He guides without coercing, hides without abandoning, watches without interfering, and loves without controlling.
As a boy , one of my main passions was riding bicycles. My parents bought me my first bicycle in a town fifteen kilometers away from where I lived, and despite their loving concern and expressed wishes, I was adamant that I would ride it home.
It was fun riding alone on the shining asphalt roads, being overtaken by a speeding automobile every few minutes. But the journey soon seemed longer than expected. And when the highway sloped upward, the ride seemed unending. My feet resisted any more cycling motion. They preferred to walk instead, and I complied. Deep within, I wished that my father was by my side. At that moment a stranger who had been cycling behind me all along, but whom I hadn’t noticed, came forward and offered to help. I was happy to learn that my father had arranged for him to follow me from a distance. My father had foreseen my precarious situation.
The Lord in the Heart Years later I came in touch with the teachings of Bhagavad-gita. The Gita says that the Lord in His form of Paramatma is situated in our hearts witnessing our activities. Skeptics often ask, “Why are we not conscious of His presence and His watchful eye? Why are we not aware of His pleasure and displeasure with everything we do?”
The Lord makes Himself invisible to our consciousness so that we can exercise our free will. Without free will, there cannot be love. I defied my father’s will, and out of love for me he made his watchful eye invisible in the first phase of my journey. Similarly, if again and again we defy the direction and will of the Lord within our hearts, He remains invisible to oblige our free will. Those engaged in irreligious activities do not want the Lord to watch them, so He hides Himself.
I wanted my father to leave me alone during the journey, and he did so, but because he loved me he never abandoned me. Similarly, Paramatma is personal and intimate, and He never gives up on us. Even if we blaspheme Him or His devotees and do the most nefarious things to displease Him, He is always there in our hearts to give us shelter. There is no one closer than Himon any level. Regardless of how much we abandon Him, He always remains the closest person to us. Innumerable living entities are envious of Him. Still, out of love, He never leaves even a single one for a single moment.
In my foolishness I didn’t know what was good for me, and so I went against my father’s will. We tend to go against Krishna’s will, even though to love and serve Krishna to willingly, spontaneously surrender to His willis our constitutional nature, the essence of our existence. In that position we experience unlimited happiness. When we forget our constitutional position we come under the grip of the laws of karma. Krishna has designed those laws so that we ultimately have to make the right choice of turning to Him, and then He gives us the highest ecstasy. He knows what is best for us.
When I looked for shelter I was pleasantly surprised to see that my father was waiting for me. Even if we are sent to hell, even if we are in a species of bacteria, our loving father, the Supreme Lord, is always there, waiting for us to turn to Him. He makes His presence visible to the degree that we accept His shelter. As we progress spiritually we get more and more experience of His watchful eye.
My father arranged for a man to help me out. Similarly the Supreme Lord makes so many arrangements to deliver us. He speaks through guru, sadhu, and sastra. All we have to do is cooperate with Him.
Gopinatha Candra Dasa graduated from the India Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai with a degree in civil engineering. Currently he serves full-time at ISKCON Mumbai and teaches Krishna consciousness to students in various colleges.