You live in your home. I live in my home. But where does God live? Does God have a personal home? If yes, then where? This information is given in the Vedic scriptures.
God, Krishna, lives in Goloka Vrindavan
Brahma-Samhita 5.37 explains that God resides in his own transcendental abode called Goloka Vrindavan which is situated in the spiritual sky.
The Supreme Lord Krishna is the source of spiritual and material world. The material world where you and I currently reside is one – fourth of God’s entire creation. The spiritual world where Lord Krishna and his plenary expansions reside with the pure devotees is three-fourth of his entire creation.
Just like you and I feel comfortable at home, similarly the Supreme Lord feels comfortable at his home. Just like we enjoy loving reciprocation with our family members, similarly God too wants loving reciprocation with his devotees. God too has feelings and emotions, likes and dislikes like us.
In fact, the feelings and emotions which You and I experience comes from God only because we are his parts and parcels. God always likes to be with his devotees. In Goloka Vrindavan, he enjoys living with his parents – Yashoda and Nanda Maharaj, with his eternal consort – Radha and he has many friends – gopis and gopas. God enjoys many pleasurable pastimes in his transcendental abode.
In the spiritual sky there are unlimited spiritual planets. The topmost amongst all the spiritual planets is Goloka Vrindava – the abode of Lord Krishna. There is also Mayapur, Mathura, Ayodhya, Jagannath Puri and Vaikuntha planets.
Does God live only in the spiritual world?
Material world is away from the spiritual world, but it has been created by Lord Krishna only. This material world, which is temporary, has been created for those souls who decided to live away from Krishna. Although we decided to turn away from Krishna, but Krishna did not leave us.
To be with us, he expands himself and enter this material world. As Supersoul, Parmatama, he resides in your heart and in my heart as long as we are in this material world. As Supersoul he accompanies us even when we get any non-human body because of our karma. Krishna as Parmatma is always there with us but because of our impure consciousness you and I are not able to see him in our hearts.
He is not just present within us, but he is present outside too. He is the source of all animate and inanimate objects of this world. the Lord is present in every molecule and in every atom. Nothing in this world exist without him.
Srila Prabhupada explains. “In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.35) it is said that Govinda, the primeval Lord, enters everything by His plenary portion. He enters the universe as well as all the atoms of the universe. He is outside in His virāṭ form, and He is within everything as antaryāmī.”
Isopanisad says God is far away and also very near
In Sri Isopanisad Mantra 5 it is mentioned: The Lord is far away (tad dure) i.e. he is present in the spiritual world which is very far away from this world. But he is also very near (tad v antike) because he is present in this ephemeral world too. He is within everything (tad antar asya sarvasya) i.e he is present in each and every living being (as Supersoul) and in each and every atoms and molecules. And since he is the source of everything, so he is outside of everything as well (tad u sarvasyāsya bāhyataḥ).
God is present everywhere, but we are not able to see him because of our impure consciousness. When his pure devotees call for him then he immediately appears.
- When Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada, “Is your Lord present in this concrete pillar?” Prahlada said yes. In rage, the demon tried to smash the pillar with his powerful club. From the Pillar appeared Lord Narasimhadev. The Lord appeared not at the call of Hiranyakasipu but at the request of Prahlada.
- When Draupadi was being disrobed by evil Dushasana, she helplessly called the name of Krishna. Krishna was not present in the assembly hall where she was being dishonored, but he heard her plea. He immediately supplied unlimited quantity of sari to protect Draupadi’s honour.
- Gajendra was being dragged by a crocodile into the water. He was helpless, in great pain and was on the verge of death. In utter desperation he pleaded the Lord to save him. The Lord who is swifter than the mind immediately came to rescue him.
God appears as deity
Since our eyes are impure, we cannot see him everywhere. So, God mercifully appears as archa – vigraha i.e. as deity. The deity of Krishna which we see in the temple is non-different from Krishna.
Material elements like wood, stone, marble etc. are used to make the deities. But it becomes spiritual when the Supreme Lord decides to appear in that form.
Vedic scriptures give detailed explanation to make Lord’s archa – vigraha. Once the form of the Lord is carved, devotees invite the Lord to reside in the archa – vigraha by chanting Vedic mantras. Lord who can expand into innumerable forms appears in the deity. This is called prana pratishtha ceremony.
The deity reciprocates with us as per our consciousness. When we serve the deity sincerely, our heart gets purified and we develop love for God.
Once Srila Prabhupada went to one of the Iskcon temples. He paid obeisances to the deities. He immediately said, “Deities look too weak. No one is offering proper bhoga (vegetarian food) to the Lord, it seems.” Later devotees found that because of mismanagement deities were not offered right quantity of food on time. The pure devotees see Krishna when they see his deity.
In fact, people like us, who are struggling to purify consciousness, too experience divinity when we go in front of the deity. I remember whenever I go to Mayapur, I eagerly wait for the morning to see Sri Sri Radha Madhav with asta sakhis during Mangala Arati. The divine couple looks so beautiful. It’s so pleasing to the heart. I feel that time should stop there, and I continue seeing that beautiful form of the Lord forever. The experience cannot be captures in words.
Vedic scriptures say God lives everywhere.
So where does God live as per the Vedic scriptures? He lives everywhere. Nothing exists without him. Krishna says to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita 7.7,
mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat
kiñcid asti dhanañ-jaya
mayi sarvam idaṁ protaṁ
sūtre maṇi-gaṇā iva
“O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.”
Krishna is in the spiritual world enjoying pastimes with his pure devotees and he is also present in this material world for you and me. Once we cleanse our hearts of the dust of lust, greed, pride, anger, envy, illusion, false ego and develop love for him, we will be able to see him everywhere. This is what the revealed Vedic scriptures say.