Moksha, Realizing God
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2002-02-21
There is a misconception that one day we are experiencing zero percent God, then the next moment we are experiencing 100 percent God. Enlightenment doesn't just happen in an instant. The simplest way to see God is to see God in a saintly person. Another way to see God in everyone's eyes. It's there if you look deeply enough. And there are more ways such as yoga and meditation--looking inside at the soul. We are a soul and need to identify with our soul. Even deeper, "I" is God. The first obstacle to the Self is saying to ourselves that we are not ready. Be ready ever moment because it is beyond time, form and space. The Self is a nonexperience. Progress on the spiritual path, is just going a bit deeper inside.
The second subject is Moksha Ritau. It is always nice to reflect on moksha, during this ritau. Gurudeva has given us a beautiful definition of moksha. "Moksha occurs after karma has been resolved and Realization of Parasiva has been attained." Nowhere else do you find such a clear definition of moksha.
As we know, it is a two-fold process and that is one of the reasons we have been talking about karma and resolving karma during this ritau, as it fits right in to the definition of moksha. Of course, we have also been talking about Realization of Parasiva.
A wonderful group of spiritual seekers were here this last phase. I gave them a talk on enlightenment, that you have heard me give, at least once here. The talk focuses on the idea that Hinduism doesn't just believe in things, it wants you to experience things.
In some religious traditions, the sum total effort is to get you to believe in God. If you don't believe in God, then you should believe in God. They try and reason you into believing in God in different ways. Finally you say, "Okay. I believe in God." They say, "Great! Okay, we are done. The process is done here. This person believes in God. We have achieved the end of our religious goals."
In Hinduism, belief in God is only the first step. We want to move beyond belief into experience of God. So, the experience of God is what we are focusing on. I have told the Vivekananda story, I won't tell it to you again. He found out Ramakrishna has experienced God, that was good enough for him. Here was the only person Vivekananda met who said he experienced God and that is what he was looking for in his teacher.
One of the problems are the thoughts about experiencing God. Like, we are dealing with some fairy tale concepts regarding enlightenment and the experience of God. Here we are today. We are experiencing God, zero percent. God, no clue, nothing. We don't have any consciousness of God. Somehow, lightening is going to strike and we are going to become a hundred-percent conscious of God. That is the false concept regarding enlightenment. That it just happens like that instantly, we are transformed from having no consciousness at all, to having one-hundred percent consciousness of God in one instance. Of course, it does not work like that and we start in very simple ways.
The simplest way to see God, of course, is to see God through a holy man. That is one of the reasons we like to be in the presence of someone like Gurudeva. We are experiencing God and we are uplifted because of it. We look at Gurudeva and we see God emanating from Him. That is the easiest way to see God - in a saintly person.
Then, Gurudeva has given us a second method. We can look deeply into anyone's eyes, the eyes of any person. Just look deeply enough and we will see God because God is the life of life. Uyirrukku uyir. God is the Life of life. Of course, as we know we have to set aside that we may not like the person or we are mad at them for this or that, their personality or their intellect or emotions. We have to look deeply enough into the person to see God. It is there. We just have to do that. Gurudeva often quotes Yogaswami's statement in that regard. "God Siva is all-powerful. But, there is only one thing that God Siva cannot do. He cannot separate Himself from you." He is inside of you, inside of everyone. He cannot take Himself out. The whole system is built on His presence. No form would exist if God Siva was not inside it all. So God Siva is in there, inside. We just look deeply enough into the eyes of someone and we can see God.
The next way of seeing God is through external worship, as we did this morning. We all know about external worship and because of the invocations involved in temple worship, divine beings come. We feel their presence and we are uplifted by it. Particularly on auspicious days, such as festival days, the presence is very strong. A third way of finding God, which is even more of a profound experience, more the Presence of God.
The fourth way is inside of us, in meditation, once the subconscious mind is pure enough. In the case of children, it is pure already. It just gets clouded as you grow up. When the subconscious mind is pure enough, we can look inside and see spiritual light. You can go into that, you can go deeper and deeper into God within us. We are experiencing our soul nature.
Of course, this is encouraged especially during Moksha ritau, our internalized worship.
There is a beautiful statement that starts 'Dancing with Siva' and being the first statement, sets the tone for the whole tradition. Remember the question that asks, "Who am I?" Not talking about God that is separate from you, which you might find in another tradition, the greatness of God, this and that something, you know. It is talking about - who am I? It is asking a question - who am I? Yogaswami's fist Natchintanai starts off the same way. "He made me to know myself. He made me to know I". It is right in the tradition - who am I?
So the answer. "Rishis proclaim that we are not our body, mind or emotions. We are divine souls on a wondrous journey. We came from God, live in God, and we are evolving into oneness with God. We are in truth, the Truth we seek."
