If we carry a light into a darkened room, the darkness is dissipated without effort on our part. So it is the experience of one who has a deep consciousness of Life. Something invisible but all-penetrating will flow through his every look and gesture. People will feel better by sitting in his presence. Healings will take place automatically.
The Divine Spirit is not a mystical, abstract being, living somewhere above this Earth. God is a Divine Presence revealing Himself to everyone who believes. Where God is recognized, there is life. Where the power of God is realized, there is action. Where the goodness of God is acknowledged, there is peace.
I understand that God works through me, for I know that God is the the God of all life, of everyone’s life, of everything that lives. God is the intelligence, the beauty, the love, the order and the animating principle in and through everything. God is my life.
Sacrifice is the way of life. Sacrifice is the means to overcome Nature and realize God. Sacrifice in essence means to be like God and live like God in a mortal body, renouncing your own identity and individuality. It is the culmination of all the progress we ever achieve in this world. Jayaram V
Nature is a self-supporting mechanism in which its different components are programmed to further themselves and in the process help each other in their survival. Even in the midst of struggle for survival, the impulse to preserve and sustain life upon earth through collective effort is inbuilt in the living embodiments of Nature.
The altruism of Nature
If there is any hidden purpose to a tree or a stone, it is to be part of a holistic system and perform certain functions for the preservation of life upon earth. While each living being has a certain role and importance in Nature, they also contribute to the survival of others. We may not consciously pay attention to this unique aspect of Nature, but life upon earth cannot be sustained for long unless Nature acts as an integral and unified system in which living beings help each other in their survival.
Much of it happens spontaneously. A flower does not make a conscious choice to spread its fragrance. It automatically happens when certain conditions are present. Without being consciously forced, a honeybee proactively collects honey for the community of bees and in the process helps others such as plants, animals and humans in their survival. They are not the only examples where individual actions contribute to the collective Wellbeing of others. There are countless others, which actively participate in the process of life to survive and help others in their survival.
However, Nature’s altruism is not without a purpose. It is primarily meant to further its evolution and fulfill the aims of creation. As life evolves, intelligence manifests in the gross bodies, followed by selfishness, egoism and the desire for self-preservation and self-promotion. At this stage, each being lives for itself and furthers its own survival and Wellbeing. If any collective good arises from it, it is secondary or an unintended consequence. However, ultimately intelligence leads to wisdom and wisdom to transcendence.
Intelligence and its implications
Initially, all intelligent life forms are motivated by selfish desires and natural urges to live for themselves or for their groups. These tendencies reach their culmination in humans, who are inherently selfish and naturally inclined to live for themselves even at the expense of others. As a human being, if you want to be altruistic, benevolent or selfless, you have to make a conscious and intentional effort to rise above your basic instinct to be selfish or egoistic. The effort is not easy, nor always successful.
Fortunately, Nature has given us a choice to use our intelligence and exercise our will according to our discretion, knowledge and wisdom. Depending upon the circumstances, we can exercise our will and resolve to be different and selfless, other than what Nature intends us to be at the most primitive level. We may come to that choice through an awakening, learning or knowing, or through the enfoldment of our intelligence and discernment. As wisdom grows, selfishness yields place to selflessness and egoism to universality and non-dualistic oneness.
The importance of human life
Nature has endowed us with such abilities that we can take responsibility for our own, spiritual evolution and further our higher aims. Perhaps, it is the highest and ultimate aim of Nature also, which remains hidden until the light of God projects far into the field of Nature and penetrates the deepest core of our bodies. Until intelligent life forms manifest upon earth, Nature remains in control and directs its evolution. When more evolved beings emerge on the scene, it gradually recedes into the background to let the light of soul shine upon the intelligence (Buddha). When intelligence becomes pure with the predominance of sattva, Nature weakens its hold and leaves the further course of evolution largely to the beings themselves.
Of all the species upon earth, we are the highest, most intelligent and most evolved. As the gifted creations of Nature and voices of the universe, we have a choice. We can follow the ways of Nature, maintain the status quo and remain subservient to its aims, which is what many do, or we may rise above our natural urges and primitive instincts to be different and better as spiritually advanced and self-aware human beings. The latter is possible only when we subject our minds and bodies to intense purification and transformation through self-discipline and austerities.
