Vasudeva sarvam iti - God is All!
The Inventor & the Vehicle
Krishna has taught his friend that there is no goal higher than abiding in the God-within (VII.18) and that for those who truly realize this Knowledge, nothing remains to be Known here on earth (VII.2).
If one of Krishna’s pearls could be said to sum up the entirety of primordial wisdom surely his declaration - Vasudeva sarvam iti - would be the one. God is All (VII.19).
बहूनां जन्मनामन्ते ज्ञानवान्मां प्रपद्यते .
वासुदेवः सर्वमिति स महात्मा सुदुर्लभः .. ७- १९..
bahūnāṃ janmanām ante jñānavān māṃ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ 7.19
The Sanskrit name Vasudeva literally means the God that dwells within. Vasu is the abode and the dweller. The God within abides in all beings. Krishna says that the high souled one who realizes that ‘God is All’ is hard to find.
When the heart and mind are deluded by guna-maya and the illusion of multiplicity, those who have not yet Realized their Oneness with the God-within worship various forms of the Creator. Without Knowledge, we are compelled by the gunas to follow our desires and hope that by performing this or that rite of worship, the desires of our material nature (Prakriti) will be answered (VII.20).
God will grant an unswerving and steadfast faith (sraddham) to any who worship with a sincere heart. Worshipping any partial manifestation of the One works because the One is the All (VII.21-22).
However whatever is based in the material nature (Prakriti) is temporal and subject to the laws of cyclical fluctuation. Therefore the desires that are fulfilled in such partial knowledge come to an end; and those who worship the gods, go to the gods. Those who worship the One, go to the One (VII.23).
This brings up the understanding of the Lokas, or the realms more commonly called heavens and hells. Many who see beyond the five senses have reported that indeed these realms exist and correlate with the belief systems of a particular faith. Thus there is a heaven or similar realm for each faith. While we may disagree with another’s way of loving God, we have no right to impose our beliefs on anyone.
Blinded by science
In the west sophisticated people may laugh at those who worship deities and ancestors, but I say that we have come to worship and idolize science in the same way. There are two excellent books on this topic: one is ‘The Reign of Quantity & the Signs of the Times’ written by Rene Guenon in 1945. Guenon’s precision French mind makes him a brilliant metaphysical writer. I highly recommend all of his books to you; they are currently published by Sophia Perennis in New York state.
Science has become obsessed with measuring those quantities endlessly produced by Prakriti. Because science has rejected anything that cannot be measured by the five senses or by the machines invented by them to serve them, science has lost even the idea of understanding the qualitative nature of what is beyond the five senses and belongs to the Soul.
Rene Guenon tells us that Truth in modern times has been lost and replaced by utility and convenience. Science is no longer the pure search for truth, but the slave of commerce and industry. Science has become the servant of our consumer cravings and is dependent on producing profitable results for its survival.
Rather that holding these minions of corporate industry in high esteem and allowing them to dictate the atmosphere of our very being, these unfortunates who have been blinded-by-science should be regarded as what they are – beings whose God-given ability to perceive what lies beyond the five senses has atrophied and become functionally extinguished.
Like stubborn children competing with each other for parental attention, these priests of science have become so blind that they are incapable of considering any idea outside of their own ego driven turf. They seem to have lost the ability to think in any other way.
In modern times we have all accepted a reality based solely on and limited to the five senses. During the past 6,000 years, the period known as the Kali Yuga, our innate abilities to perceive the Invisible Realms have atrophied to the point that most humans are incapable of even a remote awareness, much less the Joy of interacting with that which we cannot see, hear, touch, etc.
It is therefore understandable why most simply deny the very existence of such realities. They are not capable of perceiving them. The result of this disastrous defect of our comprehension has produced the ludicrous concept of ordinary life or real life, which in its absolute denial of anything beyond the five senses engulfs us in total delusion.
The quantification of the world
In the guise of modern science the measurement of that which can be registered by the five senses may indeed go on forever; but in doing so, mankind is left skating on the thin ice of a miasma of amnesia - which in no way reflects the totality of existence.
