To Discover the Best in You

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Are you a standalone product or do you belong to a lineage? The answer is that you are not a standalone product. You belong to a lineage. You may know your father. You may know your grandfather. Very few people may have seen their great grandfather, and nobody has seen their great-great grandfather. You being here is a continuity of a genetic transfer through many, many, many generations. I stopped my genetic transfer when I took sannyasa. I am the last of my father and grandfather and great-great-great. . . since infinity. I am the last one.

Just because I have not seen my great-great-great-great grandfather, do I say that he did not exist? If I say that he did not exist then I will be absolutely wrong, because if he did not exist, then by logic I should also not exist. I am because of my purvaj, my ancestors. I don’t know who my ancestors were. They may have been saints, thieves, robbers, cut-throats, or rishis. I don’t know who they were but I know that I am here today because of them although I have never seen them.

Religion and philosophy

The same goes for God. Just as your genes started somewhere, in the same manner life started somewhere. Life started in God. Not in the form of God that is depicted by people and religions as sakara, manifest. It started with God, as nirakara, formless, attributeless. When there was no creation, when there was no universe, there was the potential. According to science the potential became manifest with the Big Bang. The journey of science begins from the Big Bang onwards, where the material components were created. Prior to the existence of the material, elemental components, when everything was in a big cosmic soup, some power was holding that soup together. That power has been identified in the Indian theories as Ishwar. Ishwara represents the energy which was there before and the energy that will be thereafter; the energy that was there yesterday and the energy that will be there tomorrow.

The material creation is known as nashwara - something that was not there yesterday, and something which will not be there tomorrow. It will change. The unchangeable energy is identified as Ishwara and the changeable materials are identified as nashwara. When creation happens it spreads in all directions. What was contained in me is not there anymore, it is spreading outside, it becomes nashwara, something which will decay, change and be destroyed.

These two ideas have become the foundation for the development of Indian philosophies. Every age has a philosophy. Not understanding the aspiration of the philosophy but taking philosophy for being what it is as is, makes it a religion. Philosophies evolve, religions don’t, because they hold on to an idea which is fixed. Religions take birth from philosophies. Religions represent the karmakanda, the active part of the philosophy, and the philosophy represents the jnanakanda, the knowing aspect. If I know that this is how it should be it is jnana, but if I convert that into action and other people see it in a different light they will say it is my religion.

When you look after your son and daughter, provide them with food, clothes and comfort, then that is acceptable. However, if you run around your little image of a deity and think of the deity as your beloved and organize things nicely around it, then that is not considered to be taking care and having concern. It is taken as a religious act. The same actions for your children are considered as taking care and being concerned and not as a religious act. Although the action is the same, one will become religious and the other will become caring due to the identificationin the mind.

You believe that sons and daughters are your own and you believe that God is something outside. Philosophy says that God is inside but you don’t believe in that. You say God is outside and thereby, you follow the religious path, not the philosophical path. Where is the imbalance here? Not in religion, but in your understanding of religion. People who are non-believers are people who do not understand what the philosophical and religious thoughts are. Their disbelief is only an intellectual disbelief.

Scientists believe

Agnostics have to be diagnosed. There is something fundamentally wrong in their understanding. When you are awake you say this is science – I can see everything. When you don’t dream but when you are in deep sleep, what is that? At that moment you are with God. You do not know that because there is no awareness of it. People who block their internal experiences and awareness are called agnostics, and diagnoses have to take place to identify why the block is there. Proper medication has to be given to remove that block and to again connect with the full experiences of the human mind and consciousness.

A scientist can only think of the senses and brain but as a spiritual person you have to think of mind and consciousness. For scientists consciousness is just a play of neurons in the brain, but for spiritual people consciousness is the everlasting and the eternal truth, and we are just a fleeting experience in that ocean of consciousness.

Science is never going to give you the answer about God. It cannot. Even the experiment which they did in Belgium to discover the God-gene was done with belief. The scientists who are doing that experiment believe. The actual scientists of the world believe that there is a gene in us which is called the God-gene, the original gene from which we have all come. Once that gene is discovered you will know the connection and the existence between the Divine and us.

In the building blocks of life the firstblock would be that gene. The founding block would be that. It has to be discovered and scientists are trying to do that. If they do, it will change your views because today no science is able to prove that there is a God-gene.

The human mind can be rational and it can be irrational. Some scientists see spiritual people as being irrational and some spiritual people look at scientists as being irrational. Science is in its infancy. It is like a four-year old child and spirituality is the ancient rishi with a beard. If you put both side by side the young child of four year and the rishi of five thousand years, their understanding, experience, reflections, thoughts and ideas will be different. They will never match.

In the book by Sri Swami Satyananda, Sure Ways to Self-Realization the spiritual traditions from different cultures and religions are clearly defined. It shows the connection between all civilizations and their attempt to discover the best in themselves. Well, God represents the best in each and every one of us.

—22 May 2016, Ganga Darshan, Munger