Alan Watts – Nature of God

Nothing but good vibes.

Making God Necessary, by Deepak Chopra

Why God is a verb, not a noun

The practice of medicine, which I began after moving from India to the United States in 1971, is an odd opening to God. But finding out what’s wrong with a patient comes close to being a spiritual investigation, improbable as this may sound. Unless someone is wheeled into the emergency room with a broken leg or a gunshot wound—both were common occurrences in the New Jersey hospital that was my first exposure to American medicine—the doctor begins by asking, “What’s wrong?” The patient then gives a subjective account of his aches, pains, and specific discomfort. This account is likely to be filtered through distortions such as high anxiety, distrust of medicine, or in my case back then, skepticism that a young M.D. from India really knew anything. (“Can I see a real doctor?” was written on the faces of many patients in an era when the Vietnam War had created a doctor shortage, leading to an influx of foreign-born and foreign-trained physicians.)
Although we all visit the doctor routinely to find out what’s wrong with us, certain situations depend almost entirely upon subject-reporting. Pain is the most obvious example. There is no objective measure for pain, no reliable scale like the level of liver enzymes or hormones in the blood. “It hurts” is the only standard, and the patient’s description of how much it hurts and where cannot be refuted. Depression and anxiety are also heavily dependent on subject-reporting. Even though brain scans are beginning to offer a hint at objective measurement, the general conclusion seems to be that every depressed patient is a unique case.

Diagnosis, then, implies a subtle struggle between what the patient report and what the physician concludes to be true. The unspoken object of this contest, from the doctor’s viewpoint, is to reduce subjectivity as much as possible so that medical science can get at the facts and nothing but the facts. It is absolutely necessary for subjectivity not to rule the practice of medicine, while on the other hand pure objectivity is a chimera.

My father had a long career as an Indian Army physician, a cardiologist, and it was a point of pride with him to reject Ayurveda, the centuries-old indigenous medicine of India, in favor of “real medicine,” meaning the Western science-based variety. So a high respect for science was ingrained in me from my childhood onward, even though my grandmother was a staunch believer in Ayurvedic remedies, or folk remedies as my father would have labeled them. I felt no qualms about this division in the family, and after a certain age, perhaps twelve or thirteen, I understood why my father was also a nonbeliever in God while all the women in my family, including my mother, were strongly devout.

Unless you have respect for subject-reported facts, religion is nearly impossible to credit. There are no facts about God, none that rise to the level of science, that is. Saint Paul may have been struck by divine light on the road to Damascus, but a traveler going in the opposite direction might simply have seen a man fall down on the side of the road. I recently asked a woman why she had become a deeply convinced convert to Roman Catholicism, and she replied, “Jesus was either a deluded psychotic or the Son of God, and I’m sure he wasn’t crazy.” She hadn’t considered another, obvious possibility: Jesus could have been ordinarily sane but very convinced by his subjective experiences. So far as I could see in my early life, which was spent as a scientific atheist, all religions were founded on subjective and therefore unreliable experiences.

Yet I had an uncle whose hobby, as it were, consisted of visiting saints on a regular basis. “Saint” is a very general term in common Indian usage, denoting a holy man, swami, yogi, mystic, or enlightened master. No official body confers the title, and people regularly sit in the presence of saints in order to get a blessing, or Darshan. I went with my uncle as a fascinated youngster on various Darshan jaunts, and I was impressed that being in the presence of a saint made me feel peaceful and quiet inside. There was sometimes a sense of bliss, or Ananda, that is considered a classic sign of true Darshan. I later realized that for my uncle, this was actually a serious enterprise, because he had adopted the belief, which goes back before written history, that setting eyes on the enlightened ensures that you yourself will one day be enlightened (in fact, the Sanskrit root of Darshan is “to see”).

This prelude brings me to the point of my argument about God today, and specifically the immanent God. The crisis of faith that surrounds us and so troubles churchmen and believers of every stripe can be solved only one way, by making God necessary. Unless God enters into daily decisions and, furthermore, brings about better results than doing without God, the divine will be at most an add-on to modern life. Any version of God that is personal, incidental, occasional, fickle, or unknowable cannot be a God I’d call necessary. Oxygen is necessary, along with food and shelter; money is necessary for all but the smallest fraction of society; and to the list could be added love and happiness, although those qualities are done without by untold millions of people.
In order to make God necessary, there is a journey from belief to faith and from faith to knowledge. One lesson from my medical practice, reinforced by science in general, is that subjectivity isn’t good enough. There must be objective conclusions and, still better, practical solutions. Looking upon the seemingly superhuman calm with which Socrates faced death, Nietzsche thought he was glad to be cured of the disease of life. As rebellious as that sounds, the Buddha would have agreed, in a different way, that life’s inevitable baggage of pain and suffering must be approached with radical surgery—the necessary treatment was ego death, the end of personal attachment to the cycle of pleasure and pain.

Lacking a rebellious streak, I’ve concluded that the point of spirituality is to deliver a kind of medicine to the soul, a recovery program that invests life with “light.” This word has countless meanings in the world’s spiritual traditions, but here my use is simply the light of knowledge—knowing what is real and disposing of what is unreal. If God cannot pass the test of knowledge, the spiritual journey remains incomplete or even aborted.

Belief is the first step, which is different from faith. Belief is more tenuous; it involves a willingness to believe that God is a possibility. A confirmed atheist won’t accept belief as a first step, and countless modern people are satisfied enough with secularism that for all practical purposes they are practicing atheists. But if belief is adopted, a person starts to examine if something real is the object of belief. Children believe in fairytales, but to carry this belief into adulthood implies a kind of self-indulgence, an enjoyment in fooling oneself on purpose. Bible stories are like fairytales in the way they defy ordinary reality, and as children nothing is more captivating than miracles. But holding on to the Bible stories as the basis of belief in God strikes me as a sort of self-indulgence, too, bringing the same pleasure in fooling oneself. Without holding a miracle up to the same validation as a blood test, we ignore the demands of reality.

But validating God is a long time coming, I realize, and this requires the second stage on the journey, faith. Faith is more convinced than belief. It is upheld by actual personal experience of some kind that points to the divine. To my mind, knowledge of God isn’t privileged over other kinds of knowledge. A physical brain is required, along with measurable activity in various regions of the brain that correlate with what a person is experiencing objectively. To see angels requires the same visual cortex as seeing a cow. There’s a trap here, however, that needs to be avoided.

The fact that the brain is active during spiritual experiences isn’t the same as saying that the brain creates those experiences. It only processes them. In Tibetan Buddhist monks who have meditated on compassion for years, the prefrontal cortex lights up with extraordinary intensity on an fMRI. Certain frequencies of brain waves are also greatly intensified. Looking at this evidence, some have argued that neuroscience has validated the spiritual experience as real. I think that’s a wrong conclusion, because nothing stronger than inference is involved. ON an fMRI a neuroscientist sees only neural correlates, the physical fingerprints of something that isn’t actually measurable. In fact, not just spiritual experience but all experience isn’t captured through brain activity, any more than knowing the workings of a radio tells you how a Mozart symphony being broadcast through the radio was created. Hooking Shakespeare up with electrodes while he writes Hamlet won’t reveal the first line, or even syllable, of the play, much less its meaning.

