Our True Identity as Hidden in Religious Scripture
Who are we? We see signs that there is something more to us, but we struggle to arrest this truth and allow it to define our lives. Yet knowing who we truly are, allows us to aspire for a higher goal, and delivers us the happiness, peace, and contentment that we so desperately seek. What do ancient and modern spiritual texts reveal, or hide, about what it is we are? Aristotle's and Plato's Greek Philosophy, the Holy Bible, the Holy Vedas, the Gospel of the Apostle Thomas, the Avadhutta Gita, the Lotus Sutra, A Course in Miracles, Sri Sathya Sai Baba's discourses. This, our hidden identity, is the good news that Jesus hinted at, but never fully divulged to the public, for lack of their understanding and better judgement then. But humanity has, over the thousands of years, been made ready to receive this news in the fullness of its glory.
This episode also reaches across religious and spiritual philosophies to decode the enigmatic and ancient Buddhist mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hun ’, meaning ‘The Jewel in the Lotus’, said to hold the very key to our Spiritual Freedom. The meaning offering us a solution that helps dissolve all boundaries between all people’s. Let us explore ourselves, in a new light, to truly break free of the shackles imposed by society, the mind, and the ego, and thus to live lighter, truly happy and contented lives. Watch below or read the transcript following:
written by Natasha Subbiah, 2023
Hidden into all religions is a philosophy that forms the foundation of life, giving us a deeper understanding of what we are, and what all else is, and enabling us to fulfil our ultimate evolution.
In the last two episodes, we discovered that although the human body is a qualified vehicle for our further evolution, it is not what we truly are. Therefore, we took the science of evolution further than its physical application, looking at the potential evolutions of mind beyond that of the ordinary mind. We discovered that human beings have access to states of mind in which bliss can be experienced independently of the world, dependent only on an understanding and experience of who we truly are. It is the true self that gives us our most fulfilling, contented, and happy state. It is this true self and this state of completion that will be explained today.
Who are we really then? What is this truth of ourselves that uncovers the bliss within us? What is our eternal identity before and after this body and mind? This is the question that signals the nearing of the culmination of our purpose within the world - ‘Who am I?’.
Plato, the Greek philosopher regarded as the father of Western philosophy, maintained that reality was divided into two sections, one being the phenomena of the physical world as we perceive it, and the other being the eternal ideal, the perfect, the real which he referred to as ‘the Form’. Plato believed that there is a ‘Form’ for all things in existence. (Reference 1)
Plato’s student, Aristotle, thought of the body as just matter and the ‘psyche’ as the true form of each living animal. (Reference 2) The word psyche means spirit, soul, or mind. He described the psyche as “the first principle of the living thing”. Various philosophies and religions may keep different words to describe this first principle of being: the Form, the psyche, the True-Self, the Universal Mind, Consciousness, or the Spirit. But it all boils down to our most elemental state; when all other temporary layers are stripped off of us; when we approach the state which we were before, and will be after all of this. And this is a state of completeness, as referred to by Plato as eternal, ideal, and perfect. This is us as our true state, because it is our eternal state. This perfect ideal is our true form, existing within the material world, and powering it, but also of a higher nature than it. We will often describe that ideal, in this philosophy, as the Spirit, based on my personal experience of it. To truly understand what the Spirit is, is the heart of the spiritual journey.
Hindu philosophy also describes the true Self as the Spirit, or Atma in Sanskrit, and the Atma is known to be Divine, a fragment of God itself. In this philosophy, it is the Spirit that lies within the five sheaths of the human structure, as the True Self. The Spirit is what we really are. All else are temporary designs of matter, the experience of which is subject to interpretation, limitations of the senses, and subject to time, whereas the Spirit is fixed and eternal. The Spirit or Atma in Hindu philosophy, is known to be Divinity, a part of God Himself.
In Sufism, the mystic branch of Islam, Ruh is understood to be a person’s immortal, essential self. (Reference 3) This Ruh is translated to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is also a prominent concept in Christianity, as part of the Holy Trinity and known as the element of Divinity within each of us. In both religions, the Holy Spirit is known to be God.
