THE GOAL OF RELIGION | IWGR II | RAMA राम
|| THE GOAL OF RELIGION : MY ALTER EGOS , MY OTHER SELVES ||
|| < : NOTE : GOD : States of Religious Development
1 . Tassyaivaham : I AM GOD'S
2 . Tavaivaham : I AM THINE ( YOURS — TO GOD )
3 . Twamevaham : I AM GOD ; I AM THOU ( YOU — TO GOD , MYSELF ) : > ||
All the ( religious ) sects in this world , including those of India , may be branched under three principle headings . In Sanskrit we call these : Tassyaivaham , Tavaivaham , Twamevaham .
There will be a regular course of lectures , to which tonight's talk may be looked upon as an introduction .
" What is the Goal of Religion , and How do the Hindus Try to Realize It ? "
According to the Hindus , everybody is GOD , the most precious jewel , the whole treasure , the supreme bliss and source of all happiness in Itself . Everybody is GOD and all in Itself .
If so , how is it that people suffer ? They suffer not because they have not the remedy ; not because they do not possess the infinite joy in themselves ; not because they have not the priceless jewel within themselves , but because they do not know how to untie the knot which holds it , how to open the casket which contains it .
In other words , people do not know how to enter their own spirits and realize their own Self . All religion is simply an attempt to unveil ourselves and to explain our Self .
We have placed a curtain before the precious jewels within us with our own hands , by our own efforts , and have made ourselves miserable , poor wretches , as Emerson puts it ,
" Every person is GOD playing the fool . "
All creeds are simply the efforts to strike out , to rend asunder the veil which covers our eyes . There are some creeds which have succeeded in making the veil much thinner than other creeds , but in all creeds there are people who have the true spirit , and wherever the true spirit comes , whether the curtain be thick or thin , it is pushed aside for the time being and a glimpse into the Reality is had . It will be illustrated by this example : Here is a curtain or veil .
( Here < : RAMA : > placed a handkerchief before the eyes . )
It is before the eyes . We can push aside the curtain and see , but the curtain again comes up before the eyes . The curtain is made thinner
( Here some of the folds of the handkerchief were taken down . )
and when the curtain is very thin it can be still shoved aside , but it comes up before the eyes again . It does not leave the eyes permanently .
We will make it thinner still . In this state also it can be slid aside for a while , but it comes before the eyes again . When the veil is made extremely thin , even though it be not thrust aside , the veil does not stand in the way of our vision . We can see through it , and even now as before , we can also remove it at times .
When the curtain is made extremely thin , it is practically no curtain , and we enjoy supreme happiness in spite of it ; we are face to face with GOD ; nay , we are GOD . Nothing in this world can disturb us or mar our happiness ; nothing can stand in our way .
This is the advantage over other creeds of Vedanta which reduces the curtain of ignorance ( Maya ) to its thinnest and enables a Jnani to enjoy blissful vision even in business-life .
The votaries of all religious creeds can at times be en rapport with Divinity and lift off the veil , thick or thin , from before their eyes for so long as they remain in communion with the Supreme Being . A Vedantin also can do that , and throw oneself into a state of happy trance ; but one enjoys celestial vision even in the ordinary state , a celestial vision which creeds of thicker veil do not .
All the sects in this world , including those of India , may be branched under three principle headings . In Sanskrit we call these :
Tassyaivaham , Tavaivaham , Twamevaham .
|| < : 1 . Tassyaivaham : > ||
The meaning of the first Tassyaivaham is " I am GOD's " .
This form of creed keeps the curtain in its thickest form . The second stage of religious creeds is Tavaivaham , which means , " I am Thine " .
You will notice the difference between the first phase of creeds or dogmas , and the second . In the first attempts in the religious direction , the devotee , the worshipper , looks upon GOD as away from one , as invisible , and one speaks of GOD in the third person , as if GOD were absent , " I am GOD's " .