The whole point of spiritual experience is its profound meaning for the individual, which can be life-changing. If someone leaves her everyday existence to become a secluded Carmelite nun, it’s folly to say “her brain made her do it.” Her experience, filtered through her mental evaluation of it, made her do it. I would say that everyday life, in fact, is littered with clues and hints of spiritual experience. These passing moments take on a flavor everyone can identify with, even the most convinced atheist. Let me offer a partial list, which consist of moments when you or I feel:

Safe and protected
Wanted
Loved
As if we belong
As if our lives are embedded in a larger design
As if the body is light and action is effortless
Upheld by unseen forces
Unusually fortunate or lucky
Touched by fate,
Inspired
Infused with light, or actually able to see a faint light around someone else
Held in the presence of the divine
Spoken to by our soul
Certain that a deep wish or dream is coming true
Certain that a physical illness will be healed
At ease with death and dying

Only a fraction of the items on this list conform to the conventional notion of a religious experience (although pollsters have found that ordinary people, up to a majority, report seeing an aura of light around someone else at least once in their lives, and hospice caregivers routinely see something like the soul leaving the body at the moment of death. These are phenomena difficult to talk about, even embarrassing, in the context of secular society.) It takes a degree of faith in yourself to acknowledge these experiences and even more faith to follow them up. I’d call lack of follow-up the real loss of faith, because all too often the most extraordinary experiences pass through our lives momentarily and then are lost in the welter of daily existence.

Faith is your own experience is crucial. Once you notice that you’ve had a meaningful experience of the kind I’ve listed, you must give it significance. This is a harder step for most people, because they have been conditioned from childhood to identify with secondhand labels. In my case, for example, the labels include Indian, male, late middle age, doctor, married, well-to-do, and so on. As we accumulate labels, hoping to be known by positive tags rather than negative ones—I’ve had more than my share of the latter—we develop an ongoing story about who we are. This story is almost entirely externalized, because that’s how labels work. Insidiously, we start to prefer labels over experience, especially when an experience would set as apart as different. “I am an endocrinologist” was a prestige tag for me in my profession. It took a bit of daring to substitute “I am a mind-body doctor” or “I am a meditator”—those tags were quite suspect in the 1980s. What if I became known without tags, both to others and to myself? “I feel like a child of the universe” or “I was touched by God” aren’t safe ways to identify yourself.

So in the stage of faith, you must shift your allegiance to what you actually experience, which leads to a new, more authentic story about who you are and where you are headed. Much of the panic among professional religionists today can be traced to the collapse of traditional stories, stories of saints, miracle workers, the humbly devout, trials of faith, and rewards and punishments from God. Nietzsche notoriously thought that religious stories were power plays, methods by which a priest caste controlled believers. I’m willing to shrug off such accusations, because in reality, to live by an secondhand story keeps us from true knowledge. To accept conventional wisdom is the surest way to remain unwise.

Once you’ve given significance to your inner experience, more experiences start to arrive. You’ve turned on the tap. Everyone, as it happens, already entices phenomena to appear. If you walk around with a chip on your shoulder, there will always be more reasons to pick a fight. If you are an ingrained optimist, your day will be filled with things to be optimistic over. In other words, each of us creates personal reality through a feedback loop with the larger reality. Being infinite, the larger reality—known in Sanskrit as Brahman—can supply endless evidence that your personal story is valid. At some point it’s important to believe this; otherwise, the alternative is to lead a meaningless life, which no one can tolerate. Then comes a change. The things you believe in start to become less personal, less about “I, me, and mine.” Spirituality becomes more and more selfless.

Being practical modern people, we want a payoff for the time and effort we invest in things, and selfless spirituality has no obvious payoff. It would shock most seekers to hear that finding God or enlightenment doesn’t make you a better person or smarter, richer, more respected—it doesn’t make you more of anything. Wanting more is an ego game. It is intertwined with the ego’s innate insecurity, which tries to find security by acquiring more of the good things in life and reducing more of the painful things. Rupert Spira, an inspired speaker on these matters, was once contemplating the question of the afterlife. “The ego wants to survive after death,” Spira remarked, “so that it can come back and tell everyone about it.” What would impress your friends more than telling them you just got back from a trip to Heaven? It beats the French Riviera.

Faith on its own is insufficient; it sustains us in a mixture of truth and illusion. Our minds, our desires, our wishes, fears, and dreams, lead us on, but there is always nagging uncertainty. Some things are convincing but illusory, like the ego’s desire to be totally pleasured at every moment or to be liked by everyone. This jumble of illusion and reality all has to be sorted out. I associate the ripening stage of faith with emotional maturity, or what might be called “building a self.” The essence of making God necessary is coming to grips with reality. A strong sense of self is required, never more so than when you realize that the self must be jettisoned. At that point, founded on your inner experiences, you are ready for the third and last stage, which is true knowledge.

True knowledge doesn’t come with a signpost pointing to God. Instead, what you start knowing is the nature of existence. The only two things any of us actually knows with total certainty is that we exist and that we are aware of existing. Ironically, these are the two things that everyone takes for granted, whether they call themselves atheists or believers. “I am” needs no follow-up. As soon as you say, “I am X,” the X dominates your thought. “I am Deepak, an Indian male, a doctor, etc.” forms a train of thought that leads, step by step, away from the simplicity of “I am.” There’s good reason for why Moses heard Jehovah say “I am that I am” from the burning bush. It’s the one true thing that connects the human and the divine. “I am” is the beginning and end of wisdom.

This needs explaining, naturally. If you take the physical worlds as a given, existence is empty and inert. It’s empty in that life won’t matter unless it gets filled with countless experiences that arrive on a conveyor belt from birth to death. Existence as nothing but a physical fact is inert because until then mind enlivens it, nothing “out there” matters. Hamlet’s “To be or not to be, that is the question” actually misses the point. To be is inevitable, beyond choosing. The real question is what existence means. This becomes an urgent question once the demands of “I, me, mine” are exhausted or abandoned. A quote whose source I forget comes to mind: As long as you have a personal stake in the world, enlightenment is impossible. Or to make this truth more comfortable for Westerners who are suspicious of enlightenment, as long as you have a personal stake in the world, you won’t know who you really are.

I’ve been asking for the reader’s indulgence by not bringing up the immanent God, which is the putative subject here. But now we are close. If existence isn’t fated to be empty and inert, it must be something else, replete and alive. The fullness of reality and the source of all life is God. When you come to the stage when you are urgently interested in existence, it turns out that awareness cannot be left out. To exist and to be aware that you exist go hand in hand; ultimately they are one. In the ancient Vedic tradition of India, this seamless unity, this one thing upon which all things are founded, was simply called “That.” Two enlightened people could meet on the street with totally different backgrounds and completely divergent opinions about everything. But both would agree to the statement, “I am That, you are That, and all this is That.”

“That” is too unspecific for theologians, and labels have been applied, such as Brahman, vidya, mahavakya, and so on, in order to find the right label. But this effort, along with the theology it is a part of, runs against the intention of “That,” which is to point beyond all language to the source of everything. God as origin belongs in every religion, it goes without saying. But origin without God is much trickier. The one great advantage of the Indian tradition, as I view it, lies in getting at the source without resorting to anything beyond existence itself. If God isn’t existence, then the search for God will only lead into deeper illusion. That’s the bottom line of “I am That.”