Joining the two descriptions, that is, ‘I am Spirit’, and ‘Spirit is God’ gives us the realisation that is, arguably, the goal of all spiritual endeavours and the pinnacle of human evolution - the realisation that those no less than the likes of Jesus Christ, Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the Buddha, and Sri Ramana Maharshi have managed to fully cognise, live and accept; and that realisation is, that we, at our deepest levels, are Divine! We are, as our ultimate essence, as our eternal identities, God. These bodies are temporary temples. Thus, in truth, you are Spirit, which is a part of God, and thus you are God because no part of God can be described as not God. Therefore, although presently unknown to it, humanity is a race of embodied fragments of God. So are other animals, but, as explained in the last episode, animals other than humans do not have access to the wisdom sheath and bliss sheath’s powers and are thus unable to bridge the gap between terrestrial and divine life. Human beings can if they make the effort. Such is our marvellous potential - such is our grand destiny. We are each making the evolutionary trek, from animal, to primitive being, to human, to Divine. Indeed, few of us have been documented to have made the leap, or to have bridged the gap, and then too, the full power of our true selves will not likely be known in this earthly existence. But it is only in this human existence that we can work out the kinks, to make truly awesome progress towards acquiring the ultimate prize, of remembering who we are. We can achieve much within this lifetime, and that is why our human life is a prized possession, and of great value to our own evolution and ultimate happiness. Thus, even if we have nothing else, the very opportunity to have a human life, with all its potential, is a matter worth celebrating, every day.
When Jesus said “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30), He was accused of blasphemy. Jesus retorted, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? (John 10:34) The scripture that Jesus was quoting is in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, in Psalms 82:6: “I said, you are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High.” (Psalms 82:6, NKJV)
Sathya Sai Baba, the Avatar of the age, has said: “You are in that Brahman (Brahman meaning God). That Brahman is in you. You are that Brahman. And that Brahman is you. What greater truth can I convey to you?” (Reference 4)
Sai Baba has also said, “The Divine is described as possessing eight forms of wealth. In fact, man is endowed with all these eight forms of wealth; beyond qualities, untainted, eternal, ever-abiding, ever-pure, intelligent, liberated, and immaculate. Out of a sense of weakness, man assumes that these attributes relate only to the Divine and not to him. This feeling should be totally eschewed.”(Reference 5)
What news could be better than this news? What identity could be better than our identity as Divinity? But how could we be Divine? This seems inconceivable to the world-trained, sensory mind. But it is exactly the illusion conceived by the sensory mind and the ill-forged parameters that it imposes on us that convinces us that we cannot be God.
We think we cannot be God because we associate ourselves with a body. But God is not a body and nor are we, and therefore, this body cannot imprison our potential unless we decide that it should.
We think we cannot be God, because God is powerful, and we are not. But have we reached the full potential of our power? Could it not be that the limitations of our power are only as a result of our stage of development, and not a limitation imposed by our eternal identity? In which case, the powers of humanity will only be revealed to us through our evolution, and curbing our hope for a higher, greater potential hampers that very evolutionary journey. Have not spiritually evolved human beings displayed powers beyond that which we now possess? And who could evaluate what the limits of their powers were?
We think we cannot be God because we are unfit to be compared to Him with all our sins and bad decisions. But we are not our sins or past decisions; these are creations of the ego, and we do not take these temporary creations with us into eternity because they are a matter of ignorance and not of our eternal selves. We will dispose of them as we would our nightly dreams when we know and have faith in the truth of what we are and what all else is, allowing us to dispose of the very ignorance that was the root cause of that sin.
We think we cannot be God because we are not all-knowing. But this is our temporary condition, in this created world. And when the veil of ignorance, that was placed upon us like a deep sleep, at the beginning of creation is removed through our efforts and by the Grace of God, we will have that wisdom that was within us all along.
God is not a thing of matter or judgement. God is a thing of ultimate levels of awareness, consciousness, wisdom, power, bliss, and love. And since we know we are capable of possessing degrees of awareness, consciousness, wisdom, happiness, and love even now, then why deprive ourselves of the hope of being able to progress ourselves to further degrees of these attributes? These ultimate degrees of being are our natural state - the state of our eternity after evolution and before it too. We can be the ultimate degrees of these states, although we are not aware of this inherent potential as yet. And yet, we have seen evidence of it in those that have gone beyond the natural laws. But we find this too fantastic to believe to be relevant to our own personal situation. We feel separate from the stories of greatness, even though it is evidence of what your eternal state is and a testament to your own personal glory. Based instead on the limited and subjective evidence of the senses, body, and ego, we impose limitations on ourselves. But here’s the thing - since we are God, and we have powers of God, thus these limitations are self-imposed. We have brought the limitations upon ourselves by our belief in our littleness. And, it is only a firm and true belief and reinterpretation of our realities that can undo what we have done to ourselves. Thus, we have the potential to reach to God’s total bliss - His stability, His contentedness, and His unconditional love, and certainly we can have more control over our powers than we now currently wield.
The realisation of our own inherent Divinity is the existence appropriate for us; it is our ultimate degree of perfection and the goal for which we were designed. The Spirit is this perfection; our innermost and truest essence - a fragment of Divinity itself.
