13.16: When Krishna seems far away….
The Bhagavad-gita (13.16) states that Krishna is situated far away from us – and is simultaneously very close to us. Paradoxical scriptural statements like these refer not only to the inconceivable attributes of Krishna, but also to our changing, conflicting feelings while trying to approach him. During our spiritual practices like praying, chanting or meditating, we may sometimes feel Krishna’s presence distinctly, almost tangibly and so infer that he is very close to us. More often, we may go through our spiritual practices feeling Krishna’s presence only remotely or not at all, thereby thinking that he is very far away from us. This may dishearten us and may even trigger second thoughts about continuing our spiritual practices.
At such times, we need to consciously cultivate third thoughts that reverse the discouraging train of thoughts set in motion by the dubious second thoughts. Such soul-saving third thoughts can be catalyzed by faithful contemplation on the Gita’s declaration of Krishna’s proximity. These third thoughts will give us the strength to persevere in our spiritual practices, which will soon restore our devotional disposition. This disposition will enable us to re-experience Krishna’s presence in the form of divine solace and sublime warmth. Then we will recognize that Krishna had never gone far away… it was we who had temporarily strayed away.