Category: God


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.

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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.

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.”


Published on Apr 18, 2017

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


Published on Apr 17, 2017

How to know God – by knowing yourself part 1


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


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.


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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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


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.


Published on Jan 30, 2017

http://www.amodamaa.com

The Mind of God
is that which is here,
prior to you believing yourself
to be a separate self experiencing
the world.
The Mind of God is undivided,
as consciousness is undivided.
It has no beginning, it has no end,
no inside, no outside.
It has no subject
and no object.
There is no you,
and there is no world,
no birth and
no death.
And you are THAT.
When you give your allegiance
to consciousness,
awareness becomes aware
of awareness.
The contents still continue
to appear and disappear,
but you have woken up
out of the dream of separation.

Music by Kavi
http://www.kavijezziehockaday.com

I remember hearing that spiritual prayer of acknowledged gratitude over and over again while I was growing up. And I certainly heard the nuns say it. As a child, I loved the sound of that phrase because it was a phrase that seemed to hide a great jewel of wisdom. It was a type of treasure chest made of simple words that when strung together communicated a powerful truth. “Except for the grace of God go I.” It was apparent that those words conveyed some sort of profound meaning because I noticed how the nuns would nod their heads in a type of collective agreement after one of them uttered that phrase. Eventually I let go of my mission to crack through the deeper meaning of this phrase and got on with the business of growing up. I was about eight-years-old when I made that decision.

That phrase exploded out of the dust of my mental archives in my early thirties, right on time you might say. It was just one of those days, really, that starts out gorgeous but ends up being a game changer. That day was made for walking. So that’s what I did. After a few hours, I got an iced-tea and sat on a bench to check messages and all that sort of thing. I didn’t pay any notice at all to the guy who sat on the bench a few minutes later. Why would I? But, as I was about to find out, certainly noticed me.

He asked me if I would get him an iced tea. One glance told me he was homeless or en route to that crisis. I asked him if he wanted a sandwich, so long as I was getting him a cold drink. He did. I turned to leave as soon as I gave him his meal but then he said he hated to eat alone and would I mind just sitting with him. I was uncomfortable as all get out – I mean down to the pit of my stomach. But I was in a familiar park and it was day light and I knew I could run faster than him…so I figured, ugh….okay. UGH

He took one bite out of his sandwich, one gulp of his drink and said, “I know you want to get the hell away from me. I know you are uncomfortable as hell right now. You don’t know me or anything about me. I’m a veteran. The war in my head won’t stop. I just try to find quiet places now. That’s all.”

My heart hurt. I could feel the pain in my chest explode. My eyes filled with tears and all I could hear in my head was, “Except for the grace of God go I.” I could have been sent to harm others or to face some type of horror. Or I could have witnessed nightmares early on, but I did not. I sat next to him and felt the whole of my life reshape itself into a simple but deeply meaningful prayer of gratitude and one of grace for the other. It is these moments, these tiny encounters that just show up out of nowhere, that are the purest expression of God in the small and present details of your life. This man changed my life. I have looked for him many times in the park near my home and have never seen him again – not to imply that he was “not of the Earth”. We have yet to cross paths again, but I hope it does happen.

Through him, I entered into yet a deeper mystery about life but with so much gratitude about each day of my life. This is one of my own prayers:

I never know where I will find You or how You will speak to me. Some days it is through new person and other days it is through a new experience. Each day I become more aware of something I did not understand or realize before. I knew I should be grateful for all that I have but now I realize I should also be grateful for all that I do not have. For I do not have traumatic war memories and I do not have scars from being a refugee and I do not have the fear of a homeless person. I am grateful for all I have and for all I do not have. If I am grateful for having been spared a suffering, give me the grace to help those who are suffering. Amen”


In this series Ken Wilber explores some of humanity’s most profound and perennial questions: Why is there something instead of nothing? Is there a God? Is there life after death? What is consciousness? These are questions that we humans have been asking since the dawn of humanity; questions that have inspired history’s greatest philosophers, sages, and scientists; questions that have in many ways influenced the overall shape and scope of civilization over the millennia. We continue to ask ourselves these questions today—often beginning in childhood, and then again and again throughout the rest our lives. Although these questions are in many ways unanswerable, our attempts to answer continue to come closer and closer to the inexpressible truth as our understanding of the universe (and our place within it) continues to unfold and evolve.

Welcome to Big Questions with Ken Wilber, bringing more clarity, more sophistication, and more elegance to our understanding of life, the universe, and everything.

Can we prove the existence of God?

It always comes down to that: “How can you prove the existence of Spirit or God if you’re so convinced that it exists?” Part of the problem is that we tend to try to prove Sprit’s existence with tools that can’t actually do the job. And we tend to be unaware of the type of tools that can prove Spirit’s existence. So I’ll run through what some of those are, and give an example of what’s involved.

So it’s actually very experimental and very scientific. It rests on the fact that there is a scientific method, and this method can be applied to any number of domains. It can be applied to the eye of flesh, the eye of mind, and the eye of contemplation.