Aristotle said: “It is not insofar as he is man that he will live (a life of contemplation), but in so far as something Divine is present in him... we must not follow those who advise us, being men, to think of human things, and, being mortal, of mortal things, but must, so far as we can, make ourselves immortal, and strain every nerve to live in accordance with the best thing in us; for even if it be small in bulk, much more does it in power and worth surpass everything.” (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics)
But where does the Soul fit in to the structure of a human? Are soul and Spirit different? The soul is not separate from the Spirit; it is an aspect or attribute of the Spirit itself. As Sai Baba teaches, the soul is a reflection of the Spirit within the world or the aspect of the Spirit that interacts with the world. The Spirit is not affected by the goings on in the world; it is stable and constant, ever complete and unruffled. It is only the Spirit’s reflection, the soul, that is participating in the changing world. However, Spirit and soul are often used interchangeably in religious scripture.
So if we are Spirit, which is God, for us to really understand our eternal identities, the next question begs, what is God? First, let us agree that there is only one God, commonly shared by all religions although described in varying ways based on culture and historical experience. All major theistic religions affirm that there is only one God, including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism. Hinduism has only been labeled as a polytheistic religion by those that have misunderstood its practices and ignored its philosophy, but the religion’s philosophical texts clearly define God as one, without any particular name or form. It is within God’s power to appear in multiple forms and thus names for the benefit of the spiritual progress, protection, and evolution of life, as would be comfortable to the particular culture at the particular time. Focusing on the differences in the bodily tools that God has made use of at particular time and thus separating God from His ultimate formlessness, is missing the point of the message He has brought to us throughout human history - and that is the message of unity enabled by His ultimate formlessness and our ultimate formlessness in Him. Religion is often like the story of the six blind men who all attempt to describe an elephant after only feeling a part of it; one its trunk, the other its body, the other its ear, and yet another its tusk, and so on. Only the man with true vision has the knowledge that all descriptions are correct because all refer to the facets of the Divine.
Hindus and Buddhists also worship angels, known as devas, as do other religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and they do so with the understanding that these beings have functions under that of the one God. The word devas has been mistranslated into Gods, however, within the religions, they are seen as powerful angelic beings, capable of assisting on the spiritual
path and in other goals of life. Therefore, the word deva is more accurately translated to angel, as is done regularly in Sathya Sai Baba’s literature. The holy Trinity of Christianity, and of Hinduism, describe different aspects of the one God, as appearing in the created world. The practitioners of these religions still grasp the unity and oneness of the one God, and take great pride in the declaration that there is only one God.
It is also not necessary to label God as God. What is undefinable by mere words, need not always be defined. Therefore, this philosophy is not outside non-theistic philosophies either. Any belief in unified consciousness or unified love is a belief in what some call God and not all need to confine the subject to a particular word or set of words.
Now back to the question, what is this one God, and how do we define Him that ultimately has no particular form? God is described in Hinduism, as Sat-chit-ananda, which is made of three words: Sat meaning, being (or existence), Chit meaning awareness (or consciousness), and Ananda meaning bliss. God is the fullest state of existence, consciousness, and bliss.
When Moses stood before the burning bush, he asked the voice within it, “When I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
And God said to Moses, “I am that I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’ This is My Name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.” (Holy Bible, NKJV, Exodus 3: 13-15) (*Note: the word “that” is taken from the King James Version - New King James Version says, I am who I am)
‘I am’ is the meaning of Yahweh (the Hebrew name for God, used in Jewish and Christian traditions). The definition, “I am”, is so all-encompassing, including all that exists within its ambit, because everyone that exists can proclaim “I am”. I am is therefore existence. I am is also awareness, because the statement “I am”; also proclaims the awareness of our existence, and the ultimate “I am”; must be bliss, because full awareness is the experience of bliss. “I Am”; is within each of us, simply because we are, because each of us is. Ask yourself today, “Am I?” - and your answer is the most definite one you will ever have. It is the one thing that you can be sure of. “Yes, I am!” ‘I am’ speaks to that awareness of existence, that is within each of us. We are all, ‘I am.’ God is thus the unification of all I’s. If He is the unification of all I’s then He cannot not be the I that is you and me. And thus, with God being ‘I am’, and since we too can proclaim: ‘I am’ then we are ultimately one with Him.
‘I am’ also points to God’s independence. He is and this implies, that under no condition can He not be - therefore if God exists under all conditions and circumstances, and if He is constant in all these conditions and circumstances, which He is, then He is independent of all. He is, regardless of anything else. Being independent of all things, He is ever contented. And this is why God’s love is unlike any in this world. His love for us does not depend on our willingness to return that love, nor does it depend on what we have done or not done, or achieved or not achieved within this world. It is a love that is constant and complete. It is a love that does not discriminate, judge or disregard. It is a love that sees us as we truly are and never as anything else, even at our lowest moment or in our greatest worldly achievement. He sees us as what we truly are, which is a part of Him. This is a love based on Truth and this love is always ours. God loves us as Himself because we are Himself.
