Chapter 6.5 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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6.5  RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, this is the first commandment."   Jesus Christ

"For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister and my mother."  Jesus Christ

"Filial gratitude is due to the parents from their dutiful children. A few hundred times more it is due from mankind unto Ahura Mazda, the Heavenly Father of all."   
 
Zarathustra

"When you go out into the darkness, take Ahura Mazda's hand into your hand. That will be for you better than light and safer than a known way."     Zarathustra

"The Supreme Purusha in this body is called the Onlooker, the Permitter, the Nourisher, the Protector, the Great Lord and also the Supreme Self."    Sri Krishna

"All praise belongs to God, Lord of all worlds, the Compassionate, the Merciful, Ruler of Judgment Day. It is You that we worship, and to You we appeal for help. Show us the straight way, the way of those You have graced, not of those on whom is Your wrath, nor of those who wander astray."      Mohammed


FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

DEBT TO THE DIVINE SUSTAINER AND PROTECTOR

Every man takes birth in this world to discharge three kinds of debt. The first is the debt to God. The second is the debt to the sages. The third is the debt to one's parents. The Divine permeates every cell in the body, endowing it with divine energy. It is the power of the Divine which keeps every limb in the body functioning through the action of this Divine energy. It follows from this that man has to be conscious of this energy and be grateful to the Divine for sustaining and protecting him. If he fails to do so, his life is a waste. Discharging the debt to the Divine means engaging oneself in sacred actions and in serving others and thereby dedicating every action of the body to the Divine. It is when such a divinely endowed body is consecrated for holy purposes, by constant performance of sacred, sublime and dedicated actions, that the debt to the Divine is discharged. (030490)


DEVOTION

Love for the Divine is devotion. Devotion is not something objective and concrete. It is an inner experience which springs from the heart. As you think, so you become. Hence, the heart must be filled with good feelings. The senses must be engaged in good actions. When the eyes are turned towards God, all creation appears Divine. When you wear the right kind of spectacles, you see everything clearly. But if the glasses are not correct, you get a distorted picture and your eyes are spoilt. Likewise, if your heart is filled with love for God, all your feelings are sanctified by that love. Other undesirable thoughts drop away. Devotees pray to the Lord to come and reside in their pure and tranquil hearts. Where the heart is impure, there is no room for God. (090188)


THREE STAGES

The Divine is not separate from you. You are the Divine. This conviction must grow in you. In the beginning you regard yourself as a mere human being. Then, you reach the stage when you recognise your potential Divinity. Finally you reach the stage when you realise your Divinity. These three stages could be noticed in the career of Jesus. At the outset, he declared: "I am a Messenger of God." Then he said: "I am the Son of God." Finally he affirmed: "I and my Father are One." Through this process, Christ achieved oneness with the Divine. (241287)


GOD IS THE ONLY GURU

Your true  teacher is God alone. He transcends all characteristics. He is beyond all forms. He is the only one who can dispel the darkness of ignorance and light the lamp of supreme wisdom. It is a mark of ignorance to go after nondescript preceptors and seek messages from them. When they are wallowing in bondage themselves, how are they going to free you from bondage? How can one who is filled with delusions himself rid you of your delusions? Can one who is begging for food relieve your hunger?

Do not go in search of  teachers. Strengthen your faith in the Divinity within. Seek to enjoy the Divine bliss. Strive to develop the conviction: "I am the Divine". That is the true message. When you have grasped this truth, all other things will be unnecessary.

For experiencing this teacher, there are no restrictions as to time, place or circumstance. Only for the man steeped in the mind, changes in time exist and he is bound by them. But to the man who has transcended the limitations of time, everything remains immutable. This spiritual state can be reached only through confidence in the Higher Self.

Gurupoornima is observed as a day for honouring the guru (teacher). Some type of gurus welcome this day as the day which brings them income. They are an inferior breed. The real guru is only one. He is the One, the God of gods, who is hailed as father, mother, teacher, knowledge and wealth and all else. He is the supreme whom you must seek by your spiritual practices. God alone can transform your spiritual efforts into a transcendental experience. You have the vision of the Divine (Self-realisation). The vision does not come from outside. It is within you, because the Divine is omnipresent. Only the person who considers himself separate from God will have the feeling that the vision of God comes from outside. God is everywhere. You are God. (070790)



GOD AND YOU ARE ONE

Recognise that God and you are one. There will then be no need to describe God as father, mother, guru and the like and confound oneself. We should strive to reduce the bondages created by such relationships as mother, father, etc. We should aim at realising the basic Unity that underlies and sustains everything. That is the significance of the statement: "He is the one indweller in all beings". (110787)


DEVOTEE AND FRIEND

Swami said: This was what Krishna declared regarding Arjuna. He told Arjuna: "You are my devotee and you are my friend." Arjuna did not declare to Krishna, "I am your devotee." Krishna was not content to declare: "Arjuna, you are my devotee." Why did He go on to say: "You are my friend." Would it not have been sufficient if Krishna had declared, "you are my friend"? Why should he say, "you are my devotee"? In this declaration, there is a profound spiritual significance. This will be clear only when we practise the spiritual life.