Nature manifests its full potential, intelligence and consciousness in us more than in any other life form upon earth, so that we can consciously and actively represent Nature and fulfill its ultimate purpose. According to Hinduism if you have a purpose, if that purpose is greater than you, if it stretches across your life and beyond it and if it includes others, then that purpose is going to create a more eventful and fulfilling life for you than any purpose that is limited to your own enjoyment and your personal goals. It is why we are endowed with intelligence and why we have to live responsibly upon earth, serving the aims of God’s creation rather than our own. It also why we consider liberation (moksha) as the highest and ultimate goal and purpose of human life.
Our higher purpose
Human life is a precious opportunity to experience consciousness and will. It is through humans the universe experiences duality and speaks to itself. Although we are created to be selfish for the purpose of preserving life upon earth and ensuring the continuation of the world, we are meant to become selfless through self-effort to fulfill the aims of God. Although we are subject to the cycle of births and deaths in our physical bodies, at some point in our journey upon earth we are meant to become aware of our spirituality and realize our true nature. This is believed to be the essential purpose of human beings and the evolution of life and intelligence upon earth.
From ignorance to awareness, materiality to spirituality, darkness to light and mortality to immortality, this is the order of our expected progress in the corporeal world. To progress from selfishness to selflessness to universal oneness, this is the aim of our spiritual practice and self-transformation. Nature is self-regulated. At the lower levels, it is guided by the force of Nature. At the higher levels, it is guided by the force of will and intelligence. A tree has no apparent purpose, other than serving the aims of Nature. A flower has no purpose other than being part of a larger system or process. It is not so with human beings. They can have a higher purpose, if they choose to have one, without the compulsion to follow Nature blindly or remain bound to it.
The Hindu Law Books stipulate that the primary purpose (artha) of human life is to perform obligatory duties and uphold Dharma according to the scriptural injunctions. The higher purpose (paramartha) is to live for God and work for our salvation. However, that purpose does not easily manifest in us. We live in a world of duality, delusion and deception where we cannot clearly discern truths or identify our true purpose. Therefore, our basic instinct is always to live for ourselves and further our interests, if necessary at the expense of others and by whatever means. Individually, a few people may manage to transcend their lower nature, but most remain within its control, bound to their natural instincts. In their search for security, comfort and happiness, they sacrifice their ideals and higher thinking and serve either their own interests or those of others to whom they willfully submit.
The consequences of selfishness
Egoism and selfishness go together. Both are aspects of Nature only and responsible for our selfish desires, actions and karma. Because of them in the name of progress, humanity has laid waste vast resources and driven many life forms into extinction. In their quest for survival, security and worldly freedom, people sacrifice their values and higher wisdom, without considering their moral and karmic implications. Through mindless actions, they leave so many scars upon the earth and their own souls that they descend into increasingly difficult choices and circumstances.
We have proved beyond doubt that although we are intelligent and rational and live on a unique planet in a very inhospitable universe we have been taking the world on a self-destructive path. It is the result of our selfishness and lack of discretion, which arise when we act under the influence of lower Nature. As intelligent beings, we have the twin responsibility of preserving and protecting nature and promoting our spiritual evolution. So far, we have lagged behind in both.
Selfishness has a certain role and purpose in our lives. However, like many other things it needs to be subjected to moderation and the principles of Dharma or the laws of God. In worldly life, selfishness is unavoidable. However, at some stage it has to be tempered by higher Nature and spiritual wisdom. When people solely live for themselves they become vulnerable to many problems, which culminate in suffering and karma.
When you are preoccupied with your selfish interests, you become a small person, with limited intent and vision. By indulging in selfish actions, you harm yourself and others. As the Bhagavad-Gita states, when you are selfish, you become an enemy of yourself and delay your liberation. However, when you are selfless and serve God or others, you become your true friend and quickly progress. Animals are driven by instincts, but as human beings we can rise above our natural instincts and show our humanity. With our knowledge and wisdom, we can strive to not only advance on the path of liberation but also avoid hurting and harming others for our selfish ends.
Life as a sacrifice
The purpose of human life is to be a friend of the Self not its enemy. It is to go beyond our narrow interests and selfishness and serve the aims of God or his law (Dharma). In Hinduism, we consider it an obligatory duty. A householder (grihasta) is considered superior to a renunciant (sanyasi) because he contributes to the order and regularity of the world by his actions and obligatory duties towards others and the world. Only he can achieve the four aims of human life and lead a complete life. However, householders also run the risk of falling into the trap of selfish desires and bondage. Hence, they are advised to avoid selfish or desire-ridden actions by performing their duties as a service to God and see him in all as their very selves.