Jesus said, “I and My Father are one.” (Holy Bible, John 10:30) Jesus referred to the message that he brought to the world as the gospel, meaning “the good news”, and indeed, knowing that we are children of God, made from God and, heir to His divine inheritance is the best news. Because it tells us that all the strengths that we need are within us, all we need to do is to discover who we are, be who we are, and tap into the power of that truth. It takes away the feeling of not being enough, because, in truth, we are more than enough. It moves the boundaries of our limitations and does away with our unnecessary dependence on the world, released from them, through our identity in God who is our true home. Your self-confidence can grow from the realisation that you are holy, you are sacred, and your truth is so big, and this truth can glorify you every moment of your life, if you so choose. And although it seems like the apple has fallen far from the tree this time, what we think we are, and what others think we are, is only a reflection of the impermanent layers around our true selves - whereas our true selves are immortal and ever pristine and this is our eternal truth. When we get back to our true nature, then like God, our happiness will not be dependent on the external, and even the external layers will, more accurately, reflect our truth within. This is a miracle state - but also our most natural state.
Knowing that we are Spirit, which is Divine, is a good start to the definition of who we are. But there is one more aspect of identity, that is critical for us to bring into our awareness, to complete the picture of what it is we are. When you acknowledge that you are the Spirit, which is God, you have to, logically, also accept that others too will also then be the Spirit which is God. What applies to you or me must apply to all others too. And what applied to Jesus, the Buddha or Sri Adi Shankaracharya must apply to all others too, because God is consistent. And if we are all Spirit, which is the one God, then we are all one. No part of God can be truly and completely separated from the whole, and thus, although we now function individually, we are all one. Just as there are three aspects in the Christian Trinity: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit but it is understood that these three are ultimately one. So too, although we function individually in the world and for the world; ultimately, in the transcendental, there is no divider between us. We are all part of the homogenous whole. We are ultimately one with God and with all our brothers and sisters of the world, united as Spirit. Being aware of the truth of our unity helps us to open our hearts to all other people, and all other forms of life. It has been long pointed out that the point of spirituality is to realise this unity: the unity between God the Father, and God the son (being yourself), and God the Holy Spirit (being all other beings). This unity is what brings us into the perfect peace, perfect love, and thus perfect joy that God has prepared for us.
In this journey towards knowing full existence, we have to learn not to exclude any part of that existence from our definition of God, and thus from the definition of ourselves. Because if any one part is missing from the whole, then it will not be whole. Therefore, all must be included in our circle of unconditional love, for us to become whole again.
And thus, perhaps a succinct definition of God would be that God is the all in One, and the One in all. He is formless, yet is the basis for all forms.
Sai Baba said, “A deep enquiry into the truth will reveal that when you love or hate others, you love or hate your own self. In fact, there are no others. You consider yourself different from others because of body attachment, you will realise that there are no others and all are yours. That is the true vision of the Divine Principle (Atma/Spirit).” ((‘Be Like Jesus’, The good news of Jesus in the words of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Chapter 11, Page 83)
Arguably, the most revered Mantra of the Buddhist religion, seen as the condensed form of all of the Buddha’s teachings, is the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, appearing on prayer wheels and carved into stones all over the Buddhist world. The words ‘Mani Padme’ directly translate to “Jewel in the Lotus”. This mantra points us in the direction of a treasure of this human life, a jewel to be sought. As in other spiritual texts of the world, the words form an analogy. It is said that the Buddha revealed that this mantra alone could bestow one with Buddha-hood or Self-enlightenment. What then is the inner meaning of this mantra? What is the jewel that we ought to be seeking? Is this life meant to be a treasure hunt?
Within Buddhism, there is a story associated with this mantra which gives us a clue to the meaning of the analogy: jewel in the lotus. The story goes, that a man goes to visit a close friend. He becomes inebriated and falls asleep in his friend’s quarters. The friend, who has to return to work the next morning, ties a precious jewel, of extreme value, around the man’s neck and encloses it within his garments. The man awakens and unaware of the precious possession, goes about life as usual. Eventually, finding himself in a position of poverty, and making questionable decisions to earn himself some food and comforts. After much time passes, the close friend finds the man in this poor condition and asks him, “Why are you stooping to this lowly behaviour when you are in possession of the jewel I have placed within your garments?” The now poverty-stricken man finds the jewel and realises that he was in fact exceedingly wealthy all along.
What does this story represent? Knowing now that the realisation and experience of our true selves is our ultimate peace, total joy, our true power, and freedom, we can well imagine that that jewel that represents our ultimate wealth is the true-Self, the Spirit, which once found and realised, helps us to tap into the riches that we possessed all along. The jewel in the mantra, also then could well be that perfection that is our truth, the Spirit.
