It was pointed out in conversation 33, that knowledge of One without a Second, is not meant to create indifference towards your daily world engagements.
It's not supposed to turn one into a hermit.
Nor dismiss the world as a mere dream, because the very mind that's dismissing is made out of the same material as the world itself, which is not away from the Limitless One.
Indifference means, unwillingness to contribute for sake of bettering other peoples lives, in areas where you have value, skill and talent.
If parents were consistently indifferent towards the vulnerable, toddler-you — you'd be a fraction of the capable-educated person of today.
Where would today's adult be if everyone dismissed you with, “His or her immoral behavior is not my problem! Let someone else fix it”.
Without a hint, your live would be a misprint.
The capable-person I am today is a consequence of many helping hands that have reached out to me, even when I didn't have the courage to ask.
We are reaping the rewards today because the circle of influence was not indifferent towards us.
For this very reason, a mature adult recognizes, “I have an obligation to proactively contribute in those areas where I shine”.
Proactive means to get involved without incentive of reward.
This very attitude of proactive contribution is what brings fulfillment. It develops character and confidence. Improves problem-solving. Sharpens concentration. Because you're actively engaging the mind.
In fact, you cannot NOT benefit in unimaginable ways by contributing. Because the nature of God is to give. Thus to give is to be aligned with God's laws and orders.
Now the student replies, “Are you saying the various laws and orders we see all around us – is what's referred to as God? How can I worship an impersonal presence?”
” God in Sanskrit is Ishvara, which means the cause of the universe.
Our scriptures specifically define Ishvara as — Limitless Consciousness (Brahman) together with maya (all-knowledge, all-power).
Example to help us grasp the definition…
Suppose you just completed your doctorate degree. Replete with knowledge and power to cure patients.
But you suddenly lose consciousness.
Is there any use of your knowledge and power in a coma? No. They are certainly in potential, but remain fruitless until there is consciousness.
Similarly, all-knowledge, all-power is ineffective without Consciousness.
Therefore Ishvara is both — Brahman and maya.
Ishvara means the totality of everything — known and unknown.
For example, in year 500, the knowledge of genes was unknown. It only became known in late 1900's and named DNA.
Furthermore, if we observe the world, we find many orders at work like material, physical, psychological, chemical, biological.
All of them are already true. Human beings only come to discover and understand them on bases of our investigation. DNA existed even before we came to know about it.
In other words, Ishvara is the author of all authors.
We are mini-authors writing about a small sections of Ishvara's all-knowledge.
And how do we demonstrate that Ishvara is all-knowledge?
If you look at a beautifully crafted sculpture, or an intricately woven cloth, you can infer the skill and knowledge of it's talented creator.
In the same way, the entire world and it's magnificent vastness… from the tiny grain of sand to the immense universe… implies the presence of a maker with unimaginable intelligence, skill, talent and power.
Such an intelligent maker and his material, we call Ishvara or God. There is no place where His intelligence and power is not.
The sheer magnitude of the universe fascinates us.
Songs and words of praise pour out spontaneously, from deep within us.
Such is the power, the awe of Ishvara's manifestations. Even the eyes used to read these words praising Ishvara's glory – are themselves Ishvara's manifestation.
Knowing this, how can one not worship the almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Lord. “
“What is your definition of God? And how do we relate to God?”
” As explained earlier, Limitless Consciousness (Brahman) with maya power is God.
And how is God expressed? As intelligence and material at every level we observe.
Atoms are put together to create molecules. Which create nucleic acids, proteins and carbohydrates. Which together form cells. Which create organs. Which working in synergy, grow into a human body.
It goes even further…
One of sun's purposes is to evaporate the ocean water and form clouds. Though precipitation and gravity, rain falls, which feeds the plants. The plants further convert suns solar energy to chemical through photosynthesis.
This chemical energy is designed to be consumed by a human body to sustain it's life.
Just look at the intelligence at every level. Everything is perfectly interconnected with another.
