“I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute (Sat-Chit-Anand)
I am He, I am He (Shivoham, Shivoham).” (From Shankaracharya’s Hymn- ‘Nirvanashaykam’)
Who is God? How does He look? Where does He live? Is He someone other than me? Outside me? Some say He lives in the Temples, Churches, Gurudwara, mosque etc. Some say He lives in heaven. Then we fight for our individual Gods and beliefs about God. We keep chanting mantras (without even bothering to know it’s meaning), attend pujas and kirtans, and come back to our world of selfish interests, competing, cheating and hurting our fellow beings.
Can God be so complex? Certainly not! God is the most simplest entity. He resides in us! He resides in our soul. That eternal soul which shines with the same intensity within every living being on this earth, be it a tiny insect or you and me. It is only that we fail to recognize this soul, the divinity within us, trapped as we are in the web of material pain and pleasures of this material world. When everything is fine with life, we don’t much feel the need of God. With all the luxuries of life around us we are blissfully ignorant of the divine soul within us. We do not bother to question the purpose of our birth as humans. We go on working and amassing wealth like addicts. Small lies, bribes, such things do not pinch our conscience till we are able to earn comforts for our loved ones. But….. life is not always the same! Happiness follows sorrow and sorrow follows greater happiness. We naturally do not welcome sorrow in our lives. But it is actually this ‘sorrow and pain’ that are the real teachers who guide us towards God. It is during difficult times that we search for God, turn to Him for help. This search may just be for the time being. As soon as the sorrowful situation is over and happiness regained, we again gradually get absorbed in the material comforts of life and forget God. This happens.., but the divine did reveal itself even if for a short while. Again after some time some misfortune befall on us and again we get closer to God. This goes on and on, may be covering a series of births and rebirths, till we finally realize that the divine bliss, the divine knowledge that we sought again and again when in distress, had actually been always very much within ourselves.
“Upon the same tree there are two birds, one on the top, the other below. The one on the top is calm, silent, and majestic, immersed in his own glory. The one on the lower branches, eating sweet and bitter fruits by turns, hopping from branch to branch, becomes happy and miserable by turns. After a time the lower bird eats an exceptionally bitter fruit and gets disgusted. He then looks up and sees the other bird, that wondrous one of golden plumage, who eats neither sweet nor bitter fruit, who is neither happy nor miserable, but is calm, Self-centered, and sees nothing beyond his Self. The lower bird longs for this condition but soon forgets it and begins to eat the fruits. I n a little while he eats another exceptionally bitter fruit, which makes him feel miserable, and he again looks up and tries to get nearer to the upper bird. Once more he forgets, and after a time he looks up. And so on he goes, again and again, until he comes very near to the beautiful bird and sees then reflection of light from his plumage playing around his own body, and he feels a change and seems to melt away. Still nearer he comes, and everything about him melts away, and at last he understands this wonderful change. The lower bird was, as it were, only a substantial-looking shadow, a reflection of the higher. He himself was, in essence, the upper bird all the time. This eating of fruits, sweet and bitter, and this lower little bird, weeping and happy by turns, were a vain chimera, a dream. All along the real bird was there above, calm and silent, glorious and majestic, beyond grief, beyond sorrow.
The upper bird is God, the Lord of this universe, and the lower bird is the human soul, eating the sweet and bitter fruits of this world. When he has come near enough, he sees that he is no other than God.”- Swami Vivekananda (Source- Vedanta- The voice of freedom, published by Advaita Ashram, Pithoragarh).
The divinity shines more in the soul of a man who is honest and humble. Such people are always calm and have a pleasant, lovable nature, even during hard times. They accept the hard times as a way of learning and thus remain cheerful even in pain. A person who is restless and is happy with the baser instincts of life also has the divine soul within him, only that it is hidden. But some day this man too is sure to see the divine light within him.
God reveals himself to each and every one of us. It is just a matter of time and how receptive and prepared we are, to identify the underlying divine light as and when it reflects itself. As we get closer to our real self through all the pleasures and pains, the typical restlessness of the material world vanishes and a pleasant, loving, calm, happy demeanor shines through us, making everyone around us happy too, and certainly taking us closer and closer to the Ultimate Divine Existence- The Existence absolute, Bliss absolute, Knowledge absolute.