'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…
Over the next few Freedays, the small chapters at the end of Kindle Life will be the prompts for the posts. Mainly because they fit the 'take a breath' and 'look at the view' nature of Freedays… The first of these will be split, as it is a little lengthy for a single post, even when abridged as it is here.
Chapter 31 is entitled YOU, ME AND GOD. It is formed around a conversation which Gurudev had with one of India's 'bright young things'; an up and coming Indian, with modern, Western dress, speaking clear English (with American drawl),with name of Ram, and returned from his overseas University time with something of a attitude.
He declares himself. "Swamiji, I don't believe in God."
"Excellent! I like your outspokenness...now come, what kind of a God is it that you don't believe in?" responded Gurudev.
Having spoken with some level of bravado or rebellion before, the fellow now softened a little as this 'Godman' had spoken so plainly to him and in his own measure.
"This God who sits above the clouds, judges men, dispenses favours and punishments… hocus pocus don't you think?"
"Shake hands young man, I am entirely with you!" said the jovial Gurudev. "I too do not believe in such a God; but…. Hmmm.. Did you have breakfast before coming?" The man affirmed so. "What did you have?"
"The usual, cereal, toast, eggs, coffee…"
"Eggs! Now where did the eggs come from?" Ram had a sense of being led somewhere… "I don't exactly know; maybe the poultry farm near Puna."
"That was not the meaning! How are the eggs made? Do they grow in fields, or are they from factories?"
Complaining of being teased, Ram says "Hens of course! They are laid." … only to be asked by Gurudev as to whence came the hens… he could see the 'trap'. Gurudev continued. "Eggs from hens, hens from eggs...ad infinitum. Ram, say with certainty now, which was the first cause? The egg or the hen? How and why?"
He raised his attention from Ram and addressed the whole group. "You see, God is not a person or individual! It stands to reason that every effect must have a cause. The watch you wear did not make itself. Food does not cook itself. There is a cause in each case. That cause must itself have emerged from a previous cause, all the way back to the absolute, originating cause… it is that, which is referred to as "God". The Sole Cause. The Uncaused Cause. There was no cause before 'Him'… causation hunting is the favourite pastime of the evolving human intellect. That which is beyond the point at which the intellect gets stalled is G-O-D. The intellect cannot come to a conclusion as to the ultimate cause (as in the egg-hen example); 'thus far and no farther' is the limitation of the capacity of the human intellect."
Ram has been caught by the logic. "There is something in what you say, Swamiji. Am I to understand that "THAT" is 'God'?"
"THAT, which you now speak of as 'God', the Muslim calls Allah, the Christian calls Heavenly Father, the Parsee calls Ahura Mazda… these are a few of the different ways in which HE or IT is referred to. All are referring to the Cause from which arise all other causes. The Source. Vedas call it Brahman, the Absolute, the Infinite. The Truth is One - the wise speak of it variously."
"But, Swamiji, the description does not seem complete. Is that all God is? How can one come to know…'Him'?"
"AH! Now you are getting somewhere! God has not been 'described'. He cannot be. To define Him is to defile Him. What was pointed out only constitutes one way, one manner, of approaching the Truth. It is just one aspect. As to your second question; He cannot be 'known' in the manner of object, like table or chair. He is the very subject. In the Kenopanishad, the disciple approaches the master with the enquiry, "Master, what is it, directed by which, the mind cognizes objects, the eyes see, the ears hear and so on?" The master responds "it is the eye of the eye, the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind." In fact it is the very subject that enables the eye to see etc. It is not an object of the senses or the mind or the intellect. Hence to answer your question, I have to tell you that you cannot make God an object of knowledge. An example will elucidate the idea. You are walking along a dark country road at night, using a torch with a battery; you want to know how the torch gives light; you unscrew the torch, but you will not be able to see the battery cells as the bulb now cannot glow. Similarly, the eyes, ears, mind… all work from a power, the Life Principle, which they cannot perceive without its presence. That power of sight, hearing and so on cannot be perceived by the instruments which are under its operation, yet they know its presence. THAT is God."
"Then, Swamiji, you say that God, or Truth, is something abstract, which cannot be seen or heard or touched or even thought of?...
"Correct! In fact, God is all this and much more. The Bhagavad Gita says, 'weapons cleave it not, fire burns it not, water wets it not, wind dries it not. This Self cannot be cut, nor burnt, nor wetted, nor dried. It is not material; it is not matter'."
Next week we shall conclude this 'talk with Ram and his group'.