How do you explain there’s only One, without a second?
Everything around us are all the manifestation of that Supreme, just like our shadows. Without us, there are no shadows!! They have no separate existence. They appear to exist. Similarly the entire universe is but an expression of the Nirguna Brahman and nothing else.
Matter (Apara prakrti), the appearance consists of total mind, total ego and total unmanifested potential and unmanifested potential five elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth) as a total of eight fold aspect. The entire universe is nothing but these eight fold aspects and the higher aspect, consciousness enlivens everything. This Para and Apara prakrti, is the cause of all sentient and inert beings.
Even though there are a variety of theories of the cause of the universe like the subatomic particles, primordial theory, Big Bang or Black Hole, it is simply not possible that the finite part of the world, may it be matter or energy could have been the cause of the creation of the universe that includes all planets & galaxies. Therefore the ultimate cause of it all could only be an infinite entity which is a part of every matter and sentient being.
That infinite entity is of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, Sat-Chit-Ananda and the cause of the entire universe, which we can call it as Consciousness, God or Truth.
Take an example of a beautiful colored painting. We appreciate the color coordination, contrasts, design, theme, picture but we miss seeing the canvas beneath. Without that canvas nothing exists, no color, design, beauty of the picture or painting.
So also the thread that brings all the beads into a necklace is unseen, without which, there is no necklace. This is not to be construed that One is uniting all entities, but that Supreme is present inside each one, which simply means without God nothing could exist. There is only One that is present, expresses as many and pervades all.
To create anything we need a material and the maker that is the material cause & the instrumental cause (Upadana karanam and Nimittha karanam). For example to create a pot we need clay and the maker who makes the pots. These three are independent of each other but in the creation of the universe both the material and instrumental cause are the same, like a cobweb created by a spider. The spider creates the web using its own saliva and absorbs the entire web once the bugs are in it. One, without a second alone exists, ONE appearing as many.
Why do only few rare ones alone seek God?
To get this human birth is rare and it is much rarer to be in the spiritual path. It is the rarest of those who develop an inner urge to seek the answer to the cause and the purpose of human existence. Only when we pause & reflect, we have an opportunity to seek the Self.
Many do not find the right teacher or proper guidance. But it is vital that we interact with many teachers, once the right one for an individual is reached, who is supportive then accept guru’s guidance. There is a saying, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’. Therefore each individual’s inner motivation is necessary for the upward movement.
Some lack the faith in guru, others get distracted by the worldly pleasures, while some lack the stamina, and few do not put enough efforts. Often some are attracted towards scholarly pursuits attached to the means, in performing rituals, name and fame. But everyone in the spiritual path gets the benefit for the efforts they put in, however little it maybe. The rarest of rare alone has the capacity to make the sincere effort. Such a person alone realized the truth, Self knowledge.
In the matter of Self-knowledge, listening directly to a teacher, meaning Guru’s guidance is very important. Why?
Unlike any academic subject Physics, Chemistry or Biology, Self knowledge cannot be understood by mere reading or studying. One can simply read but to understand this knowledge very clearly, one has to listen and practice. Self knowledge is given by the Vedas. Vedas are called Sruti, the one that was heard and listened from a guru by the pupil. Vedas are called apurusheyam, means not written by a human being.
Sravana is understanding of oneself by listening, a subtle spiritual practice, Antharanga sadana. Sravana alone could lead one to Realization by a ready mind and when not accomplished, it needs to be followed by manana and nidhidyasana.
Most important is to listen to a guru who can explain the scriptures clearly. Mere reading often leads to misapprehension of certain words and concepts, as every word in Vedas has a different meaning based on the context. These words have much deeper expression than mere verbalization or superficial meaning, called as vakyartha and shabdartha. Only a learned teacher can explain clearly, its suggested to approach a teacher who has three previous generation of teachers, so the scripture is taught exactly as received without personal opinions. Otherwise it can lead to not only non-understanding but mis-understanding thereby all our thoughts and actions would be based on that premise which is misunderstood.
That’s why it is absolutely necessary to have a guru and listening to the guru is important. Only with a Guru, one can ask questions and clarify doubts. Without knowing the ‘why’ a student cannot understand any ‘what’ and ‘How’.
Why does the rare one alone realize the Self?
People get qualified, work to make income, raise children, take care of parents, reach the pinnacle of their prime life, using their fullest potential in worldly pursuits but many feel a sense of incompleteness, emptiness even after doing all these successfully. Some get into the enquiry mode and question the purpose of life. They seek a deeper purpose of life than merely going after material gain in life.
Of these few, many do not find the right teacher who guides them, some lack faith in those teachers, few others get distracted by pleasures and some do not put their effort even though they question the purpose of life. Others get attached to rituals, while few others lack the stamina and consistency in the spiritual path.
