In previous part 5 conversation, the teacher gave way for student to ask one of most important questions which bridges the apparent gap between self and God.
Student asked, “I cannot see a connection between I, the knower, and Universal Consciousness (Īśvara/God). What is the relation?”
The ever-available knower, never not knowing, is what we call ‘I'.
Body in pain, I knows about it.
Mind rejoicing, I knows about it.
Reading these words, I knows about it.
Whatever the conditions and actions experienced, I knows of it.
This ‘I' is Consciousness or Awareness at the individual level (Ātman).
It is identical to the Universal Consciousness (Īśvara).
All that differs is the individual Consciousness (Ātman) includes the body and mind. But remains untouched by it.
Just like how clay pervades the pot. Whatever new modification pot undergoes, the essential clay remains same in all forms of past, present and future.
Thus the body-mind are mithyā, dependent-reals, because they depend on consciousness for their existence.
“The Universal One is all powerful creator of this universe. We are only mortals. How am I to believe that I am God? How can you equate these two?”
What we mean by God (Īśvara), is the is the Limitless One with its māyā power.
To explain the essential identity, despite the obvious differences between Limitless One (Īśvara/God) and ourselves, let us look at a mathematical equation…
10 – 1 and 4 + 5, the apparent difference may confuse a child until the teacher explains that despite the different numbers, the answer is the same.
In same way, despite the apparent differences between the Limitless One (Īśvara) and ‘I', we are are not separate distinct entities. We are the same.
Just like with ‘this' wave and ‘that' ocean.
The waves are diverse. Certainly smaller and weaker then the whole ocean which comprises of all the waves.
Even their names are different. ‘Wave' and ‘Ocean'.
But their content is not different. Both are water in essence.
The wave-ness comes and goes, as does the ocean-ness.
These are incidental qualities not intrinsic to water, because water has no particular form.
Forms are mithyā, dependent-reals. They derive their existence from water.
Wave and ocean are born of water, sustained by water, and finally resolve into water.
Water is the truth, the one real (satyam). While the differences are dependent-reals (mithya).
The same is true of God (Īśvara) and I. The self God-ness and I-ness are both mithyā, dependent-reals. They are depending on Limitless Existence Consciousness (satcitānanda / Brahman).
To explain another way, imagine 20 years ago you briefly knew a great man of Compassion.
Twenty years later, paths cross. But don't recall him at first.
Soon enough it all comes back.
About his appearance, ‘this' and ‘that', all those adjectival terms like tall, strong, alert – brought no change to the person.
His external form had changed indeed. But Compassion, he remains.
This is true of Īśvara and us. The omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (everywhere at once), all powerful One (Īśvara), is the same as the mortal person, I.
Certainly not same in outward form nor mental content.
Essentially both I and Īśvara (omnipotent; unlimited power) – are Limitless Existence Consciousness (satcitānanda / Brahman).
Omnipotence and omniscience are words we use when we speak of the Limitless One (Īśvara) together with its māyā power in relation to the world (jagat), its creation.
Without the creation (jagat), in a resolved state, the Limitless One (Īśvara) has no attributes. Neither omniscience nor omnipotence. It is just Limitless Existence Consciousness (satcitānanda).
Space provides us another example. The all pervasive expansiveness of space, contained in different vessels, appears in a variety of shapes. Like pots and cups, rooms and halls.
But the space within these is not different at all. Containers may change, as do sizes and shapes.
Even air varies with the pollution of environment. Space however remains unchanged.
Space is an indivisible whole. It does not change. Neither does the Limitless One (Īśvara) whose nature is Consciousness, as is I, the self. Since Īśvara doesn't exclude anything. Just like Ocean doesn't exclude any of the individual waves.
So we must acknowledge between the two (self and Īśvara), there is no difference. As for proof, it is all layed out in our sacred books, the Upanishads.
They unfailingly tell us time and again, the All-Pervading Eternal One (Īśvara), together with its māyā power, is the same as I, the individual being.
In essence, we are Limitless Consciousness (Brahman), giving existence to our ideas and situations (within the mind), bringing light of awareness to the entire universe.
“Why do you relate yourself to God (Īśvara), why not to Limitless Consciousness (Brahman)? Since your explanations constantly reduce everything we see to the All-Pervading Existence? (satcitānanda)”
H how can we relate to Consciousness? We can't. It is our very nature. We can only relate to something other then ourselves.
Besides a relationship can exist only within the same order of reality.
We cannot mix different ontological (hierarchical) levels. For example an equation can exist only between two apparent differences.
If there's no difference, there's no equation. There's nothing to inquiry.
In case of truth seeker, there would be nothing to seek. We'd just tell them “There's nothing to do, nowhere to go, noone to meet”.
But this is pointless advice. Fact is they are seeking. And seeking implies relating to something.
And relating only happens if there is a equation that addresses seeming difference, but actually is not different.
Let the seeker come to conclusion “actually not different”. We only provide the student something to work with. Like 10 – 1, and, 5 + 4.
Whereas to state that water is water or 5 is 5, are not equations. They are factual statements. Telling one a fact right upfront bears no fruits. They must arrive to it themselves for it to have context or meaning in life.
As explained before, there is only One, satyam, real. Rest are mithyā, dependent-reals.
Just as dream food relates to dream hunger, so do mithyā appearances relate to each other. In this case, Īśvara-appearance and I-appearance relate to each other, since they are both mithyā.
Wave and ocean are good examples. Wave-ness connects to ocean-ness. And to other ‘nesses' water assumes.
So too world-ness to I-ness. And I-ness to God-ness. And to other ‘nesses', the Limitless One (Īśvara) manifests.
Thus only same order of reality can relate to one another. They are mithyā, dependent-reals.
Just as water is the content, the truth of both ocean and wave…
So too is Limitless Consciousness (Brahman) the content, the truth
of Īśvara (God0 and individual self.
Once we understand Īśvara is the Limitless One (Brahman), revealing its māyā power, then it is clear ‘I am' the Limitless One (Brahman) with individual I-thought.
It is also then that God-ness and I (individual-ness), are mithyā, dependent-reals. Both depending on satyam, real.
This mean we can relate only to Īśvara, who is of the same ontological order.
This is what makes us understand we are the whole, the entire creation, which is of total love and compassion.
Understanding the equation, the oneness between the two, between Ishvara and the individual, is realisation, enlightenment and wisdom.
This conversation will continue in part 7. Stay tuned.