|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - F
Unit - F04
Lesson F0430: Enquiry on God
By Raja Subramaniyan
In the case of the universe, we perceive it through sense organs and we negate it as an illusion through enquiry. In the case of god, our task is more difficult. We cannot perceive god through our five sense organs. Therefore, we need to use our discriminative power and see logically that there is god.
After such 'seeing', we should enquire further and understand that GOD is also an illusion as explained in the Scriptures!
Through enquiry, we need to establish that GOD exists as an illusion.
Is there god?
The answer could be obtained in two ways. Firstly, all the Scriptures talk about god. Secondly, our own logical inference suggests that there is god. We cannot assume that the universe and the life in it came about without an intelligence cause. No creation is possible without a creator. Since we see the universe, we can presume that there should be a god, who created it.
Most people will agree that god exists but they disagree widely on the name, form, attributes and such factors relating to god. Since it is not possible to perceive the god using our five sense organs we cannot come to a uniform conclusion on god as we do with respect to other objects in the world.
It is not necessary to come to a uniform conclusion on the name, form and attributes of god for us to proceed with our enquiry. Even those who hold that there is no god need to do the enquiry in order to verify their statement else, they will continue to be blindly believing that there is no god.
The first step in the enquiry is a deep desire to know true nature of god. This step is the most difficult step because:
- Those who do not believe in god will find it hard to know God since it is against their belief. However if they somehow get the desire, the end of the enquiry will be favorable to them since we are going to conclude that GOD is an illusion.
- Those who hold on to their personal versions of gods will not be willing to analyze the true nature of GOD. If they strongly believe that their version of god alone is the ultimate truth, they are not yet ready for the enquiry. They should continue to function as dictated by the governing principles laid out by their personal gods. If they follow the path faithfully, they will be ready for the enquiry one day.
- Those who do not hold any one name/form as god but believe in one universal god are the most suitable candidates for conducting the enquiry to find the true nature of GOD. They hold the higher-level truth. However, they also may not be willing to conduct an enquiry since we intend to declare GOD as an illusion.
The second step is to consider the description of GOD according to the scriptures, which can be validated by logic. For the sake of guiding people at various levels of intelligence, the Scriptures would have talked about many different versions of gods. Nevertheless, we need to find out whether the ultimate definition stands the test of logic.
For example, it is illogical to consider an entity with a specific form and name as god, who is different from the earth/ universe. If the god is to sit in a heaven and supervise the functioning of the human beings on earth, he is yet another monarch governing us and not an all-powerful god. We need to dismiss all such illogical descriptions of God and identify one that passes the test of logic.
The third step is to do a logical validation of the Scriptural description of GOD as detailed below.
A comparison between GOD and a human being will help us in understanding GOD. When we say 'I' we mean the living being that is housed in this physical body. GOD means a living being that is housed in all the physical bodies in the universe.
The entire universe is GOD. When we look around, we do not see anything but GOD. This is the physical part of the GOD.
We have a mind, which is independent of our body. Similarly, GOD has a mind, which is the cumulative aggregation of all the minds in the universe. This is the subtle part of the GOD sometime referred as cosmic mind.
Finally, we have a causal body, which holds the seed for our physical body and mind. This causal body holds the impressions (accumulated results of our past actions). Unlike the physical or subtle body there is no demarcation between causal bodies. The aggregation of these is the causal part of the GOD.
We can perceive our physical body and others also can perceive it. It is like a seeing in bright day light. We can perceive our subtle body (mind) but others cannot perceive it. It is like seeing in dusk or dawn. A vague outline can be seen without much clarity. Neither others nor we can perceive our causal body since its basic nature is ignorance. We were identified with causal body during deep sleep and consequently we are aware of nothing. It is like seeing on a pitch-dark night. We cannot see ourselves!
Another example is seed, plant and tree. Looking at the seed, we know it is there but we have no more information. This is the causal stage of the universe. When the seed sprouts, we have some idea of what it is. This is the subtle stage of the universe. When the seed becomes a fully-grown tree, all the details are very clearly perceived.
Similarly, GOD can be perceived very clearly only in the full-evolved universe. Manifestation of the universe also follows the same principle of seed becoming a tree. When a seed becomes the plant, the entire seed becomes the plant. Both the intelligent cause and material cause of the plant is the seed. Similarly, the entire plant becomes a tree. Both the intelligent cause and the material cause of the tree is the plant. In the same way, both the intelligent cause and the material cause of the universe is GOD. The seed is the tree. GOD is the universe.
Thus, the Scriptures conclude that the GOD is nothing but the collection of everything in the universe.
Statement 60: There is nothing but GOD.
Example: There are many independent cells in our body. Many are living and few are non-living like dead skin, hair and nail. The total aggregation of all the cells together constitutes our physical body.
Similarly, all the living beings / inert objects together are called as GOD. I exist in all my cells. GOD exists in all of us. There is no cell (dead or alive) in my body, which is outside of me. There is no living being/ inert object in the universe, which is outside of GOD.
We have now understood GOD. But it is only the initial level of understanding that is acceptable to our intelligence. Once we recognize the existence of GOD as the sum total of the entire universe then we are ready to learn the highest truth.
There is no GOD since there is no universe in the first place. ONE, which is indivisible, appears to be divided into many objects in the universe. The entire collection is called GOD. The universe is manifested, sustained and dissolved by the power of ONE. ONE along with this power is referred as GOD.
The individual reflection of ONE gives rise to living beings and the collective reflection is GOD. However, the entire concept of reflection has a lower order of reality. In absolute reality, only ONE exists. In relative reality, inferior living beings and superior GOD exist.
Therefore, GOD is also an illusion just as the universe, which includes my body/ mind complex. ONE is the only reality or in other words I am the only reality.
In case of universe since it is available for our perception, we do not have to analyze it any further after finding it to be an illusion. However in case of GOD even after understanding GOD is an illusion we need to do further analysis since there are many misconceptions relating to GOD that is blocking our knowledge.