The sages asked, “If God takes birth and ‘has incarnations,’ is he not just like us?”
Suta answered, “God’s form is itself pure spiritual formlessness, beyond the limitations of an individual shape created by material elements We souls are also beyond limitation of form but we confuse the observer with the observed and thereby identify our self with limiting things like our mind and body.”
Beyond this is something imperceptible, having no formal shape created by qualities. It is a substance unseen, unheard. It is the life-force which is born repeatedly.
Beyond the mind and body is the actual “self.” Both God and you are this substance, beyond all objectivity and subjectivity. Beyond objects and subjects is the true self. But, this self takes so many limiting forms again and again due to projection of the observer (the soul) into the observation (the world).
We can have spiritual vision when perfect knowledge itself rejects all these persistent and temporary forms imposed by ignorance.
If spiritual substance is beyond objectivity and subjectivity how can it be experienced? It can be experienced only by “knowledge itself” – sva-saṁvit. Godhead possesses three categories of spiritual potency: existence, awareness, and enjoyment. The second, awareness, is termed saṁvit. We must beg from the divine an infusion of saṁvit as a catalyst to awaken the saṁvit inherent within us, now rusted shut from disuse. Awakened self-knowledge casts off the haze of all illusory objects and subjects and grants spiritual perception (brahma-darśan), and thus access to the realm of transcendent objectivity and subjectivity.
If the goddess’ illusion withdraws, comprehension becomes perfect. Thus enriched, one understands one’s inherent exalted glories.
We possess the inherent capacity to understand and experience Godhead and spiritual truth. All that is required is for the intoxication of the “goddess’ illusion” (devī-māyā) to wear off. When we beg the saṁvit catalyst, it blows away the fog of delusions that currently obscure our capacity for transcendental perception and comprehension. Without such illusions, the inherently exalted glories of the self become self-evident.
What is the essence of that glory? We are made of God, by God, for God. The full richness of this exaltation is tasted when we let go of the illusion of all other self-conceptions.
The births of the birthless and the deeds of the deedless have been thus described by the learned. The lord of the heart is the confidential secret of true knowledge.
In one sense the lord of the heart (hṛt-pateḥ) is the self, for the self dwells in the core of what we are and empowers our body and mind to be “alive.” In another sense the lord of the heart is God, for God dwells in the core of the self and empowers it to exist and comprehend.
The lord of the heart is birthless, without beginning. Yet we see that we have been born, and we hear that even Godhead incarnates. The lord of the heart has no action and reaction, beyond causality. Yet we are completely entangled in the reactions of our actions, and we hear that Godhead also performs deeds. Both the self and Godhead are thus a true mystery, the final subject of true knowledge (veda-guhya). Suta has tried to pass on to us the benefit of what those who have studied thus subject to its utmost have explained about it.
So too is He of Untainted Activity. He creates and destroys everything without entanglement in anything. He is within all beings, but is independently self-situated. He is the master of six powers, the mere fragrance of which are the six qualities.
The sages asked if Godhead is limited like we are, since he takes birth and has a name, form and activities like we do. Suta answered by explaining that even the soul is not limited by its birth, name, form and activities. Neither the soul nor Godhead is limited by its name and form, etc.
Suta explained the difference between Godhead and the soul. The soul accepts material illusions and confuses the observation (non-self) with the observer (self), thus forgetting its unlimited nature. Godhead never does so. His activities are always untainted by ignorance (amogha-līla). He never acts out of ignorant selfishness and therefore he never gets entangled in his karma, even in his “dirty work” of creation and destruction. He is within all things and beings, but never loses his individual identity. He is the master of all opulent powers, which he enjoys with cognizant intent and without impurity.
Who, with meager knowledge, can understand the names, forms, and activities of the expert creator? The theories and arguments of fools cannot grasp the dramas he plays! Only one who unreservedly, unrelentingly, and lovingly adores the lotus-flower scent of his feet He can understand the creator – who held a chariot wheel in his hand, whose prowess is endless, and whose praise is transcendent.
Suta has explained that Godhead is always unlimited, but the soul becomes bewildered by illusions. How can a bewildered thing comprehend something beyond bewilderment? By its own means, it cannot. The soul must beg saṁvit from Godhead. The light of saṁvit dispels the darkness of illusion and the soul’s inherent capacity for transcendental perception and activity awakens. Therefore if you desire to truly comprehend spirituality and Godhead, you must approach the study as a beggar, not as a conquistador. You must take a childlike attitude towards Godhead, feeling in need to shelter and protection and education. This is quite embarrassing for proud fools such as we, or at least such as I. Therefore Suta asks us to cast aside our shame and inhibitions. Unreservedly, unrelentingly adore the fragrance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa which spreads like a lotus perfume on the pleasant breezes of kirtan spoken and sung by those whose hearts are enrapt with his charm.
Do you have such opportunities? You do now. Suta will speak Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to give us exactly this chance to hear.