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How far is God’s abode?

Once a scholar was narrating the story of an elephant from the Shrīmadbhagwadgitā to a king and his courtiers. He described how Shrīvishnu, on hearing the agonizing call for help from an elephant, held in the jaws of a monstrous crocodile, hurried from His abode to help. Suddenly, the king interrupted the scholar with a question, “Tell me, how far is God’s abode?” The learned man was puzzled, as he did not know the distance, and neither did any of the other scholars in the palace.

But the king’s servant, who was fanning him from behind the throne, humbly offered to provide the answer, if the king did not consider it disrespectful. All present in the court were shocked at his courage. The king, however, allowed him to speak.

The servant replied, “Your majesty, The abode of God is as far as the cry of the elephant could be heard. God is always alert to listen to the sincere calling from His devotees and children. His residence is within hearing distance. I know this, as I have always experienced Him beside me, when I repeat His glorious Name.”

Moral: The scholars could not answer the king’s question, as they only had theoretical knowledge, without actual experience. However, the illiterate servant understood the Omnipresence and the compassion of God, as he was experiencing God’s presence through actual spiritual practice of repeating God’s Name.

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