God in human being:
“The Self is active in eyes in waking state (Jakrat). It is active in throat in dream state (Swapna). It is active in heart during deep sleep state (Sushubthi). It is active in the top of the skull during the state of dormant Samadhi (Thuriya).” -Brahmopanishad
The all pervading Spirit is identified as soul or Self in the human being. So, the one who had known the Self is said to have known the all pervading Spirit i.e God as well. The foregoing Upanishad quote explains how God reveals Himself in a human being in his various conscious levels.
Though the quote seems to be the one meant for the path of wisdom, it holds good for the path of devotion also. These conscious levels are common to all.
Light, sound, air, water and substance fill this physical cosmos. God who is the root to everything is the root to this physical cosmos as well. In creation, light is the source to everything. It is from light that sound and all other elements have emerged. God is worshipped in the form of light. There is no temple worship without light element. There is no ritual in the absence of a light source. In human body, it is the eye that stands as the root and instrument of the light. Eye tries to demonstrate the magnitude and all pervasiveness of God. In a second, it sees stars which are billions of miles away. In the next second, it sees some other object which is a foot away to its physical presence. There is no organ in the body which is as fast and accurate as the eye. (Mind is even faster, but it is not a matter of substance)
In waking state, the living being gets the feeling of being, primarily through the application of eyes. That is why, the Self or divinity is said to express itself through eyes in waking state. It doesn’t mean that Divinity is not expressed in blinds or through any other organs. Those who are sincere would feel Divinity in one way or the other.
There is a yoga by name Thiruvadi Deekshai, which uses the element of light (eyes) to realise the Self. There are other types of Yoga as well, by application of which one can attain realization. There is Surat Shabdh Yoga, that tries to feel the divinity through sound vibrations. There is Kriya Yoga which connects ordinary consciousness with divine consciousness through practicing subtle pranic (related to air) movements. There are meditation practices (related to Bindu Visarga chakra) which attain the supreme consciousness through controlling and directing astral glands known as nectar (related to water element). There is Hata yoga, which uses this gross body, i.e substance, to prepare the inner and outer bodies so that divinity can be felt within.
These yogic practices are very subtle and are inter-related with each other. Generally speaking, these methods are related to the path of wisdom.
In the path of devotion also, the elements of light (arathi and jyothi darshanam as in Thiruvannamalai Jyothi), sound (japam), water (thirthadanam as in Kumbmela) and substance (Archavatara moortham – idols) are used. So, all the inner organs and major elements of the nature are used in spiritual practices to get clear mind. They help the sadhaka to go beyond the consciousness of matter and to feel the peaceful and blissful state of the Self i.e Spirit. The Self or God is said to be different from the matter. Then, how can matter help in spirituality?
The Self or God is not unrelated to the physical substance. The matter is just one of the expressions (probably the bottom-most) of Self or God. God or Self is all inclusive. Nothing remains away to It. The difference lies only in the vision of the Jeevas. Prahladha was able to see God in every atom of the universe, where as his father saw only gross materials everywhere. So, on Prahladha’s plea, God emerged out of a pillar. This purana explains that God is inherent in every particle of the universe. The history also holds such incidents depicting the all inclusiveness or all pervasiveness of God.
When the aspirant utilizes the inner elements (as in the path of wisdom) and the five elements of the cosmos (as in the path of devotion) with the goal of tasting the Truth, Self/God realization transpires. The goal of these two paths is the same; it is realization of the Truth. When the goal and the subsequent actions are fixed for the Truth, senses stay under control; the nature becomes friendly and obliging; Self or God realization is tasted.
Let it be anything – waking state, dreaming state, deep sleeping state or dormant Samadhi – it is the mind instrument that experiences the Self or God in a subtle manner.
We can ‘fine tune’ or ‘control’ the mind in the waking state through various spiritual practices (like Raja yoga, Gnana yoga, Karma yoga and Bakthi yoga). Without getting the mind fine-tuned, it’s hard to get higher spiritual experiences in any state of consciousness.
The diluted mind purifies itself through its own efforts (like removing the thorn through another thorn) and loses its identification as an instrument; it becomes one with its source, the Self or God. Though it is said in a single sentence, it might take several thousand lives for an ordinary being to get through in this process.
Those who got their mind purified and fine-tuned will not see any difference between themselves and the vast divinity that is spread out everywhere. As there is no difference between the space inside an empty vessel and the space outside it, they become one with the all encompassing God. They are not influenced or affected by the changes of consciousnesses (such as waking state, dreaming state, sleeping state and Samadhi state). Only the vessel gets affected, not the space inside it. So long as they stay inside the vessel (i.e body), they remain as Jeevan Mukthas. When the vessel is broken, they become Vidheha Mukthas.
The Jeevan Mukthas sometimes voluntarily and directly dissolve the vessels in the natural elements. For example: Sri Ramalinga Swamigal dissolved the body in the Light. Ek Nath Maharaj immersed his physical body in the river Godhavari. Pattinathar merged his body in the soil of Thiruvottiyur.
Even ordinary beings, the unrealized people, lose the physical bodies to any one of the five natural elements. The lost bodies of ordinary people are subject to stinking decay. The so called death happens rather forcibly, they aren’t really prepared and are unaware of the changes and happenings in their conscious levels. They waver hither and thither till they are caught in another body (it may or may not be a human body), losing all the past memory imprints in the depths of their consciousness – all these happen without their understanding, awareness and preferences; these things happen as per the plan of Maha Maya, based on their past karma. They never go away from the clutches of Maya till they realize who they really are. This is not the case for the realized beings. They are away from the clutches of Maya, the Nature; they have friendly command over the Maya. They know where they were before – where they will be after playing their roles on earth. The realized beings are not the permanent actors on the stage of the world. They are the directors of the bewildered actors who are unaware of their roles and of their true nature; sometimes they (the realized beings) take guest roles and appear on the world stage to help the miserable Jeevas. No one could find the traces of ordinary worldly life of such Mukthas even during the times they are alive in the material bodies. They are all the time fixed in the consciousness of God; they are simply away from any identity that usually binds others – like with regard to the type of the body they dwell in, the gender, age, life style, etc. Such a chance of realization is possible only for humans. Human birth is such a precious thing; only here, the opportunity to feel God or Self is given.
After reading this topic for myself, I thought of removing this chapter. I thought that I was talking too much on areas in which I do not have sufficient experience. I said this to my mother. She advised me to keep this chapter as it is, saying, “You may not have the experience based wisdom; but what you had written is the truth. Don’t think that you are writing this. God wants to tell humans through you, how blessed they are for having been given the human face. Let it be, to help those for whom it is meant for.”