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PRABUDDHA BHARATAThe Instrument for Realizing God | Swami Purnananda  






 The Instrument for Realizing God




Swami Purnananda




     What is God realization? It is a state of being. As Swami Vivekananda says, it is being and becoming. It is not like perceiving objects by means of our sense organs. God is beyond the senses, internal or external. So God cannot be perceived or realized through them. We do use terms like God realization, God vision, Self realization, realization of Brahman, and so forth, but all these terms are synonymous and are generally used to facilitate a practical expression or description of a particular indescribable state.


     We go through many states of being in our day-to-day lives - the states of pleasure, of pain, of illness, and the like. Is the state of God realization like any of these? No, because these states are actually imposed on a state of pure being by our mind due to its inherent ignorance. The original state being basic, it cannot be compared with the later ones. Still, the scriptures have somehow tried to give us an idea of that pure state. The Bhagavata says, Yatreme sadasadrupe pratishiddhe svasamvida; Avidyayatmani krite iti tadbrahmadarshanam. When the attributes of gross and subtle nature, superimposed on the Atman through ignorance, are sublated by the knowledge of their Base, that is brahmadarshana, the vision of Brahman (1.3.33). But what is that instrument by means of which this state can be realized? The scriptures and persons established in that state have described it in many ways. Says the Bhagavata, Pashyantyado rupamadabhracakshusha; They perceive Its form by means of a vast eye (that is, by spiritual vision) (1.3.4).




     The Immanent Form of God




     Being the antaratman (indwelling Self) of all beings, God has an immanent form. He is inherent in all creation. Because of His conspicuous existence in various names and forms (vividhena rajamanatvat), He is called Virat, the Omnipresent One. The Bhagavadgita describes Him thus: Sarvatah panipadam tatsarvatokshishiromukham; Sarvatah shrutimalloke sarvamavritya tishthati. With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads and faces everywhere, with ears everywhere, It exists pervading everything in this world (13.13).




     The Personal God




     God can also assume innumerable other forms - any form in which His devotees wish to see Him. The omnipresent God comes down to the level of human beings for the sake of His devotees, in order to satisfy them. He has promised, Ye yatha mam prapadyante tamstathaiva bhajamyaham; In whatever way men approach me, in the same way do I reward them (4.11). These forms are called ishtas, chosen forms - chosen by the devotees personally. That is why they are called forms of the Personal God. It is in this sense that we say gods are many. The one God becomes many in order to satisfy many. Just as one light is reflected by innumerable reflectors in innumerable ways, even so is God reflected variously, according to the diverse natures of different minds.




     The Transcendental Form of God




     Apart from these, there is Gods nirvishesha rupa, His transcendental, undifferentiated aspect, without name, form or attribute - a form without a form, as it were. This form of God cannot be comprehended by the senses, not even by the mind or the intellect. This is Gods Absolute Form, the Supreme Self, called Svarat. This transcendent Being is beyond and free of all limiting adjuncts. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says: The knowers of Brahman, O Gargi, verily describe It, the unchanging One as the Absolute. It is neither gross nor subtle, neither short nor long, neither shadow nor darkness, neither air nor space, unattached, without taste or smell, without eyes or ears, non-luminous, without measure, and devoid of interior or exterior (3.8.8). In short, It is free from all attributes and is One without a second. Here the shruti describes (abhivadanti) the Absolute by means of the process of total negation (neti, neti) because It is bereft of any suchness. Objects are known by their such-ness (idamtaya, it is such). This is called vishesha, the extraordinary attribute of the given object which distinguishes it from others (idam asmat prithak iti buddhih jayate yasmat sa visheshah). The transcendent Being can only be described by the process of negation simply because It is nirvishesha, devoid of any vishesha. Moreover, the nirvishesha cannot be many. Everything, right from the Creator down to a clump of grass, has evolved from this Absolute Being. Says the Mundaka Upanishad: Tathaksharat sambhavatiha vishvam; (Similarly) from this unchangeable Absolute evolves this universe (1.1.7).




     Pure Mind: the Instrument of God Vision




     Every human being has the power to perceive all the above-mentioned forms or states of God - Absolute, Immanent and Personal, but not with any physical sense organ, including the mind stuff (antahkarana). We find in the Kena Upanishad: Yanmanasa na manute; Who is not comprehended by the mind (1.6). Then how is It perceived? The Katha Upanishad states: Manasaivedamaptavyam; It is to be perceived by the mind alone (2.1.11). However, this is not an example of contradiction between two shruti passages. In the second statement it is not the ordinary mind but the pure mind that is meant. As Sri Ramakrishna says, the pure mind, the pure intellect and the pure Atman are all identical. This pure mind has been variously described.


     Adabhracakshu: The Bhagavata says that sages see the Lords magnificent form by means of a vast eye (adabhracakshusha). What is it? It is the pure mind, free from all impurities.


