If you cannot make sense of things without
thinking of a personal god, then why try? My
teacher's guru, Swami Dayananda, often says, "Some
religions say there is only one God. We say there
is only God." In other words everything
is God. But sometimes it is difficult to relate
in a personal way to the total manifest reality
as God. Sometimes it is easier to pick one form
or aspect of God and relate to that.
How do you square your thoughts about God with
the saying 'There are not two things’?
In Vedanta we speak of two orders of reality,
the relative and the absolute; and there has
been a lot of material written about that, as
it is one of the biggest topics of the teachings.
Within the relative order of reality, there
is a me, a you, multiplicity and diversity, and
God. Thus one can, from within the relative order
of reality, have a personal relationship with
God. One can talk to God, express concerns and
How does that square with there not being two
things? It squares quite nicely actually. What
is not two things is the non-dual reality, which
is you. You that you know as yourself, but not
as an object. Recognizing this ‘you’ which
is not an object, but which has always been known
as yourself, independent, as indeed it is, from
the body/mind/sense organs individual that your
mind took that self to be one with, is the first
step in the teachings.
Then, from that place of differentiation, we
can look out and examine all of this creation
which appears as many different and distinct
objects. Through a process of analysis we see
that we can break down all objects into smaller
and smaller parts. We come to understand that
all objects are infinitely divisible. We see
that we cannot really find an object which exists
in and of itself. Yet, at the same time as we
break down all objects, the one 'thing' which
continually exists is existence. Never for any
moment does existence go out of existence.
If one can see that one never ceases to exist,
that one is that unchanging existence, which
is consciousness, and has no borders, and that
all of duality shares this commonality, i.e.
existence, which is known, which has no borders
and thus is limitless because there is no second
thing, then one has reached the goal which Vedanta
has to offer. There are not two things.
There is only one thing and that one thing is
you, and every existing object is in the final
analysis that same one thing, that same being,
which exists, which is known because its nature
is consciousness, which is limitless because
there is nothing else.
Still even if one has recognized that fact,
from within the relative order of reality there
continue to be objects, a me and a you, and God.
And the individual mind can relate to any and
all of them now, knowing there is in reality
only 'one thing.' At this point relating can
become quite joyful.
Vedanta has a word, "Ashcharyatva! What
a wonder!" The teaching is a wonder, the
teacher is a wonder, the creation is a wonder,
God is a wonder, I am a wonder. Ashcharyatva!
What a wonder!
The path to this understanding can be long,
but who knows how far you have come already.
The fact that you are interested is quite telling.
It is said by the Upanishads that in order to
reach the goal without ending up in mental confusion
a teacher is necessary and that the student must
have a strong desire to know.
The good news is that since it is you yourself
which you are seeking to know, and you are already
present, and the reality which you are is already
present, then if you really have the desire to
know the truth, you will. You will find the appropriate
teacher, who knows how to clear up your doubts,
and who can use the Upanishads as a means of
And certainly the Upanishads will tell you that
an understanding and a relationship with a personal
god is very useful at every stage of the pursuit.
Prayer itself is said to be a mental action which
will definitely yield a result. So asking god,
who manifests as everything, for help in this
undertaking is indeed highly practical.
It is also said that there is nothing the creation
likes to support more than a sincere seeker of
self-knowledge, nor is there any desire more
noble or worthy of fulfillment.
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