This is the beginning of religion , it is like parent's milk to every child of religion . Without having once fed upon this milk , one is incapable of making further progress in religion . " I am GOD's . " Is it not sweet when one realizes even this perfectly ; awakes early in the morning and thinks ,
" My Master wakes me " ;
goes to one's official duties and looks upon those duties as imposed upon one by one's dear , sweet Master , GOD ; looks upon the whole world as GOD's and regards one's house , relatives , and friends as GOD's , as vouchsafed unto one by GOD ? Oh , is not the world turned into a veritable heaven , is not the world converted into a paradise ?
Let one be sincere , let one earnestly and with whole heart feel and realize this : everything about one is one's Master's , one's GOD's and this body is GOD's . When realized perfectly , even this idea brings exquisite joy , indescribable happiness , supreme bliss — it is sublime . This is sweet enough when realized and put into practice , but as a creed it is only the beginning .
|| < : 2 . Tavaivaham : > ||
Compare with it the second phase of creeds , the second stage of religious life and devotion called Tavaivaham , " I am Thine . I need Thee every hour , I am Thine , Thine . "
The first was sweet , but this is sweeter . The first state was very dear and very lovely , but this is more lovely and more dear . Just mark the difference . The difference is illustrated by the veil having become thinner . You know that in " I am Thine " , GOD is no longer spoken of in the third person ; GOD is no longer looked upon as absent , as behind the curtain , but comes face to face with us . GOD is near and dear to us , very close to us . GOD comes closer to us , we become more familiar with GOD . As a creed this is higher . But it often happens that people believe in this creed , and address GOD as very familiar , very near to them , but they lack the true earnest spirit , the Living Faith .
Living Faith being conjoined to the first state of religious development , the curtain , though very thick is for the time being removed . While one is feeling with one's whole heart and soul — with every drop of one's blood — the idea that one is GOD's , " I am GOD's " , as it were , being poured forth from every pore of the body ; the sincerity , the earnestness , the ardour and the zeal for the time being remove the curtain from before the eyes , and one is lost , merged in GOD , in the All , becomes GODly , one becomes GOD for that time .
Sometimes the one who believes in the high principle " I am Thine " lacks that true Living Faith and does not enjoy full well the sweets of GOD's presence . But Living Faith and earnestness can be conjoined to the second stage of religious creed as well .
|| < : 3 . Twamevaham : > ||
The third form of creed is called Twamevaham , and means " I am Thou " . You see how near it brings us to GOD .
In the first form " I am GOD's " , GOD is away , off . In the second form " I am Thine " , GOD is face to face with us , GOD has become closer to us ; but in the final stage of religious development the two become one and the lover and the beloved are lost in love . Thus is Vedanta realized .
The moth neared and neared the light till it burned its body and became Light . The word Upanishad ( Vedanta ) means literally approaching so close ( Upa ) to the Light of lights that most certainly ( ni ) the moth of separating and dividing consciousness may be destroyed ( shad ) .
The true lover of GOD becomes one with GOD , and unconsciously , spontaneously , involuntarily such expressions find utterance through one's lips , " I am GOD " , " I am GOD " , " I am GOD " , " I am Thou " , " Thou and I are one " . " I am GOD , I am GOD . Nothing less can I be " .
This is the final state of religious development . That is the highest devotion , This is called the Vedanta , which means the end of knowledge . Here does all knowledge find its end ; here is the goal reached .
Even in this creed , where the curtain is so thin that we can see the whole Reality even though the curtain is one , there are some who lack earnestness , sincerity or single-mindedness , and do not slide away the curtain entirely to taste full realization ; and there are those also who , after arriving intellectually at this conviction , begin to realize the idea through feeling to such a degree that they remove the curtain and enjoy heavenly bliss — they become heaven itself .
These are called liberated , even in this life , Jivanmuktas .
The refining of creed or the thinning of the curtain comes chiefly through the intellect , and the lifting of the veil is effected through feeling . The three forms of creed have been described .
Now let us see how far it is possible for people in the different creeds to shift the curtain between whiles . A few Hindu stories will serve as illustrations .
|| < : 3 . Twamevaham — Illustrative Story 1 : > ||
There was a person very deeply in love , the whole being transformed into love . At one time the person was seriously ill , and the doctors were called . They said that the only cure was to take out some of the blood . They applied their lancets to the flesh of the arms , but no blood came out of the body . But at the same time curiously enough blood was observed gushing from the skin of the lover . What a wonderful union !
