Hindustan Times

"Can God be seen and experienced? This is a question that has confounded humanity since the beginning of time. In the face of claims of miracles about people seeing and experiencing him and rationalists arguing against it, we continue to debate and deliberate whether God exists. If we took the trouble to learn from the lives of saints, this argument could actually have been laid to rest long back. In his younger days, Naren(Swami Vivekananda) used to say," If there is God, I must see him.”This strong urge and intense love for the divine set him on his search for a person or guru who could show him the true path to God. Before meeting Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa and accepting him as his spiritual guru, he met as many as forty-nine charlatans and pseudo saints who obviously could not show him God and quench his thirst And Naren insisted that if he did not see God, he would not accept their claims about there even being a God.

Seeing is believing. God realisation is also no different. The first step to realisation is opening of the divine eye. It is only after we have celestial vision through the third eye that worship of the Divine starts. Ordinary mortals become realised souls only in meditating through the eye of the spirit. In the Brahadaranyaka Upanishad, Yajnavalkya tells his wife Maitreyi," It is the soul that should be seen, heard of, reflected on and meditated upon. Verily, by the seeing of, by the hearing of, by the thinking of, by the understanding of the soul, all is known.”In the Paingala Upanishad, Paingala, the pupil approaches Yajnavalkya. He was told to meditate on the light form of Brahman for salvation through divya chakshu (enlightened eye) given to him. It is this metaphysical form of the Supreme Brahman that is the sole basis of meditation for an journey of an aspirant starts on perceiving the light of the soul and the continuous exploration of pure consciousness takes him closer to ultimate union with God. Seeing God is experiencing the divine light and meditating upon it.

God being omnipotent can take any shape or form. Lord Krishna was all along with and beside Arjuna in a human garb. Even then, the Lord advised Arjuna to know Him in his elemental and metaphysical form after declaring that he is the light of lights. Thus, seeing the light form of God is the first step towards the goal of realisation. The melancholy of Arjuna did not go till the Lord blessed him with the divine eye or insight. This acted as his preceptor and made him undergo the super-sensuous experience of inherent divinity. As we know, no amout of talking could take Arjuna out of his despair. This affirms that theory has to be experienced before you can truly believe in it. Arjuna had Lord Krishna to guide him. Who do we have?

The cosmic vision at the time of initiation varies from person to person. Only a true guru or mentor can know what is enough. For example, Swami Ramananda initiated Kabir, Ramdas, Nanak and two other disciples around the same time. All four, except Nanak, had intense cosmic experiences. But Nanak only saw a star. This did not deter Nanak and complying with his guru's advice, he undertook intense meditation. The result is that he rose to the level of god-incarnate and is worshipped by all for his wisdom.

There are several high-profile philosophers and intellectuals who have churned out many ready-reckoners and voluminous treatises on ways and means to god-realisation. But intellectual argumentation and philosophical regimen do not help. The goal is more subtle than that. It is revelation of the sovereign secret. We also have a clan of clerics prelates and pseudo saints who have played havoc with the lives of many believers. These self-declared god-men virtually sell religion and spirituality. They have devised queer ways of earning faith and loyalty from their followers. Some of them unhesitatingly declare from their podiums if they ever changed their guru they would earn the wrath of God. Their interest lies in perpetuation of ignorance of the masses for obvious reasons. Do they have any answer as to why Naren went on changing gurus till he was shown God by Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa? Paramhansa was the 50th guru he went to and then he piloted his life on this guru's teachings. The rest is history.

Citing the Bhagvad Gita, most gurus speak of different paths of god-realisation. How fallacious is it? Did Lord Krishna, Rama and other sages of yore impart different sets of jnana (knowledge) to their disciples? Lord Krishna, while imparting eternal knowledge to Arjuna said," It is an ancient yoga. In the beginning He imparted this imperishable yoga to Vivasvan who taught it to Manu and Manu imparted to Iksvaku. Lord also declared that He was not stating any new doctrine but only restoring the eternal verity handed down from master to pupil.”

Remember, the Lord taught comprehensive spiritually through the Bhagvad Gita and did not divide the eternal path into bhakti marg, karma yoga or jnana marg. On initiation into eternal knowledge, one truly understands the unity inherent in these different paths. Only an ignorant teacher talks of different paths. The world today needs enlightened gurus who can teach comprehensive spirituality. We don't need gurus who embroil people in different paths and lose God in the process. If you find a person who helps you realise God, stick to him.”

Hindustan Times

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