Oneness with God is the Goal
Oneness with God is the Goal
Be Free From All Suffering
The purpose of life is to be free from suffering and to attain infinite bliss consciousness – and that is God.
The greatest sin is ignorance — not to know what life is all about. And the greatest virtue is wisdom — to know the meaning and purpose of life and its Creator. To know that we are not little human beings, but that we are one with Him, is wisdom. (jt)
God is Being, Consciousness, Bliss
The kingdom of God is not in the clouds, in some designated point of space; it is right behind the darkness that you perceive with closed eyes.
God is absolute Existence;
God is ever new Joy.
This Joy is omnipresent. Feel your oneness with that Joy. It resides within you; and it encompasses infinity. Beyond the gross vibratory boundaries of matter, the Immutable Infinite reigns in all His majesty and vastness. Endlessness—that is the kingdom of God; conscious Bliss, eternal and boundless. When your soul has expanded and feels its presence everywhere, then you are united with Spirit. (jt)
As God is the Essence of our own being, we cannot truly express ourselves until we learn to manifest His presence within us. That is the truth. It is because we are Divine, a part of Him, that we are unable to find lasting satisfaction in anything material. "Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me." Until you attain contentment in God, you will not win contentment from anything else. (os)
God [Brahman] is Sat-Chit-Ananda*, ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss. We, as soul, are individualized Sat-Chit-Ananda. (dr)
[* The name for God in Sanskrit is "Sat-Chit-Ananada"
Sat = eternal Being or Truth;
Chit = infinite Consciousness;
Ananda = ever new Bliss]
Self-realization is the Way to Know God
"Self-realization is the knowing—in body, mind, and soul—that we are one with the omnipresence of God;
that we do not have to pray that it come to us, that we are not merely near it at all times, but that God's omnipresence is our omnipresence; that we are just as much a part of Him now
as we ever will be.
All we have to do is improve our knowing."
— Paramahansa Yogananda
Lord Krishna... proclaims Self-realization, true wisdom, as the highest branch of all human knowledge—the king of all sciences, the very essence of dharma ("religion")—for it alone permanently uproots the cause of man's threefold suffering and reveals to him his true nature of Bliss.
Self-realization is yoga or "oneness" with truth—the direct perception or experience of truth by the all-knowing intuitive faculty of the soul. (bg)
Devotion for God is the Fastest Path
He who serves Me with undeviating devotion transcends the gunas* and is qualified to become Brahman.
For I am the basis of the Infinite, the Immortal, the Indestructible; and of eternal Dharma and unalloyed Bliss.
— The Bhagavad Gita XIV:26-27
[ * The three attributes of Nature.]
Arjuna had asked (stanza 21): "How does a man rise beyond the gunas?" Lord Krishna now answers that question.
"By Bhakti Yoga," he says. "By unswerving devotion to God, by love for Him so complete that one's mind has no room for thought of self."
A reply of sweetness and profound simplicity, offering man divine hope and encouragement.
In stanzas 26-27 Krishna speaks as
the soul or true being of man that is identical with God: Spirit or the Absolute.
Krishna's words: "I am the basis of the Infinite," are akin in divine scope to those uttered by Jesus:
"Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8:58)
Krishna and Christ spoke from the depths of Self-realization, knowing that
"I and my Father are one." (John 10:30)
The unmanifested Spirit that existed before creation is the Supreme Abode of Being; of everlasting Dharma, law, righteousness, cosmic shelter; and of endless Beatitude. (bg)
He who perceives Me everywhere and beholds everything in Me never loses sight of Me, nor do I ever lose sight of him.
— The Bhagavad Gita VI:30
The divine lover beholds god through every window of thought and space, and the Cosmic Beloved beholds the devotee through every window of His omnipresent love. Enlocked in visions of love. God and the devotee enjoy unparted union.
After uniting his soul to God, the yogi may still maintain the dual relation—the liberated devotee, and God as the Object of adoration.
This stanza of the Gita definitely points out that the illumined yogi does not lose the individuality of his soul; instead he finds his being extended into the Being of the Spirit. An ordinary person perceives himself as separate from God. The advanced yogi feels his soul as a wave in the ocean of Cosmic Consciousness. But the completely liberated yogi beholds his soul-wave as a manifestation of the Cosmic Ocean. Such a yogi never says, "I am God," for he knows God can exist without his soul; but, if he wants to, he can say: "God has become myself."
The soul of the emancipated yogi can remain merged, if he wishes, in the Absolute, as the Absolute. Or the liberated yogi, owing to the retention of his God-created individuality (which can never be lost), may remain or reappear in the physical body in which he was liberated, in order to worship God in any personal concept (such as Father-Mother-Friend-Beloved God), or in any desired materialized form (such as one of the deities, or as incarnate in one of the avatars such as Christ or Sri Krishna), or as the All-Pervading Infinite.