In the final stage of the spiritual journey, to be is enough. Being is awareness, and there is no getting beyond awareness. What we are not aware of might as well not exist. A current fashion among physicists is to posit an infinite number of possible universes that comprise the so-called “multiverse.” These alternate universes are necessary for cosmological reasons. For example, they get us past the nonsensical question, “What came before time began?” By general agreement, time and space, along with matter and energy, emerged at the instant of the Big Bang. Since the human brain is a product of time, space, matter, and energy, the pre-created state of the universe is impenetrable. But mathematical conjectures can be applied to a supposed pre-creation, and using one set of complex mathematical formulas allows proponents of the multiverse to imagine a cosmic casino where trillions of universes bubble up at random. One of these bubbles is the Big Bang, which completely at random produced a universe that fostered human life. Thus “our” universe has time and space in it, along with the force of evolution, making Homo sapiens a winner at the cosmic casino.

Theology couldn’t be more fanciful or divorced from reality than this, and it’s only a historical happenstance that makes us speak of the multiverse as more respectable than speaking of God as source and origin. “That” gets us past all historical happenstances. Neither an age of faith or an age of science matters. In any age, the individual can find the truth simply by paying attention to the undeniable fact that existence and awareness are intertwined. At any given moment, someone in the world is amazed to find that the God experience is real. Wonder and certainty still dawn at these moments, whenever they arise. I keep at hand a passage from Thoreau’s Walden, where he speaks of “the solitary hired man on a farm in the outskirts of Concord, who has had his second birth.” Like us, Thoreau wonders if someone’s testimony about having a “peculiar religious experience” is valid. In answer, he looks across the span of centuries. “Zoroaster, thousands of years ago, traveled the same road and had the same experience, but he, being wise, knew it to be universal.”

If you find yourself suddenly infused with an experience you cannot explain, Thoreau says, just be aware that you are not alone. Your awakening is woven into the great tradition. “Humbly commune with Zoroaster then, and, through the liberalizing influence of all the worthies, with Jesus Christ himself, let ‘our church” go by the board.”

Skeptics turn this advice on its head. The fact that God has been experienced over the ages, only goes to show that religion is a primitive holdover, a mental relic that we should train our brains to reject. But all attempts to clarify matters—to say, once and for all, that God is absolutely real or absolutely unreal—continue to fail. The muddle persists, and we all have felt the impact of confusion and doubt. What this tells me, however, is that it’s impossible to stand aside from experience when we come to the source. Just as time, space, matter, and energy emerge from a pre-created domain that is timeless and without dimensions, the source of awareness is inconceivable. “That” is ground zero, the womb of reality. There is no more language, or even thought. As the ancient Indian rishis declared, “Those who know of it speak of it not. Those who speak of it know it not.”

It’s only sensible to ask if such knowing, being impossible to talk about, is actually real. This has been a vexing dilemma that gave rise to two huge topics in philosophy: ontology (the study of being) and epistemology (the study of how we know things). Both topics are gnarly and entangled, and Indian philosophy isn’t immune from that. But we can cut the Gordian knot with another expression from the ancient seers: This isn’t knowledge you acquire. It is knowledge you become. God, like the universe and reality itself, is participatory. There is no other choice, since existence is always on the move, which is why I’m fond of saying that God is a verb, not a noun.

If the argument feels like it’s getting opaque, I can offer an analogy that helped me when I first heard it. Imagine that your mind is like a river. On the surface a river is filled with activity in eddies and waves. As you go deeper, the waves subside into a steady current. Deeper still the current slows down, and at the very bottom of the river, there is no current at all as water settles into the underlying river bed. Just as we can trace a river from its most agitated state to a level of complete stillness, the mind can follow itself from the stream of consciousness to deeper levels until it encounters its source in silent awareness. The entire journey is accomplished within awareness; the beginning, middle, and end are all conscious.

The practical result of this dive into awareness is not abstract knowledge. Reality is different in different states of consciousness—another maxim from the ancient rishis. Therefore, God isn’t merely process but transformation….As the transcendent God loses significance in the modern world, we must turn to immanence—“God in us” or “God in everything”—to justify the divine. I have to agree, but with the proviso that transcendence and immanence aren’t relevant distinctions in the end. We don’t say, “Existence is way up there, beyond the clouds. Have faith and you will find that existence is down here, too.” Likewise, if God is existence, being “up there” or “down here” has no meaning.

I could give a preview of coming attractions by holding out what higher states of consciousness must be like. The Indian tradition has thousands of pages on the subject. But the simple truth is that transformation never ends, and states of consciousness lead to realities that must be experienced directly. The Vedas sound reassuring when they say, “You are the universe,” a kind of ultimate validation of what it means to be human. Like everyone, I’ve spent my life searching for validation. I try in all frankness not to describe experiences I haven’t had myself. The curious reader can infer…that everything being described has happened to me.

I am the union of two parents, in a sense, unwilling to rely on science or faith alone but equally unwilling to let go of either strand. It’s a peculiarity in human beings that we never settle on a fixed identity, the way a tiger has tigerness and perhaps an angel has angelness. In the evolutionary scheme, our specific mutation is to embody mutability. I feel that personally every day, and if you ask me “Who are you” I don’t resort to memory, family, labels, and other remnants of selves that have drifted in and out of the picture since I was born. All statements of “I am X” fall short—even “I am God”—to explain what is real at this very moment. Existence is on the move, and the only reliable guide in to the unknown is reality itself.♦

Source: Parabola

Adyashanti – Existential Unity

Published on Nov 15,

In unity, you are everything that exists. Everything, everything, everything. Whether it’s the farthest galaxy you can see or the next feeling or the next thought. Adyashanti explores how this recognition of unity releases you from clinging to any sense of identification, and how, as the opposites drop away, what remains is only what is.

Excerpted from “Beyond the Realms of Identity”:

Quotes from this Video:

“Everything I see, touch, taste, feel is me, but not as an ego because an ego is fixed. In this sense, you are the flux and flow of existence. And in that, there is no exclusivity; there’s nothing to be, there’s nothing to defend.”

“I see God in everything, everywhere, but only everything, everywhere. Nothing is outside. There is no otherness to God.”

“When you are what arises, the relationship, the duality collapses. You are no longer in relationship anymore.”

Deepak Chopra- Who is God & Life After Death

Deepak Chopra Interview – Patrick Bet-David asks about Deepak’s life growing up, his life purpose, his self healing mindset, alternative medicine, world peace and who is God?

Eckhart Tolle – How Do You Experience God ?

God’s Being is Our Being – Rupert Spira 

Published on Mar 30, 2018

A woman asks Rupert to interpret the biblical story of Moses and the burning bush when God says ‘I am’.
From the weekend in Verona – March 2018.

Spiritual Inspiration – Never Let Others Opinion Limit Your Possibility of Knowing!

Audio

God A HUMAN HISTORY By REZA ASLAN

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanity’s quest to make sense of the divine, and sounds a call to embrace a deeper, more expansive understanding of God.

In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large.

In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship, Aslan narrates the history of religion as one long and remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions. According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, “Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we’re believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves.”

But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature—our compassion, our thirst for justice—but all that is bad in it: our greed, our bigotry, our penchant for violence. All these qualities inform our religions, cultures, and governments.

