Can we recognise the Lord?

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santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
yaḿ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaḿ
govindam ādi-puruṣaḿ tam ahaḿ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is Syamasundara, Krishna Himself with inconceivable innumerable attributes, whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love.

Would we be able to recognise the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna if he were to appear before us right now? One may argue that we are incapable of seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead with our material eyes, which is absolutely true, however, while the Lord was present on this planet earth even the most demoniac personalities like Kamsa, Jarasandha, Duryodhan and others were able to behold the Lord with their material eyes. Also, to consider that it is not possible for the Lord to appear before the material eyes of the conditioned living entities would undermine the power of the all powerful Lord. Therefore, it is indeed an appropriate question to consider whether we would be able to recognise the Lord if he were to appear before us at this very moment.

The answer to this question is a very lamentable ‘No’. The Lord, whose names we chant daily; whom we worship in the temple and whose devotees we consider ourselves to be, would be present right before our eyes and yet we would fail to recognise him and consider him to be just another ordinary human being as ourselves. What is the reason behind this? Why won’t we be able to recognise the Lord ? The answer to this is given by the Lord himself in the Bhagawat Gita,

nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya
mūḍho ’yaṁ nābhijānāti
loko mām ajam avyayam

I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My internal potency, and therefore they do not know that I am unborn and infallible.

The Lord himself says that for those who are unintelligent, he remains covered by his internal energy, Yogamaya. The Lord is all perfect and eternally transcendental, however, the conditioned living entities, owing to their being covered by the material energy are not able to realise the Lord in his true glory and rather mistakenly accept him as a conditioned entity as themselves.

One may question then, what is the way to be able to truly behold the Lord? The answer to this question is given in the above mentioned verse from the Sri Brahma Samhita. The Lord can only be seen by those greatly fortunate devotees, whose inner eyes of the heart are smeared with the salve of pure love for the Lord. Not the love that is tinged with selfishness or with a desire to enjoy material benefits or moksha even. That love which enables one to see the Lord has been described by Srila Rupa Goswami in his Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu,

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service.

When a devotee renders service to the lotus feet of the Lord with this uttama bhakti in the heart, at that time he/she shall be able to behold Sri Shyamsundar, who is a reservoir of innumerable inconceivable attributes. At that time the devotee shall be able to constantly behold the tree-fold bending form of the Lord, with a flute in his hands and peacock feathers in his turban, in the inner most core of his heart and even right before his very eyes. Just like the pure devotees of the Lord, who are always able to directly see the Lord, their eyes being smeared with intense love for Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar. Therefore, always keeping in mind the ultimate Goal of life of being able to behold and serve Sri Nandanandana along with Srimati Radhika, we should endeavour to anoint our eyes with the salve of love for the divine couple of Vraja.