Why Should We Seek God?
by Sri Daya Mata - excerpts from "Only Love"
What is God?
Why should we seek God? What is God? How can we find Him?
The first question can be answered very simply. We should seek God because we are made in His image,* and only His perfection and permanency can give us lasting happiness. [* Genesis 1:27: "So God created man in His own image...."]
Man was given a mind and a body with five senses through which he perceives this finite world and identifies himself with it. But man is neither the body nor the mind; his nature is spirit, the immortal soul. As often as he tries to find permanent happiness through his sensory perceptions, so often his hopes, his enthusiasm, his desires, are shipwrecked on the rocks of deep frustration and disappointment. Everything in the material universe is essentially ephemeral and ever changing. That which is subject to change carries within it the seeds of disappointment. And so it is that our ship of worldly expectations sooner or later runs aground on the shoals of disillusionment. Therefore we should seek God, because He is the fountainhead of all wisdom, all love, all bliss, all contentment. God is the source of our being, the source of all life. And we are made in His image. When we will find Him, we will realize this truth.
If God is the goal of man, then what is He? Every scripture, and every great soul who has ever spoken of his experience of God, has declared certain qualities to be the nature of Spirit. Still we cannot say what God is. No man has ever been able to describe Him fully. There is a story that an image made of salt went down to the shore to measure the depths of the ocean. The moment it stepped into the water, it melted away. The image could not measure the depths, for it had become one with the sea. It is the same with man. His very being consists of those same qualities that are of Spirit. The moment his soul becomes identified with the Infinite Being, he becomes one with God, and can no longer describe what God is. But many saints have described what one experiences when he communes with Spirit.
All scriptures state that God is peace, love, wisdom, bliss. All agree that God is cosmic intelligence, omniscient and omnipresent. He is the Absolute. He is the great cosmic sound of Aum, the Amen of the Christians. He is cosmic light. These are all attributes or qualities of the Infinite. And when the devotee deeply seeks Him, he begins to perceive these various manifestations of the Divine.
How Can We Find God?
1. Quiet both body and mind, that the whispers of intuition may be heard.
2. Devotee must develop humility.
Unless and until we learn to forget ourselves, we can never fill the consciousness with the thought of God.
3. Practice patience.
When we sit for meditation we must rise above all consciousness of time. Even if we meditate only for five minutes, those five minutes must be one hundred percent concentrated upon God.
The mind should not think of anything external, but go deeper and deeper within until the waters of peace, bliss, and love divine slowly begin to well up within our consciousness.
We must also be content with small steps. Don't expect great experiences in the beginning when you meditate. Be content with the slightest glimpse of the Divine within—a sense of quiet peace deep in your consciousness.
One of the reasons some persons cannot meditate deeply is that they are anxiously seeking a happy experience, and become discouraged if they do not feel an immediate response from the Divine. The Lord tests us in this way. He doesn't come to His devotees unless and until He is convinced beyond any doubt that their love for Him, their yearning for Him, is unconditional. ...
When you meditate in a hurry or with anxiety, the very object of your meditation, the Divine One from whom you are seeking a response, escapes the net of your concentration. The secret of seeking God in meditation is to abandon restlessness, impatience, and anxiety. ....
Krishna taught Arjuna to become anchored in That which is changeless. The only changeless principle in creation is God. Everything else is subject to change because it is only a dream-thought of His. You and I seem so real, these bodies so substantial; the whole world appears to be quite permanent. Yet this seeming reality is nothing but condensed thoughts of the Cosmic Dreamer. Like Him, the moment we take our minds away from this world, it exists no longer for us. The moment we put our minds on the Infinite, we begin to perceive the natural state of our souls as individualized expressions of the Cosmic Self. ....
God is the simplest to love, when we learn to seek Him in the depths of true devotion. Without devotion plus meditation He cannot be known; but He is the easiest in the world to know when like a child we silently call upon Him in the depths of our consciousness. For a little while every day, every human being should devote some time to deep meditation, forgetting the world, seeking Him, talking to Him in the language of the heart.
The Goal of Mankind
So the goal of mankind is to find God, and, finding Him, to realize freedom from all worldly cares and sufferings. In freedom is the experience of tremendous love, of blissful union with the Cosmic Beloved. This is the goal of life. And the way to this goal is selfless deep meditation.
In the Gita* Lord Krishna declares that just a little practice of meditation will save man from dire suffering in this world. So meditation should be as vital a part of the day as eating. Man doesn't hesitate to look after the body; he sees that it is fed, he clothes it, and he gives it regular rest. But how he neglects the Self! He is not the body; yet much of his time, effort, money, and interest are spent in looking after the little fleshly house in which he lives for just a few years. What an insult to the soul! [* The Gita II:40.]
No wonder man suffers in this world. He deserves to suffer, and he will go on suffering until he shakes himself out of this delusive dream. Man was not put here merely to be born, to grow up, reproduce, and die. Animals do this. Man was blessed with superior intelligence, the power of discrimination, and the power of free will. No other creature of God has these qualities. To ignore them or misuse them is foolish. We are not animals; we are divine beings, images of God, and we will suffer until we manifest those spiritual qualities with which He has endowed us.
Lord Krishna told his beloved disciple Arjuna: "Get away from My ocean of suffering."* Man is still striving to prove to himself that this world is not an ocean of suffering, but he will never be able to do so. Sometimes we feel sure we have caught the butterfly of happiness, but in the next instant it has darted away from our hand. Why not concentrate on the soul bird-of-paradise that resides in the bodily cage? Nourish it a little bit every day with the only food by which it can live: devoted meditation. We should say: "I will selfishly keep aside at least one hour a day to nourish you, my soul. I will forget the world for that one hour." [The Gita XII:8] ....
It is said that there is only one difference between a saint and a sinner: the saint when through the same trials but refused to give up.