Sleep and drunkenness in spiritual analogy usually represent the illusion that we were placed under when we were brought into creation, referred to as Maya in Hinduism, a delusion that causes us to see ourselves as separate from the absolute, from God. It is a state of ignorance also shown by the ignorant decisions the man in the story makes in the absence of the awareness of his true wealth. The poverty the man experiences refers to the sorry state of existence we now find ourselves in, without peace, without the continuous presence of joy, and without true freedom. We are all suffering from some form of poverty. Whether it be poverty of comfort, or poverty of wisdom, poverty of health, or the poverty of love, and whatever our specific poverty might be, it all originates from the poverty of Truth created by ignorance, which creates the illusion that we are less than we are, that others are less than they are, and that the world is what the ego and senses tell you it is.
Recently, my family and I encountered a beggar who held up a sign reading, “Poverty is not a sin.” Until we reach our ultimate goal of spiritual freedom, we are all in the poverty of ignorance, and like the man in the story, this often gives rise to incorrect decisions, but as the beggar’s sign read, poverty is not a sin. We label each other as sinners, but we are not sinners. We are just kept, a little longer, in ignorance, away from our reality. The spiritual path is the only one that could help us to shed the ignorance and help us get back to that reality. This analogy of a treasure to be found also appears in early Christian texts.
A collection of early Christian codices were discovered in the 1900s in the upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi. Within these was the Gospel of Thomas which is a collection of quotes attributed to Jesus. Many of these also already appear in the canon of the Bible, but some do not.
In it, Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) imperial rule is in the sky.’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) imperial rule is inside you and outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.” (Reference 6)
Jesus said, “The Father’s imperial rule is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and then found a pearl. That merchant was prudent; he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself. So also with you, seek his treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth comes to eat and no worm destroys.” (Reference 7)
Now, having decided that the jewel in the mantra is the True-Self within, what is the lotus? The lotus flower is a common symbol in both Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. In both religions, the lotus is revered for its ability to stay untainted by the murky waters in which it lives, even though it has to rely on these very waters to grow and survive. The murky waters represent the world in which we live. So if the jewel in the mantra is the Spirit, what then is the lotus, which remains untainted by the world despite being dependent on it? And the answer may be hidden in the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba. Sai Baba had revealed that the inner Spirit resides within a cave in the Spiritual Heart, the Hridaya Guhuyam, which is located in the middle of our chest. Interestingly, in the only structured meditation that Baba commonly recommended, a lotus is imagined blossoming in the centre of the chest. In the meditation, the lotus would be imagined to contain the light of Divinity within it. Is the lotus of the Buddhist mantra the Spiritual Heart? There is more evidence to suggest this.
Within Buddhist philosophy, the ‘Mani Padme’ mantra is said to belong to the Bodhisattva of Compassion. A Bodhisattva is an individual that, out of compassion, has resolved to attain Buddha-hood, or the ultimate spiritual enlightenment, but particularly for the benefit of all sentient beings. The standout quality of the Bodhisattva path is therefore that of compassion. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva)
The spiritual heart is known in Sanskrit as Hridaya, which as Baba said, breaks up into Hrid and Daya, meaning full of compassion. Like a lotus, compassion is dependent on the world to exist, because suffering or lack are the conditions that engender compassion, and these conditions only exist within the created world. And, like the lotus, true compassion is unaffected by the conditions of the world, or the apparent sins of the worlds inhabitants. Thus compassion is untainted by the world despite being dependent on it to exist.
Thus, the jewel in the lotus mantra may be indicating to us, in its enigmatic way, that we cannot get to the treasure of the Spirit unless we go through the spiritual heart, which means via the powers of compassion. Surely, after all, we cannot get to the jewel, unless we first find the lotus.
There is still further evidence to suggest that our evolutionary journey is dependent on the quality of compassion. In the Buddhist scripture, the Lotus Sutra, Gautama Buddha reveals a long-kept secret. He reveals that although it has been taught that there are multiple ways of reaching the goals of spirituality, there is actually only one, and that is the path in which one, out of compassion, acts for the benefit and the emancipation of all beings, and that is the Bodhisattva path, mentioned already. This is as opposed to the solitary path in which the individual acts for one’s own liberation alone. And here’s the thing: when we know that we are one with all our brothers and sisters of the world, why would we choose to act for just ourselves? The true experience of being one with all should only come from acting for the benefit of all, out of a sense of compassion for the suffering of all, and out of the unconditional love that we truly are. If we really believe we are one, why would we act just for ourselves? This pathway of compassion as a means of reaching our inherent Divinity is what was displayed by the great souls of human history that have reached the greatest heights of spiritual attainment. These were individuals whose compassion was not limited, who acted for the sake of all, and whose compassion was not selective. One’s who showed love to sinner and saint, human and beast alike, who went so far as to allow one’s own body to be broken out of mercy for the broken world. Surely it is not coincidental that these pillars of spiritual excellence and self-knowledge were also pillars of compassion. Compassion is surely a means to achieve the unity that is the goal of the spiritual path.
