SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY PUBLICATION
First Edition: 1958
World Wide Web (WWW) Edition : 1998
WWW site: http://www.dlshq.org/
This WWW reprint is for free distribution
© The Divine Life Trust Society
THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
P.O. Shivanandanagar249 192
Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh,
Doubt in the very existence of God has been raised in the mind of the common man, by the evil-doers for fulfilling their nefarious ends. The modern atheist has his omnipotent and omniscient scientific research laboratory; and that whose existence cannot be proved there does not exist!
Once this faith in the existence of God is shaken, man loses his moorings and is thrown at the mercy of all kinds of evil forces, within and without.
Sage Sivananda has proclaimed the existence of God and the soul-force behind his Word has awakened the faith in millions of people all over the world. He has brought forth interesting illustrations and illuminating logic to support his declaration, to convince even a confirmed atheist of the existence of God. They have all been brought together in this volume which is a boon to the spiritual propagandist, the teacher, and people all over the world-the believers and the non-believers.
1st August, 1958.
God Exists, So What?
Deep reflection over what I have said in this book would convince even a confirmed
atheist that God exists.
"Yes, I believe God exists," you say: "What should I do about it?"
Endeavour to realise Him.
He must be more real to you than all the objects of the world.
For that you must serve humanity and love God. Meditate on Him in Brahmamuhurta.
Lead a virtuous life, for He is the witness of all your thoughts, words and deeds.
Be truthful; cheat not anybody.
Love all; harm not anybody.
Be kind to all; for God dwells in all. And, thus realise Him here and now.
May God bless you!
1. God Exists
Every breath that flows in the nose,
Every beat that throbs in the heart,
Every artery that pulsates in the body,
Every thought that arises in the mind,
Speaks to you that God is near.
Every flower that wafts fragrance,
Every fruit that attracts you,
Every gentle breeze that blows,
Every river that smoothly flows,
Speaks of God and His mercy.
The vast ocean with its powerful waves,
The Mighty Himalayas with its glaciers,
The bright Sun and stars in the wide sky,
The lofty tree with its branches,
The cool springs in the hills and dales,
Tell me of His omnipotence.
The melody of sweet music,
The oration of powerful orators,
The poems of reputed poets,
The inventions of able scientists,
The operations of dexterous surgeons,
The utterances of holy saints,
The thoughts of the Bhagavad Gita,
The revelations of the Upanishads,
Speak of God and His wisdom.
Atheist want proofs for the existence of God. Can they give proof for the non-existence of God? No one has succeeded in showing proofs that God does not exist.
Even many educated men now say boldly that there is no God, that everything in this world goes on and evolves according to definite laws. Can law arise by itself? Can any law come out of nothing? Surely there must be an ultimate cause. That is God. That is the supreme Brahman or the Absolute. God is self-existent Being. He is infinitely powerful, wise and good.
The notion of God means an absolutely perfect being. An absolutely perfect being must have all the positive attributes, including the attributes of existence. So God must exist.
The existence of God cannot be proved by scientific experimentation. It is purely a question of faith and refers to the intuitive side of man.
The deepest craving, the deepest aspiration in man is for eternal happiness, eternal knowledge and eternal Truth. Man should search for some supernatural entity which can satisfy his deepest cravings and aspirations.
As we explain everything within Nature by the law of cause and effect, so also Nature as a whole must be explained. It must have some cause. This cause must be different from the effect. It must be some supernatural entity, i.e., God.
Nature is not a mere chance collection of events, a mere jumble of accidents, but an orderly affair. The planets move regularly in their orbits, seeds grow into trees regularly, the seasons succeed each other in order. Now Nature cannot order itself. It requires the existence of an intelligent being, i.e., God, who is responsible for it. Even Einstein, the great scientist, was strongly convinced of the creation of the universe by a Supreme Intelligence.
Everything in Nature has some purpose. It fulfils some function or other. Certainly every object by itself cannot choose a function for itself. Their different functions ought to have been planned or designated by a single intelligent Being or God.
Albeit everything is transitory in this world, people purchase enormous plots of land, build bungalows in various places and erect five-storied houses. They want to establish eternal life in this sense-universe. This shows that man is essentially immortal. In spite of the knowledge that everyone has to die, man thinks that he will live for ever and makes very grand arrangements to live here perpetually. Further, nobody wants death. Everybody wants to live, and takes treatment when ill, spending any amount. Hence, the essential nature of man should be eternal existence.
Even a fool thinks that he is wise. Everyone wants to show that he knows more than others. Nobody likes to be called a fool. Children tease their parents with various sorts of questions. The desire to know is ingrained in them. These indicate that our essential nature is knowledge.
When a man laughs, people seldom ask why he is laughing. On the other hand when a man cries, everybody asks why he is crying. This shows that our essential nature is bliss. No one wants misery, but everyone wants happiness, and all one's activities in life are directed towards the acquisition of happiness. This also proves that our real nature is bliss. In deep sleep when there are no objects, senses or mind, we feel bliss; hence our essential nature should be bliss. That again is the reason why people ailing from painful maladies even desire to give up their bodies and thus get rid of the pain.
If everyone then is of the nature of existence-knowledge-bliss, there should be an all-pervading principle having these characteristics and different from the perishable, inert, pain-giving physical bodies. Therefore, Brahman or God, whose nature is Existence-Knowledge-Bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda).
The existence of God or the Self is determined or indicated by the existence of the Upadhis or limiting adjuncts, viz., body, mind, Prana and the senses, because there must be self-consciousness behind their activities.
You always feel that, despite your possessions and all sorts of comforts, you are in want of something. There is no sense of fullness. Only if you add to yourself the all-full God, you will have fullness.
When you do an evil action, you are afraid. Your conscience pricks you. This also proves that God exists and witnesses all your thoughts and actions.
To define Brahman is to deny Brahman. The only adequate description of Brahman is a series of negatives. That is the reason why the sage Yajnavalkya declares in the 'Brihadaranyaka Upanishad' about Brahman as neti, neti, or 'not this', 'not this.' This means that the residue left after sublating the names and forms is Brahman.
Brahman or the Self or the Immanent God cannot be demonstrated as He is beyond the reach of the senses and mind but His existence can be inferred by certain empirical facts or common experiences in daily life.
Sometimes you are in a peculiar dilemma or pressing pecuniary difficulty. Help comes to you in a mysterious manner. You get the money just in time. Most of you might have experienced this. You exclaim at that moment in joy "God's ways are mysterious indeed; I have got now full faith in God. Up to this time I had no faith in God."
An advocate had no faith in God. He developed double pneumonia. His breath stopped. His wife, son and relatives began to weep. But he had a mysterious experience. The messengers of Yama caught hold of him and brought him to the court of Lord Yama. Lord Yama said to his messengers: "This is not the man I wanted. You have brought a wrong person. Send him off." He began to breathe after some time. He actually experienced that he left the body, went to the court of Yama and again re-entered his physical body. This astonishing experience changed his entire nature. He developed an intense faith in God and became a religious man.
Another educated person had a similar experience, but there was some change in this case. He was also an atheist. His soul was brought by the messengers of Yama to his court. This person asked Yama: "I have not finished my work in the physical plane. I have to do still more useful work. Kindly spare my life now." His boon was granted. He was struck with wonder on this strange experience. His nature also was entirely changed. He left his job at once. He devoted the remaining portion of his life in selfless service and meditation. He is still living in South India.
You find that even the world's best doctors fail to cure a dying king. You might have also heard of many instances where patients ailing from the worst type of diseases are cured miraculously where even the ablest doctors have declared the cases hopeless. This itself is a clear proof that there is the divine hand behind all cures.
Sometimes you cannot tolerate the company of persons. You wish to remain alone. You go to a solitary place,-in a garden or on the banks of a river,-and enjoy the inner peace. This gives the clue that you are, in essence, an embodiment of peace, that you are alone and identical with Brahman.
Some people die when they are eighty years old; some die when they are in the womb; some die at twenty; some at forty. What is the cause for the variation? Who has fixed the span of life for all? This clearly proves that there is the theory of Karma, that there is one Omniscient Lord, who is the dispenser of the fruits of the actions of the Jivas, who fixes the span of life of the Jivas in accordance with their nature of Karma or actions, who knows the exact relation between Karmas and their fruits. As Karma is Jada or insentient, it certainly cannot dispense with the fruits of their actions.
Whether the owl accepts the presence of light or not, there is always light. Whether you accept the existence of God or not, He always exists. He is ever shining in the 'three periods of time.' He exists before you begin to search for Him. He is closer to you than your breath and nearer to you than your hands and feet.
Do you exist or not? This is my question. If you say 'No,' I see before my eyes your figure with sinewy arms, a broad forehead and big eyes. If you say, 'Yes,' this gives the clue to prove the existence of God. The very question whether God exists or not clearly proves that God exists.
Whatever you see is God. Whatever you hear is God. Whatever you taste is God. Whatever you smell is God. Whatever you feel is God. This is the manifested aspect. The physical body belongs to the Virat (cosmos). The astral body belongs to Hiranyagarbha (cosmic intelligence). The causal body belongs to Ishwara (Reality with its veiling power). Where is this "I" now?
Emerson says: "A little consideration of what takes place around us everyday would show us that a higher law than that of our will, regulates events; that our painful labours are very unnecessary and altogether fruitless; that only in our easy, simple, spontaneous action are we strong, and by contending ourselves with obedience we become divine. Belief and love will relieve us of a vast load of care. O my brothers! God exists. There is a soul at the centre of nature and over the will of every man, so that none of us can wrong the universe. It has so infused its strong enchantment into nature that we prosper when we accept its advice; and when we struggle to wound its creatures, our hands are glued to our sides, or they beat our own breasts. The whole course of things goes to teach us faith."
Can you tell me, friend: Is there anyone on the face of the earth who is not afraid of death? Is there any one who is not uttering the name of the Lord when he is in serious difficulty, when his life is trembling in the balance or when he is in acute agony? Why, then do deny the existence of God? You yourself admit His existence when you are in trouble. On account of perverted intellect and worldly intoxication you have turned out to be an atheist, though, to be sure, you cannot prove His non-existence, by any means. Is this not a great folly? Think seriously. Give up arguing. Remember Him and attain immortality and eternal peace.
2. Why Should We Believe In God ?
If we have no faith in God, we will be born again and again in this world and will undergo considerable miseries. The ignorant, faithless, doubting self goes to destruction. He cannot enjoy the least happiness. Neither this world, nor that beyond is there for the doubting self. Those who have no faith in God do not know what is right and what is wrong. They have lost the power of discrimination. They are untruthful, proud and egoistic. They are given to excessive greed, wrath and lust. They hoard up money by unlawful means. They become men of demoniacal nature. They commit various sorts of atrocious crimes. They have no ideals for their lives. They are thrown into the lowest depths, deluded, birth after birth.
Belief in God is an indispensable requisite for every human being. It is a sine qua non. Owing to the force of Avidya or ignorance pain appears as pleasure. The world is full of is full of miseries, troubles, difficulties and tribulations. The world is a ball of fire. The mind charged with attachment, hatred, anger, jealousy, is a blazing furnace. We have to free ourselves from birth, death, old age, disease and grief. This can only be done by faith in God. There is no other way. Money and power cannot give us real happiness. Even if we exercise suzerainty over whole world, we cannot be free from care, worry, anxiety, fear, disappointment, etc. It is only the faith in God and the consequent God-realisation through meditation that can give us real, eternal happiness and free us from all kinds of fear and worries which torment us at every moment. Faith in God will force us to think of Him constantly and to meditate on Him and will eventually lead us on to God-realisation.
Belief in God and God-realisation will give us Param Shanti (Supreme Peace). In that peace comes the extinction of all pains. We will be no longer bewildered. We will be released from the bondage of actions. We will become immortal. We will obtain eternal Divine Wisdom. We will reach a place whence there is no return to this world of miseries, our sins being dispelled by Divine Wisdom. Our minds will ever remain balanced. We will never rejoice on obtaining what is pleasant nor feel sorry on obtaining what is unpleasant. We will have a cool mind. We will be ever established in the Divine Consciousness. We will get 'Akshaya Sukha,' 'happiness exempt from decay.' We will become one with God and get eternal (Nitya), infinite (Ananta), supreme bliss. When we are established in the Divine Consciousness, we will not be shaken even by heavy sorrow. We will get 'Atindriya Sukha,' 'happiness beyond the reach of the senses.'
God will give us full security if we worship Him with unswerving devotion and undivided attention. He gives us the Yoga of discrimination to enable us to reach Him easily. Out of pure compassion for us He destroys the ignorance born darkness by the shining lamp of Wisdom. He speedily lifts us from the ocean of Samsara (birth and death), if we fix our minds on Him steadily with devotion and faith. We will cross over the three qualities and liberated from birth, death, old age and sorrow, and drink the nectar of immortality. By devotion and faith we will know Him in essence and will enter into His very Being. Through His Grace we will overcome all obstacles.
3. Who Is God ?
God is Satchidananda (Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute and Bliss Absolute). God is Truth. God is the Light of lights. God is all-pervading intelligence or consciousness. God is all-pervading Power who governs this universe and keeps it in perfect order. He is the Inner Ruler of this body and mind (Antaryamin). He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.
He exists,-past, present and future. He is unchanging amidst the changing phenomena. He is permanent amidst the impermanent, and imperishable amidst the perishable things of this world. He is eternal, perpetual, indestructible, immutable and imperishable. He has created this world through the three Gunas-Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas-for His own Leela (play). He has Maya under His control.
He is Swatantra or independent. He has good desires (satkama) and pure will (satsankalpa). He dispenses the fruits of actions of the Jivas. He is all-merciful. He quenches the thirst of the Jivas. He satiates our hunger. It is through His power you see, hear and talk. Whatever you see is God. Whatever you hear is God. God works through. your hands and eats through your mouth. On account of sheer ignorance and Abhimana (egoism) you have totally forgotten Him.
Eternal Happiness and Supreme Peace can be had only in God. That is the reason why sensible, intelligent, aspirants attempt to have God-realisation. God-realisation can bring an end to the ever-revolving wheel of births and deaths and bestow supreme happiness on mankind. This world is really a long, long dream. It is indeed a jugglery of Maya. The five senses delude you at every moment. Open your eyes. Learn to discriminate. Understand His mysteries. Feel His Presence everywhere as well as His nearness. He dwells in the chamber of your own heart. He is the silent witness of your mind. He is the Sutradhara or the holder of the string of your Prana. He is the womb for this world and the Vedas. He is the prompter of thought. Search Him inside your heart and obtain His Grace. Then alone you have lived your life well. Then alone you are a man. Then alone you are truly wise. Quick, quick. There is not a moment to waste, not a minute to delay. Now is the time, or never will it come.
God is love. He is an embodiment of eternal bliss, supreme peace and wisdom. He is all-merciful, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. He has neither beginning nor end. He is the Supreme Being or Paramatma. The Gita styles Him as Purushottama or Supreme Purusha or Maheswara. He knows everything in detail (Sarva-vid). He is the support for this world, body, mind, senses and Prana. Without Him not an atom can move. He is the womb for the Vedas. Indra, Agni, Varuna, Vayu and Yama are His assistants. Earth, water, fire, air and ether are His five powers. Maya is His illusive Shakti (power).
God is Swayambhu, self-existent. He does not depend upon others for His existence. He is Swayam Prakasha or Swayam Jyoti, self-luminous. He does not want any light to reveal Him. He reveals Himself by His own light. God is Swatah Siddha, self-proved. He does not want any proof, because He is the basis for the act or process of proving. God is Paripoorna, self-contained. He contains everything in Himself. The entire universe is in Him. God is Swasamvedya. He knows by Himself.
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva are the three aspects of God. Brahma is the creative aspect; Vishnu is the preservative aspect; and Siva is the destructive aspect. There are three other aspects: Virat is the manifested aspect; Hiranyagarbha is the immanent aspect; and Ishwara is the causal aspect. Virat is the sum total of all physical bodies; Hiranyagarbha is the sum total of all minds, i.e., He is the Cosmic Mind; and Ishwara is the sum total of all causal bodies (Karana Sareera).
Srishti (creation), Sthiti (preservation), Samhara (destruction), Tirodhana or Tirobhava (veiling), and Anugraha (grace) are the five kinds of activities of God.
God is the exquisite taste in 'vimto.' He is the sweetness in the words of a child. He is the strength in a wrestler. He is beauty in the Himalayan landscape. He is thrilling melody in music. He is the fragrance in jasmine and Champaka. He is the softness in the cushion. He is the Prana in the body and intelligence in Antahkarana (fourfold mind: mind, intellect, ego and the subconscious mind).
Earth denotes His all-supporting nature. Water proclaims the message of His purity and sanctity. Fire indicates His self-luminous nature. Air signifies His omnipotence. Ether speaks of His all-pervading nature.
He has the six attributes of divine wisdom (Jnana), dispassion (Vairagya), powers (Aishwarya), strength (Bala), wealth (Sri) and fame (Kirti). 14ence He is called Bhagavan. He is the wire-puller (Sutradhara) of all these physical bodies of beings. He is the Inner Ruler (Antaryamin) of all beings. He is in you and you are in Him. He is quite close to you. You were thinking in the beginning that He could be found only in Mount Kailas, Rameshwaram, Mecca, Jerusalem, sky or Heaven. You had very vague ideas. This body is His moving temple. The sanctum sanctorum is the chamber of your own heart. Close your eyes. Withdraw your senses from the sensual objects. Search Him there with one-pointed mind, devotion and pure love. You will surely find Him. He is waiting there with outstretched arms to embrace you. If you cannot find Him there, you cannot find Him anywhere else.
God-realisation alone can put an end to the Samsaric wheel of birth and death with its concomitant evils such as birth, disease, death, sorrow, pain, etc. Eternal happiness can be had only in God. That is the reason why sages and saints, scriptures and Srutis make a very emphatic statement and lay great stress on the importance and necessity of God-realisation. Bhakti or devotion can help one in the attainment of God-realisation. So cultivate Bhakti, come face to face with God, and taste the nectar of God-consciousness which alone is the summum bonum of human life and human endeavour. Purify the heart. Control the senses. Sing His Name. Feel His Presence everywhere. Repeat His Mantra. Meditate on His Form. realise Him. Rejoice in Him. Attain peace, bliss and immortality.
4. Can God Be Seen ?
Emperor Akbar once asked his wise Minister Birbal, "Well, Birbal, you often repeat God is everywhere." Birbal rejoined, "Yes, Badshah! God is everywhere. There is absolutely no doubt in this." Akbar pulled the diamond ring off his finger and asked Birbal, "Is your God in this ring, too?" Birbal replied, "Yes, Badshah! He is certainly in the ring." "Then can you make me see Him?" asked the Emperor. Birbal had no answer to this. He asked for time; the Emperor allowed him six months in which to find an answer or to find out a way to show Akbar God in the ring.
Birbal went home; he was puzzled. He knew there was a solution to the problem; but he knew not that solution. He dared not face the Emperor again without an answer to his question. He grew pale and anxious.
Shortly after this encounter with the Emperor, a little boy-mendicant came to Birbal's house for alms. He asked Birbal, "What ails you, Sir? Why do you look so sordid and miserable? You are a wise man, and wise men should have no reason for misery! Joy and tranquillity are the marked characteristics of a wise man." "True!" replied Birbal: "The heart is convinced, but the intellect cannot frame words for it." Birbal then narrated all that transpired between him and the Emperor.
"Is this what you are worrying about?" exclaimed the boy in amazement. "I can give you the answer in a moment; but will you allow me to talk to the Emperor personally?" Birbal replied in affirmative and took the boy to the imperial court and addressed the Emperor, "My Lord! Even this little boy can give you the answer to your question."
Akbar inwardly appreciated the pluck and boldness of the boy and was curious to hear him. He asked the boy, "If God is all-pervading, son, can you show me your God in the ring?" "O King!" replied the boy, "I can do so in a second; but I am thirsty; I can answer the question after I have taken a glass of curd." The Emperor at once had a glassful of curd given to him. The boy began to stir the curd and said, "O Emperor, I am used to drinking good curd which has butter in it. I do not like this stuff which your bearer has brought and which does not yield butter at all."
"Certainly, this curd is the best available," replied the Emperor. "Remember, little one, that you are partaking of the product of the Emperor's personal diary." The boy said, "Very well! If your Majesty is so sure that this cup of curd contains butter in it, please show me the butter." The Emperor laughed aloud and said, "I thought so! O ignorant child! You do not know that butter can be got out of curd only after churning it; and yet you have the audacity to come here and show me God!"
"I am not a fool, Badshah Sahib," replied the boy quickly: "I only gave you the answer to your own question!" The Emperor was puzzled. The boy said to him, "Your Majesty! In exactly the same manner the Lord is residing within everything. He is the indwelling Presence, the Self of all, the Light of all lights, the Power that maintains the universe. Yet one cannot see Him with one's physical eyes. A vision is only a projection of one's own mind before the eye of the mind. One can realise God intuitively and see Him with the eye of wisdom; but before that one has to churn the five sheaths, and the objects, and separate the butter, the Reality, from the, curd, the names and forms."
The young boy had thus answered Akbar's question and the Emperor was greatly impressed. He wanted to know more and asked, "Child! Now tell me, what is your God doing all the while?" The mendicant-boy replied: "Well, your Majesty, it is God who lends power to our senses, perception to our mind, discernment to our intellect, strength to our limbs; it is through His will that we live and die. But man vainly imagines that he is the actor and the enjoyer. Man is a mere nothing before the Almighty governing Power that directs the movement in the universe.
"It is in a twinkling of an eye, when compared to the unimaginable age of the universe, that empires rise and fall, dynasties rise and perish, the boundaries of the land and the sea wax and wane, and we find a mountain range where there had been a sea and a new sea where there had been a plateau. It is in a twinkling of an eye that we find millionaires become paupers and paupers become millionaires, and a King becomes a wandering exile by a tryst of destiny and a vagrant becomes a King. So many planets are created, sustained and dissolved every moment in this vast universe. Who is behind this gigantic phenomena? It is God and none but the one God, to realise whom one has to give up vanity, the feeling of doership, arrogance and pride; to realise Him one has to surrender oneself entirely to His will, which can be discerned through cultivation of purity, emotional maturity and intellectual conviction; to realise that God one has to efface oneself in toto and feel that one is a mere instrument of His will."
It was a new experience for Emperor Akbar to hear the ancient wisdom from so young a mendicant. Akbar was very liberal in his views, and this encounter with a Hindu child-monk was perhaps in a way partly responsible for the Emperor to invite to his court many Hindu scholars and holy men to participate in spiritual and academic deliberations with Muslim divines and Maulavis.
5. Arguments On The Existence Of God
1. The existence of Brahman is known on the ground of its being the Self of everyone. For everyone is conscious of the existence of his Self and never thinks "I am not." If, the existence of the Self were not known, everyone would think "I am not." And this Self of whose existence all are conscious is Brahman or God. It is difficult to define Brahman. But we will have to give a provisional definition. That is Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss Absolute).
2. Close your eyes and imagine for a moment that you are dead. You can never do so. You can never think that you will not exist (after death). You will imagine that your dead body is lying down and that you are witnessing the dead body. This clearly proves that you are always the witnessing subject (Sakshi, Drashta). There is an inherent feeling in everybody 'I exist,' 'Aham Asmi.'
3. Because the Self is the basis of the action of proving, it is evident before the action of proving, and since it is of this character, it is therefore impossible to deny it. In denying Brahman you deny your own existence which is logically absurd. Brahman is the basis of all presuppositions, demonstrations and all notions.
4. Every effect has a cause. This phenomenal world must therefore have a cause. It is an effect of Brahman, the original causeless cause (Parama Karanam). This is the cosmological way of proving.
5. You cannot think of a finite thing without thinking of something beyond. The mind is so framed that it cannot think of a finite object without thinking of Infinity. You cannot think of an effect without thinking of its cause. You cannot think of impurity, duality, disagreement, variety, mortality, etc., without thinking of purity, oneness, agreement, unity, immortality, etc. The possibility of the relative implies the reality of the Absolute. This is the psychological method of proving the existence of Brahman. Infinity belongs to the very essence of His Nature. Sat-Chit-Ananda is His very essence just as heat and light constitute the very essence of fire.
The "I" Principle
6. When you are in the darkness, when you are behind a veil, if anybody asks "who is there?" you will naturally answer "It is I." Then after a second thought, after a moment, you will say "I am Mr. So and So." This "I am Mr. So and So" is a mental Kalpana (imagination), is Adhyasa or false superimposition on account of Avidya (ignorance). At first you have expressed spontaneously your inherent feeling of existence, the big Infinite "I." Nothing can resist this innate feeling of "Aham Brahmasmi."
7. Unless there exists one continuous principle equally connected with the past, the present, and the future or an absolutely unchangeable Self which cognizes everything, we are unable to account for remembrance, recognition and so on, which are subject to mental impressions on place, time and cause. The Self is distinct from and superior to ideas, because the ideas require an ultimate principle which unites and connects them, while the Self is itself the ultimate principle which renders the cognition of the ideas possible.
8. "Aham" means "I" in Sanskrit. "Idam" means "this." When I refer to myself, I speak "Aham" and when I refer to you, I say "Idam." When you talk to me words are reversed. My "Idam" becomes "Aham" and my "Aham" becomes "Idam" for you. Tables are turned over. There is only "Aham" everywhere, the one common consciousness. "Idam" is a mental creation, or false attribution or Adhyaropa (superimposition) just as a snake is superimposed on a rope. The snake is a Vivarta (illusory form) of the rope. "Idam" is a Vivarta of "Aham."
9. To break through the circle of cause and effect in this phenomenal world we must look for an existence which does not change (Nirvikara, Kutastha, Nirvikalpa, Achyuta, Avyaya) or depend upon another (Swatantra) and is always the same and likewise the cause or causeless cause (Parama Karan) of these changeable existences. This unchanging, independent, beginningless entity (Anadi Vastu) must be something which cannot be perceived by any sense (Atindriya, Adrishya) and must be without the attributes found in objects which are perceptible (Nirguna). Here every change ceases; here the mind can rest; here that faith may find root which we seek in vain among the fleeting things of the world.
10. There are first our senses; but they have relation to something else; they know nothing by themselves, and above all, they depend even for their knowledge upon the mind for the latter is an indispensable medium of perception. Is the mind then a final cause? Far from it, for mind is also finite and shows its dependence upon something else by the fact, that in deep sleep the mind itself is without manifestation. Our human knowledge, therefore, limited as it is, has but reference to a knowledge which is infinite. Having arrived at this conclusion if we again reflect on our own nature, we find within us a permanent element to which all the modifications of knowledge refer.
