Conversations with Sri Swamiji – 11

Logical Approaches in Spirituality

Saints and scriptures which talk about God with form and attributes, also declare at places that God is formless, is within one’s self and one can transform himself into God with due efforts! This may be difficult to grasp and sound contradictory.

In the first place, we must understand that these are not contradictory ideas! The human mind has a natural tendency to doubt and disbelieve. It will not accept anything easily without perceiving directly. It will demand a proof for anything told. It may raise questions like “How can there be a God with the face of an elephant?” or “How can it be accepted that God Himself (as Rama) struggled having lost His wife?” At this juncture, Vedanta plays an important role. Vedanta is such that it explains logically those experiences which can be attained only with a ‘divinized vision’. It easily enlightens one about the highest Truth! It does not refute the path of Bhakti or the various forms of God!

That Vedanta and Bhakti are not opposed to each other is evident from the lives of saints and also the scriptures. Even a Vedantin like Bhagavan Ramana insisted on the circumambulation of the holy Arunachala Hill. Similarly, a devotional text like Bhagavatam talks of Vedanta in the story of Puranjana. Ultimately what matters is that the highest Truth must be expounded in the simplest and easiest terms.

The very mind which disbelieves the existence of realms like Vaikunta or Kailasa will never deny the existence of one’s own Self. If a question ‘Do you exist?’ is put to the mind, it would never say ‘No’! Finding an answer to the question ‘Who am I?’ is the goal of Vedanta and this goal is not elsewhere or far away, but within oneself. When the Self is realized, the highest Truth, which is none other then God, is known. Thus, Vedanta becomes a blessing in disguise, as the highest Truth is given easily even to the doubting mind!