"The very first step in understanding what this is all about is giving up the concept of an active, volitional 'I' as a separate entity and accepting the passive role of perceiving and functioning as a process." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Form or Formless?

Sri Ramana Maharshi

D.: What is the relation between bhakti and jnana?

M.: Eternal, unbroken, natural state is jnana. Does it not imply love of Self? Is it not bhakti?

D.: Idol worship does not seem good. They worship the formless God in Islam.

M.: What is their conception of God?

D.: As Immanence, etc.

M.: Is not God even then endowed with attributes? Form is only one kind of attribute. One cannot worship God without some notions. Any bhavana premises a God with attributes (saguna). Moreover, where is the use of discussing the form or formlessness of God? Find out if you have a form. You can then understand God.

D.: I admit I have no form.

M.: All right. You have no form in sleep, but in the waking state you identify yourself with a form. See which is your real state. That is understood to be without form on investigation. If you know your Self to be formless by your jnana, should you not concede the same amount of jnana to God and understand Him to be formless?

D.: But there is the world for God.

M.: How does the world appear? How are we? Knowing this, you know God. You will know if He is Siva, or Vishnu or any other or all put together.

D.: Is Vaikuntha in Paramapada, i.e., in the transcendent Self?

M.: Where is Paramapada or Vaikuntha unless in you?

D.: Vaikuntha, etc., appear involuntarily.

M.: Does this world appear voluntarily?

The questioner returned no answer.

M.: The self-evident ‘I’, ignoring the Self, goes about seeking to know the non-Self. How absurd!

 D.: This is Samkhya Yoga. Being the culmination of all kinds of other yogas, how can it be understood to start with? Is not bhakti antecedent to it?

M.: Has not Sri Krishna started the Gita with Sankhya?

D.: Yes. I understand it now.

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सर्वानुग्राहकत्वेन तद्स्म्यहं वासुदेवः॥

That in whom reside all beings and who resides in all beings,
who is the giver of grace to all, the Supreme Soul of the universe, the limitless being:
I AM THAT. -- Amritabindu Upanishad