The quantification of the material world without an understanding of the Invisible Realms that support it, which in fact are the actual Source of such apparent solidity, is the degenerative path to the catastrophic conclusion of this cycle of time, the Kali Yuga, our current Age of Conflict and Confusion (R.Guenon).
The reduction of quality to quantity
In his book ‘The Sleepwalkers, A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe’ Arthur Koestler presented the history of how science became solely focused on quantifying matter. Koestler was one of the most brilliant scholars of his time and I feel it is a terrible tragedy that his books - like the books of the Indian scholar Krishna Chaitanya/KK Nair - seem to be going out of print.
In observing ‘the reduction of quality to quantity’ Koestler says, ‘And so in its actual procedure physics studies not the inscrutable qualities of the material world, but pointer readings which can be observed.’ Koestler quotes Bertrand Russell: ‘Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.’
In the epilogue, Koestler says that once science became divorced from the search for truth and meaning, ‘it carried the species to the brink of physical destruction. ... In the hands of physicists, matter began to evaporate and each advance in physical theory, with its rich technological harvest, was bought by a loss ... Words like substance and matter have become void of meaning, or invested with simultaneous contradictory meanings.’ Science is only concerned with a partial aspect of reality. Modern physics is focused on ‘the mathematical relations between certain abstractions which are the residue of vanished things.’
Eventually, you get what you want
As the narrow thinking of science continues to pursue the endless quantification's of Prakriti’s guna-maya, I feel assured that she will go on and on producing more and more as yet undiscovered particles which will continue to lead us no where - except perhaps even closer to such unimaginable weapons as might destroy all life in a nanosecond. It is as Krishna says, the God-within will fulfill the wishes of whoever worships that partial manifestation of the Creator. So it is with those who want a new car, a lover, or a new particle of matter.
The partial forms are subjective
Krishna says that because the One is invisible and unmanifest (avayaktam), the ones who are unintelligent (abuddhayas) - Winthrop Sargeant also defines this word as ‘the stupid ones’ - make the Creator into whatever form they desire to imagine (VII.24). Thus we all ‘see’ and perceive the God-within as we desire It to be. While God is indeed all the forms that each being conceives, It is also beyond all those forms. God is the imperishable and eternal (avayaktam) and is uncomparable (anuttaman).
The God-within does not reveal Its shining being, which is veiled by maya, to everyone and those who are deluded by the multiplicity of the world do not recognize that which is birthless (ajam) and eternal (VII.25). The Creator knows both the living and the dead, and those who are yet to be born - but no one knows God (VII.26). At birth all creatures (bhutani) fall into delusion (sammoham) because of the deluding power of the dualities which are born of desire and hatred (VII.27).
The enlightened have liberated their consciousness from the confusion of the polarities. They act in purity without attachment and thus have come to the end of sin. They honor the God-within and Know the Self as the highest goal. These will hold steadfast to Knowing the Supreme Being even at the hour of death (VII.30).
By your own Effort Alone
Take note here that in the Bhagavad Gita, in no way and no where in any verse, does Krishna ever tell Arjuna to cultivate a relationship with any being other than the Supreme Being, the Self, the God-within. He does not suggest channeling extraterrestrial entities, or communicating with ascended masters, or even praying to the angelic realms.
These beings - and there are many, perhaps millions - are fine in their exalted or temporal and limited holographic stations of consciousness. Some may be helpful in a short term experience; others may be quite harmful and delude you in lifetime after lifetime. You may have visions and learn about the myriad worlds through them, but they cannot give you your enlightenment. Only you - through your own efforts - can fuse your conscious being with the God-within you.
Brahman the Immutable is Akshara the Imperishable
Arjuna asks Krishna - What is Brahman? The Blessed One tells his friend that Brahman is Akshara, the supreme (paramam) eternal imperishable (VIII.3). Brahman is the Adhyatman which is svabhavas, meaning the continuous flow of consciousness that will never cease (B.Marjanovic). This consciousness is the creative power (visargah) which brings all beings into life. This creative power (visargah) is named action (karma).
Krishna’s teaching that Brahman is Akshara is confirmed in the Brahma Sutras:
The Akshara, the Imperishable, is Brahman because it supports everything up to the Akasha (ether).
