Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Section 2 - Understanding God

1.1.1 You Are Part of the whole universe
You are a part of the whole universe. There are so many ways of understanding this basic fact. Look around you… what do you see… all kind of life and inert objects.. countless species of ants, bugs, insects, worms, caterpillars, snakes, frogs, different species of birds, animals, plants, shrubs, trees, bushes … animals and humans … it is mind-boggling how many different species of life-forms we have on our beautiful planet earth. Each and every species of life-forms have their own bodies, sense-organs of action and perception and minds … in varying degress of development. Each of the life-forms we encounter on earth has its own food, and type of shelter. And YOU are very much a part of this teeming species of life-forms.
There is something common in all the life-forms and that is that they all have life. So do you. Ants have eyes, insects have eyes, animals have eyes, reptiles have eyes … and so have you. Like all the other life-forms, you have sense organs of action – for movement. Like the other life-forms you also eat, digest, circulate what you need to different parts of your body and evacuate what you don’t need. Like the other life forms want to live and grow, so too you want to live and grow.
If you look into what each of these life-forms is made of, you find it is all common – we are all made of minerals, protien, vitamins, fat, water… etc. If you break down into our chemical components you will find the all the life forms on this beautiful planet are made of the same basic chemicals combined in different ways… carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen …. Etc. If you break up further, you find that all the beings are made of molecules … and molecules are nothing but energy fields.
So you are not an alienated isolated being … isolated or separate from fellow human beings … or from the rest of the universe. THIS IS A FACT. THIS IS THE TRUTH. You are very much a part of the whole universe of life-forms and inert objects. Understand God
Now let us understand one thing … you are a part of the universe… TRUE … yet did you create this universe? Did you create the food for all the beings in the universe? Did you create the various objects of enjoyment and experience for all the beings of this universe?
Obviously the answer is NO.
Look at the world… it provides each of the teeming millions of life-forms the appropriate food needed to sustain and maintain it. It provides whatever is required for each life-form to multiply. For food to grow we need water. For water we need the rains. For the rains we need seasons…… there is a grand design… a grand intelligence at work - a whole web of intelligent cause and effect …. We should ask ourselves who is the giver?
The Giver is who we call as GOD … Ishwara… Bhagavan. You may say ‘I don’t believe in God’. The truth is you don’t believe in your own concept of God. You have your own concept of who is God and you don’t believe in that. That is all.
Keep your mind open and allow yourself to enquire into what is the nature of God.
Who is God? (Swami Dayananda)
When I look at the world, I find a scheme of things enjoying a certain order. Whenever there is an assembly, made up of a number of components put together intelligently, serving a certain purpose, we call that assembly a creation. When things are not put together chaotically - like one’s throwing things in a garbage can - but put together in a meaningful way, such that all things become total, that single total entity is called a creation. The chair on which you are sitting is a creation. A chair is an assembly, consisting of a number of components put together meaningfully and serving a certain purpose and therefore it is a creation. Similarly, a car is an intelligent assembly; it consists of a number of components such as engine, radiator, tires, gears and so on. A heap of these components would not make a car. When they are intelligently assembled such that the engine is where it should be and the wheels are where they should be, what should be moving moves and what should be stationery is so, there you have an assembly to serve the purpose is designed for. Thus a car is a creation. A clock is a creation. Your shirt is a creation. A nucleus is a creation. A solar system is a creation. All the laws o nature are creation.

This physical body is a creation, a marvelous creation. You look at any part of the body and you will be convinced of this fact. These arms have the right number of joints, otherwise they would not be able to perform the functions they are performing now. Eyes, ears, heart, legs - these are not ordinary designs. Look at the function of the heart. It is a simple pump that continuously performs its function for a number of years. It takes a great deal of engineering and a great deal of money to make an artificial heart.

Thus the more we think the more we see the meaningful order in the creation. I find that everything is a marvel when I look into it. Every cell is a marvel. Even the man-made things such as rockets, computers etc. are marvels and I have been given an intellect to discover and enjoy the marvels.

The Creator Must be Omniscient and Omnipotent
Thus, this world is an intelligent assembly, serving a definite purpose and therefore it is a creation. It is an intelligent creation, which implies knowledge. the maker of a given thing must have the knowledge of the thing. Whether it is a pot or a cloth or a bread, you must know all about it before you can make it. Whether it turns out to be the way you wanted it depends upon your experience, skill, resources etc., but you must necessarily know about it before you start making it.

The logic is that the creator of a given thing has the knowledge of that thing. The creator of a pot has the knowledge of the pot. When we extend this logic to the creation of the universe, it can be said; that the creator of everything must have knowledge of everything. He must be Omniscient.

