The Dweller in Our Hearts
by Gauranga Darshan Das
“My eyes can see my hands, but can my hands see my eyes?” – The answer is a No!
“God can see us, but can we see God?” – The answer oscillates between a “No” and a “Yes.” But what exactly is the answer? – Here it is:
God is spiritual, and even the soul, a part of God, is also spiritual. Entrapped in a material body, the soul is unable to see God’s spiritual form through the dull material senses, leave understanding the ‘omnivision’ of God. But it’s still too early to be disappointed. Although the Lord’s spiritual form is beyond our sensory perception, by engaging those very material senses in the selfless service of God, one can eventually see Him. Once pleased with our unmotivated and uninterrupted service in pure consciousness, God Himself manifests before us. More than only revealing Himself to us, He enables us to realize His nature, relish His sweet names and forms, qualities, and activities.
The holy texts – Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam present the Supreme Lord Krsna, His forms, qualities, and activities in a most heart-churning way. To top that, they also present the process of realizing Him pragmatically. Well, the sheer volume of these scriptures might appear overwhelming, but upon diving deep into them patiently, we will surely experience our consciousness drenching in Krsna’s love, no matter what our background is.
1. He Is Within Us and Knows Our Hearts
There is a house in your heart! Well, you read it right. Someone is residing in your heart. Although the Lord stays in Goloka, His eternal abode, He also stays in the hearts of all living beings as Paramatma (goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto, Brahma-samhita 5.37). Lord Krsna Himself declares this fact in the Bhagavad-gita – isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese ‘rjuna tisthati (18.61). Staying right within everyone’s heart, He knows every single thought, desire, and plan of every individual.
He maintains the entire material creation as Paramatma (Karanodakasayi Visnu), He enters into every single material universe as Paramatma (Garbhodakasayi Visnu), and He enters into every single living being’s heart and even into every single atom as Paramatma (Ksirodakasayi Visnu). Paramatma is also present in a material atom. The saltiness in a salt particle, or the sweetness in a sugar particle, is because of the presence of Paramatma, although there is no atma there. He is the taste of water; He is the heat of the fire; He is the light of the sun and the moon. He is the active principle of everything that exists in the entire universe. He pervades the entire creation. Just as in a necklace, the beads are strung together with a thread; similarly, the Supreme Lord is the invisible foundation and the maintainer of every single atom in the material creation. (BG 7.7)
2. He Reminds, Inspires & Sanctions
Lord Krsna says, “I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness (sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca).” (BG 15.15)
Krsna brings in forgetfulness of our past lives so that we can function properly. For instance, if someone remembers his past identity as a king and is currently a beggar, the person won’t be able to accept his immediate identity – that of a beggar. Therefore, the Lord mercifully makes one forget certain things, but He reminds one of one’s past desires so that can be pursued. He also supplies the necessary knowledge according to what one desires and deserves. Our desires, material or spiritual, find fulfillment only after receiving His assent. So, enjoying even on the material plane embraces reality only by the Lord’s sanction.
Once, Ratnamala, King Bali’s sister (or daughter), saw Vamanadeva at Bali’s sacrificial arena. Overwhelmed with motherly affection for Him, she desired to have a child-like Him and feed Him her milk. The Lord noted this unspoken desire. After Vamanadeva occupied the entire universe within two steps and arrested Bali Maharaja, Ratnamala thought to herself, “If He becomes my child, I will kill Him with poisonous milk.” The Lord noted the second desire too. He combined both of her desires and awarded Ratnamala the body of witch Putana. As Putana, Ratnamala fed Krsna her poisoned milk but was liberated by the Lord eventually. She attained the position of a motherly nurse in the spiritual world.
The conditioned souls are affected by material nature because of the absence of a good connection with the Lord. But the Lord, although in full contact with material nature, remains unaffected.
3. Personal Connection & A Word of Caution!
The Lord stays with us in the house of our hearts. But His eyes never sleep. They’re like evasion-proof CCTV cameras installed within the hearts of one and all. So there’s absolutely no chance of any of our actions going unnoticed. The conditioned soul transmigrates from one body to another body and from one place to another place in the pursuit of material happiness. All this while, the Lord keeps watching the wanderings of such a soul, and knows everything that’s going on in everyone’s minds.
The Lord’s omnipotence and omniscience help us build a personal connection with Him for we know Him to be the denizen of our heart. Moreover, we’re always subtly reminded – ‘That ‘someone is looking after us and at all the time’!
Also, we start sharing the realization that: There may be none who recognize our efforts in this world, but there’s One who always does. Common people in this world may misunderstand us, but Krsna is the only one who cuts through all of that.
Lord Ramacandra’s brother, Bharata, was misunderstood by everyone. His mother, Kaikeyi, misunderstood him thinking that giving him the Kingdom of Ayodhya would make him happy. Thus, Kaikeyi asked her husband, Dasaratha, to coronate Bharata and send Rama on exile to the forest. This led to Dasaratha misunderstanding Bharata. Kausalya, Vasistha, Guha, and even Laksmana misunderstood Bharata. Later, when innocent Bharata came to the forest to take Rama back to Ayodhya, Laksmana assumed that he was coming to kill Rama. Yet, Lord Ramacandra never misunderstood Bharata.