Your life’s main purpose is to be like God upon earth and radiate his benevolence and divine qualities. It is to go beyond your narrow interests and serve your higher purpose, leading your life as a sacrifice or an offering so that you serve the aims of God rather than Nature. Having become part of a larger purpose for which you are meant and living your life as a sacrificial offering, you manifest God in your being and experience oneness amidst duality and diversity.
Our scriptures affirm that you are a divine being. Your beingness is part of the vast pool of life upon earth. As an aspect of God, you are here to serve him and express him as the creator, preserver and destroyer and fulfill the aims of Dharma. You are meant to live with self-awareness, fulfill the aims of God in the mortal world and ensure its order and regularity. To live like God, to be like God and express him through your thoughts and actions, this is what we consider practicing the Dharma and manifesting the will of God, or following the Divine Way of Life.
Interdependence and selfless service
Life is all about interdependence. Without support from others, things cannot exist on their own. This is true even in case of gods, who have to depend upon humans for their nourishment, just as humans have to depend upon plants and animals for theirs. Whoever you are, or whatever your circumstances may be, you cannot survive on your own, without the help of others. Your individuality and independence are illusions. You are a dependent reality with limited abilities. Whatever you enjoy here is made possible by the actions of countless others. All things that exist around you are but the numerous manifestation of the same reality, which is the ultimate support of all. In essence, they are one. Selfishness yields to oneness when you realize this truth by transcending your individuality and experiencing oneness with your Self or the Supreme Self. In this regard, sacrifice is the means to transcend your selflessness and realize your oneness with the universe.
If you can consciously make that choice and extend your vision beyond your selfish and narrow interests, you become a force of God upon earth. Transcending your selfishness, narrow mindedness, egoism and petty thinking, you become part of the divine purpose for which you are born. If you acknowledge that you are part of a universal reality and have a duty and an obligation to participate in it as a divine entity, representing and personifying the highest of the values which the humanity collectively cherish, then you have largely succeeded in being and becoming more than a selfish human.
Today is a day to focus on justice. Justice, fairness, equity – all of these are aspects of the balance of the universe. I do not need to enforce justice, I do not need to decide what is just. I do not worry about what I think is unfair. I keep myself balanced and deal with everything and everyone around me in a just manner, and allow the energy of the universe to maintain balance.
I know that I did my best today to focus on justice. Tonight I will rest knowing that I live in a universe that brings balance and harmony to all things.
-From the book ‘A Daily Book Of Pagan Prayer by Megan Day
Whatever I need comes to me from the All Good. Divine intelligence working through me always knows just what I need and always supplies it when I need it. This law is unfailing and sure, and cannot be broken. I receive my good daily as I go along the pathway of life, and I cannot be robbed of my birthright to freedom and happiness. I receive my good.
“It is wrong to think that misfortunes come from the east or from the west; they originate within one’s own mind. Therefore, it is foolish to guard against misfortunes from the external world and leave the inner mind uncontrolled.”
The greatest satisfaction in using the Law of Life is in the consciousness that such a Power is available, rather than in any use we make of it. For any particular use we make of It is a passing thing, whether it be healing oneself or others or producing any other temporary good. All of these are transitory, and there is something in everyone that longs for permanency.
The artist knows that even though he has created something beautiful, it can be destroyed. His real and innermost satisfaction is not in the object, but in the subject; that thing within him that penetrates the mystic splendor of Beauty itself. So it is with all our temporary creations. Empires may rise and fall. Chance and change, the comings and goings of human events, inevitably must give way to something bigger. You are greater than the sum-total of all the experiences you have had.
I know that a Law of Life exists and that I am one with It and inseparable from It. I am part of an infinite Energy from which I draw limitless creative imagination. This energy is the invisible essence and substance of every visible form. Its nature is goodness, truth, beauty, and love, and that is my nature too.
Summary: The essay is about the powers that are commonly associated with the idea of God and invoked by a majority of people during worship.
When a million people think of the same thought, that thought will have an awesome power. That thought reigns supremely in the subtle world of consciousness. It connects all those who entertain that one thought and moves them in the same direction for which it is intended. Thoughts have power. We know it because all actions arise from thoughts only. You live and act according to the sum of your thoughts. When the same thought is entertained by many people, its power becomes exponentially multiplied.
The same holds true with the idea of God, which we entertain in our minds. When we all think alike about the same God, that thought becomes omnipotent and omniscient. It gains momentum and energy in our consciousness and guides our destinies. No one can see God with naked eyes. No one knows how he actually looks like, but one can envision God and pour life into it through devotion and faith.
