Four Places In Which to See God


Where and how to look for Divinity. Four places to see God: In great teachers, in other people, in the temple, inside yourself. The seed of divinity is in all people. The greatest barrier to seeing God within one's self is the feeling of not being worthy. Harness the imperfect outer nature; the inner nature, the soul is always perfect.

Master Course, Living with Siva, Lesson 301

Hinduism Today, Publisher's Desk, January 2004

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning.

Testimony from someone in Mauritius:

" I am a Hindu brought up by Hindu parents. We were taught to attend temples and pray at home. However, my parents were not really strict and when we were teenagers my sisters and I lost the habit of home prayer and we stopped going to temple prayer with my parents except when there were festivals like Kavadi.

"I didn't like going to the temple every week because I didn't feel what I was being taught by my parents or those around me were true. I would sometimes see people who attend prayers every week and who were supposedly good beat up their child right after prayers and I felt disgusted. I lost faith in people who pretend to be religious.

"Something about simply going to temple prayer and acting good for one hour and then going back to the usual way of life didn't appeal to me."

Then the person goes on to talk about finding the Trilogy, the teachings and everything.

Just but, the point being we need to see God in more places than just in the temple.

I was checking on my Publisher's Desk hits. How many people read something. And, usually it's around, I think the average after a couple of years is 4,000. Four thousand people that looked at the article. The one that has the most hits is: "Who is the Greatest God?" Shows what a good title can do. "Who is the greatest God?" I gotta find out. Twenty-three thousand five hundred and forty six hits. That's a lot: 23,000 for us, Publisher's Desk, Hinduism Today.

Then the one I was going to paraphrase: "I Want to See God" has 6,154. Some, about fifty percent more than average. Six thousand verses 4,000. So you must remember that one, it's only 10 years ago, January 2004.

"I Want To See God!

"Some pertinent suggestions to sincere seekers on where and how to look for Divinity."

It's a good subtitle. You may remember it gives four, four places to see God. The first is in great teachers. That's the easiest for many people. They meet great teachers, great spiritual teacher like Gurudeva and there's God walking around. That's easy: I see God. I saw God today.

I remember this story from, I'll get his name. Datuk Vaithilingam, former president of Malaysia Hindu Sangam. And he's talking about the first time he saw Gurudeva. He said: "This tall man with white hair; just so impressive." You know, he didn't say: I saw God. But you could tell he was impressed not because he was tall or had white hair but because of his spirituality. Was very impressive.

The second place, of course is in other people. And I always jokingly say: Start with people you're getting along with. Hard to see God with those you're not getting along with this week. So start with those you're getting along with.

And the third is of course, in the temple, in the Murti.

And the fourth is meditation inside yourself. So four different places to look for and find God. Simple pose.

So this is what I said about seeing God in people.

"Another way to see God, which is a little more difficult but still not that hard to do, is to look deeply into the eyes of another person. Look beyond the personality, deeper than the intellect and see his or her pure life energy is God. The great saying, mahavakya, that describes this approach to experiencing the Divine is the Tamil word Uyirkkuyir, which means: 'God is the Life of our life."

And then quotes Yogaswami.

Swami urged devotees to not label people as good or bad.

He said: "See everyone as God. Don't say: This man is a robber, that one is a womanizer. The man over there is a drunkard. This man is God; that man is God. God is within everyone. The seed is there. See that and ignore the rest.

"Are you a good man or a bad man. Who is bad. There is no one who is bad in the world. No good man, no bad man. All are."

So the seed is there meaning divinity is in everyone and eventually will manifest just like a seed in the ground. It sprouts at some point in the future. So the seed is a seed of divinity even in a criminal, in a terrorist. The seed of divinity is there from the Hindu point of view. There is no single being who does not have the seed of divinity in him or her. And Yogaswami is saying: Focus on that and not on the rest.

Gurudeva has a similar quote: Living with Siva: Lesson 301.

"Your Saiva Siddhanta religion can be lived every minute of the day and all through the night. All you have to do is decide whether you are going to expect anything back from anyone. All you have to decide is what part of the person you love. If you love the soul, you love the whole person, no matter who the person is, no matter what he does, what he says, whether you know him or whether you don't know him, because he is the light of Siva, the energy of Siva, the love of Siva walking around in human form. This is the kind of love that keeps you in harmony with everyone."

So it's a very important point as illustrated in the beginning quote. Young adults and teenagers expect consistency of behavior. And, as she pointed out it doesn't make sense to sit there in the temple, sing your heart out, express love of God and on your way out the door hit your child. You're seeing God in the temple Murti but you're not seeing God in your child. How can you be that inconsistent is what the person is saying.

Or, that's, that's the point that both Yogaswami and Gurudeva are saying, that we need to not just see God in the temple but to see God in people. Not just good people but all people. Sometimes we have to look harder, right? That God's in there somewhere.

So that's the idea. You know, try and, try for a consistency of behavior so that we see God in the temple, in everyone we meet. Of course, in great teachers and inside our self.

The greatest barrier to not, the greatest barrier to seeing God inside our self is the feeling that we're not worthy; something is wrong with us. And therefore, God couldn't possibly be in me. You know, I'm an exception. You don't know what I did. You don't know who I really am. You don't know all my flaws.

No, God's there anyway, right? So, we have to distinguish between the outer nature and how it's being impressed by others, including ourselves. And the inner nature. Inner nature's always perfect. The outer nature's always imperfect.

So, that's the way we are. That's the way we're built. So we try and harness the outer nature as best we can. And harness the instinctive mind, control the intellectual mind, act in a kindly way, speak kind words and so forth. Try and harness the outer nature but it's always going to have some imperfection here and there. It just wasn't built to be perfect. Whereas, the soul is absolutely perfect; it was built perfect.

So, part of us is perfection and part of us isn't. And just, we can't let the part we see as imperfect cause us to think the part that's perfect is not there. We're an exception somehow.

So, have a great day.

Aum Namah Sivaya.

Photo of  Gurudeva
It is our past that colors and conditions, actually creates, the future. We purge the past in the present, and we fashion the future in the present.
—Gurudeva