It was reported that when a Russian spaceman was the first man to explore outer space, their communist party leader stated that, “He could not see any God up there.” Thus, in the minds of many people, the question whether any God lives up in the heavens was finally settled. If space was the final frontier beyond which nothing can possibly exist, then there is no need to search God any further. If man cannot see Him up there, He simply does not exist.
But the issue is far from settled. The primal reason for God not being visible is not that God is hiding from us but rather we are hiding from Him.
How is that? Our desire to enjoy our own senses is the prime reason why we cannot see God. We are born in this world in a state of delusion. Delusion begins when we think that we are our material bodies. And then later we are bewildered by dualities arisen from desire and hate. Here the desire is to avoid any contact with the Lord and hatred is for engaging in His service.
A question may be raised: If we cannot see the Lord then is it necessary to imagine Him? No. Some people think that we can imagine any form of the Lord as we like. This is also wrong because that means a form manufactured by our mind. And our mind is already filled with thoughts of material desires and hatred for the Lord. Therefore devotees never imagine a form of the Lord. They are not satisfied by imagination. They meditate upon the form of the Lord which is experienced by devotees.
The Lord has different eternal forms; each devotee likes a particular form and thus engages himself in the service of the Lord by worshiping that form. The Lord’s form is depicted in different ways according to scriptures. There are eight kinds of representations of the original form of the Lord. These representations can be produced by the use of clay, stone, wood, paint, sand, etc., depending upon the resources of the devotee.
Meditation is compared with carving of the form of the Lord within the mind. This is included as one of the eight different carvings of the form of the Lord. It is not imagination. Meditation on the actual form of the Lord may be manifested in different manners, but one should not conclude that one has to imagine a form.
The devotee should first concentrate his mind on the Lord’s lotus feet, which are adorned with the marks of a thunderbolt, a goad, a banner and a lotus. The splendor of His beautiful ruby nails resembles the orb of the moon and dispels the thick gloom of one’s heart. The blessed Lord Shiva becomes all the more blessed by bearing on his head the holy waters of the Ganges, which has its source in the water that washed the Lord’s lotus feet. The Lord’s feet act like thunderbolts hurled to shatter the mountain of sin stored in the mind of the meditating devotee.
One should therefore meditate on the lotus feet of the Lord for a long time. Laksmi, the goddess of fortune can always be found massaging the legs and thighs of the transcendental Lord, very carefully serving Him in this way. Next, the yogi should fix his mind in meditation on the Personality of Godhead’s thighs, the storehouse of all energy. The Lord’s thighs are whitish blue, like the luster of the linseed flower, and appear most graceful when the Lord is carried on the shoulders of Garuda. Also the yogi should contemplate His rounded hips, which are encircled by a girdle that rests on the exquisite yellow silk cloth that extends down to His ankles. The moon like navel in the center of His abdomen is the next point of meditation. From His navel, which is the foundation of the entire universe, sprang the lotus stem containing all the different planetary systems. The lotus is the residence of Brahma, the first created being.
In the same way, the yogi should concentrate his mind on the Lord’s nipples, which resemble a pair of most exquisite emeralds and which appear whitish because of the rays of the milk-white pearl necklaces adorning His chest. The chest of the Lord is the abode of goddess Mahalakshmi and is the source of all transcendental pleasure for the mind and full satisfaction for the eyes. The yogi should then imprint on his mind the neck of the Personality of Godhead, who is adored by the entire universe. The neck of the Lord serves to enhance the beauty of the Kaustubha gem, which hangs on His chest. The Lord has four arms, which are the source of all the powers of the demigods who control the various functions of material nature. Then the yogi should concentrate on the polished ornaments, which were burnished by Mount Mandara as it revolved. He should also duly contemplate the Lord’s discus, the Sudarsana Chakra, which contains one thousand spokes and a dazzling luster, as well as the conch, which looks like a swan in His lotus like palm.
The yogi should meditate upon His club, which is named Kaumodaki and is very dear to Him. This club smashes the demons, who are always inimical soldiers, and is smeared with their blood. One should also concentrate on the nice garland on the neck of the Lord, which is always surrounded by bumblebees, with their nice buzzing sound, and one should meditate upon the pearl necklace on the Lord’s neck, which is considered to represent the pure living entities who are always engaged in His service. The yogi should then meditate on the lotus like countenance of the Lord, who presents His different forms in this world out of compassion for the anxious devotees. His nose is prominent, and His crystal-clear cheeks are illuminated by the oscillation of His glittering alligator-shaped earrings. The yogi then meditates upon the beautiful face of the Lord, which is adorned with curly hair and decorated by lotus like eyes and dancing eyebrows. A lotus surrounded by swarming bees and a pair of swimming fish would be put to shame by its elegance. The yogis should contemplate with full devotion the compassionate glances frequently cast by the Lord’s eyes, for they soothe the most fearful threefold agonies of His devotees. His glances, accompanied by loving smiles, are full of abundant grace. A yogi should similarly meditate on the most benevolent smile of Lord sri Hari, a smile which, for all those who bow to Him, dries away the ocean of tears caused by intense grief. The yogi should also meditate on the Lord’s arched eyebrows, which are manifested by His internal potency in order to charm the sex-god for the good of the sages.
With devotion steeped in love and affection, the yogi should meditate within the core of his heart upon the laughter of Lord Vishnu. The laughter of Vishnu is so captivating that it can be easily meditated upon. When the Supreme Lord is laughing, one can see His small teeth, which resemble jasmine buds rendered rosy by the splendor of His lips. Once devoting his mind to this, the yogi should no longer desire to see anything else. By following this course, the yogi gradually develops pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari. In the course of his progress in devotional service, the hairs on his body stand erect through excessive joy, and he is constantly bathed in a stream of tears occasioned by intense love. Gradually, even the mind, which he used as a means to attract the Lord, as one attracts a fish to a hook, withdraws from material activity.