Sai Baba said: “There is no deed holier than mercy.” (Reference 8)
A treasure lies within our very selves, and is our very selves, and that treasure is greater than anything we could experience from the world. This treasure is the fulfilment or climax of human evolution. This is the human destiny fully realised, and it can only be accessed through the means of true compassion. Compassion is therefore what distinguishes a truly enlightened person from persons claiming the title of Godhood without truly having shaken off the idea of separation between themselves and others. The difference is that in one character the ego is being inflated by a belief in one’s isolated Divinity without the true awareness that we are not separate from anyone else. Belief in isolated divinity will only serve to deepen the chasms of separation. Whereas in the other character, the sense of unity is developed, through compassion and unconditional love. Therefore, what may be the same words, “I am God.” can come from very different places; not just different, but opposite, since ego is a sense of separation which is the opposite of unity. We are all one in God. If our inherent unity is not understood, then our God selves are not understood. And those persons that are crying “I am God.” from the standpoint of separateness, do not yet understand what God is, and at least for that time, are inflating the ego as opposed to expanding their consciousness. Although this may sound like a trap we will not fall into, it can be easy to unconsciously inflate the ego while trying to follow this philosophy because of the habit of serving the ego, and its sense of separation, already formed over years and lifetimes. We are conditioned to consider ourselves as an individual. We have to be vigilant to keep reminding ourselves that we go to God and Godhood as the all, as everyone, and as everything together, and thus, for everyone, because we are one. The boundaries of separateness must fall away in our hearts as we make this trek towards our Divine inheritance as all and for all; never just for the sole benefit of the individual.
From, The Divinely Inspired book, A Course in Miracles, “You are one Self, the holy Son of God, united with your brothers in that Self; united with your Father in His Will. Feel this one Self in you, and let it shine away all your illusions and doubts. This is your Self, the Son of God Himself, sinless as its Creator, with His strength within you and His love forever yours.” (Reference 9)
‘A Course In Miracles’ explains that a healing miracle is merely a sincere and faithful acknowledgement of the truth of our real selves, thus reinstating our true eternal inheritance of comfort and peace - and that truth is that we are not the body, that we are as God created us: sinless, pure, divine, holy - that we are Spirit which is one with all and that each body is its temple.
There may be some confusion seeing as we are described as a part of God at times, and then as one with God at other times, however, these different descriptions are only an account of the different stages in our growth. In Hindu terms it is when we move from duality or the belief in separateness, to qualified non-duality, which is the awareness of being parts of the one God, and eventually to non-duality, or no separation and thus oneness or unity with God, and all that He is.
Non-duality is the ultimate goal of our spiritual and secular experience, the pinnacle experience of unity with all. This is not the disintegration of the Self, nor the extinction of the psyche, but an expansion of it to encompass all that exists, within oneself. This is the ultimate experience of universal love and joy, the experience of having one mind and one will with that of God, as one with God. This ultimate goal is described in Advaita Vedanta in Hindu philosophy.
In the story of Jesus, as explained by Sathya Sai Baba, this same journey of progression is displayed in Jesus’ words, from first describing Himself as a messenger of God, or separate from God, then as a Son of God, or a part of God, and eventually as being God Himself, or one with God. (Reference 10)
But one may ask, if Divinity is true of us, then why is this idea not then commonly known as yet? The last episode quotes Jesus’; explanation of why he spoke in parables and why he gave the explanation of these parables only to his disciples and not to the general public; in other words, why he kept knowledge from the public view. He disclosed that a lack of understanding would cause harm to come to those who misinterpret His ideology. And this is likely because anyone with an underdeveloped wisdom sheath and overdeveloped ego can take the idea of our inherent Divinity, twist it, and misuse it to create something destructive with it, destructive to oneself and to others.
Evidence suggests that the very earliest Christianity may have had at least some of its roots in Gnosticism, with the introduction of the Gnostic ritual of baptism into earliest Christianity, beginning with John the Baptist and endorsed by Jesus through his participation in the ritual.