It is the Self that hears, sees, minds and knows which does not disappear with the different acts of knowledge, which is unaltered in all those acts, and without which they were themselves impossible. It is in one word, our Self, the Soul of souls which, as such, is mere knowledge in the abstract, free from any limits, and independent of the objects of knowledge. It is the Light of lights, Life of all lives, Mind of all minds, and Self of all selves. It is the hidden Life, vibrant in every atom. It is the hidden Light that shines in every creature. It is the hidden Love that embraces all in oneness. It is the Silent Witness (Sakshi) of all activities in all minds. It is the Brahman of the Upanishads.
Not This, Not This
11. Carefully analyze this little "I," the lower self-arrogating, false personality which is the cause for all miseries, troubles and tribulations.
The physical body is not the "I." Even if the leg or hand is amputated still the "I" remains. It is made up of five elements. It is the resultant product of "Annam" or food. Hence it is styled as "Annamaya Kosha." It is full of parts. It has a beginning and an end. It is Vinashi or perishable. It is Jada or non-sentient or non-intelligent.
The sense is not the "I." It is inert. It has a beginning and an end. It is the effect of Rajo Guna and Sattwa Guna. It is made up of Tanmatras (root elements of matter).
Mind is not the "I." There is no mind in sleep. Yet there is the feeling of continuity of consciousness. Mind is Jada (insentient). It has a beginning and an end. It is a bundle of changing ideas. It gropes in darkness. It sinks down in grief. It becomes like a block of wood in extreme fear.
Prana also is not the "I." It is an effect of Rajo Guna. It is insentient. It has a beginning and an end. You can suspend the breath and yet the continuity of consciousness remains.
The causal bodies which constitutes the Moola Ajnana (root of ignorance), and which is made up of subtle impressions is not the little "I." It is insentient. It has a beginning and an end.
When I say "I" I really feel "I am" or "I exist," (Sat aspect). I understand or comprehend that "I am" (Chit aspect). "I feel blissful" (Ananda aspect). On careful analysis by introspection this little "I" dwindles into an airy nothing just as an onion is reduced to nothing when the different layers are peeled off. But we get at the core or essence the big Infinite "I," Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman, the substratum or background for all these appearances, many little "I"s.
Reality Behind Appearance
12. You see a mango tree in front of you. It has a name. It has a form. It consists of stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruits, etc. These two aspects or parts of it are only visible to the ordinary sight, to the ordinary run of mankind. They are wholly occupied and charmed by these two aspects or parts only (Nama-Rupa). They are unconscious of the truth that lies at the back of the mango tree.
In addition to these two aspects there are three other aspects or parts of it. The mango tree "is," that is, it exists. This is its existence aspect (Sat). It "shines." You understand that a mango tree stands before you. It is cognized by your senses and mind. This is its consciousness aspect (Chit). The presence of the tree gives you delight. This is the bliss aspect (Ananda). Now cut down the tree and make it into planks. Even then there is Sat-Chit-Ananda in this plank. The plank "is" or exists. It "shines." You know it. It gives you delight. You can make it into chairs, benches, etc. Now put the plank into fire. It is rendered into ashes. Even then there is Sat-Chit-Ananda in the ash. The ash "is" or exists. The ash "shines." You know it. It gives you delight. It is used for various purposes. So you see that the names and forms may change, but the Sat-Chit-Ananda remains for ever. That is the Truth.
Every form has its own Sat-Chit-Ananda. The form is different (Vyatireka), but the essence that is at the back is the same in all forms (Anvaya).
Self Alone Is Dear
13. You love your wife and children in and through the Atma (or Brahman) that is hidden inside the body. If you had really loved the physical body alone, you ought to love the dead body also that is in a cadaveric, rigid state with ensuing decomposition. But on the contrary you try to get rid of dead body as soon as possible.
14. When the house is on fire you try to save yourself first and ignore the property, wife, and others. This clearly shows that you love to a very high degree something which is hidden within your physical body. That something is dearer to you than anything else in the world. That something is Atma or Brahman or Self of everyone, the one common consciousness, the Adhishthana or substratum for all, for everything, for the whole world.
15. There are five Indriyas (organs that grasp) and five Vishayas (objects). Eye can see forms. Forms are made up of Agni-tattwa (fire principle). Eyes are also formed out of fire Tanmatra. So there is a relationship between eye and form. Eyes cannot hear sounds. Ear is made up of Shabda-tanmatra (sound element). Sound emanates from Akasa (ether). There is a relationship between ear and sound. Ear cannot see. All the five senses are insentient or non-intelligent. They borrow their light and power from Atma or pure Spirit which is at the back of these senses just as a cup of water, when exposed to the sun, borrows the heat from the sun.
Atma in conjunction with eye Indriya and objects gives rise to perception of the world. The whole world is nothing but Atma or Brahman. Atma only can see Atma. Atma sees Atma. There can be relationship between Atman inside and Atman outside. A piece of stone is only Atman or Brahman. Brahman appears as stone through mind and physical lens. In Reality the whole world is nothing but Brahman (Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma). There cannot be any connection between Atma and Anatma (Self and non-Self).
16. In sleep there are no senses, no objects, no mind apparent and yet you experience peace and bliss. When there are no objects, wherefrom have you derived the bliss? The mind rests in Brahman during sleep and it is from Brahman this bliss is derived. Further during sleep when there are no other persons "I" alone exists.
17. Cogito ergo sum-"I think, therefore I am." This is Descarte's fundamental basis of philosophy. This is in accordance with Sri Sankara's statement that the Atman cannot be illusive, for he who would deny it, even in denying it witnesses its reality.
18. Through Brahman in its true nature is indefinable (Anirdeshya) and unknowable (Agrahya), still we have to give some provisional definitions. Advaitins mention some attributes (Viseshanas) or characteristics (Lakshanas) to mark off from Brahman objects possessing other attributes, and thus help us to concentrate on the subject in question. These characteristics are either essential (Svarupalakshanas) as Sat-Chit-Ananda or accidental (Tatasthalakshanas) as omnipotence, omniscience, creatorship, etc. Western philosophers admit that there is a great thought or intelligence behind the universe. The second and third aphorisms of Vedanta Sutras denote the omniscience of the Lord.
19. Karma is Jada (non-intelligent). There must be a dispenser to allot the fruits for the actions of Jivas. The Karma theory only can wisely explain the variegated nature of the world (poor, rich, healthy, sickly persons, mighty intellectual giants, born idiots, infirm persons, born deaf and dumb persons, etc.). An overseer of works knows how much wages are to be given to various workers in the contract work according to the ability and nature of work turned out by the workers. Even so the Lord of the Universe knows the actions and motives of the Jivas and allots accordingly fruits for their actions.
20. Many a time you propose many things but God disposes otherwise. Everyone has practical experience of this daily. This clearly indicates that there is a Supreme Power who controls and guides every human being. You get exaltation and satisfaction when you do virtuous actions. You get alarmed and frightened when you do vicious actions. Why are you afraid? This indicates that there is a supreme Self behind your conscience who witnesses all your actions (Karmadhyaksha) and the activities of the mind also.
Inner Ruler And Controller
21. Om kena ishitam patati preshitam manah? "By whom is the mind directed?" (Kena Upanishad, Mantra 1)
The Manas (mind) is an organ of sensation and thought. It must be under the control of some one who uses this instrument. The Jiva or human soul is not the director of the mind because we see that ordinary men are swayed away ruthlessly by the mind. Therefore there must exist some other Supreme Being, who is the director of the mind. He is the Antaryamin, the Inner Ruler and Controller.
22. Mind is a powerful engine. There must be a very intelligent driver for this engine. That driver is Brahman.
23. There is another way of proving the existence of Atma or Brahman. The eye is the Drik (perceiver); the object is the perceived (Drishya). The mind is the perceiver and the eye is the perceived. Atma is the perceiver and the mind with its modifications is the perceived. If a perceiver of the Atma is sought, the enquiry will end in what is known as a regressus ad infinitum (Anavastha Dosha). Therefore the Atma (witness of everything and of all minds) is self-existent, self-created, self-luminous, independent, immortal, unchanging, beyond time, space and causation. It is not seen by anything else. The objects are different but the perceiving eye is one. The Indriyas (senses) are different but the perceiving mind is one. Minds are different but the perceiving Atma is one. You find one behind many. Vichara (enquiry) is needed.
24. Brahman is not void. It is not blankness or emptiness. It is impossible for the mind to conceive of an absolute nothing. It is Paripoorna (full) because all desires melt there. You get supreme, eternal satisfaction (Parama Nitya Tripti). It is everything. When you become nothing by annihilating this false illusory "I" you get everything. You become everything (Paramam-apnoti; Brahma-eva-bhavati).
Have Faith In God
25. Faith in the laws of nature is faith in God. The whole world runs under definite, well-established laws. There is no such thing as chance or accident. God or Ishwara is Tatastha-lakshana (accidental attribute) of Brahman only. For the sake of pious worship of Bhaktas, the Nirguna (without attributes) Brahman simply appears as Saguna (with attributes) Brahman. In reality there is no such thing as Saguna Brahman. There is existence only. That is Reality. That is Truth.
26. Just as you see a tree in front of you, there must be somebody to see the activities of the mind. Otherwise "Kartru-Kartavya Bhava Sambandha Virodha"(a feeling of contradiction in the relationship between the performer and the performance) will come. That somebody is Kutastha Brahman (deep-seated Reality).
27. The simplest comparison of two ideas and the recognition of them as like or unlike presupposes the indivisible unity of that which compares them, an Atma external to the content with which it deals.
28. The relief that is obtained by remembrance of God in adversity indicates that there is a supreme Power who guides and controls human beings.
29. Even a rank materialist and an atheist cries out for help "O God! forgive me, protect me," when he comes face to face with a tiger in a thick forest, when he is in great distress, when he is in a helpless condition, while the steamer in which he travels is in a sinking condition, when he suffers from paralysis, when there is an earthquake or volcanic eruption, when he is left alone at dead of night amidst thunder and lightning.
30. An atheist says that there is no God. But that knower who knows the non-existence of God is Brahman.
31. A Sunyavadin says that there is only Sunya (void). But that knower who knows the Sunya is Brahman (God).
Real Source Of Happiness
32. A desire arises in the mind. There is a Vritti (impression) now. This Vritti agitates your mind till you get satisfaction through enjoyment of the desired object. There is Shanti or peace or happiness after the enjoyment is over. Another desire arises. Now in the interval between the gratification of one desire and the manifestation of another desire there is pure bliss, because there is no mind then. It is at rest. You are in union with Brahman. That state of pure bliss between two desires is Brahman. If you can prolong that period of bliss through Sadhana by keeping up the idea of Brahman and by not allowing any other Vritti or desire to crop up, you will be in Samadhi (superconscious state). The period between one Vritti and another Vritti is the real Sandhi (juncture).
33. Who sees the defects in the Sun-whether it shines brightly or whether it is obscured by clouds? It is the eye. Who sees the defects in the eye whether there is cataract or not? It is the Buddhi (intellect). Who sees the defects in the Buddhi whether there is confusion or clarity? Who illuminates the Buddhi? It is Aham (infinite "I"). This "Aham" is Kutastha or Atma or Brahman, illuminator of everything.
34. Who illuminates the objects in the dream? It is Brahman. There is no other light there.
35. Suppose there is a big light at night. You stand at a distance. Something stands between you and the light as an obstruction and you cannot see the light. But you can see the objects clearly that are illuminated by the light. Though you cannot see the light directly, you clearly conclude that there must be a big light, through the perception of objects. Even so you see the world with its variegated coloured objects. There must be an illuminator behind this nature. That illuminator, the "Light of all Lights, Jyotishamapi tat jyoti of the Gita, is Brahman, the Adhisthana (support) for this illusory world.
36. When the mind runs from one object to another object, the state in the interval wherein there is no mind is Swarupa Sthiti (the natural state). That is Brahman.
Appearance Adumbrates Reality
37. The very idea of creation suggests that there must be a creator; the idea of matter suggests that there must be a Spirit. The very idea of changing phenomena suggests there must be an unchanging noumenon. The very idea of a changing mind suggests that there must be an unchanging Sakshi (witness) and controller (Niyamaka) for the mind.
38. There is perfect law, order, and harmony in the universe. There must be a controller for this universe who must be omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
39. At night in utter darkness you say "there is nobody there." How do you know this? You know because in reality you are the Sakshi (witness). That Sakshi is Brahman.
40. You say in daily life "My body," "My Prana," "My mind," "My Indriya." This clearly denotes that the Self or Atma is entirely different from body, mind, Prana and Indriyas. Mind and body are your servants or instruments. They are as much outside of you as these towels, chairs, cups, are. You are holding the body just as you hold a long walking stick in your hand.
41. As a punishment for a certain crime you would rather prefer to have your hands cut off than the eyes removed. This indicates obviously that the Indriya is closer to you and dearer also than the external instruments. Instead of sentence for death you would rather prefer to have your two eyes removed. This shows that life is dearer and closer to you than the Indriya. When you suffer from a serious, protracted ailment, you wish to give up your life also, to get happiness. This shows that the Self or Atma is dearer than life or Prana.
Continuity Of Existence
42. There are two powerful instincts in men and animals. They are self-preservative and reproductive instincts. Hunger is a manifestation of the self-preservative instinct. The basis for the self-preservative instinct is the immortal nature of the soul. Owing to Bhranti (illusion), the Jiva or individual soul thinks that the body is Atma and eternal and the self-preservative instinct tries its level best to preserve the body for a long time (Abhinivesha) and perpetuate the body here. The idea of immortality is wrongly transferred to the body owing to illusion. Though there is death for the physical body, the Jiva imagines that he will live for ever here. The existence of the self-preservative instinct gives the clue to the existence of an Immortal Brahman (God).
43. The law of reincarnation is infallible. The soul of a man which survived after death in the previous life remembers, in the next life also through the force of memory (Samskara), of its existence even after its separation from the physical body. So there is an inherent feeling in men that they exist even after the death of the physical body. Existence is Brahman.
44. Man generally argues at the time of his death, "I have undergone many miseries, troubles and difficulties in this life. I have done various good acts. They may not go in vain. After all, is it for this one life alone I have laboured so much? This cannot be. I must be immortal." He invents the theory of Immortality. Even commonsense will tell everybody that there must be an immortal Atma.
45. You had been a child playing in your mother's lap. Then you grew up into a school-going boy. Then you became a sighing lover in adolescence. Then you reached adult manhood. Lastly you became a veteran with grey hairs. You have had a variety of experiences. There must be an unchanging Self as a Sakshi to witness these changing experiences. Otherwise these experiences are impossible. That unchanging Self is Brahman. It is the substratum for all these changing experiences of life. An invariable Self must link continuously the varying childhood, boyhood, manhood and old age.
46. When you search a thing in the dark in a room at night it is through the Prakasha (illumination) of Adhishtana-Chaitanya or Brahma-Chaitanya that you get at the thing by stretching the hands here and there in the room even in the absence of any kind of light. Brahman is self-luminous and Sarvaprakasha (illuminates everything). It illuminates the Buddhi, eye, sun and all objects.
6. Mysterious Body And Life Principle
Salutations to the Lord who is the Creator of this body and life, who is life itself, who is the indweller and ruler of this body and life, who is the source for the life, mind and this world, who is Satchidananda, and who is the protector of all beings.
The Lord Himself has assumed the forms of body, mind Prana or life, organs, cells, tissues, muscles, nerves, etc., through His illusory power, Maya, which is also known by the name Prakriti or Nature.
The body is the mysterious palace of the Lord. This is His nine-gated city or Navadwarapuri or Puriashtaka (city with eight groups). It is the most wonderful mechanism in the world. The driving force of this body is the Lord because He gives force to the vital force itself. This body is the moving temple of God.
It is a mysterious boat to cross this Samsara or the ocean of births and deaths. It was with this boat that Sri Sankara, Sri Dattatreya, Lord Jesus, Lord Buddha and several others crossed this formidable ocean of Samsara.
A spermatozoon, which is a millionth part of a drop of semen, and an ovum from the ovary joined together give rise to the formation of this body. What a great mystery! That subtle power which is the source for this semen and ovarian product, that subtle essence which sustains all these, is thy own Self. That is Truth. That is Soul. Thou art That. realise this and free yourself from the cage of bone and flesh.
The growth of the body with several limbs, organs, etc., from a tiny peck of semen, bespeaks the omnipotence of the Lord. You will be struck with awe and wonder when you begin to think seriously of the origin of this body.
In the embryonic stage when the child dwells in the womb of the mother there is no difference between a male and a female child up to a certain stage. Both the male and female genital organs are developed from the same Wolffian body which contains the female (ovarian) as well as the male (testicular) tissue. By some unknown process of growth one of the tissues preponderates and the distinguishing characteristics of sex are developed by about the third month. The testicles are in the abdomen of the male child. They descend into the scrotal bag by about the seventh month. What a great wonder! The Lord only, who is the source of all beings and the ruler of all creatures, knows Himself by Himself.
This world is "Manomatram Jagat" or "Manah Kalpitam Jagat." Only the mind has created this world. In reality there is neither world nor body nor sex. The sex affair is a mere idea. It is mere imagination. Male may become female and female may become male. Can a real entity change its form? If testosterone or male hormone is injected in a female, she develops male characteristics. Similarly, when testes substance is grafted on in a female, whose ovaries are removed, masculination takes place. Conversely, the administration of estrogen or female hormones to males, especially the castrates in whom the testes are removed, may produce feminization.
The partial feminine characteristics in a man are attributed to the persistence of ovarian tissue in him and the partial masculine characteristics in a woman are ascribed to the persistence of testicular tissue in her.
What is all this? Does this not prove that this world is illusory? How can a changing thing be the ultimate Reality?
This body is made up of countless cells. The cell contains protoplasm, nucleus and other inclusions. This was found out only after the invention of the microscope by about 1730 by Leuwenhoek, a Dutchman. The magnifying power of the lens was something like 300 to 500 diameters in the beginning. He was able to see some comparatively big germs. With the use of the microscope the cell-theory was formulated by Schwan in 1739. Now there is tremendous magnification by means of suitable lenses. You can see the minutest microbe.
The house is made of pillars, walls, fittings, etc., covered by protective paints. Similarly, this body-house is built up by bones, muscles, fat, etc., which are ultimately made up by aggregations of various types of cells. The bones represent the stones and bricks, the muscles and connective tissues the lime, and the skin the cement.
All the physiologists say that they have no knowledge of how living things first come into existence. Starling, an eminent physiologist, says: "Life is indefinable for biological science, as time and space are indefinable for the physical sciences. By this is meant that we cannot even approximately define life without the idea itself being explicit in our definition. Our business is, given living things, to study their phenomena."
Claude Bernard, who is regarded as the father of physiology says: "Vital force directs phenomena which it does not produce; physical agencies produce in living things phenomena which they do not direct."
Vital force is Prana. It controls and governs the different systems of the body. This vital force itself derives its power from the Lord or the Indweller or the Inner Ruler.
The physiologists say: "We know only how urea is formed from the amino acids. We know the gross processes that are involved in its formation and the formation of saliva, semen, etc. from blood, but the actual formation by the living cells and the exact mechanism are still in the realm of speculation only." They will know this only when they realise the Lord who gives force to the vital power or life and intelligence to the cells.
7. Nature Of Reality
That something by possessing which there is nothing more advantageous to be possessed, whose bliss is greater than the bliss obtained by any other source, by knowing which there is no greater knowledge to be attained, should be understood as Brahman.
That something, after seeing which there is nothing more to be seen, after becoming which there is nothing more to become, after knowing which there remains nothing to be known, should be understood as Brahman.
That something which is all-pervading, around, above, below, which is Satchidananda (existence, knowledge and bliss), which is without a second, endless, eternal, one and one alone, should be understood as Brahman.
The everlasting, the one continuous experience-whole, which is attained by sublating what is not it, that should be regarded as Brahman.
Brahma and others who depend on that Brahman who is second to none, enjoy happiness proportionately by getting a very small amount of His supreme happiness.
All objects are united with That. All actions are united with Consciousness. Therefore Brahman pervades everything, just as butter is in every particle of milk.
That which is neither subtle nor gross, neither short nor long, which is unborn, unchanging, destitute of form, quality, caste and name, that should be understood as Brahman.
By whose light, the sun, etc., shine, but which is not illumined by these, and by whose light all these objects shine, that should be understood as Brahman.
Like fire in a red-hot iron ball, Brahman, pervading the whole world, both internally and externally, illumines it; and without being illumined by anything else, shines by its own light.
Brahman is different from the world, yet there is nothing which is not Brahman. If anything other than Brahman is seen, it is as illusory as "water in the mirage."
Whatever is seen or heard is no other than Brahman. Through Tattva-Jnana, this world is seen to be Satchidananda, the secondless Brahman.
He who has the eye of Wisdom sees Satchidananda Brahman in all things, but he who has not the eye of Knowledge cannot see it, just as a blind man cannot see the brilliant sun.
The Jiva (individual soul) melted in the fire of Jnana, kindled by Sravana, etc., is cleansed of all impurities and shines by himself like burnt gold.
The Atman is the sun of knowledge that rises in the Akasa of the heart, destroys the darkness of ignorance, permeates and supports all, shines and makes everything shine.
That actionless Paramahamsa who has given up the limitations of direction, place, time, etc., who worships and attains the Atma which is all-pervading, eternal, blissful, spotless, becomes all-knowing, all-pervading and immortal.
1. Brahman is attributeless without any limiting adjunct, independent, ever free and all-full.
2. Brahman is distinct from the three bodies and the five sheaths. He is the silent witness of the three states. He transcends the three Gunas and the pairs of the opposites. He is an embodiment of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss). He is the essence. He is the source or womb for the mind, Indriyas, body and this world.
3. Brahman is Ananda-Swaroopa (nature of bliss). He is Anandamaya (made up of great happiness). He is Ananda-Ghana (full of pure joy). He is Ananda-Murti (idol of happiness). He is Ananda-Vigraha (bliss personified). He is Ananda-Sagara (ocean of happiness). He is Niratisayananda (nothing can exceed this joy). He is Parama-Ananda (supreme bliss). He is Ananta-Sukha (infinite happiness). He is Nitya-Sukha (eternal bliss). He is Akhanda-Sukha (complete joy).
4. Brahman is within and without. He is above and below. He is in front and behind. He is in all sides. He is everywhere, like the all-pervading ether. He is Chidakasa. The five attributes: Existence (Sat), Consciousness (Chit), Bliss (Ananda), Eternal (Nitya), and Fullness (Paripoorna), express Brahman in the best possible manner. Meditate on these and realise Him.
5. Behind this world show, behind this physical phenomena, behind these names and forms, behind the feelings, thoughts, emotions, sentiments, there dwells the silent witness, thy immortal Friend and real Well-wisher, the Purusha or the World-teacher, the invisible Power or Consciousness.
6. Just as one thread penetrates all flowers in a garland, so also one Self penetrates all these living beings. He is hidden in all beings and forms, like oil in seed, butter in milk, mind in brain, Prana in the body, fetus in the womb, sun behind the clouds, fire in wood, vapour in the atmosphere, salt in water, scent in flowers, sound in the gramophone-records, gold in quartz, microbes in blood.
7. Just as the light is the same in bulbs of different colours, even so the bodies and mental Bhavanas (attitudes) are different, but Atma is one in all beings.
8. Just as the sun, reflected in various pots of water, appears to be many, so also the Atman appears to be many when reflected through various minds in various bodies.
9. Just as fire is the same and only one, though it enters the fuels of various sorts, so also the Lord of the universe, who has created the world and entered into all beings, appears different because of the different bodies in which He resides.
10. Just as fire blazes forth when the ash above it is removed, Brahman shines forth when the veil of ignorance, which conceals It, is removed. Just as butter is perceived when milk is converted into curd and churned, so also Brahman is perceived through the churning of meditation. Just as hunger, thirst, pain, taste, etc., have to be experienced, but cannot be seen by the fleshy eyes, even so Brahman has to be experienced through deep meditation and Samadhi. Just as the tiny bacilli that produce cholera, typhoid, etc. cannot be seen by the naked eye, but can be seen with the help of a microscope, so also Brahman cannot be seen by the physical eyes but can be seen through the eye of intuition.
11. He who sees all, but whom no one beholds, who illumines the intellect, the sun, moon, stars and the whole universe, but whom they cannot illumine, is Brahman.
12. He sees without eyes, hears without ears, feels without skin, tastes without tongue, grasps without hand, walks without feet, smells without a nose, knows without a mind, because He is pure, all-pervading Consciousness.
13. He is formless (Nirakara), without Gunas (Nirguna), without any special characteristics (Nirvisesha), without parts (Nishkala), without limbs (Niravayava), without action (Nishkriya). He is eternal (Nitya), pure (Suddha), perfect (Siddha), free (Mukta).
14. Brahman is Truth (Satyam), Wisdom (Jnanam), Infinity (Anantam). He is Peace (Santam), Auspiciousness (Sivam), One without a second (Advaitam). He is without old age (Ajaram), immortal (Amritam), fearless (Abhayam), and the Highest (Param). He is the absolute (Kevala).
15. That place, where all speech stops, all thoughts cease, where the functions of the intellect and all organs stop, is Brahman, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss.
16. Peace, God, Atma, Brahman, Freedom, Immortality, Emancipation are synonymous terms.
17. God is with form and without form, and He is above forms. He is actionless; He is the actor also. He is the manifest; He is the unmanifest. He is immanent; He is transcendent.
18. There is a living, unchanging, eternal Consciousness that underlies all names and forms, and that holds all together. That is God or Brahman.
19. Unseen He helps you with faithful hands. Unheard He hears your speech. Unknown He knows your thoughts. He is pure, all-pervading Consciousness, Sat-Chit-Ananda.
20. God's Will expresses itself everywhere as law. The law of gravitation, cohesion, relativity, cause and effect, the laws of electricity, chemistry, physics, all the psychic laws, are expressions of God's Will.
21. Brahman alone is real. Individual soul is identical with Brahman. Everything else is unreal. This is the fundamental tenet of Vedanta philosophy.
22. Brahman is not this; it is not that. The denial of attributes to Brahman does not reduce it to a void or nonentity. Brahman does not possess any attribute that belongs to Maya. It is an embodiment of Bliss and Wisdom.
23. Infinity, Eternity, Immortality and Absoluteness are the characteristics of the limitless Existence-Knowledge-Bliss.
24. The Absolute baffles the mind of even the greatest scholar. It eludes the grasp of even the mightiest intellect. It is experienced as Pure Consciousness, where intellect dies, scholarship perishes and the entire being itself is completely lost in it. All is lost, and all is found.