- The Brahma Sutras 1.3.10
The etymology of the Sanskrit word Akshara is a ‘syllable’ and according to Sri Sankara’s commentary in the Brahma Sutras, Akshara commonly represents the syllable OM. Sri Sankara quotes the Upanishads:
In that Akshara is the Ether woven like warp and woof.
- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3.8.11
The image of Ether (Akasha) being woven like a fabric in the Imperishable (Akshara) resonates with the nature of a hologram. Brahman here means consciousness. Note that there is a difference between the word Brahman and the name Brahma. Brahman is the principle of the Immensity that moves to create the appearance of divisions as multiplicity in space and time (Alain Danielou). The name Brahma is the deity who is the personification of this metaphysical principle.
The Hindu gods and goddesses are encrypted symbols charged with primordial metaphysical Knowledge and Wisdom. The cosmological principle of Brahman is that of creator. Brahman is the guna rajas and the source of all that is manifested in this universe. Creation is the result of the opposition between the centripetal concentration (sattva as Vishnu) and centrifugal dispersion (tamas as Shiva) forces (A.Danielou).
Brahma as creator god is known as the Lord of the Progeny. The Mahabharata says that ahamkara, the idea of individual existence, appeared first and from it Brahma was born (Shanti Parva). The Golden Egg or Embryo is Hiranya-Garbha, the symbol of that from which the universe emerges.
The perishable & the Imperishable
Krishna makes a distinction between what is perishable and that which is within, the real Doer in the body (VIII.4). That which is subject to decay, mutable and perishable is called Adhibhuta; translated literally this means the ‘aggregate of physical elements’ (W.Sargeant).
The God-within, who is the Supreme Agent of the All, is called Adhidaivata. The Sanskrit words Atman and Purusha are also used to describe the God-within.
The Inventor & the Vehicle
Let us suppose that an inventor created a vehicle for the purpose of exploring the universe. This vehicle is built with the capacity to automatically move through space, to collect data, and even to refuel its energy requirements through a sort of temporal perpetual-motion mechanism (yantra-rudhana).
The inventor is naturally quite fond of the vehicle - its baby - and gives it the choice to run on this autopilot function, or to rely on the Will of the inventor and in a happy union, be the instrument of exploration and expression of its creator.
To create a vehicle with such extraordinary abilities, the inventor has given up a great deal of his or her time and resources - but for the inventor, this is all an act of love. Whatever sacrifices the inventor has made for the well-being of the vehicle, are made out of boundless love. The inventor is the Adhi-Yajna, the Lord of Sacrifice, so that the vehicle may exist.
At first - in the first cycle of time, the Satya Yuga - the inventor drives the vehicle and relishes every adventure first hand. Every new experience, each turn in the road and distant horizon is shared in perfect union with the vehicle.
The inventor delights in fine tuning the various components and instruments that make the vehicle purr like a pampered pet panther. Soon the vehicle can do anything on its on and over time - more precisely as the cycles of time proceed - the inventor, as the Creator, allows the vehicle to choose which direction they will go in, where they will travel, how fast or slow they will move, and how long they will stay in any given location, meaning in any one state of consciousness.
By the advent of the Kali Yuga, the vehicle has become totally absorbed in its autonomous ‘free will’ travels and has completely forgotten about the inventor. Lost in its own adventures, caught up in the sights and its desires for the next big thing, and every new sensation, the vehicle is deluded.
It no longer remembers the inventor. It has most likely been in a more than a few collisions and proudly carries numerous dents as reminders, in its once perfect body. Some of its instruments may no longer read quite accurately. In its confusion, the vehicle begins to wander aimlessly and finds that it keeps going down the same old tired roads. It wonders where it came from and why it exists at all.
The inventor lovingly observes its creation, determined not to withdraw the autonomy initially given. Thus the inventor waits patiently, knowing that at any moment the vehicle can shift gears and like a switch, turn its consciousness within to simply Recognize the real driver, its Creator, who has been seated within the vehicle all along.
The Brahma Sutras with Commentary by Sri Sankara
Translated by Swami Vireswarananda, 1847
Advaita Ashrama, 1982, Mayavati, Pithoragarh, Himalayas
The Gods of India: Hindu Polytheism
Alain Danielou, 1964
Inner Traditions International; 1985, New York NY