ARE GOD !
Recently, Radio Sai broadcast a talk
by Prof. Venkataraman in the series MUSINGS. Many listeners
have written to us asking that the transcript be made available.
H2H takes pleasure in doing so. The transcript follows. We
hope you would like it and if you do, perhaps you could draw
the attention of others who might benefit by reading it.
Thanking you in anticipation.
Jai Sai Ram.
TRANSCRIPT OF TALK BY PROF VENKATARAMAN
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prasanti
Today I am going to give myself a real tough
assignment. We have been receiving many spiritual questions
from listeners, and it is about time I start responding. I
have thus chosen as the topic for my broadcast today, a question
or rather I should say a set of comments, sent to us by a
listener. Believe me commenting on this listener’s comments
is a tough job! Let me try it anyway. I shall first read out
the remarks as sent. This is what the listener writes, after
listening to our broadcast series on the Krishna-Arjuna Dialog.
You said that Krishna tells Arjuna that
"I separate Myself from Myself so that I can love Myself".
It means that I, the saint, I, the scholar, I, the fool,
I, the thief, I, the murderer, I, the debauch, are all in
essence, I, the God.
Krishna further explains that all attachments
and desires a person exhibits are only reflections of the
Divine Love that He has within Him and hence inter alia
expressions of the Divine Bliss that He, the God really
When ordinary human intelligence, which
is nothing but a spark of the Supreme Divine intelligence,
plans events and happenings meticulously, the mighty Cosmic
Intelligence would definitely have planned the design parameters
of His sojourn in various bodies in various births spread
over God knows (or I should know but apparently don't in
My embodied State) how many millions of aeons.
That is, I, the God, in my disembodied
State have already decided the various roles I would be
playing in various births. Under the circumstances, why
worry? Let Me be me. If I want to drink let me drink. If
I want to enjoy let Me enjoy. If I want to be merry let
Me be merry. Because that is what I decided to do before
I separated Myself from Myself. I have covered Myself in
the embodied state with a Self-created delusion. Yet since
the plot, scenes, dialogue, and delivery of the whole drama
is pre-scripted, whether I am aware of it or not I am still
God. Under the circumstances let me enjoy the life I am
leading whatever it is. If I do a wrong thing let Me enjoy
the wrong doing. If as a result of that wrong doing I suffer
let me enjoy that suffering. If I am insulted let me enjoy
that insult. Let me watch with enjoyment how beautifully
I, in another role, in another embodiment, am insulting
Myself in the insulted body. Let Me enjoy the loss I, the
God have caused to Myself or enjoy My own cunningness, or
the meanness with which I myself in another body have caused
that loss to Myself. Let Me enjoy My own intelligence or
the lack of it. Let Me enjoy My own stupidity or Scholarship.
Let Me enjoy My being a scoundrel or a saint.
In this context then, what is sin and
what is merit? There are no such things. Both are illusions
I have covered My deluded mind with, in the embodied state.
In essence it all boils down to what our
Beloved Swami says" The past is beyond recovery. The
future is not certain. The given moment is now. Do the best
That is I, the God have already played out my previous role.
Though I, the God in my disembodied State have designed
My future roles also, since I have chosen to hide that knowledge
from Myself in the embodied state, I do not know My future
role. So at best in My embodied State I am aware of the
role I am playing right now. The person who is living this
moment is none other than the Omnipresent Lord Himself.
So this present is nothing but the part of one long Omnipresence.
In that Omnipresence there is no past and no future.
So why bother what happens? Be what you want to be. In due
time you will be what you will be. If I, the God want to
be a scholar I will be one. If I, the God, want to be a
saint I will be one. If I, the God want to serve Myself
in other embodied beings I will do so. On the other hand
if I, the God, want to merely eat, drink and be merry,
fine let Me be so. Ultimately I AM, I AM. AHAM, AHAM ASMI.
So we reach the conclusion that I, the
God, whatever role I am playing in the present life should
remember that it is a role chosen by Me only and I should
enjoy thoroughly what I am undergoing. That is I, the God
am beyond dualities. I AM GOD. Let me not compare Myself
with others simply because there are no others. All roles
are Mine. I alone AM. So let Me be always, in our Beloved
Swami's words, "BE HAPPY.BE HAPPY. BE HAPPY."
