So who is God? In all parts of the world and in every human culture there is some conception of God. Sometimes God is seen as being all pervasive within nature and sometimes God is depicted as having personal qualities and a form. How are we to reconcile all of the different opinions and understandings that help us to explicate this fundamental aspect of our human experience?
In the present age there are many who try to conclude that all such deific conceptions are merely mythological figments of the imagination devised by primitive societies of the past to explain natural phenomenon. Although, to some, this could seem to be a logical conclusion, it still does not help us to understand exactly how we came into existence and what is the purpose of our experience.
What is needed here is an authoritative pramana, or source of information. In such matters, our own sensory perception (pratyaksa) and ability to reason (anumana) will fail us if they are not superceded by a higher means of perception (Sruti-pramana). When trying to understand the Absolute, we must submit our relative mechanisms to absolute evidence and thereby develop jnana-caksusah. In this way we can, by deliberation, gain a direct perception of God – pratyaksavagamam dharmyam.
Fortunately, there is such an authority and absolute means by which to understand God. Krishna states in Bhagavad-Gita Chapter Fifteen:
sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto
mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca
vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham
Aham eva vedyo. Krishna says here that by the Vedas he is to be known. Therefore, the ultimate goal of the Vedas is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vedanta-sutra (1.1.4) confirms this: tat tu samanvayat. One can attain perfection in three stages. By understanding Vedic literature one can understand sambandha, or his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; by performing the different processes, abhideya, one can approach Him, and at the end one can attain the supreme goal, prayogena, who is no other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse the purpose of the Vedas, the understanding of the Vedas, and the goal of the Vedas are clearly defined.
You cannot manufacture religion. It must be according to the Vedic rules or authorized scriptures. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam. So what does Krishna recommend as the highest perfection of religion?
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi satyam te
pratijane priyo ‘si me
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
We should simply devote ourselves to the loving service of Krishna. In the sruti this is also confirmed:
sambhutim ca vinasam ca
yas tad vedobhayam saha
vinasena mrtyum tirtva
One should know perfectly the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna and His transcendental name, form, qualities and pastimes, as well as the temporary material creation with its temporary demigods, men and animals. When one knows these, he surpasses death and the ephemeral cosmic manifestation with it, and in the eternal kingdom of God he enjoys his eternal life of bliss and knowledge.
Again Krishna states in Bhagavad-Gita that anyone who is factually convinced of His etam vibhutim yogam, he engages in undivided devotional service to Him – natra samsayah, without a doubt. Later Arjuna asks Krishna who is more perfect, the bhaktas or those who worship the aksaram avyaktam.
mayy avesya mano ye mam
te me yuktatama matah
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Those who fix their minds on My personal form and are always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith are considered by Me to be most perfect.
So if the Vedas are our means of ascertaining reality, it is very clear what is their import and conclusion. Repeatedly Krishna states that devotional service to Him is the highest achievement and goal. So we should all try to be intelligent enough to fulfill his instruction and thereby make our lives perfect. Hare Krishna.
Sri Isopanisad Mantra Fourteen