The Royal Path to Self-Realization
Manifestations of Spirit
I will tell you of That which is to be known, because such knowledge bestows immortality. Hear about the beginningless Supreme Spirit—He who is spoken of as neither existent (sat) nor nonexistent (asat).
He dwells in the world, enveloping all— everywhere, His hands and feet; present on all sides, His eyes and ears, His mouths and heads;
Shining in all the sense faculties, yet transcending the senses; unattached to creation, yet the Mainstay of all; free from the gunas (modes of Nature), yet the Enjoyer of them.
He is within and without all that exists, the animate and the inanimate; near He is, and far; imperceptible because of His subtlety.
He, the Indivisible One, appears as countless beings; He maintains and destroys those forms, then creates them anew.
The Light of All Lights, beyond darkness; Knowledge itself, That which is to be known, the Goal of all learning, He is seated in the hearts of all.
I have briefly described the Field, the nature of wisdom, and the Object of wisdom. Understanding these, My devotee enters My being.
—The Bhagavad Gita XIII:12-18
The Lord is not a Person with sense organs, but Consciousness itself; He is therefore aware of the thoughts and sensory perceptions of every being. Jesus referred to this all-embracingness when he said that not a sparrow shall fall on the ground without the knowledge of the Father. (God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yoganandam, p.888)
The Spirit is imperishable, ever existent in the changeless nonvibratory sphere. As the moon is able to reflect itself on objects as a shining light, so the nature of Spirit enables It to reflect Itself as Cosmic Intelligence (Kutastha Chaitanya) and as individual souls shining through physical bodies.
The cosmic vibration (Aum) with its law of duality and relativity emanates from Spirit and causes the birth, sustenance, and dissolution of all matter and beings through the law of karma. This law of action holds sway over all activities of man and Nature. (...)
Para-Brahman, the absolute and all-inclusive Sprit
The transcendental supreme spirit exists in relation to the vibratory cosmos but is also beyond it. Sat or Being; God the Father, of the Christian Bible; Para-Brahman of the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedanta philosophy; Paramatman of the yogis; and Para-Purusha, Transcendental Spirit, are various names of this unchangeable supreme Spirit existing beyond the dream-structures of vibratory creation. (...)
In the first state the transcendental dreamless Spirit (or Supreme Brahman) exists beyond Its vibratory dream creations, beyond the cosmic Aum.
In the second state Spirit materializes Its consciousness into a vibratory dream universe. This objective cosmic dream structure is variously spoken of as the Cosmic Aum, the Abhasa Chaitanya or reflected light of Kutastha Intelligence; as the reflected creative consciousness of God, or the Word, the intelligent Holy Ghost vibration, which is the same as the intelligent Cosmic Prakriti, the Cosmic Sound, or the Cosmic Light. Still other terms for this objective dream universe are the Mahatattva or the great Vibratory Elements; and Mother Nature, or the Cosmic Virgin Mary, the Cosmic Intelligent Consort of God. This cosmic vibratory force derives its power from Kutastha Chaitanya, the pure reflection of God's intelligence in creation, and is the mother of all spiritual (elevating), material (activating), and evil (obstructing) activities (the three gunas) in the world.
This Cosmic Aum is also called visarga or "the two dots of duality," because by the dual law of relativity and by the triple qualities of the gunas it produces the cosmic film of delusion. God's beam of consciousness passing through this cosmic film of relativity produces the cosmic dream pictures. When these two dots of duality become one with God, the Cosmic Aum manifests Him. A yogi listening to the cosmic sound of Aum can see, on the external side, the dream of creation and all the activities issuing out of it; on the inner side he hears the cosmic sound that melts into the absolute bliss of Brahman.
The unmanifested Spirit uses the third part of Its consciousness to reflect Itself as the undifferentiated intelligence of creation (which becomes differentiated and active in the reflected creative Aum vibration —as previously noted). This Intelligence shining on creation is called the Kutastha or Christ Intelligence, "the only begotten Son of God," the sole undistorted pure reflected intelligence of the transcendental God in creation, or (in Sanskrit) the Tat. In the unmanifested state the Spirit is ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss. When It dreams creation, It becomes a Trinity. The transcendental God, dreaming through the Kutastha Intelligence and the Cosmic Vibratory Intelligence, becomes the objective dreams of causal, astral, and physical universes. The unmanifested Spirit thus in the creative state becomes the three: Aum-Tat-Sat; Holy Ghost, Son, and Father; or the objective Cosmic Dream.
This answers Arjuna's first question as to who is Para-Brahman or the transcendental God.
Krishna reveals to Arjuna that an aspect of the nature of the transcendental God is to dream the cosmic universe and the creatures in it. His pure unchanging consciousness within the dream, providing the underlying intelligence, is the Kutastha Chaitanya, individually expressed as the soul.
