Verily GOD is a distant prospect for the seeker in quest. For the believer and devout even, divinity tends to be remote and quite difficult to perceive. For the agnostic a hazy reality, to speak of the skeptic a continual doubt; not even a bother for the confirmed or true atheist. Even so, to find a true atheist who does not seek recourse to GOD or some supernatural prop in times of crisis is almost a rarity.
Granting this, GOD is very much a concept of personal perception or to be felt or observed within one’s psyche and not so much to be externally seen or visualized. So much is said, talked about and written about yet the aspect of GOD tends to be remote and elusive
Now the poser is for a very ethical person of virtue who abides by all the tenets of dharma, should he be subservient to a higher force of divinity. Even if he cares for his fellow beings, giving it purposive expression, committed to a life of sharing coexistence, shall he submit himself to the divine?
Personal virtue, competence apart, even after a great deal of success, when one looks back in sin cere candor, it occurs that the so called success could have been a failure but for certain fortuitous external factors beyond one’s control. Well, one may call these random factors in life that could give away turning the so called much hailed success into a singular failure
Such honest, objective retrospect in life makes one believe with little choice that there is some other higher force at work that conditions our life, making it successful or even worthwhile. Such supreme force beyond our control and reach has to be accepted by one and all with little choice.
AMMA summed up this reality often experienced by one and all in HER aphorism – “Chetalu Chetullo Levu” — meaning in English that the so – called human acts apparently seen as our own are well beyond our will. The apparent, superficial choice is only seerning and verily not within control of the being, as implied in the said aphorism of AMMA, not within our hands.
To look at the same in another perspective, AMMA said – “Prerana Bhaganvanthudu” – this means in English that the so – called prompting for human action is caused or induced by a higher force (that is GOD) though unaware of the individual’s perception. Viewed this way, the entire activity in the universe is caused, conducted and led by a divine impetus or impulse. Accordingly the very same force is the arbiter and adjudicator of the rewards or results of one’s own effort or action.
Irrespective of one’s disposition towards the divine and its existence or will, this is the underlying reality as enshrined even in our scriptures, the ‘sanatana dharma’. The theist tries to conform, submit and conduct his life within the province of GOD. The atheist or agnostic too is a subject of the same divine rule while yet being unaware in the case of the atheist or doubtful of the same in the case of the agnostic that divine edict prevails over our lives.
AMMA once decreed that “Sampoornamina Asthikathvame Nasthikathvam” meaning atheism is but completion or culmination of theism. This sounds paradoxical but true. Both the theist and atheist in essence are viewing their existence in relation to God. In this central aspect both are one and the same in the sense their viewpoint is relative to god; only the response or the outcome of each varies.
Furthermore, it is agreed even in our ancient wisdom every human being harbors the divine aspect within, knowingly at times, unknowingly several other times. The point is the divine aspect that is within does not come to the plane of experiential reality for the subject. This could be so even for the atheist, as his stance of ‘no god’ could be only a superficial disposition without experiencing the same..
If so, granting the trace of the divine element in every individual whether one experiences the same or not places the atheist and theist on the same plane. To look at this more intrinsically, when the consummate atheist believes in himself, he is unawares or unwittingly committing himself to the divine aspect within his person. Essentially, both theism and atheism are only reflections of the divine and one’s disposition towards the same though divergent as conveyed before.
Now to look at the same in a larger canvas, GOD is infinite, all pervading, all pervasive, prevailing over all that exists and all that is (Unnadantha Ade) in AMMA’S terms. If so, how can the tiny, finite being, with his limited conditioned sensory organs, find the infinite GOD.
In reality, infinity can never be verbally explicit or confined in the realm of physical dimension for perception or to be expounded in tangible terms for human comprehension. Necessarily, the seeker has to start from a given point, a finite start say from the idol or icon and from there move towards knowing the limitless GOD that is all over and sways the entire life process and the whole existence..
This is the goal of all sadhana; the struggle of every spiritual aspirant. Even here there appears to be wide diversity in real life, real time scenarios. Though divinity is defined to be limitless, infinite and singular. is perceived or approached through different modes, approaches, worshiping different icons, gods in countless shrines and temples.
In our Hindu religious scriptures a pantheon of numerous gods is depicted, countless gods are cited. and worshiped which are often referred to as “mukkoti devathalu” giving room for gods and deities numbering in three crores. This diversity is because each or several of these divine forms are deemed as varied aspects of life manifest in the specific god or deity over the distant past, at different spells of time and social situation. Aspiring for the particular aspect, the devotee worships a particular god, but reaches the general universality of eternal reality or timeless truth through his worship that is god specific to begin with.
Thus the personal element of god seeps in and gains acceptance. Each individual as he wishes, as per his wont chooses one form of god or other and pursues the same. Yet the fact is in its totality divinity is. one and the same and is but the ‘ONE’; the ‘ONENESS’ that conditions, conducts and controls the overall process, as also the personal individual human destiny. This reality when becomes experiential the subject gains an awareness of GOD, and moves from this finite point of the icon, idol to a state of awareness that bestows the understanding of an overall, all pervasive, sense of divinity. This may eventually culminate in the ultimate freedom from all bondage, say salvation or emancipation (mukthi)..
Thus all manifest and worshiped forms of god are not diverse but inherently are but ‘ONE’ only, symbolizing the same supreme ‘ONENESS’. The so – called personal element only marks the beginning which as one evolves leads to the larger universal cosmic force and the supreme infinite divinity.
Now the question emerges; how does the devotee connect this icon worship said to be personal god to the infinite divinity in real life, real time, in experiential terms? This connectivity could be in the form of begetting the infinite vision of one’s icon of worship or personal GOD to be or contained in the entire universe or cosmos, as all inclusive and all pervasive.
