Understanding the Source

Kabir says:

Isa bangle me eka achambhaa
Naari purusha kaa jodaa

This house holds a wonder in it
A man and a woman live in here.

This indicates the concept of Prakriti and Purusha, the universal feminine and masculine aspects. Whether in the microcosmos or the macrocosmos, when the male and female aspects come together creation takes place. And when the two separate, that is yoga. Patanjali has given a strange definition of yoga. He gave the method to achieve the separation of Prakriti and Purusha, and called it yoga, which means union. The process should have been called viyoga, separation.

There are many definitions; yoga can be discussed as the union of the individual spirit with the supreme spirit, and so on. However, when the actual experience comes, slowly the consciousness drowns and the mental patterns cease. The modifications of the mind come to a stop, and thoughts and egoism begin to end. What happens at that time is through the separation of Prakriti and Purusha. The external consciousness and the senses are an expression of Prakriti. In the experience of darshan or jnana, the eyes are closed, the sounds cease. So when these senses begin to disappear, it is actually Prakriti who is disappearing. Prakriti has a greater connection with externality, with objects, space and time.

So whether the detachment with space, time and object takes place in sleep, a deep state of dhyana or samadhi, it means that Prakriti is separating from Purusha. In fact, during sleep Prakriti does not really separate. It becomes dormant – some say it goes into swadhishthana, and it is resurrected the next day. So in this way until one is free of life, Prakriti goes through resurrection again and again. Even after death Prakriti is resurrected. Only in videha mukti, liberation after death, Prakriti does not have a resurrection. The Bhagavad Gita says (13:19):

Prakritim purusham chaiva viddhyaanaadee ubhaavapi
Vikaaraamshcha gunaamshchaiva viddhi prakritisambhavaan.

Know both Prakriti and Purusha as beginningless or eternal.
Know also that all the modifications and qualities are born of Prakriti.

This means that Purusha and Prakriti are endless elements. But the question arises: are they two or one? If they are one, then why have they been given two names? Every tradition accepts the existence of these dual forces, whether they are called Lakshmi-Narayana, Shiva-Parvati or Saraswati-Brahma. Everywhere, two primordial forces have been accepted. So are these forces a part of one another? Is Lakshmi a part of Vishnu or Vishnu a part of Lakshmi? Or have they both emerged from some one primary force? They are different, but the difference is symbolic and that symbol should not be destroyed. Thus we should consider Lakshmi as separate from Vishnu, Parvati as separate from Shiva, and Saraswati as separate from Brahma.

The philosophy of dualism can be understood when we consider that sunshine is part of the sun but it is not the sun. It has the heat of sun, the light of sun, but it is not the sun. In the same way, an individual is a part of God, but he is not God. God is the creator, sustainer and destroyer, which the individual is not. Take the example of milk and butter. Butter exists in milk, but it manifests only when you separate it by churning. In the same way God is always there in the individual as butter is there in milk and fire in wood. He pervades every cell of this body. He has linked Himself with this matter and is doing His lila the way electricity links itself with every bulb, refrigerator and air-conditioner, and does its lila. The last definition according to Vedanta is also that matter is God’s changed form, it is His waste product. It is said in the Kathopanishad (2:2:9):

Agniryathaiko bhuvanam pravishto roopam roopam
Pratiroopo babhoova; ekastathaa sarvabhootaantaraatmaa roopam roopam pratiroopo bahishcha.

Just as fire, though one, having entered the world, adopts the shapes of the different objects it burns, similarly, the one Atman of all living things, though one, assumes the forms of the various objects He enters (as breath), and He exists also beyond.

I do not consider that anything is separate from God, but that is my personal philosophy. Let us leave that philosophy aside for a moment and accept that we are separate from Him. Let us go into a pragmatic, fact-based philosophy. Here we will have to accept dualism, because we have to go with a pragmatic idea which we can understand. God made the whole creation, but Swami Satyananda who is filled with the energy of God cannot make the creation. God pervades your whole being, but can you pervade anything? No, because you are a part of God, you are not God. You have all the properties of God, but you are not God. Omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence are the three properties of God. Yet he is beyond all three. In fact, He is beyond discussion.

After all, who has seen Him? No one. All religions have said that no human being can see God. So in the Upanishads, they finally said, Neti, neti – “Not this, not this”, and left it at that. Arjuna could not even bear to see the virata, cosmic, form of God, how can we possibly see His moola, essential, form? We can know God only to the extent that we can digest Him, and it is easier to digest dualism.

The Vedas and Upanishads tell us about the formless, endless aspect of God. That is the ultimate truth, but how should this truth be digested? How should we eat gram? Should we eat it straight from the farm, cook it, mix it with salt, grind it, eat it as sattu, or should we eat it raw? Do you dare to eat it raw? So this is how dualism has emerged and the traditions of worship, pooja and aradhana, have come about. Sri Shankaracharya says: “God, you are formless, but in my meditation I have imagined your form. You are all-pervasive, but for the sake of my worship I have placed your idol at a place in the form of Rama and Gopala and worshipped you. You are beyond words, but I have made you the subject of words and worshipped you through stotras. God, these are many sins that I have committed. These are my three doshas, faults. But I do not even have any solution.”

To give a form to the formless, space to the all-pervasive, words to the one who is beyond words – these are big mistakes, big limitations, but you do not have an option. You don’t have access to the formless dimension. No saint or sage can go there. When a lump of salt is put into the ocean, it dissolves. When you dissolve, then who is there to say “Aham Brahmasmi”, “Ayam Atma Brahma” or “Tat Twam Asi”? Therefore, to experience God, accept a personal deity and serve him. Serve him selflessly.

If ever the mind is in distress, say, “You are the giver and You are the taker. I am ignorant, my mind is very troubled, either repair my mind or repair this matter.” After all, what fear is there in asking from God when you can ask from me, your parents or a minister! Why should you be afraid of asking from God? What is this belief which says don’t ask from God but ask a robber? You can ask God for a son, wife, wealth and fame also; it is the nature of human beings to want these things. What other way does this impatient, troubled person have? Does he have a psychological solution? When you are troubled, there is no harm in asking from God, but never get into the dark sciences or black magic. His devotion is pure. Cry before Him, tell your sorrows to Him, repeat His name, read His verses. Think about Him, discuss about Him, and always know that your sorrow and joy belongs to Him. Shokolee tomari iccha – “All is Your will.” This is the way to live.

This creation is a mystery. Human life is a mystery. The saints and sages and the wise people acquired many insights through their meditation, but to what extent they are true and where they end, it is difficult to say. No one has been able to go beyond God’s maya, illusion; they understood a few things and spoke about them. What the speaker really said and what the listener really understood is very difficult to assess.

The One who made the sun, the moon, the entire universe, who is He? Is He an energy, a person with a million hands, a consciousness? If He exists, then where does He exist? Why does He not die, was He ever born? It is very difficult for the mind to comprehend the concept that He was never born.

There is no beginning to an unborn creation. Is something beyond mathematical time and space? If you start thinking, “What was there before this, before the beginning?” – the mind is tied into a knot. And the biggest question is, is all this really happening or are we dreaming? That is also a concept. It is very hard to comprehend these things. It is very difficult to understand God’s splendour. So after engaging my mind in all this, I have now given a holiday to the mind. I said to myself, “Satyananda, now sit down, just chant the Ramayana, sing the name of God and forget about everything else. You won’t be able to understand them.” God’s maya is unknowable, you cannot cross it. Just sing the name of God in the few days of this life, eat and go to sleep.