As a dreamer in dreamland creates various images having life or soul, so the Divine Dreamer, God, becomes the various dream bodies of human beings and manifests in them as their dream souls. Each soul subjectively dreamed by God as an individuality in a specific body makes a composite dream man in the cosmos. Adhyatma signifies the underlying soul, adhy meaning "underlying" and atma meaning "soul." Therefore, Arjuna's question about Adhyatma is answered: Adhyatma is the underlying "universal soul" or Kutastha Chaitanya, and the individual dream soul encased in a body dreamed by God. It is said that He loves to dream Himself as separate souls. This gives the Lord an opportunity to play with the conscious dream-souls in His cosmic drama. (Chapter VIII, God Talks With Arjuna by Paramahansa Yogananda)
God vs. Spirit
The Spirit signifies the unmanifested Absolute present in the darkless dark and the lightless light. The word ‘God’ means the manifested, transcendental Being beyond creation, but existing in relation to creation. Spirit existed before God. God is the Creator of the universe, but Spirit is the Creator of God. Spirit is not the universe; Spirit is that which was and will be whether the universe does or does not exist. Spirit includes everything. Spirit divided Itself into
as the Father,
the Cosmic Consciousness or
remaining beyond all creation;
as the Son,
the Christ Consciousness or
cosmic intelligent subjective ‘Knowing’
power in creation;
as the Holy Ghost,
the cosmic intelligent
objective creation itself, the thing
Therefore, Spirit as God the Father has made the law of causation that governs the kingdom of His finite creation, but Spirit is not limited by the laws It has created.
The terms God and Spirit, theosophically speaking, are mutually exclusive, but are semantically interchangeable in common usage where no distinction is required.
Spirit signifies the unmanifested Absolute. ...
God implies the transcendental Creator, beyond creation but existing in relation to the manifestation that evolves from Him. When relative creation is dissolved again into its Creator, then God becomes Spirit, the unmanifested Absolute. (The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda, p.308)
To the man of Self-realization, Spirit is perceived as reality and creation as the shadow of the Infinite. When the universe is called unreal
— Brahman satyam jagat mithya:
"Brahman is real. His manifestation is unreal"
—it does not mean that the universe is nonexistent, but that God is the only reality and that the shadow of His manifestation in creation is not like Him. A shadow cannot be produced without an object; therefore the shadow is not nothing! The shadow appears to be like the object from which it is produced, yet it is not the object. (Chapter V, God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda)
The Royal Path to Self-Realization
"Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now."
Absorb thy mind in Me; become My devotee; resign all things to Me; bow down to Me. Thou art dear to Me, so in truth do I promise thee: Thou shalt attain Me!
—The Bhagavad Gita XVII:65
To know God as that Spirit which is the origin and end of all beings is indeed the ultimate knowledge. But knowledge of God as the All-in-All is possible only when the devotee realizes first the great "Myself"—that Spirit present within himself, as well as omnipresent in the universe.
My delusion is gone! I have regained memory (of my soul) through Thy grace, O Achyuta (matchless Krishna). I am firmly established; my dubiousness has vanished. I will act according to Thy word.
—The Bhagavad Gita XVIII:73
Arjuna acknowledges that it is principally by God's grace as manifested through his sublime guru that he has at last regained his memory of the blessed Self. He realizes that he has awakened from a dream in which he played the part of a human ego. His doubts about the Lord's omnipresence, fostered by incarnations of body identification, are now and forever dissolved. He stands ready to follow the advice he has received from the gracious Lord. (...)
No devotee should be satisfied until he has sufficiently developed his intuition—by impartial introspection and deep meditation, as in Kriya Yoga—to experience the communion of soul and Spirit. If a devotee meditates intensely for at least short periods every day, and has longer periods of three or four hours of deep meditation once or twice a week, he will find his intuition becoming sufficiently superfine to realize unendingly the dialogue of blissful wisdom exchanged between the soul and God. He will know the interiorized state of communion in which his soul "talks" to God and receives His responses, not with the utterances of any human language, but through wordless intuitional exchanges. That student of the Gita will be divinely benefited who is not satisfied with theoretical study, but reenacts within his own being the soul-awakening experiences of Arjuna. (God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda p.1099) (...)
In summation, the sublime essence of the Bhagavad Gita is that
— right action,
— nonattachment to the world and
to its sense pleasures, and
— union with God by the highest yoga of pranayama meditation,
learned from an enlightened guru, constitute
the royal path to God-attainment.
As God talked with Arjuna, so will He talk with you. As He lifted up the spirit and consciousness of Arjuna, so will He uplift you. As He granted Arjuna supreme spiritual vision, so will He confer enlightenment on you.
We have seen in the Bhagavad Gita the story of the soul's journey back to God—a journey each one must make. O divine soul! like Arjuna,
"Forsake this small weakheartedness (of mortal consciousness). Arise!" Before you is the royal path.
and ever will be,
a perfect reflection of Spirit.
You were Spirit;
now you imagine yourself to be mortal;
but by meditation on your true Self, and
by performing God-reminding actions constantly,
you can remember your forgotten Spirit-nature and
remain in that consciousness through all futurity.
Since you are immortal,
do not burden yourself with earthly limitations.