Over an above the knowledge; the creator must also have the skill and energy to create. So, the creator of the universe must have all the power and skill to create everything. In other words, the creator must be Omnipotent.

Once we accept that there is a creator for this universe, then it follows that the creator must be Omniscient and Omnipotent. And the knowledge and skill always rest in a conscious being and so the creator of the universe must be a conscious being who must be Omniscient and Omnipotent.

Where is God?
Now a question naturally arises with respect to the creator. Where is this creator? It is quite clear that the creator is not here nor anywhere around and therefore we assign him a place that is beyond our reach, beyond the reach of our eyes, ears and thoughts. We call that place the heaven, where our sense perception, our inference, our presumption have no access. Some people call it Vaikuntha, some call it kailasaa. Let us call it heaven. And where is it? Up there. That is why people look up, throw their arms up when they pray to God. No one ever looks down while addressing God.

Now a question arises, if God in heaven created this world, who created Heaven? We have to say God. Since heaven is also a part of creation, it could not have been thre before creation, so the next question is: Where was God before the creation of heaven?

The question remains unanswered and that is part of one’s problem too because one is as good as one’s understanding.

The Maker and the Material are One.
The question as to where God is, does not get answered unless we look at the whole thing as the Vedas do. When we inquire into the creation and its cause, we should not confine ourselves to a part, but should look at the whole. We cannot get the right answers if we ask the wrong questions, because the answer is always in keeping with the question and so, if we ask the right question, there will be a right answer.

When we inquire into the nature of the cause for creation, we find there must be two causes for any creation: the maker and the material. the maker, the one who is responsible for creation, is called the efficient cause or nimmita-karana.

And there also must be some material out which any given thing can be created. For creation of a pot for example, such as clay or copper or brass, out of which the pot is made. For baking bread, there must be a baker and also the flour out of which the bread can be baked. With reference to the creation of the universe if the Lord, God is the maker, the efficient cause, the question is : What is the material out of which God created this world? When we are inquiring into the nature of the cause of the creation, we must take into account the material also.

Where did the Lord find the material? Here, we must also bear in mind that both space and time are part of the creation and so, before creation, there is nothing outside the creation because ‘outside’ is a concept in space which is not yet created. Therefore, there is nothing outside the Lord before creation and so the material should also be within the Lord. That is why he is called the Lord. Therefore not only is the Lord the maker, but He is the material too.
tasmaad vaa etasmat akasha sambhutah (Taittiriya Upanishad 2.1.1) - from the Lord that is this self, akasa the space was born. From the space was born air, from air was born fire; from fire, water; from water, earth was born. Vedas give us this model of the five elements for the creation of the world. The world is nothing but these five elements and their combinations.

While explaining how the maker and the material of this universe are one, the Vedas give us the illustration of a spider. yathornanaabhih srhate grnhate ca (Mundaka Upanishad 1.1.7) just as a spider creates a (web) and withdraws it too. The spider is the efficient cause of the web because it has the intelligence and the skill to create the web. It chooses the right place for the web where it would not be swept away by the lady of the house and where it can get its prey. This shows the spider has intelligence. And the material for the web is the secretion of a gland which it finds within itself. So too, the Lord, the Intelligent, Conscious Being projects this creation and withdraws it unto Himself at the time of dissolution.

It is like your own dream. In the dream, you are the maker of the dream world, and you are also the material cause for the dream manifestation. From the stand-point of the material cause, the universe which consists of both known and unknown, is a manifestation of the Lord.

In the dream you are the maker of the dream world. You are a knowledgeable person endowed with the capacity (sakti) to make that dream world. And being not separate from the material that is necessary for the dream world, you pervade the entire dream world. The dream space is you, because the effect is always sustained by the material. Your shirt, for instance, is sustained by the fabric; it cannot be independent of the fabric. You cannot even imagine a shirt minus some fabric. That is an astounding fact. This is true with reference to any one thing. You can’t think of a building without thinking of the materials that have gone into it. When you see this kind of a situation, one thing becomes clear - no object can be independent of the material of which it is made. Even though the object is named differently from the material - shirt and cotton - spelled differently, and understood differently, at the same time, the two objects referred to by two different words really refer to one substance alone. that is cotton. We can go further and say that cotton is but fibers, the fibers are molecules, molecules are atoms, atoms are particles and so on. Everything is sustained by something else. At the particle level it becomes a concept.