Gnosticism acknowledges the inherent spark of Divinity within each of us, with literature such as the Hymn of the Pearl, written by the disciple Thomas, explaining, through analogy, the treasure hunt that God has put us on, and the wisdom we seek and find in the true self. This form of Christianity thrived alongside other early forms until the other groups labelled it as heretical. Like this, any attempt to bring about an acknowledgment of the inherent divinity of mankind was squashed by the then religious leadership, which also then functioned as a political leadership, and this was done probably in fear of a philosophy that would have done away with the idea of the exclusivity of any one particular religion. Thus, over and over again through history, news or ideas, revelation, or personal growth that resulted in the knowledge of our true divinity, was suppressed, many times with ex-communication, at other times with the severe penalty of death. But alas, if humanity was ready for a mass evolution, then such ideas would have caught on and efforts to suppress them would have had little effect. It is far more likely that, as in Jesus’ time, humanity was not yet ready to fully receive ‘the gospel', the good news. We have to trust that even the manipulations and intolerances of the past were part of the grand design and that our eventual emancipation will have depended on these murky waters of our past, which allowed us time to evolve before the truth could be revealed to us. And so humanity in the West did what they could with the information provided to them, growing in whatever ways was necessary at the time, and surely, despite the setbacks, one can say that Western society has made great strides in spiritual evolution, by following the conscience, at least in part, and evolving its moral codes and standards to begin to align with the higher values of the inner being.
In the East, the idea of our inherent Divinity is not new. The Hindu Avadhuta Gita or ‘The Song of the Free Soul’ by Sage Dattatreya is one of the most ancient expositions on the position of Spiritual Freedom in the world. It makes reference to the Holy Vedas which is thus even more ancient. And with Hinduism being proven as the oldest religion, these scriptures and others like it are the common spiritual heritage of all of humanity, with the concept of a higher purpose, higher ideals, and the ideal Form, or God, being born to humanity many thousands of years before the Common Era.
The Avadhuta Gita reads: ” 5. The essence and the whole of Vedanta (philosophy of the Vedas) is this knowledge, this supreme knowledge; that I am by nature the formless, all-pervasive Self…. 6. There is no doubt that I am that God who is the Self of all; pure, indivisible, like the sky. Naturally stainless.” (Reference 11)
Then Sage Dattatreya addresses each of us when he says: “11. Thus you are One. Why then do you not understand that you are the unchangeable One, equally perceived in all? O mighty One, how can you, who are ever-shining, unrestricted, think of day and night? 13. You are not born nor do you die. At no time do you have a body. 14. You are the exterior and the interior. You are the auspicious One existing everywhere at all times. Why are you running hither and thither deluded, like an unclean spirit (or ghost)? 15... There is no you, no me, nor is there this universe. All is verily the Self alone. 17... Why do you shed tears, my child? Neither you nor I have name and form. You verily are Truth, devoid of change, one, of the nature of freedom. You have neither attachment nor aversion. Why do you suffer, seeking the objects of desires?” (Reference 11)
Although these ancient truths existed from antiquity, philosophical schools were likely isolated and far-between and families lived in fear of losing their children to the ascetic life, set in the far-out mountains and caves. Despite this, there have been those through the ages that have truly realised these words and those like them. Others having taken to the path, could easily have fallen into the waiting trap of the ego, with the mind then being planted in the infertile ground of separation. With all the obstructions in the way of humanity, neither West nor East have been ready for a mass evolution, or mass spiritual liberation. But God has been paving the way for our understanding, over the centuries and by some means or another, has been shining a light on the noble path of Self-discovery in many people of all religions around the world. Is humanity now ready for mass understanding and the highest goal, away from the persuasions of the ego, the cage of fear, and the pursuit of mundane desires? Only time will tell, but this a hope I harbour, and the reason why I work to bring this philosophy to you.
Knowing now that God exists within us, as love; more than that, that He is so personally, so intimately connected with you that He is your very self, you realise that you have unlimited access to God, Who is within you, closer than your very breath. God is now no longer this foreign, detached, almost unreal concept. God becomes your closest, your most beloved, and there is a peace and safety, a contentment and fulfilment, a strength in this that we do not find in any kind of worldly attachment, pursuit, or relationship. This devotion will bring us experiences that will deepen our faith and trust in Him, a trust that leads to peace-giving surrender and this saves us from fear, from anxiety, stress, and from the burden of our perceived failures, as we allow Him to now direct our lives. And as we acknowledge His hand in our lives, we begin to understand that all others are just parts of the plan for us and that we are victims to none and therefore, that we need not hold grudges against anyone.
And then, a magic starts happening - the Glory you now recognise in God through that love and devotion, becomes evident to you within yourself, now knowing that you are one with Him. And through this devotion, which must include acting in line with the wisdom and will of God - the conscience, you earn the Grace of God. Through His Grace, the journey of life becomes clear of all obstacles as He makes all the resources of the universe available to you, as and when you need it, in the correct quantity you need it, so that you can progress towards that goal. And this is what happens when you align your will with His.
