The following book excerpt appeared in our Fall 2010 Print issue 13. The entire issue is available in Kindle format.
One day at Twenty-Nine Palms, while Master was revising his Bhagavad Gita commentaries, he asked Dorothy Taylor to read sections of it to a group of monks who had come from Mt. Washington. During her reading, Miss Taylor came to a passage that described the state of oneness with God. Once the devotee attains this divine state, Master had said, he realizes that the Ocean of Spirit alone is real. God took on the appearance of the little ego and then, after some time, withdrew that wave into Himself again. In effect, the dream-child wakes up in cosmic consciousness to find himself God once more.
However, Master went on to explain, the enlightened being, after attaining that consciousness, never says, “I am God,” for he sees it was the vast Ocean which became his little wave of ego. The wave, in other words, when referring to its little self, would never claim to be the Ocean.
At this juncture Debi, who was present, cried excitedly, “But Sir, if you are one with that Ocean, that means you are God!”
“Why I?” Master asked. “Say ‘He.’ He is God.”
“But still, Sir, you are one with Him, and He is the only reality. That means you, too, are God.”
“But this body isn’t God!”
“You aren’t identified with your body, Sir, so one may still say that you are God.”
“Well, in that case why do you say, ‘You’? You, too, are that! In a discussion of this sort, it is less confusing if we say, ‘He.’”
“But what’s the difference?” “The scriptures say . . .” Master began. “It’s only your humility, Sir,” Debi broke in, “that makes you distinguish between yourself and Him.”
“Well, how can there be humility when there is no consciousness of ego?”
Triumphantly Debi cried, “But if you have no ego left, that means you are God!”
Master laughingly continued the earlier statement, which Debi had interrupted: “The scriptures say, ‘He who knows Brahma becomes Brahma.’”
“There!” cried Debi. “You said it yourself!”
Master rejoined, still laughingly, “I didn’t say it. It’s the scriptures that say so.” Master, that is to say, would not identify those words with the human body that was speaking them. It was in his overarching spirit that he saw himself one with the Infinite. But Debi was unable to make this mental leap from a pure expression of Infinity to Infinity Itself.
“You quoted those scriptures, Sir,” he reminded Master relentlessly. “That means you agree with them!”
Recognizing that the distinction was, perhaps, too subtle to be easily grasped, Master concluded, “Well, he who says he is God, isn’t God. And,” he added with a smile, “he who says he isn’t, isn’t!”
And there the subject rested, amid general laughter.
SWAMI KRIYANANDA born J. Donald Walters, became a disciple of the Indian yoga master Paramhansa Yogananda in 1948 at the age of twenty-two. At Yogananda’s request, Swami Kriyananda devoted his life to lecturing and writing, helping others to experience the living presence of God within. He taught on four continents in seven languages over the course of 65 years.
His talks, his music, and his nearly 150 books have touched the lives of millions. Swami Kriyananda took the ancient teachings of Raja Yoga and made them practical and immediately useful for people in every walk of life. Swami left his earthly body on April 21, 2013, but his legacy lives on at Ananda Sangha Worldwide.
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