The idea of God
The God we worship or the gods to whom we make rituals offerings are the ones we create in our minds with our knowledge and awareness, using our imagination and aspiration. Faith, therefore, is important to our spiritual Wellbeing. When you have faith in God, that faith drives your world. When other people join you in their thoughts and prayers envisioning the same God in their consciousness, it gains momentum and credibility.
A guru becomes a demigod or a divine person by the same process. Divinities gain or lose their importance according to the beliefs and the faith of the people who worship them. A place become sacred in a similar manner as people for several generations revere it and sanctify it with their thoughts and prayers. It is we who pour life into the images of God and into the stone from which we create his forms and install them in the temples and our homes.
The same is true with regard to numerous other thoughts, which we entertain in our minds. With our thoughts we empower ideologies, political leaders, national heroes, spiritual masters, divinities, social norms, governments, scientific innovations, cultural trends, celebrities, and even dictators and evil people. We give them the power to influence our lives and destinies and set the norms for our civilization. We give them the power to control our lives and destinies by surrendering our will to them or by becoming deluded by their promise and appeal or own ambition and desires
Thought power and God power
We do not recognize how strongly we influence our lives and the world with our individual and collective thoughts. A thought gains momentum when it is thought by several others. It faces a lot of resistance when it is thought by one individual or by a few only. As it gains support and acceptance, it gain momentum. Each war is essentially a conflict between two equally powerful and opposing armies of thoughts. When they clash with great intensity, numerous people die in the war that breaks out. Whether it is yoga, social unrest, civil war or terrorism, they enter public awareness and gain importance when a large number of people accept them and give them power to influence their lives and destinies for the better or worse.
No one has physically seen the true form of God. They may have seen aspects of him or symbols of him but not his infinite form. Indeed, it is physically impossible also to envision the infinite form of God because that which is finite cannot envision an infinite reality. Therefore, each of us creates our own vision of God according to our faith, beliefs and knowledge. Some believe that he does not exist at all. Even that is a belief too. When millions of people think that there is no God, the idea of nonexistent God gains ground and the power of God diminishes for them and the world to that extent.
The power of faith
The power of God works for you according to your faith. If you want it to work for you, you must believe in your idea of God and intensify that power through faith so that it can gain strength and become a powerful force of change and inspiration for you. If you let that idea of God manifest in your thoughts first, he will later manifest in other aspects of your life also and become part of your journey. It is why having a pure mind and pure faith is important in spiritual life and devotional worship.
Although people differently think about God and approach him in different ways, still they entertain many identical thoughts about God across all traditions and belief systems. Their collective thoughts and aspirations combined with the sustaining power of their faith make God a powerful undercurrent in their lives and consciousness. Those thoughts have a power of their own. When you join them in the internal ritual of manifesting God in your consciousness and align your mind with that stream of collective consciousness, you richly draw from that flow and open yourself to his incredible powers, with which you can help yourself and others.
God as an incredible, universal force
In Hinduism the powers of God are symbolically represented as the numerous hands and feet of God, his aspects and manifestations, skills, strands of hair, weapons, vehicles, emanations, incarnations, qualities, perfections, names and forms, associate energies or Shaktis, and so on. We worship them individually as divinities or parts of his universal form.
These powers exists in all of us, but do not fully manifest. They manifest in you when you think of them and project them into your idea of God. If you sustain them with faith and conviction and make them an integral part of your consciousness, they gain further strength and momentum and become powerful forces of transformation and purification. The following are some such powers which a majority of people entertain in their minds as part of their faith and vision of God.
1. God as the beneficent power
The reason we pray to God is primarily because we believe him to be a generous and benevolent being, who helps those who pray to him and seek his help. Our scriptures reinforce the belief that God responds to our calls for help. It keeps alive our hopes and faith in a difficult world. Chanting God’s names or contemplating upon him has a beneficial effect upon all. Hence, it is strongly encouraged in all traditions.
2. God as the purifying power
God is the purest being. He is symbolically represented as pure light and consciousness. He is incorruptible. Even when he is surrounded by evil, he remains pure, which is the case with the Self in the mortal world. People pray to him for healing because his very thought can have a purifying and soothing effect upon their minds and bodies. God manifests in us, to the extent we are pure. Hence, devotees practice austerities to cultivate purity and manifest their divine nature.