And when we acknowledge that we are one with others through this identity of us all being the Spirit which is God, our boundaries expand and fade, leaving a sense of unity with all creation. This unity redefines all our priorities and actions. Our selfishness melts into selflessness, our judgement turns into compassion, competitiveness is identified as folly, and we now see that it is love alone that can satisfy us. To give love - this is joy. This is us behaving in our true nature. And when our boundaries drop by attaching ourselves to the limitless Spirit instead of the limited body and mind, then we can love more easily, more freely, and more truly. And when we learn to love God, it becomes even easier to love others, because God then becomes the glue that unites each of us to each other. And through the realisation of our unity with all other beings, thus dissolves the limited ego and our boundaries expand.
And in waves at first, we start to experience peace, as everything starts to take on the tint of love, and with unconditional love always comes joy, sweet joy, a joy less restricted and more peaceful than you have ever felt before. An independent joy such that you do not have to fear the loss of the object or relationship that brought it to you, it is yours to keep so long as you cling to the truth within you. And we venture on, as we try to make the waves more frequent, and have them stay longer, eventually through His Grace, we will become privy to the greatest spiritual gift, and our inheritance: the union of individual consciousness with the universal consciousness, and with that, total joy.
Who better to turn to, what greater expert can there be, than the creator of this world? Access is unlimited and totally free, and available in the comfort of your own heart. His love is infinite, His mercy endless and His power unfathomable. And all we have to do is turn to Him Who is right here within us, ask Him, talk to Him, trust Him, to be able to access this power within us. Foregoing the assistance of that embodiment of awareness, knowledge, and ultimate presence would be passing up the opportunity to use the greatest tool for growth, peace, and happiness, that you could ever find – ever. Using our personal access to God as the Spirit within you, is the one concept that can solve all the problems in your life.
Unknown to us, all along, humanity has been courting a potential that far exceeds popular belief.Hints of our superhuman genius and superhuman love can be found throughout humanity, in poetry and prose, in a mothers patience, in music and art inspired from deep within, in the great compassion of the super-spiritual humans and hidden into the parables and analogies of religious scripture. But also, there has been evidence of the news of this great potential being suppressed, labelled as heresy, and dealt with severely, as the base, lower evolutionary sides of humans have assumed power in the last spiritual age. But that was then, and humanity has since evolved to the point that we now live in a time of freedom to pursue our religious evolution even when it bucks the trend. Our love and our growth are now ours to celebrate and thrive in. Breaking away from the crowd may seem irresponsible, but we cannot get ahead until we do and indeed, we do it for that very crowd. Because we are assured that, being one, everyone will benefit from each individual’s evolutionary gains. So let us not delay, let us embark on an exploration of consciousness, of our true selves, of Divinity, through the only means possible, through the means of compassion and unconditional love.
Reference-1:https://study.com/learn/lesson/plato-philosophy-life-contributions.html (Accessed: 2 November 2022)
Reference-2: https://iep.utm.edu/aristotle/, (Accessed 2 November 2022)
Reference-3: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C5%AB%E1%B8%A5, (Accessed 18 November 2022)
Reference-4: ‘Sathya Sai Speaks’, Vol 21 (1988), Sathya Sai Baba. Available at: Sai Speaks app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.sairegion3.saispeaks&hl=en_IN&pli=1, searching: Ascent to the divine, 16 February 1988, Shivarathri
Reference-5: Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 26 (1993), Sathya Sai Baba. Available at: Sai Speaks App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.sairegion3.saispeaks&hl=en_IN&pli=1, searching: 19. Man, mind and the Cosmos, 21 May 1993, Summer Course , Brindavan
Reference-6: The Text of the Gospel of Thomas from the Scholars Version translation published in The Complete Gospels - Page 1, Verse 3, also available on https://www.marquette.edu/maqom/Gospel of Thomas Lambdin.pdf (Accessed: 25 July 2023)
Reference-7: The Text of the Gospel of Thomas from the Scholars Version translation published in The Complete Gospels - Verse 76, also available on https://www.marquette.edu/maqom/Gospel of Thomas Lambdin.pdf (Accessed: 25 July 2023)
Reference-8: ‘Be Like Jesus, the Good News of Jesus in the Words of Sri Sathya Sai Baba’, Sathya Sai Baba, Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust, Publications Division, Page 71
Reference-9: ‘A Course in Miracles, Workbook’, Lesson 95, available on https://acim.org/acim/lesson-95/i-am-one-self-united-with-my-creator/en/s/499 accessed 26 July 2023
Reference-10: ‘Be Like Jesus, the Good News of Jesus in the Words of Sri Sathya Sai Baba’, Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust, Publications Division, Page 25
Reference-11: Avadhuta Gita, Chapter 1, Sage Dattatreya. Available at: https://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/Avadhoota-Gita.pdf. (Accessed: 25 July 2023)
Happiness Through Spirituality
When you need to make sense of your world and how you fit into it, when your happiness becomes your priority, listen to a philosophy that stitches together the pieces of the puzzle, from several major religions of our world - to map the highest path to the highest goal - happiness!