9: The Majesty of God-Consciousness :4.
The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :
The ninth chapter reveals before us the majesty of this deepened religious consciousness. In the earlier stages of religion it appears that the world is ruled by powers – divinities, angels, masters, adepts who are hidden behind the forms and the things of the world. There are many divinities, and every form has a divinity which ensouls that particular body. There is an extreme externality of these divine presences in the widespread expanse of the universe before us – this is the outer reach of the religious consciousness. When we go deeper in our studies and experiences in religion, there is felt an inwardisation of this concept.
The presence of these divine powers in the far-fetched distance of the cosmos seems also to be in harmony with the deepest essences of all the jivas, individuals, so that that which is present in distant space has also to be present immediately in the heart of even the thinker himself. Thus the so-called thing-in-itself, which is incapable of contact by phenomenal means, seems to be at the back of the very person who thinks so. Thus God, the distant being, is also the God who is the soul of the very seeking spirit which feels God as a distant being. Thus the inwardisation leads to the universalisation of this concept. God is not merely a distant master, a creator of the universe that is far away from us, He is also not a secretly hidden light within an individual body, but a large presence which occupies all space and all time so that outside it nothing can be – not the universe, not the individual.
Ananyacintayanto mam ye janah paryupasate,
teasham nityabhiyuktanam yogakshemam vahamyaham (Gita 9.22):
God protects us, and the succour which we receive from God's presence is an immediate consequence that follows from an inward union with Him. This verse that I quoted just now is immensely important in our religious studies because that discloses the deeper relationship that is there between man and God. In fact, the word 'relationship' is a poor word; there is no relationship – they are inseparables. Two birds perching on the same tree – say the Upanishads, say the Veda – these two birds are actually not two different birds. The higher self and the lower self may appear to be two birds sitting on the same tree no doubt, but we know very well that the higher and the lower are not two distinct birds. The lower is included in the higher, and thus the other bird does not stand spatially away from the bird which is the bound soul. But here we have only a symbology of a psychological and logical distinction that seems to be there between man and God. There is no spatial distance, and there is no chronological history of the distance.
There is immediate action following from deep meditation on God – 'immediate' is the word. Timeless is God's existence, and timeless, therefore, is God's action in His operation. Timeless is He because He is also spaceless. Hence, the grace of God is a non-spatial and non-temporal gift. Inasmuch as it is non-temporal, it is instantaneous – just here and now. There is not the time-gap of even a second, because there is no time in God. So when the soul, the seeker, the yogin, the aspirant, the devotee timelessly, spacelessly unites itself with this timeless, spaceless Being, there is a timeless and spaceless consequence that follows.
To be continued ...