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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

God in Every Experience

By Abhijeet Kislay

Last time, we looked at the process of deification of the world given by Swami Vivekananda. This time, let us see how this is true from the angle of the Existence (Sat) aspect of Vedanta logically. Here we will be taking the help of the lecture: "God in every experience" by Swami Sarvapriyananda to keep the discussion coherent.
God hides in every experience that we have and is revealed as the Consciousness that enables us to have these experiences of seeing, hearing, talking, thinking, feeling etc. Let us take the example of seeing an object and try to understand this experience in four stages.

 1.  Here is a coffee-cup that I am seeing right now.

 2. Is it just a coffee-cup? Well, think deeply: Is it just a coffee-cup or an experience of coffee-cup? Yes! I am seeing a coffee-cup. Thus just by two logical steps, we see that it is shallow to think of an object independently. The observer (or the subject) has to come into picture.

3. So far, the steps have been purely scientific. Every kid in the town would approve this.  Now from step 3, we will start using some of our Vedantic wisdom and work with our first-person experience

Here if we think more deeply we see that: Had I not existed (suppose that is possible), where would this coffee-cup be? Had I not existed, where would this table/chair/books that I am seeing right now would be? Thus we see that the existence of an object is strongly tied to the existence of the subject. If the subject is not present, the existence of the object is annihilated. Thus the existence of objects of the world is dependent on my (subject's) existence.

This dependent existence of objects and its subservience to the subject is described in Vedantic terminology in a sentence such as: "the coffee-cup is appearing in the Consciousness." The sole purpose of the term "appear" is to point out the ignorance of thinking of an object as an end in itself. Thus, it points out the substratum from which every experience of seeing/hearing/feeling an object borrows its existence.
 In terms of examples, 

     3.1: Here is when the student sees for the first time that necklace, bangles, tiaras are but the appearance of gold in different names and forms. There would be no necklace if gold didn't exist. There would be no bangles if gold didn't exist. Thus similarly, there would be no experience of an object had the subject didn't exist.
     3.2: Another example is of the pot and clay. Had there been no clay, the pot wouldn't exist. Thus similarly, there would be no experience of an object had the subject didn't exist.

4. Now if we think more deeply, we see that whatever appears in Consciousness is not separate from Consciousness. It is Consciousness itself with the name and form of a coffee-cup. It is gold alone that appears as a necklace or the tiara or the bangle. It is clay alone that appears as the pot.

Essentially, this step asks us to center our full-focus on the substratum and completely give up the thoughts of the name and form. In common parlance, this amounts in seeing gold in every jewelry or seeing clay in every pot or seeing God in everything!

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