That is a beautiful statement - We came from God, live in God, and we are evolving into oneness with God. So that is the consciousness we all want to strive for. 'Evolving into' gives that sense that it is a gradual process, it doesn't happen overnight.
In answer to the question, "Who am I?", if you are not on the spiritual path, you are a human being. Right? Well, I am a human being, I've got a physical body, got emotions, got an intellect, that is who I am. I've got an ego, smarter than some, not as smart as others. Today I am sad. Later today, I'll be hungry. That is who I am, just a human being. The goal of 'Merging with Siva' is to take us beyond that identity of a human being into our soul nature. So the first identity we have as a spiritual being is as an individual soul.
What is the difference between feeling like an individual soul and feeling like a human being? An individual soul you feel spiritual, you feel perfect. It doesn't mean everything you have done has always been wise or right. It doesn't mean you are smarter than everybody. It just means you feel complete, you feel pure, you feel "I am all right, right now." You feel like you are on a spiritual journey. You don't feel bad about yourself, you don't regret what you have done in the past because that is not your soul nature. That is just your subconscious mind. If that is present, then you are identifying with your humanness. That needs to be gone. Part of 'Merging with Siva' is getting rid of negative identifications about us as a human being, what we did, how bad we are, how limited we are. Then we can identify with our soul nature, as a spiritual being who is content and moving forward towards oneness with God.
We take that one step deeper and Yogaswami's famous statement applies. "Bliss, bliss, bliss ... here, there, everywhere am I." Of course, the keyword is 'I', right? He does not say, "Bliss, bliss, bliss ... everywhere is God." No. He says, "Bliss, bliss, bliss ... here, there, everywhere am I." He is answering the question, "Who am I?" But He is answering it at a deeper level than, "I am a spiritual being who is evolving towards oneness with God." He is saying - He is omnipresent. He is all-pervasive consciousness. He is Satchidananda. He has gone into a deeper sense of 'I'. He has gone into the soul, what we call the essence of the soul, the core of the soul nature, to the consciousness that is all-pervasive. It is always there. We don't have to create it by something we do. The soul body is maturing. It is like the tree. You plant a seed and it grows into a mature tree, it takes time. The soul body is maturing. It is changing. It is going through a certain process of becoming something more than it is. But Satchidananda is always there. It doesn't change. You just have to find it. You just have to go deeply enough into yourself to find that part of you that is all-pervasive consciousness. So Yogaswami did that. "Bliss, bliss, bliss ... here, there, everywhere am I." This, of course, is evolving further into oneness with God.
Then as we know, there is one more. Last but not least, one more spiritual identity of Parasiva or the Transcendent, which again isn't a case of changing or becoming. It is always there, available to be claimed anytime, day or night. There is nothing we have to do to earn it, realize it, become it. It could come at any time because it is totally outside of the realm of time and space. It doesn't become. It is just a question of finding it, claiming that part of our identity.
The first obstacle to realizing Parasiva is to feel, "Well, we have to do this and this and this before we can realize It. I am confident I am not ready. Maybe, twenty more years of meditation. I should be good enough in meditation to realize It." So we put it off for twenty years! We feel, "Well, I did this when I was young. Therefore, I don't deserve to be Parasiva. Maybe next lifetime." Put it off because of that!
To get rid of the first obstacle we need to feel, "Gee ... maybe this very minute, I will realize Parasiva." We have to give up the idea of putting the experience off, that now isn't the moment when we can claim to be Parasiva. Because, it has nothing to do with what we do. Because, it transcends time and space. Time-and-space goes along and Parasiva just transcends it all. It doesn't relate to what we do, doesn't affect being Parasiva.
Gurudeva describes Parasiva very nicely in a number of places and the one we were talking about on a recent Sun 5, was a non-experience. It is a beautiful statement which helps us understand Parasiva. Normally, we have what is experienced and the experiencer. We have awareness and consciousness. Awareness is like the physical eye and consciousness is like what we see. The eye can see many different things but it is still the eye. Our awareness can experience many different states of consciousness but it is pure awareness, it doesn't change. Just like if we close our eyes, we don't have eyes, we can't see anything. If we take away awareness, we don't experience consciousness. So the absence of awareness is what Gurudeva refers to as a non-experience. You have taken away the experiencer. So there is nothing, no possible experience. It is a non-experience. When awareness is present, everything is an experience. But, when you take it away, it is the only non-experience. If there is no experiencer there, how do you know what is there? If you cannot experience Parasiva how do you know you experienced Parasiva? Does that make any sense? It is kind of a dilemma.
If an experiencer or awareness is required to have an experience and an experiencer is not there, how do you know when it was not there that you experienced Parasiva? By the aftermath, by the reaction, by how it influences your consciousness. If you compare the state of consciousness you were in before the realization of Parasiva and the state of consciousness you are in after the realization of Parasiva, you will see a difference. There is a change, a subtle change. Being able to identify that change is how you know you experienced Parasiva.