So what is this method? Very briefly, it has three major components. It has an injunction or experiment or exemplar, which is always in the form of “if you want to know this, do this.” And once you do that, it results in an experience, or what William James called a datum, or an illumination—some sort of direct immediate experience. And that’s the second strand. And then that experience or data is checked with others to make sure that they get the same results, to make sure that you’re not hallucinating or getting it wrong or somehow confused.

So let’s say, using the eye of flesh, we want to know if it’s raining outside. Very simply, we go to the window and look. That’s the injunction—if you want to know if it’s raining outside, go to the window and look. We look, and yes it does indeed seem to be raining. That’s our experience, our data, our illumination. We do the injunction and we have an experience, we see the data. To make sure that we’re not hallucinating or otherwise mistaken, we ask someone else to take a look as well. They go to the window and yup, they see it raining too. So that’s our confirmation or verification, our third major strand.

All science has those three strands. When applied to the eye of flesh we get physics, chemistry, biology, and so on. When applied to the eye of mind we get things like logic and mathematics. But what’s not often understood is that it can be applied to the eye of contemplation as well. And here it offers proof of the existence of Spirit, every bit as real as rain or mathematics.

So what we’re talking about is that there’s sensory experience, there’s mental experience, and there’s spiritual experience, and each of these experiences give particular types of data or information or knowledge. Too often we have attempted to try to prove the existence of Spirit by using the eye of flesh and the eye of mind. Aristotle’s proof of God, he gave five proofs, and they were all logical. But that won’t get it—it doesn’t touch Spirit, it doesn’t activate the spiritual dimension in us.

So if we want to see how it can operate in a spiritual practice, we can take Zen as an example. The injunction here, the practice or exemplar, is zazen or meditation or contemplation. You’re taught to sit in a relaxed position, rest the mind, and focus it on one item. It could be following the breath, or it might be an inquiry like “who am I?” And this is the first strand, the injunction or activity or exemplar—if you want to know whether Spirit is real, do this.

After anywhere from several months to a year or two, you will start having a series of experiences, interior data or illuminations. These profound experieces or experieces of a spiritual nature are called kensho, which means “seeing into true nature.” This is strand two, the direct experience Spirit itself—naked, unmediated, real, and direct. This direct religious experience is said to be of Spirit itself. Even in the case of individuals who have a Ph.D in science and who experience kensho, over 95% report that kensho is as real as anything that they study in conventional science. It’s a very powerful, convincing experience.

And just recently someone had an experience that for some reason made all the news, a neuroscientist who had a near death experience, but it was so real to him that he was simply, absolutely, 100% convinced that this was a real experience, as real as anything he had ever experienced. That’s exactly the same kind of feeling that mystics have when they have a kensho, or a mystical experience, or an experience of oneness or unity. And he said he couldn’t find it described anywhere until he was looking through some Christian mysticism books and he found an explanation that spoke of infinite darkness suffused with luminosity. And he said that was it exactly! Anyone who knows the stages of meditation will recognize that as a causal state, it’s described that way in every major meditative tradition the world over. But of course we’ve so forgotten about this in the West that we just don’t know where to look. So he was completely confused until he found that one particular explanation.

After the individual has had their unity experience, their awakening experience, just to make sure they check with a spiritual teacher and a community of practitioners. Now this means all those who have completed the first two strands. If you want to vote on whether the Pythagorean theory is real, you have to learn mathematics, and then learn the Pythagorean theorem, and once you have completed the injunction and have had the experience of looking at the triangle and looking at the Pythagorean theorem, then you’re allowed to vote and confirm or not confirm whether it’s real. Most people who do that report that the Pythagorean Theorem is real.

But the same thing is true in any other scientific experiment, and it’s true for this interior science of contemplation. So you check it with a spiritual teacher and a community of practitioners, all those who have completed the first two strands of injunction and illumination, just to make sure you’re not hallucinating or otherwise confused, just like in all the other sciences. If their illumination, the discovery of their own True Self that is one with Spirit, matches those in a larger community of knowledge-holders, then their kensho is passed and their realization is confirmed.

So notice this is a real science, a direct and immediate 1st-person experience. It’s not anything taken on faith or mere belief, but a direct realization. And this is true whether the contemplation is Christian, or Buddhist, or Jewish, or Islamic, or Hindu, and so on. And this realization proves that Spirit is just a real as mathematics, or logic, or rain, or rocks. And those who have had that experience, even if they have Ph.Ds in science, take it as being as real as anything that they know. So it’s as real as “real” has any meaning. It’s a direct injunction, giving immediate data or illumination, and checked with a community of the adequate.

This is why contemplative knowledge is public knowledge, in both the East and the West it has been passed down for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. That’s not private knowledge. Anything that can be trained and passed down is public, and it all reaches that same conclusion: God is real, and tat tvam asi—you are that.
Source: Patheos

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