Bhakti Song 53 – Are the Eyes Enough to See?

Another song I wrote after my morning devotion when I meditated on the beautiful creation of God in nature.

காணக் கண் போதுமோ?

காணக் கண் போதுமோ ஐயனே

கருணையினால் நீ எமக்குப் படைத்தளித்த

இணையில்லா இயற்கையின் மாட்சியைக் காண–காணக் கண்…..

உயர்ந்த மலையின் உச்சியின் மீது

உலவி வருகின்ற அழகிய முகில்கள்

ஓடிவருகின்ற நதியின் அலைமீது

வருடி வருகின்ற குளிர்ந்த தென்றல்

பாடிச் செல்கின்ற பல இனப்பறவை

கோடிக்கணக்கான வண்ண மலர்கள்

இத்தனை அளித்தது போதாதென்று

உன்னையே நீயளிக்க வந்தனை அன்று

சத்திய வேதத்தின் சாட்சியும் உண்டு

சரித்திர நிகழ்ச்சியைக் கண்ணாரக் கண்டு

உன்னைப் பின்தொடர்ந்த சீடரும் உண்டு

உருகாத மனம் உண்டோ அன்பினைக் கண்டு–காணக் கண்…..


30-07-1993. கோண்டா (உ.பி).


English Translation

O Lord are the eyes enough to see

The un-parallel beauty of Nature

Which you created and presented to us by your grace?


The beautiful clouds which dwell

on the peaks of high mountains


The gentle breeze which comes

By touching the waves of the running river


Several birds which fly by singing

Millions of colorful flowers


Not satisfied by giving all these

You came to give yourself for us


There is the witness for this in Truthful (Mukti)Veda

On witnessing this historical incident

Several disciples followed you

Can there be a heart which won’t melt on seeing such a love?


30-07-1993. Gonda . U. P.


For me, all the gifts of God in nature become meaningful only when I understand His greatest self-giving dharma through His Son our Lord. Otherwise nature remains another creation or part of evolution. Though the word ‘gift’ is used even for the Incarnation of the Lord, I never consider it a gift but the ‘dharma’ on the part of God. As His child I belong to Him whom He does not want to lose. That is why He came seeking after me. That is a ‘self-giving’ act on the part of God—which is His nature, svabhava, dharma for Him. That self-giving nature of God helps me to appreciate and enjoy His other gifts which glorify Him.

For me God reveals His nature, svabhava, dharma through His creation and action. God as Nirgun Brahman helps me to experience and enjoy His love by becoming a Saguna Ishwar both through His creation and action.

The following is part of the discussion in Song 30 about ‘sagun’ and ‘nirgun’ Brahman.

God’s attributes are expressed through His creation and action in history (Romans 1:20). If we agree that in a particular time in the past (in history) God created the universe, then did He exist before that or not? If so what were His attributes? How were they revealed and realized by others?

As a Hindu, I am comfortable in my bhakti tradition and would like to have a Saguna God rather than Nirguna. But my belief even before I became a bhakta of the Lord was that we cannot know God (1 Tim. 6:16). As the Tamil saying goes: கண்டவர் விண்டதில்லை; விண்டவர் கண்டதில்லை—those who have seen God cannot express Him and those who express God never have seen Him. As J. I. Packer said, ‘your God is too small’. The general saying among bhaktas is that God is for bhaktas and bhaktas are not for God. To say in other words He is God only to us and not to Himself.

My next question is what is the word ‘God’ means? Is it a generic term or a personal name? We use generic name like ‘Kadavul’ ‘iraivan’ in Tamil, in every language. But when we refer Him (also by masculine) by any name then we limit Him to a particular tradition and also make Him a Person. Of course I myself said that God is not energy or concept but a Person. But for me God as a Person is because of my understanding Him through our Lord.

I don’t know who God is. But my search for a guru finally ended in Muktinath. So He became my Bhagavan. I cannot understand a God beyond Him. So God in His mercy or according to Dr. Hoffer, his will, limited Himself to help me experience Him through our Lord. But who He is I don’t know and I cannot know. Who God is, is not my problem. But why I need Him is my concern. How am I going to find Him is my search. But does the Muktiveda show what made God reach me or redeem me? Not content with the 99 sheep which are still with Him, He left them and searched for the one last sheep. As I belong to Him, He does not want to miss me. When I shared this thought, I said how my mother becomes restless unless she finds that one missing spoon and isn’t content with many other spoons which are with her. Until she finds it, she won’t find peace or allow me to remain in peace.

So the redeeming act of God through our Lord shows His love and compassion. Apart from His action we cannot understand Him. And through His gift in nature we understand His glory. But He in Himself is what He IS. But for me He is not even Nirguna. Because the Saguna aspect of God serves the need of my bhakti and Nirguna serves my need for intellectual reasoning. But who He is beyond both these categories:

…Brahman is, but it would be limiting Its infinity to say that Brahman is this or that. To know It correctly one must first resort to negation, the “neti neti” (not this not that) method advocated by the Upanisads.—p. ‘God in Hinduism: Brahman, Paramaatman, Iisvara and Bhagavaan’ P.Fallon in Editors R. DeSmet and J. Neuner, Religious Hinduism, Fourth Revised Edition, 1997, p. 111

…Being the sole Cause of such a complex universe, it must be all-knowing and all-powerful, which indeed it is because “It is Reality-Knowledge infinite.” (Taittiriiya Up. 2.1.1). Knowledge is not a quality (guna) of this Reality but identical with it as the term ‘infinite’ demands. There are no gunas in Brahman, it is nirguna, the perfect Being to which nothing secondary (gauna) can belong. It has nothing because instead of having, it is whatever infinite perfection we are inclined to ascribe to it as a guna. Thus it transcends our limited words and concepts: “It is That wherefrom words turn back, together with the mind, not having attained it.” (ibid.2.4.9). Is it not then an abstraction? No, because it is Real in the most excellent way (paramaarthatah Sat). But it is not concrete! It is not concrete in the manner of a physical person characterised by limited attributes but it is more objective than any such person.—ibid., p.112

Should we apply the term “person” to the nirguna Brahman? Or should we think of it as “impersonal”? There is a linguistic difficulty here. As a philosophical term, “person” is of Christian coinage and signifies the most noble way of subsisting, namely, as characterized by intelligence and free-will and thus capable of initiating interpersonal relations. In this authentic sense, the nirguna Brahman is eminently personal. However, due to a weakening of its sense in the 19th century, “person” has often been reduced to “human or humanlike individual” and it is in this sense that it has been used by translators to render saguna. Hence, a great misunderstanding has arisen: Hindus think that the Christian “personal” God is only saguna, and the non-Hindus think that the nirguna Brahman is “impersonal”, whereas both traditions coincide in asserting the same divine Essence free of composition, “one only without a second” (ekam-evaadvitiiya).—p. 113

There are not two Brahmans: nirguna Brahman ‘is’ saguna, precisely when it is, in the same way that sabda-brahman is parabrahman, precisely when it is said.—Raimundo Panikkar, Unknown Christ of Hinduism, Bangalore, F.M. Pais for Asian Trading Corporat

…See Erigena’s ‘God does not know what He Himself is, because He is not any what; and this ignorance surpasses all knowledge’, and the significant title of the well-known anonymous work, A Book of Contemplation the Which is Called the Cloud of Unknowing in the Which a Soul Is Oned with God.—‘Manas’ in Ananda K. Coomaraswamy Perception of The Vedas, edited by Vidya Nivas Misra, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the arts, New Delhi, Manohar, 2000. Pp. 415-423, notes, 7, p. 417.