You will call that a tradition , a false story , but it can be true . Often do those people who experience love , though of a lower degree , verify something like that in their own lives . That person had forgotten the personality and had become one with the lover , and the lover had merged in that love .
Such a union with GOD is religion . Let my body become GOD's body and let GOD's Self become my Self .
|| < : 3 . Twamevaham — Illustrative Story 2 : > ||
In a religious book of the Hindus , Yoga Vasishtha , we are told of a person who was thrown into fire . The people saw that the fire did not burn . The person's lover was thrown into the fire , but it did not burn also . How was it ? They were thrown into the river but it did not carry them off . They were thrown down from the tops of mountains and not a bone was broken . How was it ? At that time they could not give any explanation , they were Beyond themselves , they were in that state where no questions could reach them .
Long afterwards the reason was asked , and they said that to each of them the beloved one was all in all ; the fire was no fire , it appeared to that person to be the lover , and to the other the same fire appeared to be the beloved one . The water was no water to them : it was all the beloved one . The stones were no stones to them ; the body was no body to them : it was all the beloved one . How could the beloved one harm them ?
|| < : 3 . Twamevaham — Illustrative Story 3 : > ||
We read in the Hindu Puranas of a child whose parent , a ruler , wanted to turn the child from religious life . The parent desired the child to remain a worldling , like the parent , but the remonstrances and admonitions of the parent did not prevail upon the child — they were all lost on the child . In order to prevent the child from the intention , the parent cast the child into fire but it burnt not . The ruler then threw the child into running water but it bore the child up .
To the child the fire , the water , and the elements had ceased to be harmful — they were realized in their true state . The child had dehypnotized into this real state . Everything unto the child was GOD , all Love . The threats , frowns , and brow-beating , a word and flame were nothing else than sweet heaven . How could there be injury ?
|| < : 3 . Twamevaham — Illustrative Story 4 : > ||
Some time ago a Hindu monk was sitting on the bank of the Ganges , in the deep Himalayan forests . On the opposite bank some other monks were observing while the monk was chanting to Shivoham ! Shivoham ! Shivoham ! which means I am GOD , I am GOD . There appeared a tiger on the scene . The tiger came and got the monk in the claws , and though in the fangs of the tiger , the same chant was coming out from the monk in the same tones , in the same fearless strain , Shivoham ! Shivoham ! Shivoham ! The tiger tore off the hands and legs , and there was the same sound , unabated in intensity .
What do you think of that ? What do you think of this saying , " I am GOD , I am GOD " ? Could you call it agnosticism ? Far from it , far from it . This is the final realization .
Do not lovers , on reaching that summit of love , feel themselves to be one with their beloved one ? Does not the parent call her child the flesh of one's flesh , the blood of one's blood , the bones of one's bones ? And does not the parent regard the child as the parent's other ego , as the parent's other self ? Are not the interests of the child identical with the interests of the parent ? Indeed they are .
Embracing GOD , accepting GOD , wedding GOD , become one with GOD to such a degree and so intensely that there may be left no trace of separation . Instead of praying " Thy will be done , O Lord " , let your joy be " My will is being done . "
|| < : 3 . Twamevaham — Illustrative Story 5 : > ||
In India , long ago , ways and customs were very different from what you find them in America in these days . In America , you have electric lights to illuminate your houses at night . At the time of which Rama is going to speak , the Hindus used clay lamps , and when one family got their lamps lit , the people of the adjoining houses would go into their neighbour's house to light theirs .
One evening , one who was ardently in love with Krishna went to the house of Krishna's parent on the pretext of lighting the lamp .
It need not be said that it was in reality a desire to get singed like a moth at the light of Krishna's face that led to the house of Krishna rather than to any other house with lighted lamps . The person really went to see Krishna : the lighting of the lamp was only the excuse given to the parent .
