BY SATGURU SIVAYA SUBRAMUNIYASWAMI
My Satguru, Siva Yogaswami, was a great siddha, a master and a knower of God. He would say, “Liberation is within you.” He would order his seekers to “See God in everything. You are in God. God is within you. To realize the Supreme Being within you, you must have a strong body and a pure mind.” He was a powerful mystic from Sri Lanka, near India–perhaps the greatest to live in the twentieth century. His words drove deeply into the hearts of all who heard them. “God is in everyone. See Him there. God is overwhelmingly present everywhere. Regard everything as a manifestation of God, and you will realize the Truth” were his words. Simple words for a simple truth, but very, very difficult to practice.
As we go on through life, we see only parts of life. We don’t see the whole. We can’t see the whole. Yogaswami said, “How can a part see the whole?” So, we live with a small part, our small part. We seek to avoid the painful areas and attract to us the joyous ones. Most people live in this duality life after life, bound in the forces of desire and the fulfilllment of it. Occasionally, a more mature soul breaks away from this cycle of desire-fulfillment-pleasure- loss-pain-suffering-and-joy and asks questions such as: “Who is God? Where is God? How can I come to know God?”
God has no names, but all names are the names of God. Whether you call Him this or that, He remains who He is. God is both within us and outside of us. Even desire, the fulfillment of desire, the joy, the pain, the sorrow, birth and death–this is all God, nothing but God. This is hard to believe for the unenlightened individual who cannot see how a good, kind and loving God could create pain and sorrow. Actually, we find that God did not–not in the sense that is commonly thought.
God gave the law of karma, decreeing that each energy we send into motion returns with equal force. In looking closely at this natural law, we can see that we create our own joy, our own pain, our own sorrow and our own release from sorrow. Yet we could not even do this except for the power and existence of our loving Lord. It takes much meditation to find God in all things, through all things. In this striving–as in perfecting any art or science–regular daily disciplines must be faithfully adhered to.
This is how God can be seen everywhere and in everyone. He is there as the Soul of each soul. You can open your inner eye and see Him in others, see Him in the world as the world. Little by little, discipline yourself to meditate at the same time each day. Meditate, discover the silent center of yourself, then go deep within, to the core of your real Being. Slowly the purity comes. Slowly the awakening comes.
Does this seem too difficult? Can you just contemplate what it would take to seek the all-pervasive God from hour to hour, throughout the day? One would have to be detached from all worldly responsibilities to a great extent in order to begin to bring this natural internal process through and into the external mind. The external mind is built up by an intellect formed from other people’s knowledge and opinions. This borrowed knowledge shrouds the soul, and the natural, childlike intelligence often does not filter through. Therefore, a period of detachment and regular spiritual retreat or separation from the external world is necessary.
On a pilgrimage we strive to see God around us, to intuit Him in the events that happen. During worship in the temple, we strive to feel Him, to experience Him more profoundly than during our normal activities. Eventually, as our spiritual efforts progress, we bring that same attention, that same one-pointedness, right into the everyday experiences that life presents to us, whether seemingly good or bad, whether causing pleasure or pain. All seekers hope for an occasional glimpse of God during their yearly pilgrimage at some venerable temple. If they develop that little glimpse, it will grow.
God is within each and every soul. He is there as the unmanifest Reality, which we call Parasiva. He is there as the pure light and consciousness that pervades every atom of the universe, which we call Satchidananda. We also know that He is Creator of all that exists, and that He is His creation. All this we know. Yes, all this we know. Thus, we intellectually know that God is within and without. This is yet to be experienced by the majority of people.
When problems come in the family or workplace and emotions arise, it is only natural to forget God. It’s so much easier to be involved in twoness rather than oneness. It takes a lot of inner strength to remember God all of the time, to keep the love for God flowing. We forget. We get involved in ourselves and others. It is impossible when our ego is attacked or our feelings hurt. So it’s easier, much easier, to forget God and even regard Him as a God to be feared; whereas it is our own instinctive mind and our preprogrammed, nonreligious intellect that should be feared. That’s the demon in our house, the mischief-maker who causes all the trouble. If you want to remember God, then first learn to forget yourself a little.
It is natural to forget about God, but there are many helpful ways that we can avoid distraction, that we can remember to keep seeing God everywhere. One of the practical ways to bring God into the midst of all this is to keep repeating His name. Do japa when you find yourself forgetting, when you just can’t see God at all, let alone everywhere. When life becomes difficult or strained, mentally put it all at His feet. See Him in everyone that you meet or confront, regardless of the circumstances. He is there as their life force, but you just need to quiet the mind to see. Smile when you feel unhappy with someone and say to yourself, “How nice to see you, God, in this form.” Animals, beggars, princes, politicians, friends and enemies, holy men, saints and sages are all God to the soul that loves God. He smiles and thinks to himself, “How nice to see you, God, in this, another of your many forms.”
In the later stages of the soul’s evolution, a deeper inner eye opens, and it is truly perceived that this same presence of Siva is in each and every living being, permeates every atom of the universe as the great, sustaining substratum of all that exists. Only when this is experienced can one truly say that God is within man and man is within God.
It is good that you are trying to see God everywhere. Keep trying. It will come. Who else can give your Self to you? The unfoldment of the Self within you is but God. He can give you wealth. He can give you health. He can bestow everything that you would ever need or even desire. But to worship Him as formless carries the mind into infinity. Mind can only encompass what it identifies with. Mind cannot identify Truth in this subtle form which represents God as beyond the mind–formless, timeless and spaceless. Yet within you this very instant, only shrouded by your ignorance, only shrouded by the ego, which is the sense of personal identity and separation, is God. He is there right now, not at some fictitious future time. Just get rid of the maya, the anava and resolve the karma, and there He will be. The ego is the last thing to go. It is the last bond to break. Once the bondage of personal ego is broken, it is seen that this mysterious God is all-pervading. He is what He has created. Think about that. It is very deep. God pervades His creation constantly as ever-present Love and Light of the mind of everyone, Intelligence and Being; and yet God also has a form.
God is love and nothing else but love. He fills this universe with love. He fills you with love. God is fire. God is earth. God is air. God is water. God is ether. God’s cosmic energy permeates everything and gives light and life to your mind. God is everywhere and all things. God is your small, insignificant worry, the concern that you have been holding in your mind for so many years. In His own way, He is bringing you into realization, into knowledge of yourself and of Him. He has given you the world of experience. Study your experience. Learn from your experience. If it is painful, that is also good. In the fires of experience, which are both pain and pleasure, you are being purified. In doing so, you must go through much pain, through much joy. Both register on the scale as the same intensity of emotion. It is what caused it that makes one more pleasurable than another. Don’t be afraid to live with God and go through your experience joyfully. Go through it with courage. Don’t try to avoid it.
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