If you are God!
If YOU ARE GOD !
Radio Sai broadcast a talk by Prof. Venkataraman in the series
MUSINGS. Many listeners have written to us asking that the
transcript be made available. H2H takes pleasure in doing so. The
transcript follows. We hope you would like it and if you do,
perhaps you could draw the attention of others who might benefit
by reading it.
Jai Sai Ram.
OF TALK BY PROF VENKATARAMAN
Loving Sai Ram and
greetings from Prasanti Nilayam.
Today I am going to
give myself a real tough assignment. We have been receiving many
spiritual questions from listeners, and it is about time I start
responding. I have thus chosen as the topic for my broadcast
today, a question or rather I should say a set of comments, sent
to us by a listener. Believe me commenting on this listener’s
comments is a tough job! Let me try it anyway. I shall first read
out the remarks as sent. This is what the listener writes, after
listening to our broadcast series on the Krishna-Arjuna Dialog. He
You said that
Krishna tells Arjuna that "I separate Myself from Myself so that
I can love Myself". It means that I, the saint, I, the scholar,
I, the fool, I, the thief, I, the murderer, I, the debauch, are
all in essence, I, the God.
explains that all attachments and desires a person exhibits are
only reflections of the Divine Love that He has within Him and
hence inter alia expressions of the Divine Bliss that He, the
God really IS.
human intelligence, which is nothing but a spark of the Supreme
Divine intelligence, plans events and happenings meticulously,
the mighty Cosmic Intelligence would definitely have planned the
design parameters of His sojourn in various bodies in various
births spread over God knows (or I should know but apparently
don't in My embodied State) how many millions of aeons.
That is, I, the
God, in my disembodied State have already decided the various
roles I would be playing in various births. Under the
circumstances, why worry? Let Me be me. If I want to drink let
me drink. If I want to enjoy let Me enjoy. If I want to be merry
let Me be merry. Because that is what I decided to do before I
separated Myself from Myself. I have covered Myself in the
embodied state with a Self-created delusion. Yet since the plot,
scenes, dialogue, and delivery of the whole drama is
pre-scripted, whether I am aware of it or not I am still God.
Under the circumstances let me enjoy the life I am leading
whatever it is. If I do a wrong thing let Me enjoy the wrong
doing. If as a result of that wrong doing I suffer let me enjoy
that suffering. If I am insulted let me enjoy that insult. Let
me watch with enjoyment how beautifully I, in another role, in
another embodiment, am insulting Myself in the insulted body.
Let Me enjoy the loss I, the God have caused to Myself or enjoy
My own cunningness, or the meanness with which I myself in
another body have caused that loss to Myself. Let Me enjoy My
own intelligence or the lack of it. Let Me enjoy My own
stupidity or Scholarship. Let Me enjoy My being a scoundrel or a
In this context
then, what is sin and what is merit? There are no such things.
Both are illusions I have covered My deluded mind with, in the
In essence it all
boils down to what our Beloved Swami says" The past is beyond
recovery. The future is not certain. The given moment is now. Do
the best you can".
That is I, the God have already played out my previous role.
Though I, the God in my disembodied State have designed My
future roles also, since I have chosen to hide that knowledge
from Myself in the embodied state, I do not know My future role.
So at best in My embodied State I am aware of the role I am
playing right now. The person who is living this moment is none
other than the Omnipresent Lord Himself. So this present is
nothing but the part of one long Omnipresence. In that
Omnipresence there is no past and no future.
So why bother what happens? Be what you want to be. In due time
you will be what you will be. If I, the God want to be a scholar
I will be one. If I, the God, want to be a saint I will be one.
If I, the God want to serve Myself in other embodied beings I
will do so. On the other hand if I, the God, want to merely eat,
drink and be merry,
fine let Me be so. Ultimately I AM, I AM. AHAM, AHAM ASMI.
So we reach the
conclusion that I, the God, whatever role I am playing in the
present life should remember that it is a role chosen by Me only
and I should enjoy thoroughly what I am undergoing. That is I,
the God am beyond dualities. I AM GOD. Let me not compare Myself
with others simply because there are no others. All roles are
Mine. I alone AM. So let Me be always, in our Beloved Swami's
words, "BE HAPPY.BE HAPPY. BE HAPPY."
