There are some Christians who love to open their Bible and pick random verses to find answers to their pertinent problems. There are also those who don’t think it works. When it does, however, they tell everyone about this “miracle”. It’s hard to take these claims seriously, mostly because the connections look very stretched and, with enough imagination, you can probably connect each and every verse with anything you want.
Anyway, I had a few spare minutes today and I decided to read a random verse from our books, too. I had a mobile phone with me and I thought it would be a perfect randomizer. Phones screens are still relatively small so if you want to pick a link that you want you really have to read and watch where you are clicking, but phones are perfect for flipping the page to let it scroll however far it feels like going and then poking in the middle of the screen on whatever happens to be there. So I opened vedabase.com/en/sb/ and picked a random Bhāgavatam verse. TBH, it wasn’t really random – the selected Canto must be somewhere in the middle, then the selected chapter would be somewhere in the middle, too, and then the selected verse. There was a very little chance I’d pick SB 1.1.3 or something like that. I ended up with SB 7.7.8:
Prahlāda Mahārāja said: My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahmā, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Random or not, but this is a relatively famous śloka we all remember. Maybe not Sanskrit but the verse is certainly known to every devotee, we can’t tell the story of Prahlāda Mhārāja without mentioning it. I don’t want to sound superstitious but this could be considered a very good pick on any random day and it also fits perfectly with the theme of my recent half a dozen posts.
But first – the superstitious part. There’s no such thing as a superstition, it’s an atheist invention and there’s nothing more to it than that. I don’t mean that all superstitions are real and atheists are totally wrong about it, I mean that people who “believe” in them are atheists, too – because they do not see the Lord and His connection to every material or spiritual phenomenon. When they find what they think is such a connection, a proof of supernatural supervision, they still do not see all-pervasive nature of these “interventions”.
I mean how can they talk about “interventions” when the Lord controls movements of every single blade of grass? They still see the world as separate from the Lord and the Lord only occasionally interfering, and not even being subtle about it – because these “seers” of omens can predict His every move. Well, not every seer attributes superstitions to God’s hand but that makes them only slightly more atheistic than those who do. The Lord controls everything, in and out, in the past and the future, and He knows everything and He arranged everything to happen exactly like He wanted long long time ago. He might delegate running the universe but it doesn’t take away His complete cognizance. It’s also not a matter of how much He can be bothered to remember like it is with us, He remembers absolutely everything in full, including the future, so the verb “remember” doesn’t apply either, it’s as anthropomorphic as us assuming He’s got the same memory as us but better.
To be fair, I didn’t mean these people to be atheists in a sense of openly rejecting God’s existence, I meant they do not perceive Him and so act as if He isn’t there or as if His powers are very limited.
The more important part is the meaning of the verse itself – the Lord is the source of everyone’s power. The way we usually tell it we stop at that and continue onto how the Lord was the source of Prahlāda’s power, a five year old boy who defied the mightiest person in the universe, but let’s pause a little and contemplate other implications of this śloka, namely how the Lord was the source of Hiraṇyakaśipu’s power as well.
Normally, we’d acknowledge it in the sense that Hiraṇyakaśipu was misusing power he ultimately derived from the Lord and then we cheer justice being restored but let’s rewind it a little – “the demon’s power came from the Lord”, and let it sink in. Do we normally see the power of our opponents as coming from Kṛṣṇa? And why do we cheer defeat of such power? Why, if we know that everyone draws his power from Kṛṣṇa, we want to defeat and destroy them?
I think that’s the difference between us and Prahlāda Mahārāja, who is one of the principal mahājanas. He had absolutely no beef with his father and absolutely no desire to see His father defeated and deflated. We, in his place, would be all “let’s kill the demon, let’s show him who is the boss, someone must finally stop him.” It’s not a very mature approach – what we call a “demon” is nothing else but a display of Lord’s prowess.
Of course there’s also a matter of the soul occupying this particular corner of the universe being inimical towards God but we should know better than accept his deluded claims of ownership as real. When we do and demand that this soul was stripped off its demoniac powers we display the same delusional mentality as he does. It’s not his powers, it’s Lord’s powers. They never slipped out of Lord’s control and they never belonged to anybody else.
When we see a display of Lord’s might we should rather offer it respect and appreciation, how else would a devotee react? All learning, all remembrance, all ability to argue, all ability to fight – it all comes from the Lord, even if it’s used in so-called opposition to Gauḍiyā vaiṣṇavism. No one can oppose Gauḍiyā vaiṣṇavism just as no one can oppose Viṣṇu Himself, it is simply not possible.
What we see as opposition is only a display of our unfortunate ignorance – when we go along with other people’s foolish claims and accept them as substantial. They are clearly in illusion, what’s our excuse?
All the claims about other spiritual paths and methods being equal to and even superior to ours exist only on the material platform, they have no spiritual substance whatsoever, and so we shouldn’t lower ourselves to that level and entertain them for real. It’s like someone rolling his boogers, sticking them into his mouth, claiming that they are very tasty and nutritious, and offering you to try some, too. It’s insane, especially if coming from a grown up man, and you are not going to win that argument no matter what you try. Why would you want to step into this delusional world at all?
And at the same time all the arguments they bring, all the quotes, all the logic, all the support, are a display of Kṛṣṇa’s powers and as such deserves our worship. It’s not meant to harm us just as Prahlāda Mahārāja didn’t see his father as a threat to himself – it’s Lord’s energy and the only “harm” it could do is to our false ego.
A devotee literally doesn’t have enemies because “enemies” is a product of the illusion, for a devotee there’s only the Lord and His energies, and then other spirit souls relating to the Lord in their own manner. None of that is even remotely threatening, rather the opposite.
Fear is a product of māyā, as simple as that.