One of the most pertinent aspects of our psychology as human beings, especially during modern times, is to revolt against God. A considerable percentage of us don’t even see the point of venerating God, let alone live by his laws and philosophy. Atheists especially perhaps because of encounters with abusive figures of authority in their own religious traditions shun religion and God in the pursuit of debunking faith. The Internet highway teems with evolutionary biologists, cosmologists and neuroscientists trying to disprove the existence of God and to have us see the futility of religions.
I once bought into these fads but thankfully I have been inoculated against atheism from very early on in my life, so I could find my way back to faith. I then realised that people get confused and carried away from religion because most of them don’t know that God is a person, He is real, He has His own Kingdom – the spiritual world along with His own Consort and specifically that there exists something we call as The Science of God. This science is expounded in the pages of the Srimad Bhagavatam, the ripened fruit of Vedic knowledge because it is a thorough philosophical and scientific presentation on God and how to know Him. In the Srimad Bhagavatam, God has revealed Himself because this literature has been compiled by none other than Srila Vyasadeva, the literary incarnation of God, in the maturity of his spiritual life after having compiled all the 4 Vedas, the Upanishads and the Vedanta Sutra.
So why God? Why are we not gods? Why Him, not us? It is interesting to note that this sense of revolt against God is the hallmark of life in the material world. In fact, it is exactly what brought us “in here”. Essentially, we are not forever alienated from God’s kingdom – we have only temporarily chosen to forget Him and in so doing, our love for Him got converted to lust: the desire to enjoy this world and to be the masters of all we survey. This is perhaps the most poignant answer to the question “Why are we here?” Almost all of us do ask this question at some point in our lives but through society we are conditioned that these questions either shouldn’t be asked or don’t have any answers. My point here is that those questions are part of our natural psychological makeup; they were meant to be asked and civilization was meant to be geared towards providing all the answers. Unfortunately, we find that such questions are today not encouraged.
I personally used to ask such questions and I was blessed with the opportunity to associate with persons who were erudite and advanced and who could show me by their personal example that God is a reality and that moulding our lives around Him would ensure the success of life. We are a part and parcel of God, we share a qualitative similarity with Him but in as much as God is a person, and He is also a cosmic being. We, on the other hand are souls with our individual bodies. By contrast, God is the Supersoul with the whole of Creation at His command as perfectly, as flawlessly and as seamlessly as we are in command of our own bodies.
There is a way in which we can become gods within this world. Some call this apotheosis. In our yogic traditions, where the distinction between the possible and the impossible gets blurred, such a pathway is indeed shown. There are basically 4 main paths of yoga which lead to God realization. They are Karma Yoga, Gyana Yoga, Raja Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. What pervades all these paths save and except perhaps the path of Bhakti is the Kundalini energy which if risen properly in a yogi confers upon him the famous yoga siddhis or supernatural powers. I speak about this later in my book but it is important for me to point out here why Bhakti doesn’t involve Kundalini or rather doesn’t lay emphasis on it. Through Kundalini Shakti, we become masters of the material energy as this “energy of the Universe” unites with our consciousness at the crown chakra. However, in Bhakti which Krishna Himself in the Bhagavad Gita recognizes as the easiest and most efficient path which leads to perfection, we recognize that wanting powers is but an extension of our ego which will eventually thwart our spiritual progress. The aim of Yoga is not to become gods but instead to regain our original spiritual identities by which we can become eternal (Sat), full in knowledge (Cit) and blissful (Ananda).
By regaining our original spiritual identities and reconnecting with our Source (God), we serve the purpose for which we exist and hence cease to run counter to the natural order of things. We become immediately peaceful as we realize that the center of existence is not us. Instead it is God; He is the Enjoyer. In vain, we tried to be the centre of existence in these deplorable worlds where life is miserable by virtue of the 4 defects of birth, death, old age and disease (janma, mrityu, jara and vyaadi). When we act out of pure, unadulterated, unalloyed and unmotivated love through the science of Bhakti or devotional service, we connect to the Source of our beings in gratitude and participate in his Leelas or pastimes in an eternal ambience of ecstasy full of spiritual variety.
To attain Moksha or liberation doesn’t mean to merge with the Infinite in an attempt to annihilate our own individuality. It is only when our individual existences become miserable that we consider merging with the Impersonal Brahman; we then cannot conceive that existence can be anything other than what it is here. But just like there is no proof in nature that something comes out of nothing, nature is instead full of the proof of duality. When the weather is bad, we know that there can be good weather. When we are sad, we know that we can experience happiness later. When we become sick, we know that we can become healthy again. Similarly, when we die we can be reborn again but the question is where do we wish to be – for this choice is also given to us. Our desires to enjoy and be the lords of all we survey can push us to “come back here” or we can spiritualise ourselves in an attempt to exit this body in full spiritual cognizance and thereby meet with our Eternal Friend, the One who accompanied us everywhere during our sojourn in this reformatory place.
For all my readers interested in an abridged book on God, read Sri Isopanishad by His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami here.
By Krishna Leela Prakash ©