JAI SAI RAM.
That is what the
listener wrote in his letter to us. By the way, the opening words
of the listener are his paraphrase of what he thinks Krishna says.
As far as I can recall, in the Krishna-Arjuna dialog as we
broadcast, nowhere does Krishna speak the words our listener has
written. Thus, these words would seem to be his understanding of
what Krishna teaches.
Getting back to the
remark itself, it is a pretty long one, is it not? You can’t blame
me if I struggled with it for a long time to understand what is
implied. Finally I came to the conclusion that in essence, what
the writer says is the following:
When the One
becomes many, it is that One who is masquerading in many forms.
happens in Creation is pre-ordained by The One or God Almighty.
Thus, whatever ‘I’
the individual or Jivatma do is already ordained by ‘I’ the
There is no
difference between ‘I’ the One who ordained and ‘I’ the one who
wears the vesture and performs various actions. Therefore, all
that ‘I’ do has been decided by me and me alone in advance.
Since ‘I’ am the
One who decided and ‘I’ also am the One who is acting now, where
is the question of sin or merit, bad or good? The question does
not arise at all and ‘I’ can therefore jolly well do what ‘I’
speaking, summarises what, according to me, the Listener has said.
I hope my paraphrase is fair and accurate. I am sure you will
agree that the problem that the listener is raising is a tough
one. After reading his letter many, many times over, I did a lot
of thinking. Let me now share with you what I feel about the whole
issue raised by our listener. Obviously a complex remark like this
has to be dealt with slowly and carefully at various levels. And
clearly, every level of analysis can reveal only a bit of the
truth. After that, one has got to patiently put together the
pieces and try to make some sense of it all. I hope you will keep
this in mind, while I place before you my response. Let me start
off with the analogy of a drama troupe, an analogy that is quite
useful in this case.
The troupe members
stage plays and although the different actors play different
roles, they all have read and know the whole script. And although
each one of them knows what the play is all about, yet while
actually play acting they do not show it. Instead, they react or
appear to react to situations as they happen. So what does this
mean for us? Firstly, life is a Drama scripted and directed by
God. The official dialog is Dharma, but just as some actors of
ordinary drama ad lib, as they say in America, some actors in the
Cosmic Drama also deviate from the official script and ad lib,
meaning they stray from Dharma. In other words, knowing the script
in advance and following it meticulously are two different things.
Let us remember this while we move on to other perspectives.
Next, I would like
to consider water flowing in a stream. As we all know, water is
made up of water molecules, each molecule being a combination of
an oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. The water molecule is
extremely tiny, and there are trillions of them in one cubic
centimetre of water. It is because the molecule is so tiny that we
cannot ever see them with our naked eye. Now scientists have shown
that these tiny molecules are restless and keep moving randomly as
also with various velocities. Since the molecules are tightly
packed, they naturally collide all the time with each other. To
understand this phenomenon, just imagine a big ground say like the
hill view stadium in Prashanti Nilayam, full of people. At the end
of the function or program to attend which all these people came,
the members of the public would all rise and start walking off in
different directions. Naturally, in the process, many people would
be bumping into others. Basically this is the result of
congestion, and what happens in gases and liquids is something
similar. Naturally the collisions are more frequent in liquids
than in gases, on account of the higher density. This phenomenon
of random molecular collisions is referred to in physics as
Brownian motion and was explained for the first time by none other
than Einstein, in a landmark paper published in the year 1905.
Let us now zoom out
and instead of looking at individual molecules in the water, look
at the entire stream. We would then find that the water now
appears to be flowing fast in one direction that is downstream. In
other words, the molecules all move en masse
in one specific direction. What I want you to note from this
example is that when the same system is observed at two different
levels or two different scales of length as we would say in
physics, we see two different things. In one case we observe
random motions while in the other we see a well directed drift.
