“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him” – Bhagavad Gita (9.29)
When we see the order and design at both the gigantic universal level and at the miniscule world of a microorganism we can marvel at the intelligence that’s behind it. Besides, the universe operates under perfect laws- whether it’s the seasonal changes or the body cycle or the planetary movements, it’s all pointing out to a Supreme intelligent creator. We may not presently see Him but we do certainly reciprocate with Him in one of the two ways.
The first manner we have a relationship with God is the mechanical or impersonal way and the second we could opt for is a personal way of reciprocation.
The mechanical relationship with God to which we all are bound is through a perfectly designed law – ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’. Also known as the Law of Karma, this law simply states that whatever we sow in way of our thoughts and actions, we reap the fruits. Also known as the law of attraction in popular self-help literature, it’s now widely accepted as a reality of our lives.This law empowers one to choose wisely and helps us take responsibility for what happens to us rather than simply play the blame game.
This law reveals God’s face of a Judge- a neutral observer who awards us just reactions for what we do while we function in this world. The Vedic scriptures reveal His presence in our hearts as the impartial judge who travels with us always in our sojourn in this world. He silently watches us explore the variegated pleasures and pains of this world.
Interestingly the same judge is quick to throw away his grave mask and reveal His true nature of a loving friend. The moment we decide to approach Him as our friend, He makes His laws subservient to His love, for He is eager to have an affectionate personal relationship with us. This real identity of God as the Supreme friend and lover is covered for those who wish to deny His love. However if we chose to access the vast treasure of love that God wants to share with us, we find our personal world change upside down. It’s like a young couple in love; the freshness and freedom that comes in a relationship with God helps us reconcile all the tragedies and pains and confusions of this world; God reveals a level of happiness that is far beyond what this world can offer.
How do we access this love of God?
We need to first accept we are persons and God is also a person. For the moderns steeped in a mechanical routine life, a personal identity is missing. To answer deep questions like ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What are the values I hold sacred in life?’ they have no time. Absorption in whatsapp, Face book, Internet and television and other electronic gadgets suck our ability for personal relationships. Being personal is the first step to feel loved in life. Earlier times the farmers used a bull to plough the field. That meant a personal relationship with the bull. The morning alarm was the cock, again which called for a personal touch. Nowadays however everything is mechanized and impersonal. Naturally it becomes difficult to accept God as a person. But we can choose to change today by recognizing ourselves as a person and then connecting to our feelings and emotions.
Secondly in this personal relationship we also have a free will. We love God by choosing to love Him. Sounds simplistic? It means we accept we are free and then use our freedom to love Him. For many religious practitioners worship of God is a ritual, devoid of any emotion. Fear motivates them to follow God’s laws. They do good deeds and they also get good reactions. But love eludes their heart. To experience God’s love practically it means we affirm and declare that we chant God’s Holy Names or serve Him not because it ought to be done but because I really want to do it. I chose to serve God and not because someone has ordered me to. Only when we speak the language of ‘I want to’ rather than ‘I have to’ we access God’s love.
We could take baby steps to access God’s love. A daily thank you to God and the universe for the wonderful gifts we have been blessed with is the best way to connect to God. As William Arthur Ward said, “God gave you a gift of 84,600 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say thank you?”
Secondly we could treat ourselves and others as ‘persons’ by recognizing their needs and feelings. Thirdly be ‘present’ while we eat, talk and work. It helps us cut thick layers of a ritualistic life and access the field of love.
Sure enough then, the day would not be far when we find God’s love in our lives a tangible reality.
Vraja Bihari Das is a full-time teacher in ISKCON and is training Professionals and Students in the science of Bhakti Yoga. He has done his Honors degree in Economics, and Masters in International Finance, and is also a post-graduate MBA in Finance. He has worked with the Times Group and undertook projects for prestigious organizations such as ICICI Bank and KPMG Pete Marwick.
As a full time faculty and member of ISKCON, he conducts discourses on the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Srimad Bhagavatam. He travels widely and freely shares his thoughts on mental hygiene, spiritual discipline, and finding deep emotional fulfillment. His self excellence courses, lifestyle management programs and corporate seminars are popular with both the youth and the elderly. He is also a prolific writer, and you could read his reflections on www.yogaformodernage.com