Hello and welcome to episode 46 of the ask Sri Vishwanath show. Today we’re going to talk about God. Why on earth does it take people 20 or 30 years to find god when he dwells within us at all times? Why do we struggle so much?
Today’s question is from Owen who lives in Australia. Owen asks: Why do we spend our entire lives searching for God. Why is it such as struggle? Why can’t it be easier? Why do the masters make it so hard with all these practices?
Owen that question is wonderful. It really made me smile. Here’s the thing. We can compare our relationship with god to water. Water is clear. You can see everything inside it. Similarly when our relationship with God is clear all these struggles and complexities will disappear.
Firstly, you must realise that the 20 or 30 years we spend in meditation, in prayer or reading books is to convince ourselves that god dwells within. We are not 100% convinced. We have doubts. We doubt that he’s actually there because he’s not visible. We consult with others, we question scripture and we read books because we doubt his presence.
Secondly, we are not committed to seeing God within ourselves. For example, let’s say people are mining for gold in a forest. Hundreds of people flock to this place because they’ve heard there is gold there. They dig and dig and dig. After 6 months some of the men leave because they’re tired. The others keep digging because they know from listening to others that there is gold there. They know that gold has been discovered there so they keep going. Others don’t want to work hard so they don’t get the rewards.
When your goals are clear, When you know your “gold” is there you are focused enough to get where you need to be.
Sometimes people are not fully committed. Just knowing it’s there isn’t always enough. Just knowing there is food in a restaurant doesn’t satisfy our hunger. We have to take action. We have to actually go to the restaurant, order the food and then eat it. Only then will our hunger be satisfied. We must be fully committed. Being fully committed and taking all the necessary steps will allow you to fully connect with the conscious being inside yourself. Remember this won’t happen instantly. It takes time and effort.
Sometimes your methods can be faulty. Let’s say we’re still searching for that gold. If you’ve been using a certain method for 2 or 3 months and it’s not working then you need to change it. Someone can read something in a book and use it as a mantra. “Well it worked for them so it will work for me.” What works for one person won’t always work for everyone else. This method won’t get you anywhere.
If you have doubts and your method is faulty then you could be trying for years and not see any results. Your relationship with God will never be clear. You can see now how this can take time as you may need to spend years changing your methods to find something that works for you.
Absence of a master
Those people who were successful in finding gold had a master who could guide them as show them the way to the treasure. There are also people who refuse to listen to a master. Sometimes people want to do things their own way. They don’t understand that there are people who have done this before. These people have done both amazing and stupid things and they have learned from their experiences.
We must listen to our masters. In the absence of a master progress will be much, much slower and we can end up making more mistakes than we need to. It often takes a lot more time to undo something that’s been done wrong than it does to just do it right the first time!
So there’s doubts, lack of commitment, faulty methods and absence of a master. All of this can prevent you from reaching inside. All of these years are just for remembering that God dwells within.
There is nothing to discover! God is not hiding anywhere. In fact we spend most of our time running away from God. All these years are spent discovering that we need to stop running from God. We need to slow down and realise that he’s right inside. All we have to do embrace him by doing the right things.
Instead of building doubt we need to build faith by being fully committed. Seek out a great master who will teach you the right methods. Stick to the yoga of Krishna. Krishna says “He who perseveres embued with yoga sees the jiva dwelling in the inner self while those of un-purified minds, not having mastered their senses fail to see me despite perseverance.”
When you are not in control of your senses and emotions you will not be able to see the God within. Christ said “Blessed are those who are pure in heart for they will see God”
Take the relationship between a man and a woman. It’s very clear and it’s very beautiful. Some people know each so well that they can sense what the other person needs without asking. Other relationships are not so clear. Some couples find that they need to say I love you to each other a lot.
But if you’ve been together a long time and you know you’re going to stay together then why do you need to say I love you so much? We say it because we want to express the feelings that dwell inside us because it’s not always crystal clear. Sometimes it can take 5 or 10 years to build a solid relationship.
All relationships take time but why do they take so much time? It takes time because things like, doubt, not being fully committed and faulty methods get in the way.
In many parts of the world they celebrate mother’s day and father’s day. It’s a way to connect with your parents after you move out of home. Here in India we don’t celebrate these days because, to us the relationship between a parent and child is very clear. We don’t need a special day to celebrate our parents. All these outward expressions are only needed when the relationship is not clear.
So you see, it takes time and effort to build a relationship but a life spent in search of a relationship with God is a life well spent.
I want to leave you with a poem by Swami Vivekananda that speaks about the search for God:
O’ver hill and dale and mountain range,
In temple, church, and mosque,
In Vedas, Bible, Al Koran
I had searched for Thee in vain.
Like a child in the wildest forest lost
I have cried and cried alone,
“Where art Thou gone, my God, my love?
The echo answered, “gone.”
And days and nights and years then passed
A fire was in the brain,
I knew not when day changed in night
The heart seemed rent in twain.
I laid me down on Ganges’s shore,
Exposed to sun and rain;
With burning tears I laid the dust
And wailed with waters’ roar.
I called on all the holy names
Of every clime and creed.
Great ones who have reached the goal.”
Years then passed in bitter cry,
Each moment seemed an age,
Till one day midst my cries and groans
Some one seemed calling me.
A gentle soft and soothing voice
That said ‘my son’ ‘my son’,
That seemed to thrill in unison
With all the chords of my soul.
I stood on my feet and tried to find
The place the voice came from;
I searched and searched and turned to see
Round me, before, behind,
Again, again it seemed to speak
The voice divine to me.
In rapture all my soul was hushed,
Entranced, enthralled in bliss.
A flash illumined all my soul;
The heart of my heart opened wide.
O joy, O bliss, what do I find!
My love, my love you are here
And you are here, my love, my all!
And I was searching thee –
From all eternity you were there
Enthroned in majesty!
From that day forth, wherever I roam,
I feel Him standing by
O’ver hill and dale, high mount and vale,
Far far away and high.
The moon’s soft light, the stars so bright,
The glorious orb of day,
He shines in them; His beauty – might –
Reflected lights are they.
The majestic morn, the melting eve,
The boundless billowing sea,
In nature’s beauty, songs of birds,
I see through them – it is He.
When dire calamity seizes me,
The heart seems weak and faint,
All natures seems to crush me down,
With laws that enver bend.
Meseems I hear Thee whispering sweet
My love, “I am near”, “I am near”.
My heart gets strong. With thee, my love,
A thousand deaths no fear.
Thou speakest in the mother’s lay
Thous shuts the babies eye,
When innocent children laugh and play,
I see Thee standing by.
When holy friendship shakes the hand,
He stands between them too;
He pours the nectar in mother’s kiss
And the baby’s sweet “mama”.
Thou wert my God with prophets old,
All creeds do come from Thee,
The Vedas, Bible, and Koran bold
Sing Thee in Harmony.
“Thou art,” Thou art” the Soul of souls
In the rushing stream of life.
“Om tat sat om.” Thou art my God,
My love, I am thine, I am thine.
I hope this answers your question Owen.
Remember, you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.