More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality. Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will challenge the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.

Photo: © Hilary Jones

Reza Aslan is an acclaimed writer and scholar of religions whose books include No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror (published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism), as well as the editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three sons.

Reza Aslan – Talk to Al Jazeera

Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American scholar of world religions and the author of several books on faith. His most recent book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth”, is a best-seller — and controversial.

He sat down with Tony Harris to talk about how he became acquainted with the subject of his latest book, as well as converting from Islam to evangelical Christianity before returning to the religion of his birth.

The 7 Most Intriguing Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God ~ George Dvorsky

The 7 Most Intriguing Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God

Nietzsche said God is dead, but here are seven fascinating and provocative philosophical arguments for the existence of God.

This article originally appeared on io9.com, and is reprinted here with their permission.

Nietzsche is famous for saying that God is dead, but news of The Almighty’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Here are some of the most fascinating and provocative philosophical arguments for the existence of God.

To be clear, these are philosophical arguments. They’re neither rooted in religious scripture nor any kind of scientific observation or fact. Many of these arguments, some of which date back thousands of years, serve as interesting intellectual exercises, teasing apart what we think we know about the universe and our place within it from what we think we’re capable of knowing. Other arguments, like the last two listed, are attempts to reconcile questions that currently plague scientists and philosophers.
Now, none of these arguments make a definitive case for the existence of God, and many of them are (fairly) easily debunked or problematized (as I’ll try to show). But at the very least, they offer considerable food for thought.

Finally, by “God” or “god,” we’re not talking about any specific religious deity. As this list shows, the term can encompass everything from a perfect, omnipotent being to something that can be considered even a bit banal.

1) The very notion of an all-perfect being means God has to exist

This is the classic ontological, or a priori, argument. It was first articulated in 1070 by St. Anselm, who argued that because we have a conception of an all-perfect being — which he defined as “that than which nothing greater can be conceived” — it has to exist. In his essay “Proslogion,” St. Anselm conceived of God as a being who possesses all conceivable perfection. But if this being “existed” merely as an idea in our minds, then it would be less perfect than if it actually existed. So it wouldn’t be as great as a being who actually existed, something that would thus contradict our definition of God — a being who’s supposed to be all-perfect. Thus, God must exist.

Okay, admittedly, this sounds a bit weird by modern standards. Actually, it even sounded weird back then; Gaunilo of Marmoutiers ripped apart Anselm’s idea by asking people to conceive of an island “more excellent” than any other island, revealing the flaws in this type of argumentation. Today, we know that this type of a priori argument (i.e., pure deduction) is grossly limited, often tautological, and utterly fails to take empirical evidence into account.

But surprisingly, it was a position defended by none other than Rene Descartes. His take on the matter is a bit more illustrative; Descartes, in his “Fifth Meditation,” wrote that the conception of a perfect being who lacks existence is like imagining a triangle whose interior angles don’t sum to 180 degrees (he was big on the notion of innate ideas and the doctrine of clear and distinct perception). So, because we have the idea of a supremely perfect being, we have to conclude that a supremely perfect being exists; to Descarte, God’s existence was just as obvious, logical, and self-evident as the most basic mathematical truths.

2) Something must have caused the Universe to exist

Philosophers call this one the First-Cause Argument, or the Cosmological Argument, and early advocates of this line of reasoning included Plato, Aristotle, and St. Thomas Aquinas. It’s predicated on the assumption that every event must have a cause, and that cause in turn must have a cause, and on and on and on. Assuming there’s no end to this regression of causes, this succession of events would be infinite. But an infinite series of causes and events doesn’t make sense (a causal loop cannot exist, nor a causal chain of infinite length). There’s got to be something — some kind of first cause — that is itself uncaused. This would require some kind of “unconditioned” or “supreme” being — which the philosophers call God.

I’m sure you’ve already come up with your own objections to the First-Cause Argument, including the issue of a first-causer having to have its own cause. Also, infinity does in fact appear to be a fundamental quality of the universe. All this said, however, cosmologists are still struggling to understand the true nature of time and what “caused” the Big Bang to happen in the first place.

3) There has to be something rather than nothing

Called the Cosmological Argument from Contingency, this is a slightly different take on the First-Cause Argument. The German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz put it best when he wrote,

Why is there something rather than nothing? The sufficient reason … is found in a substance which … is a necessary being bearing the reason for its existence within itself.

Because it’s impossible for only contingent beings to exist, he argued, a necessary being must exist — a being we call God. Writing in “Monadology,” he wrote that “no fact can be real or existing and no statement true without a sufficient reason for its being so and not otherwise.”

More recently, the philosopher Richard Swinburne looked at the issue more inductively, writing,

There is quite a chance that if there is a God he will make something of the finitude and complexity of a universe. It is very unlikely that a universe would exist uncaused, but rather more likely that God would exist uncaused. The existence of the universe…can be made comprehensible if we suppose that it is brought about by God.

4) Something had to have designed the Universe

The Design Argument, or teleological argument, suggests we live in a Universe that surely had to be designed. The cosmos, goes the argument, exhibits orderliness and (apparent) purpose — for example, everything within the universe adheres to the laws of physics, and many things within it are correlated with one another in a way that appears purposeful. As William Paley argued, just as the existence of a watch indicates the presence of an intelligent mind, the existence of the universe and various phenomena within it indicates the presence of an even greater intelligence, namely God.
Needless to say, this line of argumentation was far more compelling prior to the advent of naturalism (the idea that everything can be explained without the benefit of supernatural intervention) and Darwinian evolution. Indeed, Darwin served as a kind of death knell to the Design Argument, at least as far as the biological realm is concerned. We know that the human eye — in all its apparent complexity and purpose — is not the product of a designer, but rather the painstaking result of variation and selection.
But the Design Argument isn’t entirely dead yet. The exquisite fine-tuning of the “biophilic universe” has lead some to conclude there is in fact a greater intelligence at work. To counter this line of reasoning, however, philosophers say we should simply defer to the anthropic principle, which is interesting because theists say the same thing!

5) Consciousness proves that immaterial entities exist

We still don’t have a working theory of consciousness, giving rise to the notorious Hard Problem. Indeed, subjective awareness, or qualia, is quite unlike anything we normally deal with in our otherwise material universe. The weirdness of consciousness, and our inability to understand it, has given rise to the notion of substance dualism, also known as Cartesian dualism, which describes two fundamental kinds of stuff: the mental and the material. Dualists say that material on its own is incapable of producing qualia — one’s capacity to have internal thoughts, subjective awareness, and feelings.

Theists have used substance dualism to make the claim for an independent “realm” of existence that’s distinct from the physical world. It’s a scenario similar to the one experience by Neo in “The Matrix”; his mental experiences occurred in a realm separate from the one that hosted his body. Theistic philosophers have taken this idea to the next level, using it to infer the existence of otherworldly or immaterial entities, including God. It’s a bit of a stretch, and an argument that could use a lot more evidence.

6) We’re living in a computer simulation run by hacker gods

God is in the eye of the beholder. Unlike Anselm’s take on God as something “that which nothing greater can be conceived,” gods can also consist of entities vastly beyond our comprehension, reach, and control. If the Simulation Hypothesis is true, and we’re the product of posthuman ancestors (or some unknown entity), we simply have no choice but to recognize them as gods. They’re running the show, and our collective (or even individual) behavior may be monitored — or even controlled — by them. These hacker gods would be akin the gnostic gods of yesteryear — powerful entities doing their own thing, and without our best interests in mind.

