tapo me hṛdayaṁ brahmaṁs
tanur vidyā kriyākṛtiḥ
aṅgāni kratavo jātā
dharma ātmāsavaḥ surāḥ
tapaḥ—austerities like mental control, mystic yoga and meditation; me—My; hṛdayam—heart; brahman—O brāhmaṇa; tanuḥ—the body; vidyā—the knowledge derived from Vedic scripture; kriyā—spiritual activities; ākṛtiḥ—form; aṅgāni—the limbs of the body; kratavaḥ—the ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices mentioned in the Vedic literature; jātāḥ—completed; dharmaḥ—the religious principles for executing the ritualistic ceremonies; ātmā—My soul; asavaḥ—life airs; surāḥ—the demigods who execute My orders in different departments of the material world.
My dear brāhmaṇa, austerity in the form of meditation is My heart, Vedic knowledge in the form of hymns and mantras constitutes My body, and spiritual activities and ecstatic emotions are My actual form. The ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices, when properly conducted, are the various limbs of My body, the unseen good fortune proceeding from pious or spiritual activities constitutes My mind, and the demigods who execute My orders in various departments are My life and soul.
Sometimes atheists argue that since God is invisible to their eyes, they do not believe in God. For them the Supreme Lord is describing a method by which one can see God in His impersonal form. Intelligent persons can see God in His personal form, as stated in the śāstras, but if one is very eager to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead immediately, face to face, he can see the Supreme Lord through this description, which portrays the various internal and external parts of His body.
To engage in tapasya, or denial of material activities, is the first principle of spiritual life. Then there are spiritual activities, such as the performance of Vedic ritualistic sacrifices, study of the Vedic knowledge, meditation upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. One should also respect the demigods and understand how they are situated, how they act and how they manage the activities of the various departments of this material world. In this way one can see how God is existing and how everything is managed perfectly because of the presence of the Supreme Lord. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.10):
mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ
sūyate sa-carācaram
hetunānena kaunteya
jagad viparivartate
“This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, and it is producing all moving and nonmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.” If one is unable to see the Supreme Lord although He is present as Kṛṣṇa in His various incarnations, one may see the Supreme Lord’s impersonal feature, according to the direction of the Vedas, by seeing the activities of material nature.
Anything done under the direction of the Vedic injunctions is called dharma, as described by the order carriers of Yamarāja (Bhāg. 6.1.40):
veda-praṇihito dharmo
hy adharmas tad-viparyayaḥ
vedo nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt
svayambhūr iti śuśruma
“That which is prescribed in the Vedas constitutes dharma, the religious principles, and the opposite of that is irreligion. The Vedas are directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, and are self-born. This we have heard from Yamarāja.”
In this connection, Śrīla Madhvācārya comments:
tapo ’bhimānī rudras tu
viṣṇor hṛdayam āśritaḥ
vidyā rūpā tathaivomā
viṣṇos tanum upāśritā
kriyātmā pāka-śāsanaḥ
aṅgeṣu kratavaḥ sarve
madhya-dehe ca dharma-rāṭ
prāṇo vāyuś citta-gato
brahmādyāḥ sveṣu devatāḥ
The various demigods are all acting under the protection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and according to their various actions the demigods are differently named.

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