In spite of all these, every person is benefited to the extent one walks in this spiritual path just like even if we eat half stomach, the protein, carbohydrates that are absorbed will help the body instead of starving when nothing enters. Every little bit helps!
The rarest of rare is the one who is blessed with the divine grace to pursue this divine effort with full focus and concentration. This path is beyond rituals. Such a person alone realizes the Truth, the omnipresent, omniscient atman that is present in each and every being, as an expression of the Supreme, sat-chit-ananda…
What’s the cause of creation?
We all know that nothing can come out of nothingness, emptiness, vacuum. There has to be a cause for an effect or every effect has a cause.
Scientifically the entire cosmos was one huge mass which then separated due to a Big Bang (theory). The Lord also explains that the entire universe existed in the Beeja avastha (dormant) before the total ‘I’ consciousness decided to appear as many by Hiranyagarbha.
What was the huge mass? What is the cause of that huge mass? This could not have come out of nothing. Who created it? What or who is the cause of it? Where did it come from? What caused that Big Bang?
The scriptures have answers to these questions which explains the para and apara shakti (power or energy), the consciousness and the matter that it holds.
Today’s scientific community has proved that the seen is affected by the seer. That means the seer is in existence and everything is based on the seer!! If so, who is this cosmic seer?
The seer is the consciousness, that which is present in all creatures and the seen varies depending on the seer. That’s why the same situation is different for each individual. Everything is one’s perception, thoughts and all these are enlivened by consciousness. None of these can function without the presence of that One Consciousness.
This makes us to believe that the huge mass that once existed was the thought of total consciousness as explained by the scriptures and the total ‘I’ decided to appear as many causing the Big Bang to multiply.
This confirms that there is only ONE without a second, which is the ultimate cause of creation. Science is moving towards scriptural wisdom.
This One ultimate cause of Existence-Consciousness, the infinite Self of all, is called God or Truth. God alone IS. GOD is an acronym for Generator, Operator, Dissolver. When one experience this, one is in bliss!!
How can we appreciate the Divinity in creation?
If we are not able to see the presence of God around us, that only reflects on our level of spirituality and not in His existence.
Why do we feel elated near a waterfall or a river or an ocean? Why do few love to hike, others love to garden, while others have a passion to sing or draw or paint? Why do some are kind, compassionate while others are angry, hostile & wicked?
In all these, we should be able to see the divine presence along with our vasanas. The sound that passes through the space, the taste of water, the buzzing of the bees, the sounds that emanates from the lion, tiger, monkey and all creatures is all due to His presence. Have you ever wondered how a tiny little ant can carry a grain of rice? The rice is as big as an ant in size and weight while a human cannot carry a weight equivalent to our body weight. Due to His Presence in this body, we humans have the intellectual power, the power to choose, make decisions!! Some people choose to say ‘There is no God’ but they stop to think what/who gives them the power to speak?
The yelling of a man, the cry of a baby, the love of a partner, the kindness of a parent, the light from the Sun and the moon, the fragrance of a rose, not to mention, the clap of thunder, the brilliance of a flame, the downpour of rain, the smell from the earth is all the presence of One Consciousness. These constantly remind us of the divine presence.
God is the inner motivation, the courage, the desire to act, and the love to give. Today’s science & technology proves it by displaying God’s intelligence. God is the wisdom in the wise, the glow in the face of an accomplished, the majesty of the mighty.
The entire beauty of the universe, the fragrance of flowers, multitude of colors, the variety of sounds, thousands of species, infinite creatures that live and sustain is all the expressions of His presence. This is Viswaroopam!!!
We human fail to pause, observe and reflect on all these as we are caught up in this rat race of accumulating ephemeral worldly possessions and are simply attracted only by the ego desired worldly things. Only very few see the divine presence and experience the inner peace. These are the people who stand apart and question their own existence, walk through the path of enquiry, able to see and experience the divine presence.
Everything that we see around us is diversity. How do you explain the concept of One?
Nothing can happen without a cause. We see many things around us on a daily basis. We see and experience laughs, cry, anger, hostility, compassion, walking, talking, singing, dancing, motivation, courage, fear, depression and many more… Where do they all come from? Have you ever wondered why are some cheerful and positive while others are whining and complaining? Some are successful while others struggle? Some live for long years with diseases and struggle, while some pass on at an early stage of their life leaving behind their spouse, children and parents. Why does this happen?
Everything in the world has three distinct qualities ~ Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Every thought, every emotion and every action is based on these three gunas. We all are a combination of all these three gunas at a different amount of each one. That’s why we see the differences in all people. This is maya. The entire universe is a permutation combination of these gunas. The source of all these is the divine and our karmas. He alone exists and expresses as many.
Satvik are calm, quiet, kind, caring, helpful, creative while Rajas are active, agitated, always on the go with a sense of having to accomplish, fast, can be angry, rude, arrogant with a superiority complex, tamas are followers taking orders, unable to take responsibility for their life, lethargic. We cannot categorize people in any specific classification but one Guna is more expressive than the other two in each individual.