7) Aliens are our gods

We have yet to make contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out there. A possible solution to the Fermi Paradox is the notion of directed panspermia — the idea that aliens spark life on other planets, like sending spores or probes to fertile planets, and then leave, or monitor and control the process covertly. By definition, therefore, they would be like gods to us.
This idea has been addressed many times in scifi, including the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “The Chase”, in which a god-like species is responsible for all life in the Alpha Quadrant, or Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” in which an alien can be seen seeding the primordial Earth with life. Even Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001″ is a take on this idea, with the monoliths instigating massive evolutionary leaps.

The 7 Most Intriguing Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God

Where Do We Come From?


Nietzsche said God is dead, but here are seven fascinating and provocative philosophical arguments for the existence of God.

This article originally appeared on io9.com, and is reprinted here with their permission.

Nietzsche is famous for saying that God is dead, but news of The Almighty’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Here are some of the most fascinating and provocative philosophical arguments for the existence of God.

To be clear, these are philosophical arguments. They’re neither rooted in religious scripture nor any kind of scientific observation or fact. Many of these arguments, some of which date back thousands of years, serve as interesting intellectual exercises, teasing apart what we think we know about the universe and our place within it from what we think we’re capable of knowing. Other arguments, like the last two listed, are attempts to reconcile questions that currently plague scientists and philosophers.
Now, none of these arguments make a definitive case for the existence of God, and many of them are (fairly) easily debunked or problematized (as I’ll try to show). But at the very least, they offer considerable food for thought.

Finally, by “God” or “god,” we’re not talking about any specific religious deity. As this list shows, the term can encompass everything from a perfect, omnipotent being to something that can be considered even a bit banal.

1) The very notion of an all-perfect being means God has to exist

This is the classic ontological, or a priori, argument. It was first articulated in 1070 by St. Anselm, who argued that because we have a conception of an all-perfect being — which he defined as “that than which nothing greater can be conceived” — it has to exist. In his essay “Proslogion,” St. Anselm conceived of God as a being who possesses all conceivable perfection. But if this being “existed” merely as an idea in our minds, then it would be less perfect than if it actually existed. So it wouldn’t be as great as a being who actually existed, something that would thus contradict our definition of God — a being who’s supposed to be all-perfect. Thus, God must exist.

Okay, admittedly, this sounds a bit weird by modern standards. Actually, it even sounded weird back then; Gaunilo of Marmoutiers ripped apart Anselm’s idea by asking people to conceive of an island “more excellent” than any other island, revealing the flaws in this type of argumentation. Today, we know that this type of a priori argument (i.e., pure deduction) is grossly limited, often tautological, and utterly fails to take empirical evidence into account.

But surprisingly, it was a position defended by none other than Rene Descartes. His take on the matter is a bit more illustrative; Descartes, in his “Fifth Meditation,” wrote that the conception of a perfect being who lacks existence is like imagining a triangle whose interior angles don’t sum to 180 degrees (he was big on the notion of innate ideas and the doctrine of clear and distinct perception). So, because we have the idea of a supremely perfect being, we have to conclude that a supremely perfect being exists; to Descarte, God’s existence was just as obvious, logical, and self-evident as the most basic mathematical truths.

2) Something must have caused the Universe to exist

Philosophers call this one the First-Cause Argument, or the Cosmological Argument, and early advocates of this line of reasoning included Plato, Aristotle, and St. Thomas Aquinas. It’s predicated on the assumption that every event must have a cause, and that cause in turn must have a cause, and on and on and on. Assuming there’s no end to this regression of causes, this succession of events would be infinite. But an infinite series of causes and events doesn’t make sense (a causal loop cannot exist, nor a causal chain of infinite length). There’s got to be something — some kind of first cause — that is itself uncaused. This would require some kind of “unconditioned” or “supreme” being — which the philosophers call God.

I’m sure you’ve already come up with your own objections to the First-Cause Argument, including the issue of a first-causer having to have its own cause. Also, infinity does in fact appear to be a fundamental quality of the universe. All this said, however, cosmologists are still struggling to understand the true nature of time and what “caused” the Big Bang to happen in the first place.

3) There has to be something rather than nothing

Called the Cosmological Argument from Contingency, this is a slightly different take on the First-Cause Argument. The German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz put it best when he wrote,

Why is there something rather than nothing? The sufficient reason … is found in a substance which … is a necessary being bearing the reason for its existence within itself.

Because it’s impossible for only contingent beings to exist, he argued, a necessary being must exist — a being we call God. Writing in “Monadology,” he wrote that “no fact can be real or existing and no statement true without a sufficient reason for its being so and not otherwise.”

More recently, the philosopher Richard Swinburne looked at the issue more inductively, writing,

There is quite a chance that if there is a God he will make something of the finitude and complexity of a universe. It is very unlikely that a universe would exist uncaused, but rather more likely that God would exist uncaused. The existence of the universe…can be made comprehensible if we suppose that it is brought about by God.

4) Something had to have designed the Universe

The Design Argument, or teleological argument, suggests we live in a Universe that surely had to be designed. The cosmos, goes the argument, exhibits orderliness and (apparent) purpose — for example, everything within the universe adheres to the laws of physics, and many things within it are correlated with one another in a way that appears purposeful. As William Paley argued, just as the existence of a watch indicates the presence of an intelligent mind, the existence of the universe and various phenomena within it indicates the presence of an even greater intelligence, namely God.
Needless to say, this line of argumentation was far more compelling prior to the advent of naturalism (the idea that everything can be explained without the benefit of supernatural intervention) and Darwinian evolution. Indeed, Darwin served as a kind of death knell to the Design Argument, at least as far as the biological realm is concerned. We know that the human eye — in all its apparent complexity and purpose — is not the product of a designer, but rather the painstaking result of variation and selection.
But the Design Argument isn’t entirely dead yet. The exquisite fine-tuning of the “biophilic universe” has lead some to conclude there is in fact a greater intelligence at work. To counter this line of reasoning, however, philosophers say we should simply defer to the anthropic principle, which is interesting because theists say the same thing!

5) Consciousness proves that immaterial entities exist

We still don’t have a working theory of consciousness, giving rise to the notorious Hard Problem. Indeed, subjective awareness, or qualia, is quite unlike anything we normally deal with in our otherwise material universe. The weirdness of consciousness, and our inability to understand it, has given rise to the notion of substance dualism, also known as Cartesian dualism, which describes two fundamental kinds of stuff: the mental and the material. Dualists say that material on its own is incapable of producing qualia — one’s capacity to have internal thoughts, subjective awareness, and feelings.

Theists have used substance dualism to make the claim for an independent “realm” of existence that’s distinct from the physical world. It’s a scenario similar to the one experience by Neo in “The Matrix”; his mental experiences occurred in a realm separate from the one that hosted his body. Theistic philosophers have taken this idea to the next level, using it to infer the existence of otherworldly or immaterial entities, including God. It’s a bit of a stretch, and an argument that could use a lot more evidence.