This stanza stresses the state of duality that may exist between the devotee and God. The liberated devotee can watch God through every open niche of space, as the Spirit can look at him through every pore of the sky. Such a liberated yogi never loses sight of God nor does God ever lose sight of him. The True Lover is God; we are all His beloveds, mistakenly seeking love in impermanent human beings. The thirst for affection can never be quenched by the imperfect love of mortals. When the devotee, by the practice of loving mortals truly, learns to love all beings, and by meditation learns to love God supremely, then and then only is his longing for love satisfied. (bg p.634)
Your Soul is of God
God is reflected in miniature as the soul in the body of man. The soul in essence is a perfect reflection of the Divine; but through becoming identified with a body, it imagines itself to be the ego that is subject to pleasure and pain. The soul temporarily dreams itself to be a body, experiencing its attendant joys and sorrows; though in reality it is always the changeless image of God.
The Spirit is ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new omnipresent Joy; the soul is the individualized reflection of ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Joy, confined within the body of each and every being. (bg)
The process of offering and the oblation itself—both are Spirit. The fire and he who makes oblation into it are other forms of Spirit. By realizing this, being absorbed in Brahman (Spirit) during all activities, verily such a one goes to Spirit alone.
— The Bhagavad Gita VI:31
All manifestation is a variegated ritual of the one Cosmic Consciousness of God.
The personal soul (atman) is not different from the Universal Soul or God (Paramatman);
thus, it is He who is the Giver and the Acceptor of all sacrifices (activities). It is also He who is the oblation—the objects involved in the rite. The yogi, by realizing this, enters samadhi or oneness with God. ...
When a person fully wakes from a dream, he realizes that its seeming physical and psychological manifestations were mere textures of dream-stuff. Similarly, when a yogi fully wakes from the cosmic dream by becoming one with God, he realizes that all the subjects, objects, and activities in the cosmos are results of one Cosmic Consciousness. Seeing the cosmos as a dream motion picture of God, he beholds the offering of his life itself as Brahman, and also the fire of Cosmic Life in which his life is given as an offering, as Brahman. He finds the Lord of this Cosmic Fire Ceremony and of all activities that are connected with it (the externalized expressions of Cosmic Consciousness) to be Brahman.
By the inner illumination of divine awakening, the yogi ceases to be a mortal being with gross perceptions of the universe; he realizes that the whole cosmos is a cosmic motion picture. His body is only “a dream walking.” (bg p.477)
You & All Beings are Manifestation of God
O Descendant of Bharata (Arjuna), also know Me to be the Kshetrajna (Perceiver) [ the Universal Spirit & the individualized soul ] in all kshetras (the bodies evolved out of the cosmic creative principle and Nature). The understanding of kshetra [ the known ] and kshetrajna [ the knower ] — that is deemed by Me as constituting true wisdom.
—The Bhagavad Gita XIII:2
This stanza [XIII:2] refers to the immanent omniscient nature of Spirit. It is He alone who is manifested as countless souls. A yogi is a possessor of true wisdom who understands that God is the only Kshetrajna, the one Perceiver in creation, singularly and in all souls encased in physical bodies. God is the only subjective, perceptive, and objective principle existing in and manifesting as the cosmic dream creation. It is the Lord Himself who becomes all subjective dream beings. He is the cognitive principle in all sentient creatures and in everything else. He also manifests Himself as all dream objects and as the dream bodies in creation. The understanding of these truths constitutes true wisdom. (bg p.876)
Jesus: "Ye are Gods"
Jesus answered them,
"Is it not written in your law, I said, "Ye are gods'"? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
Is it not written in your holy books exactly what I said ["I have said, 'Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High'" (Psalms 82:6).] — that not only I but all of you are gods? If the scriptures call all people gods because they are born of the Cosmic Vibration emanating from God the Father, that truth cannot be nullified by your disbelief. Then how can you speak of blasphemy to me who have been sanctified and sent by God to the world as a perfect godly example? ...
When Jesus quotes the scripture that "ye are gods," he signifies that all souls are made in the pure image of God, the Father. If one hundred people are basking under the sun, ten with their eyes wide open and ninety with their eyes closed, all are revealed by the sun. But the ninety who have their eyes closed see neither the sun nor themselves as do the ten whose eyes are open. Similarly, souls with open eyes of wisdom behold themselves as emanations of God, while others, even though they too are "children of the Most High," do not realize it because their eyes of wisdom are closed. Thus, although the scripture says of all humans "ye are gods," there is a difference of perception among them according to the degree of their Self-realization.