The wick of the lamp had to be applied to that of the burning lamp , but the eyes were not on the lamps , they were on the face of the dear little Krishna , looking at that charming , bewitching face of Krishna , looking at Krishna so intently that the person did not notice that instead of the wick of the lamp being in contact with the burning lamp , the fingers were burning in it . The flame continued to burn the fingers but the person noticed it not .
Time passed on and there was no return home . The parent became impatient and could bear the delay no longer , and went to the neighbour's house , where she saw the offspring's hand burning , unconscious of it ; the fingers were singed and were shrivelling , and the bones were charred . The parent panted for breath , gasped and wept and cried aloud ,
" Oh , my child , my child , what are you doing ? In the name of goodness , what are you doing ? "
Then was the person brought to the senses , or , you may say , was brought from the senses .
In such a state of divine love , in this stage of perfect love , the beloved and the lover become one , " I am GOD " , " I am Thou " .
This is the third state , and Beyond that comes the state where even these expressions cannot be used .
The above stories illustrate the third kind of Love .
|| < : 2 . Tavaivaham — Illustrative Story 1 : > ||
The following will illustrate the second state of religious development , " I am Thine " , " I am Thine " .
Two children came to a master and wanted instruction in religion . The master said that there would be no teaching unless the master had examined them . Well , the master gave them two pigeons , one to each , and asked them to go out and kill the pigeons at some retired place where nobody might see them .
One of them went straight into the crowded thoroughfare . Turning the back to the people who were passing through the streets , and putting a piece of cloth over the head , the child took up the pigeon , wrenched its neck and came back straight away to the teacher and said ,
" Master , master , ( Swami , Swami ) here is your order carried out . "
The Swami inquired , " Did you strangle the pigeon when no one was seeing you ? "
The child said , " Yes " .
" All right ; let us see now what your companion has done . "
The other went out into a deep , dense forest , and was about to twist the neck of the pigeon , and lo ! there were the gentle , soft and glittering eyes of the pigeon looking straight in the face . The child met those eyes , and attempting to break the neck of the pigeon , was frightened . The idea struck that the condition laid upon the child by the master was a very trying , hard one . Here the witness , the Observer , is present even in this pigeon .
" Oh , I am not alone ! I am not in the place where no one will see me . I am being observed . Well , what shall I do ? Where shall I go ? "
The child went on and on , and retired into some other forest . There also , when about to commit the act , the child met the eyes of the pigeon , and the pigeon saw . The Observer was in the pigeon itself .
Again and again the child tried to kill the pigeon ; over and over again trying , but did not succeed in fulfilling the conditions imposed by the master . Broken-hearted , the child came back reluctantly to the master , and laid the pigeon alive at the feet of the Swami and wept and wept and cried :
" Master , master , ( Swami , Swami ) I cannot fulfill this condition . Be kind enough to impart the knowledge of GOD to me . This examination is too trying for me . I cannot bear this examination . Please be merciful , have mercy on me and impart to me divine knowledge . I want that , I surely need it . "
The master ( Swami ) took up the child , raised in the arms , caressed and patted , and lovingly spoke :
" O , dear one , O dear one , even as you have seen the Observer in the eyes of the bird that you were going to slay , even so , wherever you may happen to go , and wherever you are moved by temptation to perpetrate a crime , realize the presence of GOD . Realize the Observer , the witness in the flesh and in the eyes of the attractive one for whom you crave . Realize that your Master sees you even with those eyes . My Master sees me . Act as if you were always in the presence of the Great Master , ever face to face with the Divinity , all the time in the sight of the Beloved . "
|| < : 2 . Tavaivaham — Illustrative Story 2 : > ||
They say that in a grand museum in Naples , there is a beautiful angelic face on the roof , and at whatever part of the museum you may happen to be , whatever part you may happen to visit , you may go to the roof , you may go to the basement , wherever you may be , the bright , dazzling , pure eyes of the angel look you straight in the eyes .