25. God is very close to you. He abides in your heart. Closer is He than breathing, nearer than hands and feet. He is your very Self or Atma.
8. How To Attain God-realisation?
Develop discrimination between the real and the unreal. God alone is real. Everything else is unreal. Renounce all sensual pleasures, seeing the defects in them. They wear out the senses, cause diseases, restlessness of mind., etc. Equip yourself with the sixfold virtues (Shadsampat) of serenity (Sama), control of the senses (Dama), cessation from sensual enjoyments (Uparati), endurance (Titiksha), faith in God, scriptures, Guru and in one's own self (Sraddha) and concentration of mind (Samadhana). Hear the Mahavakyas (the great sentences of the Upanishads) that speak of the identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul. Reflect upon them and then practise intense meditation. You will attain Self-realisation.
Serve all, seeing God in all. Perform all your daily actions as worship of God. Give up the idea that you are the doer. Feel that God does everything and that you are only His instrument. Give up attachment to actions and their fruits.
Do Japa of His Holy Name. His Name is a great purifier. Sing His praises. Worship Him. Meditate upon His beautiful form. Surrender to His Will (Atmanivedan).
Do not identify yourself with the body, which is inert, impure, perishable and which is only a combination of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Always feel that you are the all-pervading, formless, pure, Satchidananda Atma. Assert 'Aham Brahmasmi'. See the Self in all.
Take Sattvic food. Keep company With the wise. Study Gita and other religious books daily. Eradicate all vices. Cultivate all virtues. Observe Ahimsa (Non-injury), Satyam (Truth), and Brahmacharya (Chastity).
Keep the body fit and energetic by practising daily some important Asanas, such as Sirshasana, Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Paschimottanasana, Bhujangasana and Mayurasana, a few rounds of easy, comfortable Pranayama and light physical exercise such as long walk.
God is a question of supply and demand. If you really yearn for His Darshan, He will reveal Himself to you in an instant.
Combine all the love you cherish towards all worldly objects, wife, son, wealth, property, relatives, friends, and then apply this combined love towards God. You will realise in this very second.
It is not very difficult to have Darshan (vision) of God, or to please Him. God is an ocean of mercy. He is a slave of His devotees. He ran with lightning speed to save Draupadi from the wicked hands of the Kauravas. He begged pardon of Prahlada for not coming to his rescue earlier. He caressed the dying bird, Jatayu, keeping him on His laps, and wiped off his dirt with the trusses of His hairs. He carried the palanquin of His devotee Tyagaraja and also water in a vessel for his ablution. He proudly bears, as an ornament, the scar left on His chest by the kick of Bhrigu. He wears the skulls of His devotees as a garland round His neck. The Lord Himself has admitted: "I am under the complete control of my Bhaktas."
Pray to Him fervently for His Grace. Be up and doing in spiritual Sadhana, Bhajana, etc. Never waste a single minute. Pray fervently like Prahlad. Sing His name like Radha. Weep in solitude like Mira on account of His separation. Do kirtan like Lord Gauranga. Sing Bhajan like Ram Prasad of Bengal. Dance in Divine ecstasy like Chaitanya Maha Prabhu and enter into Bhava Samadhi. Repeat His Name like Valmiki, Tukaram and Ramdas. He will certainly bless you with His beatific vision, Supreme Knowledge, and Eternal Bliss.
9. Mysterious Help From The Lord To Bhaktas
Hear the glorious events in the lives of Sri Roopkala Bhagavan of Ayodhya and a soldier-Bhakta of Punjab. Sri Roopkala Bhagavan was a famous Bhakta who lived the latter part of his life in Ayodhya. He was a native of Chhapra, near Varanasi. He was an Inspector of Schools. He was a sincere devotee of Sri Rama. One day he was absorbed in meditation, He did not visit any school for inspection. Lord Rama Himself assumed the form of the inspector through his Yoga-Maya Shakti, inspected a particular school, signed in the register, and disappeared. When Sri Roopkala Bhagavan came to the school next morning, the teachers said that he had already visited the school the previous day and showed him his signature in the register. He was very much astonished. This one evidence gave him great encouragement. He instantaneously resigned his post; went to Ayodhya to spend the rest of his life in communion with Lord Rama.
Have you not heard of an incident in Punjab? A soldier, a sincere Rama Bhakta, was on patrol duty at night in a cantonment area. One night a fine Kirtan party was moving about nearby. The soldier was very much moved by their deep devotion. He left his duty and joined the Kirtan party. He enjoyed the Kirtan to his heart's content. In the depth of higher emotions, he entered into Bhava Samadhi, the ecstatic state of Bhaktas. When he returned at 6 a.m., with great apprehension he enquired the Subedar Major whether anything had happened during his absence. The Subedar Major said, ".Nothing happened. I saw you throughout on your patrol duty." The Bhakta-soldier was extremely surprised to hear the statement of the Subedar Major. He thought it was all the Grace of Rama. Rama Himself took charge of the patrol duty to protect his devotee. He assumed the form of the soldier. When the Bhakta came to know of this incident, he immediately managed to get himself demobilized and went to Ayodhya to spend the rest of his life in devotion. If you are sincere in your devotion, you will have Darshan of God face to face this very moment.
10. Incidents From The Life Of Swami Sadasiva Brahmendra
More than one hundred and fifty years ago there lived a very famous Yogi-Jnani by name Sadasiva Brahmendra Saraswati in Nerur, near Karuru, in the district of Trichinoploy, South India. He is the author of Brahma Sutra Vritti and Atma Vidya Vilas and various other books. He has performed innumerable miracles. Once when he was absorbed in Samadhi on the banks of the Kaveri he was carried away by the flood and thrown somewhere else. He was deeply buried underneath the sand. Peasants went to plough the fields. They hit against the head of the Yogi and some blood oozed out. They dug out and to their great astonishment they found a Yogi seated in Samadhi.
On another occasion as an Avadhoot he entered the zenana (tent) of a Muslim chief naked. The chief was quite enraged at the sage. He cut off one of his arms. Sadasiva Brahman walked away without uttering a word and without showing any sign of pain. The chief was greatly astonished at this strange condition of the sage. He thought that this man must be a Mahatma, a superhuman being. He repented much and followed the sage to apologize. Sadasiva did not even know that his arm was cut off. When the chief narrated to the sage what had happened in the camp, Sadasiva excused the chief and simply touched his maimed arm. Sadasiva Brahman had a fresh arm.
These incidents in the life of this sage should convince everyone that there is a sublime divine life independent of objects and the play of the mind and the senses. The sage was quite unconscious of the world. He did not feel a bit when his arm was cut off. He ought to have been absorbed in the Divine Consciousness and become one with the Divine. Ordinary people yell out even when there is a pin prick on their body. The above incidents in the life of Sadasiva Brahman amply prove the existence of God and a divine, eternal life, where all sorrows melt, all desires are satisfied and where one gets supreme bliss, peace and knowledge.
11. A Question Of Belief
Rama said, "O Swami Sivananda
Give me definite proofs for the existence of God."
Sivananda replied, "O Ram!
Your mother said, 'Krishna is your father.'
You did not ask her
"O Mother, prove he is my father."
Existence of God is Svatah-Siddha.
It is self-proved.
It is a great insult, it is quite absurd to say.
Give me proofs for the existence of God.
When the Lord is everywhere.
Behold His glory-in the sun, moon and stars.
In the fire, in the lightning, thunder,
In the ocean, in the sky, in the flowers,
In the mind, in the intellect and in Prana.
12. God Is Existence, Bliss & Peace
Siva: "Do you exist?"
Siva: "If you say that you do not exist, and if somebody beats you then you will see whether you exist or not. Existence is God. You want death or immortality?"
Prof: "I want neither death nor immortality. I do not want immortality, because the world is so bad and full of miseries that immortality would mean eternal suffering. I do not want death, because nobody wants death."
Siva: "You are confusing yourself. When you say that you do not want death, it means that you want immortality. Immortality is God. You want pain or bliss?"
Prof : "I want neither pain nor bliss."
Siva: "Then what do you want?"
Prof: "There is something higher than bliss."
Siva: "There is nothing higher than divine bliss."
Siva: "Desirelessness is bliss. Bliss is God. Do you want peace of mind?"
Prof: "Yes ."
Siva: "Peace is God. So now do you believe that God exists?"
13. A Dialogue Between A Theist And An Atheist
Golmal (Atheist): O Ram! Please show me your God or Brahman of whom you speak very highly every day. If God really exists, I should see Him with my own eyes now.
Ram (Theist): I will beat you now with this stick. Please show me your pain in concrete form.
Golmal: How can I show you my pain, Ram? Your question is quite absurd. One will have to feel the pain oneself.
Ram: Similar is the case with God, also, O Golmal. You will have to realise Him through constant and intense meditation. He cannot be seen by these fleshy eyes, as He is beyond the reach of the senses and the mind.
Golmal: If God is beyond the reach of the senses then He should be a non-entity, a mere void, a negative concept, a metaphysical abstraction, I do not wish to attain such a negative state of nothingness. I will not gain anything by attaining Him. I am very happy here when I enjoy the different kinds of sensual objects. There is nothing beyond these sensual pleasures. Why do you talk of something beyond the senses? How could this be? I cannot believe such things. I am a scientist. I want accurate laboratory proofs.
Ram: Ha! ha! ha! ha! Well said, Golmal. You want laboratory proofs? Very fine, indeed! You wish to limit the illimitable all-pervading God in your test-tube, blow-pipe and chemicals. God is the source for your chemicals. He is the substratum for your atoms, electrons and molecules. Without Him no atom or electron will move. He is the inner ruler (Antaryamin). He is the Niyanta (controller). Without Him the fire cannot burn, the sun cannot shine, the air cannot move. Without Him you cannot see, cannot talk, cannot hear, cannot think. He is the maker of all scientific laws, the law of gravitation, the law of cohesion, the law of attraction and repulsion, etc. He is law-giver. Bow to Him with faith and devotion. You will have a thorough knowledge of the Science of sciences, Brahma Vidya, through His grace, and attain Moksha.
Golmal: Is there anything like the Science of sciences? I had my education at Oxford and Harvard Universities. I never heard there of a science like this.
Ram: Just note the conversation that took place between Saunaka and Angiras. Saunaka, the great Grihastha questioned Angiras "Kasmin bhagavo vijnate sarvamidam vijnatam bhavati"-"What is that which being known all these become known?" Angiras replied, "It is Brahma Vidya, the Science of sciences, by knowing which the Immortal Brahman is realised." By knowledge of Brahma Vidya or the Science of sciences you hear what cannot be heard, you perceive what cannot be perceived, you know what cannot be known. You think what cannot be thought of. Just as by the knowledge of a single nugget of gold all that is made of gold is known, the difference being only a name arising from speech, but the truth being that all is gold, just as by the knowledge of a single pair of nail-scissors all that is made of iron is known-all modifications being only a name based upon words, but the truth being that all is iron-thus, O Golmal, is that Brahma Vidya or the Science of sciences.
The basis for all the secular sciences is Brahma Vidya or Adhyatmic Science. If you know this supreme science through direct intuition, you will have knowledge of all other worldly sciences, just as you will have knowledge of articles made of clay if you have a knowledge of clay itself. You cannot learn this Science of sciences in any University. You will have to learn this from a Brahma-Srotri, Brahma-Nishtha Guru, after controlling your senses and the mind.
Golmal: How can I believe that God exists when I cannot see Him actually with my eyes?
Ram: Though you do not see the stars in the day time, yet they do exist. Though you cannot see the sun during a cloudy day, yet it does exist. Even so though you cannot see God with these physical eyes, yet He does exist. If you get the divine eye or the eye of intuition (Jnana Chakshus) by the practice of meditation, you will behold Him.
Golmal: I think, O Ram! that there is no such thing as God or immortal soul or divine eyes or eternal bliss of the soul. It is all the wild imaginations of the so-called Vedantins and Bhaktas. Just as red colour is produced by the combination of lime, nut and betel leaves, so also this body is formed by the combination of the five elements. This body only is the soul. There is nothing beyond this body. There is nothing beyond sensual enjoyments. The philosophy of flesh or the philosophy of Virochana or the Epicurean, "Eat, drink and be merry," appeals to me most. We should extract as much pleasure as possible from this body and the sensual objects. There is no use in practising penance or self-restraint. We should allow the Indriyas to run riot or to have a free play with the sensual objects. This is the only wisdom. Fasting, observing Mouna (silence), celibacy, meditation, etc., are the foolish acts of an ignorant man.
Ram: These worldly objects are ephemeral. They wear out the vigour of all senses. Even the longest life is very short. No man can be made permanently happy by wealth, sons and woman. Man weeps in old age. He is drowned in sorrow when he loses money, when his wife or son dies, when he develops incurable disease. Nachiketas was not tempted by the worldly gifts of Lord Yama. He persisted in attaining the eternal bliss of the Immortal Soul and got it through the instructions of Lord Yama. A passionate, ignorant man, who has neither discrimination nor dispassion, who is drowned in worldliness cannot have a clear conception of the Supreme Tattva.
Golmal: O Ram! Nature only does everything. Why should we accept the existence of God? Nature nourishes. Nature is everything. This world can go on without an Ishvara or Lord. Nature can manage everything.
Ram: Nature is not independent. She is the hand-maid of the Lord of Nature. Nature is His Shakti or illusory power. Just as clay is to the potter, so is Nature to the Lord. The Lord gazes at Prakriti or Nature. He is the Primum mobile. He sets the Prakriti in motion. Then the Prakriti starts Her activities. Just as heat is inseparable from the fire, so also Shakti is inseparable from the Lord (Shakta or possessor of Shakti). Just as the power of burning is inherent in fire, so also Shakti is inherent in the Lord.
Golmal: What are the chief attributes of your Lord?
Ram: God is omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent and All-merciful.
Golmal: Can He make a two-sided paper only one-sided? Can He make a man jump on his own shoulders? Can He make the fire burn downwards? Can He make the sun radiate coolness? Can He make a barren woman's son father of seven children? If He cannot do these things, He is no longer the Omnipotent Lord.
Ram: Do not ask such impertinent, useless and meaningless questions. Spiritual-minded person will never talk a word in vain. You are wasting your life, time and energy. God is Omnipotent. He can do and undo things in the twinkling of an eye. His grace makes the dumb man eloquent and the cripple a mountaineer. Develop Sraddha (faith) and Bhakti (devotion). Utilize your body in His service. It is very difficult to get a human birth; therefore try your best to realise Him in this birth. Try to become wise. Learn to discriminate. Cultivate your heart. Make it soft and pure.
Golmal: O Ram! You say, "God is All-merciful." I say, "God is very cruel. He is very unjust. He makes some very rich; others very poor; some healthy and others very sickly and deformed from their very birth."
Ram: God is quite just. He is the silent witness. This world runs in accordance with definite laws. There is order. Virtue brings its own reward; vice brings its own punishment. God neither punishes nor rewards any individual. Man reaps the fruits of his own actions. As he sows, so he reaps, The law of cause and effect operates. This law is inexorable.
Golmal: Why God created this world? When He is Purnakama, i.e., one in whom all desires are gratified, how did the desire to create this world arise in His mind?
Ram: Why God created this world? When did Karma begin? Why should there be ignorance at all? When did man take his first birth? How can ignorance come in the Atma who is of the nature of Satchidananda? Which is more powerful whether Prarabdha (destiny) or Purushartha (self-effort)? and many such other questions are Atiprasnas, transcendental questions. Such questions do not help in any way one's progress in the spiritual path. The result is mere lingual warfare and beating about the bush with no substantial result. Words are finite. Language is imperfect. One can get a solution to such questions only when one transcends the three states and the three Gunas, and rests in one's own essential Svarupa, through constant and protracted Nididhyasan and attains Dridhabhumi or Yogarudha (established in Yoga) state. The frail, finite intellect that is conditioned in time, space, causation cannot peep into the beyond. You will get answers for these questions when you get knowledge of the Self.
All doubts are rent asunder, the three knots are broken when one attains Brahmic Sthiti or Sahaja-Avastha (natural-state) or the native state of pristine purity and glory. People generally rack their brains and waste their energy when such doubts assail them. This is a trick of the mind to delude the aspirant and swerve them from the path of divine contemplation. What is wanted is rigorous Sadhana, burning Vairagya (dispassion), strong Mumukshutva (desire for liberation) and sustained discrimination.
Golmal: If God is All-merciful, if He is an ocean of mercy, why should there be pain and disease in this world?
Ram: Pain is, in a way, a good thing in this world. It is an eye-opener. It is a blessing in disguise. It infuses mercy in your heart and turns your mind towards God. It develops your will-power or power of endurance. It forces you to find out the way of escape from the clutches of Maya or the thraldom of matter.
Golmal: Why should there be evil in this world? Can He not create a world with pure bliss only? Why should there be mixture of pleasure and pain? Does this not go against His Omnipotent nature?
Ram: This universe is a mixture of good and evil. This is a relative plane. You cannot expect pure, unalloyed happiness here. You can find pure bliss in your innermost Self or Brahman only. Evil is not a distinct entity. Good and evil are the obverse and reverse sides of the same coin. Evil exists to glorify good. What is evil at one time is good at another time. What is evil for one is good for another. A rogue is a saint of the future. If you keep him in the company of a saint he will become a veritable Mahatma. Have you not studied the lives of Ratnakar, Jagai and Madhai? They became very good saints when they came in contact with great souls. The body of a man is the result of good and evil actions. Therefore he should reap the fruits of his good and evil actions, viz., pleasure and pain.
Golmal: O Ram! Thank you very much, indeed. My mind is slightly turned towards your side by your impressive instructions. Please give me some strong proofs for the existence of God. I am led to believe now that Supreme Intelligence or Power governs this universe.
Ram: God or Brahman is Svatah-Siddha (self-proved). The Self is the basis of the action of proving. Therefore, it is evident before the action of proving itself. It is therefore impossible to deny it. In denying the existence of Brahman, you deny your own existence, which is absurd. Brahman is the basis of all pre-suppositions, demonstrations and all notions.
Golmal: I have understood this point well. Doubtless the Self cannot be demonstrated. But it is possible to infer His existence from certain empirical facts. Please furnish me with those facts. Then I will have perfect conviction.
Ram: The existence of Brahman is known on the ground of its being the Self of everyone, because everyone is conscious of the existence of his Self. There is an inherent feeling in everybody, 'I exist-Aham Asmi.' Man never thinks, 'I am not.' This self of whose existence all are conscious is Brahman.
Golmal: Well said, indeed! I can understand this point very well. It appears to me nicely. Please teach me further in this direction.
Ram: Close your eyes and imagine for a moment that you are dead.
Golmal: Yes. I have closed my eyes now. I now imagine that I am dead.
Ram: What do you find now?
Golmal: I imagine that my dead body is lying down on the ground as a corpse and I am witnessing the dead body.
Ram: You can never imagine of your annihilation. You can never think that you do not exist after the physical body is thrown away. This itself clearly proves that you are always the witnessing subject (Sakshi, Drashta).
Golmal: This also convinces me to some extent. Please give me some more practical illustrations.
Ram: O Golmal! Here is a very practical illustration. You dream sometimes that you are dead and that your relatives are weeping. Even in that supposed death-state you see and hear them weeping. This clearly indicates that even after seeming death, life really persists. This also proves that immortality is an inherent attribute of the soul. You exist even after the physical sheath is thrown out. That existence is Brahman or Atma.
Golmal: Ram, this is really a wonderful illustration. My doubts about the existence of God or Self are dwindling. Please give me some instructions from the experiences in daily life.
Ram: A certain lady had a fall from the third story of her house. Underneath there was a bed of sharp angular stones. She would have received very serious injuries, but she was miraculously saved. She herself expressed, "I actually felt the warm embrace of some invisible hands. Some mysterious power saved me." Instances like this are not uncommon in daily life.
Golmal: May I hear another illustration?
Ram: You find that even the world's best doctors fail to cure a dying king. You might have also heard of many instances where patients ailing from the worst type of diseases are cured miraculously, where even the ablest doctors have declared the case to be hopeless. This itself is a clear proof that there is the Divine Hand behind all cure.
Golmal: Can you illustrate this through the theory of Karma?
Ram: Some people die when they are eighty years old; some die when they are in the womb; some die at twenty; some at forty. What is the cause for the variation? Who has fixed the span of life for all? This clearly proves that there is the theory of Karma, that there is one Omniscient Lord who is the Dispenser of the fruits of the actions of the Jivas, who fixed the span of the life of the Jivas in accordance with their nature of Karma or action, who knows the exact relation between Karmas and their fruits. As Karma is Jada or insentient, it certainly cannot dispense with the fruits of their actions.
Golmal: Prove the existence of God through facts about this physical body which is regarded as the temple of God.
Rama: The insentient engine of a railway train cannot move without a qualified driver. Even so this insentient body-engine cannot move without an intelligent driver, who is God or Ishvar. From the existence of the body you can infer the existence of the hidden driver of the body-engine.
Mark! There is display of intelligence in every inch of creation. Who pumps blood into the arteries? Who converts food into chyle and red-coloured blood? Who effects the peristalsis in the bowels and stomach and controls the process of assimilation and elimination. Who shuts the eye lids to prevent dust from falling into the delicate eyes? Who gave intelligence to the cells and glands to secrete milk, bile, saliva, gastric juice, etc., from the blood? Who gave intelligence and power to the spermatozoa to move, unite with the ovum in the womb and develop into a foetus? Wherefrom does this minutest, subtlest substance, Jiva, as minute as the tiniest grain of sand, derive the capacity to assume gradually the features, complexion and shape of its parents? What is the power which sustains it and helps its growth in the mother's womb? Who arranges for milk in the mother's breast before the child is born ?
How wonderful is the human machine? How harmoniously all the organs work in unison in the economy of nature? In Gita this body is known as navadvara-puri or nine-gate city. In summer the skin works energetically to throw off all impurities of the blood and to relieve the kidneys which had over-worked in winter. The endocrine, pituitary, pineal, adrenal glands work in perfect harmony in manufacturing the internal secretions, and the hormones to help the metabolic process of the body, growth and structure.
It is a great marvel to see the working of the nervous system under the control of brain and the movement of the impulses through the spinal cord. There is a magnificent, electric battery inside with switchboard and wires. The operator is Antaryamin (inner ruler, or God) who controls and supervises everything. He is Upadrashta (supervisor), Anumanta (permitter) and Maheswar (the great Lord). Look at the heart and lungs which work under the direct control of the brain. How wonderful are these three vital organs the tripods of life? Can an eminent scientist manufacture any of these organs, tissues, fibres, tendons or cells in his laboratory with his intellects?
How harmoniously the different systems such as the digestive system, circulatory system, nervous system, integumentary system, work without any rest! How beautifully the different centres in the brain such as the vision-centre, authority-centre, centre of smell, etc., do their functions. One is struck with awe and wonder when he begins to think seriously of the structure and working of this delicate human machinery.
To think that this most wonderful mechanism is the result and product of a fortuitous combination of matter or atoms is simply absurd and ridiculous indeed! It has been, doubtless, moulded and fashioned by some architect, who is infinitely more skilful, intelligent and powerful than the ordinary architects who build palaces and bungalows. That architect is God or Ishvar or Creator. Call him by any name. It does not matter much.
Golmal: Give me facts for the existence of God by the study of mind and its functions.
Ram: Unless there exists one continuous principle equally connected with the past, present and future, or an absolutely unchangeable Self which cognizes everything, we are unable to account for remembrance, recognition and so on, which are subject to mental impression on place, time and cause. The Self is distinct from and superior to ideas, because the ideas require an ultimate principle which unites and connects them, while the Self is itself the ultimate Principle which renders the cognition of the ideas possible.
The Manas (mind) is an organ of sensation and thought. It must be under the control of some one who uses this instrument. The Jiva or human soul is not the director of the mind, because we see that ordinary men are swayed away ruthlessly by the mind. Therefore, there must exist some other Supreme Being, who is the Director of the mind. He is the Antaryamin, the inner Ruler and Controller.
Then again look at the miraculous power of the mind. In the Kenopanishad the first Mantra begins, 'Who is the Director of the mind?' There is the play of the Divine hand here also. Can my brother psychologist manufacture a mind from his laboratory? We are struck with wonder when we look into the diverse faculties of the mind, viz., power of discrimination, power of judgment, reasoning, retentive power, imagination, cogitative faculty or the power of reflection, understanding, etc. No one but God can create such a powerful and miraculous mind.
Golmal: Give me facts for His existence from the study of nature.
Ram: Who provides food for the little frog that lives hidden between the strata of rocks? Who has clothed the fruits with skin to prevent contamination from outside? Who divided the season? Who made the water warm beneath the ice to enable the fishes to live comfortably in the icy regions of the Himalayas, and other places? Who has combined four parts of nitrogen with the one part of oxygen?
At whose command does the sun rise in the morning and set in the evening? The sun is 92,830,000 miles away from the earth. What a great wonder that from such a long distance the sun is able to convey light, heat, energy and vitality to all the living beings who inhabit the earth. There are millions of suns larger and smaller than the one which we see, but which appear to us like tiny stars on account of their being remoter than the sun with which we are acquainted. It takes millions of years for the light from these stars to reach this earth. Velocity of light is 186,000 miles per second. Light from some distant stars has not yet reached us even now. What a great marvel it is! All these stars, planets, and satellites are revolving in the sky in fixed orbits from day to day, month to month and year to year, under immutable, definite laws. God is the Niyanta (controller). The sun cannot shine without Him. Fire cannot burn without Him.
Who supplies water to the trees, flowers, various shrubs, etc., that are found in this world? Who is this unseen, untiring gardener who works without wages or any sort of remuneration? Who gives nourishment in time to tigers, lions, birds, fishes, plants, insects, worms, etc.? How is it that only human beings are born of human beings, birds of birds, tigers of tigers, dogs of dogs, horses of horses, elephants of elephants, ants of ants, bears of bears, mules of mules,-an exact copy of their parents in every respect? From a tiny seed there springs a huge banyan tree that can give shelter for thousands of persons. From a tiny seed there comes out a big mango tree that gives thousands of delicious fruits. What is that power which supports and nourishes these trees? What is that hidden, miraculous power that brings out huge form with hair, fingers, toes, eyes, nose, teeth, ears, legs, thighs, etc., out of a tiny embryo? What is that power that brings out a mighty tree with foliage, flowers, twigs and fruit out of a tiny seed?
Golmal: Can you explain the meaning of the Ekasloki of Sri Sankara?
