What is God?
Prem Sukavi, God is not a person. That is one of the greatest misunderstandings, and it has prevailed so long that it has become almost a fact. Even if a lie is repeated continuously for centuries it is bound to appear as if it is a truth.
God is a presence, not a person. Hence all worshipping is sheer stupidity. Prayerfulness is needed, not prayer. There is nobody to pray to; there is no possibility of any dialogue between you and God. Dialogue is possible only between two persons, and God is not a person but a presence – like beauty, like joy.
God simply means godliness. It is because of this fact that Buddha denied the existence of God. He wanted to emphasize that God is a quality, an experience – like love. You cannot talk to love, you can live it. You need not create temples of love, you need not make statues of love, and bowing down to those statues will be just nonsense. And that’s what has been happening in the churches, in the temples, in the mosques.
Man has lived under this impression of God as a person, and then two calamities have happened through it. One is the so-called religious man, who thinks God is somewhere above in the sky and you have to praise him to persuade him to confer favors on you, to help you to fulfill your desires, to make your ambitions succeed, to give you the wealth of this world and of the other world. And this is sheer wastage of time and energy.
And on the opposite pole the people who saw the stupidity of it all became atheists; they started denying the existence of God. They were right in a sense, but they were also wrong. They started denying not only the personality of God, they started to deny even the experience of God.
The theist is wrong, the atheist is wrong, and man needs a new vision so that he can be freed from both the prisons.
God is the ultimate experience of silence, of beauty, of bliss, a state of inner celebration. Once you start looking at God as godliness there will be a radical change in your approach. Then prayer is no more valid; meditation becomes valid.
Martin Buber says prayer is a dialogue; then between you and God there is an “I-thou” relationship – the duality persists. Buddha is far closer to the truth: you simply drop all chattering of the mind, you slip out of the mind like a snake slipping out of the old skin. You become profoundly silent. There is no question of any dialogue, no question of any monologue either. Words have disappeared from your consciousness. There is no desire for which favors have to be asked, no ambition to be fulfilled.
One is now and here. In that tranquility, in that calmness, you become aware of a luminous quality to existence. Then the trees and the mountains and the rivers and the people are all surrounded with a subtle aura. They are all radiating life, and it is one life in different forms. The flowering of one existence in millions of forms, in millions of flowers.
THIS experience is God. And it is everybody’s birthright, because whether you know it or not you are already part of it. The only possibility is you may not recognize it or you may recognize it. The difference between the enlightened person and the unenlightened person is not of quality – they both are absolutely alike. There is only one small difference: that the enlightened person is aware; he recognizes the ultimate pervading the whole, permeating the whole, vibrating, pulsating. He recognizes the heartbeat of the universe. He recognizes that the universe is not dead, it is alive.
This aliveness is God!
The unenlightened person is asleep, asleep and full of dreams. Those dreams function as a barrier; they don’t allow him to see the truth of his own reality. And, of course, when you are not even aware of your own reality, how can you be aware of the reality of others? The first experience has to happen within you. Once you have seen the light within you will be able to see it everywhere.
God has to be freed from all concepts of personality. Personality is a prison. God has to be freed from any particular form; only then he can have all the forms. He has to be freed from any particular name so that all the names become his.
Then a person lives in prayer – he does not pray, he does not go to the temple, to the church. Wherever he sits he is prayerful, whatsoever he is doing is prayerful, and in that prayerfulness he creates his temple. He is always moving with his temple surrounding him. Wherever he sits the place becomes sacred, whatsoever he touches becomes gold. If he is silent then his silence is golden; if he speaks then his song is golden. If he is alone his aloneness is divine; if he relates then his relating is divine.
The basic, the most fundamental thing is to be aware of your own innermost core, because that is the secret of the whole existence. That’s where the Upanishads are tremendously important. They don’t talk about a God, they talk about godliness. They don t bother about prayer. their whole emphasis is on meditation.
Meditation has two parts: the beginning and the end. The beginning is called dhyana and the end is called samadhi. Dhyana is the seed, samadhi is the flowering. Dhyana means becoming aware of all workings of your mind, all the layers of your mind – your memories, your desires, your thoughts, dreams – becoming aware of all that goes on inside you.
Dhyana is awareness, and samadhi is when the awareness has become so deep, so profound, so total that it is like a fire and it consumes the whole mind and all its functionings. It consumes thoughts, desires, ambitions, hopes, dreams. It consumes the whole stuff the mind is full of.
Samadhi is the state when awareness is there, but there is nothing to be aware inside you; the witness is there, but there is nothing to be witnessed.
Begin with dhyana, with meditation, and end in samadhi, in ecstasy, and you will know what God is.
It is not a hypothesis, it is an experience. You have to live it – that is the only way to know it.
From I Am That, Discourse #2
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