People , who are in the second state of spiritual development , if true to themselves , live constantly under the eye of the Master . They feel and realize that wherever they may go , in the innermost chamber of the house , in the most secluded caves of the forest , they find themselves under the eyes of GOD , seen by GOD , fed by GOD's light , nourished by GOD's grace .
|| < : 1 . Tassyaivaham : > — Illustrative Story : > ||
Now we come to the primary stage of spiritual development . " I am GOD's ! I am GOD's ! I am GOD's ! "
This seems to be an elementary stage . Oh ! But how difficult it is for people to realize the elementary stage of religious development , and if one is sincere , really single-minded , really devout , puts into practice what one believes , makes this idea course with the blood through one's veins , feels it with every drop of one's blood , gets oneself saturated with it , with this elementary creed , one may become an angel in this world .
A highly revered saint in India was in early youth working in a place where it was the duty to give away alms , to distribute food and treasure to the people . Some poor people were brought before the saint , with an order from the saint's Master to give unto them thirteen bushels of flour . The saint gave them one bushel , gave them the second , the third , the fourth , the fifth , the sixth , until coming to the number thirteen .
The saint was counting the number of bushels audibly while dealing out the flour . The number thirteen is called tera , in the Indian language .
This is a very remarkable word . It has two meanings ; one is thirteen — ten plus three ; and the other meaning of the word is " I am Thine ! I am Thine ! I am GOD's ! " , " I am part of GOD , I am GOD's . "
Well , the saint counted twelve and then came the turn of the number tera . When the saint had given them the thirteenth bushel and was pronouncing tera .
Such holy associations were aroused that actually the body was given up , and all to GOD , forgetting everything about the world ; one was Beyond oneself ; no , was in oneself . In this state of ecstasy , the saint went on saying tera , tera , tera , tera , and went on unconsciously giving to the people bushel after bushel , saying tera , tera , until falling down in a state of super-consciousness , in a state of transcendental bliss .
Thus we see that the people who are in the elementary stages can often rise to the greatest heights , if they are as good as their word ; if they are sincere and earnest ; if they do not want to throw dust into the eyes of GOD ; if they do not want to make promises with GOD and then break them . When once in the temple or church , they say , " I am Thine " .
Let them feel it . Let them live it . Let them realize it . This is true religion .
|| < : Summary Conclusion : > ||
The different sects throughout the world can be classed under these three heads — " I am GOD's ! " , " I am Thine ! " , " I am GOD ! " .
So far as the forms are concerned , the second form , " I am Thine " is higher than the first , " I am GOD's " and the third form , " I am GOD " is the highest .
Into any of these three forms we may infuse the true religious spirit .
According to the Hindus , those who bring a true religious spirit to bear upon the elementary state of the creed will in this birth , or in the next , rise to the highest creed ; they will rise to the second creed , and , with the second creed , again associating the true religious spirit in this life or the next will by and by rise to the next higher religious creed , which is " I am GOD " , " I am Thou " .
When this state is reached , there are no more births . The person is free , free , free ! The Human is GOD , GOD ! One has reached the end ! OM !
Oh ! Brimful is my cup of joy ,
Fulfilled completely all desires ;
Sweet morning zephyrs I employ ,
Its I in bloom their kiss admires .
The rainbow colours are my attires ;
My errands run light , lightning fires .
All lovers I am , all sweethearts I ,
I am desires , emotions I .
The smiles of rose , the pearls of dew .
The golden threads so fresh , so new ,
Of Sun's bright rays embalmed in sweetness ,
The silvery moon , delicious neatness ,
The playful ripples , waving trees ,
Entwining creepers , humming bees ,
Are my expression , my balmy breath ,
My respiration in life and death .
All ill and good , and bitter and sweet ,
In that my throbbing pulse doth beat .
What shall I do , or where remove ?
I fill all space , no room to move .
Shall I suspect or I desire ?
All time is me , all force my fire .
Can I be doubt or sorrow-stricken ?
No , I am verily all causation .
All time is NOW , all distance HERE .
Ail problem solved , solution clear .
No selfish aim , no tic , no bond ,
To me do each and all respond .
Impersonal Lord of foe and friend ,
To me doth every object bend .
SOURCE | SATYAVEDISM.ORG