Whoever sees me everywhere and and sees everything in me will never be separated from me, nor will I be separated from him. The yogin who is aware of the oneness of life is devoted to me, the one who dwells in all beings. Wherever he happens to find himself, he remains within me. 5.31. Trans. George Thompson.
This verse expresses a teaching that can be difficult for religious people, especially those unfamiliar with mysticism, especially those trained in Western metaphysics. We are so used to thinking of the bounded categories of animal, vegetable, and mineral, so used to thinking in terms of separate entities, the “billiard ball” model of the universe in which separate particles collide to make up reality. We think society is composed of autonomous individuals or that people are fundamentally different from animals and certainly plants. But Krishna here expresses an idea of fundamental unity, that all things exist in him.
And this is the secret, apparently, to maintaining a sense of unity with the divine. We can get caught in the trap of thinking we can only pray in the temple or before the home shrine. We long so much for the deva loka that we don’t recognize it right in front of our faces, in a co-worker’s face, in the tree outside the window, in the form of a stray dog. But then that is the divine play, the magic of maya that makes us forget what we know in our hearts. And that, too, the forgetting, the loss of insight, is another aspect, another manifestation of the divine. For some inscrutable reason which cannot be fathomed through reasoning, we are playing one giant game of hide and seek with God.
One second of seeing God makes up for a thousand tedious days. A moment of clarity can make months of confusion worthwhile. Why we have been drafted into this game, we do not know. But it is well worth the effort to play and play well. Those of us exerting spiritual effort have come to believe that the time is short, that perhaps this lifetime will be the last. We cannot afford to fall back into the same old complacency, to live in the mindset of “another day and another dollar.” We have to re-capture a sense of urgency, a sense of longing. This is what the bhakti movement is all about, and it is also an important part of the iconography of the gods.
Many of the gods (Vishnu included) are depicted with a wheel or chakra spinning on one finger, the wheel of time. Time, then, is one of the weapons of divinity, one of the ways to slay the demons of bad thoughts like boredom and apathy. So there is always more time, and yet every moment will have the same past-present-future structure as this one. And all of those moments are suffused in the eternal, the not-time that is God. When we do the practices that lead to liberation, we make time work for us instead of against us. We make it more likely that we will be able to Realize in the future. We make it easier to see the eternal in the midst of the mundane. But it takes real effort to not discount the apparent tedium before us, to see beyond the surfaces and into the true nature of things.
Maybe you are reading this in a plastic chair in the waiting room of a bus terminal, or maybe you are stealing a few minutes on your lunch break at work. Maybe you stumbled onto this page by accident and are about to text a friend. Whether you are meditating in a Himalayan cave or walking the streets of Las Vegas, an infinite mystery waits for you. You are divine. All beings are divine. All things are divine. A very thin and fragile veil hides this Reality from view. Exert yourself through meditation, and you will see the truth.