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13. God is Far, Seated in Heaven | God is Near, Seated Within

Some traditions talk of a God who is far away in a remote realm. Even when you enter that spiritual abode, the interaction with Him seems sparse and somewhat formal. The ‘distant God’ resembles a fatherly personality who cares for us without being overly involved in day-to-day life. That God secures peace and comfort, somewhat of a cosmic order supplier; a convenient port of call in times of need and want. Not much extra is described about His personality, and even less about a personal and intimate exchange with Him.
In Chapter Thirteen, Krishna explains that He is closer than we may think. Seated in our hearts, Krishna is patiently waiting to guide the living being back to the spiritual world. There is the material body (ksetra) and the spirit soul within (ksetra-jna). Krishna, as the Supersoul (paramatma), accompanies the spirit soul through this temporary realm, waiting for the soul to acknowledge their relationship. The Supersoul is the overseer (upadrasta) and permitter (anumanta), and when the spirit soul turns to Him, He becomes enthusiastically active, making all arrangements to strengthen that relationship and navigate the journey back to the eternal realm.
Seated within, Krishna is indeed responsive. Sometimes, however, it feels as though God is very far away. In times of difficulty we especially feel that absence of God in our lives. We sometimes doubt that He is actually alive, alert and active. A seeming lack of reciprocation and intervention can discourage even the most dedicated spiritualist. Where is God when you need Him? If He is so close why can’t we see Him, even when we really want to? Does He really listen to our prayers? Before answering those questions, consider the following:
Action – internal yearning should be accompanied by external endeavour. When the man made a diligent daily prayer to win the lottery, God was more than willing to acquiesce – if only he actually went out and bought a lottery ticket! Thus, it could also be that God wants to see a practical demonstration of our eagerness to see Him. What are we willing to sacrifice and what tangible efforts have we made to search Him out?
Reaction – we are not dealing with a cosmic order-supplier, but with a person. As persons, we don’t mechanise our reciprocation, but rather respond on the basis of feelings and inspiration. Thus, one cannot force open the doors to see God, but can only humbly endeavour to connect with enthusiasm and determination. We should eagerly anticipate a divine audience, but simultaneously be willing to patiently wait.
Perception – maybe God has already intervened in our life, but not in the way we were expecting. Our ardent prayers are often accompanied by very specific expectations. When we carry stereotyped perceptions of how God should deal with us, we leave little room to witness how He is expertly working on a bigger and better plan that will satisfy our needs and desires in the deepest way imaginable.

“The Supreme Truth exists outside and inside of all living beings, the moving and the non- moving. Because He is subtle, He is beyond the power of the material senses to see or to know. Although far, far away, He is also near to all.” (Bhagavad-Gita 13.16)

References

13.3 – Difference between the soul and Supersoul.
13.21 – Supersoul accompanies the individual soul through all chapters of life.