Ram: In the day time what gives you light? Sun. At night when there is no sun, what gives you light? Moon, stars and lamps. When there are no sun, moon, stars and lamps what gives you 'light'? Eyes. What gives you 'light' when the eyes are closed? Buddhi or intellect. Who finds out the defect in the intellect whether there is clarity or turbidity? Aham (I). That Aham is the Light of lights or the eternal Soul or Atman or the Infinite.
Golmal: What can we infer from the study of deep sleep? The Vedantins talk much of deep sleep. What is the difference between sleep and Samadhi?
Ram: In sleep there are no senses, no objects, no mind and yet you experience the highest bliss without a concrete awareness. When there are no objects, wherefrom have you derived the bliss? The mind rests in Brahman during sleep, and it is from Brahman that bliss is derived. Further, during sleep when there are no other persons, 'I' alone exists.
In sleep you experience Avidya-Avrita Sukha. There is a veil between you and the Self. You do not return to the waking state with intuitional knowledge, you are ignorant; whereas in Samadhi you get knowledge of the Self, you enjoy directly the eternal bliss of the Self as there is no veil. Your ignorance is destroyed in Samadhi.
Golmal: Give me a very simple, but very impressive proof for the existence of Soul.
Ram: You say in daily life, 'my body,' 'my Prana,' 'my mind,' 'my Indriya.' This clearly denotes that the Self or Atma is entirely different from body, mind, Prana and Indriyas. Mind and body are your servants or instruments. They are as much outside of you as these towels, chairs, cups are. You are holding the body just as you hold a long walking stick in your hand. You are the possessor or proprietor of this body. The body is your property or possession. The body, the senses, the mind, etc., are not the soul, but belong to it.
Golmal: I am quite satisfied now. O my beloved Ram, I am quite convinced. I was under a great delusion till now. I was sunk in utter ignorance. I am grateful to you for your valuable, cogent, convincing, spiritual instructions. Thou art my Guru and saviour. Please tell me now the method to attain this Immortal Self.
Ram: Purify the mind. Control the senses. Develop the four means. Hear the Srutis. Reflect and meditate. You will attain Self-realisation.
(Golmal did rigorous Tapas and meditation and eventually attained the final beatitude of life. He now addresses Ram).
Golmal: O Ram! O my venerable Preceptor! Thousand prostrations unto thee. Thou hast saved me from this terrible Samsara. I now rejoice in the Self. Atma is now like the Amalaka fruit in the palm of my hand. I behold only the Self everywhere. The glory of Brahman is ineffable. All my doubts, fears, worries, sorrows, delusion, pain have vanished in toto. I am bodiless, mindless. I am all-pervading intelligence. I am self-luminous. Sivoham, Sivoham. Sivah-kevaloham. Suddhoham. No words can adequately describe the state of illumination.
Again and again prostrations unto Thee my Saviour and Redeemer.
Ram: O Golmal! Rest in Supreme Peace. Now roam about and disseminate this supreme knowledge throughout the length and breadth of the land, lift up your brothers from the quagmire of Samsara. You are no longer a Golmal (deceived person) with perverted intellect. Thou art a blessed Jivanmukta now. Thou art Swami Jnanananda Saraswati.
Jnanananda: My adorable Lord! I shall carry out thy behests. Obeisance unto Thee!
(Jnanananda sings a Vedantic Song.)
Chidananda Chidananda Chidananda Hum
Har Halme Almast Satchidananda Hum
Nijanand Nijanand Nijanand Hum
Har Halme Almast Satchidanand Hum
Jnanananda Jnanananda Jnanananda Hum
Agadbumwala Agadbumwala Akhilananda Hum
Ajaranand Amaranand Achalanand Hum
Har Halme Almast Satchidananda Hum
Nirbhaya Aur Nischinta Chidghanananda Hum
Kaivalya Kevala Kutastha Ananda Hum
Nitya Suddha Satchidananda Hum
Knowledge bliss, knowledge bliss, bliss absolute,
In all conditions I am knowledge bliss absolute.
I am without old age, without death, without motion,
In all conditions I am knowledge, bliss absolute.
I am without fear, without worry, bliss absolute, knowledge absolute, existence absolute;
Independent, unchanging, non-dual Atma, Advaita Atma, Immortal Atma;
Eternal pure, perfect knowledge, bliss absolute, knowledge Absolute, existence Absolute.
Can Existence Of God Be Proved
Prof. K. Satchidanandamurty
[Head of the Dept. of Philosophy, Andhra University]
Since the time when Plato, in his Tenth Book of the Laws, formulated a proof for the existence of God, the dominant note of Western Philosophy has been to regard the existence of God as a conclusion to be established by means of argument. The tradition of theological proof was passed on to Christian philosophy and theology through Aristotle. It was only in the second half of the eighteenth century that the proof for the existence of God came to be seriously challenged. The two greatest thinkers of the time, Hume and Kant, exposed the logical flaws and invalidity of the theological arguments.
But Kant allowed an argument which reaches God through the testimony of moral consciousness. Later, thinkers like Schleiermacher, Ritschl, Kierkegaard and others have raised a formidable objection against not only the particular proof but against the very idea of such proofs. Assurance of God's existence has come to those who have been confronted by God's Presence, while those who have been denied it have never been convinced by proofs. As Haecker has said it is absurd and insulting to set about proving the existence of an ever present entity-God. "We can no more prove God's existence," wrote De Burgh, "than we can prove that of our fellowman; our knowledge of the one as of the other is founded on the experience of their presence."
Modern thought in thus breaking away from the tradition of theistic proof is returning closer to the Biblical as well as the Upanishadic point of view. The Upanishads at several places maintain that the knowledge of the Supreme or the Brahman is a great mystery to be communicated only to the deserving and faithful. In the words of Jesus Christ, it is not given unto all to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance." Brahman is revealed only to him who is chosen and favoured by the Creator. We cannot know God unless He discloses Himself. He is not a sensible entity which we can come across in perceptual experience. Moreover, He is a self-conscious being. We can know about a self-conscious being only when we come into contact with Him, and even then we can not know much about His life, His purposes etc., by external observation. We may guess something about His nature from His acts, but these guesses have as much likelihood of being wrong as of being right. So the best way we can know Him is through His self-disclosure.
Perfect knowledge of God is attainable only when He chooses to reveal Himself. We cannot know anything about God from His acts, because unless we know Him we cannot know which are His acts; and even if something can be known about Him from His acts, we cannot do so unless God wills so. God is not like any other person about whom we can know something in spite of Himself. He is present both in us as well as apart from us, and whatever we do or know is willed by Him. So, if at all we can have any knowledge of God, it is because He has revealed Himself. We do not know Him unless He is pleased to make Himself known. Knowledge of God, in whatever way we may think we have arrived at, comes ultimately from God due to His self-disclosure.
Knowledge Through Intuition
At several places the Upanishads clearly state that intellect or discursive reason is not adequate to grasp the Supreme. "Speech, with the mind, turns away unable to reach it". "The eye cannot perceive it, nor can speech describe it, while the mind cannot reach there. We do not know how we can reach it." "The great Spirit transcends the reason." "That which one cannot think with the mind, but that by which they say the mind is made to think, know that alone to be the Brahman." "It cannot be apprehended by word or eye." "Through argumentation, it cannot be grasped." "Much learning, genius, or knowledge of books cannot lead us to the Atman."
That the Brahman cannot be known through a study of the Vedas is the earlier view maintained by the Upanishads. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Janaka who has studied the Vedas and heard the Upanishads confesses that he is ignorant of what will become to him when he is dead. In the Chhandogya Upanishad, Narada who has studied the Vedas, history, science, philosophy, fine arts, politics and the art of warfare, confesses that he is only a knower of scriptures and not of the Atman, and so he was still plunged in misery. In both of these Upanishads, Svetaketu, the son of Aruni, who was well-taught by his father in all branches of learning, confesses to Pravahana Jaivali that he does not know the mysteries of death and birth; and in Chhandogya Upanishad, after a twelve year study of the Vedas, Svetaketu is still depicted as ignorant of that by knowing which all that is unheard is heard and all that is unknown is known.
The Mundaka Upanishad finally sums up this trend of thought by saying that all the four Vedas and the six Vedangas are inferior knowledge, while superior knowledge is that by which the Imperishable is known. The Brihadaranyaka, therefore, advises us not to study too many books, as that is only a cause of fatigue, but to cultivate Prajna or intuition. Having spurned scholarship, the seeker after Brahman should become like a child. This reminds us of Christ's teaching, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."
Acme Of The Vedas
Later, when the Upanishadic doctrine of the Atman, which first arose in Kshatriya circles, gained the respect of Brahmanas, and when in spite of its opposition to the Vedic cult of gods and sacrifices, the Brahmanas eagerly sought and mastered it. The Upanishads became Vedanta. Soon Brahmanas like Yajnavalkya became not only adepts of Vedanta, but developed Atmavidya to the highest limit, and the Vedanta was made the acme of the Vedas. In Yajnavalkya's question, "I ask you of that person who is known through the Upanishads alone", we find it mentioned for the first time that the Upanishads are the source of the knowledge of the Brahman.
The Chhandogya says that while the Vedas are nectar, the Upanishads are the Guhya Adesa-the most secret teaching. The Mundaka finally sums up this tendency by saying that those who have rightly ascertained the nature of the Brahman from the wisdom of the Vedanta are liberated after death. The Svetasvatara says that the most profound secret is disclosed in the Vedanta only. This position later crystalized itself and, as stated by Badarayana, it then became classical. Unanimously and emphatically Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva assert that the knowledge of the Brahman can be gained through the study, meditation and contemplation (Sravana, Manana, Nididhyasana) of the Upanishadic Mahavakyas alone.
Though Brahma-Jnana is the final means of liberation, there must be a 'Via salutis' for it. Study of the Vedas, sacrifice, charity, austerity and desirelessness are the ways in which Brahmanas seek to know the Brahman. In Kena Upanishad, austerity, self-restraint, Karma and Veda-Vedangas are said to be the foundation of Brahma-Vidya. All the same, sacrifices and charity cannot by themselves lead to knowledge of the Brahman. Yajnavalkya contemptuously remarks, "What are sacrifices after all but beasts", i.e., slaughter of beasts. Sacrifices can only take one to the world of Manes. As the Mundaka says, they are fools who think that Vedic sacrifices and charitable works like digging of tanks, etc., bring about the good. That is why King Janasruti, though very charitable and munificent, had yet to sit at the feet of a poor peripatetic to learn about the Brahman.
Similarly, though austerity or Tapas leads to knowledge, by itself it cannot reveal the Brahman. The Chhandogya says that Yajna, Adhyayana and Dana, which form the first step of Dharma, Tapas the second step, and Brahmacharya the third step, lead only to the Punyaloka and not to Immortality, which is gained only by him who is firmly established in the Brahman. Even a thousand years of sacrifice and Tapas cannot lead to Mukti, for that could be had only by Brahma-Vedanam-knowledge of the Brahman. In short, Vedic study, sacrifices, Dana and Tapas are the external means to Brahma-Jnana, because they are acts which purify one and make one a fit recipient of Jnana. The immediate preliminaries to Brahma-Jnana are self-control, quiescence, withdrawal into oneself, endurance, and concentration. As the Katha Upanishad says, the sinner, the sensual, the unstable and one who lacks concentration, cannot attain intuition.
Need Of A Guru
After equipping oneself with the purity of the will, feeling and intellect, one should approach the teacher for inculcation into the secrets of the Upanishads. As a man brought blindfolded from some place and left in a desert cannot find his way unaided, even so, we cannot shake off Samsara and gain Mukti, until we receive instruction from a teacher. Except through a good teacher there is no way of knowing the Atman, as it is 'subtler than the subtle' and difficult to be known. Sankara explains that a teacher well-studied in the Upanishads alone can teach us about Brahman. We can hear about the Atman only from the wise. But how could that be taught which "by the eyes cannot be seen, by speech cannot be described and by thought cannot be penetrated?" The Brahman can only be apprehended through Self-realisation.
Though this revelation occupies the fundamental place, intellect has its own allotted orb in the Vedanta; for reasoning is necessary to ascertain the purport of Vedantavakyas and to be sure of the probability of what they say. Reasoning is needed to remove doubts and contrary beliefs. As mind is overburdened with false notions such as a thing like the Brahman cannot exists or that the Brahman is a material principle, reasoning is necessary to dispel doubts and contrary notions. But in all such cases reasoning should follow and be dependent upon scripture. Manana is the process of Vichara or thought which removes the improbability of the Upanishadic statements. Nididhyasana is contemplation of the profound meaning of scripture through concentration, after all contrary ideas are dispelled. When, thus, Sravana aided by Manana and Nididhyasana has taken place, only then arises the Sakshatkara, or the final intuition of the Brahman.
Om Tat Sat Brahmarpanamastu
Philosophical Proofs For The Existence Of God
Sri Swami Krishnananda
The foundations of religion are in the concepts of God, the world and the individual, and all its other phases arise from a consideration of the relationship obtaining among these three metaphysical principles. The Vedas, Upanishads, Epics, Puranas and Agamas establish themselves on the avowed acceptance of this threefold reality, whose existence is taken for granted as an article of unquestionable faith or direct intuition and experience. The history of humanity has, however, been showing indications of its drifting more and more through the process of time away from the ability to know things by direct insight or experience, and the observation has been that psychological history is moving towards a greater dependence on sense and reason as the only faculties available by which anything can be known at all. Scriptural authority gives place to logical enquiry and philosophical investigation. While the existence of the individual person is a matter of empirical experience in everyday life, and the perception of a world outside also follows as a necessary corollary of the fact of the individual having an environment around, the available faculties of knowledge segregated from the possibility of insight and immediate experience find themselves at a loss when confronting such a problem as the existence of God.
Philosophers have mostly been rational expounders of the validity of religious values, though we have also among philosophers those who are atheists, agnostics, empiricists, sceptics and materialists. The major trend, however, of philosophical disquisitions has been along the line of a common acceptance of there being such a thing as a reality transcending the world, whose nature requires to be known and established on firm grounds. Plato, in the West, was constrained to land himself in a world of 'Ideas' ruled by the 'Idea of the Good,' above the empirical world of sense-perception, the latter being just a shadow cast by the arrangement of the eternal 'Ideas'. To Aristotle, God is the Unmoved Mover, towards whom everything gravitates as if pulled by a powerful magnet, and all the variety and the material shapes of things tend gradually to unfold an essential form which enlarges itself in an ascending series of the evolution of form, until Pure Form, which is God, is reached as the ultimate discovery of logical philosophy. Kant denied the possibility of knowing God through understanding and reason, holding that the reality in itself cannot be contacted through the rational faculties of man, which are limited in their operation to the phenomena of space, time and the psychological categories of quantity, quality, relation and modality. But he inadvertently seems to be admitting the existence of a super-phenomenal reality, a thing-in-itself, when he denies the possibility of knowing it. Hegel took up the cause of reason and propounded it as a universally pervasive principle, which, by positive, negative and synthesising processes rises gradually to higher and higher forms of the synthesis of knowledge until the Ultimate Synthesis, the Absolute, is reached.
The existence of God has been an intriguing theme that occupied the minds of the philosophers throughout the ages:
1. It has been held that the concept of God implies at the same time the concept of the infinite, and such a concept cannot arise in the mind of anyone unless the infinite really exists. Thoughts cannot arise from a vacuum. Consciousness cannot have a location; its realm is infinitude. The concept of God as the perfect being should be regarded as proof enough, ontologically, of the existence of a reality which is God.
2. Further it is seen that in the world everything is a manifestation of some cause behind it, so that we may hold that the world in its entirety, which discloses the nature of an effect on account of its transiency and urge for onward evolution, can be explained only in terms of a cause behind it, which itself cannot be transient or subject to evolutionary process. Evolution is a tendency to outgrow oneself in a higher state of affairs and evolution itself would be meaningless if it is not to end in an achievement which is its purpose. Cosmic evolution is accountable only on the existence of a cosmic God who Himself is not caused by anything prior to Him. God is timeless eternity.
3. The precision and method with which the world is seen to be working with its sun and moon and galaxies can only be the work of an Architect who designs and fashions this perfectly ordered way of the working of things, Whose existence should be as certain as the artistic workings of Nature as a whole.
4. The finitude of every form of individuality implies a consciousness of one's finitude, and the consciousness of finitude spontaneously suggests a consciousness of that which is not finite. What is not finite is infinite, which is exactly the description of God.
5. There is also a tendency in people to ask for more and more of things, and such an asking would have no significance if it cannot be granted or fulfilled. The 'more' has to culminate in a possibility of its utter attainment in a state of perfection, where the 'more' melts into the 'most,' the superlative endlessness, where the sense of more reaches its finale.
6. Further, our moral sense, which commands us to do good and not bad, expects a corresponding reward for such a behaviour of discipline, but for which there would be no incentive to be good or do good. The dispenser of justice behind good and bad deeds has to be someone beyond the world of good and bad, and such a one, obviously, has to be an infinite being.
7. Since the consciousness of anything defies divisibility, the consciousness of division itself requiring an abolition of the consciousness of division, consciousness ever manages to remain divisionless, that is, infinite. This infinitude is the nature of true existence,-God.
8. There cannot be a consciousness of the object by the subject, unless there is a transcendent conscious principle relating the subject and the object, and yet, by itself, transcending subject-object relation, which would be the veritable Infinite. We call it God.
Isvara Or The Universal Soul
Sri Swami Krishnananda
The Existence Of God
The transcendent Brahman does not bear any relation to the universe. The nature of its existence is such that it cannot have distinctions within it or outside it. It is free from the threefold differentiation: Sajatiya, Vijatiya and Svagata (homogeneous, hetrogeneous and internal differences). It is beyond the world in every sense of the term, and cannot be discovered in anything that we can hope to know. The perishable does not satisfy our quest for the eternal. Brahman is Nishprapancha, Prapanchopasama, a being which is free from the universe, and in which the universe ceases to be. But without holding allegiance to the existence of Brahman, the world cannot be. The world is dependent on Brahman. In this respect, the names and forms and activities of the world are directed by Brahman; the world automatically receives, in different degrees, inspiration and reality from the existence, consciousness and bliss of Brahman. Brahman envisaged thus by the individuals, as the supreme Cause and the Director of the universe, is Isvara, the Cosmic Being. Isvara is omnipresent, for He supports and animates every speck of creation by His immanence. He is omniscient, for He has a direct intuition of all things, manifest and unmanifest. He is also the Divine Self and the Inner Ruler of the cosmos. The knowledge which Isvara has of the universe is not relational, not brought about by a mental function, and does not labour under the limitations of space and time, but immediate in its essence and spirit. It is not any outside knowledge of an object, but knowledge as the being of the object itself. He is omnipotent, for He has the power to do, undo or transform the universe as a whole, for the universe is His Body. He is called the Creator of the universe, for it is He that initiates the appearance of all things by the activity of His consciousness. This work of Isvara never comes to a cessation until the universe is withdrawn into Him, and this process is felt and continues in different degrees, in every bit of His creation. He is the Preserver of the universe, as the sustenance of all life requires the operation of His Spirit. His existence and activity are felt by us wherever and whenever we think of Him intensely. He is the Destroyer or the final transformer of the universe, into whom the universe is withdrawn in the end, to whom all beings return on the completion of the working out of their deeds in the present cycle. Isvara is the natural and necessary counter-correlative of the world taken as an object of individualistic observation.
The characteristics of Isvara, as enumerated above, are the Tatasthalakshanas or the accidental attributes of Brahman. The appearance of Brahman as Isvara continues as long as there is the experience of the world and the individual. The fact that there is an observer implies that there is an external world. And the fact of the existence of an objective world, again, entails the recognition of a supreme Creator and Director of beings. If there is an individual, there ought to be a world, and if there is a world, there ought to be God. Isvara, Jagat and Jiva-God, the world and the individual-go together, one implying the others, and not being possible without the others. The three principles are the basic contents of all relative experience.
The concept of God involves certain unavoidable presuppositions, if it is to stand the test of reason. We are obliged to hold that God must be one, and not more than one. A perfect God ought to be self-dependent, and a plurality or even a duality of gods would introduce a kind of limitation and dependence. A universe with many gods cannot be governed harmoniously, for there would be conflict of purpose among them. The system and order in Nature demand that the Sovereign of the universe must be one. God ought to be an uncaused reality, and though everything of which God is the cause has to be in space and time, God, who is the causeless Cause, is above space and time. The sequence of effects which proceed from God is more logical than chronological. As the final goal of all beings, God directs all movements towards Himself by an upward pull, as it were, by being the determining destination of the entire creation. He is the fulfilment of all aspirations and needs, and the realisation of Him is the great blessedness of any mortal. God has a direct knowledge of the inner workings of Nature, in their completest detail. Though He transcends all individual values, He is the conservation of all values, and constitutes their eternal home. In Him all values exist in their truest essence. Not only this, God Himself is the highest value and end of universal existence. To realise Him is to rise to the centre of the cosmos and to rule it with unlimited knowledge and suzerainty. Man realises his ideals more and more as and when his consciousness approximates, in greater and greater degree, the being of God. The deeper the realisation, the more inward is the manner in which the values are enjoyed in a condition which tends to advance towards infinitude, in which the remoteness of ideals gets expanded into a boundless Spirit, with neither inside nor outside. God is the be-all and the end-all of creation.
Arguments For The Existence Of God
St. Thomas Aquinas advances five proofs for the existence of God. The first is the argument from motion, which holds that all motion presupposes the existence of something which is not itself subject to motion. Motion implies a motionless ground. The motion that characterises the world ought to be logically preceded by an unmoved Mover, an ultimate being who is not moved by anything else, who ought to be the basis of the motion of all things. The second is the causal argument that, as every effect has a cause, the causal chain would lead to an endless regress if a final uncaused Cause is not posited. Without the admission of such a Cause, the very concept of causality, which holds sway over the world, would lose its meaning. The final cause has, therefore, no other cause outside itself, it is the final Form without matter in it. The third is the cosmological argument which points out that all contingent events necessarily imply an eternal substance which itself is not contingent. The very consciousness of finitude gives rise to the consciousness of the infinite. The fourth is the henological argument, according to which the concept of more and less in the things of this world signifies the existence of a maximum value whose manifestation in various degrees creates in us and in things the idea of more or less of value. The various grades of relative perfection and imperfection in the world indicate that there ought to be an absolute state whose partial revelations here give meaning to these relative expressions. The fifth is the teleological argument or the argument from design and adaptation, which infers the existence of God as the supreme intelligence, on the basis of the purposive adaptation seen in Nature and the ordered design for which it appears to be meant. The purpose that is discovered in Nature cannot be accounted for otherwise than by admitting the presence of a supremely intelligent Creator, a wise Architect of the universe. The different parts of the universe harmoniously fit in with one another's purposes, and adjust and adapt themselves for an end beyond themselves. All this shows that there ought to be a purposive Agent who has brought about all this adaptation, system and order in creation. God, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, is, therefore, One, the unmoved Mover, the causeless Cause, the eternal Substance, the highest Perfection, supreme Intelligence, and the Maximum of being.
In his treatise on divine government, given in his Summa Theologica, St. Thomas says: "I answer that certain ancient philosophers denied the government of the world, saying that all things happened by chance. But such an opinion can be refuted as impossible in two ways. First, by the observation of things themselves. For we observe that in Nature things happen always or nearly always for the best; which would not be the case unless some sort of Providence directed Nature towards good as an end. And this is to govern. Therefore, the unfailing order we observe in things is the sign of their being governed. For instance, if we were to enter a well-ordered house, we would gather from the order manifested in the house the notion of a governor, as Cicero says, quoting Aristotle. Secondly, this is clear from a consideration of the divine goodness which, as we have said above, is the cause of the production of things in being. For, as it belongs to the best to produce the best, it is not fitting that the supreme goodness of God should produce things without giving them their perfection. Now a thing's ultimate perfection consists in the attainment of its end. Therefore, it belongs to the divine goodness, as it brought things into being, so to lead them to their end. And this is to govern." "Hence, as the movement of the arrow towards a definite end shows clearly that it is directed by someone with knowledge, so the unvarying course of natural things which are without knowledge shows clearly that the world is governed by some Reason."
St. Thomas argues that as the beginning of the universe is outside itself, the end of all things in the universe should be a transcendent good which is not to be sought within the universe. The highest good is the highest end of all beings. As the particular end of anything is a particular form of good, so the universal end of all things ought to be the universal good, which can only be one. And this good has to be identified with God, for it is the good of and for itself by virtue of its essence and existence, whereas a particular good is good only by participation. Every form of good that is conceivable in the universe is, according to Aquinas, a good only by sharing in a higher good. The good of the whole world cannot be within itself, but ought to transcend it. Everything under the sun, in the opinion of Aquinas, is generated and corrupted in accordance with the sun's movement. A certain amount of chance seems to characterise all that is mundane. And the very fact that an element of chance is discovered in things here on earth proves that they are subject to a government of a higher order. For, unless corruptible things were governed by a higher being, there would be no order but only chaos, no definiteness but only indeterminacy everywhere. Things lacking knowledge, naturally, get guided by a being endowed with knowledge. All activity in the universe is intentional and purposive, directed by the supreme decree of God.
Swami Sivananda, accepting the famous arguments for the existence of God,-the ontological, the cosmological and the theological,-would endorse the theological proofs of St. Thomas Aquinas. The feeling of the 'I', according to him, is rooted in an existence which cannot be doubted. The existence of the Self is existence in general, and is enjoyed by everyone. The Self of everyone bears testimony to the existence of the Self which comprehends the entire universe. This universal Self is God. Though one is encased in this finite body, one can think and feel: 'I am infinite', through an irresistible urge which tends to direct all thought towards the achievement of such being. Such an urge from within cannot possibly be, unless there is a reality to which it points. "You always feel: 'I exist.' You can never deny your existence. Existence is Brahman, your own inner immortal Self" "Though I am encased in this finite body, though I am imperfect and mortal on account of egoism, I can think of the infinite, the perfect, the immortal being. This idea of the infinite can arise only from an infinite being" (Wisdom Nectar, p. 188).
