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 in potential).
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 our acknowledgment.
In other words, Ishvara is the author of all authors.
We are mini-authors writing about a small sections of Ishvara's totality.
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 (Ishvara).
And how is God expressed in form of the world? 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. Working in synergy, organs and limbs are put together to form a human body.
It goes even further…
The presence of sun evaporates ocean water and forms clouds. Though precipitation and gravity, rain falls which feeds the plants. The plants convert sun's solar energy to chemical through photosynthesis.
This chemical energy is designed to be consumed by a human body to sustain it's own 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 observable name-form — whether known (like a full grown tree) or unknown (like a tree inside a seed).
Tree is a form. To distinctly identify that form from infinite other forms, we give it name “oak 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 are both empirically real.
They are related to one another.
Just as countless waves and One ocean are related.
Meaning the indivdual wave can only ever relate to other individual waves — all which enjoy their existence in the One Total Ocean.
A finite wave cannot relate to the infinite Ocean all at once. How will you fit the Ocean in one drop?
This means a person cannot directly relate to Ishvara, because then you'd be turning God into a limited object in the mind. Thus you're not related to limitless God, but to a limited God.
Not understanding this, religions often fall into the trap of idolizing God into an object — either in the present, or to be enjoyed in the future.
So then how can we understand the TOTAL Ishvara? Advaita Vedanta solves the equation using one of many metaphores…
The content of one small finite wave and the infinite ocean — is the one same water.
Similarly we can understand that the truth of Ishvara (manifesting as infinite forms) — 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 this entire universe running,.
Both resolve into Brahman, because as we said earlier — 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. “