Sometimes, we may be misunderstood by common people or even our dearest friends, but the Lord never misunderstands anyone, for He knows everything about us, staying right within our hearts.
The Lord’s omniscience also should give us a caution note: sometimes, although our mistakes are unnoticed by the people around us, they don’t remain unnoticed to the Lord’s eyes. Although, one may sometimes escape punishment from the police or court for one’s criminal acts, one cannot escape from the Supreme Lord’s perfect judgment. His eyes, ears, hands, and legs are everywhere. Although people praise us as great, he knows our actual position. The good or bad within us – nothing remains hidden from Him.
So the Lord’s omnipresence and omniscience thus should give us a sense of hope and a caution note. But, moreover, it should also inspire within us a desire to see Him who resides everywhere by developing mature spiritual consciousness.
4. Understanding His Heart – A Puzzle
The conditioned souls cannot understand Krsna because their vision is impaired by maya, His illusory energy. The clouds in the sky might seem to cover the sun, but when in reality, it’s the cloud covering our vision of the sun. Similarly, maya cannot cover the Lord’s vision, but it somewhat does to ours. Veiled behind the curtain of maya one cannot see or understand the Lord (SB 1.8.19).
But here’s an exception. Those who sincerely desire to see the Lord can see Him by His kind assistance. He destroys the darkness of ignorance within everyone’s hearts and gives them the necessary intelligence to reach Him. Here’s the Lord’s proclamation itself (BG 10.10-11).
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti te
“To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”
aham ajsana-jam tamah
“To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (BG 10.11).
When someone sincerely desires to connect with the Lord, help is not so far away. This is the merciful arrangement of the Lord. For instance, the Lord knew that Dhruva desired to worship Him, and thus He sent Narada Muni to guide Dhruva. We can see how, without expressing our desire, the Lord understands our desires, motivations, and inclinations. Whether they are genuine spiritual desires or materialistic desires, it is He who sanctions and facilitates them.
5. Those Who Understand His Heart
The Lord resides in everyone’s heart and understands everyone, as described above. But, you may be curious to know whether someone is residing in His heart as well? – The answer is a big “Yes!” Well, who is that? – They’re none other than His beloved devotees.
Here’s what the Lord says:
sadhavo hrdayam mahyam
sadhunam hrdayam tv aham
mad-anyat te na jananti
naham tebhyo manag api
“The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart, and I am always in the heart of the pure devotee. My devotees do not know anything else but Me, and I do not know anyone else but them.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.68)
Magically, devotees are also situated within the Lord’s heart, just as He is within theirs. Just as the Lord understands the desires, motives, and plans of His devotees, so do the devotees situated within His heart.
Unlike conditioned souls, pure devotees, their eyes and hearts undeterred by the curtain of maya, can see the Lord and know Him perfectly.
For example, intimate devotees like Mother Yasoda and the gopis of Vrndavana would immediately understand what Krsna needed even without Him having to express His desires. Similarly, Srila Rupa Gosvami, knowing well the heart of Lord Caitanya (sri-caitanya-mano-‘bhistam sthapitam yena bhu-tale), would act for the fulfillment of His desires even before the Lord voiced them.
In essence, although Lord Krsna resides in everyone’s heart, He allows Himself to be understood by only those in pure consciousness. So let’s lock and bolt our most valuable possession – our consciousness, carefully within the vault of our heart, the seat of Krsna.
6. The Hearts That God Can’t Understand!
The all-knowing Krsna sometimes cannot understand the minds of His pure devotees. So he becomes curious to know how much they relish serving His lotus feet. To understand the devotees’ minds, He appears as Vata-patra-sayi, where He lies like an infant baby on a banyan leaf, sucking His own toe. Thus, he fulfills His desire to taste the sweetness of His own lotus feet, which His devotees relish. He is extremely inquisitive to know why His devotees are so attached to His lotus feet and hover around them like bumble bees.
The topmost of all the devotees of Krsna is Srimati Radharani. Krsna cannot understand the deep emotions and joys within Her heart. He wonders, “I am receiving so much service from Srimati Radharani, but Her happiness is ten million times more than Mine. I want to understand Her happiness. I want to understand the extent of love within Her heart. Unless I accept Her mood as My devotee, I cannot experience the superior pleasure of Her heart.” Thinking thus, Lord Krsna appeared in the form of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu with the emotions of Radharani.
Krsna cannot even completely understand Himself. Only His exalted devotees can somewhat comprehend His completeness.
As the neutral Supersoul, Krsna understands everybody’s hearts and reciprocates according to their moods and deeds. He specifically understands the hearts of those practicing bhakti and imparts unto them the necessary inspiration and guidance to reach His Lotus feet. He houses the pure devotees – those devoid of malice, right within His heart, allowing them to understand His heartfelt desires and serve Him accordingly. But in the case of the most exalted devotees like the Vrajavasis, Krsna longs to understand their hearts! This is the inconceivable nature of Krsna.
Lord Krsna is the controller, master, proprietor, and enjoyer, but in front of His pure devotees, He takes a subordinate position and makes them greater than Himself.