6) We’re living in a computer simulation run by hacker gods

God is in the eye of the beholder. Unlike Anselm’s take on God as something “that which nothing greater can be conceived,” gods can also consist of entities vastly beyond our comprehension, reach, and control. If the Simulation Hypothesis is true, and we’re the product of posthuman ancestors (or some unknown entity), we simply have no choice but to recognize them as gods. They’re running the show, and our collective (or even individual) behavior may be monitored — or even controlled — by them. These hacker gods would be akin the gnostic gods of yesteryear — powerful entities doing their own thing, and without our best interests in mind.

7) Aliens are our gods

We have yet to make contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out there. A possible solution to the Fermi Paradox is the notion of directed panspermia — the idea that aliens spark life on other planets, like sending spores or probes to fertile planets, and then leave, or monitor and control the process covertly. By definition, therefore, they would be like gods to us.
This idea has been addressed many times in scifi, including the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “The Chase”, in which a god-like species is responsible for all life in the Alpha Quadrant, or Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” in which an alien can be seen seeding the primordial Earth with life. Even Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001″ is a take on this idea, with the monoliths instigating massive evolutionary leaps.

Source: Whole Universe

The One God

The One God is a book of revelation that provides a new understanding of the nature and reality of God and God’s Plan and Purpose in the world and in the Greater Community of life in the universe. Here begins the next chapter in the progressive Revelation of God’s Presence and Will for humanity.

Through the great Messengers and Teachings of the past, this ongoing Revelation has flowed over time, advancing our understanding of the One God and re-awakening our personal relationship to the Divine Presence in our lives. Now this progressive Revelation continues anew through a New Message from God.

The Word and the Sound are now in the world. Each chapter of The One God is a revelation given to provide a new teaching about the Source of our lives and our purpose for being in the world at this time. Each chapter opens before you a new vantage point from which you can glimpse into the heart of God, back to the origins of the universe and forward to the unfolding Plan of God for this time and for the times ahead.

Each chapter of The One God is a revelation given from the Source, compiled into this text by the Messenger Marshall Vian Summers.

The One God is the second book of Volume 1 of The New Message from God.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1: Comprehending God

Chapter 2: The New God

Chapter 3: The Origin

Chapter 4: The Separation

Chapter 5: What is Creation?

Chapter 6: The Soul

Chapter 7: What Creates Evil?

Chapter 8: The Redemption

Chapter 9: God, Knowledge and the Angelic Presence

Chapter 10: How God Speaks to the World

Chapter 11: God’s Plan Is to Save Everyone

Chapter 12: The Heart of God

THE ONE GOD, Chapter One: Comprehending GOD, As Revealed by Marshall Vian Summers

You can read The One God for free at http://NewMessage.org
Received by Marshall Vian Summers
“Steps to Knowledge, THE ONE GOD is copyright the Society for the New Message from God. All rights reserved. Used by permission.”

How to know God – by knowing yourself part 2


Published on Apr 18, 2017

How to know God – by knowing yourself part 2 Deepak Chopra, MD

How to know God – by knowing yourself – Deepak Chopra


Published on Apr 17, 2017

How to know God – by knowing yourself part 1

Sruti Answers – What is God? All of Life is a Portrait of God’s Face


Published on Mar 26, 2017

Sruti is a spiritual teacher who writes about finding God within an experience with an uncommon and painful illness called Interstitial Cystitis. She has been interviewed on the Buddha at the Gas Pump talk show on YouTube about her experience of spiritual awakening in the midst of intense pain

This ongoing and chronic condition challenged her to stay present with daily pain and to look further inward for answers. In an extreme moment of pain, in which consciousness began to fade, Sruti experienced the erasure of all that clouds over the earliest source of vision.

She watched as one by one the layers of the mind, the body and feelings disappeared before her. She asks the question: Who is the One that Can Never Leave You? With whose vision are we seeing when the lights are going out? Has this early vision ever known anything at all?

Sruti’s book, The Hidden Value of Not Knowing, is available as an audiobook and an eBook online at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IBZFPIM

Meditation: A Dream in God’s Infinite Mind ~ Rupert Spira [updated Mar 25, 2017]


Published on Mar 24, 2017

This meditation poses questions that elicit the recognition of the infinite nature of awareness as well as the feeling/understanding that awareness is the substance of all objective experience.
From the seven day retreat at Garrison institute – October 2016.

Existence Is God ~ Rupert Spira

Published on Mar 17, 2017

A participant who wants to see the ‘face of God’ in both a pheasant and a pheasant hunter receives guidance on how to recognise the ‘feeling of being’ shared by everyone and everything.

Leonard Jacobson: Belief in God is an Obstacle to Knowing God


God is real. God is here now, but we are not. We are lost in the past and future world of the mind.

We are lost in a world of illusion and separation. We are lost in ideas, opinions, concepts and beliefs including spiritual and religious concepts and beliefs.

If we want to experience the living presence of God, we will have to come to where God is, which is the present moment. Then we will begin to experience God as the silent Presence at the very heart of all things present. That’s what omnipresence really means! For believers it’s a comforting concept. For mystics who are awake in the truth of life, it’s a living reality.

Belief in God is an obstacle to knowing God. Belief is a function of the mind and God is unknowable with the mind. To believe in God is to create God in man’s image and it doesn’t work. The truth is that we are created in the image of God, which means that we have all the attributes and qualities of the divine. In Presence, we are love, acceptance and compassion. We are without judgment. We exist in the realization of Oneness and all these qualities flow into our daily lives if we are fundamentally grounded in the present moment.

But if we venture too far into the past or future, we disconnect from the present moment and in so doing we disconnect from our divine nature. We separate from God and the present moment. We then seek to avoid the pain of separation by believing in God, which actually takes us further into illusion and separation. We can only know God through direct experience, which arises when we are very deeply present.

Did Jesus believe in God or did he know God? Was he so deeply present that he could feel and sense the Presence of God in everything? Was he so present that he experienced Oneness with everything, and so he felt one with God? Christ is a state of consciousness, not a person. Jesus the man awakened to Christ consciousness. He opened so fully into the present moment that he could see, feel and sense the Presence of God in everything. Christ consciousness is available to everyone who is willing to surrender belief in God and become fully present.

If you want to go beyond belief in God to the direct experience of God, then you will have to learn how to be deeply present. As you deepen into Presence, the illusion of separation dissolves. You will feel fulfilled by the moment as it is and your constant striving for more dissolves. You relax. You accept the moment as it is. You can sense that there is a Presence in everything and somehow you know that the Presence in everything is the Presence of God. You feel overwhelmed by love and gratitude. Your soul rejoices. It is what your soul has been longing for from the very beginning of time. You are aware of the extraordinary abundance and beauty of the present moment. You feel one with God. It feels like you have come home.

There is one step beyond Christ consciousness. It is God consciousness. In Christ consciousness, you are so present that you experience yourself as one with God. In God consciousness you have become so fully immersed in the present moment and Oneness that all sense of yourself as an individual dissolves. Only God remains.

About Leonard: Leonard Jacobson is an awakened spiritual teacher, mystic and author, who is deeply committed to helping others break through to the joyous experience of living in the NOW. For more than 35 years, Leonard has been teaching people how to become fundamentally present and arise in mastery of the mind and ego. Find more of Leonard’s work at Leonard Jacobson.com.
Source: AWAKEN
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The Concept of God According To Bhakti Yoga by Swami Krishnananda


In the extensive sweep of Indian thought which attempted to convert the whole field of life into an occasion for religious living…

In the extensive sweep of Indian thought which attempted to convert the whole field of life into an occasion for religious living, a novel procedure was ordained for implementing this great purpose, the introducing of the religious spirit into the down-to-Earth realities of practical existence.

