Some of the most powerful things in this world – the wind, gravity, love – cannot be seen directly, but anyone would call you crazy if you told them that those things did not exist. It seems strange, then, that the majority of people are quick to dismiss the existence of God simply because they cannot see Him with their eyes.
Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the modern-day Krishna consciousness movement, once said, “God is not invisible. Simply just like a man with cataract or any other eye disease, he cannot see. That does not mean the things are not existing. He cannot see. God is there, but because my eyes are not competent to see God, therefore I deny God. God is there, everywhere.”
The soul, being a spiritual entity, is able to see the Supreme Soul, who is also fully spiritual. However, because we are currently encased in material bodies with material senses, we are prevented from doing so. And if we rely solely on our limited and imperfect senses, we risk being led astray. There are many substances out there that can give us so-called “spiritual” experiences, and even more people out there who claim to be an incarnation of God.
It is not so easy to see the Lord. Just as a microscope is required to see things that are very small, a suitable instrument is required to see the Supreme Soul. In his commentary on verse 3.9.37 of Srimad-Bhagavatam (one of the most important Vedic scriptures), Srila Prabhupada writes, “The Personality of Godhead cannot be seen with the material eyes, but He can be seen from within by spiritual eyes … As long as one’s spiritual eyes are closed due to the dirty covering of matter, one cannot see the Lord.”
In any scientific experiment, the prescribed process has to be followed before any conclusions can be made; to present something as concrete fact without carrying out the experiment is absurd. In the same way, concluding that God does not exist without carrying out the relevant experiment is absurd. So, I hear you ask, what is the experiment to determine God’s existence?
The Krishna consciousness movement was originally established in fifteenth-century India by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who taught that the prescribed process for realising God is to chant His names. Because the Supreme is absolute, there is no difference between Him and His names, and thus all of His power is contained within His names.
It is said that of all purifying things, the names of God are the greatest purifier. Chanting those names regularly is therefore the quickest way to purify our spiritual eyes of all material contamination. Once that contamination has been removed, we will be able to perceive God’s presence within our heart. That is why this movement places so much emphasis on chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, which is made up His names.
It’s important to note that the chanting should be done in the right mood. The Supreme is not something abstract – He is a person, and He has the right to remain hidden from our sight if He so wishes. He is not obliged to appear before anyone who demands to see Him in a challenging and prideful mood.
We should therefore chant the mantra in a humble state of mind, with a sincere desire to connect with Him. If we do this on a daily basis, we will eventually experience the same results that advanced practitioners of Krishna consciousness have been experiencing for centuries. In other words, we will see God.