Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Connecting With God

Swami Tejomayananda
The Asian Age

In my last article, I dealt with the existence of God. Once we know and accept that He exists, the next question is how do we "realize" Him? Each one of us is endowed with three powers--the power of knowing, the power of desire and the power of acting. It is only when we become aware of our potential powers that desires arise and we want to possess, create or become something. Knowledge creates the desire and this in turn becomes the motivating power behind all actions. The source for all this is the infinite potential within us. Our scriptures refer to this potential as "God".

Once we understand that God is the support and substratum, the Self and the infinite potential in all beings, how can we deny His existence? People are happy when God is far away because His proximity poses a problem. Whether we know, we believe or we understand it or not, God is the power that exists in us. So there is no question of not realizing God; we just have to shed certain notions about ourselves. We talk of realization without the understanding the true meaning of the word "realization". We imagine some strange experience like seeing white or ethereal lights. Also, realization is not an idea that we have to understand later. Neither does it have to materialize nor manifest. We have to accept that it exists.

There are different stages to realization. The first is to accept the existence of God and know that He is there within us. The second stage is an appreciation of His nature, which becomes clearer through the words of the scriptures and the teacher. At the third stage, you realize that God is your own self. We need to understand that God is not some material thing or person, it is our very existence. This is the realization of one's own essence (tattvabhava).

So we can and must realize God or our own true nature and rise from being miserable and complaining individuals. Having established the need to realize God, we must know how it is to accomplished. Krishna says, "Fix your mind and intellect in Me, then you will abide in Me, dwell in Me; there is no doubt about it."

The nature of the mind is to entertain thoughts and the nature of the intellect is Viveka (discrimination). If the mind and intellect are aligned and work together, we can reach our goal towards realization. People say, "if I can realize my dream that is enough. Who has the time to realize God?" We are unable to realize our dreams because we have to stay awake to realize them! The mind entertains various thoughts which by themselves can lead us nowhere without the decision of the intellect.

So, the first step in the thought is to entertain the thought "I want to realize God". The intellect must decide and whatever the obstacles or contrary advice, there should be no wavering from the goal. With such an attitude, other things follow naturally. The mind is the seat of emotions and love. When we love something, an understanding develops. The Lord says, "Where both love and knowledge come together, there will be an abidance and realization of the nature of God." In The Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, "Anyone who dedicates all his actions to Me, considering Me as the goal of life, loves Me and has no enmity towards anyone, comes to Me."

He is infinity, the supreme goal of life. An unemployed person seeks employment. Once in a job, he is anxious for a pay raise. He then has visions of becoming a millionaire, billionaire and soon a zillionaire. The search never ends because finite things cannot satisfy us. Knowingly or unknowingly, our natural tendency is for the infinite. We want immortality, even though we are aware of the temporary nature of this body. We do not want to be bound by the limitations of time.

In conclusion, let us remember the words mentioned in The Bhagavad Gita: "Having known this, nothing remains to be known". In this state, even mountain-like sorrows cannot disturb you. You attain a state of indescribable and inexplicable peace. So we must know this Truth, here and now, without any further delay!

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