My dear friends
Continuing talk by Sant Kirpal Singh: “What is God, and how we can know Him”
The complete text can be read here, under the website of Unity of Man:
Have a good time in reading and digesting
All good wishes
What is God, and how can we know Him? (Part 2)
All names are holy. We have respect for all names, although God is the Nameless One. By whatever name you call Him with devotion and faith, He will make appearance and you will come in contact with Him. But names refer to a Reality that cannot be expressed in words.
All Masters have tried to express that Reality, each defining in his own way. Almost all definitions of God are parallel. They all say that God is the first and the last, from which nothing can be excluded, and to which nothing can be added. God is omniscient, omnipresent, and the primal cause – the causeless cause – the seat of all things; existence in itself. That cannot be created. That is is already in existence.
In the Koran, the Prophet Mohammed says: “There is no variableness in God, since He is eternal, immortal, infinite.”
That is unchangeable permanence and everlasting Reality. These words only seek to express, however imperfectly, the great Reality that is at the back of all.
Ever since the Masters first came, they have been trying to express that Reality and chanting praises of the Lord – these have formed the subject of our holy scriptures. But still they say He is as unsaid as ever. For thousands of years, the Masters have been explaining in their own words whatever is possible.
How can the inexpressible be expressed in words? That is the subject of experience you may have, through contact with that Reality. But if even our outer emotions cannot be described in words, how can that Reality be expressed in words? That is why it has always been said that God is inexpressible. There is the same Reality working throughout all creation. Until we have had some experience of that Reality, we will not know what it is like. What we now know is only what is given in books: we have had no first-hand experience of it.
All Masters say: It is the beginning and the end. In Isaiah it is stated: I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God.
Again, we find: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending.., which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
These are definitions given to show that Reality is unchangeable permanence, which has no beginning and no end. God has no beginning and no end.
But until we have an experience of Reality, we cannot be convinced. Ever since the world began, Masters have been coming and giving explanations to the best of their ability to the people. But with all that they always said that He is as unsaid as ever.
Guru Nanak has put it very aptly:
He is One, He is the First. He is all that is.
His name is Truth. He is the Creator of all,
fearing naught striking fear in naught.
His form on lands and waters is Eternity; the One Self-existent.
Through the grace of His true servant, continually repeat His Name.
He was in the beginning; He is through all ages,
And He shall be the One who lives forever more.
You see that he says the same thing. All Masters, as they have said, had experience of that Reality. Of course, when they gave their descriptions, they expressed It in their own language and in their own way. But you will find that the salient features of whatever they expressed are the same.
Then further Guru Nanak says:
He is beyond thought.
No thinking can conceive Him.
Now the question is: Can we search for Him within the finite pale of our intellect? No, He is beyond thought, no thinking can conceive Him. Not even if the minds of men should think for ages and ages. Then how can we know God? Our bodies, emotions and intellects should first be stilled. Only then the revelation will dawn, you will then know who you are. When you know who you are, you will be able to know and see what God is. That is why Guru Nanak said if you want to grasp Him within the pale of your finite intellect, He cannot be seen.
It is something like the story of the tortoise of the river, who went into a pond. There was another tortoise there. The river tortoise said, “Look here, the sea is very great and has no end.” The tortoise in the pool just stepped back and said: “Is it so much?” “No,” said the other, “It is still greater.” Then again he stepped back a little more, and questioned: “Is it so much?” And the other answered, “No, it is still greater.” Then, he went around the whole pool of water and said, “Is it so much?” The other said, “No, it is still greater.”
The tortoise of the pool was all wrong, you see, because his experience only extended to that pool of water, nothing more. Similarly, the Masters have always been saying that Divine Knowledge was limitless and they cannot expect to do justice to the subject.
The Lord is God. If you call Him anything, you simply want to bring Him within the finite ambit of your intellect. When that Reality is infinite, how can we express It in finite terms? This is what all Masters have been saying. Further, Guru Nanak says: He cannot be conceived.
The Upanishads say: To grasp that Reality within the pale of your intellect is as impossible as trying to quench your thirst by drinking wine. At another place, it is said: . . . or just as if you can squeeze out oil from sand. Both are impossible. Similarly, to bring Him within your intellect, and understand Him fully is not possible.
The Masters did give us something to understand That which could not be expressed in words. By their grace we can just form some idea about Him. They bring us in contact with that Reality when we enter into the Kingdom of God. Then we have some experience of Him. After that we can say there is something.
Guru Nanak says: I am just like a fish in the ocean. I do not know which is one end or the other. Similarly, we cannot grasp Him within our finite intellects.
Nor can He be known by gaining the worlds, for man’s desire is never
satiated, even though all the worlds laden with gold fall to his share.
No human thoughts can carry man far.
The movements of his mind, the thousand acts of wisdom of the world leave him dark, nothing avails.
Vain are the ways of man. How then to find Him? Man feels helpless.