There’s a process I’ve noticed with some people recently that bears noting. That is of a rediscovery of God in Brahman. To explain this, lets roll back a bit.
As has been noted by teachers such as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in order to realize God, we first have to realize the Self. By realize here, I don’t mean experience, I mean become. To discover ‘Aham Brahmasmi’, ‘I am That’ and have always been. This also supplants the egoic sense of “me” with a cosmic sense of being, hence it’s also called Cosmic Consciousness.
I’m also not talking about theism or atheism here. This is not about belief or the mind. It is in the very ground of our being.
While we may or may not have experiences of (or belief in) God prior to Self Realization or Cosmic Consciousness, it is after this that more rapid refinement of perception takes place. Finer perception along with the unmoving platform of pure Being allows the unfolding experience of the divine. If this has not been in our range of expectations, it may take some time to adjust to it.
When this flowers, it is known as God Consciousness. “He who sees Me everywhere, and sees everything in Me, I am not lost to him not is he lost to Me.” *v6:30. In the commentary one “moves on earth and lives in the land of God….they share their life with God“. The stage is appropriately named.
And yet another note – this is not yet being widely expressed in the west. Likely due to the more mind-oriented culture, some value is showing but certainly a full flowering is more rare. Many go from Self Realization to Unity with little refinement these days. Hence the rather dry expositions of illusion and emptiness.
Once inner and outer are merged in Unity Consciousness, there is a further progression of becoming what we experience until we recognize ourselves as the container of all creation. This sets the stage for what is known as God Realization, when we recognize ourselves as the divine.
Note here that we’re not talking about some person thinking they’re God. The sense of me winds down with Self Realization a couple of stages back and is further dissolved over time. This is a recognition that we always have been an aspect of God. That there is nothing but the Divine itself.
This first God Realization comes with a choice. We may take the Personal or devotees route or the Impersonal. In either case, the choice is deeply personal.
In the personal, we retain a small gap or separation to keep the flow of love and devotion to God. The personal relationship is sustained with a Lesha Avidya, a faint remains of ignorance. This is likened to having a light film of butter on the hands.
“The Lord embraces the devotee and makes him one with Himself, and the devotee holds fast to the Lord in worship. This is the state of oneness where each upholds the other. This is the duality and the Unity in the Great Union.” *commentary v6:47
This is only impersonal in the sense of the choice – in this case a complete Oneness with God. We surrender even our relationship with God.
“As the union grows more complete, the link …finds fulfilment in its own extinction, leaving the worshipper and worshipped together in perfect oneness, in the oneness of absolute unity.” *commentary v6:32
The people I’ve discussed this with so far have all had the second. Don’t know yet if this is a westerners tendency.
This at last brings us to the subject of the article. In those I’ve explored it with, the surrender of the profound relationship they have with the divine can lead to a period of grief. As the line goes, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.
With this merging comes the ability of global awareness to turn from always looking in on itself to turning and seeing beyond itself. Eternal infinite awareness becomes aware of its own “edge” and origins. This is the beginning of the shift into Brahman. And this is also the surrender of the profound unity with all things. We shift from alive everything to absolute nothingness.
All this of course amplifies the loss. Further, the prior sense of having discovered the secrets of creation is nullified as nothing has ever or will ever be. It’s not that it’s an illusion – that still requires a mirage.
However, if we’ve been observant, we’ll have noticed that every time we surrendered it all into a new stage, all the development of the prior stage returns, but now in the new context.
The same thing happens here. First there is the surrender of Unity into Brahman, of alive everything into nothing. We may at first find this rather dry.
Over time, the previously developed values of Refined Unity arise again but not in relationship now. There is no 2. We are it.
The subjective process is thus quite different. In Unity there was a series of experience and becomes. But now we already are, so it is more a deepening. A profound sense of knowing presence, deeper than everything and with a power greater than anything that has never been.
But there is another stage to Brahman I’ve not mentioned prior.
Parabrahman – this is the wholeness of all of it. “pure holiness even in non-self nothingness.” as Lorne put it. Transcending Purusha and Mother Divine, we come to Divine Mother, the wholeness of all. And this is really stretching the words.
Brahman is full of apparent paradox. While it is clear nothing has happened or ever will – at the same time there is this point of attention experiencing this life. And we know the flow of attention and process that allowed it to come to be experienced as it is.
And that brings us back around to Shankara:
“The world is unreal
Only Brahman is real
The world is Brahman”
We might be inclined to then refer to the 4th Mahavakya, That alone Is. But that’s a Unity perspective. This is beyond being or non-being. ‘What is’ is still a subtle duality. Brahman is one, without a second.
The knower of Brahman is Brahman itself. – Mundaka Upanishad 3.2.9
* Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, On the Bhagavad Gita, A New Translation and Commentary