My third point. Our
friend has referred to two ‘I’s, although I am not sure if he is
conscious of the difference between the two. One ‘I’ is the Lord
Supreme or Paramatma who ordains everything. The other ‘I’ is the
individual on Earth, who is a Spark of the Divine but not the
whole of the Divine, at least not till full Realisation is
attained. This is an important point – one is the WHOLE while the
other is just a part of that WHOLE. This other ‘I’ is the Jivatma,
and you and I fall into this category. Now our listener, in one
breath as it were, is mixing up the two ‘I’s. In fact this is
evident from the way he types the word Me. Sometimes, it is a
lower case ‘m’ while at other times it is the upper case ‘M’.
Clearly this mixup is not deliberate but unconscious – yet it
reveals the underlying subtle confusion between the two ‘I’s that
I just referred to. One must be very careful in not confusing the
wave with the ocean. True the wave is a part of the ocean. Equally
true that the water in the wave is just as salty as the rest of
the water in the ocean. A chemical analysis would show that the
wave and ocean are not different. And yet, we all know that in
some matters, there IS a difference, a huge
difference in fact. I am sure I do not have to elaborate on that.
So, what is my point? Simply this:
Paramatma is the One
who ordains, but here on Earth, actions are performed by the
Jivatma [except of course in the case of the Avatar, which anyway
we are not considering here]. The Jivatma on Earth cannot claim
the same rights and privileges as Paramatma. I mean we know this
to be true even in ordinary, so-called secular life. One man may
be the President of a country while another may be just a
commoner. In many respects, the two are equal. Both can vote, both
have to pay taxes, and both are subject to the same laws. Yet, the
President has powers and privileges that the commoner does not
enjoy. Please bear this in mind.
Let me now try to
put all this together in the context of the comments made by our
listener friend. This allows me to say the following:
There are two
basic levels from which we can look at Creation. One is from
above Creation and the other is from within or below, whichever
way you prefer to describe it. This is rather like looking at
the entire stream standing on the bank on the one hand, and
getting into the water and looking at individual molecules on
the other. In other words, while making statements, we must be
careful about the perspective we are adopting.
If we are viewing
from above Creation, then we get one perspective while if we are
looking from below, we get an entirely different perspective.
When one is above,
there is sheer Oneness – that is what Vedanta says and that also
is what Swami tells us repeatedly. To use jargon, this is the
state of Pure Advaitam. Clearly, in this state there is neither
good nor bad. When our friend says, “In this context then, what
is sin and what is merit? There are no such things. Both are
illusions I have covered My deluded mind with, in the embodied
state,” he is no doubt right but he is obviously speaking from
the perspective of sheer Oneness. I am sure everyone including
our friend, who I hope is listening, would agree.
Let us now climb
down from this dizzy state, and get into Creation. That is to
say we observe the Universe from within the Universe. We look
around and see what we normally describe as either good or bad.
How did these things suddenly pop up? The answer has been given
by our friend. He says, “both are illusions I have covered my
deluded Mind with.” That is right. To put it in Vedantic terms,
when one enters the world of duality, which, unfortunately is
what we all are immersed in, we inevitably see duality around
us. True it is a trap set by the Mind, but then we are caught in
the trap – that we have to accept. So, duality results when the
Mind is allowed to get deluded.
The Mind should
not be allowed to get deluded and make a person assume that
Paramatma and the Jivatma are identical. No doubt they both are
Divine in origin. True that qualitatively they are same, just as
the wave and the ocean are qualitatively the same. But the
differences must also be understood and respected. The Paramatma
is the Divine in Totality while the Jivatma is
but an aspect of that Totality. If Paramatma is
the entire fire, the Jivatma is but a tiny spark of that fire.
In other words,
the Jivatma who is under the spell of duality cannot claim
license to do anything and everything saying, “After all it is
‘I’ who ordained everything”.
Contrary to the
point of view adopted by our listener, below Creation or in the
state of duality, there IS a clear difference
between the two ‘I’s that our writer is implicitly referring to.
