How to Attain God Before Realising Him
SRI SWAMI CHIDANANDA
Radiant Immortal Atman! Let us all pay worshipful homage to the Divine Presence that pervades all creation, all existence, as the one and only permanent, eternal Reality behind this ever-changing show of temporary names and forms. Let us bless ourselves by making our entire life a living adoration of this all-pervading Presence. Each day, as you emerge out of your period of silent meditation, you repeat: “namostv anantaya sahasra-murtaye sahasra-padakshi-siroru-bahave; sahasra-namne purushaya sasvate sahasra-koti-yuga-dharine namah” (Salutations be to the Infinite, who has manifested as the innumerable forms, who has innumerable feet, eyes, heads and arms; salutations be to the One who has innumerable names, who is the Eternal Person, and who holds thousands of crores of ages).
All forms are His forms. He has neither name nor form, but, nevertheless, He has infinite forms. Another sloka begins: “harireva jagat; jagat eva harih–This universe is but the Supreme Lord, the Almighty Being, and that Almighty Being Itself is this universe.” It was with this vision that the Lord graced and blessed Arjuna in the unique Yoga of the Universal Form during the course of His Srimad Bhagavad Gita teachings. It is this manifestation that you adore every morning as you come out of your meditation.
Let this adoration be the very inner vision of your life. Let this adoration be a permanent and ongoing spiritual sadhana within you. And even as the great Adi Sankaracharya gave to us his immortal line: “yadyat karma karomi tattad akhilam sambho tava aradhanam (Whatever action I am doing, everything is a worship of You, O Lord Siva),” even so Arjuna, addressing the Universal Form, says: “O Thou Supreme Being, O Thou Cosmic Being, I bow to You, I adore You, I salute You from all directions. I salute You above, below, within and without, to the right and left, in front and back. Everywhere I behold Thee. Everywhere I adore Thee.”
That should be the vision with which one begins the day. Let the entire day be filled with this sat, filled with this self-same spirit of adoration, this bhava. Then everything that you do will be directly connected with God. All actions–mental, verbal, physical–will be raised to a higher dimension of the Spirit, to the higher dimension of a process directly involving you in the Divine, which your ancient, illumined forefathers, ancestors, discovered to be an ever-present Reality, an all-pervading Presence. And they left for posterity, for global humanity this great vision, this great experience as the most priceless part of their heritage. God is a now-here experience. This entire experience is summarised and epitomised for humanity for all times in the Isopanishad. The greatness, the grandeur, the vital importance and necessity of the Isopanishad is in this central truth and fact, in this central experience that the Isopanishad tries to expound: the fact that this central experience makes us isvaramaya, makes us God-filled. The Isopanishad brings to us a vision and a formula which makes it impossible for the individual soul to escape God. Unless one deliberately tries to alienate oneself from God, it is impossible to escape God.
To forget the world is very easy. But to forget God is very difficult. This is the achievement of the Isopanishad, if only you absorb it, study it seriously, reflect upon it and if you keep the Isopanishad vision, the Isopanishad truth and revelation, in your heart and mind always. It helps you to become God-filled, isvaramaya. That is why it was put at the very beginning of the Isopanishad: isavasyamidam sarvam yat kincha jagatyam jagat (All this whatsoever in this universe that moves or moves not is indwelt by the Lord). Life is in God, and God is in every part of life. All other things are commentary.
This is the great central revelation of Satya Sanatana Vaidika Dharma. This entire existence, entire creation, entire universe is God-filled, and if the entire universe is God-filled and if you are part of this universe, then you are also God-filled. Deeply ponder this. If God pervades this universe, does He not pervade you? Are you not part of this universe, which God pervades? Is it not a logical conclusion?
The great world teacher Bhagavan Sri Krishna also tells us about this central fact of life, tells us about this subtle spiritual truth of the universe: “samam sarveshu bhuteshu tishthantam paramesvaram vinasyatsv avinasyantam (the Supreme Lord existing in all beings, the Imperishable within the perishable) Gita 13:28.” That should be perceived; that should be seen. One who tries to see that hidden Reality is the real seeker. And one who sees It, he is the real seer. Others, even having sight, they see not, for they fail to perceive the ever-present Reality.
Gurudev concluded his well known Universal Prayer with: “Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.” If this is to be realised, if it is to become a fact of our day-to-day experience, if it is to become the basis of our inner state, our inner consciousness, then the only possibility, the only way is to practise the Presence in the light of the declaration of the Isopanishad and this statement of Sri Krishna. This is the one thing needfull so that we will ever dwell in God. This is to be perceived. This is to be seen.
That is the one way of being in the world and yet not being of the world. That is the one way of being in the world and yet not allowing the world to come and possess us, dominate us, take charge of us, enslave us. If you do not wish worldliness or the world idea or the fascination of the world to come and establish itself in your heart and make you a toy, a plaything, a puppet in its power, then the one and only way is to already establish God in your heart, so that the world dare not enter; it finds no place. Make Him the indweller of your heart. This should be reflected upon; this should be meditated upon. This truth should be made the basis of our sight and our hearing. This vision should be practised.
That is why Gurudev has put this into three separate lines of his Universal Prayer: “Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms. Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms. Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.” All his life he strove to give all of us, through his teachings and his example, that vision of the eleventh chapter of the Bhagavad Gita and that great opening proclamation of the Isopanishad. That is our special inheritance from Gurudev’s life, teachings and sharing.
This then is what we should receive and keep in our hearts. On the basis of this truth we must try to live. Then, though living in the world, we shall not be of the world; though living amidst the many, amidst prapancha (world/universe), yet prapancha will not enter our heart to take possession and dominate us. God will guide our life; God will dominate our life.
That is great truth. That is the great fact. If you want to go through samsara without being touched and caught by samsara or without being overcome by the fascination of the passing names and forms of this maya-bazaar, then the only way is to become established in this vision: What I perceive, what I see, is Brahman and that is my goal. What I perceive, what I see, hear, taste, touch and smell is that very goal which I’m trying to attain through my sadhana, my yoga-abhyasa, my japa, meditation and philosophy. I am daily perceiving that which I am striving for. I live in it. I move in it. I have my being in it. It is everywhere around me. Let it ever abide in my heart. Let it ever shine in my heart. The very goal which I am striving to attain is all around me. That very Being is all around me. He is now, here, within, without, in all things.
That is the one way of attaining Him even before you have realised Him, of having Him before you have actually realised. “Yo mam pasyati sarvatra sarvam cha mayi pasyati tasya’ham na pranasyami sa cha me na pranasyati (He who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, never becomes separated from Me, nor do I become separated from him). Gita 6:30“
This is the great truth. Even while you are on the marga (path) if you wish to possess Him, this is the way He has unambiguously revealed with no vagueness, with absolute certitude, very plainly and clearly. Bless yourself by meditating upon it, reflecting upon it and by living it, making it the basis of all your vyavahara (worldly activity). Then you will be the most blessed person on earth. God bless you!