His Vigilant Eye

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains how one is purified by meditation on the Lord’s guardianship.

Student: In Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā, it is mentioned that Kṛṣṇa’s senses are interchangeable.

Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Not only are they interchangeable, every sense can perform the function of every other sense.

aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛtti-manti
(Śrī Brahma-sahitā: 5.32)

[“His limbs are endowed with the functions of all the senses.”] 

His feet can see and hear. Every one of His limbs can perform the function of every other one.

Within our body, the eye cannot hear, and the ear cannot see, but the mind can see and hear. It is the centre. The central Truth is similar. There may be many departments under one officer. The heads of the departments have particular, limited knowledge, and they go on with their work. But the officer above them, who is in charge of the whole organisation, has to deal with each of the various departments and have knowledge of them all. The centre means that which possess general qualifications for all departments.

om tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā
paśyanti sūrayaḥ divīva chakṣur ātatam
(Ṛg-veda: 1.22.20–1)

[“The wise always see the holy feet of Viṣṇu like the sun—an eye—spread across the sky.”] 

The holy feet of Viṣṇu are like the sun, like a vigilant, watchful eye, over our head. Viṣṇu’s feet can see, and here they are compared to both the sun and to an eye. His holy feet are over our head, and with the vigilant eyes of a guardian, He is seeing everything that we do. With this conception, we are to approach. It is called bhūta-śuddhi. With this sort of identification of ourselves, we are to approach our duties. The real, vigilant eye of the Almighty, the “all-seer”, is over my head. With this attitude, we shall approach our duties. His vigilant eye, both sympathetic and chastising, is over our head, so we cannot do anything wrong.

om tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā
paśyanti sūrayaḥ divīva chakṣur ātatam

This is an important mantra from the Ṛg-veda. It has been collected for us by the smārta school. Before you attend to any duty, you must first bring this conception to mind, and then go on. How should we approach? He is there. Our Guardian is there. His watchful glance is there. So, I cannot do anything wrong. I must approach everything with the proper mood through this conception. Before you do anything, you must first think of your identity, “Who are you in this universe?” Your Guardian is there. With this, you may then go on, and do anything and everything: you are always working under His searching, vigilant eye.

Accordingly, you are to select your duty, and attend to it with the proper attitude. This conception gives you a warning about how you are to approach things, how you have to live and move. His vigilant eye is always over your head. Tad Viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ: generally, pada means feet, and here paramaṁ padaṁ means the holy feet of Viṣṇu. Chakṣur iva: they are like an eye that can see, divi ātatam, spread across the sky.


aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛtti-manti
paśyanti pānti kalayanti chiraṁ jaganti
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(Śrī Brahma-sahitā: 5.32)

I serve Govinda, the original Lord. The limbs of His ecstatic, spiritual, eternal, resplendent form, which are endowed with the functions of all the senses, eternally see, maintain, and regulate the innumerable universes.”

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