Swami Sivananda observes that the concept of the finite posits the infinite. "Everything is changing in this world. There must be a substratum that is unchanging. We cannot think of a changing thing without thinking of something which is unchanging. Forms are finite. You cannot think of a finite object without thinking of something beyond." This has similarity to the argument for the existence of the infinite from the contingent nature of things. Further he adds: "There is beauty, intelligence, luminosity, law, order, harmony, in spite of apparent disorder and disharmony. There must be an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent being who governs and controls this vast universe" (Ibid. pp. 188-89). The world has the character of an effect, which is observable from the vicissitudes it constantly undergoes, and the effect always attempts to find rest in its cause. The human mind feels itself constrained to carry the causal argument to its logical limits and posit at one end of the series a cause of all things in the world of time, though it is itself outside all temporal events. Every visible cause has another higher cause which is more pervasive and enduring. God is the name we give to the highest cause. "In this world of phenomena, there is a cause for everything. The law of cause and effect operates. There is the cause, the father, for the effect which is the child. There is the cause, the seed, for the effect which is the tree. There is the cause, the potter, for the effect which is the pot." "You see this world. There must be a cause for this world, which is an effect. That causeless cause is God or the creator" (Ibid. p. 189).
Udayana, the great Naiyayika, offers the following orthodox proofs for the existence of God:
1. The world of perception is of the nature of an effect, and every effect must have a cause. We have to infer the cause of the world, as the world has a tendency to reduce itself to its elements. The composite parts get disintegrated and return to their causes, and the ultimate cause of all composite substances should be one that is above all effected things. And this cause must have a direct knowledge of the material causes of the world. Such an intelligent being must be God.
2. The conjunction of the causal elements into effects requires an intelligent operator. The combination of atoms into groups at the time of creation cannot but be the work of a purposive conscious being. The atoms do not combine pell-mell or at random. There is to be seen the hand of a wise organiser behind the systematic grouping of the ultimate atoms into dyads and molecules. That final organiser is God.
3. We observe that the things of the universe are well-supported; its parts, like the planets etc., are held together, so that they do not collapse. The holder of such different parts in balance, to constitute a system, must be God Himself, for nothing that is in the universe can support the universe.
4. The world is observed to dissolve itself into subtler causes. The dissolution of the effect into its cause means that there is a source into which the effect returns. The ultimate source of the universe, then, should be beyond the universe, and it is God.
5. No knowledge can come to us of the different things here, unless there is a source of this knowledge. The origin of all knowledge should be omniscient, and, consequently, omnipotent. Such a being is not to be seen in this universe, and so it must be outside it. This being is God.
6. The Vedas are held to be valid and authoritative from time immemorial. Such authoritativeness of the Vedas as true and valid knowledge cannot be without an author behind them, who ought to be an all-knower. This all-knower is God.
7. The Vedas cannot have any human author, because they deal with truths which no human being knows. Hence the author of the Vedas ought to be a superhuman being, and this being is God.
8. A sentence, as it is known to us in the world, has a composer who joins the words together and frames it. In like manner, the sentences of the Vedas consisting of words should have a composer, and he cannot be anyone else than God.
9. The size of a dyad or a molecule depends on the number of the atoms that go to constitute it. This requisite number of the atoms that go to form a particular compound could not have been originally the object of the perception of any human being; so its contemplator must be God.
The Naiyayikas also add that the fruit of an individual's actions does not always lie within the reach of the individual who is the agent. There ought to be, therefore, a dispenser of the fruits of actions, and this supreme dispenser is God.
The Yoga system of Patanjali considers God as the unsurpassed seed of omniscience. The possibility of the omniscience and the necessity to admit a source for it leads to the positing of a supreme Being who is unaffected by the changes characterised by affliction, action, fruition and the tendencies in keeping with such fruition. The knowledge which the different individuals are endowed with in this world is not of the same degree; there are grades in the manifestation of knowledge. There is an ascending degree of knowledge, power and happiness in accordance with the extent of the inclusiveness of the contents of knowledge. The greater the extent of the contents, the wider is the knowledge. The various degrees of knowledge in the world suggest a maximum ideal of knowledge, a state of omniscience which ought to be identified with eternal existence. Now this state of omniscience that is compatible with eternity cannot be found in any limited individual, for none here is seen to be all-wise. An omniscient being cannot be any individual, and he can be no other than God. God enjoys the highest perfection, being endowed with the greatest magnitude of knowledge and power. He alone can be omnipotent and be the Universal King.
The Nasadiya-Sukta of the Rig-Veda proclaims that at the beginning of things there was Tamas, darkness pervading everywhere, and in the midst of this universal darkness the Light of the One shone, all by itself. This glorious Intelligence is to be identified with the Self-born, Svayambhu, having no cause outside it. This Self-born emerged from the primordial Tamas, by means of its Tapas of untarnished knowledge, and projected this variegated world of individuals. "Darkness there was; in the beginning all this was a sea without light; the germ that lay covered by the husk, that One was born by the power of Tapas" (Rig-Veda, X. 129). The Rig-Veda extols the Hiranyagarbha as the first God of beings. "Hiranyagarbha was present in the beginning; when born, he was the sole lord of created beings; he upheld this earth and heaven,-to which God we offer worship with oblation. (To Him) who is the giver of soul-force, the giver of strength, who is contemplated by everything, whom even the gods obey, whose shadow is immortality as well as death,-to which God we offer worship with oblation" (X. 121). "With eyes everywhere, with faces everywhere, with hands everywhere, with feet everywhere, He traverses with His arms and with His swift-moving (feet), and exists as the One God, generating heaven and earth" (X. 81). "He who is our parent, the creator, the ordainer, who knows our abodes and all beings, who is the name-giver to the gods,-He is One; Him other beings come to inquire" (X. 82). The Purusha-Sukta refers to the great Lord as encompassing everything. "Thousand-headed was the Purusha, thousand-eyed and thousand-legged. He, covering the earth on all sides, stretched Himself beyond it by ten fingers' length. All this is the Purusha alone, whatever was and whatever shall be...... One-fourth of Him all beings are, three-fourth of Him is immortal in the heaven" (X. 90). The Absolute itself appears as Isvara. "From Him Virat was born, and from Virat, again, Purusha." Isvara is the body as well is the soul of the world.
Following this great theme of the Veda, Manu, at the commencement of his code of law, states: "In the beginning all this was covered over by darkness, unknowable, indefinable, unarguable, indeterminable; the universe appeared to be in a state of sleep, as it were. Then, the Self-originated Divine Being, Himself unmanifested, manifested this universe with its great elements etc., by tearing the veil of this darkness and revealing the forms of His creative energy. He, who is not to be beheld by the senses, who is subtle, the unmanifest, the everlasting, the unthinkable, the very embodiment of all beings,-He, of Himself, rose above this primordial darkness" (Manu-Smrit, I. 5-7). The Srimad Bhagavata records the spirit of this doctrine in the words of the Lord Himself- "I alone was in the beginning of things, the one beyond the manifest as well as the unmanifest, and there was nothing else. And I alone shall be at the end of things. I alone am all this that is manifest; and whatever remains other than this, that also is I Myself alone" (II. ix. 32). The Lord speaks in the Bhagavad Gita: "I am the Vedic rite, I the sacrifice, I the food offered to the manes, I am the herbs and the medicines, I am the sacred formula and the hymn; I am the clarified butter (offered in sacrifices); I am the consecrated fire, I the oblation. I am the Father of this world, the Mother, Supporter, the Grandfather; I am the object to be known, I the purifier (of all things), the syllable OM, and also the sacred lore of the Rik, the Sama and the Yajus; the Goal, the Sustainer, the Lord, the Witness, the Abode, the Refuge, the Friend, the Origin, the Dissolution, the Basis, the Storehouse, the Imperishable Seed. I give heat, I sent forth rain, and also withhold it; I am immortality and also death; I am being and also non-being, O Arjuna!" (IX. 16-19). Isvara is described in the Gita as having manifested Himself here as the all-destroying Time.
The Limitations Of Reason
The true nature of God and His creation cannot be intellectually comprehended, for logic is a proud child of the dualist prejudice. If God alone is all this world, the relation between Him and the world no mortal can hope to know. Man's idea of God is highly defective, for God, as man understands Him, is relative to the appearance of the world. God is a pure subject opposed to a world of creation set before Him as an object cannot be absolute; and if He is not thus opposed, He ceases to have any external relation to the world. If God is a universal consciousness having the universe as His object, He cannot be connected with it except by a spatio-temporal knowledge. Such a knowing process, however, is inadmissible in the case of God, for He is said to be untouched by the vitiating divisions of space and time. But without this division, God cannot be distinguished from the Absolute which will not brook any objectivation of itself. The gulf between the infinite Purusha of the Sankhya and the Prakriti which vies with the former in almost every respect is an instance of the defeat which the human intellect has to suffer when it attempts to visualise a reality which is non-mediately related to the universe and yet is not the same as the universe. The God who is in man's mind cannot be freed from the difficulty of having to melt down to undifferentiated being when His relation to the world is closely examined. Isvara's existence happens to be relative to the demands of His self-manifesting work. He is, as long as the universe is.
Further, we cannot say that God created the world at any period of time. If the creative act is not in time, it being the condition even of time, there would be no creation of a temporal world. Creation is a process, and all process is in time. There is no process that can be dovetailed with eternity. To cause anything, God may have to descend into time, and a descent into time is a descent into finitude, change and a veritable self-destruction. If God is to bear any relation to phenomena, He has to shed His eternal nature first. But somehow He creates and sustains the world without losing His eternality. This the human intellect cannot understand. The Absolute sports in the relative. The individuals of the world arise as appearances participating in a relative interdependence of existence and nature. If there is no child, there is no parent, too. Isvara becomes an object of the notion of the Jiva, and a subject with the world as a predicate attached to it.
The logical character of truth and reality attributed to Isvara does not look consistent with our ascribing to Him the ethical character of goodness, the aesthetic character of beauty and the religious character of grace, all which carry an individualistic purport. If Isvara is the all, such values turn to be different from what they mean to us here in this world. And why has Isvara created the world? It cannot be for His satisfaction, for He has no wish or desire to fulfil. It cannot be with a view to dispensing justice or showing mercy to others, for there are no others, as all beings are subsequent to the creative act. It cannot be a play of Isvara, for play is normally supposed to be the result of a need felt within to direct outside the excess of energy in the psycho-physical organism, to overcome fatigue or boredom, or to replenish the system with fresh energy after an exhausting work. Isvara can have no such needs, for He is not an individual organism. If Isvara is only a witness of the sports of Prakriti which moves and acts at the inspiration received from His mere existence, He would have a determining element outside Him, which would prevent Him from being an absolute monarch. Isvara is Brahman envisaged by our experiential conditions in relation to a world of change. The question of creation is restricted to the world of the senses and the intellect, and the answer to it cannot but be empirically bound. There cannot be a correct answer to an erroneous question. That the world is, is a belief of ours, and the whole problem of creation hinges on how we react to our environment as dismembered bodies in a cosmic society.
The futility of the logical methods in determining the nature of Isvara does not imply, however, that there is no Intelligence underlying the world and influencing it throughout. For a denial of such a being would entail a denial of the world, and, consequently, our own selves as individuals. Certain inherent defects in our faculties of knowing prevent us from comprehending transcendent truths in a proper manner. It does not follow that the invisible is always non-existent. If we are, the world is; and if the world is, Isvara also is. If Isvara is not, the world also is not; and we as individuals, too, cannot be. There is reciprocal dependence of the existence of these three principles always. Our concepts are relative; the absolutely real is only Brahman. But as long as we accept our own existence as diversified elements in a world, a sovereign being giving meaning to life cannot be doubted. Our own conscious powers within us urge us to accept that Isvara must be. The scriptures corroborate our inner spiritual aspirations and extol an Isvara who is the creator of this world. Swami Sivananda countenances the Lila theory of creation, not with a view to offering it as any final explanation of the world, but to bringing out the idea that the creative act of Isvara is free from any taint of selfishness or ulterior motive, and to suggest that it is beyond the purview of the human mind. It is the nature of Isvara to create, to manifest and unfold the world; there is no other reason for it that is humanly conceivable. To show that Isvara has no personal interest whatsoever, it is also added that He only helps creation, which is really a manifestation or expression of the dormant potencies of the individuals who, not being liberated at the end of the previous cycle, existed in a latent form during the dissolution of the universe after that cycle. Rain may help the growth of a plant, but the nature of the plant depends on the seed from which it grows. The sun may help the activities of the world, but he remains unaffected by the results of such activities.
The theory of the creation of the world by Isvara is not to be taken as any statement of ultimate fact, but is meant to serve as a working hypothesis introduced to bring out the idea of the non-difference of the world from Brahman. Srishti or creation, and Pravesa or the entrance of Isvara into the world in His immanence, are Arthavadas or eulogical concepts intended to bring home to the mind of man the fact of the secondlessness of Brahman and the total dependence of the world on Brahman. No explanation of the why or the how of creation, and no concept of Isvara as the supreme Ruler of the world, can be finally satisfactory, for such statements and concepts are based on a false faith in the individuality of the self and the variety of the world of experience. But they are serviceable as a modus operandi in directing the individual from his ignorant prejudices of a bodily existence to the splendour of the Absolute. Isvara is sometimes said to be supreme Self-consciousness. But the Self-conscious Brahman would require something as an other-than-itself, at least space, to make such a condition possible. Brahman does not stand in need of knowing itself either as a subject or an object. But it has somehow to be related to the world. The result is Isvara. How such a relation is possible, the intellect is not fortunate enough to know. It calls this mystery 'Maya'.
The Inner Ruler And Controller
The nature of Isvara as portrayed by Swami Sivananda in his Philosophy and Teachings (pp. 107-12) can be presented as follows: If we look at reality from the practical point of view or Vyavaharika-Drishti, Isvara may be regarded as the cause, the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world, and therefore as an omnipotent and omniscient being. Reality here appears to be possessed of all qualities, is conceived to be Saguna, and in this aspect it is called Isvara. Swami Sivananda does not appear to make in his writings the usual technical distinction between Saguna Brahman and Isvara, as emphasised in certain texts of the Vedanta. Isvara becomes the object of the adoration of pious devotees. He is endowed with all the good and glorious attributes that one can think of as raised to the degree of infinity. The Saguna-Brahman and the Nirguna-Brahman are not two Brahmans, but one and the same reality looked at from two different standpoints, the lower or the Vyavaharika and the higher or the Paramarthika. Isvara is Sarvajna or all-knowing, and is the source of all powers. He is the Soul of all Nature, the animating breath of all beings. He is the cause from which appears the origin, the sustenance and the dissolution of the world. Brahman conceived as Cause is Isvara. He is above all evils and is the immanent Spirit or the Antaryamin pervading, maintaining and vibrating the whole universe as its very Self.
The Nirguna-Brahman is not the antithesis of Sarguna-Brahman, but is the essence of the latter. Saguna-Brahman or Isvara is the material cause as well is the efficient cause of all things, associated differently with Tamas and Sattva. Brahman does not change itself into the universe, but the latter emerges from Isvara and exists in Him. Isvara becomes the Cause through His inscrutable power of self-expression. It is the principle of cosmic appearance that hides the real and manifests the unreal. By means of it Isvaratva is falsely superimposed on Brahman. But this superimposition is real to the Jivas, and so Isvara also is real to them. As the Jiva understands Him, Isvara is unproduced, has no cause, and is no effect. He Himself is the first Cause without any other origin. The Nirguna-Brahman becomes a personal God when it is viewed from the point of view of the universe. Isvara is consciousness defined by Maya (Maya-Visishtha-Chaitanya). Referring to the Antaryami-Brahmana of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Swami Sivananda writes: "The Internal Ruler must be Brahman or the Supreme Self. Why so? Because His qualities are mentioned in the passage under discussion. Brahman is the cause of all created things. Universal Rulership is an appropriate attribute of the Supreme Self only. Omnipotence, Selfhood, immortality, etc. can be ascribed only to Brahman. The passage, 'He whom the earth does not know', etc., shows that the Inner Ruler is not known by the earth-deity. Therefore, it is obvious that the Inner Ruler is different from that deity. The attributes 'unseen,' 'unheard,' etc., also, refer to the Supreme Self only, which destitute of shape and other sensible qualities. He is also is described in the section as being all-pervading, as He is inside and is the Ruler within of everything, viz., the earth, the sun, water, fire, sky, ether, the senses, etc. This also can be true only of the highest Self or Brahman. For all the reasons, the Inner Ruler is no other than the Supreme Self or Brahman" (Brahmasutras, Vol. I, p. 110). Here the Supreme Self or Brahman refers to the Absolute regarded as the Lord of the universe,-Isvara.
"God is Truth. God is Love. God is the Light of lights. God is Knowledge. God is the embodiment of Bliss. God is Eternity. God is Immortality. God is Infinity." "That secondless Supreme Being, who resides in the chambers of your heart as the Inner Ruler or Controller, who has no beginning, middle or end, is God or Atman, or Brahman or Purusha or Chaitanya or Bhagavan or Purushottama." "Nitya-Sukha (eternal bliss), Parama-Santi (supreme peace), Nitya-Tripti (eternal satisfaction), Akhanda-Sukha (unbroken joy), and infinite happiness can be had only in God." "Srishti (creation), Sthiti (preservation), Samhara (destruction), Tirodhana (veiling) and Anugraha (blessing) are the five kinds of action (Pancha-kriya) of God." "Bhagavan is a term synonymous with God. He who has the six attributes of Jnana (wisdom), Vairagya (dispassion), Yasas (fame), Aisvarya (divine powers), Sri (wealth) and Dharma (righteousness) in their fullest measure, is Bhagavan." "Sarvajnatva (omniscience), Sarvesvaratva (supreme rulership), Sarvantaryamitva (inner control over all), Sarvakaranatva (causality in the creation, preservation and destruction of everything), Sarvaniyantritva (ability to bring restraint over all), Sarvakartritva (makership of all things), Sarvasaktimattva (omnipotence), Svatantratva (absolute independence) are the seven attributes of God" (Mind and Its Mysteries, pp. 163-64). Isvara does not occupy any region of space, for there is no Loka or world for Isvara. Siva has Kailasaloka, Brahma has Brahmaloka and Vishnu has Vaikunthaloka. But Isvara, Hiranyagarbha and Virat, as manifestations of Brahman, transcend all planes of existence, while including everything within them.
The apparent differences that we observe in the world among the ways in which the individuals are made to experience pleasure and pain are not to be attributed to Isvara as their Inner Ruler but to the Karmas of the individuals themselves. Injustice and cruelty cannot at any time be imputed to the universal Lord, who is the same to all beings. God, in the process of the dispensation of justice, takes into consideration the nature of the actions done by the different individuals in their previous births. The circumstances in which God places individuals are suited to the nature of their deserts. God is not, strictly speaking, any arbitrary creator of the world but the primary principle responsible and necessary for the expression of an environment fitted to the manner in which the Karmas of the individuals have to fructify themselves in various ways. The life of an individual is determined, therefore, not by any caprice on the part of Isvara, but by its past deeds,-good, bad or mixed. The question of a first creation of the world by Isvara, where no individuals could have existed to account for the nature of the world to be manifested, cannot arise, for there is no such thing as first creation. The factor of time cannot be set prior to creation. Creation is just an appearance, and when objectively viewed, it can have neither a beginning nor an end. Creation, when it is correctly understood, is not a temporal act or a fiat of the will of any person, but an interrelated appearance in which the observer or the questioner has no right to consider all things except himself as an object to be known and himself as a subject of knowledge. This is the defect of all scientific methods of approach. Empirically viewed, every form of existence has a previous existence, so that manifestation is beginningless. Such an infinite regress is inevitable when the temporal intellect attempts to comprehend Eternity. How appearance is related to reality, the logical intellect cannot know; and when it tries to know that, it is landed in fallacies and absurdities.
The work of creation by Isvara is to be considered His supreme Yoga. His acts receive their significance not through any outward implement but by the self-manifestation of Himself by the immense powers that He possesses. Isvara does not need any instrument to project this universe, for it is in Himself. His Tapas or creative contemplation consists in the concentration of His omniscience, and His power is identical with His knowing and being. Though the limitations of the intellect compel us to conceive of Isvara as a personal God, he should not be compared to the human personality in any way. It is because one cannot say that Isvara creates the world by any outward compulsion or necessity that most philosophers are obliged to view creation as a Lila or sport. Even the Karmas of individuals cannot be any compelling factor forcing Isvara to create the world. His existence is a wonder, His ways are a mystery. Isvara has no desires, but without His primal wish the world cannot be explained. This wish, again, is not directed to the achievement of any purpose that is expected to bring Him personal satisfaction, for a cosmic being can have no motive, whatsoever. No sense of incompleteness on the part of Isvara can be said to be the cause of the rise of His Will to create. Creation is His nature. God Himself is the universe.
Isvara possesses an innate intuition which grasps all things at once. He can have no prejudices, no presuppositions, no attachments and no aversions, for He has nothing outside Himself. Isvara, in the beginning, sends forth His humanly indeterminable Will to create, in order to provide a field for the working out of the unfructified Karmas of unliberated individuals, who, during the previous dissolution of the universe, were withdrawn into the primordial condition of Prakriti. The Will of Isvara to manifest phenomena sets the whole existence in vibration, and the unfulfilled potencies of the Karmas of individuals are set in motion, and these activated potencies attract towards their centres particles of matter that gravitate to form bodies in the manner required by each group of potencies. These bodies are the Bhogayatanas, receptacles for the enjoyment of pleasure and pain. One's body, senses, vital energy, mind, intellect, pleasure, pain, etc., are all determined by these forces of Karma. Isvara is the cosmic Director of this whole scheme; without His energy and will, no motion whatsoever is possible. Primary creation is the work of Isvara, and it begins with the rise of His Will and ends with the act of His entering into the bodies of all beings and animating their minds and intellects. There is also a secondary creation which is carried on by the individual, after the work of Isvara becomes complete, and this consists in the activity of experiencing the diverse conditions determining the states of waking, dream, sleep and the attainment of final liberation. In Isvara's creation there is freedom, while bondage is always implied in the projection of the individual.
In his Jnana-Yoga, Swami Sivananda confirms the following view: The primitive principle of appearance, which is essentially one, is called Maya when we take into account the predominance of its projecting power, and is called Avidya when we take into consideration the predominance of its enveloping power. Thus the objective principle, of which the projecting power is superior to the concealing power, is the limiting condition of Isvara; and the same principle with its concealing power predominant is the limiting condition of the Jiva (the individual). The Avidya which forms the limiting adjunct of the Jiva is otherwise called Ajnana. That the projecting power is predominant in Isvara follows from His being the creator of this great universe. He is always conscious of His free state, and hence is untouched by the concealing power. The Jiva, on the contrary, labours under the ignorance of its true nature, owing to the predominance of the concealing power and the absence of the projecting power, and feels incompetent to create the universe, as Isvara does (p. 98). Here the projecting power referred to is the cosmic power of Isvara and not the individualistic force of distraction which makes one perceive diversity of things. When the Jiva sheds its cramping individuality, it finds itself in an experience of the majestic Unity of beings.
The World Of Science
Sri Swami Krishnananda
The effect, in the end, of the process of knowledge which posits an external world, is, that, for all practical purposes, the world and the individual are independent entities, a position that is affirmed by sense-perception and corroborated by a judgment of the mind. To live in a world which is not vitally connected with oneself may involve a curious moment-to-moment adjustment to suit the moods and the vagaries of the world, which has its seasons, its winds and storms, its rains and droughts, its quakes and tornadoes rising from the sea which covers the whole earth as a belt, and several other inscrutable behaviours of Nature, with which the individual has to put up, somehow. The insecurity consequent upon having to live in a world standing outside the knowledge and capacity of the individual keeps everyone restless, wonderstruck and curious as to how the physical world behaves in the manner it does. What is it that motivates the changes in Nature, the precise movements of the solar and stellar systems, the wide galaxies and the endless space with an endless time attached to it? Here comes the effort of the individual to make a scientifically calculated study of Nature and its ways.
Commonsense has it that the world is just a large mass of earth-stuff with water, air and heat as well as light coming from the sun. Originally, it was thought that the earth was flat and the sun moved round it in a circular fashion. If the earth had been really flat like a pancake, the rise of the sun at one end of the world would have illumined the entire world in one instant. But, the sun does not illumine the earth that way. The fact that the mornings and the noons and the evenings of some part of the world need not be such to certain other parts of the world, would be enough to tell us that the earth is perhaps round in its shape and is not flat. Ancient astronomers in India like Aryabhata and Copernicus in the West maintained that the sun does not go round the earth, but that it is the earth that goes round the sun. Indications to this effect can be found even in the mass of literature known as the Vedas with their Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.
Even advanced scientists like Newton held the view that space is like a vast receptacle in which the entire material world is contained, with no living connection between the content and the container. Objects in the world were considered to attract each other with a pull known as gravitation with reference to their mass and distance. It took a long time to discover through the further history of science that the material world is not just contained in space as in a cup but there is an inseparable relation between matter on one hand and space and time on the other. It was observed that space and the world of earth, water, fire and air are internally related and the whole thing constitutes an endless electromagnetic force, as it were, with more or less pressure in different parts of this field which has its undulations like waves, causing concentration of substance in different areas, gradually concretising itself as gas, heat, liquid and solid. We may notice here, perhaps, the first step in the world of science to visualise a universal continuum, man himself not standing outside it but included in it, thus the entire Nature being a self-contained whole.
Also, matter was originally said to be constituted of minute particles called molecules which are chemical in their nature, differing from one another because of their chemical composition. Researchers held that the molecules are made up of a minuter body of stuff called atoms, which, in turn, were noticed to be tiny centres of force rather than things in themselves, gyrating with velocity, with a nucleus within and wavelike particles moving around, known as electrons. The solar system with the sun in the centre and the planets revolving round the sun can be compared to the structure of the atom, wherein the sun would be the nucleus of this larger 'atom' of the solar system and the planets would be in the position of electrons, thereby indicating, again, that even the bodies of planets may not be the large bundles of heavy material as they appear to ordinary perception, but are immensely large packets of force concentrated in varying extensions of the pressure of force. This sub-atomic substance became the object of more and more concentrated investigations as to its true nature. The quantum theory of physics proclaimed that matter is a series of wave patterns or particles of light which behave like waves, and matter is convertible into light and energy. It may be that light and energy, too, can be converted into matter as it seems to have happened when gases became liquids and liquids became solid substances with heat involved in the process of motion and friction. The world stood before the scientist as a gigantic miracle of power and radiance, rather than as a stuff looking like dead matter and unintelligent crudity.