That doesn’t in any way make anyone superior to others. This only confirms that we humans are a combination of all three gunas and knowing it, is an opportunity to recognize, be flexible, and be adaptive for spiritual growth. These are NOT to be used to judge others but to recognize ourselves.
All these exist because of THAT One presence, the power and substratum of all these that pervades everything and nothing can exist without THAT.
What is maya?
Maya is the other side of God. It is the Shakti, power. Shiva-Shakti is Purusha-Prakruti, the Seer-Seen, Maya is the creative power and always exists in God, never separate from Him.
We can’t see it but can experience it as various emotions, conflicts, sorrow and bondage. Maya is of the nature of ignorance and that’s why we experience all these emotions. Lord alone can illumine this maya, which is of three gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas. Every person on this earth is caught by these qualities created by gunas. Often they create emotions that are spontaneous, take control our thoughts and behavior. Since Lord is the master of this maya, He is also referred to as maya-pati and since we are all enslaved by maya, we are referred to as maya-dasa.
Maya is the strongest force like a quick-fix, binding us through thoughts like, ‘me’ and ‘mine’, ‘you’ and ‘yours’ thus creating the duality, differences, comparison and competition. Once we are in this state, it is very difficult to come out of it and experience the world AS IS!! We get caught in our web, entangled for ever, with many births and the only way out is by gaining Self knowledge.
Prakriti is nature but when it goes through modification, scientifically called entropy, it is called Vikriti and when the modification is done in a positive manner, like making a sculpture out of a rock, it is called Sanskriti. Similarly, we are all divine but due to these three gunas, our thoughts become polluted and therefore the divine presence is not seen, who is right in front of our eyes, deluded like a drunk on the street having lost his control.
It is therefore highly recommended to follow and continue the study of scriptures, join Satsang, follow karma yoga, bhakti yoga and Jnana marga to completely surrender to Lord, who is the generator, operator and dissolver. It can take years or even many births based on our state to go beyond these gunas to overcome the bindings of maya. But every effort is a step moving forward.
Who is God? Where’s God? What is God?
God is not somewhere out there looking at us from elsewhere. God is all around us in everything that we see, feel, touch, hear and smell. He is not hidden but one needs a clear intellectual understanding and willingness to see what IS. One needs to step back from this glamorous, temporary, ever changing worldly attractions and start questioning the purpose of one’s existence. Self knowledge alone can make one able to experience God.
God is all pervading, omnipresent and omniscient. There is nothing else other than God and that knowledge needs to be acquired first from a learned guru.
Mere rituals on a continuous basis, all through the life is like being in an elementary school forever. All the upasana are stepping stones to make the mind ready for knowledge. One need to go beyond to the enquiry mode, just like research in academic and scientific field. Self knowledge is a personal experience, cannot be taught, It is a DIY (Do It Yourself) project and each individual has to seek this alone with courage.
Once we accept there’s something beyond me exists, then, recognizing THAT presence in one’s own physical body is the first step. Without His presence this body is inert. THAT supreme presence is the operator of this body and everything happens in this body and by this body is because of THAT presence.
This body goes through three states. Waking, dream and deep sleep state. When we are awake we interact with this world and experience emotions, when are in the dream state, our body is at rest but the mind is very active creating its own scenes and in the deep sleep, the body, all senses, mind and intellect are at rest, but when we wake up we know we slept. Who slept, who knows that the deep sleep occurred?
That ‘presence’ in us called atman. One who is the witness of all three states is the divine presence, who has no beginning and no end. He is ever present. Death is only to the body. ‘Deham’ in Sanskrit is body, ‘dahanam’ means subject to burn.
Every living being has this inner presence which is NOT different from the other, though everything appears to be separate, different and independent is the initial stage of spiritual growth. For example, when we see the fireworks up in the sky we see many different sparks, all beautiful emanating out of that one source. They all appear different but they all are one and the same with same qualities. Another example would be the ocean and the waves. All the waves seem to be individual ones with different heights, force and pressure but in reality they all are nothing but one vast water body. Similarly, the entire universe is One, expressing as many in a variety of Nama, Roopa, names & forms.
God is everywhere but we don’t see! Why? Because all our senses are always projected outside and are capable of only to differentiate. When they don’t see the differences they are not functioning properly. Eyes have to see different shapes, size, form and colors, ears have to identify various sounds so on so forth. So one need to train oneself to go beyond senses to experience the divine presence with the help of intellect.
Only when we look inside and deep with a synergistic attitude, we will be able to see, experience the divine presence, and recognize the One presence in everything and everyone around us. Viswaroopam is visible but not all are ready to see the presence. The supreme divine is visible only when seek for, otherwise, appears to be hidden. Nirguna Brahman is very close to us, yet far, smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest.