The case of God

This article clearly steps outside the confines of intellectual safety.

As long as one is talking about the natural world, one can venture with a certain amount of reasonable confidence. Spirituality is a little trickier. But, some practice of mindfulness or some other form of meditation can quickly bring both the speaker and audience up to speed on what is going on. The difference between the core of consciousness itself and its modifications can be discerned. There are thoughts arising, emotions arising, perceptions arising, sensations arising, experiences arising, events arising …

One can quietly watch this show with the confidence, this is not I, this is not I. Having attained to this state of truth, some of us can find ourselves justified in declaring victory and completion of spiritual maturity. Some call this the non-dual experience or the realization of the non-dual truth.

Upon introspection, some others would conclude that this is not really the end of spiritual practice but only the door to it. The end of grasping, and attachment, the distancing of one’s core from the modifications of the consciousness do indeed create a less selfish experience, a more spacious one. However, it is still selfish in a different way: this realization belongs to one locality of consciousness, one human being among many. If this were not the case, one would not need to even engage in teaching or speaking about this with others. No teacher would need to exist if there were not other localities of consciousness. .

Led by this line of thought, it would be fair to conclude that what is declared the non-dual experience is not that; it is only the fall of false identification with the mind than a true experience of the truth of non-duality. One has become liberated from the vagaries of one’s own mind and become distant from its blemishes, but one has still not truly become one with the All.

Though it is tempting to call this stage of inner realization as the realization of God, it would be hasty to rush into that view. For one, the locality of consciousness that has attained to this realization is still subject to the force of experience. One observes, but one cannot say what is coming next. One cannot know or direct the dynamics and laws of the universe that stand resolute and immutable despite claims of miracles. In a way, it is clear that the conscious entity and the world are bound by some dynamics. While the conscious entity has become free of the vagaries of the mind, it has not become completely free as the All. Consciousness and the world alike are subject to some laws which move on like clock-work. Even the hazier field of quantum physics is mathematically defined and not a show of utter, incomprehensible magic.

At this stage, one might feel inclined to take a point of view where both conscious entities and world are manifestations of the One. This view is seeded by the realization of the true self (or core) that is free of mental modifications, without individuation and separation, liberated of selfishness. Once the hard boundaries of the individual dissolve, there is an opportunity to realize kinship with the universe. Both the spiritual and material aspects can be seen to be manifestations of the One. Everything is timelessly woven into the fabric of reality manifesting in specific configurations over the course of time when the conditions so favour.

This window, this cot, this table, this consciousness, all of them that are seen, heard or experienced in any other way, everything that we have known to be the way it is, are all appearances of the One. In that sense, everything that we might reckon is pregnant with Brahman. Hence, the pen-name for this blog is Brahmātmaka, where even the self has for its self, the Brahman. The Bṛhadāraṇyaka (The Great Forest Secret) says, He who stands in the self, who is deeper to the self, whom the self does not know, whose body is the self, who rules the self from within … He is the self of all, the deepest ruler, who is beyond all change.

Once again, it is very tempting to go further and talk about this God or Brahman. But, to do so would be the act of a fool. The Brahman teases us out of thought: so close, yet so far … so far, yet so close. It is this tease that lies at the root of mysticism. As the Brahman escapes formal definition, it finds definition as the teaser unto the spiritual self. The availability of the Brahman everywhere while simultaneously being unavailable to grasp leads to an interesting spiritual condition. The overflowing nature of unconditional love that manifests after liberation from the mind suddenly finds a target in the Brahman, in the All. The passive discovery of non-duality takes an active dimension which comes to regarded as bhakti. And here, talking too much is not good for anyone. Bhakti is not emotional excess or crass superstition. At the same time, one would only embarrass oneself trying to put it in words. Let us just say this. The knowledge that one is in the Brahman, of the Brahman and with the Brahman is not just liberating. It makes Brahman-hood a birthright open to all. Indians would know that despite efforts by several masters, it was only in bhakti that those historically relegated to the lower layers of caste rose to be regarded the highest saints of the land.  The equations turned upside down. Formal religious philosophy works with the idea that the human is bound to the authority of God and God favours some choicest few. Bhakti radically inverts that relationship and stakes the authority of every bhakta  (human) over God. God is bound to man as much as man is bound to God. The sage Tagore wrote, The Vaishnava religion has boldly declared that God has bound himself to man, and in that consists the greatest glory of human existence.  There is this daring act of dragging the inscrutable Brahman to the humble hut of the human and drenching Him in human love. If meditation is not for the weak of mind, bhakti is not for the weak of heart.

I am getting too talkative. Let me stop.

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