It is the Theory of Relativity that actually shook the world of science from its very roots, which, while it accepted that matter and energy are interconvertible (E = mc2), rose up to the necessity to investigate the very structure of Space and Time in its relation to Gravitation. The Relativity position is difficult to explain in a few words, but suffice it to say that it discovered that Space is not like a sheet spread out in a three-dimensional fashion, and Time is not just linear motion. Space and Time go together to constitute what may be called Space-Time and form a four-dimensional continuum, very uncomfortably breaking down all the rules, laws and regulations of the three-dimensional world of common perception. Even the Space-Time continuum should not be regarded as a substance somewhat like a tangible something. Rather, the Space-Time of Relativity is a conceptual field of mathematical point-events, reducing staggeringly the whole world to the nature of a universal mind-stuff. "The stuff of the world is consciousness," said Arthur Eddington, and "God is a cosmic mathematical Thought," said James Jeans. We have gone too far from the rural conception of a farmer's field of harvest and plantation to the field of universal relativity, which looks more like God thinking His own Thought, rather than anything else, if we could be permitted to employ this phrase which we cannot avoid one day or the other.
The interconnectedness of phenomena in the so-called events of the world taking place not in Space or in Time, but in a four-dimensional Space-Time continuum, was taken up with its more advanced implications for consideration by Alfred North Whitehead. In his philosophy of the 'Organism', Whitehead arrived at the conclusion that there are no set causes producing set effects, but anything can be an effect or a cause in a symmetrical manner of action and reaction, since the world as it is discovered by the Theory of Relativity is an organism with its parts integrally related to it. Cause and effect are continuous, the absence of which continuity would sever any possible relation between cause and effect. Things in the world are called 'actual occasions', the potential concentrated points of force whose very existence as well as structure are conditioned by the existence and structure of other 'actual occasions' which fill the cosmos as its constituents. The world is not a solid substance but is more like a field of law and order, an idea of total inclusiveness, a system of internal give-and-take policy obtaining among the individualities known as 'actual occasions', transforming the location of individuals into a fluid movement of a liquefied connection, as it were, with everything else also in the world. Super-individual intentions, known as 'eternal objects', in the language of Whitehead, like the 'Ideas' of Plato, 'ingress' into the body of the 'actual occasions' and make them appear to be what they are. Even the God of religion, according to Whitehead, exists as a determining factor of the determination of 'actual occasions' by the 'eternal objects', and He Himself stands, therefore, determined in a way by the prehensive and apprehensive activities of the 'actual occasions', thus bringing about a mutual action and reaction process between God and the individuals. The far-reaching thought of Whitehead would not forbid the conclusion that God has, at the same time, to be transcendent to the world of the 'actual occasions', though they are there just because He Himself is.
The specially religious import of modern physical science is highlighted also in the system of Samuel Alexander, which he purports to explain in his book entitled "Space, Time and Deity". According to Alexander, Space-Time is the matrix of all things, the very substance of the universe, a clue that he gathers from the Theory of Relativity. The Space-Time matrix causes motion and force, and brings about the three-dimensional picture of what are known as primary qualities, like length, breadth and height, substance, volume and content. The perception of these primary qualities happens to be through the secondary qualities arising as a sort of action-reaction process obtaining between the object of perception, namely, a primary quality, and the perceiving mind. To cite an instance, a leaf looks green in colour not because there is such a thing called greenness in Nature itself, but because of an abstraction of properties automatically taking place in the internal structure of the leaf excluding all other characteristics in Nature apart from what looks like green. So is the case with other colours and forms of objects. Sensations of every kind form, again, a set of secondary qualities, that is to say, no one can know what the world is in itself as a set of primary qualities. Mind, intellect and reason are the further manifestations or evolutes of the Space-Time continuum or matrix, which point to the manifestation of a controlling principle called Deity, and every succeeding stage can be regarded as a Deity to the preceding stage. According to Alexander, the final Deity is yet to be manifested completely, which, when achieved, will be the end of the cosmic process. Perhaps, here, Alexander intends to say, which he actually does not, that the end of the cosmic process of evolution is the attainment of God. Also, a God who is yet to be will not have the character of eternity, and God, then, would cease to be God.
Religion And Science (I)
Sri Swami Sivananda
Yoga and Science are inseparable. Science and Religion are inseparable. Science is part of Religion. Science and Religion are necessary correlatives. Scientists are also monists in one sense. They also emphatically declare that there is only one thing viz., Matter or Energy. A Yogi tries to control the mental forces,a scientist the physical forces. This is all the difference between a Yogi and a scientist. A scientist is also an unconscious Raja-Yogi, but his mind works in external grooves.
Before the invention of watch, Yogius used to calculate time by measuring the shadow in day and by the study of the movement of the stars in the heavens at night. They were perfectly exact in their calculations. Astronomy and medicine received their first impulse from the exigencies of religious worship. Yogins have a sound practical knowledge of Ayurveda. One who endeavours to qualify himself as his own doctor can become a Yogi. He has to live sometimes in the jungles and has to treat himself first, whenever diseases manifest. Otherwise his Sadhana will suffer and he cannot have rapid progress in Yoga. You will find in the books on Ayurveda: "A healthy body is a good instrument for doing virtuous actions and practising Yoga." Those who wrote these Ayurvedic books were great Rishis and Yogins.
Science is partially unified knowledge. A scientist observes the laws of Nature, experiements in his laboratory, investigates, infers and draws exact conclusions from his observations. He understands Nature. But he knows nothing of the origin or destiny of Nature! Who made the sun and gave power to its rays? Who combined four parts of nitrogen with one part of oxygen? Who gave power to electrons? Who gave power to atoms to combine into molecules? Who or what made and bestowed upon the ultimate particles of matter their marvellous power of varied interaction? Science does not know this great mystery. On the contrary, Yoga is completely unified knowledge. A Yogi gets inner divine realisation. He clearly sees with his inner Yogic eyes the subtle rudiments of matter. He identifies himself with the Supreme Being who is the Lord of the Prakriti (matter). He gets control over the five elements. He clearly understands the whole mystery of creation through direct intuitional knowledge. The scientist lacks this sort of knowledge. He has only experimental knowledge.
In the matter of evidence in psychological question, the sense-perceptions with which science naturally deals are only second-rate criteria and therefore to be received with caution. The closing of the external channels of sensation is usually the signal for the opening of the psychic, and from all evidence it would seem that the psychic sense is more extensive, acute and in every way more dependable than the physical.
The business of science is generalisation of phenomena; it is the function of philosophy and Yoga to explain. Religion is the practical aspect of philosophy. Philosophy is the rational aspect of religion. The scientist tries to answer the "How" of the problem; the philosopher and the Yogi the "Why" of it. It is a mistake to say that such and such an event occurs because of certain laws of Nature. The laws of Nature do not give any real explanation of the phenomena. It is simply a statement in terms as general as possible of what happens under given circumstances in his expression of an observed order or uniformity in a natural phenomena. Science is concerned only with the phenomena. It shows a marvellous harmony of Nature. But it is the problem of philosophy and Yoga to solve the "Why" of Nature's harmony. Scientists possess partial knowledge of the universe. They have not understood the whole code of Nature's laws. They have no knowledge of the occult side of things. They have no knowledge of the astral, mental and higher planes such as Brahma-Loka (world of Brahma). The unseen world is of far greater importance than the sense-universe which is visible to the naked eye. A fully developed Yogi can function in all the planes and so he has full knowledge of the manifested and unmanifested Nature. The senses by which you get knowledge of the external objects are not fully developed. Therefore the knowledge obtained is partial. The external senses are exact counterparts of the internal astral senses. Scientists have no knowledge of the subtle rudiments of matter. Life will become fuller and richer, when one develops this inner eye-sight by the practice of Yoga. Just as blood, when seen under the microscope, reveals many mysterious things such as leucocytes, lymphocytes, nuclei, pigment, germs, bacilli, etc., so also the inner Yogic eye reveals many mysteries of the hidden side of things. The knowledge of the scientists is only fragmentary or partial whereas the knowledge of the Yogi is full and perfect.
Science differs radically in its outlook from philosophical musings. Consequently the mode of approach to its specific problems is different from that of philosophy. Yet there is some similarity in their findings, when some broad questions are discussed.
Scientists have to learn many things from the Seers of the East. Who gave power to the electrons to revolve? Who gave life to the cell or the protoplasm? What is that power that unites atoms to form molecules? Who gave intelligence to the cells to secrete milk or bile or gastric juice from the blood? Scientists are still observing and experimenting. They are still groping in darkness. What is the cause of the origin of an impulse? Who is the director of the mind? What is the cause of the origin of thought? Even if all the living scientists were to put their heads together to solve these questions, they cannot give definite conclusive answers.
English-educated people are unduly carried away by scientific theories and discoveries. Anything, however stupid it may be, when stamped by the seal of science, is regarded as gospel of truth. A theory or doctrine, however fallacious it may be, is accepted as true wisdom for all ages, when it is proclaimed in the name and on the authority of science. Even if some fantastic and ludicrous statements are made with the stamp of science by a Haeckel, Einstein or Tyndel, people are quite ready to swallow it with great avidity. Such is the fashion of the day! They reject as base superstition the sublime teachings of the ancient Rishis and Sages. The brains of these so-called educated and cultured people need a prompt, drastic and thorough flushing for a protracted length of time. The poison has percolated into their very cells and tissues.
But I do not mean to condemn the wonderful discoveries and inventions that modern science has contributed to the vast store of knowledge and happiness which the present generation enjoys today. The radio, the aeroplane, the microphone and other marvels of science are bound to baffle human intelligence. Scientists have found ways to fertilize an ovum with chemicals, without the help of semen. It is stupendous success. Some children are also born. They inject the semen that is obtained from renowned and cultured men of the world in order to improve the race. They are attempting to fix a radio in a match-stick. They are trying to get the necessary nutrition to the body by pressing an electric button, so that eating and defecation may be entirely abandoned. They are endeavouring to make the streets move so that there will be no necessity for motor-cars and carriages. They are trying to establish means of communication with the planet Mars. They may succeed in all their attempts. May God bless them with roaring success in all their undertakings! But the question is: Can all these comforts and scientific discoveries and inventions give immortality, eternal satisfaction and everlasting peace? Have these material comforts enhanced human happiness? Is not man more restless today than ever before? Is he not more dissatisfied and discontented despite all these comforts? Life has become more complex and intricate. Luxuries are increasing day by day. Even a rich man finds it difficult to make both ends meet. There is only one remedy for all these ills. You will have to abandon all luxuries and go back to simple natural living, if you want to enjoy real and lasting happiness. Immortality can be attained by realising the Self through simple living, practice of Yoga, self-control, mental discipline and meditation.
Matter exists in different conditions or states viz., solid, liquid and gaseous. The conditions may be made to change by variation of pressure and temperature. Water is turned into ice at a low temperature and steam at a higher temperature. Every solid may become a liquid or gas under suitable conditions; every liquid may be rendered solid or gaseous; every gas may be made liquid or solid. One form of energy can be also transmuted into another form of energy. Heat can be transmuted into light and light into electricity. Even so, seminal energy or muscular energy, anger, etc., can be transmuted into spiritual energy (Ojas-Shakti).
There is life in the mineral kingdom. This has been conclusively proved by the experiments of Prof. Von Schron at Naples. Even the elements manifest distinct preference. One element has a strong liking for the company of another. One element may even give up the company of one substance in order to join another element. This is chemical affinity. Every chemist fully knows this well. Hydrogen likes the company of oxygen. Two molecules of hydrogen combine with one molecule of oxygen. Water is formed. If you place sodium in the water, you will notice that oxygen likes sodium better than hydrogen and immediately abandons the company of hydrogen and joins sodium.
Likes and dislikes are more markedly present in the vegetable kingdom,than in the mineral. Many plants exhibit a remarkable degree of ingenuity in accomplishing their ends.
You should not think that the different planes or realms are lying one above another like the trunks in a shop. The different planes fill up the same space and interpenetrate one another like the light of a hurricane lamp, electric light, gas lamp and an ordinary kerosene chimney in a room. Matter has different degrees of density and different planes are constituted according to the different degrees of density of matter. These different planes are not separated in space. You are surrounded by these planes. You can be in touch with these planes, if you develop the inner astral eye or the clairvoyant sight. It is not necessary for you to travel in space to study the condition of these planes. Within the space of the room you have the seven planes interpenetrating each other. The beings of a higher plane cannot be seen by the beings of a lower plane. But a being of the higher plane can see the beings of the lower plane.
According to the theory of Relativity some scientists believe that the world will expand after some years and man of future generations will be seven inches tall only, because matter will have to accommodate now to the increased size of the universe. Some matter is taken out of the bodies of human beings and distributed elsewhere to adjust the state of affairs. This is only a speculation and guesswork of some adventurous scientists. It may not happen at all. So you need not be afraid in the least. Be bold and cheerful. Try to get liberation in this very birth so that there will not be any chance for you to get a tiny body of the size mentioned above even if such an event were to occur. One question strikes me very prominently: Can there be the police department then? Can there be military and naval forces and world-wars? How can a tiny man wield a machine gun? So there will be no world-wars. There will be perfect peace everywhere. Scientists will also have to close down their laboratories. No more inventions and discoveries. No more radios and aeroplanes. No more dictators and tyrants. No more Hitlers and Mussolinis. But Yogins there will always be. Yogins can maintain their usual size. They can even expand their bodies ad infinitum through their Mahima Siddhi. They can change their atoms and molecules and rearrange them. They can create new minds, new bodies by their Yogic powers. Even during the Cosmic Deluge they can live. Yogi Kaka Bhusunda lived during many deluges. The position of Yogins is always safe. Yoga is the Supreme Divine Science. It is the Science of sciences. There will be more peace through simple living. Let us pray to have that new happy era soon.
God is the greatest Mathematician. All scientists and astronomers are stunned. They bow down their heads and say: "We cannot proceed further. There is something beyond intellect. Our knowledge is imperfect. The riddle of the universe can be solved only by knowledge of the Greatest Mathematician through intuition. The intellect is a frail and finite instrument. The deductions from various theories have not given us perfect illumination. We are still groping in darkness. We are open to correction. Salutations and adoptions to that Greatest Mathematician! Salutations to the Lord of the Universe! May He soon open our inner eyes of intuition!"
He who dwells within this electron or atom, who is within this electron or atom, whose body this electron or atom is, whom this electron or atom does not know, who rules the electron or atom from within is thy Self, Inner Ruler, Immortal. It is this Science of Yoga that can help man to unfold his latent divinity and realise his inner Self, the basis or source of this world, body, mind, electron, atom and all sciences. Let us all pray to the Lord of the Universe and practise Yoga in right earnest and commune with the Lord and obtain Immortality, Supreme Peace and Infinite Bliss!
Om Peace! Peace! Peace!
Religion And Science (II)
Sri Swami Sivananda
Some scientists, and some so-called educated persons, believe that science can explain everything and can solve the riddle of the universe and all problems of life. They also think that the scientific method is the only method of finding out the truth, and that the scientific training and discipline alone can very efficiently build the character of man. They have ignored ethical discipline, morality and religion altogether, and given religion an inferior position.
One scientist came to me and said: "The Upanishads and the Brahma-Sutras have not been written scientifically. I am trying to give a scientific approach to this vital subject. "I laughed and said : "My dear scientist-friend! The Upanishads are revelations. Brahma-vidya is transcendental. The Atman is transcendental. You cannot take your test-tubes and spirit lamps near Him. The scientists' conclusions cannot approach His region. Their observations are one-sided, as they concern the waking state alone. Their experiences are relative experiences." The scientist kept quiet, put down his head in shame, and walked away quietly.
Three blind people touched the different parts of an elephant. One touched the foot, and said: "The elephant is like a pillar". Another touched the ear, and said: "The elephant is like a fan". A third touched the belly, and said: "The elephant is like a pot". Even so, a scientist explores the physical plane, and speaks of atom, energy, and physical laws. He is also like a blind man. He has knowledge of one dimension alone. He has ignored the dreaming and deep sleep states. He has no all-comprehensive knowledge. A Vedantin alone has full knowledge of everything.
The Ease-Loving Nature Of Man
As life has been made physically comfortable and comparatively effortless by modern inventions, the ease-loving man is prone to disregard the place of religion in his life and exalt the values of materialistic civilization. But events have always disclosed the unreliability of the purely objective views and methods of physical science, the experience of man that he is not really happier, and the world is not in fact better, even after his arduous attempts at extracting out of external nature its latent resources in order to utilize them for his own purposes. Where is satisfaction, where is happiness, and where is peace then question
Some wise scientists are fully conscious now of the limitations of science, and of its methods, in the investigation of phenomena in planes of subtler states of matter. The reality of the spiritual world is closed book to them. They are equally conscious of the limitations of science in the regeneration of unregenerate human nature, and in the attainment of the Supreme Good or Eternal Bliss, the summum bonum of life.
What Has Science Done To Us?
Can scientific inventions make us really happy ? That is the question of questions now. What has science done to us?
Science has now removed time and space. You can go to London even within ten hours (from India). What a great marvel ! This earth has become very, very small. But, has science really contributed to human happiness ? The answer is an emphatic no, no. It has multiplied human wants and luxuries. A luxury of today becomes a necessity of tomorrow. It has made man a beggar.
Science has invented many marvellous things. Scientists are labouring day and night in their laboratories to invent many more things. But, science has made life very complex, and rendered very keen the struggle for existence. It has increased the restlessness of the mind. It has not contributed to the peace of man. Everybody admits this solid fact. The scientists have made tremendous progress in the twentieth century. The atomic bombs can devastate a large country in the twinkling of an eye. Radios, telephones, telepathy, television, aeroplanes without pilots, mines, tanks, pocket radios, bombs in fountain-pens and cigarettes, underground palaces, shafts, V-bombs, fighters, bombers, anti-aircraft guns, gas bombs, torpedoes, submarines are all astounding marvels. But, the scientists have not improved the ethical condition of the people. They have not solved the problem of unemployment, poverty, war, starvation, disunity among communities, nations, and governments.
Science has analyzed man. He is supposed to be a creature composed of various physical and chemical substances. Yet, no scientist has yet been able to assemble these constituent chemical elements of a man's body into one homogeneous creature which lives, talks, and acts like a man.
The scientist bombards the atoms, watches the movement of the electrons in his laboratory, spends his whole life in understanding the nature and secret of matter and energy, invents many things, studies the laws of nature; and yet, he is not able to comprehend the mystery of creation and of the Creator, and the meaning of life.
Science Is Defective
Scientists are very, very busy in studying the external world. They have entirely forgotten to study the internal world. Science gives you knowledge only of the phenomenal appearances, and not of the Reality behind them. Science has not been able to solve the ultimate questions: What is the ultimate stuff of the world? Who am I? What is the ultimate truth?
Science tells us that the ultimate goal of everything is unknown, and unknowable. But, Vedanta teaches that the ultimate goal is Brahman or the Infinite, and that It can be realised through hearing, reflection and meditation. The knowledge of the scientist is limited. It is only superficial. It is not real knowledge of the Truth. Scientists are immersed in transitory phenomena. They rely on external instruments, lenses, etc., for their knowledge. Their old theories are exploded by new theories. Their knowledge is not as infallible and true as the knowledge of the Self of the sages and Yogins.
Matter And Spirit
Science has got its limitations. Science does not have an instrument by which they could just collect the supersensual or spiritual data, or those divine facts which exist in a subtle form but which we cannot see. True experiences include the experiences of the three states, namely, the waking, dream and deep sleep states. The Vedantin studies the three states. He gains more real knowledge from deep sleep state. He gets a clue for the existence of the fourth state or the state of Turiya from the deep sleep state.
The soul is beyond the realm of physical science. The soul is beyond the reach of material science. Man is a soul, wearing the physical body. The soul is extremely subtle. It is subtler than ether, mind and energy. Consciousness and intelligence are of the soul, and not of the body. Consciousness is evidence of the existence of the soul. The soul is the immortal part of man.
Science is a systematic study of facts. It tries to reduce observations or observed facts into a system. In order that the fact may be valid for science, it must be perceptible to the senses. Sensing is false knowledge. Intuition is right knowledge. Intuitive knowledge alone is the highest knowledge. It is imperishable, infinite knowledge of Truth.
A scientist is an extrovert. He bombards the atoms. He cannot find Pure Consciousness there. He will have to withdraw the senses and rest in his own Inner Self. He must dive deep into the ocean of Brahmic Consciousness.
Science And Religion
Science is not the enemy of religion, but a preparation for it. Science is an enemy of superstition alone. Both religion and science are engaged in the search for Truth. Their attitudes are essentially the same. But the fields of applications vary. Raja-Yoga is an exact science. Its methods are very scientific. A scientist is an external Raja Yogi. Hindu Rishis,seers and sages have recognized the harmonious relation between religion and science. The divorce of science from religion is the cause of confusion and conflict. Science is religion as applied to the investigation of Truth in the finite nature outside-the object. Religion is science as applied to the realisation of the Infinite, the Bhuma, the Truth that underlies all objects-the Subject.
Science interprets on the phenomenal plane the One as energy. Religion interprets the One as the Self, "the Atman". Science analyzes, classifies and explains phenomena. But Brahma-vidya teaches you to transcend phenomena and attain immortality.
The scientific and the religious approaches to Truth are really complementary, and not contradictory. Religion and science are the twin-brothers. They should help mutually and harmoniously to search Truth and live the life of Truth here.
Science has to do with facts; religion with values. Where science ends, religion begins. A close study of the observations and revelations of science brings a man nearer to God. Who gave power to electrons? What is at the bottom of these electrons? What is that power that has combined four parts of nitrogen and one part of oxygen? Who has framed the laws of nature? Nature is blind. What is that intelligence that moves nature? Who is the primum mobile? A study of the physical forces and the physical laws, an understanding of the mental forces and the mental laws, are not sufficient to make us perfect. We should have a thorough knowledge and realisation of the substratum that lies hidden behind these names and forms and all physical and mental phenomena. Then only we will become perfect masters or full-blown adepts or Arhatas or Buddhas.
Mind and intellect are finite instruments. They cannot realise the infinite Reality. But, they are a means. When the intellect has passed through the various stages of reasoning, and when it has been completely purified, then revelation dawns. True religion begins where the intellect ends.
Let it not be thought that religion is dogmatic, other-worldly, a pet tradition of blind believers or irrational emotionalists. Religion is the most rational science, the science of life itself, the science of man as he essentially is, not merely as he presumes himself to be. The basis for all the secular sciences is Brahma-vidya or the Adhyatmic science. Brahma-vidya is the foremost among all sciences, because by it one attains immortality. Secular experiences are partial, while spiritual experiences is the experience-whole. If you know this supreme science of Brahma-vidya through direct intuition, you will have knowledge of all other worldly sciences; just as you will have knowledge of all articles made of clay, if you have knowledge of clay itself. You cannot learn this Science of sciences in any university. You will have to learn this from a Brahma-srotri, Brahma-Nishtha Guru, after controlling your senses and the mind.
Matter cannot be totally ignored; but, matter should be subordinated to spirit. Science should be subordinate to Brahma-vidya. Science cannot be the be-all and end-all. If you end your life in the laboratory alone, you cannot enjoy the eternal bliss of the Soul. You cannot attain the supreme wisdom which can free you from births and deaths. Science cannot give you salvation.
Seek within. Stand not as beggar before the door of science-power that kills, more than heals. Do not surrender yourself to the scientists. They are not able to explain anything. Science knows nothing of the origin of life, the origin of thought, and the origin and destiny of human nature and the universe. There are many questions to which religion alone can give answers-and not science.
The Study of the Self: From Physics to Metaphysics
Sri Swami Krishnananda
Nobody can deny the existence of human society, without which day-to-day life itself is unimaginable. The universe is made more of unseen, invisible things than what one can even conceive of. It is not merely what appears to be there to the eyes. There is a mystery behind it to be unravelled. The pure materialists and even the Samkhya thinkers, however ignore this invisible but vital factors. Thus, they fail, finally. Not only this; probably, the very approach and the stance taken by them is inadequate to the purpose. Their failure to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion in the study of the universe from a purely materialistic and mechanistic point of view suggests that an entirely new angle of vision is called for.
Gravitation Suggests An Organic Interconnectedness In The Universe
Generally, we have the feeling that matter is contained as a substance inside space. Very rarely does one feel that there is such a thing called time. Man is inviolably connected with the process of time. Yet, he thinks very little of it, but is acutely conscious of space. The dimensions of matter, which man identifies with the substances of the world, are due to the extensions of space. There is what is called distance, and that principle of distance is due to the existence of space. Man has an intuitional apperception of the characteristic space, such that he does not bother much about its nature. He thinks that it is all clear. Everyone knows what space is,-it is a kind of emptiness, we think, which contains every blessed thing. This was the original eighteenth or nineteenth century conclusion of even physics, which led to the notion that the universe of astronomy is an arrangement of material bodies which were formed out of the galaxies, and which constituted the solar system, the earth, the planets, etc.
However, it is not evidently easy to accept that bodies are scattered independently in space, as if they have no connection whatsoever among themselves. It is not that one mountain is here, another there; or one tree is here, and another there; without any connection between the two. If they were independent, there would be no gravitation at all. But even such bodies as planets are subject to this force of gravitation; what to speak of other things. There is an attraction of bodies in a mechanistic manner, as is usually held, conditioned by a mathematical formula. But, really, can the relation be purely mechanistic? How is it possible that there is such a pull among bodies, if there is no internal organic relation among themselves? This is a point that has been unearthed recently in modern physics. The presence of a pull known as gravitation implies, and should imply, an inward, or rather an invisible organic relation between one body and another, notwithstanding that there is a distance of some light years between them. Look at the distance between the sun and the earth,-an unimaginable one. Yet, the gravitational attraction of the solar orb is so intense that it can compel the planets to move round in their orbits,-the spatial emptiness that is between them, making no difference. It is, therefore, not true that space is emptiness, because by emptiness or vacuum, generally, an absolute nothingness is meant. An absolute nothing cannot become a medium of movement of any force such as gravitation. There is a necessary movement of a connecting link in an invisible form so that gravitation becomes possible. How could the phenomenon of a total vacuum operating as a medium of action between be explained? The principle of gravitation is a visible indication that matter is not located in one place. There is an organic interconnection between bodies. This is a deeper implication that comes to the surface, when an attempt is made to understand the nature of space, and the relationship that obtains among bodies.
An affinity among bodies to what is called gravitation. When this force, operates among human beings, it is bio-psychic affection. It can also be repulsion under certain circumstances. There is chemical affinity and also psychological affinity, all which seem to be working among human and even animals. It appears that Nature cannot manifest its purpose except by expressing the inner content of its constituents. In every movement of Nature, whether it is organic or inorganic, there seems to be a secret characteristic which reveals the interrelatedness of bodies.