JAI SAI RAM.
That is what the listener wrote in his letter
to us. By the way, the opening words of the listener are his
paraphrase of what he thinks Krishna says. As far as I can
recall, in the Krishna-Arjuna dialog as we broadcast, nowhere
does Krishna speak the words our listener has written. Thus,
these words would seem to be his understanding of what Krishna
Getting back to the remark itself, it is
a pretty long one, is it not? You can’t blame me if
I struggled with it for a long time to understand what is
implied. Finally I came to the conclusion that in essence,
what the writer says is the following:
- When the One becomes many, it is that One who is masquerading
in many forms.
- Everything that happens in Creation is pre-ordained by
The One or God Almighty.
- Thus, whatever ‘I’ the individual or Jivatma
do is already ordained by ‘I’ the Paramatma.
- There is no difference between ‘I’ the One
who ordained and ‘I’ the one who wears the vesture
and performs various actions. Therefore, all that ‘I’
do has been decided by me and me alone in advance.
- Since ‘I’ am the One who decided and ‘I’
also am the One who is acting now, where is the question
of sin or merit, bad or good? The question does not arise
at all and ‘I’ can therefore jolly well do what
That, roughly speaking, summarises what,
according to me, the Listener has said. I hope my paraphrase
is fair and accurate. I am sure you will agree that the problem
that the listener is raising is a tough one. After reading
his letter many, many times over, I did a lot of thinking.
Let me now share with you what I feel about the whole issue
raised by our listener. Obviously a complex remark like this
has to be dealt with slowly and carefully at various levels.
And clearly, every level of analysis can reveal only a bit
of the truth. After that, one has got to patiently put together
the pieces and try to make some sense of it all. I hope you
will keep this in mind, while I place before you my response.
Let me start off with the analogy of a drama troupe, an analogy
that is quite useful in this case.
The troupe members stage plays and although
the different actors play different roles, they all have read
and know the whole script. And although each one of them knows
what the play is all about, yet while actually play acting
they do not show it. Instead, they react or appear to react
to situations as they happen. So what does this mean for us?
Firstly, life is a Drama scripted and directed by God. The
official dialog is Dharma, but just as some actors of ordinary
drama ad lib, as they say in America, some actors in the Cosmic
Drama also deviate from the official script and ad lib, meaning
they stray from Dharma. In other words, knowing the script
in advance and following it meticulously are two different
things. Let us remember this while we move on to other perspectives.
Next, I would like to consider water flowing
in a stream. As we all know, water is made up of water molecules,
each molecule being a combination of an oxygen atom and two
hydrogen atoms. The water molecule is extremely tiny, and
there are trillions of them in one cubic centimetre of water.
It is because the molecule is so tiny that we cannot ever
see them with our naked eye. Now scientists have shown that
these tiny molecules are restless and keep moving randomly
as also with various velocities. Since the molecules are tightly
packed, they naturally collide all the time with each other.
To understand this phenomenon, just imagine a big ground say
like the hill view stadium in Prashanti Nilayam, full of people.
At the end of the function or program to attend which all
these people came, the members of the public would all rise
and start walking off in different directions. Naturally,
in the process, many people would be bumping into others.
Basically this is the result of congestion, and what happens
in gases and liquids is something similar. Naturally the collisions
are more frequent in liquids than in gases, on account of
the higher density. This phenomenon of random molecular collisions
is referred to in physics as Brownian motion and was explained
for the first time by none other than Einstein, in a landmark
paper published in the year 1905.
Let us now zoom out and instead of looking
at individual molecules in the water, look at the entire stream.
We would then find that the water now appears to be flowing
fast in one direction that is downstream. In other words,
the molecules all move en masse
in one specific direction. What I want you to note from this
example is that when the same system is observed at two different
levels or two different scales of length as we would say in
physics, we see two different things. In one case we observe
random motions while in the other we see a well directed drift.
