What is God? What is not God? What is the definition of God, if there is one? The moment you define by a word, you already have a concept about it. What do you think is God?
You describe it as that which is everywhere; which is all-powerful; which is responsible for this creation, for its maintenance, and for its dissolution; which is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
You say “I want to see God” and when you want to see God as something, as an object, then it’s not everywhere. The moment you see God, there is a distance between you and God; then you are not God. You want to see God, and this wanting to see God as separate from you is again an illusion; and if you are seeing God, then God is not omnipresent!
Like love is felt in the heart, so is God’s presence. You cannot see air, but you simply feel the air. You cannot see heat or cold, but you just feel it. So in the same way God cannot be seen.
If you see God, then He is outside there, He is away from you and isolated. God is never an object of isolation. God is the sum total. When you dissolve, God remains. When you are there, there is no God. Either you can be there, or God can be there, not both. So when you meditate, you become one with God. You are God. That is why, it is said, tat tvam asi, meaning, “Thou art that”.
So, God is to be felt in the depth of your heart. In deep meditation when your mind is still, calm, hollow and empty, you suddenly feel, “I am not there. There is only one big existence.” So, don’t worry about God. First know yourself then you also know what is God, almost simultaneously.
Who are you? Do you know about yourself? Just find out about yourself first. If you think you are just the body, it is not possible, because body has its limitations. If you think you are the mind, that’s also not possible because mind has its limitations. If you think you are the mind, that’s also not possible because mind has its limitation, it’s another layer.
If you know that you are silence or you are space, then it is possible; God is also space. Space is God. Can you see space separately? There are three types of space: bhootha aakash — outer space in which all this universe is hanging; chitta aakash — in your mind, there is a world with impressions, thoughts, dreams; you live in that world, all the visions come in your mind; and chida aakash — it’s the sky of consciousness that is all permeating, the basis of all creation, that is divine, that knows all.
Lord Rama himself had asked a question once. He was curious to see so much love, devotion and dedication in Hanuman that he wondered and asked Hanuman what it felt like being Hanuman? Hanuman told Rama — “When I am in body consciousness, I am your servant; when I think I am an individual — I am in soul consciousness, I am a part of you; and when I am in my being consciousness, when I am in myself then I am you; there is no difference between me and you.” It’s the same when somebody blames your child; you take the blame don’t you? There is so much oneness; in fact, there is really nothing other than God. God is that which is present everywhere, all the time.
Don’t worry too much about philosophy or descriptions of atma (self) — parmatma (God). Let’s forget about God and observe this moment; this moment has a mind of its own. The whole existence has a mind of its own. Like you have a mind and it has such intelligence, that’s why it keeps everything orderly. Similarly, this moment is seen by this mind. This mind you can call it God and that is what you are. Yesterday is not here right now, tomorrow is not here but the present is here, now!
Respect this moment, adore this moment. See, this moment is not flat; it’s very deep. When you accept from the head, you can have the horizontal idea; from the heart you experience the depth; and both together bring true wisdom and knowledge.
The word anatha in Sanskrit means one without a master. An acharya (teacher) gives shiksha, which means knowledge; a guru gives deeksha which means heightened awareness. The Guru makes the abstract more real and what you think to be solid appears to be more unreal. Sensitivity and subtlety dawn. Perception of love, not as an emotion, but as the substratum of existence becomes evident. The formless spirit shines through every form in creation and the mystery of life deepens. Then the real journey of life with the guru begins. This journey has four stages.
The first stage is swarupya - to see the formless in the form - that is seeing God in all the forms. Often, one feels more comfortable seeing God as formless rather than with a form, because with a form, one feels a distance, a duality, a fear of rejection and other limitations. In life, all our interactions are with the form, other than in deep sleep and in samadhi. And, if we do not see God in the form, then the waking part of life remains devoid of the Divine.
The second stage is samipya - closeness - that is feeling absolutely close to the form one has chosen and reaching out to the formless. This leads to a sense of intimacy with the whole of creation. In this stage, one overcomes the fear of rejection and other fears. But this is time and space bound.
The third stage is sanidhya, that is feeling the presence of the Divine by which you transcend the limitations of time and space.
The final stage is sayujya, where one is firmly entrenched with the Divine. It is then that one realises that we are one with the Divine. There is a total merging with the beloved and all duality disappears.
In the Upanishads five signs of a satguru are mentioned. In the presence of a satguru, knowledge flourishes, sorrow diminishes, joy wells up without any reason, abundance dawns and all talents manifest.
A guru does not simply stuff the disciple with knowledge; he kindles the life force in the person. In the presence of the guru, one becomes more alive. The pinnacle of intellect is awakened intelligence. The guru invokes not only intelligence but also intellect. Knowledge may not invoke intelligence, but in intelligence, knowledge is inherent.
As no sanchita karma is left in an embodied guru, the self shines through. But all the qualities that we appreciate in a guru are also in our very nature. Respecting the guru simply means honouring our innermost nature.