Precise Working Of Material Bodies: An Indication Of Cosmic Intelligence
The deeper does one go into the world of matter, and the further does one move in the direction of space, the more is the insight one gains into the secret of the operation of Nature, the secret being an organic relation among bodies, which appears to be outwardly scattered in space. It is impossible humanly to imagine how the earth, for instance, can move along the same track which it was following for aeons up to this time, as if thers is a set of rails laid down on its path in space. Man is used to thinking that things, like the planet earth, are inorganic, inanimate, incapable of thought, without eyes to see, and minds to think. But the precision with which bodies work surpasses even the best mathematical imagination. Perhaps, man, has invented the system of mathematics only on the observation of the way in which material bodies operate. We are not intending to refute the opinion of rationalists like Kant, however, in connection with the grounds of mathematical intuition. It cannot be explained how such a precision can be possible at all, where the action of the mind is not even apparent. Though this is difficult to understand because of man's habit of thinking, probably, finally, he will have to come round to attribute an intellect or a reason to what goes as inanimate existence. The inward affinity that physical bodies reveal in their activities would sound as an implication of an organisation that they form among themselves. There is, perhaps, a cosmic society, even as man has his own little, small human society.
The social sense that human beings have is a peculiar phenomenon. As observed earlier, the notion of human society is a psychic network, which operates invisibly and subtly, connecting bodies or individuals into a form of organisation called human society. In the formation of this organisation, the bodies do not actually collide with one another. There is no physical contact, necessarily. One human being can be several miles away from others. Yet they can form a body. This shows that the system of organisation or mutual relationship has little to do with spatial distance. It is something different altogether.
If society is nothing but an organisation of inward affinities, as is the case with human society, one can very well agree that there is no way of explaining the intricate features behind the operation of Nature except by accepting that there is a society of cosmic substances. Is not the solar system thought to be one organisation? Certainly, so. But the distance that is there between one planet and another, or between the planets and the sun, or, as the astronomers point out, between the sun and the other galactical bodies, is vast, enormous! It is said that there are stars whose presence cannot be known even with the most powerful of telescopes. But their presence exerts an influence of a unique nature by means of emanation of rays, which, today, is recognised as a vital living influence. Thus, the acceptance of the possibility of a cosmic society leads to the acceptance of an intelligence behind it, from the observed fact of the precise working of the bodies. Else, why should dead matter behave so sensibly and purposively?
Man does not seem to be living merely by the operation of physical objects which are visible to the eyes. Perhaps, he is even more dependent on invisible influences than on visible things, and his life seems to be connected to factors which range far beyond human perception and conception.
This is why, today, philosophers have stumbled, somehow, on the acceptance of a process rather than a location, of bodies. Earlier, it was thought that things existed, or things can exist, only within the boundaries of their bodies, and that they cannot have any relevance beyond their location. But, the concept of process melts down this boundary that is set to the bodies of substances, and bodies seem to flow into one another rather than maintain their isolated existences. There is always a craving within every body to become a part and parcel of another body. This is the principle of affection, the principle of love that is seen in Nature. It becomes more and more manifest as one rises to organic levels. This does not mean that it is absent in inorganic Nature, but merely that it is not visible to the naked eye.
Conclusions Of Science: Man Is Not Outside The Universe
What does the modern scientist say?
Matter has been dematerialised. Matter is no more considered to be a hard, solid substance. Man is gradually evaporating into thin air, so thin, so ethereal, and so fine that a time has come now when it is not possible to distinguish his own presence from the wider atmosphere of the universe. The observing scientist, or the philosopher, is inside the universe. This is important to remember. How can man look at the universe when he is a part of it? How can man study anything in this world? How can he make an analysis of any object, if he is not really outside it? From the fact of the conclusions that one arrives at through the consequences following from the law of gravitation, it follows that the universal structure cannot exclude the contents thereof. Man is not outside the universe. This should be a simple fact. If he is not outside the universe, how can he study the universe? Where comes the need and the necessity, or even the possibility of his observing anything? Here is the crux of the whole situation. The problem that hangs like an iron curtain in front of the modern scientist is this difficulty of his inability to disentangle himself from the object of his observation. The great physicist,Heisenberg, discovered that he was involved in the very thing in which he was engaged. The body of the scientist is not outside the body that is to be observed. This is a kind of corollary that follows from the famous theory of Relativity. The space-time-gravitation cosmos is one complex, or it may be called a compound, if you like. It is such a terrific phenomenon that one gets frightened even by thinking of it.
Study Of The Self Is Imperative To The Study Of The Universe
While studying the nonmathematical, or, rather, the super-mathematical nature of subatomic structures,-this is the field of subatomic physics,-the nuclear physics which has been studied in quantum mechanics, and the theory of Relativity, noticed that the force of gravitation, which ruled the world of space and time, had to be reconciled with. This great task, Einstein took upon himself, when he was working at the theory called Unified Field Theory, wherein "this" is identified with "that",-tattvamasi,-"That thou art,"-the famous doctrine of the Upanishad. The quantum mechanics of Max Planck may be said to be the study of the "thou" or the "this", the nuclear element, or the visible, which is immediately present as an individual structure; and the "that" is the space-time continuum and the gravitation of the universe, which Einstein studied in his General Theory of Relativity. The Special Theory and the General Theory put together, present a tremendous upheaval in the discovery of science. Man is forced to study the universe together with a study of his own self, because he is not outside the universe.
Inasmuch as man is not outside the universe, he is integral with it. He is a small in his own self. Whatever is in Nature should also be within him, and the system which is seen to operate within himself may be said to be the system that operates in external Nature also. So, Indian philosophers diverted the attention from the objective universe to the subjective individuality in order that the whole cosmos could be envisaged at one stroke.
There is an analogy in Indian logic called "sthalipulaka nyaya," the argument of the recognition of the boiling of rice in a pot. While boiling rice in a pot, if it is required to know whether the rice is fully cooked or not, one grain is squeezed; if it is seen to have been cooked, well, it may be concluded that the whole rice has been cooked, and every grain need not be individually inspected.
So is this analogy of the study of the cosmos by a study of man, as such. The study of man is the study of the universe. "Know thyself" is the oracle of Delphi; Tattvamasi, is the proclamation of the Upanishad. That the knowledge of the self is the knowledge of the cosmos is a universally accepted doctrine of all philosophies and religions today.
Many a time, one it not able to understand how it is possible for one to know the universe when one is here as a separate individual. Where comes the connection between the knowledge of one's own self and the knowledge of the universe, or vice versa? The reason is simple. The universe is a complete organism, comparable to the human organism, so to say. A complete organism is a total Selfhood. The whole cosmos is an organism, and it is Selfhood in its nature. Its Selfhood can be compared to one's own selfhood because it is inseparable from one, and one is inseparable from it. That is how man can, perhaps, try to understand it. The study of the universe is the study of the Self of the universe, and the study of the Self of the universe cannot preclude the study of one's own self. The knowledge of the universe is the knowledge of the perceiver of the universe; i.e., one's own self. If one knows one's own self, well, everything else also is known simultaneously, because man is the symbol, or the microcosmic specimen of whatever constitutes Nature as a whole. One thing is the same as the other.
Perhaps, here, one gradually stumbles again, upon the truth that the knowledge of God and the knowledge of the Self, means the same thing. They are not two different things. God is the name that is given to the Self of the cosmos, the vitality behind everything, the indivisible compound and the utter reality of the most inexplicable character behind and within the universe. The knowledge of the Self is the key to the knowledge of anything.
All philosophy, or any kind of investigatioin for that matter, commences with immediately available evidence. This is the method followed by logic, where, from the particulars one goes to the generals; i.e., from available information the implications therefrom are dug deep into, or, the other way, from the basic indubitable fact of being, all else is derived as a corollary. The fault of the materialists lay in this that they misunderstood what the most immediate fact is. They took it to be the world that they see around. They ignored the most immediate thing, one's own existence. No one can doubt one's own invulnerable reality as the foundation for any thought or action.
Alice In Wonderland
Sri Swami Krishnananda
We have an inveterate obsession in our minds which prevents us almost entirely from conceiving the goal of life as a practical reality. For us, the goal mostly remains as a kind of concept and an idea, an ideal which is not easily reconcilable with the hard realities of the workaday a world. The goal may be God Himself, and nevertheless, He is only an idea an ideal, a concept, an imagination, a possibility, a may-be or may-not-be.
This suspicious outlook is not absent even in the most advanced persons due to the strength of the senses, the power of the mind, and the habit of the intellect in understanding things in a given fashion. We are discussing in these lessons a subject called Comparative Philosophy, and in this context, we would be benefited by bestowing a little thought on the conclusions arrived at by certain thinkers also, apart from Vedantic philosophers like Sankara, with whom we have a good acquaintance and about whose thinking we have spoken enough.
There was a great man called Plato in Greece. According to Paul Deussen, the whole world has produced only three philosophers-Plato, Kant and Sankara. There is some truth in what he says. There cannot be a greater philosopher than these three persons-Plato, Kant and Sankara-, says Paul Deussen. I was thinking about this statement. Why does he make this statement? Finally I felt that there is some truth in it, whatever it is.
The idea of the Ultimate Reality is the principal doctrine of Plato; and I started by saying that we are living in a world of ideas when we live a spiritual life, when we behave religiously, conduct worship and chant Mantras, do prayers, do Japa and even meditation; but there is a very uncomfortable consequence following the idea that, after all, the Reality is an idea.
Ideas are abstractions, notions which are supposed to correspond to realities, and as long as ideas correspond to realities, they are valid. I have an idea that there is a building in front of me. This idea is a valid idea, because it corresponds with the real existence of the building outside. So, the validity of my idea depends upon the reality of the object which is in front of it, but my idea itself has no reality. It is borrowed reality. It hangs on the existence of something else outside, in this case, the building. So, if the idea of the Ultimate Reality or God is to hang on the existence of another thing, God is not a real being. This is a very subtle difficulty that may trouble the minds of even sincere seekers. Don't you think that the world is real? It is not merely real, it is very, very real, hard to the core, flint-like and no one can gainsay that it is. Perhaps that alone is.
God is an idea that has been introduced in our minds by our ancestors, by our books, by our scriptures, by our professors and our teachers and parents, and somehow, we have been forced by the logic of this teaching to believe there should be such a thing as an 'other-worldly existence' and we have somehow reconciled ourselves to it-God must be there. But we are accepting the existence of God against our own will. We are hungry and thirsty and this hunger and thirst of the body is more real than the idea of God. No one can say that it is not so, whatever be our devotion to God. This is so even in the case of advanced seekers and sincere Sadhaks (aspirants). This subject is the principal theme of Plato's doctrine.
Ideas precede reality: this one sentence is the entire philosophy of Plato. The reality of the objective universe is subsequent to the idea of the universe. Here we have an echo of the great philosophy of Vedanta that the Hiranyagarbha (cosmic intelligence) is prior to the cosmos of physical appearance. The Panchadasi, The Upanishads and the other systems of Vedantic thinking tell us that in Hiranyagarbha the world does not exist in a concrete form as it appears, that is only an idea cosmically manifested by Isvara (God) who is even subtler than the idea. Isvara is only a possibility of the very idea that there should be a thing called the universe. So, Isvara is subtler than the idea which is Hiranyagarbha, and Virat is supposed to be the animating consciousness behind the so-called physicality of creation. So, even in the Vedantic Philosophy, there is the same doctrine of idea preceding concrete existence. But we can never believe this.
My idea that there is a desk in front of me cannot be said to be harder in its concreteness than the desk itself. I have an idea that there is a little table in front of me. Is the table more real or the idea that the table is there more real? Any man with common-sense will say that the idea is subsequent to the existence of the object called table and the idea is not preceding the object. Because there is a table, you think there is a table. You have an idea that there is an object. So, the idea that there is an object is the consequence of the existence of the object. So, the idea of God must be subsequent and not precedent.
These questions arose before Socrates. How can you say that idea is prior to the universe? How could there be an idea unless the universe exists? How can you have a thought about a thing unless the thing exists? How can you say that things are subsequent and ideas are precedent?
If God is supreme consciousness, how could consciousness be prior to existence? Consciousness is always of something. If the something is not there, there cannot be consciousness. What do you mean by merely saying consciousness, awareness, understanding, thinking, feeling? They cannot have any significance unless they are connected to a thing which is already there. This is the gross realistic doctrine of empirical philosophers which was highlighted by British thinkers like Locke, Berkeley and Hume, but already anticipated by people like Plato and Aristotle in a different fashion.
This is a very terrible problem before us. Notwithstanding the fact that we are devotees of God and honest religious thinkers, the concreteness of the world and the reality of the things we see with our eyes and contact with our senses cannot be abrogated merely by the notion that ideas are precedent. Ideas cannot be precedent as long as we are accustomed to thinking in the way we are thinking today. "Here is a man coming": I am saying like this. This man is there; therefore I have an idea that he is coming. If the man was not there, the idea cannot be there. It is not the I think the man first than the man comes. The man is there and the idea comes afterwards.
So, realism has a great fort before it. There cannot be an idea unless an object exists already. So God must be afterwards and the world first. Here is materialism, which has a very strong ground. Consciousness cannot be there, unless the object is there. So, what you call consciousness is only an exudation, a manifestation, a kind of an already existing material stuff. Crude materialism, realism, is impossible to face easily. You cannot answer this question. You yourself will not be able to say anything in this matter; so you say there is something in it.
This problem is an indication of the state in which we are placed. How far are we advanced spiritually? Where is our spirituality, where is our God, love and God-consciousness? Incidentally, it is not a joking matter or a humor. It is a very, very serious thing for us. Whatever be the study of the scriptures, we cannot get out of the idea that we are living in a very, very hard, flint-like, iron-like, steel-like world; and we can never accept that the idea of the world is in any way more real than the world. But Plato affirms that the ideas are more real than the world. The universals are precedent to the particulars. Horse-ness is prior to the horse. Table-ness is prior to the table, buildingness is prior to the building. How could there be horse-ness before there is a horse? We cannot answer these questions easily. We know very well that there cannot be horse-ness unless the horse was already there. But man's mind is very poor. It is not wholly philosophical and we cannot understand how there could be an idea of a thing unless the thing was already there. How could God's consciousness be there if God is only Consciousness?
We have been indoctrinated in this belief not merely in this birth, but throughout the births we have lived through in earlier incarnations. The difficulty arises on account of the impressions created in our minds by hanging on to objects of sense through the many births we have passed through.
The little spiritual aspiration that we have is a late development in the process of evolution. Let each one of us think, "Since when am I thinking of God, religion and spirituality? Since how many years back?". Compared to these few years of our ardent adventure in the spiritual field, what a long, long time we have passed in other types of thinking! The heavy weight of the errors in the thoughts of our previous lives hangs on us so vehemently and powerfully that our little aspiration is submerged. So, again and again we have suspicions in our minds. Doubts are galore. Very great difficulties are there. "Am I fit? Am I right? Is there any substance in it? Am I living in a foolish world, a fool's paradise? Nothing is coming. I have been meditating for years, nothing is visible. I may be hoodwinked. Is there any point in it at all or is it all a waste?". These doubts can come even to sincere seekers.
The idea of the world is not dependent upon the world. The world is dependent of the idea. In a crude form, Berkeley said this. But, in a more philosophical fashion, Plato affirmed it. We can never stomach this idea that consciousness is precedent to matter, though we have attempted to convince ourselves, in our previous discussions, that consciousness is our essential reality by an analysis conducted of the three states-waking, dream and deep sleep. We have already understood this to some extent. We have gone to the depths of our condition in deep sleep where we appear to exist only as pure consciousness minus body and mind in the state of deep sleep, that must have been what our stuff is. This so-called body of ours, this hard substance of contactual experience, and the mind which thinks of it, are subsequent evolutes; and if they were the ultimate realities that we are, they would not have perished in deep sleep also. But we had no experience of body or mind there. We were bare, featureless, unobjectified being, consciousness only. This is what we learnt in our earlier analysis of the condition of sleep. What were you in deep sleep? Not man, not woman, not human being, not body, not mind, not anything, not object. What were you then? A bare impersonal, indefinite, undivided awareness you were. So, this consciousness that you were is the same as consciousness of being-being inseparable from consciousness, consciousness inseparable from being.
This is the great conclusion of Vedanta philosophy-Being-Consciousness. Sat-Chit was your essential nature-not body, not mind, not anything that the senses perceive or conceive, not the world. Then, wherefrom this body came? What is this body? What is the world? What are these buildings and stony mountains and the flowing rivers and the burning sun? What is all this? From where have they come?
They are also ideas. When Berkeley said that all the trees, the mountains, the heaven and the earth were only ideas, Samuel Johnson, it seems, later on kicked a brick and said, "I hereby refute Berkeley." Kicking a brick does not refute Berkeley. It is a very prosaic way of confronting this poor bishop. There was some mistake in the thinking of Samuel Johnson. You cannot kick a brick and say, "I have refuted Berkeley", because Berkeley includes Johnson himself, not merely the brick, in his doctrine of ideas.
Electric repulsions can produce a sensation of hardness, as many of you, or some of you at least, must have experienced when you had an electric shock. If you touch a live wire with a heavy voltage flowing through it, you will have a sensation of terrible weight and solidity, though there is nothing there. You will feel a mountain hanging on your hand. Any of you who ever had a shock would know what it is. How could this idea of heavy weight of a hill hanging on your hand be a sensation when there was nothing whatsoever except the fact that you touched a live wire? Why go so far? Come to our modern scientists.
These solid objects-maybe of steel or granite-are constituted of electric energy inside. Pure energy, electric energy-we may say electricity itself. What is electricity? It cannot be seen, it has no weight, it has no dimensions, no length, breadth, or height. But it is the raw material of heavy substances which have length, breadth and height. This indescribable continuum of force and motion has become the atoms and molecules, hard things like the mountains and the solar system.
Go further still. The doctrine of relativity lands in a mere idea of the cosmos. The space-time stuff that they speak of as the ultimate substance is not a hard reality. Neither can space be called a hard reality like a table, nor time. But, researches into the substance of physics seem to conclude that the hardest realities like hills and rocks are constituted of configurations of the space-time continuum. We cannot understand what this space-time continuum is except that it is a mathematical heap of point-events in the brain of the scientist-and not a human scientist at that! Here, Berkeley rectifies himself when he says that the world is an idea, not of Mr. Berkeley, but of a larger being in whom all the individual ideas are also included. We again come to the Hiranyagarbha of Vedanta philosophy, though such words were not used by Berkeley or Plato. Plato used the words, "Idea of the good." A strange definition of his. You may say, "Idea of God" if you like. It is not an idea of God, but the idea which is God. Actually, God is only an idea; not your idea, but an Idea as such, which is the cause of other ideas. The Yoga Vasishtha goes into great detail in explaining this point that the whole universe is mind. Not my mind, or your mind, but mind as such. Pure impersonal existence, of which our minds and thoughts and feelings and evolutions are ripples.
Read the great book of Samuel Alexander, "Space, Time and Deity", which is the great exposition of the structure of the universe which is so hard and real in space-time only. Space-time is not a substance. It is not something tangible. You cannot touch it, you cannot see it, you cannot sense it, you cannot taste it, you cannot smell it. And a thing which cannot be sensed is not reality at all. But that is the reality!
It pinpoints, pressurises into a movement, a force. And space-time becomes motion, manifesting itself into the primary qualities of length, breadth and height. Remember length, breadth and height do not mean length, breadth and height of a substance. They have never come into being. These are difficult things to understand. Only a purely impersonal thinker or mathematician will be able to appreciate or understand. How can there be a conception of length, breadth and height unless objects are there?
But space-time is itself without dimensions. It has no dimensions. It is a four dimensional something-not a three dimensional substance. And we do not know what this four dimensional thing is. It is only an idea, a meaningless thing for us. It becomes primary qualities like length, breadth and height, etc. Geometrical partners are called primary qualities which manifest themselves as secondary qualities of colour, sound, taste, smell, etc. The world has not come into being yet. They are only Tanmatras (subtle undifferentiated root elements of matter)-Shabda (sound), Sparsa (touch), Rupa (form), Rasa (taste), Gandha (smell), says the Vedanta philosophy. These Tanmatras are not substances, but principles behind the objects which produce these sensations. They are not hard substances like earth, water, fire, air and ether; they are comparable to the secondary qualities of Aristotle and Plato and modern scientists.
Oh, what a wonder! We seem to be living in a dreamland like Alice in Wonderland. We are not living in a world as it appears. The primary qualities condensing themselves into secondary qualities of sensations, solidify themselves as it were into hard realities like heaviness that you feel when you get an electrical shock.
So, under these conclusions, it appears that the solidity and the substantiality of this physical world is comparable to the solidity and substantiality of the mountain that you felt weighing heavily in your hand when you had a heavy voltage shock. Does the world exist? No one knows.
Now, even your own body is of the same nature. This substantiality of the world which has been reduced practically into nothing but a sensation and an idea of a cosmic existence includes the very notion of our body also, so that we also go, the scientists also go into that conclusions. Sir Arthur Eddington said that no scientists can live in this world without going mad. Fortunately, he did not want to go mad, because, under these conclusions, no one can exist here for three minutes. Buddha said this. A really perceiving individual cannot exist in this world for three days. He will melt into nothing. But the fact that perception has not arisen is the reason why we are very happy here. So, ignorance is the cause of our very comfortable existence. Now this comparative study of Eastern conclusions with Western discoveries seems to make us feel that all great men are thinking alike-whether Plato or Aristotle, Kent or Hegel, Acharya Sankara or Vidyaranya Swami.
Ideas are therefore not ideas of things which are earlier than the ideas, just as space and time are not subsequent to what we call the objective world, but precedent to the objective world. It is the final conclusion of Sir James Jean, for instance, that God must be a mathematician. It is not a man thinking mathematical point, but mathematics itself. How can you only think mathematics, without a person thinking mathematics? He says it is a mathematical consciousness, highly abstract, purely impersonal, and the universe is nothing but conceptions of mathematical point-events.
Today we are in this world of modern physics. And what is Hiranyagarbha, what is Isvara, but there things in Sanskrit language? What is Shabda, Sparsa, Rupa, Rasa and Gandha but conceptual precedents of the hard things called earth, water, fire, air and ether including our physical bodies? We can imagine we have difficulties in meditation, why we cannot do Japa, why we cannot do prayer. We get angry for little things and we fly at the throat of another brother, because we are yet to be spiritual.
Religion has not yet entered us fully. We are playing jokes with God at least now. These deeper truths are not capable of easy entrance into our minds, because we are busybodies, very busy with bricks and mortar and vegetables and tea and coffee. These are greater realities to us than the supernal ideas that are the content of our religious and spiritual consciousness.
I brought those ideas before you to bring about a comparison between the greatest thinkers of the East like Acharya Sankara, the Rishis of the Upanishads, and Sri Krishna of the Bhagavad Gita and Western thinkers like Plato, Aristotle and Kant. They seem to be thinking alike. Only they seem to be thinking in different languages and giving different definitions.
So we are now face to face with the great reality, the God of the cosmos. We have passed through the analysis. We have conducted a study of the three stages of consciousness-waking, dream and deep sleep. We studied epistomological processes-the perception of the world, how we come in contact with things, and how we know that the world exists at all. This also we have concluded. Many of you may not remember it, but think over or see your diaries if you have noted anything down.
Now we are facing the third principle of the ultimate reality of the cosmos, call it the Absolute, call it Satchidananda, God, Isvara, Hiranyagarbha, Virat, whatever it is. Here, true religion begins. Real religion is an awareness of the presence of the Supreme Being. Therefore, it is well said that religion begins where intellect ends, where reasons fails. When religion begins controlling your life, you cease to be a mere intellectual or a scientist or a philosopher. You are no more a thinker, but a person who lives reality.
Religion is living reality and not merely thinking reality or academic analysing. All this is over already in our earlier lessons. We have thought enough philosophically, academically and hope we shall not touch this subject again. We shall enter into true religion which is God-consciousness itself in some proportion, in some measure, in a modicum.
To face God and to encounter Him in our actual life is to live religion. So, religion is not ringing a bell, waving a light, or chanting a Mantra. It is encountering God face to face. So, religion is superior to philosophy, if you understand religion in the true sense of the term. Religion is not Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism. It is the art of envisaging God-being.
Man melting, like ice vanishing before the blaze of the sun. That is religion. When the sun of God-consciousness rises, this substance called body-consciousness evaporates into an ethereal nothing. Gradually, we begin to approximate God-being. The life of religion is the way of gradual approximation to God-consciousness. Here, true love begins to preponderate in our lives. We do not merely think of God as philosophers or academicians or professors. We love God; and we cannot love a thing which is not really there. We cannot love a thing which is only an idea or a concept in our mind.
All love is an urge of the soul to contact that which it feels as a hard reality in front of itself. Every love is God-love finally and the final stuff of the universe may be said to be love.
I have been telling you sometimes that there is some secret meaning behind the last words in the Eleventh Chapter of the Gita where we are told that Bhakti is supreme. The Bhakti that Sri Krishna speaks of here is not ordinary obeisance to an idol. It is not a mass that you perform in the church. It is a melting of your being before the Absolute. Therefore Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, "Not charity, not philanthropy, not study, not austerity, is capable of bringing about this great vision that you had, Arjuna! ààà Only by devotion can I be seen, contacted. Only by devotion am I capable of being known, seen and entered into". These three words are used in the Bhagavad Gita at the end of the Eleventh Chapter-knowing, seeing, and entering. Arjuna knew and saw, but never entered into It. Therefore, he was the same Arjuna after the Bhagavad Gita also. He never merged into the Supreme Being.
Now, religion is knowing, seeing and entering into. Knowing is considered by such thinkers like Ramanuja, the great propounder of the Visishtadvaita philosophy, as inferior to devotion. I am now digressing a little bit from the point, into another thing altogether, which is also interesting.
Knowledge or Jnana is not equal to Bhakti, says Ramanuja, the great propounder of the doctrine and philosophy called Visishtadvaita. And Acharya Sankara says that Jnana is superior to Bhakti. It may appear that they are quarrelling. They have some emphasis laid on different aspects of the same question. Why does Bhagavan Sri Krishna say that nothing can make you fit to see the vision of God, to behold Him, except Bhakti? It would seem that He speaks like Ramanuja and not like Sankara. But they are only speaking in different languages à the same thing. There is no contradiction between them. "Knowing, seeing and entering into" signifies the process of contacting God by degrees. There is, in the parlance of Vedanta, two types of knowledge-Paroksha Jnana and Aporkasha Jnana. Paroksha Jnana is direct knowledge. "God exists" is indirect knowledge. Now, we do not feel that we are inseparable from God's being. That knowledge has not come to us. So we have not entered such a height of religious consciousness as to be convinced that we are inseparable from God's existence. But we are convinced enough to feel that God exists.