My third point. Our friend has referred to
two ‘I’s, although I am not sure if he is conscious
of the difference between the two. One ‘I’ is
the Lord Supreme or Paramatma who ordains everything. The
other ‘I’ is the individual on Earth, who is a
Spark of the Divine but not the whole of the Divine, at least
not till full Realisation is attained. This is an important
point – one is the WHOLE while the other is just a part
of that WHOLE. This other ‘I’ is the Jivatma,
and you and I fall into this category. Now our listener, in
one breath as it were, is mixing up the two ‘I’s.
In fact this is evident from the way he types the word Me.
Sometimes, it is a lower case ‘m’ while at other
times it is the upper case ‘M’. Clearly this mixup
is not deliberate but unconscious – yet it reveals the
underlying subtle confusion between the two ‘I’s
that I just referred to. One must be very careful in not confusing
the wave with the ocean. True the wave is a part of the ocean.
Equally true that the water in the wave is just as salty as
the rest of the water in the ocean. A chemical analysis would
show that the wave and ocean are not different. And yet, we
all know that in some matters, there IS a
difference, a huge difference in fact. I am sure I do not
have to elaborate on that. So, what is my point? Simply this:
Paramatma is the One who ordains, but here
on Earth, actions are performed by the Jivatma [except of
course in the case of the Avatar, which anyway we are not
considering here]. The Jivatma on Earth cannot claim the same
rights and privileges as Paramatma. I mean we know this to
be true even in ordinary, so-called secular life. One man
may be the President of a country while another may be just
a commoner. In many respects, the two are equal. Both can
vote, both have to pay taxes, and both are subject to the
same laws. Yet, the President has powers and privileges that
the commoner does not enjoy. Please bear this in mind.
Let me now try to put all this together in
the context of the comments made by our listener friend. This
allows me to say the following:
There are two basic levels from which we can look at
Creation. One is from above Creation and the other is
from within or below, whichever way you prefer to describe
it. This is rather like looking at the entire stream standing
on the bank on the one hand, and getting into the water
and looking at individual molecules on the other. In other
words, while making statements, we must be careful about
the perspective we are adopting.
If we are viewing from above Creation, then we get one
perspective while if we are looking from below, we get
an entirely different perspective.
When one is above, there is sheer Oneness – that
is what Vedanta says and that also is what Swami tells
us repeatedly. To use jargon, this is the state of Pure
Advaitam. Clearly, in this state there is neither good
nor bad. When our friend says, “In this context
then, what is sin and what is merit? There are no such
things. Both are illusions I have covered My deluded mind
with, in the embodied state,” he is no doubt right
but he is obviously speaking from the perspective of sheer
Oneness. I am sure everyone including our friend, who
I hope is listening, would agree.
Let us now climb down from this dizzy state, and get
into Creation. That is to say we observe the Universe
from within the Universe. We look around and see what
we normally describe as either good or bad. How did these
things suddenly pop up? The answer has been given by our
friend. He says, “both are illusions I have covered
my deluded Mind with.” That is right. To put it
in Vedantic terms, when one enters the world of duality,
which, unfortunately is what we all are immersed in, we
inevitably see duality around us. True it is a trap set
by the Mind, but then we are caught in the trap –
that we have to accept. So, duality results when the Mind
is allowed to get deluded.
The Mind should not be allowed to get deluded and make
a person assume that Paramatma and the Jivatma are identical.
No doubt they both are Divine in origin. True that qualitatively
they are same, just as the wave and the ocean are qualitatively
the same. But the differences must also be understood
and respected. The Paramatma is the Divine in Totality
while the Jivatma is but an aspect of
that Totality. If Paramatma is the entire fire, the Jivatma
is but a tiny spark of that fire.
