By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 24-11-2016
God communicated God’s Self to humans through creation. This communication of Self is God’s ultimate love for humanity. God created humans in the divine flow of love of God to enjoy the creation with humans. Through creation God made Self present in this world. God made God’s Self present in creatures in different degrees. God’s presence is manifested fully in humans. The Bible talks about God making humans in God’s image and likeness – male and female who complete each other. World’s theology treats God’s presence in creatures in terms of immanence and transcendence. Christian scriptures explain God’s presence as immanent and transcendent at the same time. Hindu scriptures, especially the Advaita interpretation, explains God’s presence in creatures in such an immanent way, that, through sadhana (spiritual exercises), culminates ultimately in the identity of the creator and the created.God’s very communication to humanity can be seen as God’s grace. Humans have devised sacraments in Christianity and sacred rituals (samskar) in Hinduism that are purported especially to effect or channel grace. In reality God pervades in the whole of creation, and as such God’s presence itself is grace. God is the life force in the core of every being. God’s grace as is easily available for humans’ spirit-life as water is available for the maintenance plant and animal life on earth. It requires only our freedom of choice to benefit from God’s grace. God realization can take place through faithfulness to conscience. Discerning God’s will in our daily life and faithfully following it will secure our life in union with God. Various spiritual exercises found in religions are very helpful in going through different stages of God realization. Many sages, seers, and holy men and women have modeled life for humans. Love and truth guided by justice, tolerance, compassion, and non-violence create the right climate for achieving God realization. Despite claims to the contrary, there is no magic formula, person, ritual, or practice is necessary to achieve God realization which is given us at birth and which is our natural destiny. God of freedom, love, mercy, and understanding does not force any human to follow God’s will. As we learn to walk, run, and learn other skills for material and physical well-being, we need to form our conscience and learn a value system and guidelines for living in a society. What about heaven and earth, mukti or nirvana (liberation from bondages)? For persons failing in the life’s work of attaining heaven or freeing from bondages, no hell or re-births are envisaged. For those who failed in God-realization at the end of their life, they return to God at the level of consciousness or awareness they were able to achieve on earth to continue their purification (purgatory?) to accomplish their goal before they achieve their perfect union or realization with God. Over two millennia things got very complex and confusing, and many grievous and fatal errors due to false doctrines and suppression of human freedom have taken place. We need to get back to the original charism, spirit, and teachings found in scriptures of persons who gave rise to various religions. Traditions are important only to the extent of their relevance in changed times.
About The Author
Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.