(126+135)/9: God And World

Summary: God is trying to show his personality to us through each of the events that happen in our world. In fact, God will be known by understanding his imprint in things in our world. Consistent efforts from our part to see God forces Him to come to our rescue and show us what He is made up of.

Verse 126: He Aso Parvataachiye Hrudaiche, Jevi Parjanyadhaaraastav Na Khoche, Tevi Karmajaat Prakrutiche, Na Lage Maj.

Verse 135: He Sarvaswa Aamuche Gudh, Pari Daavile Tuj Ughad, Aataa Indriyaa Deuni Kavaad, Hrudayi Bhogi.

Translation: In short, just like rain falling outside does not touch the center of a mountain, things happening in this world do not reach me. This ultimate knowledge (about the relationship between Me and the world) is not known to many people. Now I am now telling you about it openly. However to understand it (properly) you must close all your senses and feel it in your heart.

Dnyaneshwar Maharaj had the highest respect for the 9th chapter of the Gita. He has said in Dnyaneshwari that ` all chapters of Gita are great. However, just as different types of sweets have their own peculiarities, all of the chapters (despite being great) have distinct flavours. Amongst them all, the ninth chapter is the ultimate pronouncement of the philosophy of Gita. In fact, just as we cannot describe the war between Ram and Ravan by any other simile, the conversation of Krishna and Arjun in the ninth chapter cannot be compared with anything else.’ He adds that `I have no hesitation in declaring openly that I was afraid to start my commentary on this chapter. In fact, the very fact that I was able to write a commentary on it is a living testament of the power of my guru (Nivruttinath) without whom I was completely incapable of touching such a deep chapter.’ (Reference: see the preamble of the 10th chapter of Dnyaneshwari). Amongst the verses of such a great chapter, the 126th verse is declared by Krishna as the `ultimate knowledge about Him’. Today we will try and understand its relevance to our life.

Relationship between God and the world

All of us believe in some form of God and hold Him responsible for everything that happens in this world. Some of us are `believers’, in the sense that they believe in a particular form of God and others are supposed to be `non-believers’, i.e. those who say that they will believe God only if we show Him to them. However, even these second type of people believe that this world must be running on some rules and they try to use their modern scientific knowledge to know these rules. In this sense they also believe in this abstract God who has taken the form of rules that is governing the world. In fact, our very efforts to improve our lot in this world are a proof of the fact that we don’t believe this world to be a random place. For, if anything could have happen at anytime, we would have given up hope of improving our fortune by our efforts and just believed in the fate to turn up new opportunities. Therefore I say that all of us believe in some form of God. Moreover, the defining property of the God is a thing that looks after (or is responsible or has control of) this world of ours. If this is our basic belief, where will we find God? It is clear from our experience that the creator has to be necessarily different than the things he/she has created. I mean: the tealeaves could not possibly make tea, or the house can’t build itself etc. etc. Therefore, we may think at first that `If God has created and is looking after this world, then He cannot be found in anything in this world.’ In this sense, the above verse126 would make perfect sense to us. However, think a bit deeper and see what it reveals. Even though we may not be able to find out if the maker of tea was wearing spectacles by looking at the tea he has made, we may be able to find out some other information about him. For example, if the tea is consistently being made sweet, we may figure that the maker has a sweet tooth. Exactly like that looking at the house that has been built, we can figure out certain personality trends about its maker. If too many small rooms are present, the person seem to be obsessed with privacy etc. etc. In fact, we leave our imprint in everything that we create. A judge reads out his statement and apart from the conclusion, which must be based on the facts of the case, the way it is written, the kind of words that are used all say a thing or two about the judge. Looking at our world this way, we seem to have an endless supply of things around us with which we can try and deduce the personality of God and in this sense, be close to Him. Therefore, to all of us, the relationship of God with world is like this: God is necessarily different from all the things that surround us. However, each and everything in this world bears an imprint of Him and our way to know Him lie in deciphering the personality through the happenstances of this world.

The practice of seeing God in this world.

How would one put in to practice this knowledge of ours that the way to knowing God lies in a proper understanding of things happening around us in this world? Lets go back to the example of the tea. If the tea was sweet we may obtain some information about its maker. But what if it is like any other tea? In that case, there is no possibility to know some personality traits of its maker. In such a case, we must look at some other creation of his. If most of his clothes are of one colour, then we may guess that he likes that colour very much. If they are not, we must look at some other thing. We must keep looking at things he has created till we find a thing in which he has chosen to express himself prominently. (May be that is why Arjun asks Krishna in the next 10th chapter of Gita to tell him his `vibhutis’, that is, where can we see him most in the things of this world!) Therefore, to know God through this world, we first teach ourselves lot of patience. There is a great possibility that we may not be able to see His presence in most of the things around us. However, if we are patient, there will come a time when He would choose to reveal Himself to us through one of the things that happen around us. Secondly, we do not know when such an event can happen to us. Therefore, another thing we must teach our self is the consistency. We must keep looking for Him all the time. Whenever we look at this world, our attention must be to see the imprint of God in the thing. At least we should make an effort to try and see the hand of God in everything around us. These are the two important things we must learn first: Patience (Sanyam) and consistency (Satatya). Now, before we go ahead with our discussion let us see the effect of this practice on the practitioner (sadhak). In order to know thing as it is, it is imperative that such a person must distance himself from the thing. Therefore, with practice, a sadhak starts developing a detached attitude to most of the things that happen around him. Things cease to have a hold on him. However, his detachment has come from a positive intent, that of knowing God. Not because he is bored or had enough of that thing. Therefore, this detachment is not a dry detachment of a sanyasi (who thinks the whole world is a maya). In fact, the sadhak knows that to reach his God, things around him are providing clues. Therefore, sadhak is grateful to all the things around him. Hence, his detachment is full of love. Moreover, once an event happens, it has given the sadhak a clue about his God. Hence the event has already given its fruit to him. Hence a sadhak does not expect anything further from such any event. Thus, his love is one without any expectation of returns (nirapeksha prem). Lastly, most of the events in our life happen in our mind. Only we are aware of them and the rest of the world is totally ignorant of their existence. Once we start looking at them with detachment, we will start knowing their true worth. Since the sadhak was the creator of those events, he starts knowing his true worth! With this come the first hand knowledge through self-experience that most of his good assumptions about himself were wrong. Having known his own faults with such clarity, he becomes a far kinder person to the rest of the world! Therefore, whether such sadhak gets to know his God or not, the world around him becomes a happier place because of his mere existence! In this sense, because of such a person the world around him finds a place of solace from all their troubles!!