If merely the Lord were to say to Arjuna, "you are my friend" his ego will get inflated and he will take undue liberties with Krishna. If He were to say, "My dear, you are My devotee", he will be extremely submissive. A kind of fear will be instilled in him. Fear should not be instilled; nor should he be encouraged to take excessive liberties. Hence, the terms 'devotee' and 'friend' were used by Krishna. "You are my friend. You may be free with me up to a point. You are my devotee. So observe certain restraints. Exercise control over yourself in your devotion." (SS 88,182)



GOD AS FRIEND

God has a partiality for the human form. It is said, "God has to be experienced in the human form". It is only when God is regarded as a friend and a companion that He is pleased most. By addressing Him as: "Oh, my dearest friend! My beloved One! The darling of my heart", you can give Him the greatest joy. Instead of that, if He is described as one who is beyond praise by Brahma (the Creator) and other gods, who is not accessible to mind and speech, whose glories are beyond description, who prevailed over the God of Death, who was born as the son of Devaki (mother of Krishna) and Vasudeva (father of Krishna), who went to the rescue of Draupadi, who protected the Pandavas, and so on, and then He is entreated to confer His grace on you, there is an element of the ludicrous in the comparisons made. Such praise even savours of envy. When you say, "Oh Lord! You have talked to them and given them so much! Why don't you come to my help?" The comparison seems to stem from jealousy.

It is only when God is approached as a loving friend who has the power to come to our aid that our desires will be fulfilled. We use words of praise towards an unfamiliar person to show him respect and regard as a stranger. But we welcome an old friend with easy familiarity and intimacy.

Thyagaraja performed spiritual practices over many years to obtain a vision of the Lord. By that spiritual practice he established intimate relationship with Sri Rama. Because of this, he could greet Rama with friendly familiarity and welcome Him to his house as a companion in the song: "Rama, come to our house!". (Swami sang the song mellifluously). Because of his intimacy, Thyagaraja could address Rama in the second person singular.

In the context of the Navarathri celebrations, on this Purnaahuti day, we must learn to recognise the Divine in this intimate manner. Reduce your desires. Don't pray for trifles. Don't go to a shrine with the intention to seek fulfilment of some petty desires. It is an unfortunate sign of the Kali age that everyone goes to a temple or pilgrim centre only to get some trivial benefits.

If you can win over the Lord Himself, what is it that is beyond your reach? Thyagaraja declared: "Rama! If only I have Your grace all the planets will be in my palm."

It is essential to please God and win His grace by regarding Him as a friend and not indulging in excessive praise. For this, supreme Love is the primary means. This Love should be firm and unchanging, unaffected by trials and tribulations and the vicissitudes of life. (091089)

It should be realised, however, that there is no greater friend for anyone than God. He is beyond the reach of praise or censure. He does not give up man on the ground of the latter's failure to come up to His expectations. That is why God has been given the appellation 'a good friend'. God desires no offerings from any devotee. God is the only one friend who confers benefits on devotees without expecting any return. Nevertheless man does not readily accept such a friend. Only the man who accepts God as such a friend and is guided by His advice can understand the full meaning of Divine friendship. Faith of this nature alone constitutes true knowledge. (140191)

INDWELLER

The Lord pervades everything in the cosmos with His myriad feet, hands, eyes, faces and ears. But man, not recognising the fact, imagines he is the doer and indulges in all kinds of speculation, thinking that no one know about them. The Lord sees everything. No one can conceal anything from Him. He dwells inside and outside every living thing. Hence nothing can be hidden from Him. God dwells in all beings in one and the same form. Although living beings may vary from each other, God is One and indivisible. The sun shines over the water in a lake, in a well, in a vessel, in a river or over the ocean. Although the sun is one, he is reflected in different ways. The containers are varied, but God is one and the same in all beings." The Divine is the nearest". There is nothing in the world nearer to one than the Divine.

"God is very much nearer to you than your mother and dearer to you than your father. You cannot afford to forget such a God. Bear this good counsel in mind." (poem) (140191)

God is the very embodiment of Love. Man is a spark of the Divine. You may find a man without anger, without truth or without peace, but you cannot find anyone in the world devoid of love. Love is present equally in all human beings as the one effulgent Divine quality. This love may be expressed in different ways, but its nature is the same.

Man is thus an aspect of the Cosmic Consciousness. Unfortunately, however, because man directs his love towards worldly objects, he is unable to recognise his Divinity. His mind gets polluted because of association with the external world. As a result, even his love gets tainted and his mind becomes incapable of cherishing the beauteous form of the Lord. Only when he directs his love towards God will man be able to experience the Divine within him. (060389)

All relationships are incidental and temporary. Hence, each one should perform his duties. As long as one is involved in worldly life, the relationships of mother and son, husband and wife, brother and sister, and the like have to be recognised as natural phenomena. All these relationships have no permanence. Separation is inevitable sooner or later. But between you and God, there can be no separation at any time. Even if you forget God, God will not forget you. Therefore, you have to develop faith in God and cultivate love. (181091)

 

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