The concept of God reigned supreme in the religious mind of India, without which the meaning of religion is no meaning at all. The soul of religion is the element of God or the principle of God which enlivens and activates the adventures of human life on Earth, and this became the principle occupation of the ancient masters who devoted their lives to putting into practice the essentials of spiritual lore by bringing God down to the Earth in their conceptual meditations and day-to-day activities.

It is common and usual for the mind of the human being to contemplate the spirit of religion as a God transcending creation, and most of the religious doctrines of the world have not found it possible to escape the inevitable conclusion drawn by the common mind of man that a Creator of the world cannot be in the world. This is a simple logic of pure common sense. The created cannot contain the Creator, for various reasons. Hence, God was conceived as para, Supreme Being above and beyond all beings conceivable in this world. Living beings or non-living beings, beyond them is a transcendent being. The Creator transcends the created universe. The producer is not the same as the product. This is easy to understand, and the idea is quickly assimilated. The tendency of a religious submission to God Almighty as a transcendent Creator impelled movements which looked upon the high heavens as the ruling principles of the destinies of mankind, and we pray looking up to the skies.

Paramatman is the Supreme Self. God is so designated. Paramatman is God, Creator Supreme. In the theology of the specialised fields of devotion, God is principally conceived as para. But investigative as the human mind is, it has to seek God in the very field in which it is working, in the very world in which it is living, in the very processes it is undergoing, and in fact, in the very vicissitudes of the cosmical process. The Creator of this universe, transcendent beyond the universe though He might be and has to be, cannot be regarded as unconcerned with His creation. The concern of God in respect of what He has created has to interpret life in the world as an ordnance of God’s will itself. Transcendent God is not an unconcerned God because any sort of such an attitude that we may attribute to God would make us perhaps unrelated to Him in our vital and internal life.

The world is seen to pass through the processes known as creation, preservation and destruction. Among the many conditions through which the world passes and everything endeavours, these three are pre-eminent: the coming into being of things, the sustenance for some time, and the ending of all things. These processes – creation, preservation, transformation of things – have to be regarded as willed by God only. The religious interpretation of human life and the world as a whole has to connect God’s supernal existence with these three processes – creation, preservation and destruction – because God is intensely concerned with His creation. Perhaps the very purpose of creation is for God to manifest this great concern He has for what He has created. The evolutionary processes of the world and the activities of all living beings seem to be a kind of response evoked from the very hearts of all things to the call of God, the transcendent Supreme Being. Our business of life, crudest and most prosaic as it can be, is nevertheless an answer to the call of God. We are replying to His summons by our daily duties, activities and intense engagements and occupations.

Thus the concept of the creative principle, the Supreme Being as para, had to be further envisaged as something which, notwithstanding its transcendent character, is also the ruling principle behind the processes of creation, preservation and destruction. The word vyuha is particularly used in Vaishnava theology, suggesting the immanence of God in the processes of creation – God, not standing apart from His created world, but actively concerning Himself with its moment-to-moment processes. As the processes are multifaceted, variegated and manifest umpteen characters in the process of their evolution, God had to be conceived apart from His being a para or Supreme, as in involved immanence – Creator, Preserver, Destroyer; Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha; or in a more sophisticated Vedantic parlance, Ishwara, Hiranyagarbha, Virat; Brahma, Vishnu Siva. God is Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, which means to say that He rules even the processes of the coming, the maintenance, and the return of all things to their causes.

Yes, the mind of the human being cannot live without God. There is a necessity for a protective power which one feels as an inevitable and unavoidable necessity in life. We require protection from moment to moment. We ask for security in every conceivable way. We cannot regard ourselves as infinitely powerful. Our foibles are of such a nature that we seem to be incapable of even guarding our own selves at crucial moments. Let alone protecting property and other appurtenances, we cannot protect even our own body under conditions which could be expected in life.

So there is a need felt for a permanent protective power, and God is summoned into action into the daily life of man for filling this vacuum which ones feels in the absence of a means to guard and protect one’s own self. Whatever be one’s strength, physical or otherwise, they have to fail one day because the world is larger than what man can imagine himself to be. Secretly man knows his own weakness in spite of the paraded arrogance which he projects oftentimes in his daily life as if he is all in all. But this ego subsides when the might of the universe threatens him with the rule of law – which it can do any day, any moment. Even the strongest man knows his deepest weaknesses, and so secretly he requires protection. He seeks this protection in his religious life. He asks God to take care of him, and he prays to Him not as a transcendent, unconcerned creator but a Mahavishnu who is immanent in all things, a Narayana who sees with infinite eyes all the things that are taking place in the world, and a Trimurti, a three-faced single being – God in His faces of Brahma, Vishnu, Siva; God involved in creation; God come down to the level of what He has manufactured in the form of this world.

Hence, in the theology of the doctrine of devotion, para, the Supreme Transcendent Being, is also adored as the multiply involved protector and object of direct adoration by the soul of man in His manifestations as the ruler, the sustainer, the guide, the friend and philosopher of man.

But man can never be satisfied by assurances which are abstract in their nature. Man is a concrete egocentric individuality, and all that he seeks is concrete substance. Any abstraction – a power that is merely promised in the future, or a satisfaction that is invisible to the eyes – is no consolation to the crying soul of the human being. He expects God to visibly guard him and answer his calls in times of distress, crisis and need. God is not merely the transcendent, invisible, super-universal being, He is not just the para or the Paratman, He is not also the vyuha or the involved Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, or the Vasudeva, Sankarshana, etc., because they are universal abstractions, at least from the point of view of the so-called concrete ways of human thinking. A direct, visible and sensible protective power, a friend in a human sense, is required.

God takes incarnations, and His incarnations come to the level of even the human being, though in a way the supernal manifestations as the vyuhas mentioned – Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, etc. – are also the descent of God and, therefore, they can be called Incarnations. The human notion of incarnation is different. Incarnation is a coming-down of God down to His own level of sense perception.

The glory of God is not restricted merely to the far and remote heavens of Satyaloka or the Garden of Eden. It is a perennial and perpetual activity taking place under the orders of an unwinking eye which never sleeps, which is eternally vigilant. Eternal vigilance is the character of God. God can never sleep in the sense of not knowing something on some occasion. God will not say, “Oh, I did not see.” “Oh, I did not know.” There is nothing that He cannot see, and does not see. There is nothing that He does not know. The omniscience God follows from His all-pervading presence.

The incarnation of God is a direct response from God to the heartfelt cries of the soul of man, so He is a glory that is visible even here on Earth. He is a majesty, a splendour, which aspect of God’s manifestation is amply detailed for us in the tenth chapter of the Bhagavadgita, called Vibhuti Yoga. All excellences in life are God’s incarnations. Anything that is superior beyond a certain limit, unexcellably great, is God’s pre-eminence. Forces which are superhuman are to be considered as God’s incarnations, and everyone knows how many powers operate in this world which are beyond even human comprehension, let alone human operation.