The ‘I’ who preordained is the Universal ‘I’. It is, as our
listener writes, the Atma or AHAM. But the ‘I’ who performs
actions in the world is the lower or individual ‘I’, and this
lower ‘I’ is bound by ego. Therefore there is no way this lower
‘I’ can claim perfect identity with the Higher or Universal ‘I’.
That identity can
be claimed only when the lower ‘I’ attains, what is referred to
in Vedanta as Self-Realisation, which is the same as reaching
the perfect state of Advaitam.
And when one
attains that state, that person will never say, like our friend
does, “If I want to drink let me drink. If I want to enjoy let
Me enjoy. If I want to be merry let Me be merry,” and so on.
That is because a person in the Advaitic state does not
recognise such a thing as drinking and being merry. Being merry
is connected with body-consciousness, and a person in the state
of Oneness is by definition above body-consciousness. On the
contrary, whatever actions such a Self-Realised though still
embodied Soul would perform would be a true reflection of God.
The above point is
very important. Again and again Swami tells us that Divinity is
where Prema or Pure Love, Daya or Compassion, Kshama or
Forbearance exist. When a person attains Self-Realisation, these
virtues shine forth in such a person, as they did in the case of
Ramana Maharishi and Ramakrishna, to name two examples. Can we
ever think of these people making such comments as quoted
I hope you agree
with what I have said so far. Basically what I am saying is that
we must recognise that though we individuals are in
principle God, we are not so in practice.
You will surely recall what Swami often says in the context. He
says, “The difference between you and Me is that I know I am God
but you do not.” Now why does Swami say that? The point is simply
this. It is not enough to know that one is God in the head.
One must FEEL it in the Heart. It is only when we
feel Prema, Daya and Kshama constantly in our Heart that we truly
rise to the level of the Divine or, to use the language of
philosophy, attain Self-Realisation.
Assuming all the
above, let me now proceed to the next step in my analysis. The
question before us is: “What precisely is my role when I am
immersed in duality?” The answer has been clearly spelt out by
Swami. Quoting Shankara often, He asks us to shun bad company,
avoid seeing bad, focus only on seeing good, hearing good and
doing good, etc. I am sure even our friend would agree without any
reservations whatsoever, that this is what Swami exhorts us to do.
If you agree with
what I have just said, then we must ask, “If there is no such
thing as good and bad, then, what precisely does Swami mean by
asking to be good and all that?” The answer is simple and
straightforward. Swami’s advice is meant for one who is immersed
in duality that is to say for you, me and our listener friend, and
NOT for one who has achieved Realisation. None of us can claim to
have come anywhere near Self-Realisation, which automatically
means that we all are unfortunately steeped deep in duality. That
is why we see pleasure as pleasure and pain as pain. Hence,
immersed as we are in duality, we cannot make the sort of
arguments our friend has offered and pretend that there is no
difference between Dharma and Adharma. We just have to accept that
for us this difference exists, and that we have to steer clear of
the bad and stick to the good.
Not merely that.
Swami teaches an important lesson, which incidentally has been
taught by every one of the earlier Avatars. This is an important
point and I do hope you will pay careful attention. Incidentally,
this point has also been made by Krishna in the Krishna-Arjuna
Dialog. The point is simply this. Suppose there is a person who
has achieved Self-Realisation. According to the text book for this
person, clay and gold are not different in value, there is no such
thing as sin or merit, and so on. That does not mean that this
person can do what he or she likes! On the contrary, the Lord is
very clear about what such a person shall do. In brief, this
Realised person must lead an ideal life that others would be
inspired to copy. That precisely is what our Swami is doing all
the time. I do hope all that I have said thus far would make it
quite clear to everyone, including our listener friend, why Swami
keeps on saying MY LIFE IS MY MESSAGE. We should also not forget
what Bhagavan adds as a corollary. He says: YOUR LIFE
SHOULD BE MY MESSAGE. And what does that mean? Many
things, among which is that we cannot drink and be merry as our
listener seems to advocate!
The message is loud
and clear, is it not? Do you agree? What do you think? Why don’t
you write and tell us about your views on what I have been saying.
You can reach me via the e mail address:
Thank you and Jai
E-Magazine, March 15, 2004