At least the people seated here are perhaps convinced that God must be. He is. Circumstances compel us to feel confidently that God must be, that God is. But we have not gone to such an extent to feel that we are inseparable from Him. That is a little higher stage. We have known in an indirect way. Jnana has come, but darshana or vision of God has not come. We have not seen Virat in front of us, notwithstanding the fact that we are seeing Virat. This whole cosmos is that, but somehow we have segregated our personality from Virat consciousness. A cell in the body is seeing the body as if it is outside it.
The way in which we are seeing the universe now is something like the possibility of a particular organism, called the cell in the body, separating itself in motion-not really of course-from the bodily organism and looking at the body. What would be the condition or the experience of a cell in our own body notionally isolating itself from the organism to which it belongs and considering the body as a world outside it? You can imagine the stupidity of it. This is exactly what we are doing. We think that the world is outside us. We can fly into space, drive in a motor car on a road, because a peculiar notion has become a reality in our mind, that the world is outside us though we are a part of the world. So, the idea that the Virat is an of perception, that the world is external to us, is notional and not realistic. All our difficulties are notional in the end. They have no reality or substance in themselves. We are bound by our minds, our thoughts, our feelings and our willings. So when Acharya Sankara says that Jnana is superior and Ramanuja says that Bhakti is superior, they are saying the same thing.
By Bhakti, Ramanuja means that love of God which supersedes intellectual activity or a mere knowing that God exists. And when Sankara says that Jnana or knowledge is superior, he means knowledge which is identical with being and which is same as Para Bhakti or the love of God where the soul is in communion with the Being of God.
The highest devotion is the same as the highest knowledge. Jnana and Para Bhakti are the same. The Gauna Bhakti or secondary love of God, which is more ritualistic and more formal, is inferior. But Ramanuja's Bhakti is the surging of the soul and the melting of personality in God-experience. It is to become mad with God-love as we hear in the case of Spinoza, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Mirabai and Tukaram. Their Bhakti was not simply love of God as that of churchmen or templemen. It is a kind of ecstasy in which the personality has lost itself in God-love and God-being. That is Jnana and that is Bhakti. So, there is no difference between Ramanuja and Sankara in the ultimate reaches. And Bhagavan Sri Krishna's dictum is also of a similar character.
So now, when we are discussing the final point in our studies, we are gradually losing attachments to his obsessional notion that we are this little Mr. and Mrs. Body and that we are located in a part of the physical world called India or America, Japan or Russia. And we are slowly trying to become citizens of a larger dimension which is wider than this earth, perhaps larger than even the solar system and this physical cosmos.
When we enter into the true religious life, we become real children of God. Hari Om Tat Sat.
Seven Reasons Why A Scientist Believes In God
A. Cressy Morrison
[Former President of the New York Academy of Sciences]
WE ARE STILL IN THE DAWN of the scientific age, and every increase of light reveals more brightly the handiwork of an intelligent Creator. We have made stupendous discoveries; with a spirit of scientific humility and of faith grounded in knowledge we are approaching ever nearer to an awareness of God.
For myself, I count seven reasons for my faith:
First: By unwavering mathematical law we can prove that our universe was designed and executed by a great engineering intelligence.
Suppose you put ten pennies, marked from one to ten, into your pocket and give them a good shuffle. Now try to take them out in sequence from one to ten, putting back the coin each time and shaking them all again. Mathematically we know that your chance of first drawing number one is one in ten; of drawing one and two in succession, one in 100; of drawing one, two and three in succession, one in 1000, and so on; your chance of drawing them all, from number one to number ten in succession, would reach the unbelievable figure of one in ten billion.
By the same reasoning, so many exacting conditions are necessary for life on the earth that they could not possibly exist in proper relationship by chance. The earth rotates on its axis 1000 miles an hour at the equator; if it turned at 100 miles an hour, our days and nights would be ten times as long as now, and the hot sun would likely burn up our vegetation each long day while in the long night any surviving sprout might well freeze.
Again the sun, source of our life, has a surface temperature of 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and our earth is just far enough away so that this "eternal life" warms us just enough and not too much ! If the sun gave off only one half its present radiation, we would freeze, and if it gave as much more, we would roast.
The slant of the earth, tilted at an angle of 23 degrees, gives us our seasons; if the earth had not been so tilted, vapors from the ocean would move north and south, piling up for us continents of ice. If our moon were, say, only 50,000 miles away instead of its actual distance, our tides might be so enormous that twice a day all continents would be submerged; even the mountains could soon be eroded away. If the crust of the earth had only been ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, without which animal life must die. Had the ocean been a few feet deeper, carbon dioxide and oxygen would have been absorbed and no vegetable life could exist.
It is apparent from these and a host of other examples that there is not one chance in billions that life on our planet is an accident.
Second: The resourcefulness of life to accomplish its purpose is a manifestation of an all-pervading Intelligence.
What life itself is, no man has fathomed. It has neither weight nor dimensions, but it does have force; a growing root will crack a rock. Life has conquered water, land and air, mastering the elements, compelling them to dissolve and reform their combinations.
Life, the sculptor, shapes all living things; an artist, it designs every leaf of every tree, and colors every flower. Life is a musician and has taught each bird to sing its love song, the insects to call one another in the music of their multitudinous sounds. Life is a sublime chemist, giving taste to fruits and spices, and perfume to the rose, changing water and carbonic acid into sugar and wood, and, in so doing, releasing oxygen that animals may have the breath of life.
Behold an almost invisible drop of protoplasm, transparent, jellylike, capable of motion, drawing energy from the sun. This single cell, this transparent mist-like droplet, holds within itself the germ of life, and has power to distribute this life to every living thing, great and small. The powers of this droplet are greater than our vegetation and animals and people, for all life came from it. Nature did not create life; fire-blistered rocks and a saltless sea could not meet the necessary requirements.
Who, then, has put it here?
Third: Animal wisdom speaks irresistibly of a good Creator who infused instinct into otherwise helpless little creatures.
The young salmon spends years at sea, then comes back to his own river, and travels up the very side of the river into which flows the tributary where he was born. What brings him back so precisely ? If you transfer him to another tributary he will know at once that he is off his course and he will fight his way down and back to the main stream and then turn up against the current to finish his destiny accurately.
Even more difficult to solve is the mystery of eels. These amazing creatures migrate at maturity from ponds and rivers everywhere-those from Europe across thousands of miles of ocean-all bound for the same abysmal deeps near Bermuda. There they breed and die. The little ones, with no apparent means of knowing anything except that they are in a wilderness of water, nevertheless start back and find their way not only to the very shore from which their parents came but thence to the selfsame rivers, lakes or little ponds. No American eel has ever been caught in Europe, no European eel in American waters. Nature has even delayed the maturity of the European eel by a year or more to make up for its longer journey. Where does the directional impulse originate question
Fourth: Man has something more than animal instinct-the power of reason.
No other animal has ever left a record of its ability to count ten, or even to understand the meaning of ten. Where instinct is like a single note of a flute, beautiful but limited, the human brain contains all the notes of all the instruments in the orchestra. No need to belabor this fourth point; thanks to human reason we can contemplate the possibility that we are what we are only because we have received a spark of Universal Intelligence.
Fifth: Provision for all living is revealed in such phenomena as the wonders of genes.
So tiny are these genes that, if all of them responsible for all living people in the world could be put in one place, there would be less than a thimbleful. Yet these genes inhabit every living cell and are the keys to all human, animal and vegetable characteristics. A thimble is a small place to hold all the individual characteristics of almost three billion human beings. However, the facts are beyond question.
Here evolution really begins-at the cell, the entity which holds and carries the genes. That the ultra-microscopic gene can absolutely rule all life on earth is an example of profound cunning and provision that could emanate only from a Creative Intelligence; no other hypothesis will serve.
Sixth: By the economy of nature, we are forced to realise that only infinite wisdom could have foreseen and prepared with such astute husbandry.
Many years ago a species of cactus was planted in Australia as a protective fence. Having no insect enemies in Australia, the cactus soon began a prodigious growth; the alarming abundance persisted until the plants covered an area as long and wide as England, crowding inhabitants out of the towns and villages, and destroying their farms. Seeking a defense, entomologists scoured the world; finally they turned up an insect which lived exclusively on cactus, and would eat nothing else. It would breed freely, too; and it had no enemies in Australia. So animal soon conquered vegetable, and today the cactus pest has retreated-and with it all but a small protective residue of the insects, enough to hold the cactus in check forever.
Such checks and balances have been universally provided. Why have not fast-breeding insects dominated the earth? Because they have no lungs such as man possesses; they breathe through tubes. But when insects grow large, their tubes do not grow in ratio to the increasing size of the body. Hence there never has been an insect of great size; this limitation on growth has held them all in check. If this physical check had not been provided, man could not exist. Imagine meeting a hornet as big as a lion !
Seventh: The fact that man can conceive the idea of God is in itself a unique proof.
The conception of God rises from a divine faculty of man, unshared with the rest of our world-the faculty we call imagination. By its power, man and man alone can find the evidence of things unseen. The vista that power opens up is unbounded; indeed, as man's perfected imagination becomes a spiritual reality, he may discern in all the evidence of design and purpose the great truth that heaven is wherever and whatever; that God is everywhere and in everything that nowhere so close as in our hearts.
It is scientifically as well as imaginatively true, as the Psalmist said: The heavens declare the Glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.
Is Modern Science A Challenge To Religion?
Sri Swami Krishnananda
The subject that has been suggested is somewhat an involved one, and I do not know how far this would be a very appropriate theme to discuss before an audience of this kind who are basically devotees of God and aspirants of the spiritual ideal of life. However, all visions of life can be consolidated into a system of integrated organisation, and nothing conceivable can be regarded as extraneous to the methodology to be adopted in the pursuit of the spiritual ideal.
"Is there a conflict between the scientific method and the religious aspiration of the soul?" is a moot question. Generally, when people speak of science, what the common populace understands is the comfort that has been provided by applied science, such as fast travelling, telephone, telegraph, Internet, satellite, and television. These are the things that are in the minds of people when they speak of the technological advance science has made; but science does not mean technology. It is a vision of life itself.
What clashes or appears to come in conflict with religion is not the comfort that has been brought to us by these technological inventions of applied science, but the theory of science, which is something very deep, and bordering upon philosophical and metaphysical foundations of life itself.
That the world is external to everyone is the basic foundation of all scientific perception. Observation and experiment being the methods of a scientific process, it goes without saying that what is observed and experimented upon has to be outside. The outsideness of the world is a very important aspect to be considered here, but we may put a question to our own selves: "Is the world really outside us, so that what happens in the world does not affect us in any way, and the world does not care for what is happening to us in our own internal operations? Are the individual and the world, the two principles of consideration here, segregated from each other? Has the world nothing to do with the individual, and has the individual nothing to do with the world?" It looks that there is no communication possible between the individual and the world. The world may not know at all that some individual is dead and gone, and the individual is not concerned in any manner if a star in heaven cools down and extinguishes itself. Let anything happen to the heavens; what does it matter to us? But, "Is it so?" is the question.
This supposed conflict between physical science and religion may be said to have begun somewhere toward the end of the nineteenth century, when the geocentric interpretation of the heavenly bodies was replaced by the heliocentric concept on the discovery of Copernicus. This discovery clashed with the biblical belief and tradition, which holds that the earth is the foundation, and the sun and the moon and the stars move round this earth.
The second thing that opposed religion as it was understood in those days was that the world was created, according to the biblical tradition, some four thousand years ago, but the scientific discovery declares that the beginning of the world must be traced back to aeons and aeons of time process earlier, and the earth is several millions of years old. This again was a challenge to the medieval concept of religion.
But the third thing is most important. When Newton discovered the law of gravitation and concluded that everything that is happening in the physical world can be mathematically deduced by the logical process of conclusion drawn from premises, and the world which is physical in its nature is contained within the cup of space and time, and when his successor or follower Laplace wrote the five volumes on 'Celestial Mechanics,' the war between science and religion appeared to have commenced. We are told that the writings of Laplace were presented to Napoleon for his consideration. Napoleon seems to have declared, "Monsieur, I do not see God in your scheme"; and the answer of Laplace seems to have been, "Your highness, I have used the best of telescopes, but I have not found God anywhere." This is classical science: God has to be seen in order to be believed.
Does it follow then that whatever we see with our eyes really exists? Can we establish logically or scientifically that the world exists at all? Which scientific procedure can establish the truth of the externality of the world? Science is against any kind of hypothesis and taking for granted anything unproved. But is there any proof to substantiate the belief that the world exists, except the assertion that it is seen? The senses come in contact with what we call the panorama of the external world. That is the proof!
Here, science fumbles. It is trying to cut the ground from under its own feet. Taking anything for granted is not the beginning of science. We cannot even take for granted that the world exists unless we prove that it exists. One cannot prove one's own existence even. How do you know that you are existing? Where is the syllogism by which you have deduced the consequence of your existence from a premise? What is the proof that can establish the truth of your own existence? Bring the argument and let us see what it is that tells you that you really exist.
It was the French philosopher Rene Descartes who took up this question of doubting the existence of his own self: "Some devil may be working in my mind. It may be telling me everything in a topsy-turvy way. The world may not be there. I may not be here. Everything is doubtful. There is no certainty of anything. I can doubt the validity of anything and everything." But he went deeper into this phenomenon of doubt and discovered that doubt is not possible unless there is someone who is to doubt; if the doubter also is to be doubted, the very fact of doubting loses its meaning. Nobody can be an utter sceptic, because that defeats the very purpose of scepticism. I am thinking and, therefore, I must be existing. This is Descartes' conclusion.
What sort of existence is mine? I am conscious that I am existing. What is that consciousness? "I am an individual; I am Mr. so-and-so," is my consciousness of existence. Is the consciousness of the existence of a personality a complete acceptance of the truth of life? He concluded that this cannot be the ultimate truth of life because there is a longing to break the boundaries of personality in everyone.
No one can tolerate finitude. The finite consciousness, which is proved by the very fact of my knowing that I am, establishes the validity of there being something which is not finite. What is it that is not the finite? It should not be a multitude of finites; it should be the Infinite. My existence as a finite being, substantiated by the indubitability of this assertion, also brings about a wider unexpected consequence,ùnamely the Infinite also should exist; therefore, God exists. If I am existing, God has to exist, because the concept of God is only a cosmic correlative of the acceptance of one's own being as a finite individual. The finiteness of individuality proves the infinitude of the Truth of life. This smashes the erstwhile concept of the externality of the world, and the dichotomy that is seen between the perceiver and the perceived.
Now I am touching upon the threat that theoretical science poses before religion. Here, it is also necessary to understand what religion is. Though we are trying to analyse the practical and theoretical aspects of science, do we know what religion is? Religion basically is a longing for what is above oneself. There is something transcending myself; but for that fact, I would be a most happy person in this world. I would be carefree, secure ultimately, and perfect in every sense of the term. But no one feels that one is perfect. There is always a complaint that something is wrong, something is inadequate, something is insufficient. Finally, there is a threat of extinction of the existence of the individual himself. Death comes upon oneself.
These are the fears of the psyche, which have a basis and a truthfulness in the sense that they indicate the possibility of the existence of some realm where these insecure conditions are overcome completely.
The truths of life seem to be in several layers of self-transcendence, one rising above the other, and the lower does not satisfy until the next higher one is reached. We can never be satisfied with anything in this world because satisfaction cannot arise from that which is totally outside us. The outsideness of the values of life and the objects supposed to bring us satisfaction defeats the very attempt at acquiring any kind of permanent joy and satisfaction in this world. That from which we seek satisfaction, namely the objects of sense, are incapable of contact by the perceiver because of the fact that they are outside. We have already dubbed the world as something totally external to us, unconnected with us, and therefore, we can expect nothing from the world. Nevertheless, man runs after the pleasures of life in the form of contact with objects which are totally outside. Here is a contradiction in the very operation of desire itself. It is a self-defeating attempt of what we call human desire.
Desire is the longing to possess that which is not within oneself, but which is outside. But the outsideness of the object prevents its coming in contact with the experiencing consciousness. So every desire ends in tragedy, frustration and utter defeat, and no one ever goes from this world with the satisfaction that the attempt has succeeded. Everything is lost. The conclusion of the old man who is about to depart is that the whole life has become futile, and there is no value or worth in anything, because he has lived a life of pursuing that which one cannot expect in a world that is totally outside.
The religious ideal is not based on the concept of the externality of the world, or the internality of anything. The world is neither outside us, nor is it inside. We are integrally related to the world; so is the case with the world in respect of our own selves. We are not sitting outside the world, we are in the world, but not inside the world as something contained in a pot. The relationship between the individual and the cosmos is of an organic whole. To put it in a more plain way, we may say it is something like the organs of the body getting related to the bodily organism itself. Though the hand and the feet can be perceived by oneself as objects of sense, they do not remain as external objects. They are organic parts of the whole body, which is the transcendence of the limbs. Thus, religion rises above the classical scientific notion of the externality of the world and touches upon what we may call the universal concept of the truth of life.
The Truth, which is the ultimate aim of the religious pursuit, is an all-comprehensive universal inclusiveness, and here it does not go hand in hand with classical physics which requires the world to be totally outside. The clash between physical science in its classical form and the religious ideal lies in this fact that on one side it is asserted that the fact of life is a universal inclusiveness; on the other side, it is asserted that it is totally outside.
Later, towards the middle of the twentieth century, the theories of science got modified systematically, and more considerate and investigative scientists found that it is impossible to know anything unless there is a relationship between the knower and the known. A totally disconnected object, as the world is, cannot be known by any individual consciousness. The involvement of the object of perception in the subjective operation of visualising is necessary in order that perception can take place at all. There must be an en rapport between the perceiving consciousness and the perceived object. The two stand parallel to each other. Neither is the world above the individual, nor is the individual above the world. They are coeval in time and space. We are of the same stuff as the world is made of, and we are living in a realm which is just the physical realm of the five elements. The world is a constitution of the five physical elements,-earth, water, fire, air, and ether, which also are the building bricks of the individual body. The very substance of our physical existence is the same as the substance of the physical world. The building bricks of the cosmos are the building bricks of our own personalities. Then, if that is the case, what is it that makes us feel that we are different from the world? It is an interference of a particular unintelligible phenomenon called space and time. Though classical physics from the point of view of Newton considered that space and time have nothing to do with the contents of the world, it was later discovered that space and time are vitally connected with every physical event in the world.
It is in the Taittiriya Upanishad that we hear of the evolutionary process of the cosmos. Tasmadva etasmadatmana akashah sambhutah: From the Universal Absolute, the Selfhood of the cosmos, space emanated. Here, we must realise that even space has a connection with the Absolute. Akashadvayuh; The principle of air emanated from the vibrations of space. Vayoragnih; Friction created by the movement of air created heat, which is fire. Agnerapah; The condensation of the heat of fire produced the liquid condition of the world, which is water. The solidification of water became the earth principle, Adbhyah prithivi. Prithivya oshadhayah: From the earth arise all herbs, plants and trees, which are the foodstuff of animals and human beings. Oshadhibhyannam; All that we eat arises from the plants and trees and vegetables and such edible articles produced by the earth. Annatpurushah; The human arises as a latecomer in the process of evolution. This physical body is annamaya, constituted of the foodstuff which is the earth principle, which again is an evolutionary consequence of the water principle, that again of the fire principle, the fire principle of the air principle, the air principle of the space principle, and the space principle is rooted in the Universal Existence.
So, you can know your connection with the Ultimate Reality. We are sunk deep in Ultimate Being. We are an automatic evolute in the lowest form of its expression, in its physical, material form, which is the spatio-temporal expression of the non-spatial and non-temporal Supreme Being which is Ultimate Consciousness: satyam jnanamanantam brahma.
Lofty is this concept. Today, the more understanding type of physical scientists have practically stumbled upon this great concept of the Upanishads. Mathematicians who declared that the world is only equations, point events, and waves of probability, or a continuum of some indescribable stuff which is incapable of description, have inadvertently been forced to accept that existence is indivisible. This conclusion should be drawn by the consciousness of the scientist himself.
The great physicist, Sir Arthur Eddington, who would not accept that there is God or such a thing as consciousness, fell upon this acceptance inadvertently, unconsciously, as it were. In his great book "The Nature of the Physical World," he utters gospel truth: "The stuff of the world is consciousness."
Science misunderstood is a threat to religion; if you consider it only as a technological process of flying with great speed, and working through satellite, television and internet, that would be a poor concept of science. Science is noble investigative procedure, which can take us to the depths of the secrets of life, if dispassionately we go with it.
Here is an unexpected discovery of science that the stuff of the world has to be consciousness. Why is it so? It is because the world has to be known in order that it may be accepted to exist. Who is telling you that the world is existing? Your consciousness is telling this. How does the consciousness know that the world is existing, unless this consciousness is pervading the world of perception? The imbibition of the very structure of the physical world into the structure of consciousness is the reason why we believe in the existence of a world, and that it is outside. So, there is finally no conflict between the highest discoveries of science and the noble aspirations of religion.
By "religion" we are not meaning Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism,-this "ism," that "ism," and all that. These are all designated denominational forms of the true meaning of religion. Religion is the aspiration of the soul for its ultimate destiny. It is a search of the individual for the Absolute. It is a longing of the spirit within us for God Almighty. It has nothing to do with any "ism," and no one can be free from this eternal longing for perfection, which may better be called spiritual aspiration rather than a religious longing, because of the abuse of the word "religion" in modern times, under historical circumstances, and in the studies in schools and colleges.
People who are now considering themselves as scientists and very advanced in logical thinking pooh-pooh religion, thinking that it is an old grandmother's story, because their idea of religion is so poor, as is their concept of science. There is a tragedy that has befallen every one of us in our not being able to be precise in our knowledge of things, whether it is scientific or religious.
There is no conflict. There was a time in the Middle Ages when physical science appeared to be clashing with the theological doctrines of the church. The church excommnunicated many scientists, and they were punished with severe indictments from the Pope. An inquisition was set up in the Middle Ages,-for us, very unthinkable, indeed. People were burnt, thrown into the flames by dogmatic religious followers, and science retaliated and disconnected itself from the Pope.
Today we are in a different world altogether. The conflict has ceased; at least, it is appearing to be ceasing. Though it was once said, "The East is East and the West is West, and the twain shall never meet," I think today it is attempting to come together, and is meeting. The West and the East wish to shake hands with each other and accept their common heritage as human beings, rather than Westerners and Easterners, scientists and religious followers, seekers of God and seekers of material values.
There are several textbooks written these days, where powerful monograph have gone into the depths of this harmony that is already existing between the external and the universal. Though the external may be different from the internal, it cannot be external to the universal. The universal is a transcendent element which rises above both the subjective side and the objective side. We cannot even know that there is anything outside us unless there is a third element which is not ourselves, and not the object that is perceived, also.
Because of the externality of the object of perception and the internality of consciousness, there is no connection between the two, and knowledge is impossible; no one can know that anything is. But there is a transcendent principle. Eastern thought considers this as adhidaiva, a spiritual principle operating as a transcendental element,-unknown and unperceivable, but operating between the subjective side and the objective side.
The subjective side is called the adhyatma, the objective is adhibhauta, and the transcendent is adhidaiva. All the three have to work together in order that there may be perception at all. But we are so poor in our understanding that we know little of ourselves, and much less of the world, and nothing at all of this transcendental operation. Gods are behind our eyes and ears, our nose and tongue, and our sensations. These gods which are the denizens of heaven are the operators of this mechanism called the physical body with its sense organs. It is a presumption on the part of the egoistic individual to think that he or she is working. The workers are the great divine beings which are transcendent adhidaivas,-gods in heaven, as we call them. But they are invisible. They are invisible because they are neither inside nor outside; they are "above."
Here is a path-finding direction for both science and religion, so that if they work together in harmony they can create a world of joy and satisfaction that life is worth living. Do you want to depart from this world with the tragic feeling that nothing has been achieved? The world has eluded the grasp of everybody. Kings have come, empires rose and fell, and the earth has not changed. It appears to be so because of our wrong evaluation of the historical process. History is actually a natural process of the cosmos. It is the total operation taking place in the whole of creation, even when a little event is taking place somewhere in a corner of the world. Our learned speaker mentioned about quantum mechanics and the discoveries of relativity, etc., which highlighted the astounding truth of sudden and simultaneous action taking place in the universe. Every event is a simultaneous event. It is not taking place yesterday and tomorrow; it is just now, everywhere.
Did not the poet tell us that we cannot touch the petals of a flower in our garden without disturbing the stars in the heavens? It is not poetry; it is the truth. Every event is a universal event. Anything that is taking place anywhere takes place everywhere, and we are living throughout the universe, in all parts of the cosmos. Our individuality is not confined merely to this earth planet. It is everywhere in different parts.
Scientists today have discovered the possibility of worlds within worlds, and the possibility of many worlds, and our being inhabitants of all these worlds simultaneously. "Simultaneously" is the word we have to underline. We are not inhabiting these many worlds in succession,-today here, tomorrow somewhere else. At one stroke, in a timeless manner, we inhabit the whole cosmos, and we are world citizens working in different forms. Unknown to our own selves, one part of ourselves is here on this earth performing activities in this way, and another part of our own archetypal nature is in the heaven, even today.
Our higher self in the heaven is pulling us and summoning us: "Come on. You are not here, where you appear to be. You are in the heaven." That is why we are longing for the higher values of life, and we can never be satisfied; we are always unsatisfied because we are not in this world. We are really in some other world,-not only in some other world, we are in all the worlds. This universal operation of individuals is a great discovery of modern Quantum Mechanics, which is quite different from that science which appears to be in conflict with religion. Science has become spirituality; physics has become metaphysics.
This is a wonder toward the end of the twentieth century that we are seeing; we believe that God shall come. The kingdom of heaven is within us; it is within us, because it is everywhere. How can a large kingdom be contained within our little frame of physical existence? It is because the inwardness of our existence is not actually the physical inwardness. The whole universe can be within us.
It is the Chandogya Upanishad which tells us that whatever is happening in the outside world is happening within us. If the sun is shining there, it is shining inside, also. If it is hot outside, it is hot inside, also. If it is raining outside, it is raining inside, also. If there is thunder there, there is thunder here, also. But we are so stupid that we cannot realise these events are taking place within us, commensurate with all the things that are happening outside in the world.
We are the world; thus, the discovery of science today tells us. This is what the great Yoga Vasishtha scripture tells us. This is what the Upanishads tell us. It is not merely the twain of West and East that is coming together; God and man are shaking hands with each other in this vast kingdom of universal creation.