This is why we create different schools to research different aspects of this all-intelligence, like, physics, biology, astronomy, psychology, etc.
Therefore we can recognize the presence of Ishvara through any name-form.
Tree is a form. To distinctly identify that form from infinite other forms, we give it name “tree”.
Thus we find in Vedic-Indian culture that anything is worshiped. Sun, ocean, wind, fire, rain. They too are names-forms which resolve into Ishvara's all-knowledge, all-power. “
“But how do we relate to an infinite God, including all known and unknown manifestations, at once?”
” A relationship exists only within the same ontological levels.
God and world, which doesn't exclude you (the one who wishes to relate) — are both empirically real.
Meaning they are both related to one another.
Just as countless waves and ocean are related to one another.
Meaning the wave can only ever relate to other waves, all which are related to the one total ocean.
The problem is, a finite wave cannot relate to the entire ocean all-at-once — including waves that were in the past, and yet to come in the future.
Finite wave can only worship a concept in it's finite mind of the infinite-ocean.
As long as this is true, person is not relating directly to Ishvara, but to his own concept of Ishvara. This is the limitation of religion. It idolizes God into an object to be enjoyed some time in the future.
However at the same time, we can only ever relate to the same ontological level.
So what is the solution then?
The content of one small finite wave and the infinite ocean — is the one same water.
Similarly, we can understand that the truth of all-knowledge, all-power — which is expressed as infinite names-forms around us — is Limitless Consciousness (Brahman).
The very consciousness illumining your mind's finite knowledge right now — is the same consciousness illumining Ishvara's all-knowledge — which is keeping the entire universe running.
Both resolve into Brahman, because as we said — Ishvara is Brahman with maya. It's not like wave, ocean and water are three separate entities.
As long as we think we are individuals, the vastness of the universe will dwarf us.
Therefore we invoke the Limitless One as Ishvara through whichever name-form that inspires us — imbuing it with the best of human qualities like kindness and compassion.
That's why in Vedic culture we see adornment of various God figures. No name-form is away from the Limitless One.
Thus we look upon Ishvara as father, mother — drawing strength from it through our sincere worship. “
“The One appears to revel in our sorrows, miseries… in a world of violence and disorder. First, it creates ignorance about the Limitless One. Then it confuses and draws us in further. Watches us struggle as we try to swim homewards… creating whirlpools and eddies… making the effort more difficult.”
” We see only disorder and conflict when we do not know the truth of our self.
Once we understand we are the Limitless Consciousness, we see it's knowledge everywhere, manifested as various orders.
If there is a problem, there is a solution.
If there is a struggle, there is a reward.
If there is ignorance, there is knowledge meant to destroy that particular ignorance.
If we look at the world with the knowledge that everything is the one Consciousness — we find there is such beauty of infinite variety in the world.
Everything is in perfect order. Nothing out of place.
For every unethical deed, there is an inescapable order built in which manifests as guilt, shame and fear of being caught. Such person suffers immediately or later because of their own deeds.
They may pretend like nothing happened, but the mere act of pretending implies “what I did was wrong”. A person who has nothing to hide has no incentive to pretend.
Eventually the guilt becomes so great — perpetrator helplessly seeks repentance. Noone can escape Ishvara's laws and orders governing the universe.
Diversity sings the glory of the One.
When we view the world through our wisdom filled eyes, what we used to call a struggle or sorrow, we see them now as means to grow.
Through strain and strive, your physical strength grows. Just as through sorrow and pain, your wisdom, emotions and peace matures.
So nothing goes to waste.
Although at the moment of suffering, life does seem hard. This is when prayers help.
We turn to God, helping us recall the knowledge — All that is, is the Limitless One.
The One speaks through compassion in form of random helping hands throughout your life — through grace by sending you a wise teacher — helping you develop a fertile mind — and gives proper perspective to life's challenges.
How can we not worship the Lord, our only refuge, our best friend. “