Now comes the part of how does a sadhak know that he/she is seeing the imprint of a God in an event of this world? The verse 135 gives information regarding this. It says that you must close all your senses and feel my presence in your heart. In Gita (Shloka 7 of chapter 15) and Dnyaneshwari (Verse 352 of chapter15) it is said that there are six cognitive organs of our body: the five organs of knowledge (skin, tongue, eye, ear and nose) and mind. We must close them all and feel the presence of the Lord in our heart. The heart meant by Dnyaneshwar is not the physical one but the one that resides in the right side of our chest (see Raman Maharshi’s Talks, Ramakrishna Paramhans’s descriptions about it etc.) and how to feel things there cannot be described. Just like what the sweetness of sugar means can only be personally experienced, and can never be described in words (other than it is sweet), what it means by experiencing God in your heart must be experienced. However, here is an approximate description: Any thing, the moment we start seeing the footprint of God in it, becomes perfect. We no more strive to make it better or more fulsome. This total acceptance of a thing as it is feels our mind with peace and calmness. At the same time, from the cavity to the right of our chest, we start experiencing a flow of bliss and happiness never felt before. Along with this comes a total stillness of our body and mind. Whenever you experience these things, be sure that you are seeing God’s hand in the thing around you. The words ` experience in your heart after closing all your senses’ means this.

Fruit of our sadhana.

Of course the ultimate fruit of our efforts is to be able to constantly see the impression of God in this world. In this way we will be constantly in touch with Him and ultimately get to know Him intimately. However, two things need to be said about this.

Firstly, to know God this way is to know Him as our Atmarupa. For, just like the ever-flowing water of the river Ganga takes the form of the pot it is being poured into, the creator of this universe takes the form of our atmarupa when we see Him in our heart. In this sense we see God in an advait way. Therefore, even though we started our quest to know God in a `dvait’ way, we end up knowing Him in the abstract advait way.

Secondly, how and why did we get this fruit of our sadhana? After all, all our efforts were also part of this world and in 126th verse, Krishna told us that nothing in this world reaches or touches Him. Then, how come our sadhana allowed us to reach Him? The answer to this doubt is that even though our sadhana was necessary, we did NOT get the fruit of this sadhana because of sadhana. We got it because of the mercy of God himself. The following example will illustrate this point. If we have a pet dog, we provide him a shelter, give him food, water and generally keep him happy. If despite our efforts, he shows unhappiness, then we make some other better arrangements for his well being. If all our efforts fail to keep him satisfied, we realise that it may not be its physical comfort that he is bothered about. Then, to keep him psychologically fit, we try to bond with him by spending time with him, taking him for a walk and playing with him. We do that even if we didn’t want to do it at the first place. Just like this, God has provided us with certain creature comforts to begin with. If we show our displeasure about them and make an effort to know Him, then He will provide us with a better life. In this new life, you will have better spiritual experiences, the world around you will become a happier place and you will be respected in this new happy world of yours. For a sadhak this is a most tricky phase. If he gets entangled in this new-found happiness, he will never go beyond it and God will not be found. A sadhak must continue on his path despite his world being full of happiness and should not stop his search for God’s imprint in things around him. After this effort is continued, only then the God will show him His presence. It is not in the hands of a sadhak to force God to him how He resides in things around him. Just like a dog cannot force his owner to take him for a walk, we cannot bring God to us due to our efforts. He comes out of His own will. By our sadhana, we have only asked him to reconsider our case in a sympathetic way!

Sadhak does not realise all this in the beginning. Initially, he thinks that the more you do sadhana, the more will you get closer to God. However, when he gets glimpse of his ultimate gain, it becomes clear to the sadhak that the fruit of his sadhana far outweighs its efforts. It is totally disproportionate to whatever he can ever do. When this realization dawns on him, he becomes very modest about his own efforts in sadhana and prays to God in earnest to disregard his personal efforts and come to him out of sheer goodwill. When God sees this humble surrender of his sadhak, He cannot hold Himself back and comes rushing to his beloved disciple and frees him from his ignorance. Thus, the fruit of sadhana is obtained by the ever-merciful nature of God, not by our efforts.

(based on the pravachan given in Bangalore on 18th November 2006)

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