Therefore we see that an effect is not separate from its material cause. In understanding the Lord we use the dream example to assimilate that fact that the Lord is not separate from all there is. In the dream, the world is sustained by me; I am the cause for the dream world, dream space, dream time, and so on. I pervade every one of them. It is only because I am the material cause that I pervade the dream world, otherwise I’ll be like the pot-maker who is elsewhere. When you buy a pot and bring it home the pot-maker does not come home with you, because he has not made the pot out of himself. the material is separate from him. When you bring the pot you can’t leave the material, whereas you can leave the maker behind. Between the maker and the material there is a separation.

When we are talking of the total, however, there is no separation. The material cause being yourself in the dream, you pervade the whole world there. Space, time, stars etc have come out of you. If that is understood, the Lord can be understood as the one who is manifest here in the form of space, time and everything that is empirically experienced by you. This empirical reality means ‘this is a chair’, ‘this is a microphone’ etc for all of us. This entire universe which is empirically real, is a manifestation of the Lord who is Bhagavaan.

Lord is to be understood, not believed
The lord is not a matter for belief. He is a matter for understanding. This world is not a matter for belief because you perceive it. Therefore Lord is also not something to be believed. It is a challenge to understand him. If the Lord in heaven, not within the range of your perception or inference, then He becomes a matter of belief. In that case you simply accept what you are told without asking questions. But the Lord of the Hindus is not a matter for belief. Hindus do not simply believe in God, they understand God. That is the reason why Hindus even worship space. There are temples in India that worship the five elements.
You don’t require a particular altar to invoke the Lord. You can invoke Him anywhere because what is it that is not the Lord? The whole Order is the Lord, all the laws are the Lord.
We are objective when we are alive to the reality. We are talking about what is and so there is no question of belief. We can see that gold is different from copper and that is different from lead because each metal has its own atomic weight, its own physical and other properties. But a physicist knows that all of them are nothing but energy, quanta of energy. That is not a belief. If someone says, ‘I don’t see that’, then that person may have to believe, but that is not a belief that one has to live with and die with. What we have here is belief pending discovery. There is something to be understood. we understand the difference and at the same time, understand the non-difference, something more than meets the eye. that is the vision of the Veda that this whole universe is non-separate from the Lord because He is the efficient cause as well as the material cause. Since the Lord is everything, he is all the names, all the forms and therefore we can invoke Him in any name, any form. This is the mature way of looking at the worship of God. We can pray to Him in any language because He is Omniscient and therefore should know all languages.
You and God
So now tell me since God is the material cause of the universe and everything in the universe is an effect … and an effect has no separate existence from its cause – then since the universe cannot have a separate existence from God and you are very much a part of the universe as well, do you have a SEPARATE existence from God?
Your body is not separate from God. It is a manifestation of knowledge … God’s All-Knowledge… It is powered by energy … whose energy … God’s energy. Your mind is pervaded by intelligent Order – God’s intelligent Order. Every cell of your body is GOD … just as every wave is nothing but its cause water.
This is the reality … this is the truth … that you are totally connected to God.. That you can never be away from God. You may know it, or you may not know it … still this is the truth. Even before the law of gravity was discovered, it still existed. So too irrespective of whether you know it or not the FACT THAT YOU ARE NEVER SEPARATE FROM GOD exists.
So you have a connection to that ALL-INTELLIGENT ALL KNOWLEDABLE ALL POWERFUL Being … once you know that, it makes all the difference.
Because you do have a relationship with God. In fact your relationship with God is your first relationship. When you came into this world, you did not choose your parents. It was given to you. By Whom? By The Lord. So your first relationship is with the Lord who pervades you. Then comes every other relationship. So if you are in harmony with the Lord, you will be in harmony with everything – because Lord is everything.
So how to have a good relationship with the Lord? How to be in harmony with the Lord?
Lord Krishna tells us that it by applying the principle of YOGA . So Lord Krishna talks about the ATTITUDE with
1. reference to our actions (yogah karmasu kaushalam – discrimination with reference to our actions) and
2. our response to the result of our actions(samatvam yoga ucyate – eveness of mind or composure with reference to various situations pleasant and unpleasant - the result of our actions).

You are a part and parcel of the society in which you are placed by God. Every member of that society is connected to God, every member of that society has no separate existence from God. So when you relate to society in terms of your actions and responses … see the connection of yourself to society through God … and honour that relationship.
Is it possible for you to hurt your hand – or for that matter any limb of your body? No. This world is in reality ONE alone. Everybody is member of this ONE God Family. So our actions and our responses need to take this fact into account.
We will see how, in the next session.
VERSES to learn by-heart – Chapter 7.4 – 7.14 11.5-11.14

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