īśvara


Ramana Maharshi on God

Existence of Isvara (God) follows from our conception of Isvara. Let us first know whose concept He is. The concept will be only according to the one who conceives. Find out who you are and the other problem will solve itself. (from Talk 308)


Just as the artificial light is projected through a lens on to the screen, so also the Reflected Light passes through thought (the magnifier) before expanding as the world beyond it; furthermore, thought, itself the world in-seed form, seems to be the wide external world. Such is the extraordinary Power! In this way Isvara, individual and the world are only of the Reflected Light, having the Self-shining Single Being for the substratum. 
(from Talk 323)

Why waste time in [...] polemics? Only turn your mind inward and spend the time usefully.

In the union of the individual with the Supreme, the Supreme is hearsay and the individual directly experienced. You can make use only of direct experience; therefore look who you are.

Why is Isvara mentioned then?

Because you see the world and want to know how it came into being. They say that it was created by God. If you know that He created you and all else, your mind is a little satisfied and becomes less restless than otherwise. But it is not realisation. It can be only if you realise yourself; this is Perfection or Realisation, etc. (
from Talk 332)

D.: What is the relation between Brahman and Isvara?
M.: Brahman is called Isvara in relation to the world. 


D.: Is it possible to speak to Isvara as Sri Ramakrishna did?
M.: When we can speak to each other why should we not speak to Isvara in the same way? 


D.: Then why does it not happen with us?
M.: It requires purity and strength of mind and practice in meditation. 


D.: Does God become evident if the above conditions exist?
M.: Such manifestations are as real as your own reality. In other words, when you identify yourself with the body as in jagrat you see gross objects; when in subtle body or in mental plane as in svapna, you see objects equally subtle; in the absence of identification as in sushupti you see nothing. The objects seen bear a relation to the state of the seer. The same applies to visions of God. By long practice the figure of God, as meditated upon, appears in dream and may later appear in jagrat also. 


D.: Is that the state of God-realisation?
M.: Listen to what happened once, years ago.
There was a saint by name Namdev. He could see, talk and play with Vithoba as we do with one another. He used to spend most of his time in the temple playing with Vithoba. 


On one occasion the saints had assembled together, among whom was one Jnandev of well-established fame and eminence. Jnandev asked Gora Kumbhar (a potter-saint) to use his proficiency in testing the soundness of baked pots and find out which of the assembled saints was properly baked clay. So Gora Kumbhar took his stick and gently struck each one’s head in joke as if to test. When he came to Namdev the latter protested in a huff; all laughed and hooted. Namdev was enraged and he sought Vithoba in the temple. Vithoba said that the saints knew best; this unexpected reply upset Namdev all the more.

He said: You are God. I converse and play with you. Can there be anything more to be gained by man?

Vithoba persisted: The saints know. 

Namdev: Tell me if there is anything more real than you.

Vithoba: We have been so familiar with each other that my advice will not have the desired effect on you. Seek the beggar-saint in the forest and know the truth.

Accordingly Namdev sought out the particular saint mentioned by Vithoba. Namdev was not impressed with the holiness of the man for he was nude, dirty and was lying on the floor with his feet resting on a linga.

Namdev wondered how this could be a saint. The saint, on the other hand, smiled on Namdev and asked, “Did Vithoba send you here?” This was a great surprise to Namdev who was now more inclined to believe the man to be great. 

So Namdev asked him: “You are said to be a saint, why do you desecrate the linga?” 

The saint replied. “Indeed I am too old and weak to do the right thing. Please lift my feet and place them where there is no linga.” 

Namdev accordingly lifted the saint’s feet and placed them elsewhere. But there was again a linga below them. Wherever the feet were placed then and there appeared a linga underneath. Namdev finally placed the feet on himself and he turned into a linga. Then Namdev understood that God was immanent and learnt the truth and departed. He went home and did not go to the temple for several days. Vithoba now sought him out in his home and asked why Namdev would not go to the temple to see God. Namdev said: “Is there a place where He is not?” 

The moral of the story is clear. Visions of God have their place below the plane of Self-Realisation. (from Talk 389)


...the purpose of the whole philosophy is to indicate the underlying Reality whether of the jagrat, svapna and sushupti states, or the individual souls, the world and God.

There are three outlooks possible:

(1) The Vyavaharika: The man sees the world in all its variety, surmises the creator and believes in himself as the subject. All these are thus reduced to the three fundamentals, jagat, jiva and Isvara. He learns the existence of the creator and tries to reach him in order to gain immortality. If one is thus released from bondage, there are all other individuals existing as before who should work out their own salvation. He more or less admits the One Reality underlying all these phenomena. The phenomena are due to the play of maya. Maya is the sakti of Isvara or the activity of Reality. Thus, existence of different souls, objects, etc., do not clash with the advaitic point of view. 


(2) The
Pratibhasika: The jagat, jiva and Isvara are all cognised by the seer only. They do not have any existence independent of him. So there is only one jiva, be it the individual or God. All else is simply a myth. 


(3) The
Paramarthika: i.e., ajatavada (no-creation doctrine) which admits of no second. There is no reality or absence of it, no seeking or gaining, no bondage or liberation and so on. The question arises why then do all the sastras speak of the Lord as the creator? How can the creature that you are create the creator and argue that the jagat, jiva and Isvara are mental conceptions only? The answer is as follows: You know that your father of this jagrat state is dead and that several years have elapsed since his death. However you see him in your dream and recognise him to be your father, of whom you were born and who has left patrimony to you. Here the creator is in the creature. Again, you dream that you are serving a king and that you are a part in the administrative wheel of the kingdom. As soon as you wake up all of them have disappeared leaving you, the single individual, behind. Where were they all? Only in yourself. The same analogy holds good in the other case also. (from Talk 399)

Environment, time and objects are all in me. How can they be independent of me? They may change, but I remain unchanging, always the same. The objects can be differentiated by means of their names and forms, whereas each one’s name is only one and that is ‘I’. Ask anyone, he says ‘I’ and speaks of himself as ‘I’, even if He is Isvara. His name too is ‘I’ only.

So also of a locality. As long as I am identified with the body so long a locality is distinguishable; otherwise not. Am I the body? Does the body announce itself as ‘I’? 

Clearly all these are in me. All these wiped out entirely, the residual Peace is ‘I’. This is samadhi, this is ‘I’. (from Talk 582)


Talks is available as a PDF document from the official Sri Ramanasramam web site.