It is impossible for us to state these majesties, magnificences and splendours which God reveals daily before our eyes, and we can see these glories with these very naked eyes of ours. Let those who have eyes see, and those who have ears hear. But if you have no eyes to see, you cannot see. If you have no ears, you cannot hear. What are these things that you see before you, except glories of God’s majesty? What wonder, what splendour, what grandeur, what perfection, and what incomparable beauty is manifest even in the littlest flower in the wild forest! In the neglected wing of a butterfly, in the spotted deer of the jungles, in the mighty movements of the planets, in the fierce energy of the sun, in the cyclic motion of the seasons, in the very act of the beating of the heart of man, in the very process of the breathing by which we are living, in the mystery involved in the very act of our standing up on our two legs and the lifting of our fingers, do we not see majesty, miracle, mystery and incomprehensible mathematical precision? Are these not Manifestations? Are they not Incarnations? Yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā, tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ mama tejoṁśasaṁbhavam (Gita 10.41): Wherever these inscrutable majesties operate in excellence far beyond human comprehension, understand that as My glory. So God is transcendence supreme, incomprehensive grandeur no doubt, but He is also involved in creation. He is an Avatara; He is manifest here, just before our eyes.

The necessity felt by the mind of man to adore God in his attempt to convert the whole of life into religion fills a need to visibly recognise God even in the sensory objects. The objects of sense perception, the things which we come in contact with, are veritably objects of worship. Is not God present here in these things that He has created, in the very things we call inanimate? Is there not life creeping subtly, invisibly, unknowingly? God is, therefore, transcendent no doubt, involved in the process of creation, destruction and preservation. Yes, He is also manifest in all this visible panorama of nature. Thus, prostrate thyself before each and every visible thing in the world.

The world is an image of God. Every article that you touch with your fingers becomes a sanctified symbol by which you can show your gratitude to God by your adoration. Here is the philosophy behind idol worship. The images that you worship in your temples or in your holy of holies in your own house, these little images, these murtis are not fancies of idiotic brains. They are veritable symbols of your recognition of God’s omnipresence even on this very Earth. You can touch a pencil and see God there, not merely in the high heavens. So God is also an archa; He is a murti, a symbol, a vehicle in the form of an image, and you can visibly worship God, not invisibly conceive God merely in your inward mood of meditation. Why? Because God is antaryamin, He is present inwardly as the heart of all things. Īśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānāṁ hṛddeśerjuna tiṣṭhati (Gita 18.61): In the heart of hearts throbs the vital force of the centre of the cosmos. The most remote God, the para, is also the nearest friend, nearer than our own necks and noses.

So in this wondrous concept of religious devotion, this miraculous introducing process of religion into the daily life of man, the ancient masters conceived God as para, vyuha, vibhava, archa and antaryamin. These words are well-known phrases, particularly in Vaishnava Schools of divine devotion, but they are scientifically conceived notions of God for the purpose of adoration at every level of our encounter with the miracle of creation. God has to be worshipped at every level of our encounter with the world. This is the prerogative, the speciality, the novel discovery of the ancient seers of this country. The whole of life is religion manifest. It is not a temple’s affair, the church’s affair or the affair of a monk. It is nothing but religion that we see before our eyes.

The crudest materialistic powers and the remotest natural occurrences are spiritual powers operating secretly for a purpose beyond themselves. Even the most ungodly movement in the world is a movement towards God. Nothing else can take place in this world which is ruled by God. An unGod cannot exist in the kingdom of God. Hence, even the unGod or the Satan is a condemned process which is struggling to revert its attention to that from where it has fallen and attempting to move back to that centre to which it has to gravitate. The worst of things is a movement towards the best of all things.

Such is the glorious concept of the religion of this country. It has little to do with these parochial notions later on developed by the sectarians of religion. Religion is not a sectional operation of the human mind. It is an all-comprehensive absorbing of the spirit of man into the totality of life’s occupation. Such was the grandeur with which religion was conceived, faced, and brought into daily action. Thus, God lives; God is not dead. God cannot die as long as the universe lives.

Thus, in these little analogies of the principles of adoration, namely para, vyuha, vibhava, archa and antaryamin, I have tried to place before you a few suggestions which require deep reflection by everyone. The power of the instincts, the strength of emotions and the call of material comfort blow us off from our very feet sometimes, and the best of people cannot be safe in this world because of the force of these instincts. The reason is that the world is large, wider than the little brain of man. The powers of nature are twofold, one aspect of it being an impulse towards the centre we call the para prakriti, the other aspect being the lower, the apara prakriti. The apara prakriti is the power operating in nature which impels everything and everyone to rush outward in the direction of sense objects. The other is the impulse towards the centre, a Godward movement. These are what are called the daivi sampat and the asura sampat in the Bhagavadgita. The daivi sampat is that glorious heritage of human life which also has within itself the capacity to move inwardly towards the centre of the cosmos. But there is also the asura sampat. The world of the senses, in which we are, is the glory of sense operations.

Hence, even the intellect gets tarnished many a time with the impetuous calls of the senses and the insistence of the eyes that the beauties of the sense world are the total reality of the world. We trust our eyes, and we cannot trust anything else. Only what we see can be believed. Unfortunately, we also think in terms of what we see. Our intellection, ratiocination, is also mostly sensory. It is a justification of sense activity and a confirmation of the sensory demands of human life. Intellect is thus not always a safe guide, though unfortunately we do not have a better guide. There is something in the intellect which scintillates, sparks forth a radiance which comes from a realm that is beyond the world of sense. Though this is true, it also walks dimly in the twilight of sensory longings. We live in a double world, and have a dual existence in which we are partaking. We live on Earth and also in heaven at the same time. Man’s life is supposed to be a blessing because the human individuality, while it is strongly planted on the Earth and is stuck to the ground of sensory longings and cravings, has also the capacity to look above in terms of the light that is descending from the heavens.

Thus, man is a glorious creation of God Almighty, notwithstanding the difficulties in which he finds himself, the weaknesses to which he is subject, and the blunders that he is capable of committing. With all these unwanted traits that are abundantly visible in human nature, there is the little voice of the heavens which sweetly speaks in moments of leisure and tells us, “My dear friend, your Father is calling you.” That indomitable call, that irresistible summons, that sweet message is what keeps us alive in this world even by breathing this dry air as if sweet nectar is flowing through our nostrils.

“Who could be living in this world if nectar were not to be spread in space?” says the Taittiriya Upanishad. How could you exist here, breathing this air as if it is ambrosia flowing from the heavens? Is it not nectar that you are breathing? Are you not happy and overjoyed by a breath that you breathe? How could it be possible if ananda is not to be seen spread out through the entire space? If the whole space is not a repository of the bliss of God, who could be happy by breathing the air? Such a mighty protective friend is with us. May we not be in a state of despair. May we summon this power and may we be blessed with an unforgettable remembrance of this great force that is within us and is everywhere.

Source: Swami Krishnananda

You and God are One and the same Awareness of Source – Spiritual Teacher Roger Castillo


Published on Feb 16, 2017

What is the nature of God? Can we be separate from God or the Source? According to Spiritual Teacher Roger Castillo You and the Source / God are both the same Awareness or we can say You and God are One. We can see this by detaching more and more from our ego-self and stay more and more in awareness, which is our true nature.

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