Qualities of that change are: your concept of time and space is different, because you step out of time and space. It is like if you leave earth's orbit in a space ship and you come back, earth is going to look different. You are going to get a different overview of earth than you had when you were on earth before you took off in the space ship. You are going to have a grand overview, the world is going to look different. You are going to see it from a different perspective.
Time and space is the same way. Normally, we think of time and space in a linear sense. Everything is going along step by step by step. There is past, there is present and there is future. But, when you come out of Parasiva you don't look at it that way. The past, present and future are all existing in the present. I will repeat the example we used on Sun 5. It seemed to be a good example, the idea of the stars. We look up into the sky, we are seeing the stars. We think it is the present but we are seeing light that has been traveling for a long, long time. We are actually looking into the past. We look over there and if it is closer, we are looking a couple of million years into the past. We look over there and if it is further away, we are looking many, many millions of years into the past. We are seeing something that was millions of years ago by looking up into the sky. Over here, one million. Over there, ten million. Over there, maybe a hundred million. We are looking into the past by looking up into the sky.
Similarly, the inner worlds and the outer worlds relate. Remember the guideline the Devas gave us regarding prayers? You may remember this. You send a prayer to the Devas and they act immediately. But that action takes seventy-two hours to manifest in our world. So what are they saying? They are doing something and it shows up here seventy-two hours later. Like the sky. Something happens in the sky and it shows up here 'x' number of years later. But if it happened there now and it happens here in the future, isn't the future in the now? It is just showing up here in a linear sense. It shows the future exists in the present. A simple example of the prayers.
The other example is the class advice given in the Saivite Shastras. It says, if your teaching a class and you want to teach it in a mystical way, don't have a class more often than every seventy-two hours. It is the same principle, the students and the teacher meet in the inner planes and have the class. Then, three days later, they meet in the outer planes and the class occurs. Of course, we are wiser in the inner planes than we are in the outer planes. Therefore, more wisdom is present in the class because we already had the class seventy-two hours ago. This is just the outer reflection of the class. That is a very interesting principle.
We begin to think about time differently. That the future exists in the present, somewhere. Likewise, the past exists in the present because there is only the present. But what manifests in the First World are different parts of the past and the future at different times. When we start to look at time and space in a different form and different ways, perhaps we are coming out of a Parasiva experience. The idea being again, it is the state of mind you are in before the experience versus the state of mind you are in right afterwards. If you compare those two states of mind, it has to be right before and right after that there needs to be a change in, in order to be sure you had the experience of Parasiva. You cannot compare the state of mind an hour before and an hour afterwards. It might be the same state of mind. But, if you compare right before and right after, that is how you can reflect upon on having stepped outside of time and space into the experience of Parasiva.
The other example that I gave during that class was throwing the rock into the pond. You have a pond of water and one person with his back to the pond. Another person is going to throw a rock or not throw a rock. He says, "Okay, turn around." You look at the pond. How do you know if he threw a rock or not? If you see ripples, right? You can see ripples where the rock went into the water, if he threw the rock. If he didn't throw the rock, you can't see any ripples. So, you didn't see what happened. But, you can tell what happened by the aftermath, by seeing on the water, the reaction of the rock going into the waters. You can tell if he threw the rock or not without actually seeing the experience.
That is like Parasiva, the water is the mind. You can tell the reaction on the mind of realizing Parasiva by how the mind is moving after the experience. If it is the same as before the experience, the rock was not thrown, Parasiva was not realized. If there is different movement in the mind afterwards, then Parasiva was realized. The aftermath of a non-experience. That is how we judge that it occurred.
As a closing thought, Moksha ritau is a wonderful time to make progress on internal worship. The idea of progress on internal worship is to just go a little deeper than we are now. It is not like we are trying to go all the way from here around the world four times or something. We are just trying to move forward, not stay in the same place. We want to be able to go deeper within ourselves into our spiritual nature, our soul nature. If we go inside and we hit problems, then to get rid of those problems. Nothing unusual about going inside and hitting problems but we do need to clean them out. We need to do some inner-ashram sadhana. Do some house-cleaning through Maha Vasana Daha Tantra, through penance, through whatever we need. Get rid of whatever is in there that is bothering us. That is also Moksha ritau, being aware of what is inside of us and if there are negative areas, getting rid of them because there is no reason to harbor them. Gurudeva's teachings are, we can clear out anything negative in the mind because it is not us. We are the soul nature. It is just the external being that has acquired these negative qualities. Just the fact that it acquired them, gives us the confidence can get rid of them. They were not there in the beginning, you were not born with them. It is just some experiences we had, things on our mind. So we can get rid of them through the tools Gurudeva has given us.
Aum Namah Sivaya! Have a wonderful day!