     Mental impurity is of three types: concealment (avarana), distraction (vikshepa) and stain (mala). They are the results of nescience (avidya), desire (kama) and action (karma) respectively. The pure Self in association with nescience gives rise to desire; desire involves a man in action; and action produces results which leave psychic impressions (samskara). This mental impression produces future enjoyment or suffering for the doer. It is this impression that stains the mind. However, mala can be destroyed by good action, works done for the sake of God offering their results to Him, or works performed without selfish desire, done for the good of the many, for the welfare of the many; bahujana hitaya, bahujana sukhaya. The impurity caused by distraction can be overcome by regular worship of the Lord (upasana). Any work can be considered worship if it is done for the sake of God with utmost love. Nescience can be got rid of forever by Self knowledge. By these processes the mind becomes entirely free from all impurities. It is this mind that is called adabhracakshu, the divine eye capable of spiritual vision.


     Divyacakshu: Krishna says to Arjuna in the Gita: Divyam dadami te cakshuh pashya me yogamaishvaram; I bestow on you the divine eye; (with that) behold My divine yoga (11.8). Here the Lord graciously grants Arjunas prayer to see His Universal Form with the gift of supernatural vision by removing all impurities from the latters mind for the time being. Thus Arjuna was able to perceive the Lords magnificent form. Experiencing the immanent form of the Lord, Arjuna exclaims: You are the Imperishable, the supreme thing to be known; You are the ultimate resting place of the universe; You are the undying Preserver of the eternal religion; I regard You as the primeval Being (11.18).


     Premacakshu: Sri Ramakrishna says: He cannot be seen with the physical eye. As a result of sadhana a love body comes into being. It has love eyes and love ears. One can see Him with those love eyes and hear His words with those love ears. Love has the power of purifying the mind, because love is pure - nay, purity itself. A genuine and intense love for God without any selfish motive is rare indeed. When such love manifests in the heart, the entire body becomes a structure of love, every part and limb of it is made pure - made of love, as it were. Being supersaturated with pure love, the mind takes the shape of God, for pure love is God Himself: Sa ishvarah anirvacaniya premasvarupah; God is love indescribable. Jesus says: God is love (1 John, 4.8 ). The lines of a famous Bengali devotional song run thus: With mind serene and eyes made radiant with heavenly love, behold that matchless sight (of His wondrous form). Although it may be the Personal God who is referred to here, the devotee can still see His immanent form by His grace, just as Arjuna saw the Lords Universal Form (vishvarupa).


     Bhavacakshu: Sri Sarada Devi says that God is realized in spirit. It is ones spiritual attitude (bhava) that condenses into the divine form. A well-known Sanskrit verse says: Bhavena labhate jnanam bhavena devadarshanam; Bhavena labhate sarvam tasmat bhavavalambanam. Through bhava knowledge is attained, through bhava God vision. Everything is attained through bhava, therefore bhava is to be adopted.


     This bhava also helps a man free his mind from all limiting adjuncts (upadhi) and reach the transcendental state. Then the mind itself becomes the pure Atman, for the pure mind and the pure Atman are identical.


     Sukshmadrishti: The Katha Upanishad says: Esha sarveshu bhuteshu gudhotma na prakashate; Drishyate tvagryaya buddhya sukshmaya sukshmadarshibhih. That Self hidden in all beings does not shine forth; but It is seen by seers through their onepointed and subtle intellects (1.3.12). Here the instrument for perceiving God is the pointed and fine intellect. Only a one-pointed mind can penetrate through the thick wall of ignorance and reach the subtlest of the subtle, the immanent Atman hidden in every being. The one-pointed mind, fixed as it is on a single chosen object, acquires infinite power. Worship is necessary to make the mind sharp and one-pointed. Upasananam tu cittaikagryam, says the Vedantasara, Upasanas aim at concentration of the mind (1.13). The Mundaka Upanishad exhorts: Sharam hyupasanishitam sandhayita; Fix on it (the bow called pranava) the arrow (the soul) sharpened by meditation (2.2.3).


     Vimalanayana: Swami Vivekananda in his aratrika hymn on Sri Ramakrishna says: The vision of the eyes purified by the collyrium of knowledge (jnananjana) cause all delusion to disappear. All delusions created by ignorance cease forever - vikshane moha jay, says the hymn. But the question is, who is it that sees? Is it God or is it the devotee? The devotee can see neither the transcendental nor the immanent nor even the personal form of God with his eyes of flesh. Rather, he can only see the ever changing world of name and form. But if God looks at the devotee, if He casts His compassionate glance on him, then the devotees delusion vanishes and his vision is purified - and the devotee too becomes a vimalanayana, of pure eyes! And it is with these divine eyes that he beholds Gods divine form. Then Swamiji goes on to say: When by Your grace all modifications of the mind are subdued and the mind is fixed on You, then I am able to see You. Until now, because of the delusion created by his ignorance, the devotee was only aware of his own I, his own ego. But now he realizes that it is not I, but Thou. All are Yours, nay, You are all. The devotees I has totally metamorphosed into Thou.


     This is the culmination of human life, this is the sole aim of every human being, and this is God realization.



International Yoga Day 21 June 2015
International Yoga Day 21 June 2015








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