In other words, the Jivatma who is under the spell of
duality cannot claim license to do anything and everything
saying, “After all it is ‘I’ who ordained
Contrary to the point of view adopted by our listener,
below Creation or in the state of duality, there IS
a clear difference between the two ‘I’s that
our writer is implicitly referring to. The ‘I’
who preordained is the Universal ‘I’. It is,
as our listener writes, the Atma or AHAM. But the ‘I’
who performs actions in the world is the lower or individual
‘I’, and this lower ‘I’ is bound
by ego. Therefore there is no way this lower ‘I’
can claim perfect identity with the Higher or Universal
That identity can be claimed only when the lower ‘I’
attains, what is referred to in Vedanta as Self-Realisation,
which is the same as reaching the perfect state of Advaitam.
And when one attains that state, that person will never
say, like our friend does, “If I want to drink let
me drink. If I want to enjoy let Me enjoy. If I want to
be merry let Me be merry,” and so on. That is because
a person in the Advaitic state does not recognise such
a thing as drinking and being merry. Being merry is connected
with body-consciousness, and a person in the state of
Oneness is by definition above body-consciousness. On
the contrary, whatever actions such a Self-Realised though
still embodied Soul would perform would be a true reflection
The above point is very important. Again and again Swami
tells us that Divinity is where Prema or Pure Love, Daya
or Compassion, Kshama or Forbearance exist. When a person
attains Self-Realisation, these virtues shine forth in
such a person, as they did in the case of Ramana Maharishi
and Ramakrishna, to name two examples. Can we ever think
of these people making such comments as quoted earlier?
I hope you agree with what I have said so
far. Basically what I am saying is that we must recognise
that though we individuals are in principle
God, we are not so in practice. You will
surely recall what Swami often says in the context. He says,
“The difference between you and Me is that I know I
am God but you do not.” Now why does Swami say that?
The point is simply this. It is not enough to know that one
is God in the head. One must FEEL it in the Heart.
It is only when we feel Prema, Daya and Kshama constantly
in our Heart that we truly rise to the level of the Divine
or, to use the language of philosophy, attain Self-Realisation.
Assuming all the above, let me now proceed
to the next step in my analysis. The question before us is:
“What precisely is my role when I am immersed in duality?”
The answer has been clearly spelt out by Swami. Quoting Shankara
often, He asks us to shun bad company, avoid seeing bad, focus
only on seeing good, hearing good and doing good, etc. I am
sure even our friend would agree without any reservations
whatsoever, that this is what Swami exhorts us to do.
If you agree with what I have just said,
then we must ask, “If there is no such thing as good
and bad, then, what precisely does Swami mean by asking to
be good and all that?” The answer is simple and straightforward.
Swami’s advice is meant for one who is immersed in duality
that is to say for you, me and our listener friend, and NOT
for one who has achieved Realisation. None of us can claim
to have come anywhere near Self-Realisation, which automatically
means that we all are unfortunately steeped deep in duality.
That is why we see pleasure as pleasure and pain as pain.
Hence, immersed as we are in duality, we cannot make the sort
of arguments our friend has offered and pretend that there
is no difference between Dharma and Adharma. We just have
to accept that for us this difference exists, and that we
have to steer clear of the bad and stick to the good.
Not merely that. Swami teaches an important
lesson, which incidentally has been taught by every one of
the earlier Avatars. This is an important point and I do hope
you will pay careful attention. Incidentally, this point has
also been made by Krishna in the Krishna-Arjuna Dialog. The
point is simply this. Suppose there is a person who has achieved
Self-Realisation. According to the text book for this person,
clay and gold are not different in value, there is no such
thing as sin or merit, and so on. That does not mean that
this person can do what he or she likes! On the contrary,
the Lord is very clear about what such a person shall do.
In brief, this Realised person must lead an ideal life that
others would be inspired to copy. That precisely is what our
Swami is doing all the time. I do hope all that I have said
thus far would make it quite clear to everyone, including
our listener friend, why Swami keeps on saying MY LIFE IS
MY MESSAGE. We should also not forget what Bhagavan adds as
a corollary. He says: YOUR LIFE SHOULD BE MY MESSAGE.
And what does that mean? Many things, among which is that
we cannot drink and be merry as our listener seems to advocate!
The message is loud and clear, is it not?
Do you agree? What do you think? Why don’t you write
and tell us about your views on what I have been saying. You
can reach me via the e mail address:
Thank you and Jai Sai Ram.