Egypt. The Lord could have immediately killed everyone in Egypt, but He chose to perform miracle after miracle (as the ten plagues) to increase His own glories and to increase the glories of Moses who was intimately acting as His instrument. Srila Prabhupada's situation was similar. He always glorified the Lord and asked nothing for himself. By the grace of the Lord, Srila Prabhupada is glorified by millions of people all over the world for the spiritual contributions that he gave the world as His service to Lord Krsna.

Chapter Thirty-three


RABBI: There is a great controversy between the religionists and the scientists regarding the source of life. According to the entire first two chapters of Genesis of the Torah, God created everything, including all forms of plants, fish, mammals, birds, insects and human beings. There is no mention of any of the species of life arising from an inorganic source. The materialistic scientists' theories only give reasons for man to look away from God. They try to prove that life came from an inorganic source, which would imply that there is no God. The similarly inclined speculative philosophers then attempt to create philosophies to justify materialistic man's ultimate hope - for a life of unrestricted sense enjoyment without any accountability. If there were no God, then we would ultimately be unaccountable to anyone for our actions.

DEVOTEE: Yes, this is our material disease, to want to act like there is no God or that we are God. In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna says, "I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts." [Bg. 10.8] Without understanding that God is the source or the fountainhead of everything two problems are created. First, we will justify our desire to be the center of existence - as both the enjoyers and controllers. Second, if we do not accept the existence of God, we will not be able to engage in loving transcendental service to the Lord. Both are artificial positions that will not bring us any true satisfaction or happiness, regardless of our success at material enjoyment. That is, the highest material enjoyment will not truly satisfy the soul. Certainly, our conviction that God is the source of creation is an essential building block for a spiritually progressive and happy human society.

RABBI: Even with millions of people believing in principle that God is the source of everything, the world continues to become more materialistic. The more materialistic and atheistic it becomes, the more people will suffer. So it is of utmost importance that we become convinced that God is the source of everything and that we each have a perfect, transcendental, loving relationship with Him.

Closely related to the discussion of the original source of life is whether all species of life were existing since the beginning of God's creation or if they developed over time such as in the Darwinian theory. Again, in the first two chapters of Genesis it is clearly stated that God created all the species of life. Additionally, it is not logical that so many complex changes could take place totally based on chance.

DEVOTEE: I totally agree. It is said that not a blade of grass blows in the wind without the sanction of the Lord. There is nothing in the Lord's creation that happens by chance. If the sun deviated even slightly from it's path, the whole earth would either burn up or freeze. In either case, life as we know it would be destroyed on earth. Yet, for countless millions of years the sun has not gone off it's path.

There is a kind of evolution however, but it is far removed from the atheistic Darwinian theory. This evolution is one of increasing consciousness, as the soul transmigrates from one species of life to another. The Vedas describe that there are innumerable species of life in the universe of which only a relatively small number are human beings. Only in the human form of life can a soul perfect himself through devotional service. To take a human birth is the greatest fortune and we should fully utilize this golden opportunity to cultivate devotion to God. If we misuse our human birth, dedicating our time and energy to gratifying our senses without interest in God, we will loose our human existence and again take birth in the lower species of life.

Chapters 28 to 30 Chapters 34 to 35 & Bibliography