3. God as the uniting power
When a number of people entertain the same idea of God, it unites them around a common purpose and values and helps them work in harmony for common good or a greater good. Religions have such power and influence over our lives for the same reason. They unite people under a common religious identity and inspire them to serve others. When a group of people put their mind together and pray to God, it makes them feel closer to God and feel oneness.
4. God as the uplifting power
Nothing uplifts our falling spirits more than a prayer, especially so when we are in distress or going through difficult times. People feel refreshed and energized when they pray to God or meditate on him. People who visit temples or sacred places because it gives them the feeling of assurance, hope and courage. The uplifting power of God keeps us going when our efforts fail, and we feel helpless.
5. God as the protective power
God is the greatest protector we have. As part of his Dharma, he protects the worlds and beings from evil. He also protects us from harm and danger. We live in an uncertain and dangerous world. Therefore, the idea that God is protecting us is greatly assuring to most of us. Our scriptures affirm that those who worship God and take refuge in him with devotion are forever protected.
6. God as the blessing and consecrating power
Whatever is touched by God becomes God. People seek the blessing of God so that they become infused with is power and remain free from impurities and suffering. We see the consecrating power of God not only in him but also in all those saintly people, who reflect his divine qualities and remain absorbed in his thoughts. Hence, people seek their blessings and treat them as if they are living forms of God.
7. God as the awakening and enlightening power
God is the highest awakening and enlightening power. Hence, we revere all teachers of wisdom as God only. All sacred knowledge flows from him. He dispels our doubts, delusion and ignorance, and grants us enlightenment. When you become aware of the presence of God in you, you become awakened to the idea of liberation. The inspiration to pursue it arises from God only, who is both the Concealer and Revealer.
8. God as the loving and forgiving power
God is the epitome of compassion and universal love. He loves his devotees and forgives their sins. He forgives the transgressions of even the most sinful ones if they pray to him and show repentance. The world in which we live is an impure world, where no one can escape from desire-ridden actions and their sinful consequences. We look to God because we know his forgiving and compassionate nature.
9. God as the punishing and reformative power
As the enforcer of the Divine Law (Dharma), God is also the Ultimate Judge. He punishes those who violate his laws or disrupt the order and regularity of the worlds through their selfish actions. However, his punishment is a blessing because it helps people overcome their shortcomings and achieve perfection and purity. Even his punishment is an expression of love only and is part of his eternal Dharma.
10. God as the creative and regenerative power
Creativity is a divine quality. The source of all creativity is God only. It becomes reflected in us also. All the creative, regenerative and reproductive power in the universe arises from God only. In Hinduism we personify it as the Goddess or Devi. It manifests in us to the extent God manifests his power in us. In enlightened beings it reaches its highest perfection. Hence, whatever they say becomes true.
11. God as the destructive and transformative power
Whatever that manifests in the transient world has an end. The destructive power of God manifests in creation as both positive and negative forces. Hence, in several traditions God is considered both creator and destroyer and worshipped as such. People invoke his destructive power against their enemies, misfortune and evil forces. The Upanishads personify him as the all devouring Death (kala).
12. God as the preserving and supporting power
God is the raft in the sea of suffering. He is the ultimate support of all things in creation, while he is fully independent. He is the source and support of all in creation. In the body he is the life-supporting breath (Prana). In external world he is the all-pervading universal Self. As the upholder of the Dharma he performs his duties without desires to ensure the order and regularity of the worlds and beings.
13. God as the liberator and rescuer
We look to God not only for peace and prosperity but also for the ultimate freedom. Our scriptures portray him as the goal as well as the means of liberation. He liberates beings from the cycle of births and deaths according to their merit, faith and devotion. Those who worship him with single-minded devotion and cultivate spiritual purity (sattva) attain immortality and earn the right to enter the highest heaven.
God exists in us as an idea. We pour life into it and infuse it with sacred power with our thoughts, emotions and aspirations. We may envision God according to our knowledge and wisdom. However, the God who lives in our minds and hearts is shaped mostly by our collective wisdom and knowledge of the scriptures. The idea of God becomes a transformative force if you have the strength of faith, conviction and devotion. It is this God, whom you must allow to grow in your thoughts and pervade your whole consciousness, so that at some stage, you become absorbed into it without any duality and become a living embodiment of his essential nature.
The pathway of life shines before me into the perfect day. I walk the pathway of the soul to the gate of good. I enter into the fulfillment of my desires. Nothing need be added and nothing can be taken from the All Good which is forever expressing itself in me. Daily I receive its great blessings and my soul rejoices forevermore. I am now entered into my good.