Devotion grants vision through a combination of perception and comprehension

The Bhagavad-gita (11.52) states that the form of Krishna is very difficult to see. This may raise the question, “But wasn’t he seen by all the people present when he performed his pastimes? Wasn’t seeing him easy for them?”

Not exactly, because to be present during Krishna’s manifest pastimes requires great fortune, and such fortune is not easy to attain. Moreover, even among these fortunate souls, not everyone really saw Krishna. The word see refers not just to vision but also to comprehension, as in “I see your point.” Many of those who saw Krishna with their eyes didn’t know or accept his supreme position. Failing to comprehend the great privilege they had, they didn’t really see Krishna.

Actual seeing is a combination of perception and comprehension. Suppose an uninformed village boy gets to see the country’s Prime Minister. If he doesn’t know the PM’s position, he won’t appreciate the privilege of seeing him. On understanding that position, he will appreciate – he will really see.

Krishna is far more powerful than any country’s head; he is the master of all masters, the king of all kings, the God of all gods. The principle of vision being the combination of perception and comprehension applies all the more to him.

And what grants us this combination is devotion. Bhakti wisdom provides the philosophical insight by which we can comprehend Krishna’s position. And bhakti practice purifies our consciousness, thereby attracting his omnipotent grace. By his grace, we can see him not just within our heart through our devotional recollection but also with our eyes as a theophany.

Such a holistic vision of Krishna is extremely rare. Nonetheless, if we steadily practice bhakti and strive to please him, then that which is very rare will, by his mercy, become realizable and relishable, supremely relishable.

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