This connectivity from the personal aspect of god to the universal, infinite god in fact is verily contained in our scriptures in the form or concept of “VISVA ROOPA” Here the personal GOD or the icon / idol of worship bestows or emanates from such source the grandiose vision of GOD that contains all creatures, forms or the entire universe. This can at best be described as the cosmic vision of GOD, with which the fortunate are blessed in a lifetime in real terms, real time.
In Krishnavatara, this was granted by Lord Krishna to mother Yashoda while being yet a child; in the Kaurava assembly acting as Pandavas emissary, as also in the battlefield of Krukshetra where the GITA has been propounded. Even the blind Dhruthrashtra was granted sight to witness the same in the Kauraval court, which he very rightly, declined later on not to see the mundane world having witnessed the cosmic persona of Lord Krishna.
AMMA too granted such cosmic visions to HER children or in common terms the devotees. Mannava Dathatreya Sarma has been granted such vision in one of his sojourns around Mannava, which was described in his book. Later on he realized that it is AMMA who was envisioned to him in that rare spectacle he witnessed or the experience he has undergone. His experience evidently as contained in his book is but the cosmic vision or ‘Viswa Darshanam’ rooted in AMMA, which in the depiction has come to be seen also as ‘Athma Darsanam’ meaning here in this specific context, the all pervasive ‘Paramathma’..
For the sake of capturing this aspect factually, this was granted to this humble self on some occasions, one of which has already been captured in the article VISWA ROOPA’ in the issue of VISWAJANANI (March 2006) for the sake of the readers. Such cosmic vision of the personal god offers a realistic clue for the infinite presence of the divine.
Granting this, the multiple gods and the divine forms that the individuals worship are to be regarded as the gateways to eternal reality or timeless truth. Once the subject passes through the gateway, he reaches and realizes the same limitless truth, the boundless reality.
If so, the personal worship and personal god are more to be viewed as well laid, well set paths with markers to reach and pass through the gateway to experience the boundless, everlasting reality, which only complement each other in the larger pursuit of god.
Having said this, such effort towards reaching god cannot be on one’s own with his limited capability. Obviously this is guided, aided by the teacher, master or the ‘guru’ as often termed in the spiritual parlance. AMMA said “Gurthu Cheppe Vade Guruvu” – meaning in English the one who guides and shows the path is only the preceptor. Accordingly all the aspirants of the divine seek a teacher or the guide who often becomes the ‘guru’. The ‘guru’ shepherds the subject across the path to reach and realize the god
With the ‘guru’ again a personal element emanates because he obviously guides the subject in tune with the subject’s grain and disposition, varying the modes and methods to be followed. Such a preceptor at times also facilitates the pupil’s efforts and progress by supplementing his own prowess to that of the subject. This is the case ordinarily with most spiritual seekers who find and succeed in accessing the right preceptor.
But very rarely, once in a while, GOD manifests in human form in totality, in perfection and regarded as the very incarnation of divinity. Ever since the advent onto the earth, they display divine glory, giving little room for doubt as to their being as the perfection or totality of divinity.
Such personae are like huge cosmic reservoirs or boundless cosmic power houses that can redeem countless masses during their time and ever after. AMMA decreed “Nannu Chudatame Pondatam”— meaning in English “Merely seeing ME is verily attain- ing”, you need to do little else. Such boundless assur- ance lies only within the manifest divinity doubtless.
This is yet another dimension of the personal god, because countless persons come within the sway of such divine manifestation, accept the same as the divine and submit their life in abject surrender. This divine manifestation is but the personal GOD for such believers who submit to the same in surrender.
Here one comes across a criticism or even the unwitting comment that one cannot accept a mere human being as the GOD. Well, if we look into our ancient scriptures, each manifestation says Lord Rama, Lord Krishna are all but living human beings to the contemporaries, in their times and the extant society of their times. Yet they have been accepted as divine manifestations.
To resolve this issue more incisively, divinity necessarily assumes a living human form to bestow experiential divinity on their subjects and other aspirants. The contemporaries comprehend them or perceive them by the divine aura and prowess which are seen and accepted beyond doubt. Otherwise, the living form is but the much needed façade, or physical vehicle, sheath for the infinite, cosmic divine being or power (shakthi). In the absence of such physical form, the process becomes too abstract to be understood, felt and appreciated by the living masses of the respective times.
Hence, the counter that human beings cannot be accepted as divine manifestation is not sustainable. Such a divine entity in human form attracts the masses, influences them and leads them towards the goal or redeems them en masse.
Obviously such a divine entity displays its aura and prowess which the lay men witness in awe, surrender and submit; while some may yet doubt, or bypass the same as ordained for them. In this respect to recall AMMA’S word – “Kanna Vadu Vivaristhadu; Vinna Vadu Vimarsisthadu”- to put this in English “The one who sees (understands / experiences) elaborates the same to others; the one who only listens hearsay tends to comment or criticize”. This is in tune with the individual’s ordained lot or one’s own predilection which again is nothing but a part of the former ordainment.
This is so because to cite AMMA again “Nenu Kanapadithene Meeru Nannu Chustharu: Meeru Chudalanukunte Nannu Chudaleru” to put this in English “I can be seen by you only when I will or wish it; you cannot see ME simply by your choice”. Thus.com coming within the bounds of divine incarnation manifest in human form is ordained and in one’s allotment, not a matter of individual choice or option.
To sum up, thus the personal god is very much a need and experiential reality in the pursuit of the divine that is boundless, limitless, infinite ‘ONENESS’. One’s personal god marks the goal and leads, rather shepherds the subject with love, care and concern towards the divine in all its glory.
Pray AMMA be our personal god and lead us all towards HER eternal glory.