The Wonderful News of Non-duality
Sri Swami Chidananda
Early Morning Meditation Talk given in the sacred Samadhi Hall of Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh.
Worshipful homage to the one, non-dual, transcendental Universal Spirit! That Spirit is at once omnipresent as well as invisible, in that Its essential nature is far subtler than the subtlest faculty that we human beings possess in our human personality. It is beyond the reach of the senses, mind and intellect. Therefore, being ever-present, all around us and within us, yet we fail to perceive It directly or experience It within us as an indwelling presence or all about us as an all-pervading presence.
But there is something we should not miss in the truth about the Supreme Reality. This truth about the Supreme Reality has been proclaimed by our ancient ancestors, who after directly experiencing the Absolute declared to us the truth that the Supreme Reality is one and non-dual. That alone exists. No other thing besides It exists.
This wonderful truth that they proclaimed, as a result of their living experience of the Reality, has an extraordinary value for us. It makes it clear that That, being the sole thing existing, It must then not only be the subtlest of the subtle, but also the grossest of the gross. Therefore it is not only beyond the reach of the mind and the intellect and the rational processes, but it is also directly perceivable through our senses.
Whatever you behold, you behold nothing but God. In the stone, in the tree, in the mineral, in the metal, in the grossest thing conceivable He is there as itself, as that itself. He has taken all names and forms. Nothing exists other than Him. Whatever you see, hear, taste, touch, smell, whatever you perceive, you are perceiving only God, including all gross outer things.
The question therefore changes. The question is no longer, how can we see Him? The question is, how on earth can we fail to see Him when everything that exists is nothing but that one Being in multifarious shapes, names, forms? Even if you want to, you cannot miss Him. Even if you say, I will not perceive Him at all, and close all your senses, there He is within the inwardness of your being. Because, He is within and without.
You cannot say that I will wear a cotton cloth, but I shall not have anything to do with the warp and woof, the horizontal and vertical threads, of the cloth. The cloth and the warp and woof are one and the same. They are inseparable. Our statement would be laughed at. Our statement would be absurd.
When you behold the universe, you behold God. When you are dealing with the universe, you are dealing with God. Being one without a second, He is not only the subtlest of the subtle, He is the grossest of the gross. He is everything. His absolute non-duality means this. Therefore, no matter what we are encountering, we are encountering God.
For days together it has been raining. It has been raining non-stop. Torrential rains slanting in this direction and then that direction, coming under the doors and through the windows. But did it ever occur to you that this rain which is swelling all the little mountain streams all over our northern Garhwal region, and which is coming from all different directions, eventually joins the Ganga and flows towards the ocean?
In this manner, if all the various data of perception that comes as input into our interior is looked at from the unified angle of there being nothing but one Brahman manifesting in multifarious names, forms, colours, shapes, appearances, then no matter how much comes from what direction, it only takes us towards that one unified thought: “This is God. This is God. God is appearing before me in this form, this form, this form–all around me–through all my senses. I am surrounded by that one element alone. There is no diversity. This is only unity. It is God sporting in these innumerable names and forms. It is God alone coming into me through all the five senses–sights and sounds, everything.
If you keep on firmly rooting yourself in this one truth proclaimed by our sages in ancient times, if you become completely established in this one idea, one truth, then diversity ceases to be diversity for you. There is only One, and all these things flow only in one direction because That alone exists. Our entire life becomes an unceasing Godward flow, a Reality-oriented onward flow.
May thus the truth proclaimed by our ancients help us to see that, in fact, in truth, we are all the time experiencing God and God alone. May this truth make our entire life and all its movements a concerted and unified total flow towards that great Reality–always in God-thought, never in any other thought, always remembering, always in a state of awareness of God and God alone.
This, therefore, is the living of the truth. This, therefore, is a Reality-oriented movement of our life-stream. This we must very clearly see and thus live in awareness of this inner meaning of our life. Then God is not a sometime-to-be-experienced Being, God becomes an ever-experienced reality without any barrier of time and distance between you and God. It is only a manner of speaking about it in human language. You and God are ever in a state of unity.
May the awareness of this truth be a gift that we ask of the Supreme Being. May this awareness be the only thing that we seek from revered and beloved Holy Master. It is said that what you ask will be given to you, what you seek you will find without fail. Therefore, asking and seeking for this ever-present experience, may we be blessed by Its bestowal upon us by the Supreme Being and the Holy Master. May God bless us all!