The Difficulty of Seeing God in All Forms in Nature

Sri Aurobindo points out that with a consistent effort and mental orientation, we can recognize the sense of the Supreme, the immutable, even the universal Godhead. These large concepts fit more easily into our mental idea of what divinity is all about, and we can eventually gain the vision and the experience that follows from these conceptions. It is however more difficult to see God in each being and form, although we may accept, once again, the concept in its abstract statement.

“But the difficulty is to see him in the apparent truths of existence, to detect him in this fact of Nature and in these disguising phenomena of the World’s becoming; for here all is opposed to the sublimity of this unifying conception. How can we consent to see the Divine as man and animal being and inanimate object, in the noble and the low, the sweet and the terrible, the good and the evil?”

Even when we make the attempt to see God in all these forms, we find it easier and more satisfying to our sense of mental satisfaction to acknowledge God in the best, the brightest, the ideal, and in those who express these highest ideals of the human evolution, than in those who appear to us degraded, mean or perverse. “If Narayana is without difficulty visible in the sage and the saint, how shall he be easily visible to us in the sinner, the criminal, the harlot and the outcast?”

“Here constantly the assent of the understanding, the consent of the will and the heart’s faith become difficult to a human mentality anchored always on phenomenon and appearance.”

There is a famous apocryphal story about a sage who devoted his life to spiritual Truth, and eventually the gods deigned to favor him with the nectar of immortality. Indra, the king of the Gods, resisted the idea of a mortal obtaining the nectar of immortality and decided to test the sage. He therefore took the guise of an untouchable and carried a water pitcher filled with the nectar. He offered the sage a drink, but the sage, seeing the outcaste being, refused the drink and thus, lost his chance at immortality because he could not see the divine Presence in the interaction.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 8, God in Power of Becoming, pp. 344-345