Jesus, who had fully realized Spirit as manifested within him, did not speak of his human nature as God, so there was no blasphemy in his saying, "I and my Father are one." Persons identified with their human egoity lack that realization; even though they are potential gods, they have no actual perception of the presence of God within themselves. Jesus never said: "I am God," but by his divine works he manifested the realization that his consciousness, having emanated from God, was one with Him. (sc p.1021)
And he said unto them, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" — John 8:24.
The words "I am He" used by Jesus are a declaration of ultimate truth that has similarly been ecstatically realized and uttered by master minds of India who lived before and after the "I am He" time of Jesus.
The Isha Upanishad says:
"That absolute Self abiding in the transcendental effulgence, verily, I am He."
Elsewhere in the Upanishads we find, similarly, the sacred truth-affirmations
("I am Brahman—Spirit"),
Ayam Atma Brahma
("This Self is Spirit"), and
Tat Tvam Asi
("Thou art That").
The scriptural mantra Aham-Sa or 'Ham-sa' (literally, "I am He") are potent Sanskrit syllables that possess a vibratory connection with the incoming and the outgoing breath. Thus with his every breath man unconsciously asserts the truth of his being: I am He!
Jesus—as did all liberated masters qualified to make such self-declarations — meant that he knew by direct realization that the Christ Consciousness (Kutastha Chaitanya) within himself was one with Cosmic Consciousness—the Father or Absolute Being (Brahman).
When Jesus said, "For if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins," he meant that those who are identified with their bodies and do not attain the transcendent states in meditation cannot know that their true Self, the soul, is a reflection of Spirit ("I am He"). Divine souls who live on earth identified with Cosmic Consciousness create no human desires or binding karma and thus, at death, become one with Spirit. But persons who pass their lifetime satisfying the body and gratifying the ego, unaware of the Divine Image in themselves, amass earthly karma or sins. When they die with those unresolved karmic consequences and with unfulfilled earthly desires, they must reincarnate again and again to resolve all mortal entanglements. (sc p.984)
How to Achieve God-Realization?
Raja Yoga, the royal way of God-union, is the science of actual realization of the kingdom of God that lies within oneself.
Raja Yoga, specifically Kriya Yoga, is the quintessence of all yoga paths, the path especially favored by royal sages and great yogis in ancient India.
1. Raja Yoga (combines all Yogas below)
2. Kriya Yoga (Pranayama technique)
3. Bhakti Yoga (Path of Devotion)
4. Jnana Yoga (Path of Wisdom)
5. Karma Yoga (Path of Good Actions & Service)
6. Mantra Yoga (Path of Chanting and Incantations of Seed Sounds)
7. Laya Yoga (Path of Dissolving the Ego in the Infinite)
Patanjali, India's foremost ancient exponent of Raja Yoga, outlined eight steps to be followed for ascension into the kingdom of God within.
The esoteric jnanin*, according to Vedanta philosophy, is he who not only listens to the scriptural truths and perceives their meaning in his mind but becomes one with them by complete assimilation.
[ *A jnana yogi, or follower of the path of wisdom.]
Therefore the Vedantic way of spiritual realization is
to listen to the scriptural truth (shravanam), then
to perceive it (mananam), then
to be one with it (nididhyasanam).
Practice Kriya Yoga
The yogi is deemed greater than body-disciplining ascetics, greater even than the followers of the path of wisdom or of the path of action; be thou, O Arjuna, a yogi!
— The Bhagavad Gita VI:46
The Lord Himself here extols the royal path of yoga as the highest of all spiritual paths, and the scientific yogi as greater than a follower of any other path.
The real Kriya Yoga way (life-force control) is not a bypath. It is the direct highway, the shortest route, to divine realization. It teaches man to ascend heavenward by leading the ego, mind, and life force through the same spinal channel that was used when the soul originally descended into the body. (bg p.654)
Practice Kriya Yoga, and you will surely succeed on the spiritual path. That is my own experience. The liberating power of Kriya Yoga sunders the prison bars of karma. I have never found in East or West such a great technique as this.
Truths are not truths to you unless you realize them within yourself. Without realization, they are just ideas. For spiritual perception, spiritual consciousness, lies not in vague theological ideas, but in the acquisition of Self-realization. (dr)
Practice the truth you hear and read about, so that it is not just an idea but a conviction born of experience. If reading books on theology satisfies your desire for God, you have not grasped the purpose of religion. Do not settle for intellectual satisfaction about truth. Convert truth into experience, and you will know God through your own Self-realization. (me)
(aoy) — Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
(bg) — God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda
(dr) — The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda
(jt) — Journey to Self-Realization by Paramahansa Yogananda
(me) — Man's Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
(os) — Other Sources... Talks, Booklets
(sc) — The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
(sm) — Self-Realization Magazines