When we hear from the Bhagavad-gita (15.15) that God is present in our heart, we may wonder: how can we hear his voice? Let’s understand by considering how we might learn a subtle form of music. It would involve broadly three steps.
Intention: To learn music, we need to first have the desire to learn it. In fact, all things, good or bad, begin with desire. Focused desire becomes intention. Even if we can’t hear God’s voice at all among all the many voices inside us, we can maintain the intention. And that eagerness to seek guidance pleases the Lord, who reciprocates by helping us purge various inner noises.
Attention: If we are earnest about learning music, we will hear musical performances attentively, trying to train our ears. The same applies to the devotional domain. We can tangibly express our intention through attention whenever we come in contact with God in his various manifestations such as his holy name or his sacred words as found in scripture or in the living tradition. The more attentive we become on the occasions when we connect with him, the more we become perceptive in discerning his voice among the melee of voices inside us.
Affection: Music is heard not just with the ear but also with the heart. In fact, the best music is that which emerges from the heart and touches the heart. Similarly, in the devotional quest, if we infuse our intention and attention, knowing that the Lord is the ultimate object of love, then we become most receptive and perceptive to not just discern his voice occasionally but to live with that inner guiding voice constantly. The Gita (10.10) assures that the Lord reciprocates with devotional recollection by providing inner illumination
To hear God’s voice, connect with him through intention, attention and affection.
Think it over:
- How does intention help us hear God’s voice?
- How does attention help us hear God’s voice?
- How does affection help us hear God’s voice?
15.15: I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.